The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Reviews

We've rounded up a first batch of reviews for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the final chapter in Geralt's videogame saga. I have to admit I was apprehensive about the series' change of direction during development but it looks like that was for nothing. If the reviews are to be believed, CD Projekt RED actually nailed the open-world gameplay and delivered one of the best modern RPGs, as testified by the large number of perfect and near-perfect scores.

GameSpot, 10/10.

The Witcher 3 is enormous in scope, though "big" is just a descriptor, a statement of neither good nor bad. It is fortunate, then, that The Witcher 3 does not subscribe to the "make a big world and fill it with copy-paste content" design philosophy. Instead, it finds a nigh-perfect sense of balance between giving you things to do and allowing its spaces to breathe. You follow a path not just because there's a question mark on your map, but also because it must lead somewhere new and interesting. The intrigue builds naturally: Every quest is a story of sadness or triumph waiting to absorb you, asking you to make decisions that change the landscape in various ways. You won't always know what the consequences are; some decisions have noticeable, game-altering repercussions, while others barely draw your gaze. But the consequences are there, and you often notice them, even though the game doesn't go out of its way to call attention to them.

Of course, story quests, side quests, and monster-killing contracts typically involve the same set of activities: killing, talking, and activating your witcher senses, which reveal footprints and scent trails and turn Geralt into a particularly violent private investigator. It is the details that keep every task as inviting as the one that came before. It might be a change of scenery that turns an otherwise typical contract into a clash for the ages: you pull out your crossbow and shoot a screaming wyvern out of the sky with a well-placed bolt, then plunge your silver sword into its heart, all while a fire rages in the outpost beyond and lightning bolts tear across the dark sky. It might be fear that disrupts your state of mind: you search for spirits as you trudge through a murky swamp, lighting the mist with the green light that emanates from your magical lantern. The Witcher 3 makes grand gestures and small ones, too; you may battle werewolves and match wits with kings and barons, but hearing an angel-voiced trobairitz sing a plaintive ballad is a stunning show-stopper.

The writing can be best described as "lusty." Many of the land's inhabitants serve a god, but their gods have no apparent problem with them making murderous accusations and shouting obscenities. It's fitting that these people would turn to the gods yet curse them in turn, given fields ravaged by battle and littered with bloated corpses. There are a few moments that reveal the screenplay's seams: some of Geralt's lines may not make sense if you choose them in a particular order, for instance, and Geralt is concerned only with money and prefers to stay out of politics, except for when he's not like that at all, because the plot demands as much. But at least the witcher's signature dry growl remains intact, and the rambunctious Irish and Scottish accents that pervade particular regions may inspire you to head to the pub and grab a pint.

Kotaku, YES.

The Witcher 3 is a wholesale improvement over the already-good Witcher 2, combining the free-roaming exploration of Red Dead Redemption with the complex branching storytelling of a Dragon Age and the tightly designed melee combat of a Monster Hunter or a Dark Souls. It doesn't always execute those things as well as the games from which it draws inspiration, but thanks to some sharp writing, smart design, and marvelous technical wizardry, Wild Hunt is engrossing despite and even occasionally thanks to its many familiar elements.


Wild Hunt is a grand adventure that feels distinctly of its time. It manages to set new standards for video game technology while accentuating the fleeting nature of technological achievement as an end unto itself. It is a worthy exploration of friendship and family, mixing scenes of great sorrow with scenes of ridiculous lustiness, tempering its melancholy with bright splashes of joy and merry monster guts. Come for the epic showdown between good and evil; stay for the unicorn sex.

Game Informer, 9.75/100.

I've never felt so connected and like I had so much power over a virtual world before. The dilemmas are some of best in the series. You have plenty of ways to solve them (like brute force, doing favors, and using witcher powers), but I never felt judged for any of my choices. My favorite part is how the writers are always one step ahead and my decisions are never safe; the shades of gray mean that you never know who to trust, requiring you think carefully about every situation. The world is brutal, full of liars and tricksters just waiting to outsmart you. Would you trust someone who tells you to throw a baby in the oven if it's for the greater good? I didn't but maybe I should have.

The main narrative is also intriguing, but only fans who have been following the series will get the most out of it. Geralt remains the composed hero we've come to know, but he's no longer a blank slate with his memories back. This entry explores his past and shows a more emotional side of him thanks to Ciri. She is like a daughter to Geralt, and he must find her before the dangerous Wild Hunt organization uses her for evil. Seeing Geralt react as a father would in this dire situation is an interesting change for the character.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt encompasses what I hope is the future of RPGs. It stands out for its wonderful writing, variety of quests and things to do in the world, and how your choices have impact in interesting ways. Usually something is sacrificed when creating a world this ambitious, but everything felt right on cue. I still think about some of my choices and how intriguing they turned out for better or worse.

IGN, 9.3/10.

Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I'd start to burn out. Even if the plot isn't terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are, and along with the excellent combat and RPG gameplay, they elevate The Witcher 3 to a plane few other RPGs inhabit.

Metro, 9/10.

As much as it can be said for any story-based video game, the world of The Witcher 3 seems indifferent to your existence and machinations. You must simply try to survive it the best way you can, in the manner which suits you best. But perhaps The Witcher 3's greatest feat is that it feels like everyone else in the game is doing the same thing too, whether they're a lowly peasant, feudal lord, or a grey-haired, monster-hunter.

The Telegraph, 5/5.

Compounding this there are four different ways to avoid getting hit, from blocks and parries to dodges and rolls, with each being beneficial in different situations. Holding all of that in your head, on top of a range of different magical abilities and different items to use, on top of two different types of sword attacks, means it's extremely overwhelming at the start, and can be quite frustrating. In addition, all of the benefits of increasing your level tend to be increasing damage dealt or decreasing damage taken, improving stats, such that combat gets increasingly less difficult as you progress, without you feeling like you have a tangible reason why.

But it's a fairly small complaint when faced with the vast majesty of what the Wild Hunt is, as a whole. I have never felt like I was wandering a more compelling world, or a more convincingly created one, except perhaps the broad expanse of Red Dead Redemption's West. Fittingly, it feels as though that's where CDProjekt RED have taken the most inspiration from, in terms of design, littering their world not with dungeons but with events, small vignettes for you to engage with, or not, depending on your inclination.

None of this is to mention the depth of the story telling, the beautiful moral ambiguity of the choices you're faced with again and again, or the wonderful lack of trying to frame Geralt as anything other than the protagonist of his story. There is no saving the world, here, no great evil force pervading the landscape, or a doomsday clock ticking down to inevitable destruction, with only you to stand in its way. The story of Wild Hunt is a personal one, set in a huge and unrelentingly beautiful world. And moving through it in that way makes you feel like a part of it, rather than an honoured guest, all eyes swung expectantly towards you.

AusGamers, 10/10.

There's structure here, too, albeit with a sandbox built around it. It's through this structured gameplay, however, that the hope for emergent gameplay falls just shy of Bethesda's much-loved open-world design. The reasons for this come down to early checklist-styled adventuring, where the game's map and it's heavily keyed points-of-interest tend to remove some sense of discovery. It's all part of a system that can be customised, of course, so hardcore players can actually turn it off and just roam the world hoping to trip up on their next hint of adventure if they choose to, and the later into the game you get the more quests tend to find you, rather than you finding them. But for mine it happens just a bit too late for it to feel truly player-dynamic, at least from the outset.

This doesn't negate the experience though, and is in place because there's simply too much to come across early on, given how quickly the game opens up for you. In fact it's an intimidating space when you start to use the map system properly -- the first time I came across a boat and set sail with no real destination in mind was a liberating moment, and one I continued at any given chance throughout my traversal of the game-world. The oceans and waterways proved far more dangerous than they first appeared, too. And so while there's less quest discovery in exploration than Bethesda's beast, the world's rich monster lore and its gorgeous, gorgeous absolutely gorgeous visuals create an almost solely personal -- and emergent -- unscripted and unintentional quest for eye-candy discovery.


From a checklist point-of-view it has all the hallmarks an open-world game requires: ungated regions, points-of-interest, loot, fast travel, multiple ways to traverse, crafting, dungeons, ever-evolving and engaging main and side-quests along with a cool, calm and collected character capable of kicking ass and getting a haircut (you can get haircuts). His tracking abilities and his measurement of the environment around him, however, empower players to embody a different type of character than one they might have created on their own. He has a history -- one known throughout the land, and his ilk is both despised and adored for their profession.

It's that very profession that ties him and the player to the land in Wild Hunt though, despite the larger-than-life story that finishes out CD Projekt RED's epic run with the White Wolf, and, as cold as they might be, it's the monsters and the would-be monsters that lurk that keep Geralt of Rivia on the trail -- tracking, listening, watching and slaying.

GamesRadar, 4/5.

I dearly hope that the 'day zero' patch eliminates The Witcher 3's technical issues. They're the main blemish on an otherwise rich and lengthy RPG. Even so, The Witcher 3 represents a generational leap in world design and fidelity, and is a spectacle that deserves to be savoured at its very best.

GameReactor UK, 9/10.

Wild Hunt's a game brimming with diverse, involving content. That we don't feel as emotionally connected to Geralt as we would Red Dead's John Marston or Joel and Ellie in Last of Us may be an issue intrinsic to the fantasy genre with its clear separation from the real world, or that this is a character whose personality and relationships comes with two games' worth of baggage. That's not to say playing Witcher 2 is an essential to enjoying the game, far from it. He's still an engaging lead; shame that his inventory and crafting skills are overly convoluted.

Impulse Gamer, 5/5.

So if you're looking for the best RPG game of 2015 and probably for a long time, than I strongly suggest you check out The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt because this game is that good!

Official Playstation Magazine, 4/5.

Tricky one, this. A great game, undoubtedly, but a different game to the one many were expecting. And in an industry that places such enormous emphasis on pre-order sales, the manner in which a game presents itself in the months prior to launch matters. CDP RED did previously state that Skellige wasn't accessible via real-time travel, but have referred to The Witcher 3 as an open-world game from the start. It's been equally keen to draw Skyrim comparisons, and was sonorously vocal about games releasing in a sub-optimal state following its most recent delay. It is, simply, hoist by its own petard.

It's a game that's effectively talked itself out of a recommendation in every PlayStation gamer's collection, by the narrowest margin, but still deserves recognition as one of the deepest and most involving narrative-lead RPGs of the current generation an accolade it's likely to hold for some time to come.

GameTrailers, 9.8/10.