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Why “The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt” is Still Worth Playing in 2021

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The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is arguably the greatest RPG ever. Anyone who says differently is wrong. It can take the unfamiliar some “effort” or time to get into it, but once you are there, you will not want to leave. Most open world games recycle each other’s mechanics these days, and most open world games are very similar. Not like this.

The world of the Witcher 3 is unique, not only in it’s setting and content, but in the way the world interacts with, not just the player, but itself. If you did something to help-out a village and you pass through it sometime later, a random person or even a child will thank you. The same is true for the opposite as well. I once had an interaction with an elf, I had fast travelled near where she had been standing, and the next moment she asked if I remembered her and
then attacked me. I had wronged her somewhere else in the world that I could not even remember. This is another great feature that a lot of games hint at, but never really get right – your actions have consequences. I messed up my
ending with just the slightest of wrong choices that echoed through the whole of the game world.

The world seems old and not just lived in, but alive. From village elders, to old monsters, and to NPCs that give you trouble just because of your reputation. Bandits will use little children, damsels and over-turned carts to ambush you.
Everywhere you go you are quickly reminded that everything in this world wants to kill you. There is a side quest with a Witcher from the School of the Cat who had slaughtered a village who would not pay him. If you choose to let him go, Geralt will sit down in a reflective way and sigh. I had an encounter with a band of Scoia’tael(which are a group of rebels from before the events of the game), one of them thanked me for a favour I did him once, it was something
that even Geralt did not remember. Little touches like this makes the characters seem alive, in fact if you pay attention to how the other NPCs react to you, it becomes apparent that the programming comes close to mimicking real people’s behaviour.

Oh, and the graphics hold up and are still a treat to look at. It could use a remaster to sort some of the quality of life issues, but you can still enjoyably play it as is without needing the nostalgia engine’s fuel.

Sure, there are flaws (like the School of the Wolf glitch, and what is even direction when swimming under water) and it is not perfect (I hate you Roach, you useless donkey), but there is nothing else that comes even close to the experience of “living” in the world of the Witcher 3. Finishing it is akin to finishing your favourite series or movie, you find yourself in mourning. For a while afterward everything you try is measured against it, and all of it is found wanting. Like every other movie after Infinity War…

Last Updated: July 7, 2021

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