A Year's Worth Of Articles About The Witcher 3

Yesterday, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt got a Game of the Year edition. It comes with all the updates, patches, DLC and expansions released over the last year. It's also the rare "Game of the Year" edition that is appropriately named. Here at Kotaku, many of us loooooove The Witcher 3. Love it like, "have played it through multiple times despite having other life obligations". Love it like, "still regularly post art and cosplay articles about it more than a year later". Love it like, "the merest mention of the game in our work chat inevitably leads to a 15-minute Slackstorm of gifs and screenshots and reminiscing".

We've published a lot of articles about The Witcher 3. Given that the game is finally complete, I thought I'd round up some of that writing here. We'll start with my review from 2015 and carry through our coverage of 2016's Blood & Wine expansion.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: The Kotaku Review

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.


The Witcher 3 Downgrade Controversy Sucks

There's this feeling among gamers that we're constantly being screwed over, lied to, taken advantage of, ripped off. I'm increasingly convinced that this mentality is largely a byproduct of what my colleagues and I have come to call Preorder Culture. Preorder Culture isn't just defined by preorders -- it's defined by hype, by the way that AAA video game publishers promote their games months or even years in advance.
This hype-centric, pre-release culture encapsulates so much of what is wrong with the mainstream video game industry, so much of what is aggravating and toxic and dull about how we talk about and consume video games. It's why so many of the most charged conversations in gaming centre around controversial trailers, or just-announced collector's edition tchotchkes, or box art. (Box art! For fuck's sake.) I don't mean to say that those conversations aren't worth having, but the fact that they so often revolve around games that don't actually exist yet says a lot.


A Beginner's Guide To The World Of The Witcher

Sorceresses are all… really hot, right?
Yeah.
Nice.
I'm glad you're glad. The hotness thing isn't a coincidence, either: In the course of their training, Sorceresses learn how to remake themselves using glamours so that they're unnaturally good-looking. They live a super long time, like Witchers, and they're sterile, also like Witchers. Sorcerers and Sorceresses differ from Witchers in that they often concern themselves with the politics and power struggles going on across The Continent. They frequently serve as advisers to kings and other great leaders. Most of the major political events in the Witcher games are guided by the hands of sorcerers and sorceresses, usually working behind the scenes.


Tips For Playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Start Talking Like Geralt In Real Life
After a while, you'll develop an ear for Geralt's husky speech patterns. Start talking like he does in real life. Charmingly grunt your way through your orders at the cafe down the street. Grumble at your roommates like a big, scary cat. Sink into the role. Love it, live it.


The Complicated Women Of The Witcher 3

Even in serious scenes, I couldn't stop wondering, "OK, when is the cheesy saxophone music gonna start playing? When is Geralt gonna be like, 'Let me help you out of that silly thing. And here are my sexy friends Roach and The Wild Hunt for a foursom -- [TURN BACK, TURN BACK, THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR]." It works fine when The Witcher 3 is embracing its lovingly schlocky, romance-novel-cover vibe, but when things get serious or dramatic, it can be a distraction.


The Personal Story Behind The Witcher 3's Bloody Baron Quest

"At first I had a skeleton framework in mind," said Stachrya, "which helped me to block out his main actions and words. Then I started to add some new aspects to the character. Paweł and I thought it would be interesting if a man who asks you to find his family turns out to be someone who actually ruined this family -- but now realises his mistakes and wants to atone for his sins. That leaves the player in a very interesting and complicated situation -- and gives him/her a wide range of different feelings and emotions. And that is what Wild Hunt is about, at core."


My Crackpot Theory About A Tease In The Witcher 3

Partway through The Witcher 3, two characters had a conversation that got my head spinning.


The Witcher 3, As Told Through Beautiful Screenshots

I finished The Witcher 3 over the weekend, and I'm currently feeling a little... well, empty. But also reflective, on how it was such a remarkable game, not just for its writing, but for more superficial things.


We Talk About The Witcher 3's Awesome Quests

Luke: It's absurd. It's all absurd. But because the world as it's presented is so real, and dense, and lived-in, you actually take all these turns in stride. Sure, OK, there's an aborted baby demon we've got to play nice with, why not, let's roll with it, everyone else seems cool about it.
This is the kind of thing that happens in The Witcher 3, because the characters and world make me believe it's actually "normal".
Kirk: "It's absurd. It's all absurd." - Luke Plunkett, Kotaku. Now that's a box quote for ya.


The Latest Free Witcher 3 DLC Is Really Good

Next, there's "Skellige's Most Wanted", a level 29 contract that will turn up on your map as a yellow notice board in the town of Fyresdal in Skellige. Like the other new DLC contract, it's of the "Contract With A Twist!" variety, and I don't want to spoil the twist, so I'll just say it's a neat little quest with a fun ending, depending on the conversational choices you make.
Lastly there's "Where The Cat And Wolf Play", another mission that starts as a contract you can get on notice boards in Crow's Perch or at the village of Oreton to the south, near Crookback Bog. It's a level 25 quest that features yet another twist, and another interesting decision to make. I liked it, and I'll leave it at that.


With Hearts of Stone, The Witcher 3 Continues To Get DLC Very Right

Dead Man's Party does everything The Witcher 3 did well -- some monsters, some mysticism, some romance, some surprises. By inserting a different personality into Geralt's body, it creatively twists the game's formula around and offers new insight into our hero and the people who surround him. It advances the story of Hearts of Stone, but it also advances the story of Geralt of Rivia, which ultimately helps it feel just as relevant as anything in the base game.


The New Witcher 3 DLC Is Hiding A Small Secret That Is Normally Impossible To Find

Given that this DLC is technically our goodbye to Geralt of Rivia, there's something pretty heartfelt about being able to see the people who brought such a wonderful game to life. But also: What the fuck? Finding this was just random luck, really. You're definitely not supposed to be there.


The Witcher 3's Free DLC, Ranked

It should go without saying that no matter which DLC "wins", everyone wins. I've been spoiled by The Witcher 3's drip-feed of cool new stuff, and it's made this game a pleasure to continually revisit for months after I first completed it. If you want something more in-depth, I've already written about first batch of DLC, the second batch, and the final (tough!) New Game+ mode.

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine: The Kotaku Review

Blood and Wine is equal parts triumphant and sombre, a reminder of all the great times we've had with Geralt and some of the shitty things we've done in his shoes. It's about facing down the totality of Geralt's in-game legacy and -- instead of regretting or redoing it -- coming to terms with it. Toussaint in all its colourful silliness might seem like an odd place to end Geralt's grim tale, but looking back on it all, I think I get it. He's a lone hunter, an outcast who drifts in and out of people's lives. He's spent the past year drifting in and out of mine, there when I need him, forgotten when something new and shiny comes out. You'd think that the only real end awaiting him would be a lonely one -- fearful people ganging up on him, a fatal mistake in battle, or a monster that's a bit too fast or powerful -- and maybe it still is. But after all the time we've spent coming to know and love this guy, why end on that?


The Witcher 3 Has A Perfect Video Game Goodbye

Thanks, CD Projekt Red, for not just doing such a fantastic job telling Geralt's story over the last decade, but giving us such a perfect way to say goodbye to him.


I'm just starting my first full New Game+ playthrough and I'm still going strong. (Also, I'm finally playing Gwent. You all were right, Gwent is good!)

If you played Wild Hunt and came along with us for the ride, thanks for reading and commenting. And if you haven't played Wild Hunt until now and are considering getting the GOTY edition, I wholeheartedly recommend it. I also envy you a bit. You're in for a good time.


Comments

    I just managed the bath-house bit and the quests that stemmed from that (concerning Dandelion). I was pretty annoyed I had to fail a glitched quest because there was no way to know a certain sequence of events, it wasn't even specified to me.

    Something to do with the dwarf crime boss not activating once I did a couple of fights in a casino and fight club first, instead of speaking to him first and getting a dwarf squad to help me.

    I miss out on $ awards, okay. But reading further into some guides I think I've screwed myself over so I cannot find a piece of upgraded gear.

    Best mods for the PC (vanilla of course) version?

      If you got bug-cheated out of a piece of gear and want to cheat it back in? Console commands. You can add items if you know what their names are.

      I dunno the best place for finding those, but a five second google browse gives me: http://au.ign.com/wikis/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/Item_Spawn_Codes

    One day I will replay this game...well I'll try. I was playing it as my first xbone game and was rushing thru it while my bro got his cash together for his own xbone so we could continue our addiction to destiny. I definitely didn't appreciate it enough towards the end and even left some quests undone which is absolutely unheard of for me.

    I'm currently about half way through the Blood and Wine expansion... I'm pretty sure this is the best game I've ever played overall. The writing is just superb.

    Insert obligatory hashtag #TeamTriss here.

      #TEAMYENN #YEN4LYFE #OTP

      Last edited 01/09/16 10:24 am

        How can you support that wench? Triss is the right one for Geralt, can't you see it?! :p

          Oh, by taking advantage of a man disabled by amnesia to lure him to bed under the false impression that they had previously been lovers? Not just any man, mind you - her former best friend's man. Triss is basically the worst kind of person.

            "Under the false impression that they had previously been lovers." Yet they had previously slept together, after Yen had broken things off with Geralt. They were clearly very fond of each other, it only marred by Geralt being completely hung up on Yen (and their terrible relationship). Even in the books I like Triss as a person far more than I like Yen.

    I'm on my 7th playthrough,the missus is on her 3rd.I average 130 hours on vanilla( 4times) without doing the last 30 odd question marks.Add 20 hours for 2 death march playthroughs (second one without dying unless you count a fall,which I do).I've finished the game twice on death march with both expansions at around 220 hours ish and am now on the third with plans to go N+,which I haven't bothered with before.First there was Resi 4,then there was Bioshock,now there is only(dah dah dahhhh),The Wild Hunt...

      What would you recommend is a decent build for someone who wants to dabble in the green skill tree ie bombs and potion management? The blue/signs stuff is cool and everything but I liked the bombs/potion stuff from the previous games to begin with.

      Or should I just stick to combat/signs?

        Suggestion - wait until NG+ for a full alchemy build, as a lot of the really good stuff needs a lot of skill points.

        Definitely get Acquired or Heightened Tolerance though (whichever one scales up depending on the number of recipes you've found)

Join the discussion!