This game is a masterpiece. It is possible that it is the greatest rpg game ever. Side quests are not boring, the game world is huge, weapons are great and combat although has some minor problems, is glorious. No game is perfect, this game has some problems, but the combination of great atmosphere, depth story, attention to details, quest diversity, sound, voice acting, music, monsters, weapons, armors, storms, Roach (the Horse) and of course the best mini game I have ever encounter in a video game : Gwent. All of this plus dozens of other great things add up and to give 10/10 masterpiece.
***Keep reading for a few more details if you are interested:
• Side Quests: I will not specifically mention any side quest because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I have to praise the quality of the side quests. I have played a lot of rpg’s in my life, and I have never encountered one whose secondary quests are so well written. Even the smallest one of them have something interesting, for example a dead guy can have a note on his body which narrates something related to his final demise. Also, I’m not exaggerating when I said that the stories of this quests are amazing, going even head to head with main stories of other games. (Some of these quests endure 2 or 3 or more hours). Also, the main quests are amazing.
• Monsters: Yes, there are monsters in this game, and you will hunt them down and probably kill them (occasionally you may let them live if you choose so). But the best part is that you can track this monsters down with something similar to “detective mode”, which will give you hints of what kind of monster you are tracking, also villagers may help to determine of what kind it is. And there is strategy in this: monsters have weakness to something, it varies from monster to monster. To learn about this weaknesses you can read the “bestiary”, which is a log of entries that have descriptions, histories and details of monsters. There are necrophages, specters, giants, insectoids, draconoids and many others. You mostly track them down by accepting or taking Witcher Contracts.
• Potions, Crafting, Alchemy: Yes this game has all of this. I as a player usually don’t waste time with alchemy, but I really enjoy it in this game. There are dozens of potion recipes and diagrams for armor, and swords that you will encounter in the game world. And they are meaningful, not like in Skyrim, were you have like a million useless potion in your pockets. In here I actually use them, especially while fighting monsters. For example, there a different kind of oils that can be applied to your swords, each one add damage bonus to a specific kind of enemy.
• Graphics, sounds and music: Yes, I was a little bit disappointed when I saw all of the graphic downgrade posts and news, and yes there is some downgrade if you compare the game with the e3 trailers. Now that said, even with the downgrade, the graphics have remained impressive. Armors, lighting, reflections all of them looks well. The game atmosphere is amazing, there are storms, strong winds, rain, thunders and even the occasional fog is some areas. So don’t let the “graphic downgrade” thing affect your judgement of this game. It’s pretty. The sound is top quality too. And the music is also top quality.
Combat: The combat control is not perfect, specially the first few hours. But as you become more familiar with controls you will really enjoy and master its mechanics.
•Geralt of Rivia: And remember you are a Witcher, a guy who is basically an expert swordsman and alchemist, but at the same time have some basic knowledge of magic spells (like kinetic blasts and fire bursts). This is not an rpg were you create a character, in here you play with a forced role, you play as Geralt of Rivia and you have no choice in that matter. But this is not a bad thing. You will feel like Geralt and live as him…and decides like him. Geralt will have to deal with hundreds of choices in his adventure, those choices have different outcomes. If you had never played any Witcher games, let’s said that this is something similar to mass effect choices (but better). Also, you can import your save files from Witcher 2, so decision in there has some interesting outcomes in Witcher 3. If you have never played any witcher game, don’t worry, you will still understand the game.
• Progress: Yes there is ability tree and all that stuff, so you as you gain xp you can invest points in different abilities like magic, combat and alchemy (and a general attribute section).
• Gwent: This is an in game card mini game. I’m one of those guys who usually ignores all mini games in games. But you should try Gwent. It has a lot of depth and strategy. At the beginning it may be difficult, but as you progress you will earn new cards that will help you in your Gwent career…try the mini game, is amazing.