The Witcher 3 is a masterpiece!
If you’ve seen my IG stories a while back, you’ll know that I finally got a super high-end gaming PC. (12 year old me would be so proud!) What was the first game that I really wanted to try out? Yup – The Witcher 3. After seeing so many good reviews and the sheer number of accolades this game has received, I knew I had to play it someday. At first I was bummed out because I paid full price for this game, and the day after it went on sale with a deep discount. (My refund of the difference was denied). Looking back, I would pay full price for this game 10x over.
The entire time I played The Witcher, I felt like I was in the story of one of my favorite grimdark fantasy series. (think First Law) That is how well this game was made. I was foolish to think otherwise as The Witcher was actually born itself from a novel. (Which I am ashamed to admit I have not read yet…but I will!) The plot and flow of the game is hands down one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had with storytelling. A video game (and high quality at that) is the perfect medium to appreciate The Witcher for what it’s worth.
One of the best additions to living out this incredible story in the game, is the choices and consequences that play out. I’ve played god knows how many video games in my life (too many), and during the hype train for every new RPG release the marketing teams love to flaunt that their games have true choices and consequences. Hah. What irks me to no end is where these “choices” end up never changing anything in the game except for maybe one or two different endings. The Witcher 3 has 36 different endings based off choices made during playthrough. Sure some of them are small, but holy shit I felt like I was part of the story the whole time.
A perfect example of how the stories can play out (spoilers ahead) has to do with the character “Bloody Baron”. (who I picture perfectly as Mark Addy playing Robert Baratheon from Game of Thrones) This Bloody Baron (Not the one from Harry Potter…) has one of the most dynamic character backstories and arcs that I have ever read. Seriously I got chills after his story played out and when I think back to it. So this is a man who falls madly in love, gets married, and has a daughter. He is also a soldier, so as soon as his daughter was born, he was sent off to war. Now a solider’s life is a tough life, and he quickly turned to drinking with no family to save him. The problem is – he could not stop drinking after he got back to his family. He quickly started to neglect his family and develop violent tendencies towards them all the while he was still on the sauce.
This Bloody Baron came home one day to find his family gone, with no trace but a note left for him to read. His wife had been cheating on him and left to be with her old childhood sweetheart, daughter in tow. The Baron was outraged, found this old sweetheart, and killed him in a fit of rage. His wife completely destroyed by this, tried to kill him with the same knife he used to kill her true lover, and was quickly disarmed and beat to a pulp. The dysfunctional family was glued back together again. The dark times continued on, but alas, his wife Anna was pregnant again. In yet another drunken stupor, the Baron fought with his wife, and blacked out. He awoke yet again to his wife and daughter gone, but also to the dead fetus of his 2nd child in his own bedroom, who he promptly buried in secrecy.
I know what you are thinking – “Wow what a disgusting man!” and yes, you are probably right. This is a man whose life of war and alcoholism completely changed the person who he used to be – into a monster. After sometime, the Baron meets the player-character of the game, Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher). The Baron asks Geralt to find his missing wife Anna and his daughter Tamara. (Witcher’s have exceptional hunting and tracking abilities not used just to hunt beasts). After some adventures with turning his dead son’s fetus, he found his wife Anna bound by pact she made with some witches, who she had kill her unborn son. She hated her husband and could not bear to have another child with him. She tried to escape her pact with the witches, but we all know how that ends up. I attempted to save the children that were bound by the witches with her, but in doing so, caused Anna to killed by the witches.
This is where the first big decision came into play, when I thought I was doing the right thing by saving children, I actually let another person die. The Baron came to swamp where she died, where he found his daughter Tamara, who was not exactly thrilled to see him. The Baron mourned the loss of his wife, and that his daughter would not go back with him. (Why would she, right?) When all is said in done, everyone goes their separate ways. When I made my way back to The Baron’s fort, I found him hanging in a tree. The Baron had hung himself because his wife had died. His wife had died because of the decisions I made so thus, I played a part in the Barons tragic ending. Wow. This hit me hard after this storyline had wrapped up. In no other game had I felt the writing, the emotional response, and the characters feel so real. This is the power of The Witcher 3.
The Bloody Baron’s tale is just a taste of the writing excellence that The Witcher 3 has to offer. I think The Witcher 3 is one of the best stories I have ever experienced, and for a video game to capture that so well, is just simply mind-blowing.
Seriously, check out how amazing this song is too. (The whole soundtrack is amazing actually.) It is about the main character and his love.
The prose of this game’s story writing is top-tier. Truly beautiful. Thank you to the entire team who made this game.