PlayStation 4
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Game Info:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developed by: CD Projekt RED
Published by:  CD Projekt RED
Release Date: May 19. 2015
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Mature for Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Alcohol Use
Price: $60.00 on LeapTrade

Thank you CD Projekt RED for sending us this game to review!

I have heard many great things about the Witcher games and this is my first time playing the series.  As fun as the games are reported to be, they are also known for their violence and sexual encounters.  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no exception as within the first fifteen minutes of the game I witnessed gruesome war violence including decapitations and eyes being gouged out by ravens.  The imagery doesn't end there as the screen faded to a flashback of the main character, Geralt, in a bathtub with his naked love interest (Yennifer) in the other room.   You don't get to see her chest right away, but other females in the game are more than willing to show theirs later in the game.  Some of the explicit encounters are avoidable, but not all of them are. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is all about choices in this open world RPG.  Geralt is a famous witcher who holds his own when it comes to combat and he also has the extraordinary ability to get in touch with the spiritual realm.  Through his witcher skills he can solve many mysteries and put troubled spirits to rest.  As talented as witchers are, they are looked down upon by many and are known for helping others for a fee rather than kindness.  It's up to the player to renegotiate a better price or not demand any payment for services rendered. 

Experience, items, and gold are rewarded when the main storyline, secondary quests, and witcher contracts are completed.  Thankfully they have level recommendations so you won't go in over your head.  There  are four difficulties to choose from at the beginning of the game.  You can either be primarily told a story, have a story with sword action, blood and broken bones, or a death march.  At the easier difficulties you can slowly recover health automatically or fully recover by meditating.  

Many of the monsters are pretty tough and can hurt Geralt badly if they manage to sneak up on him from behind.   Most creatures have vulnerabilities to certain magic spells, silver, or alchemy potions.  Geralt  carries two swords on him, one of steel and one of silver.  If a monster has a silver health bar it's best to use the silver sword.  Magical traps, shields and spells come in handy during battles as well.  Powerful potions and bombs can be crafted if Geralt has all of the reagents on hand.  

Many reagents can be freely attained by harvesting them from plants scattered  across the land, underwater, and deep within caves.   The best loot is often obtained by clearing out bandit camps, wreckages and protected treasures.  If an enemy has a red skull above them, it's wise to come back later as they're about to give you a good whoopin'.       

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Highlights:

Strong Points:  Immersive  open world RPG that  has stellar graphics; excellent voice acted characters; lots of action packed battles and mysteries to solve with Geralt's witcher skills
Weak Points: Heavy system requirements; long load times; small text
Moral Warnings: Extreme violence and bloodshed; unavoidable female frontal and rear nudity; sex scenes; every swear word used including the F bomb; heavy magic use involving pentagrams; interactions with the undead; gambling; alcohol use 

When quests are completed and enemies are defeated, Geralt will earn some experience.  With enough experience he will level up and skill points can be assigned to improve his battle and magical skill set.  While you're fine tuning his skills, it's a good idea to check up on his clothing, armor, and weapon conditions.  As he takes and deals damage, his weapons and armor will decrease in their effectiveness.  Sometimes a repair kit will work, but if an item is badly damaged a stop to a nearby blacksmith is in order.

Blacksmiths can also custom craft armor for Geralt if he has a blueprint and all of the necessary components.  Be sure to sharpen his sword before leaving the smithy for a temporary weapon boost.  Other places to check out in towns are the notice boards for side-quests and taverns for some gossip and to play a card mini-game called Gwent.  You can gamble and win some nice items by defeating people in Gwent and partaking in horse races.  

Geralt's horse, Roach, is a reliable steed that comes to him whenever he is called, no matter the location.  Roach does have his limits when it comes to depth of water and how many enemies are nearby.  If his fear level gets too high, Geralt will be on his own.  Besides riding Roach, Geralt can swim or take boats to travel.  The quickest way to travel is via the quick travel signposts.  You can only use them when you're standing in front of one though.

The world map is pretty big and incredibly detailed.  There are many different locales from burned down villages to well-to-do towns, marshlands, forests, and open plains.  There are plenty of monsters lurking about and wildlife running around.  I was surprised to see rabbits in this game doing what they are known for if you get my drift.  

The people aren't much different in that regard as you hear the banter of the townsfolk.  Many times you'll hear them talking about prostitutes and love interests.  Everything is voice acted and it's very well done and makes this world all the more immersive.  Subtitles are shown, but the text is very small.  A future patch will be coming to address that issue.

As Geralt interacts with people some will seek his help while others will spit on the ground when he passes them.  Sometimes people will hurl insults his way calling him a "little prick" or a "freak".  There are plenty of rewarding interactions like playing hide and go seek with some kids.  Using his witcher skills Geralt was able to easily follow their tracks and find them all.    

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 94%
Gameplay - 19/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 25%
Violence - 0/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 0/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10   

The conversation arcs and quest choices are often interactive and it pays to learn both sides of a story before casting judgment or agreeing to help someone out.  There are many interactive flashbacks and these sometimes give you a female character to play named Ciri.  Geralt is trying to locate and save her from those who are pursuing her.  Though pretty, Geralt views her like an adopted daughter and not a love interest.  

Needless to say, the story and character development are very well done.  While there are numerous opportunities for romantic encounters, that's not what this game is "all about".  Sexual encounters are certainly possible and the developers have spent a lot of time crafting them.  The sex scenes are similar to those seen in a rated R movie.  Female breasts and backsides will be seen, but no frontal views of anything below the navel.   Declining sexual relations is possible, but some of the nudity (breasts and backside) is not avoidable.  If that's not enough of a reason to make this game adult only, there is a ton of language including f-bombs being casually dropped all of the time.  As war rages through the lands you'll see many ravaged towns and will be asked to help bury and burn the bodies left over.  There are also a few hauntings that Geralt can investigate and resolve with his witcher skills.  Magic is heavily used in this game and some of the magic is cast around or by inverted pentagram symbols.  

Religion is rather interesting in this game.  There's a shaman that Geralt gets to interact with some rituals that involve sacrifices and possession by a spirit to gather some information.  This shaman is rumored to be "very close" to his goat named Princess.   While many games have guard the dumb NPC quests, returning this runaway goat to the shaman was an interesting variation. 

There are many deities in this game and one of the was referred to as the "allgod."  This allgod threatened villagers with plagues of locusts and frogs when he was displeased with their meager offerings.  These sound very familiar to the plagues in Exodus.  Upon talking with this allgod, Geralt discovers that he's nothing more than a fraud.  

Christian or not, you should think twice before picking up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.  While the game is undoubtedly fun and well polished, it is a very mature game.  It's rated M for many good reasons.  It should not be played within visual or audible range of young children.  Fans of the series who are not bothered by extreme violence, sexual scenes, heavy magic use, and drunkenness will surely enjoy this entry into the series.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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