Gaming

The Witcher III Wild Hunt – Elder Blood and White Frost

I never really did a formal review of the Witcher games and with the third game, I just gave out updates whenever I made it to a certain point in the game due to how MASSIVE it is.

But, I had this thought at the back of my mind that I should still review it because there’s lots to talk about and one year later, I think it’s time to let it out.

First off, if you’re new to the Witcher franchise and you start off with this game, it’s very easy to get caught up on the story on what happened before this one. Geralt’s memory has been restored and now he has set off to find his lover Yennefer.

Once reunited, Yen tells Geralt that the mythical Wild Hunt is after Ciri because of her Elder Blood. From there we begin our immensely long journey, along with many distractions such as local dilemmas and Witcher contracts, to find her. Everything that occurs along the way depends on the choices you make.

It’s really hard to summarize the story due to how big this game is. There’s so much to do in it that it took me eight months to finish everything I wanted to do, including the DLCs! But then again, I think it also took me eight months because I was studying for my certification exams around the time I started the game, so I didn’t binge play until after I had finished those exams.

The gameplay can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to open-world RPGs, but if you give it a chance, the game actually helps you get used to it when you start in the White Orchard before venturing out into the bigger part of the Continent.

Combat is not my favourite in this game and fast-travelling can be time-consuming because you can’t just do it from anywhere. You have to find a sign post and they are not marked on your map as question marks. Just run around until you find one and if I wanted to fast travel, I would have to set a navpoint to the nearest sign post in order to use it.

Notice boards are also important because let you take up contracts and put more unexplored markers on your map to check out. The environment in this game is stunning and realistic, but sometimes it rains too much!

Many things in this game are simplified to give a less stressful experience. For example, you no longer have to enter meditation to drink potions, coat your swords with oil, or spend skill points when you level up. The two previous games did that, the first one you could only meditate in certain places.

I find Skellige to be the most unique to explore with its islands and mountains. Lots of elevation, but you can skip boating with Sirens if you like. (My least favorite monster in this game)

In terms of characters, our protagonist Geralt is hot as hell, but he doesn’t have much personality. He shows little emotions when talking and that is the nature of a witcher. Seems unfortunate but he does try to show it. He also has a rather interesting sense of humor and hates portals to the bone, there’s a compilation video you can watch about every single time he expresses his dislike for them.

When I first started this game after playing the first two, I was struggling to decide whether to continue with Triss or get back together with Yennefer. Many in the fandom argued that Triss was more caring while Yen was controlling or that Triss was manipulative and Yen was the right choice.

I was dead set on Triss at first since I had been with her in the two previous games. I felt like she was always there for Geralt, but I also learned about her participation in the Lodge’s regicides and she kept it a secret from Geralt about Yen when he was still under amnesia.

As I wrote my updates of game progress, I chose to give Yen a chance and found myself to really like her. She’s independent, and she can be a bit bossy but I think she just has a different way of showing her love for Geralt.

Despite my commitment to Yen, I let Geralt fool around with some other women as well like Keira (I regret killing her now), a few prostitutes, Jutta, Shani, and Syanna.

Ciri and Triss are both characters full of determination, and I like how the latter does everything she can to get mages to safety out of Novigrad. Ciri on the other hand has a desire to stop the White Frost and I’ll get to that in a moment.

My other favourite characters include Cerys An Craite: she’s very witty and stops at nothing until she succeeds. I’m glad she thinks things through first and makes sure she has exactly what she needs before taking action. That is why I chose to help her because I felt like only she wanted to find out who the culprit was of the massacre and she unites the clans after becoming queen. I also enjoyed helping her with the jarl who was possessed by a hym and chose to trick it.

Then there’s Vernon Roche who to some fans, they call him “Broche” because of his bro-like personality. I think I like him a wee bit more than Dandelion despite him being an even closer friend of Geralt’s.

It’s really hard to pick moments in this game if we are doing the main storyline and side quests. I might do a blog posts covering my favorite side quests in more detail later. I loved all the little snippets of when we get to play as Ciri and each of them are from different times, like in Skellige it is considered the first one that happens and where she lands in her journey as Geralt continues to look for her.

Reuniting with her was the most touching moment of the game, Geralt, finally finds her and she wakes up in his embrace. But that doesn’t beat Yen’s reaction to Ciri’s return as she joyfully calls out to her and runs to hug her, the reaction of a true mother. Since Yen is infertile, no wonder she treats Ciri like her daughter. Having a snowball fight with Ciri after the battle was fun too.

You also learn to appreciate cutscenes a lot in this game, especially ones that do not center around combat or are completely on story. For example, one quality moment in Novigrad was when Geralt and Zoltan are searching for Dandelion and start at an inn in the town’s square. They watch a bard name Priscilla perform, who I believe to be a love interest of Dandelion’s.

She plays a song about Geralt and Yen’s relationship and it’s such an iconic moment in the game that was very well done. I just wish the other patrons didn’t lodge complaints about Geralt’s presence. Nobody likes to see witchers around unless there’s contract.

It’s also like the time the elderly innkeeper in the White Orchard was confronted by a young woman for taking the Temerian banners down, replacing it with a Nilfgaardian one. Though the innkeeper said she had to do it otherwise the inn would be burnt down and she’d be out of a job, the younger lady beats her up by banging her head on the counter.

I wanted to bitch-slap her for doing that to an innocent old woman who was just trying not to lose her job, but instead she brushes it off and some thugs attack, and once again the witchers get blamed for everything……again.

Also, watching King Radovid meet his end was really satisfying. Say what you want about Philippa, but getting your eyes gouged out for being a bad advisor to a future king is a pretty harsh punishment, and the whole Witcher universe seems to have a thing for inflicting that on characters.

I’m glad it was carried out where she blinds him first before killing him and Roche’s reaction was priceless.

But even after his demise, Oxenfurt still acts as if he is still alive. I can’t go anywhere in there without hearing “Long live Radovid!” at least three times. It makes me want to shove those NPCs who act like you did that even if you nudge them slightly passing by.

Is Eredin our villain? It would seem that he is, though there are several secondary antagonists present throughout the game. Unfortunately, Eredin is another video game villain who falls into the category: badass looking villain with deep backstory that gets almost no screen time. Just like Corypheus!

He’s supposed to be part of some ancient elves known as the Aen Elle from another world and soon he rose to power and the Wild Hunt was form. They all wear bony-like armor to make them more intimidating and he looks better with that mask on!

Eredin was after Ciri for her Elder Blood, a powerful form of magic that can open up portals to other worlds and do some other unique abilities. (I REALLY should read the books because summarizing this is daunting, hence I hope his arc is explored more in them) That would allow the Wild Hunt to conquer more worlds basically. Eredin is definitely meant to be feared and when you do that annoying quest with Avallac’h, do you get a snippet of his past.

But Ciri wants to use her Elder Blood to find where the White Frost is and destroy it before it supposedly destroys everything. Whether she lives or dies depends on how you treat her. I chose to cherish Ciri and allow her to make her own decisions. She survived and became a full-fledged witcher.

Cerys went on to be a great queen of Skellige and Geralt and Yen settled down together. I was completely happy with my conclusion of the game’s main story.

The main story in summary is not perfect, but it’s more the characters, side quests, and environment that make this game a masterpiece. It’s an unforgettable experience.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

👽Emily

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