“The Witcher 3” is getting a game of the year edition in a few weeks, and it has 150 hours of content including DLC. Given that stat and more, here are five reasons to buy this definitive build on its release date.
1) Massive DLC Chunks: Since we’ve already touched on DLC, why not flesh out that point a little bit? “The Witcher 3” season pass includes two massive expansions for an already 50-hour main quest, and both of them are in the game of the year edition. Hearts Of Stone and Blood And Wine equal the depth and breadth of a completely separate game too. For folks that like to get the most time for their money, there’s lots of value in this assumed $60 package.
Not only that, but both expansions are actually pretty great. Hearts Of Stone currently has an 89 Metascore, while Blood And Wine sits even prettier at a 92. We’d be remiss if we offered story spoilers, but, between quest variety, mechanical changes, and world design, there are few better DLC campaigns to ever be introduced in this genre or industry. For once, this is extra content that truly lives up to the lofty heights of the source material.
2) Stability At Its Best: Even though “The Witcher 3” was one of 2015 highest-rated games, it certainly wasn’t a bug-free experience. Moderate optimization shortcomings originally plagued the PC build, frame rates were lackluster on Xbox One and, more recently, Blood And Wine brought some weird questing glitches to the PS4.
While nothing ever quite reached “Batman: Arkham Knight” levels of incompatibility, at least with the game of the year edition, the time has come to play the game’s most refined release to date. A lot of work was done to make this sprawling open-world game a success, and now players can see it just like its developers always intended. Patches are a benefit to many complete editions like this, but they’re still worth mentioning here.
3) A Side Quest Crash Course: Anyone that’s played an open-world game of any genre generally knows how side quests work. In most designs, they’re short, interstitial missions that fill the gap between diving into the main quest.
In “The Witcher 3,” however, there’s hardly a distinction between a side and story mission. Obviously the main narrative threads are clearly marked on the map, but the quality standard is blurred in the most beautiful way. Certain story forks force Geralt into the role of detective and others are more fetched-based. Regardless, there are full-blown choice structures in these smaller moments that can sometimes lead to major plot revelations that take hours to fully uncover. There’s no single quest without a layer of intrigue.
4) Support CD Projekt RED: Just to be absolutely clear, we’re not sponsored by this Polish development team at all. That being said, few game makers have gone to such great lengths to ensure that their players are happy. Not only was “The Witcher 3’s” DLC offering huge, but smaller gameplay tweaks were also delivered free of charge. On the PC, it’s even possible to buy the game without any pesky DRM that can sometimes cause installation issues.
In other words, CD Projekt RED openly invested time and resources into free content while also leaving the door wide open for piracy. These types of risks are hardly ever taken in the triple-A space, and they were confronted and ignored for the simple sake of audience pleasure. “The Witcher 3” established CD Projekt RED as a studio that dares to be different purely for goodwill. Who doesn’t want to support a company like that as soon as possible?
5) “The Elder Scrolls VI” Is a Long Time Away: This last point is unrelated to “The Witcher 3” specifically, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Bethesda’s Pete Hines recently squashed all claims that “The Elder Scrolls VI” is anywhere close to being released. That being said, CD Projekt RED’s game is probably the best alternative to it on the market today.
Just like “Skyrim” before it, “The Witcher 3” takes the concepts of a high-fantasy RPG to new heights. Especially on PS4 and Xbox One, Geralt’s adventure has essentially set the bar for other studios like Bethesda to strive for in its own RPG pursuits. There will no doubt be a lot of “The Witcher 3” in the next “Elder Scrolls,” so it makes sense to see where those seeds of inspiration came from. There’s a long wait ahead for a hypothetical “Skyrim 2,” so diving into a nearly endless experience with similar ideas is a good distraction given the latest news.
“The Witcher 3” game of the year edition comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC on Aug. 30.
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