In a world where BRs tend to reign supreme and gain everlasting popularity, with countless local and global tournaments, RPGs and MMORPGs alike sometimes don’t get the attention and respect they deserve.
Or so it seems.
Having played these massively popular BR’s such as Fortnite, Warzone/Call of Duty, Halo, and others the majority of my gaming life, I’ve come to a point in the last two years of feeling somewhat despondent. While they try to keep things fresh with new skins and guns and gadgets and the like, it all becomes redundant and honestly, kind of boring, rather quickly.
This is where RPGs and MMORPGs thrive.
And it really comes down to one word: the plot.
The interconnectedness of every character, every location, every world (if applicable) — all of it coming together to form a compelling narrative riddled with motive, emotion, tough decisions, battles, friendships, enemies, purpose…the list goes on.
CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher storyline has all of it and more.
My first exposure to the game was through a streamer friend. I happened to catch her live one day and she was playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I was intrigued, but it seemed too intricate for my taste at the time (in the throws of BRs). Skip ahead a couple years, and I ended up trying it out. I like to know the history and events behind such intricate, story-rich fantasy RPG games, so I thought I’d start with The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I enjoyed it, but didn’t get too far, as I was also deep into God of War at the time. (Plus, the second is on the difficult side if you’re new to the game)
In comes the Netflix Witcher series. It reinvigorated my desire to play the games and be a part of that world.
I restarted with the Witcher 3 and played through to the end. While I enjoyed it, I desperately missed the history of the relationships and knowledge behind the Witcher character development. I needed to live what they lived through together, from the beginning. So that’s what I did.
The Witcher (2007), Assassins of Kings, and then Wild Hunt (again).
My encompassing thoughts after finishing my story arc was twofold: 1) why did I wait so long to play this franchise? And 2) EVERY story-rich RPG lover NEEDS to play this franchise.
Yes, every single one. Even The Witcher, released in 2007, and has the graphics to show for it (which reminds me of King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity).
Let me lay out 3 reasons why you NEED to play The Witcher (and replay it):
- You’ll fall in love with the characters and relationships.
- There’s nothing like getting so enthralled in a video game and its story and characters that you practically feel everything they do, emotionally speaking. I relate the level of this feeling as a gamer to the love of every character in Final Fantasy 7. You come to know them and sympathize with their thoughts and feelings, who they are as a character, and the weight of their decisions (that are often your decisions to make). Not to mention, being Geralt of Rivia, you can’t help but get caught up in the romanticism of his numerous lovers. He’s a big softy at heart.
- Battles are intuitive, and it grows with each installment.
- This is what I mean: Fighting in The Witcher (2007) is no cake walk by any means – the fight with Azar Javed alone was way more difficult than anticipated. But the understanding and use of potions is a highly determining factor for your success. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings comes along and teaches you the importance of Signs (Witcher spells) and blocking. Again, vastly important to your success throughout the story. Finally, Witcher 3, a balanced mix of potion use, Signs, and combat prowess. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the plot and side quests, this aspect of development speaks volumes to how they approached each title in this regard.
- Simply put: the amount of content.
- The Witcher (2007) can take some time to get through since there are no ways to “fast travel”. It’s what you might call a running simulator. Regardless, the number of things to do is impressive for a 2007 title. The Witcher 2 has no shortage of side quests on top of the main story line. The Witcher 3 amplified the amount of content to a new level – especially introducing the ever popular card game Gwent. And if you thought that wasn’t enough, the release of the DLC titles Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine added hours and hours of additional mileage. I’m talkin’ serious extra, I’ve never played through such expansive DLC.
I never considered CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher to be a game I’d play, let alone enjoy. Then again, as I look back, I hardly knew anything about it or what the gameplay style was like. While it admittedly took the Netflix series for me to finally plunge into the games, I learned a lesson:
To be open-minded means discovering new and exciting games that are truly masterpieces.
Happy gaming nerds!
CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher – get the trilogy on Steam