The Witcher 3- It's like Skyrim, but focusing in on a specific character in an established universe. While I love Skyrim and the various roleplaying possibilities it allows, I find myself wanting to tighten the focus of my scope of what I'm willing to put time into. As more games advertise hours of infinite possibilities, I become more aware of how limited my time to explore the unlimited is...(I say this as a player of Genshin Impact. Yes I am a fool.)
This is not to say that the Witcher 3 isn't a vast time drain, but in my opinion it seems vast but measurable, which I can deal with. Also, my stay in the world is made easier by genuinely compelling worldbuilding, storylines, characters, and creatures.
It also helps that I really like the main character, Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher. Witcher's in this universe are partially human, partially monster mutants who take care of supernatural creature problems. I think the thing that draws me to this concept is that it's basically a detective procedural, but with a gruff mutant man who hunts monsters.
The real reason why I picked this game out of an infinite amount of others is that I, in a very masc headspace, was like 'I really just want to be a cool old man right now'. And looking at Geralt on the cover, I decided this was the game for my ultimate gender-of-the-moment wish fulfillment. It turned out to be a great choice!
There's nothing quite like putting yourself in the shoes of a self-assured, hot, old man who's really good at his job, but also extremely tired. Hell, I'm already half of those things! (I'll let you guess which half.)
Geralt isn't a blank slate protagonist. In fact, this is the third installment of a series that I haven't played until now, drawing from an already established book series that I haven't read (though I've actually started reading because I've liked the character and the world so much).
Geralt, by this installment, has been through a lot and is bringing it all of his previous experience to the table. He has thoughts and opinions that are always going to be palpable, even shining through the player's ability to guide his choices. Any dissonance doesn't disrupt the roleplaying fantasy for me because I'm playing as my take of Geralt, not me.
Another place where the Witcher universe shines is it's take on monsters. There's a vast amount of monsters who impact the world and people in various ways, but with every encounter you get a very clear look of the separation between how common people and Witchers experience monster encounters. Common folk will fear monsters, make up names for them, misinterpret their nature and goals, and Geralt has to kind of just roll with it until he has enough facts put together an idea of what he's dealing with.
It's really worth glancing at some of the monster designs and aspects, they're really wonderful and unique.
A Handful of My Favorite Witcher Monsters
Hags:... These are just nasty, tiddy-out, witchy women. With Geralt's Witcher senses, he can hear a lot of things in the distance and I hate the noise they make.
Godlings: Weird, supernatural kids who live in random places. That's it. Love them.
Trolls: Intellegent, but childlike goons that can be reasoned with... sometime you'll come across one who just wants to fuck you up, and sometimes you'll come across one that just wants to chat. Pretty great.
Keep in mind I'm not finished with this game. With the extensive time I've put into it, I'm now getting the itch to jump around to some other experiences and maybe take a bit of a break. One thing that makes me less worried about doing this is the neat recap loading screens that remind you of what your current main story quest is. So, I might (or might not, who knows?) have more things to add about this game later, but in the meantime, I highly suggest giving The Witcher a look if you're looking to get lost in a fantasy world starring a guy with more game than you'll ever have! (I'm serious, Geralt is such a slut...no shaming tho', good for him)
If you want to buy it, it's on most platforms! Even the Nintendo Switch, as you might have heard! I personally have it on the PS4 and can vouch for it being good on that platform.