I Reinstalled The Witcher 3 And I Regret Nothing
It’s an unfortunate reality that over-saturation is a very real thing. We sometimes pour ourselves into our hobbies, and can quickly find ourselves up to our necks in questlines, missions, material grinding, and more. It’s this onslaught of opportunity that leads to a player “burning out” in a game, despite going in with the goal of 100% completing their favorite game, or making a new character build.
How many times have you booted up Fallout after convincing yourself that you’re going to play it from start to finish before quitting three hours in. How many times have you dropped an MMO shortcut onto your desktop and told yourself, “This is going to be my game, this is what I’ll play for the next ‘x’ amount of months,” only to uninstall it a few days later.
As Shakespeare said, “Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?” I personally believe that when we jump back into a game we love, only to quit playing it after a few hours, it’s because our initial experience was so vivid that it left an indelible mark on us, a permanent stain on our memories of gaming that only serves to make the many other memories around it seem somehow lesser.
For example, Majora’s Mask is one of my favorite games, I actually bought that limited edition 3DS. I can fire it up, blast through the first few hours and then turn it off, wholly satisfied with my experience. My nostalgia is sated and I’ve received a healthy top-up on all the things I love about it.
Recently, following the announcement of The Witcher 3 coming to Nintendo Switch (insert “The Switcher 3” pun here) I was flooded with a desire to play the game. Despite my ongoing love/hate relationship with the Switch, I already know I’m going to pick up a copy purely from a position of morbid curiosity. So, with a metaphorical skip in my step, I reinstalled The Witcher 3 on a rainy afternoon and immediately knew that I was going to sink a lot of time back into this game.
The Witcher 3 is literally the only game that I’ve ever bothered to make use of Nvidia’s in-game ANSEL capture technology. Having free rein over the camera allows you to set up some wonderful screenshots to document your journey, and as soon as I reached the outskirts of White Orchard I was immediately hurled back into that impossible photo-journalism journey.
Vesemir and Geralt riding into the village while people go about their daily life, children play by the roadside, soldiers man their stations (lazily) and the livestock wanders about aimlessly. The rich, lifelike world that CDPR crafted felt like a long gone friend coming back into my life as the sights and sounds all came rushing back to me.
As Vesemir and Geralt made their way towards the Inn, I remembered just how lush and alive the game feels in comparison to so many other RPG’s on the market. Folks sit around tables, drinking their fill and lamenting the state of the world, others pass their time with a flagon of ale and a game or two of Gwent, while others still decide it’s time to teach the latest blow-ins a lesson. Nothing feels static or stale. There’s no Skyrim-esque table of four largely indistinguishable travellers, all eating an entire cheese wheel each before one glitches out and dies in his seat. It feels, for lack of a better word, authentic.
As the adventure continues and (spoilers) The Wild Hunt arrive to ruin an otherwise already frosty reunion, the world opens up and the rich unwritten narrative of a world circling the drain starts to take shape, from bodies hanging from trees, to wild beasts running unchecked on the outskirts of holdfasts. Conspiracies unfold in the shadows and familiar faces emerge into the light once again. A few drinks here, the odd job there and a bit of back street brawling for good measure, all paints the picture of The Continent. It’s rotten, it’s violent, it exhibits unending greed, and only the smallest measure of compassion can be found.
I reinstalled The Witcher 3, and I regret nothing. My journey has begun anew, and I couldn’t be happier. So why not take some time for yourself and revisit a game that you love, you could rekindle something great within yourself and get lost in the game all over again.