The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of the greatest games of 2015, really, it won Game of the Year. Like all winners, it is normal to see another version of the game released, that includes all DLC from the original release, in one package. The GOTY edition includes the main game, with all the updated features, the 16 free DLC packs, and the two phenomenal expansion packs, Blood and Wine, and Hearts of Stone.
I loved the Witcher 3 when it originally released, but it was not with its fair share of issues. Along its release year, CD Projekt RED, released a dozen patches to fix frame rate, add new UI elements, and squash all those nasty bugs. The GOTY edition, comes with an 80MB update, and that is it. This was assuring as I was worried I would have to redeem codes for the expansions, and do the updates again. However, this was not the case. It was a blessing to have to just pop the disc in and jump right into the game. We all know how big the original game was after all the patches and stuff, coming in at over 70GB. The GOTY eliminates the worry about deleting it too, as you will not need to download any patches again.
For someone who has just started their Witcher experience for the first time in the GOTY edition, you will thoroughly enjoy the opening and starting hours more than I did, as I have already done it twice.
The tutorials are explained so much better than the original, and the tweaks and bug fixes, makes it feel like a polished-up RPG. We then have the fact that the game is so packed with content already, that the GOTY edition feels like an exquisite dessert buffet.
You know going into the game, that there will be so much to do, that you will need to dedicate a few hundred hours into it. There is no doubt that the game is so unique in this regard, and GOTY edition, really pushes the limit with its great value for money.
The Witcher 3 has some pretty amazing features in it. Intense decision making, great loot system, the most beautiful open world to date, and great characters and a story to accompany it all. The main quest line will take you a hundred hours or so to get done, that is if you are really pushing it, while the two expansion packs, will add another 40 or so hours. You are looking at a game package with over 200 hours of content. There really is nothing like it when looking at a single player experience.
That is to say that the game is not flawless, although it is close enough, that it almost wins the prize. Combat has not changed, and still feels rather lackluster. You will still find yourself spamming the attack button to just get it over and done with so you can carry on exploring the great open world. Sure the tonics, which Geralt can produce to help him fight certain species with, add some depth to it, but unless you died a dozen times on that same werewolf, you will overlook this option.
The Hearts of Stone expansion adds in the Runewright feature, a new layer of equipment enhancements, but this is only available after you reach a certain level. The same goes for the new mutations in Blood and Wine. I could not help but feel that all this should have been available from the start, given that this is a full experience that relies on players starting out fresh. Although I did not get all the way to the end of the main campaign, I did wish to take advantage of the new expansion pack features, without actually getting to the new areas, by first reaching the right level.
You then have the option to play the expansions without playing the main game. This is great for players who might have sold their old copy without playing them. You can jump right into the new areas, and experience the new features and quests with a pre-determined equipment set. Really, the amount of content here for newcomers, and fans alike, is beyond anything I have ever experienced. It kind of gives me the sense of a great video game collection, that have been re-released with much more content.
The Witcher 3: Game of the Year Edition, is a massive package of content. The game already pushed the boundaries last year with its gripping story, and was a technical achievement in so many areas. The GOTY edition, takes all that which we loved, and puts it together in a package that feels like a complete adventure. No need to download anything, just pop the disc in and play. For newcomers, the Witcher 3: Game of the Year Edition, is the ultimate experience, and for those who have played it already, if you don't have the expansions, then this might be your saving grace, as it is a steal at R599.
Geralt & Ciri image credit: Witcher Facebook