One Year On, and Roach Is Still A Dick
“Every horse I’ve ever owned, I’ve named Roach” Geralt tells General Voorhis, as the sun sets over the palatial surroundings outside Novigrad. I would do the same, Geralt, as all I’ve wanted to do is curb-stomp Roach’s head like her buggy counterpart.
Yet aside from Roach, my second playthrough of my Game of the Year 2015 has been nothing short of spectacular. Nay, more spectacular than the first time round. After playing it at release in May 2015, I’ve actually missed out on a sizeable chunk of the experience, with two full-size expansions, a New Game Plus mode and countless other tidbits, from skins to characters and new Gwent cards. So here it is: the 5 things I’m loving even more a second time round!
Note: I’m playing New Game Plus, and I’m currently at Level 49 – I’m approximately 60% through the main game, and I am yet to even venture to Toussaint!
#5 Pokémon: No (Gwent!)
Well burn me like an elf and call me a mutant – I didn’t play Gwent on my first playthrough. One entire reason I dived back into Temeria was so I could appease the people nattering on to me telling me to ‘just give it a try.’ Well I gave killing a level 65 Griffin ‘just a try’ and where did that get me?
Alas, 45 cards later in my Northern Realms deck and you could say that I’m hooked.
The ingenuity of the game itself and the unique mechanics just work so well, and I’m left hankering for the standalone Gwent game in the making. The combinations of the four ‘factions’ mean that no game is the same, and earning the unique cards is simply infectious. It’s like poker for those that refuse to don Hawaiian shirts and drown themselves in small debt and cheap cocktails, and there ain’t nowt wrong with that…
#4 Miss Merigold, Please, You’re Making Me Blush
Ah, Triss Merigold, the cooky, nerdy girlfriend we all wish we had; she constantly deals with Geralt’s shit, and to top it all off, you know that she’d be game for Comic-Con, too.
Its only this second time round that I’ve really been able to appreciate just how masterfully crafted the cast of The Witcher 3 are. Sure, there are some clichés (sorry, Whoreson Junior, did you get lost on the way from Albert Square?), and I won’t lie, Temeria has an awfully high population of Brummies. Ciri, like just about every character she bumps into, does also get on my silver sword-wearing, grey-haired tits, with her breathy exclamations.
But genuinely, the Crones make my skin crawl, and the Bloody Baron is one of my fondest character experiences in recent memory. Sigi Reuven provided a thoughtful comic-book of a Jason Statham-esque, cockney gangster, and Triss was…well…sublime. I think if there’s one thing besides the glorious open-world that remains in the forefront of my memory in years to come, it will be the characters of The Witcher. And don’t even get me started on Johnny…
#3 Actually, Your Highness, We Do Have A Choice…
Yeah, Emeyrh, take that. On my second play through, I’ve dabbled in the many alternate choices found around Temeria and Redania, seeing the consequences of many actions I dared not touch with even a silver sword on my first venture into Geralt’s weary boots. I’ve become somewhat more brave, some would say even reckless. But I’ve had a masquerade ball of a time making some…questionable…decisions.
Oh, hey there Buddy the Elf. You’re being assaulted by some angry, bigoted Novigrad residents? Fuck it, I’ll join in, my pointy-eared friend. Sorry.
#2 The Soundtrack
I never thought that I could enjoy a Polish folk band as much as I have in my near-200 hours playing The Witcher 3. Saying that, the same could be said for when Dave showed me Scandinavian folk metal, yet here we are.
But nonetheless, the heart-wrenching vocals as I rode across the lush vistas of Ard Skellig made me think that without such a great score, the world I was inhabiting may not have been so impressive. The exact same could be said for the soaring battle scores, and the frantic, banshee vocals which sound like they could come from a small, rural Witcher Contract on a wraith. The best part? CD Project Red sent me a copy of the entire soundtrack; 74 minutes of unadulterated awesomeness…
#1 General Voorhis’ Voice
I mean, c’mon. It’s fucking hilarious…