2015 Game of the Year: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The_Witcher_3_-_Geralt,_Yennefer_&_Triss
CD Projekt

Though The Witcher game series dates back to 2007, Polish developer CD Projekt Red seems to have broken through with its third installment. Based on Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, the games follow Geralt of Rivia, a witcher (or monster hunter, for those who aren’t well-versed in Witcher lore), searching for his adopted daughter Ciri.

The single standout aspect of the game is its scale. According to How Long to Beat, the main story of The Witcher 3 takes players an average of 49.5 hours to beat. The main story and a fair amount of side missions take 103 hours, and after completing everything the game has to offer, you will clock in at around 171 hours played. Length usually isn’t indicative of quality, but when it comes to this game, it is. Players can polish off the entirety of the game and its two expansions before tedium sets in. Personally, I have spent far too much time playing (card) game-within-a-game Gwent.

The_Witcher_3_-_Wild_Hunt_fighting_royal_wyvern
CD Projekt

Designing side missions has long frustrated game developers. Players complain of repetition, poor gameplay, and pointlessness. The Witcher 3 manages to ward off these criticisms with far more good than bad in its 100+ hours of side quests. While I hope developers can take a page from CD Projekt Red’s intuitive approach to a game’s accouterments, I hope they ignore its size. I appreciate getting bang for my buck, but at this point in my life, I have more games to play and less time to play them.