The Witcher

Playing The Witcher 3 for the first time, Part 4

So, the isle of mists at last. I’d been waiting for this for a while and man did the game deliver. But even before that, there’s plenty of great stuff to cover


• Honestly didn’t call the fact that Uma was Avallac’h. I’ve never done a faster 180 from sympathy to antipathy for a character. Avallac’h is a bastard through and through in the books. His game characterisation is totally discordant with that but this is a discussion for later.

• Now, obviously we have got to talk about sequence where Lambert, Geralt and Eskel have a drink. I mean, there’s no words to do justice to it. Lambert imitating Vesemir? Amazing. A Witcher game of Never Have I Ever leading to the revelation that Geralt and Vesemir once got so drunk they woke up only in underpants? Gold. Doug Cockle’s delivery of “If I’d have bent over, I’d have puked.”?Noble Prize worthy. The Witchers cross dressing and crank calling the Hierarch? Perfection. The whole thing was top tier comedy.

• CDPR nailed the Geralt/Ciri relationship. It’s perfect. That is all.

• I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew they’d do justice to these characters. In the Oneiromancer quest where you share memories of Ciri, Geralt briefly retells some events from the books. When she asks him if he was bound to Ciri by destiny, there’s only one thing Geralt should conceivably say in response:”By something more”. The moment he said that line, I basically started jumping up and down with excitement. That’s some real respect for the lore. I love to see it.

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• But then came the actual finding of Ciri on the island. Now I didn’t think for one second that she was dead, but yeah that moment of Geralt just rocking her like a child and just the look on his face earlier. That hit like a ton of bricks. You could feel the grief. So much for the whole Witchers have no emotion nonsense

• Ciri’s character is definitely different from the books. I still think this is recognisably the same person, accounting for the passage of time. Still, they seemed to have sanded down the rougher edges of her personality though nowhere near the extent of a character like Emhyr. They even cleaned up the facial scar with a throwaway line. But she’s still got book Ciri’s headstrong, act-first-think-later personality. They definitely watered down some of the darker aspects of her though.

• The Battle of Kaer Morhen. This has to be my favourite sequence in the game. Gathering allies you’ve spend the game cultivating and finally getting to take the fight to the Hunt. The fight outside the walls of Kaer Morhen to close the portals was great but when the Hunt invaded the fortress itself, things cranked into high gear. It felt like total chaos in the best way, especially with how it kept cross cutting between different characters.

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Getting to smash the hunt’s goons asCiri was downright cathartic. Loved the Triss/Ciri double team on that one guy who impaled by Triss using Ciri’s sword and then thrown off the walls. The whole battle felt epic, like the climax of the whole Ciri arc. Of course it wasn’t, which brings us to Vesemir

• Vesemir dying was a gut punch. I thought before the battle that either Eskel or Lambert would die which is why we spent so much time with them prior. Would’ve been sad but Vesemir dying just stung worse. This is the last of the old guard, the sole survivor of the pogrom of Kaer Morhen, the only link the School of the Wolf has to its past. For all intents and purposes, he is Kaer Morhen. Not to mention he’s a father figure to Geralt. And then he’s gone. This one hurt. Doubly so since I later met an old lady who’d once known him and hoped to rekindle a relationship with him.

• Thankfully this was followed an absolutely delightful sequence where you have a snowball fight with Ciri to cheer her up after a bad day training with Avallac’h. They even gave her a health bar! This whole scene was just pure joy to play through. Of course it later turned out to be much more significant than I first thought but even as a stand-alone sequence its just great.

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Next time, Imlerith, The Crones and the return to Novigrad


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