I owned TW3 on PC and absolutely loved playing it, but I think, as is the probably the case for a lot of people, I just sort of fizzled out after a while. Big open world RPGs contain so, so much content. I was really enjoying the story and gameplay, but I just reached a point where I fancied playing something else, so I did, and I never finished the main story.
During lockdown, I brought the game (again) on PS4. I took my time with it. I did lots of question marks and as much of the side content as I could get my hands on. I played on Death March. I didn't rush and just allowed myself to read all the books and immerse myself in it rather than binge play. If I didn't have much time, I'd just do a couple of question marks, play a round of gwent or go on a treasure hunt rather than the main story.
While I knew there were three possible endings for Cirri (empress, witcher or death) before I actually finished, and I was keen to get the empress ending (and I knew what I need to do to get this ending), at a crucial story moment a couple of things happened that meant I ended up going into the credits blind.
During the final Radovid quest, I ended up dying to Radovid's soldiers. I reloaded the latest save, killed a couple of soldiers and the next cutscene started. I skipped the cutscene – I thought this was going to be the Roche rescuing me cutscene (which I'd already seen). As it turns out, I must have reached a trigger point in my previous save and this was the killing Radovid cutscene.
I was seriously annoyed that I'd missed it, because this was a crucial story beat. I kept playing, siding with Roche against Djikstra (as planned – even if I didn't know what the 'right' story decision was, I'm almost certain I'd have gone for this option anyway) and played out the rest of the quest. I manual saved after this.
I then reloaded an older save just to see the cutscene I accidentally skipped properly. Because the game doesn't let you pause during cutscenes, I thought I might as well side with Djikstra this time just to see how the story played out with the other option, with the intention of reloading my manual Roche/Ves save, so I did.
Well, turns out it's a bit boring siding with Djikstra as Roche doesn't say anything – the quest just ends. The game autosaved and a few seconds later my game crashed.
I quit the game, then opened it again and, as usual, just continued with the story, which plonked me right after the conclusion of the assassin questline.
I genuinely had zero idea which save had loaded, whether it was my manual (Roche) save or auto (Djikstra) save. I didn't even think about it at the time – I just continued playing.
After a few hours more it dawned on me that I might have loaded the Djikstra save, which was technically the most recent one. Figured it was too late at that point, so I kept going. In hindsight, I could have checked the completed quest log (didn't think about that at the time).
While I knew the three possible endings, I had absolutely no idea of the final moments leading up to the conclusion and all of it was cool. The Eredin fight was just so much fun. Took every ounce of concentration I had – it was quite a challenge and I thought I was just one slip up from death at every moment. I was having such a good time with it and I just got in the zone – I felt like this was the best I have ever played a video game. Somehow I managed it on first try.
Then came the end. The game put me in White Orchard and I was on an adventure with Cirri going rabbit hunting and I couldn't figure out if this was the witcher ending or the empress one. The game leaves it really ambiguous and I was just on the look out for any and every clue as to whom had won the war.
I gradually figured it out, but there was still this nagging doubt the whole time. When I finally realised that, YES! Cirri was going to be Empress of Nilfgaard, it brought such elation to me.
Going into those last few moments having no idea how the game was going to end me for put me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed it.
I've never played a game that just feels so…premium? I've had a few crashes and visual glitches along the way, but compared to most games they're so minor and minimal they didn't annoy me (and while I don't know how many hours I've played, I'm guessing it's a lot, overall there were barely any through my run). There are things about the game I'd change or improve, but ultimately the qualities massively outweigh the negatives.
Looking forward to starting Heart of Stone and Blood and Wine, but taking a bit of a break before I do.
Anyway, apologies for the long post. Hope you all have a good Christmas break.
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© Post "A crash saved me from knowing the ending: just finished the game and so, so happy" for game The Witcher.
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