I just finished my 7th (I think) playthrough of the main game. Still got HOS and B&W to do yet so I’m actually nowhere near done, and I’m doing a NG+ after I’ve finished the DLCs, so I’ve got ages left yet. I’ve really taken my time with it all. I made sure to do every quest I got by lowest level upwards, so I did pretty much everything I came across. This playthrough has had me the most gripped I’ve ever been though. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been reading the books as I’ve been playing, or just because I’m feeling particularly in love with The Witcher as a whole at the moment, but damn, this playthrough has been fucking awesome.
A lot of moments that never quite struck me have landed perfectly this time round. Geralt finally finding Ciri was normally just a “oh cool, finally found her, on to the next bit of the story” moment. This time round, even though I know what happens, I felt heartbroken for Geralt thinking she’s dead after all he’s done and all this time trying to find her. Then his look of shock when she wakes up and hugs him back, combined with the scene of them first meeting in the forest, it was just beautiful and made me tear up. Her hugging Vesemir when we got back to Kaer Morhen and Yennefer being ecstatic to see Ciri was all just lovely. I found myself laughing out loud and commenting to myself how sweet some things were just because I loved it that much, I never normally do that, ever.
The Battle of Kaer Morhen was particularly awesome this time round. I always thought it was cool but I never really felt that invested. It felt like an action set piece to break up the long time spent following leads. This time round it took my breath away, not just in the fucking awesome action (it’s seriously some of the most thrilling in any game) but in the insanely well done story that is told through the entirety of the battle, even though few words are really spoken. The stakes are extremely high and I felt it the whole way through. The fact that the whole defence fails and was pretty much pointless, only being successful because of Ciri’s usage of her source powers, really highlighted the power of the Wild Hunt better than anything else, and also really did show how powerful and possibly dangerous Ciri can be. I felt grateful for everyone turning up, the council beforehand felt like the Mass Effect 2 suicide mission, which I also love, and it felt awesome to see all the people I’d helped come together to help me. I really felt the tension as Geralt signals Triss, only to get no response and have to fight off a ton of wild hunt soldiers with only the help of Letho and Lambert. So badass. Eskel fighting Caranthir was awesome and singlehandedly made me go from thinking Eskel was just an alright dude to a fucking badass, and Ciri coming out of nowhere with the “See, I can do it too”. So good! And finally, the death of Vesemir. I always found it sad, but it was always just a “aw no I liked him”. This time I fully cried my eyes out. It was so sad. The funeral and Geralt saying no Witcher ever died in his bed, it all just really got me. Followed by Lambert and Eskel saying they’re leaving, it just all felt really sad, but perfectly done. I actually found the snowball scene with Ciri a relief from the pain and grief, like it is supposed to be for Ciri.
It’s just all awesome. I’ve loved this game for years but it was only really this playthrough where absolutely everything, all the way through had me 110% absorbed and invested. My plan is to have the first playthrough be where I explore options I don’t normally choose, like romancing Triss (sorry I’m still team Yen), saving the kids from the crones and letting the baron die, and generally just going for choices I find interesting. Then my second playthrough (NG+) is the one where I’m gonna take everything fully seriously, go for all the choices that I feel are the best story-wise, start off the playthrough with the build and potions I want thanks to NG+, so I can roleplay and do the preparation for contracts from the start. I’m gonna romance Yen because imo she’s the canonical and just better done romance, and Ciri is gonna be an empress. I’ve never done it before but I watched the ending on YouTube earlier and it looks like it’s the emotional and best fitting ending that I’ve always wanted, the Witcher ending always just felt a little dissatisfying and a bit too fairytale-ish.
So yeah, I’m extremely excited to do it all over again with different choices. But considering the fact that I didn’t choose all the choices I normally would, and didn’t like some of the choices, the fact that I was so hooked is a testament to how good this game is. I don’t know if CDPR will be able to top this, even with The Witcher 4. But it doesn’t need to top it, more Witcher is always good, no matter where it’s from.
Thanks for reading this super long post, there isn’t much of a point to it but I just wanted to express my absolute love for the game after finishing it again!
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