The Witcher games – a world-famous computer role-playing franchise based on the fantasy books of Andrzej Sapkowski, which has already been released in three parts. The title was released by the Polish studio CD Projekt Red and it was their official debut on the gaming market. It is also a studio currently known for developing Cyberpunk 2077.
Geralt is a professional monster killer armed with two swords, who, traversing through the dark passages and picturesque roads engages in various quests that get him involved in intrigues and stories of the characters he meets, as well as in political matters of great importance.
The title became famous for the unique Slavic style of the game and complicated decision-making system which has a significant impact on the further plot. Geralt, although not very talkative, is nevertheless an exceptionally distinctive character and it was certainly one of the features that captured the hearts of the players.
However, is it necessary to know the story of the books to be able to start enjoying the gameplay in the world of the fearless Witcher? Do games follow the books? And which part can be considered as the best Witcher game out of all series by far? This quick guide will answer these and other questions.
Do I need to read books to understand what games are all about?
No, the knowledge of Andrzej Sapkowski’s story placed in books is not required at this point, because Geralt in the first part of the games suffers from amnesia and does not remember what happened at the stage of his life corresponding to the plot of the books. Nevertheless, reading can always help you feel into this unique, nuanced world.
Should I play The Witcher games in order?
There is no such necessity. Yes, the second part has many references to the events of the first part, but these are small flavours, the ignorance of which will not have any impact on the gameplay and understanding of the events.
Similarly, if you are completely oblivious of the story of the books and the first two parts of The Witcher game and you just want to play The Witcher 3 right away. Each of the parts is basically a completely independent story and each can be treated as a separate game.
However, if you suspect that you may like this world, it is worth starting with the first part and then continuing chronologically until the third. This method will allow you to notice more details and see for yourself how the studio has developed the game over the years.
The Witcher – the first part of the game series released in 2007.
The plot of the game takes place after the events known from the books and basically presents a completely new timeline of Geralt’s adventures because he was affected by amnesia. All events that took place in his past, as well as the characters he met and their presence in the game, are constantly explained.
In short, the plot of this game is the return of Geralt to the Kaer Morhen fortress, which was raided by a mysterious organization called Salamandra. The witcher sets off on a journey to retrieve stolen items and learn more about his own past. The game focuses on introducing the player to the witcher world by showing characters from Geralt’s past, monsters he has to hunt and glimpses of the political situation in the continent. The plot, in addition to the extensive main story, offers many interesting side quests that make the entire game extremely engaging.
It is also full of numerous small treats, such as collecting cards of completed love conquests that certainly were one of the most memorable parts of the first game for most fans. The first was made against many odds and changes its gameplay, style and plot many times during the development. In the end, the studio managed to capture enough fans to create a franchise out of the game, which definitely deserves some credit.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – the second part of a computer RPG by CD Projekt Red, this time based on their original engine – the RED Engine.
We return to one of the kingdoms of the continent where the witcher story takes place, called Temeria. Geralt becomes involved in a complicated political plot in which a mysterious man known as the Kingslayer will be the main antagonist…or is he?
This time, even more depends on the decisions made by the player, because there are already a dozen possible versions of the game endings, and in the hands of the witcher lays the fate of the citizens of several kingdoms. The combat system has been greatly improved, so now you can enjoy using new moves and dodges, as well as explosives and magic. Many fans still considered this entry in The Witcher trilogy as having the best gameplay and most realistic approach to being a witcher.
The player gains experience from quests but also by using magic, fighting, or preparing new potions. As for the latter one, you might need to meditate before a bigger fight if you want to successfully use some potions, which definitely brings realism to the franchise. Character development is again done through conversations and interactions with new characters and discovering some facts from Geralt’s past. In contrast to the first Witcher game, the Assassins of Kings heavily focuses on the political aspect of the plot, specifically the race conflict between Elves and humans as well as the incoming Nilfgaard invasion. The game begins where the first one ended with Geralt going to see the king of Temeria, Foltest, and a mysterious man looking like a witcher who attempts to assassinate the king.
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – the third and most famous part of Geralt’s story, released in 2015.
The adventures of the courageous witcher break down into several threads in this title: political conflicts, Nilfgaard’s invasion on the kingdoms of the North, search for the Wild Hunt, and following Ciri’s trail.
In this part, you can explore the open world, even ignoring the main plot for a moment, and devote yourself to doing side quests, or get hooked on a card game called Gwent. New locations appear, and the world is more extensive and detailed than ever. A different combat system has been developed and Geralt can now use both melee or ranged weapons.
The adventures and all the events that take place on your path have a real impact on the further plot of the game. You have an influence on the environment, the lives of other characters, villages, and kingdoms. Any decisions you make may have serious consequences. In the last part of The Witcher story, the player will play as Geralt and in some parts, as his protege Ciri. Both character’s destinies are intertwined and can culminate in one of three endings based on the player’s choices. Apart from saving the world from regular monsters, Geralt will as always get involved in politics and an interdimensional crisis that only he and Ciri can stop.
The witcher will have to find Ciri while escaping from Wild Hunt and then protecting his adoptive daughter from the mysterious enemies. The game is also known for its romantic plot, with Geralt involved with multiple females, mainly Yennefer and Triss. The Witcher 3 has also been supplemented with two DLC’s: Blood and Wine and Heart of Stone, which offer a significant expansion of the plot granted by the basic version of the game.
Which part of The Witcher is the best?
To be honest, at the moment The Witcher 3 is the best. It is the most polished and allows the greatest freedom of choice in terms of both decisions and character development. And although several years have passed since the release, the performance of this game is still at the highest level. All this is evidenced by numerous awards, including the Game of the Year Edition title, in this matter, The Witcher 3 has surpassed all other greatest titles in history.
However, it is worth remembering that The Witcher 1 was also a breakthrough event in the gaming environment. Unlike its successors, it was distinguished by an extremely dark atmosphere, in all parts the closest to the mood known from the books. The Witcher 2, on the other hand, is a fictional treat that may appeal to fans of the entire series due to the previously mentioned references to The Witcher 1.
So as you can see, it all depends on the approach to the topic and how much time you are willing to spend exploring the series. Just like Geralt in the game – you have the perfect freedom of choice.