For his 21st birthday, my son received an Xbox One from his girlfriend. Gentlemen, take note–there are indeed excellent women out there.
I decided to pile on and in addition to the lovely suit we bought him for upcoming job interviews, dear old dad slipped him a copy of Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
I covered this game back in April, prior to its release, and said at the time I expected it to be a very good game. Having logged many hours in it since it came out, I will report that I was correct. It IS a very good game. The $60 base game has already spawned a $25 expansion, and now a series of 16, get this, FREE DLCs have been released. That’s right, you can add new armors, animations, and all manner of cool minor enhancements. That’s what a DLC is all about, after all. A DLC, or downloadable content, is to an game expansion what a demitasse is to my Venti latte. It does the same job, but on a much smaller scale. If you want to apply the Lautenschlager rule to it, if what you’re getting doesn’t give you any new maps or zones to play on, then it’s a DLC. If there’s new land, then we’re expanding.
The 16th free DLC for Witcher 3, however, has just gone and blown the Lautenschlager rule all to pieces. THANK you, CD PROJEKT RED. I was doing just fine until you decided to play the NG+ card. NG+, or New Game+, is a feature of some video games where you’re able to roll up essentially an entirely new world to adventure in. So you spend a hundred hours wandering about in Witcher 3, and just when you think you’ve done everything, at the click of a button you have a hundred more hours of content to explore. (Maybe not EXACTLY as much content as the original game, but it does create a rearranged game world, with new quests and new areas to explore.)
Obviously this only works with a game having a significant amount of its content generated randomly. Happily, it seems that Witcher 3 is one such game. All is not well in Candyland, however, as getting the free DLCs requires you to install GOG Galaxy, a free client that lets you install, patch, and update games online. GOG stands for Good Old Games, and they are a subsidiary of, you guessed it, CD PROJEKT RED. You know, the Witcher 3 people? The GOG Galaxy client, as I said, is free, and at its core it behaves an awful lot like Steam, in fact so much like Steam that people who see it up on my screen think it IS Steam.
Now I generally think competition is a good thing, but these clients, like Steam and GOG Galaxy, sort of assume they are the only gaming overlord you’ve invited to sit on your throne. I’m not convinced these guys are going to play nice with each other, and perhaps they’ll be spying on what you’re doing with the other service. Misgivings aside, however, the free DLCs for Witcher 3 are reason enough to install GOG Galaxy on your PC.
So what about the NG+ mode for Witcher 3? Is it a good thing, is it a great thing, or is it simply TOO MUCH thing? I’m not sure lukewarm is a valid response here. You’re either going to love being able to re-roll another brand new Witcher world, or it’s going to overwhelm you at the sight of all those quests waiting to be done. Just when you thought you’d put the world in order, here it goes again…right?
Playing Witcher 3 is addictive fun. You roam a huge open world, armed with your swords and your spells, taking on epic quests and mundane tasks alike, a roaming dispenser of justice called a witcher. After a while, you start to inhabit the role and it’s hard to shut down the game. After all, there’s another village just up the road and I’m pretty sure they have a monster problem just like this last one had.
Fast combat, a clever crafting system, oodles of side quests and things to do, and now a button that lets you start it all over again. Get your free GOG Galaxy client at www.gog.com/galaxy. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
That’s Into Gaming, I’m Mark Lautenschlager.