I’m loving The Division 2. I generally don’t play these looter shooter GaaS because I just don’t like them. I don’t like their frustratingly slow drip feed of loot, their lack of content on Day One, and how they excuse such lack of content behind roadmaps.
The fact that someone like me is able to genuinely enjoy and love The Division 2 says something about how much I believe the game gets right. The setting is perfect. The content is engaging, and there’s a lot of it for your hard-earned $60 on Day One. The mission design and level design are excellent. And man, it’s so fun with friends because it allows you to actually leverage tactics to outplay the AI.
The Division 2 is my multiplayer game for the foreseeable future. But, I’m a single player gamer at heart. I’ve always maintained that I will choose a single player game and, more specifically, a single player RPG over a multiplayer game any day of the week.
Enter The Witcher 3.
First, yes, I’ve played this game. I’ve put easily more than 200 hours into this game. In fact, I fundamentally believe that it’s because of Witcher 3 that games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey exist in the way they do.
Witcher 3 was a watershed moment in gaming. It proved, to me at least, that you can pair amazing story with rich open world design where your choices have legitimate consequences. It is easily one of the best games I have ever played.
Fortunately for me, just enough time has passed for me to revisit the game and have it feel new again. Immediately, I set about modding. Here are the mods in my mods folder, should you decide to mimic my experience.
Along with a heavily edited user.settings file to increase grass density, push out shadow LODs, and push out object detail, the game looks and feels new again. And boy, I’m once again falling inextricably in love.
To those of you who have played Witcher 3, which is no doubt a lot of you, nothing I’m saying here is new. But it is nonetheless relevant against today’s backdrop. In an age where the last 12 months saw incomplete and broken shells of games doled out for $60 in exchange for a live service, it’s important to recognize that single player games simply aren’t going anywhere nor can they be replaced.
The Witcher 3 set the bar for what modern single player RPGs can be when done properly and without cynicism. It shows what happens when games aren’t a scaffold through which to execute a business plan. It shows what happens when you prioritize the game first and monetization second.
I love virtually everything about Witcher 3, and all of this washed over me as I began questing in White Orchard. And now, in Velen, memories return to me as I become excited knowing the epic adventure that once again lays before me.
Will I make the same choices as before? Will I support Radovid? Will I throw my support behind Roche, or will I back Dijkstra’s conniving machinations? Will I choose to romance Yenn instead of Triss — ok yeah no that won’t happen.
I love Witcher 3. This game means so much to me and has had a lasting impact on my life. The world, the characters, the stories, the graphics, the sound — all of this is masterfully crafted and machined with such precision. It’s a world to which I will always return.