The Witcher 3 is a sprawling, epic fantasy game, but you might want to think twice about diving in if your ego is a fragile thing.
As thrilling as it is to fill the magic leather boots of Geralt of Rivia, the series’ protagonist, you might wind up with a crippling inferiority complex. Here’s why.
HE’S AN OUTCAST—NOT A HERO—AND THAT’S WAY BETTER
Geralt isn’t a paladin, a paragon, a chosen one, or anything like that. In fact, he’s anything but. Geralt is a “witcher,” a professional monster hunter who accepts contracts to solve supernatural mysteries and track down dangerous creatures. As cool as that sounds, the he’s really just doing work in exchange for money. Unlike those “chosen heroes,” saving everyone isn’t Geralt’s calling or duty.
The locals turn to him as a last resort, hiding their children from the “freak.” The nickname “The Butcher of Blaviken” probably doesn’t help much with that image.
Being a witcher is a way of life. Intense training and education coupled with a painful mutation process put a witcher in a different class of people. Geralt is stronger and faster than the average human, and often smarter, too. He’s not the best at what he does, but he doesn’t have to be, because he’s definitely better than you.
HIS TOOLBOX IS OVERFLOWING
Batman: Arkham Knight might not be out until next month, but in the meantime, Geralt is a damn good substitute for the Dark Knight. Like Batman, part of his appeal is that instead of having an endless selection of abilities provided by destiny and providence, Geralt has a core set of skills and the necessary knowledge to prepare for any situation.
You can’t miss the two swords hanging on his back, one steel, the other silver; the former for natural foes, the other for those who tend to disappear in a puff of smoke. Add to that a mini bar full of potions that enhance his sight, casks of oils that make his swords more effective, and hand-made explosives catered to specific situations.
Don’t forget about Geralt’s wolf medallion, too. This little piece of hardware rests on Geralt’s neck and vibrates in the presence of magical enemies. That’s a hell of a lot cooler than your puka shells and crucifix.
HE GOES PLACES NO ONE ELSE CAN
Geralt of Rivia knows how to network. Kings look to him to accomplish tasks they can’t, and elves and dwarves trust him when other humans aren’t up to the task.
Just a few hours into The Witcher 3, he steps into the office of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, “the White Flame Dancing on the Graves of his Enemies,” the most powerful man in the known world. Here you can choose for him to be respectful, bowing with his left leg back and his right arm out to the side. Or he can be the witcher that bows for no man; most players know what the right choice is, even if they wouldn’t have the balls to do the same in real life.
HE GETS TO HANG OUT WITH SORCERESSES (SORCERESSI? HMM)
Geralt is involved with two women: Yennefer of Vengerberg and Triss Merigold. Both are beautiful—that’s a given. But more importantly, they’re powerful, too. It takes a certain type of man to tango with women this dangerous, and it’s the type of man Geralt definitely is.
Yet both have saved his skin more than once, and they probably will again in The Witcher 3. There’s a reason he keeps going back to them. And besides Triss, how many other women from games have been featured in the pages of Playboy itself?
HE’S AN INSPIRATION
Geralt of Rivia has only been in America since 2008, but in his home country of Poland he’s been around since the 80s, when the first books by Andrzej Sapkowski came out. Over the years, two books of short stories and five novels came out; five of those seven have been translated into English, and the other two are coming. The Last Wish is a great place to start if you want to learn where the witcher came from.
And if you’re a PC gamer and don’t mind some janky graphics, The Witcher 3 is the third game in the series. You certainly don’t need to play the first two to enjoy the newest, but The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was a great game in its own right and the original was a surprise cult hit from first-time developer CD Projekt Red.
With all that in mind, how many books and games are based on your life? That’s what I thought.
Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, and it’s been downhill ever since. He takes a multifaceted approach to gaming news and reviews, mixing business analysis, cultural studies, tech and design. Eric has written for outlets like Playboy.com, TechnoBuffalo.com, TabTimes.com, and Kombo.com. In his free time, he perfects his napping technique and pursues the elusive perfect cheeseburger.