A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is a role-playing game (RPG) that contains many mature themes and scenes. Much of the game centers around combat, which allows the gamer to wield swords and other weapons, as well as magic blasts, to destroy fantastical creatures. Enemies can be sliced and diced, decapitated, and dismembered into bloody, fleshy chunks. Noninteractive cut scenes are equally gory at times. The game also contains female nudity (breasts and buttocks), implied sexual intercourse (moaning), and optional sex with prostitutes. Along with strong profanity, such as "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t," players also can engage in a drinking game and see scenes of inebriation.
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What's it about?
THE WITCHER III: WILD HUNT is the final episode of the award-winning action role-playing game (RPG) series. It's a story-driven, nonlinear, open-world game that lets gamers play as Geralt of Rivia, a powerful monster-hunter-for-hire, explorer, and savior. At the start of the lengthy single-player campaign, you learn of a child foretold in prophecy who's kidnapped right from under the Witcher's nose, so he sets out in a dark, vast world to rescue her from the clutches of an evil overlord. Along the way, you'll sail seas, visit islands, traverse mountains, and wade through dark caverns. Much of the gameplay involves battling monsters big and small using melee weapons and magic potions; with the money you earn for defeating creatures, you can upgrade or buy weaponry and armor. You could also choose to spend coins on gambling, fistfights, or women of the night. Similar to its predecessors, you can make choices that have story-altering consequences.
Is it any good?
Though the game is certainly not for young eyes (or ears), The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is an extraordinarily fun and attractive game that's easy to pick up but very difficult to put down. The first thing you'll notice are graphics so detailed and vivid, the game looks like a computer-generated (CG) movie. This is no easy feat, especially with a smooth performance through intense real-time battles, such as one fight between you and a dozen beasts that surround you. But be warned: Though the combat is gratifying, gorgeous, and raw, it's certainly not for the squeamish. Also, instead of being kept on a short leash, the game enjoys an open world that welcomes nonlinearity. You can explore freely, opt for side quests or monster-hunting contracts, or stick to the main mission(s) at hand; it's entirely up to you. Regardless of how you tackle this game, you never feel like you're lost (unlike in some other huge RPG worlds).
As in any good adventure game, The Witcher III is incredibly deep. For example, Geralt's special Witcher potions provide him with special abilities such as attribute bonuses or eliminating negative status effects from enemies. Though you can buy or find these potions, crafting them by farming ingredients from herbs (and even parts of monsters) is the key to success. You'll also need to make decisions that could take the story in many directions. The game introduces repercussions for certain choices you make (be they political, personal, or professional). For instance, bring an arsonist to justice, and his victim may provide you with a discount at his store, but the punishment may turn the townsfolk against you. This game is perfect for gamers who like huge fantasy RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft, or even collectible card games (there's a card game called Gwent that Geralt can play, and he can buy or win additional cards, similar to in Magic: The Gathering). The Witcher III: Wild Hunt doesn't require you to know anything about previous games in the franchise -- but once you sink your blade into this sequel, you'll likely want to go back to explore the entire series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about the impact of violence in games such as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. For a game to be engaging and fun, does a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) need to have this level of violence, sex, and profanity?
Families also can discuss sexuality in games. Should we supervise children playing games the same way we might when physical romance is depicted in live-action entertainment?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Warner Home Video Games
- Release date: May 20, 2015
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.