We’re breaking the first rule of fight club by pitting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim against each other in an RPG showdown.
Originally released in 2015, CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 was inspired by the Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. Brimming with action, magic, and romance, the game immerses players in a vibrantly gritty monster-filled world, and comes packed with a storyline that constantly tugs on your heartstrings.
Meanwhile, Skyrim debuted in 2011 and quickly became debatably the most beloved instalment of The Elder Scrolls series from Bethesda Studios. Taking on the role of the Dragonborn, you’re tasked with defeating a legendary dragon prophesized to bring about the end of the world.
Today, these massively popular open-world action fantasy adventures will go head to head in five categories — and only one can emerge victorious.
The Witcher 3 allows you to tailor your own playstyle by customizing Geralt’s build. The story’s progression is also highly malleable, with choice-based dialogue influencing a slew of outcomes.
However, Geralt is the only playable character, aside from a few brief intermissions as Ciri. On top of that, Geralt’s customizability is unfortunately non-existent outside of a few different haircuts and beard styles.
On the other hand, Skyrim allows players to choose between ten different races and offers extensive character customization. You can also train in one of three class specializations or mix and match between them for a truly unique character.
Character Story Arcs
While the Dragonborn is highly customizable and has access to lots of character paths, your relationship with other people in the world is woefully lacking. You actually seem isolated from other characters in the story, never forming truly sentimental relationships with anyone. Even the connection between you and the game’s adoptable children or potential marital relationships feels muted and pretty devoid of emotion.
On the contrary, the falsehood of witchers being stripped of emotions is debunked by Geralt’s relationships with various characters in The Witcher 3. Geralt’s choices to help various sub-characters (or not) influence the entire storyline. Furthermore, some fan-favorite sub-quests involve Geralt romancing certain sorceresses. The choices he makes in these quests for love impact the witcher’s happiness in the endgame. The relationship he forms with Ciri throughout gameplay has pivotal consequences for the game’s conclusion as well, to the extent that Ciri’s supposed best outcome has become a much-discussed point of interest for players all over the world.
The Witcher 3 is heavily story-driven, and the tale it tells is riveting. With the influential dialogue options and weighty stakes attached to even the most seemingly inconsequential side quests, the game is superbly written. However, its overall focus is on character relationships rather than Geralt’s own character development.
Skyrim focuses primarily on character development, prompting you to choose between various paths. Sub storylines consist of furthering class specializations by attending the Mage’s College, being initiated into the Thieves Guild, or joining the Companions, all of which serve to build on your own character’s individual arc
Skyrim offers highly customizable fighting styles with dual-wielding options and the possibility of specializing in one style or combining multiple techniques. The combat remains rather two-dimensional with simple hack n’ slash mechanics at its core despite ostensibly offering multiple fighting styles. However, pausing mid-battle to heal or swap equipment is a handy fan-favorite trick.
The Witcher’s fast-paced fights are made manageable by the same pause and re-equip mechanic. The additional quick access panel makes healing even more available without interrupting the battle flow. The sign selection panel, which slows time, is another efficient mechanic aiding in the battle’s overall fluidity. Geralt’s simultaneous mastery of multiple battle techniques allows him to smoothly switch from swords to magic, to alchemy, and even archery. This makes Geralt’s fighting style particularly unique — the level of customization is uncontestable.
Skyrim’s dragons are undoubtedly impressive, and the spells mages use boast fun effects. However, even basic actions suffer their fair amount of technical glitches, and battles are limited to basic two-dimensional maneuvers.
On the other hand, The Witcher 3 is teeming with breathtaking scenery and fluid battle graphics. The whirlwind of feints, pirouettes, and various strikes Geralt executes are awestriking, often ending in the spine-chilling dismemberment of his enemies. The overall detail is commendable, making monsters like leshens and fiends even more imposing, and the daunting attacks they launch will put nearly any player’s nerves on edge.
There were several tough calls throughout those rounds, so let’s recap. Experiencing the world of The Witcher as Geralt of Rivia is a thrilling ride, and players can develop some truly unique battle styles. In terms of customizable characters, however, Skyrim gets the upper hand. Skyrim’s side quests tell mini-stories which further character development and enhance the role-playing element of the game, but The Witcher takes the cake when considering character dynamics and story arcs.
What tips the scales is The Witcher’s graphical splendor. Despite Skyrim’s fearsomely imposing dragons, it’s hard to compete with the level of detail in The Witcher 3. From the fluidity of battle to the breathtaking scenery, The Witcher claims the gauntlet and emerges as the victor of this showdown.
NEXT: The Witcher: Possible Game Tie-Ins The Netflix Series Will Feature In Season 2
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Kim is a freelance writer for TheGamer. She recently began writing online articles in the summer of 2019 when she was approached on Discord to contribute some articles and guides for Wizards Unite World. Kim is a fan of fantastical genres, some of her favorite titles including Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and The Witcher. She’s a bookish Ravenclaw eccentric, with an inquisitive sense for adventure. Kim seeks to use her writing as a means to travel and explore, hoping to share her findings and spread curiosity.
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