The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher 3 have become so popular that pretty much everyone, gamer or not has at least heard of them, if not played them. These elite RPGs from Bethesda and CD Projekt Red, respectively represent the absolute best the video game industry has to offer. Sure, there may be games like GTA V whose sales were way higher, but they didn’t bring anything new to the table. It was the same old formula of crime, needless violence and nudity to draw in the mainstream crowd.
What the Witcher 3 and Skryim have is something special. Be it The Witcher 3’s unforgettable cast and ingenious quest-design or Skyrim’s magical world, begging to be explored and the ever-growing list of mods, these RPGs have had a heavy hand in shaping the present gaming landscape. In this article, we’re going to compare the two side-by-side and see decide which one is better.
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Main Story
I think here we can all agree that The Witcher 3 is way ahead of Bethesda’s champion. No one ever really cared about the main campaign of any Elder Scrolls game. Skyrim is all about exploration and conquering all those legendary cults. The Witcher 3 on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. It has a riveting narrative that makes even the most stone-hearted people shed a tear or two.
The tale of a monster hunter, caught between deciding the fate of the whole realm and rescuing his daughter from spectral riders, The Wild Hunt. Those are just the ingredients needed for a deeply immersive story. Skyrim doesn’t really lay much stress on the main campaign. Most of the creative juices have been spent on the expansive game world, the crafting system and of-course the mods.
Winner: The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Side-Quest Design
In this section, the two games aren’t that far apart, but in my opinion the The Witcher 3 has a superior side-quest design. The Witcher 3’s side quests and the monster hunts have been designed with a lot of love and attention. They are all unique, each with it’s own story and characters.
On the other hand, Skyrim’s side quests may be fun and rewarding, but in the end, they’re don’t have much in the way of diversity. Almost all of them culminate in the player being betrayed by the leader of a cult and then the final objective is to exact revenge and take over the organization. Secondly, there are a ton of those generic, never-ending activities that involve stealing something or killing someone. Those get so frustratingly repetitive. And so as you might have guessed, once again The Witcher 3 ends up beating Skyrim.
Winner: The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Exploration
Ah exploring! Something RPG’rs absolutely love. Both Skyrim and The Witcher 3 have massive open worlds, but this is Bethesda’s territory. There’s nothing like exploring the dungeons and caves of Skyrm infested with deranged falmers and leaden with rare and legendary equipment.
The Witcher 3 is no push-over though. You’ll always find something in every nook and cranny of the map, and not just some measly quest written in a hurry, but a memorable experience that’ll make you want to explore every inch of the world. In the end though, CD Projekt just couldn’t get to that level of atmospheric goodness Todd Howard and his beloved Elder Scrolls games are known for.
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Gameplay
Since both these games encompass a wide range of gameplay elements, we’ll break it down into three core components- combat, crafting, alchemy and enchanting and lastly movement, mounts and the rest.
Yeah I don’t think even the most hardcore Bethesda fans will need much persuading to agree to the fact that Skyrim’s combat isn’t the best. Geralt’s swordsmanship is not just more polished, it’s stylish and doesn’t take long to master. Dovakiin just needs…um, a better trainer perhaps. Maybe the folks over at CDPR will give him a hand.
Crafting, Alchemy, Enchanting And Skill-Tree
While The Witcher 3 has a robust crafting system, it hasn’t got anything on Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls V boasts deeply immersive crafting, alchemy and enchanting mechanics. Whether it’s due to the deeply satisfying simmering sounds produced while brewing up a new potion, or the simple interface, becoming a certified artisan in Skyrim is a real pleasure.
The Witcher 3’s alchemy although practical, is kind of complicated and the interface is somewhat daunting. As for the skill-tree, Skyrim’s is plain gorgeous and there are a ton of mods out there that make it even better.
Movement, Mounts and the Rest
I remember Roach’s tail going missing for a good half an hour, but he himself didn’t seem to mind. It was fixed though, thanks to a string of updates from CDPR. Just one of the reasons we love them so much.
The movement and animations in Witcher 3 are far superior than poor Dovakiin’s, who has become the victim of numerous memes due to the inferior character AI and movement that Bethesda’s Creation Engine is infamous for. Anyone who has played Beth games should already know what I’m talking about, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Winner: The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Visual Fidelity
Skyrim may be more than just a couple of years older than The Witcher 3, but even if was released yesterday, something tells me it still wouldn’t look any prettier. After all, the Creation Engine isn’t exactly known for high-poly textures or models.
Winner: The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Soundtrack
When it comes to RPGs, a good soundtrack is vital for an immersive and atmospheric experience. But man, this is a tough one. Both games have phenomenal soundtracks. In the end, it just boils down to personal preferences. And since we can’t judge that, we’ll leave this one as blank.
So if you were paying attention, it’s clear that the winner is CD Projekt’s Witcher…Wait wait, but what about them mods? They basically change the game completely!
Yeah, yeah I was just getting to that, geez. And the last section is about modding:
The Witcher 3 vs Skyrim: Modding
Bethesda’s games basically started video game modding, or at least made it popular. The Witcher 3 may have it’s fair share of mods, but it can’t hold a candle to the insane mod repository that Skyrim’s community has to offer.
You can replace the muddy textures of Skyrim with shiny new ones, enhance the combat, add more followers and even install fan-made expansion packs. It’s an endless world of possibilities.
And the Winner is: Geralt of Rivia and The Witcher 3!
CD Projekt Red may be an indie studio with relatively lesser resources and a smaller team, but that didn’t prevent them from making a masterpiece of an RPG that is The Witcher 3. Bethesda has its strengths, the primarily one being the Creation Engine’s modding capabilities, but that alone isn’t enough to beat CDPR’s monster slayer. Sorry Dovakiin, but it’s Geralt’s day.