The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt, Preview - Games Weekly

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt, Preview

You’ve All Heard this phrase trotted out to hype whichever open world game a developer is shilling in one configuration or another: ‘the world itself is the real star’.While that might be becoming something of a cliché, it really is the world of The Witcher 3 that has got us excited about that game. Aside from the fact that it looks incredible from a visual standpoint, it’s a world that seems built to invite exploration,to pull the player down a path of discovery in a vast land replete with forests, mountains, ruins and villages to investigate.

Kudos to developer CD Projekt Red, then, because it says that tempting you to explore is precisely the intention. Hundreds of points of interest are being littered acrossThe Witcher 3’s expansive map and the developer says that every one comes with its own back story, challenge and reward.In that sense,The Witcher 3 inevitably invites comparisons to Skyrim, a game where the appeal also lies in forging your own unique path into the unknown. As far as we’re concerned, that can only be a good thing.

If The Witcher 3’s world is worthy of being billed as protagonist Geralt’s co-star, then it is going to have to have to be believable and show range in how it responds to your actions. Well,according to CD Projekt Red, that is precisely what it will do. Take the city of Novigrad the biggest in the game. The game’s developers say that each of its 2,000 inhabitants has their own agenda, giving the city a sense of realism as its citizens go about their daily business.You might overhear them talking about your past exploits,or whining about the bad weather. In addition, every character that you meet has the potential to react to protagonist Geralt in a variety of different ways. CD Projekt Red has hinted that drawing your sword in front of another individual, for example, could illicit fear, or result in aggression, depending on the characteristics of that particular person.

While we’ve been impressed from what we’ve seen of The Witcher 3’s world, from the bustling town of Novigrad, to its hostile, expansive wilderness, one of the most intriguing aspects of the game remains the beasties that will inhabit it. In relation to The Witcher 3’s ‘Wild Hunt’ subtitle, one of the key aspects of the game will be hunting down and slaying dangerous monsters. Encounters with these creatures to all intents and purposes, boss battles can be deliberately sought out by using Geralt’s senses to track the creature, or by listening to clues from villagers. Given the freedom you’ll have to roam around the game’s open world, it’s also entirely possible you’ll just bump into one. Regardless, there’s something appealing about the idea of engaging in epic battles with unique, dangerous creatures, particularly in the wake of dutifully tracking them through the wilderness.
At this point, we inevitably have to wonder what the experience of engaging in combat will be like. CD Projekt Red has intimated that it’s made significant adjustments to the combat system since The Witcher 2. Presumably in a bid to avoid upsetting its hardcore fans, it’s shied away from using the phrase ‘more accessible’, but we wonder if that is precisely what it will be. We’re not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it’s difficult to say at this point. Hopefully, The Witcher 3’s combat will remain challenging and distinctive, rather than becoming derivative as a result of trying to emulate other titles, as so many games have. At face value, The Witcher 3’s combat appears more fluid a little more action based and a little less RPG but only time will tell if that’s actually the case.

We sincerely hope that CD Projekt Red finds the right balance in its revamping of The Witcher's combat, because it’s already got us eager to start exploring Wild Hunt’s world. If the combat that we’ll be partaking in whilst travelling from place to place is engaging and distinctive enough to separate it from other titles, then there is a chance that this could turn out to be the best game in the series. Given how well-loved the first two Witcher games are, that means it could be very special indeed.

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