The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Reviewed on: Xbox One Also available on: PS4, PC Publisher: CD Projekt Red
There is an
awful lot to do in The Witcher 3, although the vast majority of it follows the same template: research, prepare, find and kill. You speak to the locals for leads, you use hero Geralt’s Witcher senses to find clues, you prepare the potions and oils to buff Geralt and his weapons for the task ahead, and then, finally, you fight. Combat here rewards a considered approach. You can rush in and hope for the best, but healing is a matter of consuming potions and food to slowly refill your health bar; get into trouble and it’s far from easy to get out of it. It’s a smart, considered system that’s a lot more involved than we’ve come to expect from this genre.
Geralt himself takes some getting used to. He can be cold, certainly, and his voice actor’s no Brando, but he’s dryly funny when he wants to be, a steely- gazed killer when he needs to be and a far more emotionally complex figure than the badass on the box art might suggest – a fine achievement in a genre that typically presents the player with a blank canvas. There’s still plenty of scope for personal development: choices are frequent and their consequences frequently brutal. There is no good or evil here – just dreadful and even worse – and many seemingly innocuous decisions can have immediate, quite disastrous outcomes.
As well as The Witcher 3’ s component parts work, an openworld game is only as good as its world – and the Northern Kingdoms are among the very best. Despite the vast expanse, developer CDP has restrained itself from a Ubisoft- style insistence on filling the world with stuff; there is a tremendous amount to do, but it is smartly spread out. There’s plenty of room for you to breathe, to stop and marvel. No flashing icons or text pop- ups desperately trying to keep you busy; just you, your horse, your sword and a map. What happens next is up to you.
It’s by no means a flawless victory, but The Witcher 3 is a remarkable, if uneven, adventure that we’ll be dipping into for months to come. Nathan Brown
There’s plenty of room to breathe, to stop and marvel
Charles Dance makes his first videogame voice appearance here, as Emperor Emhyr Var Emreis.
She began to suspect there was more to these “glowin- the- dark” gloves than she’d been led to believe.