The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Won­der­ful wilder­ness

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Comics -

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.

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