I close the door behind me. Drowners are clawing at the wooden frame whilst I catch my breath. I’m inside a tower filled with rats and the smell of death. I pull out a small lamp, which begins to emit an eerie glow. Suddenly the room is crowded with spirits all calling out and talking. These might sound like the ravings of a mad man, but for me it’s just another day being a witcher.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is the newest instalment in CD Projekt RED’s incredibly popular RPG series, which puts the player in control of Geralt, a witcher who must fend off terrifying beasts, search for a long lost friend, and try not to die whilst being trapped between two sides of an almighty war. The Witcher 3 ties in elements of gameplay that will remind some of The Elder Scrolls series as well as the difficulty of Bloodborne in places. Simply put, The Witcher 3 is a masterpiece. I’m about 30 hours in and it feels like the game hasn’t even truly begun.
Your protagonist is journeying on a 200+ hour-long quest in search of allies whilst also helping the civilians of the world you find along the way. Firstly, the maps are gigantic, almost to the extent that it is a little bit daunting to head off into the wild exploring as the only way back is to walk, not to mention the hordes of monsters trying to pummel or poison you to death.
Nevertheless, I find myself trekking across moors, swamps and plains, constantly on the search for new quests and adventures as the gentle footsteps of Geralt weave in and out of the perfectly designed landscapes. This is where The Witcher 3 starts to really shine. The world that CD Projekt RED have created is one full of life and beauty. The visuals are incredible, especially with the introduction of NVidia’s new HairWorks engine, which really helps immerse you into the world around you. Professional and realistic voice acting, that gives each NPC their own personality, complements the visuals so well you’ll forget you’re actually playing a game.
When reality does hit you though, there’s no need to worry, as combat is fluid and tight. It took me a while to get to grips with the controls, but simply because I’m more of a hack-and-slash guy and Geralt fights with more finesse than I’m used to. Once you master parrying, dodging and evading though, smashing the face of a griffin or spectre has never been so much fun! The skill trees and abilities brought into the game are easily understood as well, and can be swapped in and out depending on the situation you find yourself in and will make sure you’ll be able to survive a tight match up with anything you come across.
The only major issue I can find with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is that it is so incredibly in-depth that I’m worried I’ll fail my final year by playing it instead of doing any work. It is impossible to tell you everything included in this extraordinary game, from small additions like gwent, a strategic in-game card game to bartering and even boat sailing, I just simply wouldn’t be able to fit it all in. However, if you do think this takes your fancy, I would highly recommend it as we are definitely looking at a strong game of the year contender right here.