Unsurprisingly, The Witcher 3 is a gorgeous game. You can even go as far as to say it’s one of the three best-looking games shown at E3. During action, the game’s attention to detail is noticeable immediately; enemies hit with fire burn into cinders and sparks leave the foliage below them aflame. One section of the demonstration placed Geralt at a campfire where the time around him passed at a quick pace. The game’s new weather effects and dynamic lighting were nothing short of awe-inspiring.
As a monster hunter, Geralt has special senses that allow him to track down over 80 different monsters throughout the game. In the demo we watched as he moved about the forest, noting footprints, downed trees, and claw marks to determine the beast that was terrorizing a local village. Once known, he must refer to the bestiary essential for survival and killing the monster he is chasing. For example, in the demo it was determined that beast was a Lechen, a horrific, horned, wood spirit. By looking in the bestiary, it was discovered that the creature bonds itself to a human and that human must be eliminated in order to defeat him. Interestingly, there are no bosses found within the game as each battle with these monsters should be considered epic and difficult, and they do not scale to the player’s level.
There he learns that not all of the world’s monsters have antlers or walk on four legs. While he was off dealing with the Leshen, the man who hired him decided to stage a coup, slaying the village elders in cold blood. Geralt calls the man a murderer but ultimately collects his fee and moves on. What else can he do? The world of The Witcher is dark and morally ambiguous, and sometimes picking the lesser of two evils is the best choice available.
Most of the core mechanics of the previous Witcher games were demonstrated in our presentation, and according to Jonas (and the press materials supplied to us) they have been greatly expanded and refined in The Witcher 3.
Like previous Witcher games, combat is comprised of skillful dodging, fluid weapon combinations, and the use of Geralt’s signs (spells). According to Jonas, “the entire weapon fighting system has been overhauled and improved to provide better, more fluid combat.” The game also boasts a total of 96 action sequences, compared to the 20 in the Witcher 2.
Horse and boats aside, Wild Hunt also introduces a new economy, designed to suit a world as alive as this. The economy will change based on where you travel, which opens up opportunities to make money by playing the in-game market. Going to a coastal town means the fish will be cheaper, but other supplies like bear pelts might be more expensive. Alternatively, a mountain village might have cheap pelts, while fish are exceptionally pricey. As Geralt, you can buy low and sell high for a nice profit.
Using the new fast travel system, the player teleports to a nearby location and quickly comes across a crew of bandits harassing a small house. Geralt briefly oversees the situation before drawing his sword and preparing for combat.