Witcher 3 - Preview Roundup #2
Get ready for more previews for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. They keep multiplying everyday thanks to E3 and there is allot to cover so here we go.
This morning, CD Projekt RED showed a 45-minute demonstration of The Witcher 3 to press behind closed doors at E3. I was lucky enough to be invited.
If there’s a game at this year’s show that is more impressive than The Witcher 3, I haven’t seen it yet. The demo showcased numerous improvements to the game, including a new open world and dynamic quest system.
The combat is very similar to that of the previous game, where the learning curve for swordplay was a bit steep and unrewarding. Ziemak said the combat is being redesigned with those shortcomings in mind, and said there will be attacks that can be unlocked and new, improved magical signs will be available. Unfortunately, he said he couldn't be more specific now as nothing has been finalized.
Players will now have plenty of extra room to explore, as CDPR has crafted an open world that is 35 times larger than The Witcher 2. Even the single island that was the focal point of the demo we saw was larger than the previous game. Whether larger equates to better remains to be seen, but at least players won't need to ride the whole distance as a new fast travel system will allow players to jump quickly to areas they have already visited. Ziemak said players will be encouraged to explore the huge world by offering plenty of new achievements and quests.
The Witcher 3 appears to be building on the successful formula of its predecessor while trying to add in new features to better flesh out Geralt's character in his journey. We can only hope that the demo is indicative of what the final game will be.
The comparisons to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are unavoidable, and visually The Witcher 3 has very much that same Alaskan-national-park-postcard kinda feel. If you’ve added all of the many mods that max out Skyrim’s visuals, you’ve already got a great idea of how The Witcher 3 looks. She’s a beaut.
And she’s massive. Thirty-five times bigger than The Witcher 2 is CDP’s official claim, and filled with more than 100-hours’ worth of content. You’ll get around this world on foot, horseback, swimming, and even by boat. After chatting with the lord and agreeing to go after the Wild Hunt, Geralt went down to the docks and hopped in a small watercraft, raised the sail, and set off. While there is a fast travel system, this isn’t it. Players control watercraft, so you’ll be able to explore the seas much like you explore the land, travelling wherever your heart desires. And the sea looks just as alive as the land. Just outside the harbor, a whale surfaced, flapping its tail in hello before going back under. Nice touch.
It’s only day one, and I’ve already found one of the biggest standouts for my week at E3. I was fortunate enough to sit in on a private presentation of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from CD Projekt RED.
Fan of the old games? Good. Things have changed. Over the span of nearly an hour’s worth of live and uncut pre-alpha gameplay, I immediately learned that The Withcer 3 is almost wildly different from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher. This is an open world title. Completely open world, and that greatly affects the game’s immersive capabilities.
If you’re less concerned about reading bestiary entries, and fictional political histories, I’m sad to report that combat seems a bit wobbly at this stage. Unfortunately, Geralt is still prone to lashing his swords about at random, unsure of where to strike, thanks to weighty animations. That was an issue in the last game too, and considering how much The Witcher 3 resembles its predecessor — both graphically and mechanically — it doesn’t seem like core play has seen a stark overhaul. You’ll still rely heavily on magic, traps, potions, and items to offset the wild sword swings.
Every action has a consequence. The world is a morally gray place, where good and evil are merely two sides to the same coin. The lines blur together, and the decisions you’re tasked to make may have strange and unforeseen consequences a long ways down the road.
As a fan of deep fantasy lore and RPGs that really let me soak in the universe, The Witcher 3 seems like it was made just for me. There’s no release date for this massive game as of yet, but I’m willing to wait. If CD Projekt Red can deliver on only half of what they’ve promised, I think next gen console and PC owners are in for a very special adventure.
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