The astute amongst you will notice that this is the 3rd game in this franchise. So, where does it pitch up, and how does it compare? Well, it was released in the middle of last month, and it has seemingly topped software sales for May (according to the NPD Group). It’s clearly been hotly anticipated and initial impressions are good. In fact, I’ve barely seen a negative comment about this game, so let’s have a look at what all the fuss is about, shall we?
Personally, I’m sold with just the tagline of this game: ‘The sword of destiny has two edges. You are one of them’. How awesomely cool is that? And I mean awesome in the truest sense of the word. I quite fancy the idea of being so important that I’m one of the two edges of the sword of destiny. This is a good starting point to enter a world which is ravaged by a mythical convoy of destroyers, the stuff of nightmares who will think nothing of razing your town or village to the ground in a moment. I might feel a bit self-conscious and worthless entering this game if I didn’t already know that I was one of the two sides of the sword of destiny. It helps, doesn’t it?
The other thing that sells this game to me is the graphics – even just looking at still shots on a website, the images draw you into the world of Geralt and the city of Rivia; they are of exceptionally high quality. Rivia is surrounded by towns and settlements of the Northern Kingdoms which are being razed to the ground by this otherworldly army, who are known simply as the Wild Hunt and come from the Empire of Nilfgaard. There are corrupt cities such as Novigrad to explore, or perhaps you’ll spend more time on the Skellige Islands? The world created here is vast, limitless almost, and you will be able to use your witcher senses to explore a game which appears to truly offer the perfect combination of plot-driven role-player with the freedom of choice more commonly offered by open-world games.
The game follows on from the conclusion of The Witcher 2, and begins with Geralt receiving a mysterious letter from his former lover, sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (to Celtic fans, her name is uncannily close to fondly remembered Jan Venegoor of Hesselink – you may also remember him if you’re a Hull fan…). Anyway, Geralt sets off on a quest to be reunited with his prodigy Ciri. Changing landscapes, good conversation from some of the characters you’ll come across and brutal quests and challenges all combine to make this a unique and, indeed, an excellent offering.
Your witcher skills will evolve as you explore this game and you can choose which skills to focus on, which provides a uniquely tailored gameplay experience. Use the environment to your advantage, and enjoy the novelty of the in-game economic marketplace where the price of goods will vary depending on where you are or where the products originated.
Ultimately, though, you, Geralt, will confront the Wild Hunt, whilst revealing a gripping story with fabulous characters. There is the exciting prospect of over 100 hours of gameplay here, so you really will have time to explore, discover and, well, battle your way through to victory. If this is the climax of the series then it is an excellent swansong and one that most will thoroughly enjoy.