Surrounded by enemies, time to get out some weapons!
Typically when a new console generation comes around it takes a bit of time for the big RPG's to release, and now, 18 months after the PS4 launched the console (as well as PC and XBox One we must add), is getting a monster release in CD Projeckt Red's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Without a doubt this game, which is based around a world set up in Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's fantasy novels. The previous titles in the series - which never came to PlayStation consoles - were fantastic games, but this looks set to take it to the next level.
While this game has suffered a couple of slips from its original mid-2014 release to February 2015 and finally settling on May 2015. That can't be taken as a sign of issues however, moreover that the company wants this game to be absolutely polished before release, and matches the lofty expectations from gamers. There's no doubt that this looks to meet every expectation placed upon it.
The Witcher 3's enemies are quite varied.
The world is in chaos. The air is thick with tension and the smoke of burnt villages. The fearsome Empire of Nilfgaard has struck again, ravaging the hapless Northern Kingdoms. The once-mighty who tried to use Geralt for their own gain are now gone. In these uncertain times, no one can say what fortune holds in store, who will bring peace to the world and who will cause it only misery.
But a force darker and deadlier emerges. The petty men and women commanding tin-plated armies fail to understand that their conflict is child's play compared to the Wild Hunt, the otherworldly threat which now looms. These ghastly spectral riders have for ages plagued humankind, bringing misery to the world. Yet this time the Wild Hunt seeks one person in particular: the one individual Destiny itself bestowed upon Geralt, the one soul Geralt considers kin.
We'll let you make up your own capture for this!
So this is a third person RPG which the developers claim will take around 100 hours to complete, or double that if you complete all the side-quests. For those that never played the original games this third title will give an overview of events in those titles before you move into this latest chapter which promises a non-linear story and a large open- world to explore which is populated with friends, foes and wildlife this is a game that looks set to truly bring us what we expect from these new consoles. As players travel the world, they will witness sunrises, sunsets, variable weather, people going about their daily lives, falling in love, or battling monsters. Even the behaviour of people, animals and other creatures will change according to the time of day and weather variations.
Exploring the forests at night may not be a great idea.
While exploring the lands, which are apparently 35 times larger then those in The Witcher 2, it will be possible to purchase goods to use, but the cost of these goods will change according to the demand and rarity based on the location and regions within the world.
Combat in the game runs in real-time and will be based on timing and skill, as well as your equipment of course which includes upgradable weapons, magic and potions. Not only will the combat be used to take on human foes, but even more important is the ability to take out exotic monsters and earn rewards to upgrade equipment, trade with merchants or deal with dwarven smiths.
There's some, ermm, fine ladies in town!
The Witcher 3 will be supported post-release with plenty of free DLC. In fact, the developers have confirmed there will be 16 pieces of free DLC in total which, as announced so far, will include a new Temerian Armor Set, a Beard and Hairstyle Set, Alternative look for Yennefer and a Missing Miners Contract. The twelve other pieces of DLC will be detailed at a later date.
Perhaps more exciting is the news that there will be two, sizeable, story driven expansion packs. The first is Hearts of Stone which promises around 10 hours of gameplay when it releases in October 2015. This pack sees you venture into "the wilds of No Man's Land and the nooks and alleys of Oxenfurt, where Geralt will try to complete a contract from the mysterious Man of Glass. Caught in a thick tangle of deceit, Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed".
Cities in The Witcher 3 look stunning.
The second major expansion is called Blood and Wine and isn't due until early 2016. With around 20 hours of gameplay this will introduce an entirely new region known as Toussaint. The two expansions will be priced at $US9.99 and $US19.99, or $US24.99 for both in a Season Pass. As per the currently exchange rate The Australian pricing should be similar.
The Witcher 3 is powered by REDengine 3, CD Projeckt Red's own in-house engine which has been built with non-linear open-world RPGs in mind and as a current-gen exclusive (there is no PS3 version) the developers have been able to utilise the consoles full potential. As you can see from the surrounding screenshots the characters and locations in this game are varied and range from open plains, large cities, mountains and caves.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out mid-May.
Apparently travelling from one side of the map to another on horseback will take around 40 minutes, but fortunately, due to this custom engine, there is no loading at all. As you can see from the surrounding screenshots, and the trailer below there are some absolutely stunning visuals in this game and we expect this to be a real showcase for the PlayStation 4.
Audio too is top-notch and every bit what one would expect from a triple-A title such as this with Gene Rozenberg as the Audio Lead for the game with inspiration and work coming from the now defunct 38 Studios, while personnel that worked on the audio in the previous games returning to work on this third title which will keep a "real world" feel to the music.
What more can we say about this game? Well, a phenomenal amount really as we've only scratched the surface of what to expect from the title. As it stands right now The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks set to be an essential purchase for RPG fans.
Here's the latest trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released today - called "Rage & Steel" which focuses on the combat and foes but is, well, just stunning.