The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Previews

CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt continues to drum up new E3-based, commentary-filled previews, so I thought I'd help you transition into the weekend by rounding up a smattering of them.

PC Gamer:
And for those of us who enjoyed multiple playthroughs of the first two Witcher games, each time in a different language, it appears the developers are working to bring back the same voice talent that made a playthrough in Polish or German so refreshing and different. (The actors are very important for us, since we want to have a feeling of continuity for the story between games, and that includes voices,) Ziemak said. (So yes, in many cases we're working with the same actors.)

Ziemak also went into some depth regarding how the eccentric and often challenging combat system from The Witcher 2 might be updated in the new title. This was a system that eventually required a tutorial to fully sell itself to many players. (You have new ways to dodge enemies and parry their blows,) he said. (But also, for each magical sign, you can use two versions of it. One is extended. For example, the Igni sign has a constant flamethrower thing whereas there's also single, more destructive blow of fire. This is one of the new elements. We're also introducing new alchemical potions, and other minor elements that will change the experience.)

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.

Evident in the battle are Geralt's new moves, including pirouettes and dodges as well as stronger and more varied uses of the magical signs that carry over from previous Witcher games. Using a series of spins and rolls, as well as liberal use of the Igni sign, which acts like a flamethrower from Geralt's hand, the player disposes of the bandits quickly and has a short conversation with the man who was hiding in the formerly beleaguered house.

The Witcher 3 is a massive game and takes place in a fully open world, promising more than 100 hours of completely non-linear game play, with around half of that for the main story line alone, and the rest for side quests.

The game play demonstration began with a grizzled, bearded Geralt of Rivia visiting an old friend at his castle on the isle of Skellige, an island inspired by Nordic and Celtic mythology that is just one of many is by itself (35 times larger than the entirety of The Witcher 2), according to Jonas.

New Game Network:
This beast looked menacing, and able to move quickly by charging head-on with its antlers. Geralt had to dodge out of the way and show off some updated combat features. The game will implement a one click - one hit system, giving gamers more control over the action. Camera position has been adjusted and made more dynamic, and numerous animations added. Geralt will still be quick to attack and defend but more tactical in his positioning, no longer able to do rolls all the time and walking at a slower pace in midst of battle. His two swords and a combination of magic abilities remain at the core of combat, and so is meditation - though no details were provided on the latter.

As we dealt enough damage to the beast, it actually escaped, presenting another choice to the player - to follow or move along. For the sake of time, we moved on, but developers say we could have followed the beast to its cave to finish off and collect treasure. Soon we came across a small village, just as they have discovered a dead body. The man was killed unnaturally, and the locals suspected that a beast has stirred in the woods - village elders say it was because tribute was not paid, while a young leader argued it should just be killed. Geralt, being a monster hunter, offered his services to both men for a price through the multi-option conversation system, and set off to investigate the beast. Entering the forest, developers used the Witcher's Senses system in order to identify clues in the environment, in a sort of detective vision mode. We discovered various markings, blood, and tree damage to ID the beast, and returned to the town where we had to locate a marked local. This local woman had to die for the beast to die, but she was sadly unaware of her fate. We brought the news to the young men, who immediately vouched to do what is necessary, without knowing a young girl's life had to be taken; but it was too late to back out when they came to that realization.

PlayStation Universe:
World-changing consequence can even happen off the beaten path, like during the aforementioned village conflict. Once Geralt uses his Witcher Sense (think Arkham's Detective Mode, with the added benefit of filling out an extensive "Wikipedia of monsters") to identify the creature killing villagers, the player has the choice of informing either the reckless youth movement or the wise elders that a female sacrifice is necessary to kill the beast utterly. The side quest branches radically from here. The CD Projekt RED demonstrator opted to side with the younger faction, who are quick to blame the elders' inaction but hesitant to kill off one of their own. The resulting path--including a boss fight against the monster and life-changing, permanent consequences for the village--was likely a far cry from the alternative, where the traditional elders might've sacrificed one or more community members to avoid confronting the forest gods they've revered for centuries.

The combat-oriented approach gave CD Projekt a chance to demonstrate The Witcher 3's improved battle system, which emphasizes the graceful, brutal swordsmanship that defines Geralt. Entirely real-time, 100 percent visceral, combat in The Witcher 3 is an elegant dance of sword stances, magical Signs, and adaptive AI that reacts to everything from Geralt's fearsome dominance (which can make enemies flee) to the presence of allies. Sidestep wolves to slash as they lunge before following up with a blast of Igni fire to their rear. Dive beneath a giant's club and cast Quen to shield yourself before launching a furious frenzy of sword strikes. Stun pillagers with a 360-degree shockwave, opening a window to exploit elemental weaknesses. Parry stri--you get the idea. I didn't go hands-on with the system myself, but CD Projekt has listened to feedback from The Witcher 2 (which had similar, though frustratingly difficult, mechanics) to craft a system that's more accessible and intuitive without losing its old-school PC depth.

Just Push Start:
Newcomers to the series will not be required to play the previous two to enjoy the Witcher 3. The story alone stands by itself as I mentioned earlier, it's a personal journey of Geralt. However, those who are fond of the two Witcher games will be pleased to hear that the third game will retain its mature storyline. For this third game, CD Projekt's main focus will still be developing a well written story since the Witcher series has been known of its phenomenal plot and story. Thanks to its wonderful dialogue system, players will engage into some pretty interesting conversations with other characters where it's guaranteed to shape up the overall story.

Visually, The Witcher 3 got some visual upgrades. More details can be seen in the environments especially the lush trees and the scope of the places that you will get to see in this game. With the game's focus on open world, players can expect to trek long fields and areas where they can do sidequests and enjoy every beautiful sight it has, equipped with its new weather system where it changes as you play the game. Lighting and shadows have improved big time and depicts realism. Smoke that comes out from fire, and the raging fire of a burning village is magnificent to watch. Comparing it to the Witcher 2'²s visuals, I must say that the Witcher 3 receives 50% boost.

The ability to track down and slay epic beasts is nothing new Capcom built an entire franchise around it. But it's an important part of The Witcher lore, and CD Projekt is putting greater emphasis on it this time around. (We decided we would no longer have this world of enemies who are very weak and who you're just slashing them and killing them,) said The Witcher 3 game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz. (We decided to create this Monster Hunting system and the Witcher Sense system and create monsters in a way that would be unique. They got their own special abilities, and the hunt for every one of these monsters will be different. You will feel that you're a monster hunter actually in the game.)

The Witcher 3: Wild HuntThere's about 80 different monsters in The Witcher 3, the developer says, and each has its own habitat, strengths, and weaknesses. During the demo, the developer showed a side quest involving a formerly peaceful woodland spirit that is now terrorizing the village that used to worship it. Geralt agrees to slay the beast (for a price), but first he has to find it. A simple press of a button activates Geralt's new Witcher Sense (think Detective Vision in Batman: Arkham Asylum), and it's not long before he spots the creature's trail. He discovers that it's a Leshen a tall, antlered being that can control the forest and disappear in a cloud of ravens.

And PlayStation Lifestyle:
Combat and exploration are where The Witcher 3 are going to shine and thankfully there is an abundance of both and what's there is very refined. There is a lot of strategy to be found here as you must pay attention to your enemy movements, dodge, and then attack. Gerald also has a slew of spells at his disposal to throw into the mix, presenting players with plenty of options during combat. In fact at one point during the demo, our presenter lured a monster out of some ruins to get him into an open field and better his chances of victory.

Speaking of the enemies, there is a lot of detailed paid to each and every enemy I saw during the presentation. In all, there are said to be around 80+ different monster types to be found in the game. Each enemy I saw moved in very distinctive patterns and all had very different attacks to guard against. Another interesting nugget was that there are no bosses to be found in The Witcher 3. Instead of bosses, the group at CD Projekt have given each enemy more attention and made sure that each battle will force you to really be on top of your game.