"A fantastic open world adventure"
The Witcher 3 is one. Huge. Game.
No really, it took me hours to get out of the tutorial just from simply seeing something in the distance and running over it.
The Witcher 3 has the ability to pull you into its world from the very beginning, making huge areas open and explorable; which is why it took me nearly 10 hours to finish the starting part of the game: I was simply exploring too much. Even in this starting area there are plenty of sights to see and side quests to do; from saving a merchant to finding out who committed arson against a dwarf. Even world politics appear up in this early section with the player's character Geralt, being hated or beloved by the very people he sets out to protect as he does his job. Geralt's magic can even affect people out of town, making them co-operate to give important information.
The open world presented to players doesn't hold the players hand. In true western RPG fashion, it’s easy to get off track and even annihilated by enemies if you don't pay attention. Leave the towns and you're truly in the wilderness, and can easily wander into a bandit camp, a pack of wolves or packs of other strange creatures. Sometimes wandering off the beaten paths can lead to something such a fountain that grants a level up, but it’s better to be careful when looking for these treasures. Conveniently, everything is documented as you encounter it so you’re never out of the loop with the deep lore of the world and its bestiary.
The combat has a learning curve and is difficult at first, but once you learn the Signs (Magic) system and how to use it affectively against enemies, battles become thrilling. While some Signs, such as the one that conjures fire will always be more versatile than others; other spells that seem trivial can have a unexpected effect on certain enemies. In addition, items can be crafted to weaken enemies even further, making the combat and planning stages even more important. Geralt will even note this in-game, hinting at what items may help defeat a troublesome monster. Admittedly I died quite a few hours in the early game and got frustrated, but then I learned that I can escape battles just as easy as I can start them and come back. This led to me trying new things and appreciating the combat even more.
Overall the Witcher 3 is an extremely compelling and deep experience. Once you get you bearing in the world, experiment with the combat and other systems, you have what is one of the deepest gaming experiences out this year, or ever.
GameDynamo's Score for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XB1)
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