Brewing up trouble
Having potions that provide buffs or being able to customise by blade with oils allows me to prepare for fights, as does checking my bestiary to swat up on each beastie’s vulnerabilities – this is essential early on. But it’s my five magical signs that stand me in good stead during battle, each having specific uses.
Casting Yrden trap signs will make enemies vulnerable to attack, or I can shove enemies away and blow up doors with my Arrd sign, or I can use my favourite Ignii lava blast to ignite enemies – just call me Johnny Storm.
With the mind control sign Axii I can affect the dialogue of NPC’s “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” or I can even become a beast master drawing wild animals towards me through stunning and believable landscapes. Light dapples the forest floor at changing angles as the sun sets and reflects from buildings in towns full of vibrant characters.
Crafting and alchemy are important especially with the amount of loot on offer. Indeed, being able to dismantle weapons for component parts was extremely useful but picking flowers soon became a grind.
Progression and the sheer scope in Witcher 3 is to be lauded and I’m not just talking about progression through the epic landscape with towns and villages leading to intricate cities full of intrigue on every level of society, the tone of the game palpably changes from area to area.
Each time I move a level, I get an Ability Point, which I can choose to spend on upgrading my Signs, or alchemy skills. So I can enhance my character in whichever way best suits my style of combat. Places of Power give me free Ability Points the first time I come across them. I particularly enjoyed the times that I got to play as Ciri, getting an entirely different perspective on the narrative and using a completely new set of abilities.
The Reg Verdict
The enormous scale and stunningly diverse gameplay accompanied by stunning craftsmanship and a personal, emotional narrative make The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt a thoughtful and genre-defining game, which I played with a true sense of wonder.
So I would tell you to go out and buy this now, but considering the million plus pre-orders, you probably already have. ®