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Awakening photo
Awakening

Fire Emblem: Awakening global sales near 2 million


The lil waifu simulator that could
May 26
// Steven Hansen
Let's take a minute from Fire Emblem If minutia (here and here and here) to appreciate how we got here. Fire Emblem: Awakening, once expected to be the last game in a now rejuvenated series, has sold at least 1.79 million cop...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Two new DLC updates arrive in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt this week


One quest and an alternate look
May 26
// Chris Carter
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a pretty lengthy game, and it's about to get even longer this week. In addition to a new "alternate look" for Yennefer, there's also a new quest coming called Missing Miners. Both will be free. It'...

Weekend Deals: Witcher 3, Blizzard & WB Games titles on tap

May 23 // Dealzon
Top Deals Spintires (Steam) — $7.20  (list price $30) <- In Russia, mud plays in you Project Cars (Steam) — $33.99  (list price $50) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DRM-Free) — $39  <- use code DEALZO-N35OFF-WITCHE Humble Store Encore Sale <- over 300 titles to throw your $$$ at Bundle Star May Sale <- just added, better SoM value here Blizzard Games (US Only) StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm — $9.99  (list price $20) Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty — $9.99  (list price $20) Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls — $19.99  (list price $40) WoW: Warlords of Draenor (PC DVD) — $29.99  <- raise your hand if you still play WoW WB Games Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Steam) — $20  (list price $50) Gauntlet (Steam) — $6.40  (list price $20) The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Mortal Kombat Komplete (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Bastion (Steam) — $3  (list price $15) <- muy excelente Recent Releases 05/21: Xbox One White Special Edition Halo Bundle — $349  (list price $399) 05/19: Farming Simulator 15 + $10 Gift Card (PS4, XOne) — $49.99   05/14: Galactic Civilizations III (Steam) — $40  (list price $50) 05/14: Not A Hero (Steam) — $9.09  (list price $13) <- not to be confused with the excellent Japanese manga 05/12: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (Steam) — $12.80  (list price $16) 05/08: Euro Truck Simulator 2: Scandinavia (Steam) — $14.40  (list price $18) 04/30: Solarix (Steam) — $12.99  (list price $20) 04/30: Block N Load (Steam) — $8.40  (list price $15) 04/28: Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown (Steam) — $24.79  (list price $40) PC Game Deals Battlefield: Hardline (Origin) — $30  (list price $60) Need for Speed Rivals: Complete(Origin) — $19.99  (list price $40) Prototype Franchise Pack (Steam) — $16.83  (list price $60) World of Diving (Steam) — $13.29  (list price $20) Life is Strange: Complete Season (Steam) — $12.48  (list price $20) I am Bread (Steam) — $9.74  (list price $13) <- play as a bread. duh. Rugby 15 (Steam) — $7.98  (list price $40) Command and Conquer The Ultimate (Origin) — $4.99  (list price $20) Console Deals Wii U + Super Mario 3D World + Nintendo Land — $274.99 Evolve (PS4, Steam) — $39.99  (list price $60) Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Xbox Live Gold 3 Month + $10 Xbox Gift Card — $24.99  (list price $25) Turtle Beach CoD: Adv. Warfare Headset (PS4) — $19.99  (list price $80) Power A Mini Series Wired Controller (Xbox One) — $19.99  (list price $40) LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS Vita, 3DS) — $7.99  (list price $20) Laptop Deals 17.3" MAINGEAR Pulse, i7-4700HQ, GTX 870M, 16GB — $1,799  (list $2,399) 17.3" Alienware, i7-4710HQ, GTX 980M, 16GB — $1,699  (list $1,999) 15.6" Alienware, i7-4710HQ, 4K Touch, GTX 970M, 16GB — $1,599 <- actually decent specs 17.3" Lenovo Y70 i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M, 16GB — $949  (list $1,500) 14" Lenovo Y40-80, i7-5500U, Radeon R9 M275, 8GB — $629  (list $1,150) HDTV Deals 55" Vizio 4K Smart TV — $899.99  (list $1,000) 65" Sharp 1080p Smart TV + Wireless Speakers — $799.99  (list $1,000) 49" LG 4K Smart TV — $649.99  (list $1,600) - perfect for seeing Geralt's hair down sampled to 900p Game deals from Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers help support Destructoid.
Weekend deals photo
All digital products must go
Got nada in plans for this Memorial Day weekend? For $7, you can enjoy getting stuck in mud while trucking around in Russia via Spintires. Currently historic lowest price that we've spotted. Rare discounts on Blizzard titles ...

Enless Shadowrunner photo
Enless Shadowrunner

Shadowrun returns again with Shadowrun: Hong Kong


Coming this summer
May 22
// Steven Hansen
One of the concerns I've had that could affect a possible Kickstarter bubble burst is a sort of "what next?" Fans fund an IGA-led Castlevania-like en masse, then what? Do they fund it again once the novelty wears off? In 201...

PC Port Report: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

May 22 // Patrick Hancock
[Note: Screenshots and video used in this post are taken from my experience with the game.] Tested on: Intel i7-4770k 3.50 GHz, 8GB of RAM, Geforce GTX 970, Windows 7. Framerate measured with FRAPS. I'd be remiss if I didn't address the now-infamous trailer of the game that incorrectly showed what it would look like back in 2013. The developers have since downgraded what the game can do, and have addressed the issue. There are lots of elements to this and it isn't as simple as "downgraded because consoles" or "they couldn't afford it," but the end result is still the same. Regardless of that trailer, The Witcher 3 still looks phenomenal. In order to achieve 60 frames per second with my setup at 1080p, I needed to play with the settings a bit. Most things were kept at the Ultra settings, except for the foliage and shadows, which were turned down to High. The game stays consistently above 60 FPS for me now, even during combat and most in-game cutscenes. Some cutscenes are evidently capped at 30 FPS, which is offputting and incredibly noticeable. The biggest setting to turn off in order to achieve a good framerate is HairWorks. With HairWorks on, hair does looks absolutely stunning and is perhaps the best rendering of hair I've ever come across, though up close it's still a bit funky looking. There are three options for HairWorks: on, Geralt-only, and off. If fully on, even the monsters and Geralt's horse will have HairWorks-quality hair. However, even when I had this on "Geralt only," the framerate would fluctuate between 30 and 50 at any given moment. Yes, the hair looks great, but it is not worth the huge dip in framerate. Another option to be aware of is the "Hardware Mouse." It's located under Options in the Video section for some reason, and anyone playing with a keyboard and mouse is likely going to want to turn this option on. Doing so disables mouse acceleration, essentially making the mouse "feel" like it is supposed to. Many of the .ini files located in the installation folder can also be edited to further customize many of the options. [embed]292553:58627:0[/embed] There's some strange odds and ends in the options to take note of. To turn on unlimited FPS, the FPS slider needs to be all the way to the left. The middle option is 30 FPS, and the right option is 60. For those playing on a big television screen via Big Picture Mode or something similar, be aware that the font size is rather small, and the HUD size does not get any bigger, only smaller. In fact, there's only two sizes for HUD size: Large and Small. Controlling Geralt with a keyboard and mouse is somewhat clunky. Turning is awkward and slow, and managing to interact with a specific object or NPC can be a struggle. Combat on a mouse and keyboard feels fluid, at least. Controlling Geralt with a controller simply feels better, all things considered. It's not that controlling him with a keyboard and mouse is awful, but there's an unfortunate feeling of "this just isn't right." Switching to a controller input is as simple as hitting any button on a connected controller. As soon as the game detects a controller input, everything is switched to controller prompts and the game immediately recognizes it. The same goes with switching back to the keyboard. The responsiveness of switching is fantastic, and future PC game designers better take note. The keyboard keys can be remapped, except for movement. The WASD keys are set in stone. When using a controller, all of the buttons are locked in at the default assignments; there is no remapping of any of the buttons. Since the PC release, there has already been a couple of large patches to help improve performance and fix bugs. CD Projekt RED has always put a lot of focus on the PC community, and that certainly still seems to be the case with The Witcher 3. More patches are on the way, and despite the console-esque nature of the third iteration, I would not expect the game to be neglected on PC going forward. It's also important to note that, apparently, it is coming to SteamOS/Linux. There was a banner on Steam saying as much, but CD Projekt RED has not commented on the Linux situation. Currently, the game is only available for Windows. Some users have been reporting crashes on their systems, but I have yet to encounter a single one. Mods are still in their infancy, but they are there. Mostly small game tweaks at the moment, but the toolkit is evidently on its way. It took a couple of years to get the official modding toolkit out for The Witcher 2, but it has been promised to come out sooner for the latest installment. Plain and simple, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a great PC port. Whether or not it should have ever been a "port" in the first place is a separate discussion, but what's presented here to the consumer is thoroughly enjoyable. Oh. and you can skip all the splash screens when booting up. 10/10, would port again.
Witcher 3 on PC photo
Gwent Simulator 2015
The Witcher is an interesting series on PC. The first game was a PC experience through and through: you could pause the action at any time and movement was mapped to mouse clicks. The second was way more action-oriented ...

Save bug photo
Save bug

Witcher 3 bug kills Xbox saves, console patch not ready this week


Watch out for save bug on Xbox One
May 22
// Steven Hansen
While reception towards the usefulness of The Witcher 3's day-one update on Xbox One was mixed, the general stability patch CD Projekt RED is working on would be welcomed all around. Especially on the Xbox One, where people a...
Utawarerurmono: False Mas photo
Utawarerurmono: False Mas

Utawarerurmono: False Mask is a visual novel, strategy RPG hybrid


3D!
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Aquaplus has released its first trailer for Utawarerurmono: False Mask, the unexpectedly 3D hybrid visual novel and strategy game coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita in Japan on September 24.  
More Dying Light photo
More Dying Light

Dying Light dev cancels dark fantasy tale Hellraid


To make more Dying Light content
May 21
// Steven Hansen
Hellraid was announced as a Dead Island follow up in 2013. We finally got a good look at it late last year following a delay for current gen and PC exclusivity. It was meant to come out this year, but that's not happening, H...
Expeditions: Viking photo
Expeditions: Viking

Historical RPG Expeditions: Viking announced


Historical means no horned helmets!
May 21
// Patrick Hancock
Expeditions: Conquistador by Logic Artists is a great, and difficult, tactical RPG. So naturally, when I heard that another game is being made in the same vein, I immediately became excited. Expeditions: Viking&nbs...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

Lost Dimension finds Europe on August 28


One month after North American launch
May 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Lancarse's Lost Dimension is coming to Europe on August 28, NIS America announced today. The tactical role-playing game debuted on PlayStation 3 and Vita in Japan last year and is on its way to North America on July 28, ...
Lord of Magna photo
Lord of Magna

Lord of Magna is nearly here, so have a website and a tutorial video


Have it all!
May 21
// Chris Carter
Lord of Magna looks like a fun little strategy romp on 3DS. I haven't played it yet, but I'm hoping to get my hands on it soon. In the meantime, XSEED has opened up a new website for the game, and dropped a new tutorial video that explains the combat a bit. In short, it looks a lot like Valkyria Chronicles, where it's more action-based, sans grid. I'm down with that.
Capcom photo
Capcom

Capcom seemingly doesn't understand memes


This isn't how things go viral
May 21
// Laura Kate Dale
Back in October last year people on the Internet started taking the cast of Final Fantasy XV, all sat in a car together, and photoshopping them into funny locations. Square Enix saw what the Internet had organically done and ...
No weapon durability photo
No weapon durability

Fire Emblem If changes up series-staple weapon triangle


Magic, bows, concealed weapons
May 19
// Steven Hansen
The lack of weapon degradation isn't the only difference to the upcoming Fire Emblem If's combat. The swords-beat-axes-beat-lances-beat-swords triangle is changing, too, Famitsu reports (picked up by Hachima Kikou and transla...
'Game 4' photo
'Game 4'

20 minutes of the new game from Castle Crashers, BattleBlock dev


The Behemoth's 'Game 4'
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Because apparently it's 2008 again, I actually played some Castle Crashers this year, which then got me hankering for some BattleBlock, which I prefer. And I'm thinking the tentatively titled "Game 4," with its strategy leanings, might make for my favorite Behemoth game yet. The 20 minutes above is an updated version of what Jordan played and previewed last year, if you prefer words.
Adventure Time photo
Adventure Time

Adventure Time Puzzle Quest releasing on mobile this summer


Match three in the Land of Ooo
May 19
// Darren Nakamura
Adventure Time Puzzle Quest. That really says all it needs to about what to expect. It's going to be the addictive match-three puzzling that we have been doing for years, with the familiar faces of Jake the dog and Finn the h...
SMT photo
SMT

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer’s Call now available on PSN


Hee-ho!
May 19
// Kyle MacGregor
More than a year after coming to PlayStation Network in North America, Shin Megami Tensei : Lucifer’s Call -- Nocturne, if you're nasty -- is now available on European shores. If you can withstand its soul-cru...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Maybe you shouldn't download that Witcher 3 patch on Xbox One


What's important to you?
May 18
// Brett Makedonski
Before firing up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for its global launch tomorrow, you'll be prompted to download a day one update. This patch is supposed to fix some issues, and generally make everything better. That's not quit...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3's day-one patch isn't all that massive


Also, have a launch trailer
May 18
// Chris Carter
When The Witcher 3 went gold, it was basically done. Although the normal industry protocol is to patch in a massive 20GB+ day-one patch to fix nearly everything, the day-one update for Wild Hunt only clocks in at 4...
Lord of Magna photo
Lord of Magna

Get a load of Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven's cast


Out next month on 3DS
May 18
// Chris Carter
Next month, Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will arrive on the 3DS, both digitally and physically. It's a strategy RPG that features a pretty interesting cast, which you can check out in the official video above. Looking at the actual gameplay involved, it looks pretty charming -- everything is colorful and pops out of the screen. Expect my review sometime in June.
FFXV photo
FFXV

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae 2.0 is coming next month


Early June
May 18
// Chris Carter
Some time ago Square Enix released the Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae demo out into the wild for PS4 and Xbox One. I really enjoyed it, despite the blemishes. It's also a work in progress, and the publisher seems keen o...
Gust RPG photo
Gust RPG

Atelier studio's new JRPG looks dark and wonderful


Introducing Yoru no Nai Kuni
May 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Koei Tecmo subsidiary Gust is best known for its work on Atelier, a series of role-playing games with an express focus on alchemy and crafting, but the studio's latest creation appears to be something else entirely. It's call...

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on PS4 looks better than ever, but has major problems

May 14 // Brett Zeidler
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita, PS3, PS4 [tested])Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $49.99 In terms of the entire package, the PS4 version is the exact same compilation as the original remaster release. The international versions of both base games, Eternal Calm, Last Mission, and the super weird audio drama are all here. Nothing in terms of gameplay content was added or removed. However, there appears to be an alteration or a major bug affecting FFX's random number generation. People even more keen than myself on FFX have noticed the RNG system is completely broken in the PS4 version. Random encounters and events are supposed to be, well, random. However, this is no longer the case in this version. Encounters always occur when they are supposed to, they will always have the same enemies, and the battles will always play out exactly the same way. No matter how many times the game is reset, the occurrence and outcome of encounters or events that involve the RNG system are set in stone. This has a drastic affect in key aspects of the game. Say you're having trouble on a specific boss, and if you could just land that twenty-second hit it would change the tide of battle for you. Well, the bad news is on the PS4 version you're always going to miss that twenty-second hit as it stands. Additionally, this changes ribbon farming, blitzball, and likely everything else that involves RNG. I couldn't test every aspect of this, but I could easily predict down to the second when my first battle against two Chimera would occur during one of my saves in the Calm Lands. I could have tracked this up to as many subsequent "random" encounters as I wished. I checked the exact same save file on PS3, and encounters were always random. FFX-2 does not appear to have this problem. [embed]292113:58550:0[/embed] A major complaint of the PS3 and Vita release was the new rearranged soundtrack. It seemed a lot of people simply outright hated its existence, whereas others would have at least preferred the choice to switch to the original soundtrack. Thankfully, players now have that option at any point during their playthrough. I actually really enjoyed the remaster soundtrack, but on my current playthrough it's been nice to use the original. It sounds amazing. The Besaid Village theme in particular sounded the best even back in 2001. Unfortunately, the background music system also has a major bug in the PS4 release. Background music on the PS2, PS3, and Vita versions continued playing where the track left off once a battle occurred, but now this is no longer the case. For a game like FFX that has a ton of random encounters, you will likely only ever hear the first ten or twenty seconds of a track unless you stop and listen to the music. It appears to have to do with how the soundtrack switching system was implemented, affecting both FFX and FFX-2. The soundtracks sound amazing, which makes this bug so unfortunate. Hopefully it can easily be fixed in a future patch. Cross-Save was a great feature of the PS3 and Vita version, and it's been extended here for the PS4 version. Once a particular game is fired up, all old saves that were stored in the cloud previously can be accessed just as quickly and easily as before. It took me less than a few minutes to install the game, start up Final Fantasy X, load a save from awhile back, and instantly pick up right where I had left off at that point. That's pretty cool. The PS4 version of the remaster has even more enhanced visuals, which is pretty amazing considering how incredible and smooth the game looked on PS3. To check this, I started a fresh playthrough on both consoles on the same television and played them alongside each other. The PS4 does have a slight graphical enhancement overall, but I really only noticed it because I was looking for it. There's a sort of extra crispness to the PS4 version, and the occasional aliasing issues that were still on the PS3 version are gone here. It's not a major overhaul, but the improvements are there. Additionally, Square claims more NPCs and monsters received enhanced models. I didn't notice any of these in my current playthrough (it's really hard to just stumble upon these without knowing specifically which were enhanced), but seeing poor-looking character models in the same scenes with enhanced ones was a big complaint, so it's nice to know this was addressed in some fashion. However, some other major complaints were not addressed at all. Cutscenes, for whatever reason, are still not skippable and there's no option to toggle between the old character models and the remastered ones. These types of things don't detract from my experience, but they were definitely huge complaints upon release last year, and it's unfortunate they weren't taken care of here. Some of those cutscenes are really long, man. As is stands, the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is not the definitive version of the compilation. Even for super fans of Final Fantasy X, it's hard to recommend a version of their favorite game that has broken RNG, a background music bug, and still no skippable cutscenes no matter how beautiful the game looks or how incredibly fast it loads now. With an MSRP of $50 it's also a really hard sell to a brand-new player when the other two versions are currently so much cheaper, even more so if they already own one of those two versions (especially since they launched at $40). The PS3 version does lack the original soundtrack, but other than that it offers the truest experience of Final Fantasy X and X-2. If you must have it on PS4 or that's your only option, I'd honestly recommend waiting for the RNG and background music issues to hopefully be patched soon and the inevitable price drop. If those two major issues are ever fixed, the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster would easily be the definitive package.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 PS4 photo
Spira never felt so good
Barely over a year after its original release on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster makes its way to the PlayStation 4. A remaster of a remaster, if you will. However, the original releas...

Evoland 2 photo
Evoland 2

Evoland 2 is part shmup, part platformer, part RPG, part puzzler...


Cute little microcosm
May 14
// Jordan Devore
After watching this debut trailer for Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder, I regret missing the first game. The basic concept of an adventure that evolves from 2D to 3D and spans multiple genres is the s...
Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

TMZ Alert: Nip slip in The Witcher 3 cinematic trailer


Good thing we're here to report
May 14
// Brett Makedonski
Wouldn't it be great to run a site that focuses on video game characters as if they were out doing celebrity stuff? Marcus Fenix got out of a limo wearing no underwear! Exclusive photos! Nathan Drake's unflattering day at th...
Lost Dimension photo
Lost Dimension

Lost Dimension will launch on July 28 with free DLC


First character trailer released
May 13
// Alissa McAloon
It's a good news day for fans of the upcoming tactical sci-fi RPG, Lost Dimension. In addition to the announcement of a July 28 release date, Atlus has announced that $20 of DLC will be given away for free during the tw...
Witcher 3 photo
Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 has dynamic beard growth


Watch that fuzz grow in real time
May 13
// Laura Kate Dale
The Witcher 3 is a sprawling fantasy epic that sees a gruff manly man travel across the world doing all sorts of manly things in a semi realistic world. Perhaps most interesting about The Witcher 3's quest for virtual realism...
Dragon Quest 3DS photo
Dragon Quest 3DS

Dragon Quest VIII is coming to Nintendo 3DS


...in Japan on August 27
May 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Good lord, am I excited. Also, scared. Dragon Quest VIII is coming to Nintendo 3DS, which is potentially the best news ever or a harbinger of the apocalypse. You know, depending on whether Square Enix intends to localize the ...
Windward release photo
Windward release

High seas loot RPG Windward is out today


ArrrrrrPG
May 12
// Darren Nakamura
I'm not sure why, but there was a deluge of games out today. The big story was obviously for the Witcher, which doesn't release for another week, but there was also Color Guardians, Lost Orbit, and Action Henk on the docket....

Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

May 12 // Chris Carter
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: CD Projekt REDPublisher: Bandai Namco (Europe), WB Games (NA), Spike Chunsoft (Japan)Released: May 19, 2015MSRP: $59.99 From the very start, The Witcher 3 is a return to form in terms of presenting the core Witcher lore from the first game. Unlike the second iteration, where many elements important to the overarching story were teased or merely mentioned in passing, you get to see more events up close. You'll have the chance to experience The Wild Hunt itself even more-so than the original title, which is going to be a huge bonus for fans of the series. You get to delve deeper into the world as a whole, and the more personal take on Geralt makes it even better. Over the course of The Wild Hunt, players will experience Geralt as a teacher, lover, and hero. There are far more opportunities to actually be a Witcher, haggling for goods and demanding gold for your service. These elements were always communicated in past games to some degree, but given the vast scope of this title, you'll actually get to live it on a constant basis here. The script as a whole is also much sharper, with stronger dialog and a funnier general feel. It helps that it hosts the most interesting cast yet, like a funny young creature that loves to poop, a terrifying trio of witches, a dumb goat named Princess, and one very angry ghost baby. The setup this time around involves Ciri, a young woman that Geralt has essentially raised as his own daughter. She's trained with Witchers, but she also hosts a power no one quite understands that has sparked the interest of The Wild Hunt -- a mysterious and powerful group that roams the land and terrifies everyone who comes in contact with them. Geralt kicks off the adventure in search of Ciri, attempting to find her in various locations, learning of her whereabouts through story missions. Occasionally you'll get to control Ciri herself in short standalone sequences, which serve as a window into her point of view and are a welcome brief departure from the Geralt show. [embed]291344:58447:0[/embed] In general, choices feel like they carry more weight in The Wild Hunt, and the characters are more fleshed out as a whole. I felt like the second game had way too many "Would you like to do option A or option B?" black and white choices, but the third iteration brings back some of the ambiguity from the original. There is immediacy to your decisions, but there are lasting consequences in some cases, with individuals that I actually cared about. I like Ciri in particular, and was inspired to press on to find out what happened to her. More importantly, the game is designed as a large collective of little choices compared to a few sweeping options in The Witcher 2. Having a bit of control over nearly every aspect of your personal story is a much more desirable design. A lot of you out there will probably be disappointed to learn that combat is now essentially Assassin's Creed, as most of the nuances like stances from the first game and the slower flow of the second game are now gone. Instead, you'll attack with light and heavy attacks, spicing things up with a few magic abilities, and separate dodge and roll buttons. Geralt still carries his trademark steel sword for humanoid opponents and silver for creatures, but since he automatically takes the appropriate one out most of the time, that bit of strategy is quashed too. It's not enough to make the game "easy" (especially on higher settings) but normal is significantly more hack and slash oriented than The Witcher 2. For all of the streamlined changes though, I actually enjoy this take on combat the most. Your magic abilities run the gamut of everything you'd need, from traps to projectiles to a defensive shield, and the dodge mechanic works better than it ever has, which makes battles feel more action-oriented and less like an outdated pen-and-paper scheme. When you add in the ability to parry and counter, combat gets even more interesting. Ciri's bits are even less expansive, as she can't access an equipment or inventory screen at all, and only has a few unique spells at her disposal. When you're exploring about, the way fast travel is handled is just about perfect. You can technically use it, but players will need to have explored the target area first, and access an actual dedicated fast-travel signpost. It encourages you to see the world without pulling your hair out and losing tons of time manually getting to places you've already been. Roach, your horse, will assist in finding those new locations, and the controls are fairly versatile with walking, running, and galloping options. Sailing is probably my favorite means of travel, and in one instance I was even left stranded on an island after enemies capsized my ship! Questing is also much more satisfying now because The Wild Hunt is less "tunnel" oriented. Thanks to the advancements of newer tech, the open world can be fully explored by climbing, sailing, and horseback riding. The climbing mechanics are a welcome addition, but like a lot of other sandbox titles (I'm looking at you, Bethesda), it comes with its own set of glitches and rough animations. Specifically, ridges and edges are problem areas, and I had Geralt get stuck a few times in the game world or die to very questionable amounts of fall damage. It doesn't help the situation when a few main story quests have bugs in them as well. It should be noted though that there is a very forgiving checkpoint save system, and you can manually save at any time. I suggest doing so often. Once you get your first look at the world and see the new engine up-close, you'll likely forget about those stiff movements and occasional rough patches. The draw distance is wonderful, and the map in general is insanely detailed. While there are three particular areas that are instanced (cut off from the rest of the world), the core area is huge, and would take you hours to fully traverse and explore, even if you didn't stop to actually do anything. For the purposes of this review, I played The Witcher 3 on PS4, which features 1080p visuals, with a 30 frames-per-second cap. Unfortunately that latter figure is noticeable all too often, especially when you're outside, moving the camera about, and fighting multiple enemies. I have to give it to CD Projekt RED for creating a beautiful, vast universe with very little in the way of load times, but the console edition does feel like a compromise. If you have the rig, I highly recommend taking a look at the PC version, though I haven't had a chance to test out its stability just yet. There is something to be aware of in addition to the technical issues. While the combat and overall story have been improved, a lot of quests (particularly the transitions between story missions) involve "Witcher Vision." Yep, Arkham's Detective Vision mechanic is now a part of the Witcher world, and you're going to be spending a lot of time holding down a button, looking at footprints, and following them blindly to the next sequence. At first it's a really cool mechanic, and appropriately represents a Witcher's advanced sensory and tracking capabilities. But once you do it roughly 100 times, it gets a tad old. If you're looking for a lengthy adventure, you'll find pretty much everything you need here. With four difficulty levels (including a super easy mode) there's something for everyone. Alchemy mechanics shine in The Wild Hunt, as there are lots of ingredient nodes all across the world, easily visible on the game's mini-map -- almost like the developers took a page from the newer Far Cry games. There's literally hundreds of quests to complete, secret locations to find, and buried treasure to search for. The core story will last you a good while. It took me roughly 50 hours to complete the game. Hilariously enough, there is one point that feels like it's the end, to the point where the game even warns you that you should save and that you cannot turn back after entering the area. After I finished that sequence, it turned out that I had at least another 10 hours to go. Once the story is said and done, a few select sidequests can't be completed, but you're plopped back into the world, ready to explore. I suspect I'll be at it for over 100 hours by the time I'm ready to put the game back on the shelf. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a huge step up from its predecessor, mostly because it manages to tell a more compelling and personal tale. At the same time, that intimate feel is juxtaposed against a gigantic, sprawling open-world adventure that may hit some snags along the way but still comes out on top. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
The Witcher 3 review photo
100% more Witchay Woman
I have an odd history with The Witcher series. I absolutely fell in love with the first game near launch, at the behest of a friend, and adored the way it approached morality. Typically, games of that era would offer up black...







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