Prime Edition

The Witcher 3 – The Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: A true watershed moment in gaming
Azeem Banatwalla  30th May 2015

Developer: CD Projekt RED

Price: Rs 1,499 (PC)

Platforms: Windows, PS 4, Xbox One

It's been a couple of years since we moved to the next generation of videogames, but truly next-gen titles have been few and far between. Sure, there were the likes of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Far Cry 4, which were visually spectacular and a whole lot of fun, but nothing so far has really pushed the envelope of videogames as an overall package. That's where The Witcher 3 comes in.

The Witcher 3 ticks every box possible — an incredibly well-written story, gorgeous visuals, a deep character development tree, fantastic tactical combat, and unending variety. I've spent around 15 hours with the game, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of Geralt's adventures. That's largely down to how ludicrously large the in-game open world is. Many open world RPGs struggle to cope with their own scope, but The Witcher 3 positively thrives on it. There are interesting characters and stories lurking behind every corner and even the simplest-sounding side quests are immersive, beautifully told stories that highlight the true effects of war, famine, and racism on the populace of humans, elves, dwarves and other magical creatures. In fact, the side quests are often so intriguing that I find myself wandering from the main quest on a dozen tangents, purely because I want to know about the stories of these seemingly insignificant peasants. A large part of the credit has to go to the writers. The Witcher 3 is astonishingly well-written, rivalling the likes of GTA V with wonderfully memorable characters. It truly feels like a living-breathing world. There's no compulsion to follow any particular story arc, or be confined to any part of the world. Want to take on monsters that are far too powerful for you early in the game? Go right ahead! The smallest decisions you make can have far-reaching consequences as the game progresses. The game encourages you to learn and grow with Geralt, without constantly holding your hand, which I find too many videogames these days are guilty of. I found myself initially frustrated with beasts I could not defeat, but reading up about them in the games vast "bestiary" section and finding the right techniques is really rewarding.

The Witcher 3 builds on its predecessor's excellent combat system, creating an even more intuitive mix of swordplay and magic, and the character tree allows you to tailor Geralt's abilities to suit your style, whether it be a hack-and-slash approach, or controlling the minds of your enemies, or, well, setting them on fire before dismembering them.

It's also the best looking RPG available on the market, and provided you have the hardware to support it, the high-resolution textures and new-fangled HairMotion technology (where each individual strand of hair on characters is animated) is a joy to behold.

I could go on gushing about The Witcher 3, but you really need to play it to experience it. It's a game-changer. It's a true watershed moment in the videogame world, and CD Projekt Red has set the bar impossibly high for the rest to follow. We may just be halfway through 2015, but take it from me — if you play just one game this year, make sure it's The Witcher 3.

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