E3 2013: The Witcher 3 Hands-Off Impressions

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

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Richard, Jonathan, Scott, and myself attended a hands-off presentation from CD Projekt RED for their upcoming title The Witcher 3. They showed a demo that lasted about an hour in length, and while I have never played a game in The Witcher franchise before, this title sure has something going for it. CD Projekt RED’s demo is probably one of the most impressive things I saw at this year’s E3.

The Witcher 3 Leshen

One of the key differences with The Witcher 3 when compared to the first two games is that it’s an open world. You can travel wherever you want and take part in a number of sidequests, and the development team is implementing a fast-travel mechanic to make things a little easier. The world of The Witcher 3 is 35 times larger than that of The Witcher 2.

When I hear the word sidequest I’m usually hesitant in my desire to do extra material. In some games I really want to partake in these events and in others I don’t want to waste time avoiding the central narrative. The Witcher 3 surprised me in how seamless partaking in a sidequest can be, as CD Projekt RED has somehow made it seem as if they are a part of the main storyline.

The Witcher 3 Sirens

The example sidequest they showed (which was impressively demonstrated in full) had the main character Geralt expel a forest spirit that was killing people in a nearby village. Geralt could have just passed the village by, but instead you can see what’s happening and help out if you wish. This demonstrated how characters in the game interact with one another, how your choices in dialog can affect a situation, and how it all feels connected to an overall, non-linear world story.

The Witcher 3 Weather

While the trailer showed at Microsoft’s press conference was indeed pretty to look at, the game’s real-time gameplay also looked great. One feature they demoed was the change in weather over time. They sped up the game’s time to show what happens over the course of what I would say is a day and a half. Rainfall looked fairly realistic and the way water moved in a lake proved that travel would be dangerous.

The battle system is that of an action RPG where you can battle with a sword and use magic to defeat your foes. The battles looked seamless and I was impressed with the magic casting. I’m not sure if it was the graphics or the visual presentation of it all, but it looked fairly realistic. CD Projekt RED showed off some form of a hypnosis-type mechanic that a monster was using on the main character. It would make it so Geralt couldn’t see anything and the screen was heavily blurred. This looked like an interesting mechanic but it felt like it took just a bit too long for him to recover his vision. Nonetheless, you’re still able to fight when this is happening but there’s a higher chance you will take damage from a then mostly invisible enemy.

The Witcher 3 is the final installment in The Witcher saga, and it will be released sometime in 2014 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

About Jared Cyhowski

[Former Staff] Jared is a recent graduate from Fitchburg State University where he studied communications, video production, and English. He enjoys playing video games, watching anime, writing, and of course pizza. His favorite games are Shadow of the Colossus and Final Fantasy IX, but he can’t possibly choose a favorite anime. Jared enjoys following the games industry and observing what will happen next, and he puts out an invitation for discussion on these topics. He loves a great story in these mediums and prefers a stronger narrative design over most features. Jared is personally responsible for creating and managing the Anime section of the website, and hopes to inspired and entertain with everything he writes.