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Throwing out empty praises isn't really in my repertoire. However, I would be absolutely lying if I didn't have anything but praises to sing for CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3. The game, above and beyond, not only looks absolutely amazing but it has play mechanics to match it, step-for-step for its eighth-gen quality graphics.
All 37 minutes of gameplay are absolutely captivating. It's hard not to get drawn in or to get lured by not just the look, but the ambiance of the game. The music, the voice acting, the atmosphere – all of it is expertly designed that rivals the quality of what you would expect from a cinematic movie.
The first thing that becomes obvious when starting the video is how the NPCs act and react to what's happening. Everyone seems to have a place to go and it instantly makes you question exactly how long it took the team to path out all of those NPC behavioral nodes?
The Novagrad city looks pretty good and there's a scale to the depiction of the city that looks really immersive and alive. It's definitely not the Novagrad from Allods Online.
Moving through the video, we see things like the way the foliage reacts to even the most miniscule of interactions, as Geralt brushes some grass and greenery patches and they appropriately react to his mass. It's very impressive. The little things are sometimes the things that stand out the most. I remember this was also featured in the original Crysis and it was such a beautiful thing.
Now I know that a lot of people complain about the combat in The Witcher games, but I have to say that the combat looks really good here. I still love the setup animations Geralt makes before making certain swings or strikes, as it really appears to capture the weight, heft and momentum gathering required to deliver specific blows with certain-sized swords.
The combination of requiring magic attacks and melee strikes really helps make the combat look dynamic and organic, instead of the standard-fare three-strike combo. For instance, Geralt set the one guy's shield on fire and found that his strikes weren't getting through so he kicked the flaming shield out of the hands of the attacker before delivering the killing blows. I thought that was brilliant... really brilliant. That kind of diversity in the combat system is definitely required to keep the game feeling fresh and fun, especially for games that push up near the 40 hour mark that aren't turn-based strategy games.
Also, I have to see that the enemies having animations that react to the directional strikes of the weapons are really cool. I love that. For a lot of games enemies usually have a standard hit detection animation, but here there's a lot of reactive animations that play according to what's happening in the actual fight, and that, once again, adds to the immersion levels.
One last note: It was pretty cool how the foggy stench emitting from the bog was more than just an ambient visual effect. It was mentioned that the player could use a magic attack to turn the emission into an explosive environmental bomb. Neat stuff.
The Witcher 3 is due for release in February of 2015. The game is set to land on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. You can visit the official website for more info.