Our top five has had one shooter, one arcade sports multiplayer, but its the action RPG’s that have stormed the top five this year. Edging out both Bloodborne and Fallout 4 from the top spot, is the finale to a seminal trilogy that has seen a world from Eastern European folklore with a distinctly modern leaning brought into our living rooms. Of course, Im talking about The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
The saga of Geralt have been critically received by both the media and gamers alike, and despite the furor over the obvious graphical downgrade that was needed to get the game out in its final form, the open world adventures of Geralt and Ciri more than lived up to the expectations of the masses.
It’s exceedingly rare to novate from one genre to another, especially with a successful franchise. When a game novates from a deep, engrossing, albeit linear action RPG, to an open world environment the fear is it will lose some of its presence, its brilliance, what makes The Witcher, The Witcher. Many were afraid this would be the case, but thankfully this was unfounded.
The Wild Hunt manages, despite it size and impressive array of side quests and characters, to retain everything that made it special. The characters appear to actually live in the world and the details of the environment from the wilds as they make way for the cultivated farmlands and cities, to the broken trails and hidden inlets that dot the islands off the coast, every piece fits together to create an entire world that feels alive and believable.
With a refreshing tweak to the combat, you will be dodging, slashing, casting spells and swigging potions to defeat a myriad of enemies, from bandits to foglets, right up to the Griffin’s and wraiths that populate the world. Each of these enemies have their own strengths and weaknesses and utilising your abilities, potions and spells to exploit these weaknesses is essential in combat as, depending on the game difficulty, one false move can and will get you killed.
Although it had a rough start to its console release, with a few bugs being eventually ironed out, such as the framerate issues on the PS4 version of the release, the final product along with the wealth of free dlc that has been released from CD Projekt Red secured its place in the fans’ hearts.
It is not surprising the amount of awards that the Witcher has picked up since release, and even less a surprise that you have voted this your Game of the Year (and Geralt your Character of the Year), so Congratulations are in order to the team at CD Projekt Red for creating a fitting finale to the tale of Geralt and allowing us to take on his role through these adventures.