Sunday, June 28, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #44: Blur!




                After the servers wipe that took place this week the ARK adventure is over. The characters level was kept, but losing the base and the tamed dinosaurs was too much. So I decided to put the game on hold until release. Too bad this happened, because I really wanted to play more (a lot more!).
                Batman: Arkham Knight was released this week and it’s as messy as a console port can get. The game is locked at 30fps and sometimes barely gets to 30fps (…). There are a lot of missing graphics options, including high quality textures and ambient occlusion. There is no disable option for depth of field or a slider for motion blur. Apparently the game was ported by a studio of twelve people.
The sad part about this is that the game is really good. The gameplay is addictive and the story brings together so many characters of the Batman universe. I really hate playing at 30fps, it is tiring and annoying, but this game made me do that.
Warner Bros. has withdrawn the PC version from most of the official stores and Rocksteady Studios is working on fixes for the game’s terrible problems. It is a little too late as they should have checked the game’s state before releasing it on PC. Maybe they’ll learn a lesson from this (and not only them), especially after the amount of refunds that has been filled with Steam or GMG (quite many I presume).
Try to guess what's going on here...


                I’m not working on any specific article at the moment, but I’ll probably get to work on Batman: Arkham Knight and Kholat as soon as I’m done with them.

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam, Twitter and on Facebook!!


Thanks!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The list of games I’ll keep an eye out for after E3 Part II




Space Hulk: Deathwing

                I’m a fan of the Warhammer 40k universe, I’ve even played the tabletop game for a short period of time (Grey Knights ftw!). When it comes to PC video games this license was not often properly used. The Dawn of War series was great, despite some of its problems and the expansions and DLCs spam, but the series is dead for now and other than that there aren’t many games worth mentioning when it comes to Warhammer 40k.
                Recently Games Workshop opened up their license for Warhammer (regular and 40k) to loads of new studios and many new promising games have been announced set in the 40k universe. One of these games is Space Hulk: Deathwing.
                Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first person shooter in which the player takes the role of a Deathwing terminator from the Dark Angels Space Marines chapter and fights hordes of Tyranids aboard an abandoned Space Hulk.
                I’ve been waiting for a while for actual details related to this title and at this year’s E3 some new screenshots were presented showing the incredible potential of the Unreal Engine 4 which powers this game. Also there is a video reinforcing those screenshots with some off-screen gameplay footage. The game looks quite stunning with detailed models and visually appealing effects capturing perfectly the atmosphere as it should be on a Space Hulk invaded by the Tyranids.
                Warhammer 40k is a vast universe that hasn’t been properly exploited, yet, by the video games industry. But I hope things get better now and Deathwing looks like a good start.




Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst

                Mirror’s Edge was DICE’s only other title aside from the Battlefield franchise and a game so unique that it became a cult classic. For years gamers have been waiting for a sequel to this game and with the release of Battlefield 4 it was hinted through an Easter egg that it’s coming.
                Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a reboot of the original game, still starring Faith Connors as the female protagonist. Catalyst will feature an open world with a lot to explore, but keeping the main features that made Mirror’s Edge special.
                Faith will be on the run as always, jumping from building to building, running of ledges and doing her parkour style job in the city of Glass. The gunless action has remained a primary feature and now Faith can’t even pick up her chasers guns anymore, but she can run away from them as she is in a better shape than ever before. This doesn’t mean the game has no combat, when needed, Faith can defend herself punching and kicking her enemies until they are down. She even has some special abilities that pull the camera into a 3rd person perspective so we can enjoy in a cinematic way how she takes down her chasers.
                When it comes to graphics, the simplistic primary color style is still the focus of the artistic design, but it’s turned into a good looking game by the power of the Frostbite engine.
                Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst sounds like the perfect sequel (in before disappointment…). A game that is not only set on capturing what made its predecessor great, but improving on it.  Hopefully DICE won’t screw up (remember Battlefield 4?!) and do Mirror’s Edge and Faith justice.



For Honor

                For Honor is Ubisoft’s take on the style of Chivalry and War of the Roses (two games that I like).
                The game has two teams of four players battling against one another for the control of three strategic points on a battleground filled with fighting NPCs. The game mode presented felt like a mix of Conquest and King of the Hill. The goal of the match is for a team to reach 1000 points and when it does, the other team loses the ability to respawn, but there is a twist. The losing team can get back into the game if it can capture a strategic point which will provide future respawns. This system turns the ending moments of a match in a desperate rush for strategic points or a hunt for the remaining enemy players.
                The graphics overpower the now aging games on the market and builds up the atmosphere. The number of players feels small, but the battlefield filled with fighting NPCs gives a true feeling of raging war that other games don’t manage to recreate. But these aren’t the features where this game shines the most. The most impressive mechanic was the complex, yet not too complicated combat system.
                Each player can use light or heavy attacks from four different stances which set the attack’s direction. The blocking goes the same way, the player has to match the opponent’s stance and use block in order to stop an incoming attack. Positioning and switching between stances and the counterattacks in between are going to be the flavor of player versus player fights.
This combat system combined with the fluid and nicely done animations add for a spectacular result and the main reason this game caught my attention.
                As War of the Vikings was a total letdown, it is about time a new game takes the place of the good games that start to feel old.



Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part I

                My review for Pillars of Eternity was positive. The game has enough issues to be annoying at times, but makes up for them with nostalgia, story and gameplay. The expansion for Pillars of Eternity was something known since the Kickstarter campaign as it was one of the campaign’s tier rewards, but now it has a name: The White March.
                The story is set after the events of the main game and takes place in the White March where the players will try to relight the White Forge and learn the secrets behind Durgan steel.
                White March promises to expand the character customization past level 12 with new skills and multi-class abilities. Two new companions can join the group: a rogue and a monk. It was also hinted that the amount of text that we will have to devour in this expansion will exceed the one of the original game.
                The White March is an episodic expansion which could work well with Pillars of Eternity. The number of parts is unknown and the same goes for the price, but if this works out it might be possible that Obsidian Entertainment will use the idea of episodic content past this expansion (hopefully it won’t get used for low quality content).



Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

                I’m a sucker for any at least slightly tactical 3rd person shooters and apparently Ubisoft is set on exploiting this. A new third person shooter game part of the Ghost Recon franchise has been announced by the name of Wildlands.
                In Wildlands the player will be part of a tactical team fighting corruption and drug cartels in an open world environment. One of the game’s key features is the ability to approach the missions in various ways. Stealthy assassinations, full out shooting, car chases and even starting a war within the cartel are part of the strategies available to use in order to cleanse the world of dangerous groups of drug dealers.
The action in Wildlands has every key feature of a 3rd person shooter, using a cover system, accurate aiming and more in order to provide a realistic and intense experience.
                The graphics look extremely immersive and detailed and seem to bring this huge world to life. But we’ve learned lately that we shouldn’t take these trailers for granted, especially when it comes to Ubisoft (remember Watch Dogs?!). Also, the optimization for PC video games was never one of Ubisoft's top priorities.
                Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the kind of game the PC market as the number of 3rd person shooters on this platform is extremely low.



Tom Clancy’s The Division

                Visual downgrades are an incurable plague at the moment and after the videos shown at E3 it is obvious that The Division got afflicted by it. The overall texture quality of the world and models has been visibly reduced together with the intensity of some of the visual effects. Despite these changes it seems like The Division still captures the apocalyptic atmosphere of an abandoned New York quite accurately.
                The gameplay footage looks pretty interesting. The shooting feels goods and the skill system might have enough variety to differentiate into play styles. The PvP seems hardcore and takes place in special open areas that combine PvE content with PvP and reward high end gear that drops on death.
                The Division is the game I was looking forward to at this year’s E3 (was waiting to see how big the downgrade is) and even after the graphical changes I’m still very interested in the game. Hopefully Ubisoft Massive won’t downgrade the PC version even further as it will be a huge blow to what should have been the real next-gen title. The game launch date is set for March 8 2016 and a Beta Test will start in December with the possibility to sign up for it from now.



Rise of the Tomb Raider

                I never was a Tomb Raider enthusiast, but I enjoyed the 2013 reboot immensely. Quality action adventures are rare on PC and Tomb Raider can be a breath of fresh air.
                Rise of the Tomb Raider continues the story of Lara Croft as she embraces her wild and adventurous side. The setting for the sequel has changed from the island haunted by storms and mythical beings to the snowy mountains of Syberia in the search for another mythical place: the city of Kitezh.
The game will feature more survival features combined with and an advanced crafting system that requires scavenging for materials. The world has a day-night cycle and shifting weather, which should affect the gameplay drastically.
                I’ve always thought that the series needed more survival elements if not an entire approach from this perspective (they missed their chance with the 2013 game) and apparently Crystal Dynamics is going that way with their new title. I am a little intrigued to see how Rise of the Tomb Raider will turn out, but sadly the release for the PC version is unknown and we will probably have to wait until after the Xbox One release on November 10 to find out.



Vampyr

                I’ve been dying to play a new game with vampires since Vampires the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Vampyr is set in a 20th century London ravaged by the deadly Spanish flu. During these dark times when the streets are filled with sick people and entangled in fear and violence, the military surgeon Jonathan E. Reid is turned into a vampire as he returns home from war.
The player will take control of Jonathan and play as a vampire feeding on the living while exploring the ravaged London. The game promises a tone of characters to interact with different personalities, each with their role in the world. As the vampire has to feed with fresh blood, the player can hunt down in various ways almost every character in the game. The death of an NPC will have a visible impact on the world and killing people will have an impact on the protagonist.
                As a new game in the White Wolf’s World of Darkness universe seems like an unachievable dream, Vampyr might be the right video game to wash away the shame of vampires after the Twilight Saga.



Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

                Deus Ex is one of the greatest video games of all times followed by a sequel that didn’t do much justice to its predecessor. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a worthy prequel that came a lot closer to the original game, but had enough problems that hold it from reaching its forefather. Now comes the sequel to the prequel (I know right?!), that could rise up there or be as disappointing as Invisible War (I still liked it!).
                Adam Jensen is back as the protagonist, despite some of the ending of Human Revolution, and he is set on finding, again, those who terrorize the world from the shadows. But he doesn’t come empty handed, Jensen will have a series of new abilities and weapons at his disposal to help him find the answers he seeks, including a total body shield.
Mankind Divided will follow the same game mechanics that made the series prestigious, combining RPG elements with first person combat and stealth. The gameplay footage looked quite phenomenal from all perspectives and that sets an optimistic tone about this game.
                The cyberpunk almost dystopian world looks better than ever with the help of the Dawn Engine which will bring volumetric lighting, screen reflections and even air density to the PC version and full support for DirectX 12 (apparently this game is not a regular PC port).
                Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will come in 2016 and is one of the games that I struggle not to get hyped about and wait patiently until its release.



Kingdom Come: Deliverance

                This year at E3 many games looked impressive, but few have the courage to get out of their comfort zone and bring something innovative. Kingdom Come: Deliverance doesn’t fear change and actually bets all it has on innovation.
                I’ve been waiting for a properly done open world RPG (game) for many years now. I was expecting for The Witcher 3 to make the leap for a better future for this type of games and while it had something over the recent open world games it wasn’t really enough. Now I’m focusing my attention on Kingdom Come, as this RPG has the greatest potential in doing what others have failed to.
                Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an episodic open world RPG set in a 15th century medieval Europe. The game ditches the fantasy setting that is so common for this type of games and takes on the challenge of creating a historically accurate realistic RPG.
                The world of Kingdom Come is recreated from real places once part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, now incorporated in Czech Republic. But what is a realistic setting without complexity? Stealth, combat (both ranged and melee), alchemy or crafting are some of the activities that will be available in this game, each created in a dynamic and realistic way to immerse the player in this medieval world.
                Kingdom Come will offer a dialogue system with many options and moral choices being involved. The quests can be solved in multiple ways, being up to the player style and the world will react to the player’s actions leaving nothing without consequences (hopefully). While the number of quests will be limited, world events will fill the gaps between locations to keep the player engaged.
                One of the biggest challenges that this game is set on achieving is a combat system that is physics based and extremely reactive simulating the battles between knights in medieval times. From the E3 video it looked absolutely amazing, like the combat system I’ve been waiting for so long to experience. It’s not the usual hit and parry system, but something way more engaging and feels like the entire body of the character is used to fight. The only downside is that there will be no spears as according to the developers they are extremely hard to adapt to this system (too bad, I love fighting with spears).
                It is not only the gameplay that should be taken to a next-gen stage by this game. It is also the case with its technology. Powered by CryEngine, Kingdom Come delivers a gorgeous open world that has no match in today’s games.
The AI of every NPC in the game will be fully simulated covering its day and night activities and adapting to some of the changes in the world.
Even the sound design is taken to the next step with a system that combines the soundtrack by merging two songs with one slowly fading out while the other becoming more prominent.
                Gothic 1 & 2 and TES III: Morrowind set a standard for open world RPGs that seems hard to reach by today’s games. Fallout: New Vegas came to give us another taste of that standard and I’m waiting for the game that will take it to the next level. From its features, game mechanics and technology, it seems like Kingdom Come: Deliverance might be that game (I must resist the hype!!!).



                For those who wonder why the new Mass Effect or Fallout 4 are not on my list. I’m not so interested in these games because of the experience I had with the previous titles in the series and some other factors that make me reticent to them.

                The Mass Effect series gradually decreased in quality in favor of a hollydwoodian action story (that didn’t even end properly) and from the well balanced RPG that was Mass Effect, it became a cover shooter with lots of dialogues. The characters were good and the overall story was captivating enough, but the streamlining of the gameplay to a point where the complexity was almost lost and the way in which the story was presented that made me feel like playing a 3rd person Call of Duty pushed me away. I expected the series to evolve in a space RPG with vast areas with exploration and interesting colonial plots and factions at war that kept the races divided in front of the upcoming Reaper’s invasion (like in Bioware’s golden age).
                Mass Effect: Andromeda might be a promising game, it will certainly be a good looking game as it’s powered by the Frostbite Engine. But I will put this game on my wish list when I’ll be sure that it doesn’t make the same mistakes as its predecessors.

                Fallout is one of my favorite video games series of all times and I used to love it, but the series went off-road from what it used to be. I tolerated Fallout Tactics as it was strictly a combat spinoff. But Fallout 3 was a nightmare for me, someone who loved the series. It went away from the classical isometric tactical combat and the complex dialogue system with choices and consequences at any step and turned into a mediocre hybrid between shooter and RPG with a world that is not plausible and a story that didn’t do anything for me.
Fallout: New Vegas was the excitement and agony of almost having a real Fallout, because asides of its camera and combat it was for the most of it what Fallout games used to be (including the bugs). But Obsidian had the opportunity to make one Fallout, not more.
                I want from this series the game mechanics that made the Fallout games some of the best RPGs ever made. I want a complex yet quirky dialogue system that leads to multiple choices which aren’t so obvious (or spelled out by the developers with color markings). I want a tactical combat that is challenging and puts me in difficult situation where I have to use everything at my disposal to win. I want a skill system that allows the development of a character in an interesting with multiple builds and weapon specializations. I want the atmosphere of a post apocalyptical world that still follows some logical guidelines without diminishing the craziness of the setting.
I want Fallout, not a hybrid between shooter and RPG with an I win button and now a building simulator incorporated in it (which hardly makes sense, because building things without the danger of losing everything seems pointless in an RPG and is a feature more appropriated for simulators)
                If Fallout 4 could offer all these things I would be happy to follow the game, but knowing Bethesda’s style, it is unlikely that Fallout will return to what it used to be. And why should it? Fallout 3 sold extremely well as it is.

                Mass Effect: Andromeda and Fallout 4 aren’t the only high profile games that didn’t get much of my attention. But I wanted to explain with few examples why I choose not to be interested in such games and probably wait until after release to think if I’ll enjoy them and if they are worth buying.

                It’s hard not to have a positive impression about this year’s E3. It was kind of short on MMOs and strategy games but other than that it was full of surprises and showed a lot of promising games. I’m convinced that there was at least one game worth following for everyone, but only the time will tell how these games will turn out to be.




Nodrim

Monday, June 22, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #43: Cretaceous Park!




                E3 took place this week and it was interesting, to say the least, with many new video games presented in premiere. I won’t hype myself, but I will follow the development of some of these new games because they have great potential to turn in something good.
                Besides keeping pace with the tone of videos, articles and information from E3, I’ve also used my spare time playing ARK like a madman.  In one week interval my tribe’s base was raided three times and we’ve lost one T-Rex, one Mammoth (friendly fire) and many other dinosaurs we have tamed. In spite of all these impediments we still manage to build quite a nice base with a decent defense and tamed many more dinosaurs (power farming!).
I’m having a blast playing ARK intertwined with a few moments of total frustration. But what bothers me the most is the fact that the game requires so much time that sometimes feels like a second job. Without keeping an eye on the base every few hours, a week’s work can turn into ashes and a lot of wasted time, but other than that is all good.
Hello there!


                This week I’ve worked on a two parts article about E3 games that caught my attention. I didn’t have time to play Kholat, but I will go for it in the upcoming week (hopefully). 

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam, Twitter and on Facebook!!


Thanks!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The list of games I’ll keep an eye out for after E3 Part I




                E3 is over and it was as full of hyping material and deceit as always, if not more than before. But I’m a gamer, so I had to let myself a little carried away so that I can still have video games to wait for in the future. I put together a list of the games that I started to follow after this year’s E3.
Please be advised that this list is based on my preferences in video games and it is subjective.


Hush: Into Darkness

Hush: Into Darkness is an action adventure with horror elements inspired by childhood nightmares. The protagonist, a little girl by the name of Ashlyn,  is locked in an abandoned orphanage and searches for her way out.
The creepy setting combined with the 3D isometric graphics with gritty art style and what sounds like an amazing sound track are enough for me to follow this game’s development and see how it turns out.



Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide

                The End Times is the prophesized apocalypse that would bring the Warhammer world to an end. Fatshark, the studio behind War of the Roses (and Vikings) is creating a Warhammer game set during this apocalyptic event.
                End Times- Vermintide is a cooperative first person action game featuring the Skaven (ratmen) as the enemy.  To fight the vermin’s invasion the players will have the possibility to choose from five distinct characters, each with their own story and agenda and band together in groups of up to four to face the apocalypse together.
The combat is a combination of melee and ranged weapons (I’ve seen no magic) and from the video at E3 the combat system gave me a great Dark Messiah of Might and Magic vibe.
The loot system will reward teamwork and respect the Warhammer lore and the developers promise over 100 unique items to choose from.
                While Vermintide is a co-op game, it doesn’t lack the story aspect and with the help of Games Workshop veterans it will offer a new perspective on the events of The End Times.
                There is an explosion of Warhammer video games, from both the sci-fi and fantasy setting. Some of these games look quite promising and Vermintide is one of them.




Shadow Warrior 2

                The Shadow Warrior (2013) reboot to the 1997 cult classic was a bit of a letdown. The combat was entertaining for a while and the jokes were hilarious, but the receptivity and the linearity of the levels made it fade away fast.
                The sequel to the reboot brings quite a bit of change. The story takes place 5 years after the events in the first game in a time when demons and humans live together. The protagonist Lo Wang returns to save the world again, but this time around he is not alone as the game has a built in four players co-op. Another big change to the game stands in the level design. The game world is procedurally generated offering wider areas and multiple pathways to get things done.
To fight the new demons that roam the world, the arsenal had to be expanded and now we will have access to demonic firearms, claw weapons and we can dual wield swords for an increased level of gore and fun.
The graphics have received a huge upgrade from the washed up textures of the 2013 game and the physics look amazing.
                Shadow Warrior 2 looks extremely fun and quite promising and I love the idea of co-op play and I think it fits right into the setting and action of this game.




Unravel

                Platformers aren’t really my style, but I can’t say no when I see an interesting game from this genre and such is the case with Unravel.
Unravel is an adorable puzzle-platformer that caught my attention from the first moment I saw it. The protagonist is a doll made of red yarn by the name of Yarny, who’s on a quest to put back together the pieces of people lives. Yarny will use yarn to solve puzzles and advance through difficult locations to reach his mission goal.
                Unravel is a heartwarming game with a quirky protagonist that is worth the attention of more than the platformer genre fans.



Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

                I play Guild Wars 2 from time to time, so I take interest in this expansion as it promises to change many of the more unappealing features and mechanics of the game while adding a tone of new ones. At E3 ArenaNet showed a new trailer revealing the highly anticipated Guild Halls which look pretty cool. Even if the combat system won’t receive the key changes that I think it requires, it seems that the game is on the right track. The expansion is now available for pre-order in a pack that includes the original game as well and with a price tag of 50 euros for the standard edition.



Dishonored 2

                Dishonored had great potential with its hybrid gameplay taking elements from multiple genres, but it didn’t deliver on story and graphics (even though it didn’t lack artistic style).But it was enjoyable up to the point where the difficulty balance was completely broken and the game mechanics couldn’t cover for the lack of a more intricate and nonlinear story.
                Dishonored 2 was announced at this year’s  E3 with a twist, the players can choose to play with Emily Kaldwin, the heir to throne, or Corvo, the protagonist of the original game.  The story takes place 15 years after Dishonored in a time when the throne of the Empire was usurped by an otherworldly being. Equipped with powers granted by the Outsider, the chosen character will fight to find a way to restore Emily to the throne.
The game is going to follow the same mechanics as the previous title, focusing on a mix of combat and stealth.
                I liked Dishonored and I hope Arkane Studios learned from their mistakes so they can turn Dishonored 2 in a better game with much more rounded up features.



Eitr

                Eitr is an isometric action RPG where Diablo meets Dark Souls in a Norse mythology setting. The protagonist is a Shield Maiden whose quest is to restore the light of Yggdrasil after it disappeared because of Loki’s villainous actions.
                Eitr combines the action oriented gameplay of Hack & Slash games with a combat system similar to Dark Souls. Blocking, dodging, switching between weapons fit for the situation and timing the attacks will be required to succeed or at least that’s what I’ve got from the game’s trailer.
One thing that should be noted about this title is the retro 2D pixelated graphics. I’m one that always want more from the technological part of video games (and we always get less), but I never back away from 2D retro style games or any other kind of 2D. There is great value in artistic design for many of these games and I appreciate that immensely.
                Video games fully inspired by the Norse Mythology are not something that we see often and not many of them are worth playing. Eitr has a chance to do some good especially now when the TV series Vikings is so popular and keeps fresh into people’s mind this historical and mythological theme.



ARMA 3 Expansion Pack

                I’m a big fan of ARMA 3’ multiplayer and somehow I managed to tolerate this game’s problems for a long time. The launch of DirectX 12 should help with the optimization, according to the developers, which would be a big step in fixing this game, because when the optimization is done only the annoying bugs and glitches are left to deal with.
                It was a known fact that ARMA 3 will receive at least one expansion and it will come after the Season Pass DLCs are complete. At first it was said that the expansion will be launched in 2015, but now the release is going to be sometime in the first half of 2016.
                At E3 Bohemia Interactive had a video showing the new location where the action in the expansion takes place. The new area is called Tanoa and is an archipelago in the South Pacific with a land mass of 100km2. This archipelago looks much livelier than Stratis and Altis, with lush tropical forests, unique landmarks and its own history.
On top of the new beautiful land, the expansion will provide new playable content, gear, weapons, attachments, vehicles and more.
                There was no actual gameplay footage shown, but those who play ARMA 3 know what to expect. This expansion seems like a good change in scenery for a game that I played to death in multiplayer and I’m looking forward to it.



To be continued...




Nodrim

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #42: The base!




                This article comes late because I was busy today with my The Witcher 3 review and didn’t have a screenshot to show until now.
                Two noticeable things happened this week. First the Steam Summer sale has begun on June 11. As usual, most of the games are on sale with a small discount. But the notable discounts are in the Daily Deals and Flash Sales. The Daily Deals update every 24 hours and last for 48 hours. The Flash Sales update every 12 hours and last for 24 hours. So keep your eyes open, maybe you will find something interesting to purchase and play.
The second important thing that happen this week and for me it overshadows everything in the gaming industry is the fact that Chris Avellone left Obsidian Entertainment to follow new projects, no details given. There are many speculations, one of them being that Chris will join Brian Fargo’s inXile to work on the Van Buren project (the ex-Fallout 3). But this seems unlikely, because he did a lot of work for inXile (Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera) as an Obsidian employee and could have done the same now. My guess is he will either join Bethesda to work on the upcoming Fallout 4 or maybe he will go to EA Bioware to work on the new Mass Effect title and the future Star Wars games.
                I bought ARK: Survival Evolved this week to check out why people go so crazy for this game. I can say I have this game for three or four days and I’ve already spent one of them in it. It is like a 3D Don’t Starve but with multiplayer and set in a world full of dinosaurs and other gigantic creatures. The game has enough PvP and PvE content to keep the players entertained for weeks and the difficulty level is balanced enough to make things challenging. The game receives constant updates (like four or five only this week), adding new content and fixing various issues. Aside of the optimization problems, the graphic glitches and the lag, ARK is a great Early Access experience and I recommend it to the fans of the survival genre.
Immortalizing this with a screenshot before bandits come and destroy it...


                The Witcher 3 review is done. It took me longer than I expected and it was quite exhausting. I can’t say that I’m satisfied with the end result, the review misses something and I can’t see what. But such is amateurish writing.
                Recently I’ve received a copy of Kholad, an adventure horror game, and I’m planning to play it in the upcoming week and write a review about it when I’m done.

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam, Twitter and on Facebook!!

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review!



                The development of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was a long and tedious endeavor in the eyes of someone that followed it up closely. It involved visual downgrades, spot on (yet insulting) marketing and an end product that should wipe the slate clean, or maybe not!?
                CD Projekt Red worked on this game for almost four years, this being their most ambitious title up to date and the last based on the books of polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski with Geralt of Rivia as protagonist.
                Six months have passed since the climactic ending of The Witcher 2. During this time war broke out and with King Foltest dead, Temeria has fallen prey to the Nilfgaardian Empire followed by most of the northern states. Now Redania is the last state standing thanks to king’s Radovid’s strategic genius, but the situation is tensioned on both sides and it is uncertain who will come out victorious.
The Witcher 3 continues the adventures of Geralt of Rivia in these dark times when the neutrality of a witcher is put to question by events that are way past their pragmatic and distant nature. With his recovered memory, Geralt travels north following the trail left by his true love, Yennefer of Venderberg. Once the story is put in motion, Geralt finds out that Ciri, his daughter by choice, has returned to the world and he is sent by the emperor of Nilfgaard himself to find and protect her from the Wild Hunt, a lethal group of elves traveling from world to world hunting Ciri and anything inferior to them that stands in their path. Geralt goes on a tracking quest following in the footsteps of his daughter. He seeks the help of his friends and of those who entered in contact with Ciri to put together the pieces in order to find her before the Hunt does.
In his journey Geralt finds friends where none could be found before and foes wait for him at any wrong turn. Characters from the past make a comeback in this game including Triss Merigold, Zoltan, Dandelion, Vesemir and many others that should be discovered in game. Some of these characters play important roles and knowing them from the previous games is a big advantage in understanding their actions and better connecting with them. But despite the plethora of different personalities, when it comes to Geralt’s friends and acquaintances, one thing is sure, they will stand up for Geralt as he stood up for them.
                The story of The Witcher 3 is not about saving the world, but rather about protecting those that you love. This makes the story a captivating and emotional ride, full of joy and sorrow, which kept going on high from the beginning until the very end.
The story is interesting and the presentation is mostly top notch making it easy even for the newcomers to get into it. But it is hard to enjoy and fully understand without having played the previous games and even reading the books as there is a huge amount of details that relate closely with them.
The storytelling is split in two: with the conventional RPG part seen from Geralt’s perspective that covers about 90% of the story and an action focused part presenting Ciri’s flight and struggles.
The constant switching between characters adds greatly to the story value by creating an emotional attachment between the player and the main characters and by making Geralt’s bond with his daughter understandable even for those who, until The Witcher 3, didn’t know much about her (I barely knew who Ciri was before this game and I got to love her as a character by the end of the game).
                The story doesn’t unfold flawlessly as small mishaps in writing and poor presentation of some rather key moments can ruin the atmosphere at times. But the biggest immersion breaker stands in the poor connection between the main story and the world. Despite the terrible things happening in the story, the sense of urgency doesn’t manifest in the gameplay in any way besides the dialogues, cutscenes or uncompleted side quests which can fail as the story progresses. The action stands still for the player and can easily be resumed at any point when deciding to continue the main quest. In the time I took to explore and enjoy the huge world of the Witcher 3, Ciri could have died multiple times and instead of pushing me to find her faster, the story entices me in secondary quests that feel more urgent than the main story itself.
                The story in The Witcher 3 is well structured and evolves at a bigger scale than it might seem at first. Even if  the game doesn’t try to be as in depth as possible and adopts the rather explosive style of an action movie, everything is normalized by the political struggles and day to day problems of the common man. Politics, magic, religion and many other factors are mixed to bring this fantasy world to life and even if Geralt’s actions and decisions can change the outcome of almost every important matter, the subtlety of Geralt’s involvement makes the action more plausible by not always placing the main character straight at the center of everything, but rather as one of the participants. Yet, this doesn’t stop the game from showing some epic moments with on the edge action and crazy outcomes and multiple endings reflecting perfectly the choices made throughout this great adventure.
                The story reached maturity of a trilogy and doesn’t let itself taken down by the stereotypical idea that sequels are worse, but rather uses the foundation of the previous titles in order to build something great. Even the sexual content has grown in this game and it is now more tasteful and defined by choices that carry on throughout the game (be careful what you wish for!).
I won't blend in.
Badass!
I HATE YOU!!!


                The main story is reinforced by the enticing yet optional secondary quests that play a huge role in expanding and completing the main plot in a way we rarely get to see nowadays. The line between main and side quests is so thin that sometimes it’s hard to make the difference between the two without looking into the quests log. The quality and design of main and side quests is exceptional (as it should be in an RPG) and create an immersive impression of an interactive and ever evolving world. The decisions taken in these quests can have an immediate or a late on effect and it was a delicious experience to find the outcome of my doings. After the Bloody Baron quest line, the game made me question and weight my own decisions as their impact could be devastating, because in this world choosing the lesser evil is a heavy task.
                The dialogue system is as well written as the quests themselves, but the options are limited and while sometimes it provides interesting alternatives, most of the time it circles back to the same result. I felt the game deserved the dialogues complexity of Fallout or Planescape Torment, but doesn't do bad with what it has.
My choice!
The mad king.


                Besides the main story and the secondary quests, there are some alternatives to spend your time in game and earn some extra coin for the battles ahead. The witcher contracts are a good way to get distracted into some detective work using the advantage of the witcher’s enhanced vision and senses to investigate and follow the trail of monsters that threaten innocent (strange word for this world) lives. While clearly being a monster hunt, a witcher contract can evolve in something rather interesting and sometimes Geralt has to decide if what he’s facing is really a vicious monster or a misunderstood creature that was put in a situation without any other options. But this isn’t all, there are many other activities that might be worth looking into like: fist fights, horse races, scavenger hunts for good crafting recipes and Gwent (!!!).
Tunnel vision camera...


                 Gwent is an easy to learn and not very hard to master collecting cards game designed to replace the dice poker of The Witcher 2 and one of the most fun activities in The Witcher 3. Gwent offers the option to play four different decks, each with its own play style and unique cards. At the start there are a limited number of available cards, but more can be won by playing and beating other Gwent enthusiasts.
There are many quests related to Gwent (everyone in this world seems to have an obsession with this card game). These quests will guide the player to adversaries with powerful decks which can award unique cards, but require stronger decks to be defeated. There is a progression system and not every Gwent player met can be beaten at first, many times the game requires more than just a lucky hand and it is wiser to come back with a more balanced deck to wait for fate.
Gwent is a fun and addictive card game and it’s a great replacement for the annoying dice poker. Even if at some point my deck was absolutely unstoppable, I had a great time with it and it’s probably the best game within a game that I ever played.
A battle of numbers.
Geralt vs Geralt 1.0


                The quests in The Witcher 3 open up the world to adventure, sending Geralt to explore in all the corners of the land, but the questing system was never an issue with this series. I always felt like the series wanted to exceed its boundaries and the enclosed levels were drastically limiting these games from what they could show, especially with The Witcher 2 which was loudly screaming for an open world setting. The Witcher 3 makes this big leap and delivers an immense open world that changes many of the gameplay aspects and not all of them in a good way.
                The game’s gigantic world is split in explorable areas separated by a single loading screen. This was done mostly because at the scale of this world, the geographic location of each explorable area makes it impossible to connect them without loading screens.
                The adventure starts in White Orchard, a big enough area that serves as a tutorial to accommodate the players with the changes that come with an open world while delivering the premise for the whole story. The search for Ciri will force Geralt to travel a lot, from the no man’s lands of Velen , to the burning pyres of the neutral city of Novigrad, the mountainous isles of Skellige and the sanctuary of Kaer Morhen. The Witcher 3 landscapes vary in relief, from vast meadows to lush forests, dark swamps and snow covered mountains surrounded by deep and dangerous waters.
                The exploration feels great at first and the game seems like an explorer’s heaven. With the help of horses, boats and fast travel, closing the gap between distant locations isn’t so much of a problem (but beware of heights, falling down from half a meter could be lethal).
Each village or city has notice boards, which provide information about the surrounding areas, marking with a question mark on the map the points of interest (the Far Cry sickness) but diminishing the sense of discovery in this process.  Sinking further and further into the game’s world it becomes obvious that nothing worth exploring is placed by accident. There are no castles, peculiar buildings, ruins or caves that aren’t tied to a quest or a task of some sorts and when learning this, the feeling of exploration starts to die.  The secrets are rare and finding them meant little to me as they didn’t offer anything that I wouldn’t find elsewhere, other than the satisfaction of finding something that isn’t marked on the map.
This world doesn't lack artistic beauty.
Relaxing.


                It feels to me that one of the biggest focuses for The Witcher 3 was to create a huge world and having such a world requires a proportional amount of content. It is almost impossible to create a gigantic world without fetch content and while optional, this content is extremely important in how a game like this is perceived. There has to be a balance, not only in quality but also in quantity and TES V: Skyrim or Dragon Age: Inquisition have proven that if this is mishandled it can have a highly negative impact on the gameplay.
                I said it before that the secondary quests are great, but it is not all roses when it comes to the questing system. The Witcher 3 is filled with repetitive fetch quests designed to fill its world so it doesn’t feel empty. In Velen, the balancing between fetch and high quality content is done well enough making the problem less noticeable, but once reaching Skellige, the game is bombarding  the player with dozens of question marks, cumulating to over one hundred from which most of them are the same repetitive task of searching for some lost loot, mostly under water or on small islands.
I’m a completist and yet I felt abused by the game, taking advantage of my obsession with repetitive and nonsensical content that overshadows in quantity the awesome quests of this game and reinforcing my idea about gradually decreasing the feeling of exploration. I couldn’t finish exploring the map of The Witcher 3 because I didn’t want to do it anymore as it started to affect my impression of the game in a negative way so I put a stop to it (fifty question marks left).
                It feels that CDPR went overboard with the size of the game, forgetting at some point its purpose. If the world would have been smaller, the action would have been way more compact and I don’t think this game would have had many moments when the content wouldn’t feel at the highest quality.
If only Skellige was like this...


                One game mechanic that desperately needed improvement from the previous games was the combat. The Witcher 3 improves and expands on the base of the combat system used in the second game, but trying to build on something that didn’t work so well isn’t always such a great idea.
                Watching a witcher fight is like watching someone dance while wielding a blade and I’ve been told by the books readers that this is normal, I’m not one to demand a visually realistic combat, but I do put great value in the mechanics and functionality behind a combat system and the Witcher 3 has great problems at this.
                The combat system is surely an improvement over the previous games, but this is more of an overstatement than reality. While the sheer amount of new animations makes the action much smoother and spectacular, many of the problems from the Witcher 2 are still present and the game picked up a few new ones as well.
                Realism shouldn’t necessarily be the focus point for combat, but logic should be a key component. Geralt’s attacks have no weight or momentum behind them and at times it feels like he wields a toy sword which he can move around for as long as he wants without getting tired.
                The engagement design makes no sense, as the character enters in a restrictive combat stance which doesn’t allow the character to use key moves. While in combat stance the attacks direction cannot be fully controlled, a target is automatically picked from the ones in front and Geralt adjust his position according to that target, opening himself to flank attacks. The combat stance also cancels some of the basic controls over the character like jumping and makes running away from an enemy quite difficult because the character keeps turning to face the target. These problems produce chaos when fighting multiple targets and can lead to extremely frustrating moments. Since Geralt has no stamina, the roll playing is still the best way to deal with almost every type of enemy in the game and to make matters even easier, a side jump has been added which helps greatly at stepping behind targets, rendering useless the enemies that can block and counter attack.
                I wish I had more positive things to say about the combat system, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much. The improvements over The Witcher 2 are visibile, but they aren’t enough. I can only imagine how much more enjoyable this game would have been if it had a combat similar to Shadow of Mordor.
Come down!
Killing monsters!


                There is a decent variety of enemies, with many new additions as the open world setting offers room for expansion in almost every category. The variety of monsters offers a better insight of this world and the bestiary describes every monster like a witcher’s study book. The attention given to each monster’s strengths and weakness to go with the lore and the way that they can be killed grows the idea of how dangerous this monsters are and why this world needs the witchers.
                Each enemy has special attacks and moves fit for their body structure and nature but the AI doesn’t help much affecting the difficulty. The game starts strong, but eases up even on the highest difficulty after just a few hours. Once learning how to deal with them (it takes one fight), the enemies don’t continue to be challenging and the almost exploitable moves during combat (roll, roll, side jump, side jump) simplify things even more. The AI isn’t reactive enough and can’t handle all the situations. I pushed a bandit for more than 200 meters by hitting his guard, Geralt never gets tired and the bandit didn’t know how to counterattack me.
Agility versus strength.


                The skills system has changed, but it still follows the baselines that the series got us used with. There are four types of skills to invest in, three of them are designed for combat and the last one has general enhancements. The combat skill trees are suited for different playstyles and even if they are not completely balanced, no one should be worried because each tree has at least one excessively and useful skill that can make things easier. After being learned, the skills have to be activated in a skill panel with a fixed number of slots that unlock progressively, converting the character progression into builds. Adjustment between the desired learned skills can be made at any time out of combat.
The skills system offer enough options to choose from when creating a build, but doesn’t have the complexity to encourage the exploration of new styles in other playthroughs, especially since there is an option to reset all the spent skill points.
While the complexity can be overlooked since it is hard to create an in depth skill tree based on only two weapons and six signs, the sad thing is that the game can probably be finished without spending a single point in learning new skills.
OP skill!


                The arsenal hasn’t changed much. By lore witchers wield two swords: a steel sword for humans and a silver sword for monsters. This might seem annoying to some people, but I like the idea and I’m not bothered by the fact that Geralt’s weapon options are limited, because witchers are hybrid fighters and they have access to six magical signs and a wide variety of alchemy bombs, special potions and sword oils (quite overkill considering the difficulty). There is even an addition to the arsenal: a crossbow which is useful at taking down flying creatures and killing underwater monsters.
                The gear feels more varied than ever before in this series. There are loads of powerful relic swords and rare armor sets that can be found while exploring the huge world of The Witcher 3. The crafting system adds some interesting items to the table, luring the players into using. Both alchemy and the standard crafting come in handy at some point and while many materials come naturally while progressing into the game, gathering more materials shouldn’t be ignored (stealing works like a charm, except guards nobody has anything to say).
                The itemization is set back by the lack of out of the ordinary items (why the RPGs of today have quit the idea of unique items?!), especially since some of the interesting weapons repeat themselves after a while.
Bear armor set ftw!


                With all these elements put together, the action filled part is easy on the eye and fulfils its purpose and like many other mechanics, it doesn’t do justice to the game. The fluid animations combined with Geralt’s new moves and the increased violence create a spectacular view at a cinematic level making the combat better to watch than actually play. Many of the new monsters look terrifyingly awesome and can put a good fight when first met.  But the functionality problems, the low difficulty level and the questionable AI really take away a part of the game and it is quite unfair because it deserves better.
                It is disappointing that in the last few years the action combat hasn't evolved much despite the fact that there is so much more room for improvement and I’ve come to the realization that physics based combat and an enhanced reactive AI are still distant dreams (come on Sui Generis and Kingdome Come: Deliverance!).


                The potential of this title exceeds by far the one of any RPG released in the latest years, mostly because the CDPR team is very talented and as an AAA title it can afford to go way further than the beautiful but restricted indie RPGs we have gotten lately. But much of the potential is wasted on rushed features designed for multiple platforms and many technical problems that become a real nuisance as they affect some of the most basic and used mechanics of the game.
                It feels that it was hard to miss on PC when using a grid inventory (remember this format Bioware?!), but in reality the UI is a hybrid designed to work for consoles as well. The interface is split in multiple tabs for each category and while this can be normal for a game with so many details, the navigation is slow and it is slowed even more by bugs that stop the players from exiting the interface and constant crashes.
                The narrow indoor spaces push the camera close to the screen in an annoying way and it doesn’t help that the frames drop dramatically when inside. The decision to make the witcher ‘s vision camera come so up close to the character is quite odd as it limits the field of view to an extreme degree.
Even the interaction with objects didn’t come without issues as until the latest patch it was difficult to access some of the game objects, even impossible at times, due to standard objects interaction overlapping with the fires.
                But the biggest problem of them all stands in the responsiveness for movement and some of the controls. It took me one day to find out that my horse can actually gallop and jump (and I already knew this from videos), just because when I used the keybinds designated for this commands they never worked despite my insistence. It took an actual spamming of keys to finally get them going.
The movement is sluggish because when pressing the key to go in one direction the character moves way more than he should naturally do, taking away some of the character control from the player. The horse riding suffers the same fate as the character movement transforming the races into troublesome attempts of making sure the horse actually goes in the wanted direction at the wanted time. Luckily the game doesn’t have many moments when precision of movement is relevant, but when it does, brace yourselves, because it is horrifying.
Overall, the movement was responsible for more deaths than the bosses in the game (I didn’t die at the last boss, but I died three times when chasing a guy on a roof).
Hmmm
Have fun doing this the normal way!


                The gameplay suffers more than it lets to see, mostly because the story is captivating enough to cover many of the game flaws. But taking a second look at the game or playing it for the second time reveals problems that might slip by otherwise. The problematic combat, the unresponsive character control, the déjà vu exploration feeling, the blunt itemization and the flaccid skill system, might be ignorable problems individually, but put together they add up to a not so great gameplay experience.
Yet, in spite of all these things, The Witcher 3 still does a better job than all the open world games since Fallout: New Vegas and I’m not talking strictly about RPGs. The game absorbs the players in with its story, characters and setting and doesn’t let them go until it is finished. So when you decide to start playing, it is safe to free some time in your calendars, because you will need it.


                After lots of videos the graphics quality was lost in youtube's video compression, The Witcher 3 lost it a lot of it altogether. CDPR answered to this matter (after release) by saying that during development the rendering had to be changed since the one shown in the 2013 videos couldn’t realize their vision of an open world.  But let’s be honest with ourselves, they knew this the whole time and we, the fans and customers asked for an answer and what we received turned out to be lies. The change of rendering is nothing more than a late excuse after a long line of marketing stunts and false advertisement.
                The next-gen looking The Witcher 3 is gone, losing in the process a tremendous amount of graphical effects that wouldn’t just enhance visually the game and represent it better as a 2015 video game, but also would have greatly increase the atmosphere and immersivity.
                There is a long list of cut features and at the top of it stands one that I was looking forward to, the clouds shadows. This graphical effect ignored in almost every game could be a huge immersion and atmosphere booster and it was praised by the developers themselves, but didn’t make it even in the videos.
                The lighting has received a complete overhaul and it is made to look impressive but doesn’t deliver a truly realistic image and rather uses bloom to cover with oversaturation the low quality of outdoor textures (especially at dawn and dusk). Because of the change in how the lighting works, the color scheme has changed drastically and not in a good way. The darker and realistic tone shown two years ago was replaced with a much lighter and less atmospheric color pallet, which doesn’t look bad at all, but the previous one was better suited for this game’s theme.
                The textures and shadows pop-ups that were so annoying in The Witcher 2 crawled their way back into the newer version of the Red Engine, but more annoying than ever. The cut-scenes are full of pop-ups with characters having their facial features loaded gradually and distant vegetation appears out of nowhere.
Speaking of vegetation, the foliage is composed of flat, washed up and repetitive textures slightly hidden in its abundance and is affected by a wind so powerful that it could make El Niño jealous.
The trees bend but the hairstyle withstands!


                The water effects have suffered some inexplicable changes. The reflections are pre-renders of seemingly static images and I cannot understand why, since water reflections have been at a high quality since Crysis times and it seems to be one of the easiest effects to work perfectly for most of the games.
The water physics are dull and the repetitive waves have only a slight impact on the boat navigation or swimming even during a storm.
                Even the fires had been downgraded as I couldn’t see any heat effect generated by them and their textures are so low quality that many times they feel out of place.
                Considering the amount of things cut off, it was only logical that the particle effects wouldn’t go unpunished. The intensity and presence of particles is low compared to the original footage or to what the hardware of today could normally handle.
To optimize things even further the not so important NPCs have their faces repeated so much at one point I didn’t know which is who.
That flame!


                It is a shame that many of the high end graphic effects and assets have been cut out, because despite the things mentioned above, the world design is magnificent for the biggest part and the game looks quite beautiful (not that any video game that abused landscapes was visually repelling despite the lower tech quality). The change in scenery, relief and vegetation is immersive and creates the impression of a realistic world that so few games manage to do well. But the visual beauty of the game doesn’t stop here.
                In a game with a story so intense and emotional the characters faces should be as expressive as possible and The Witcher 3 nails it. The faces of the main characters are detailed and the eyes are vivid, adding great value to the touchy moments of the game.
The animations play their part well as a feast for the eyes and Geralt’s movement in combat is so fluid and spectacular that from time to time it makes me forget how awkward and annoying the combat system is. Even the Nvidia Hairworks does its job and compared to the blurry fur shown in Far Cry 4, it actually looks sharp and much better, sadly I couldn’t take joy in this feature because even as an Nvidia GPU user it was impossible to run the game with this feature without losing a lot of frames per second.
                Probably the most impressive thing that The Witcher 3 has to show is the cities, not only they impress through their design and magnitude. The lively atmosphere and the streets full of people in motion, is what makes these cities so much better than what I’ve seen in any other open world game. The amount of detail and the exploration possibilities of Novigrad put to shame most of the areas in the game and make this city the crown jewel of the game’s  artistic style and graphic fidelity and one of the things I loved the most in this game.
Novigrad!


                There are many moments when this game looks spectacular but also moments when it is extremely disappointing and it is a shame that so much technology was thrown away for whatever reasons (I bet I know the real reasons), when this technology could have been pumped up into it to make The Witcher 3 the true next-gen looking title that PC gamers are lusting for. The mod support will most likely help in improving the game visually, but I’m reviewing the original content and as it is now, the downgrade affected not only the image of CDPR because of the way in how they handled the situation, but many elements that are part of the game atmosphere.
I can't remember when this happen, but I'm sure something is not right.



                Apparently polish composers don’t joke around when it comes to music. The artistic part of the sound design in this game is at the highest possible quality. The music is amazing and fits perfectly with the ever changing tone of the game. From the action sequences to the emotional moments, being joyful or sad, the music captures and intensifies the feeling of these moments to their maximum potential. I’m fascinated by the soundtrack of this game and I downloaded it on my player so I could listen to it from time to time. The ambient music of Skellige reminds me of thematic music of Dragon Age: Origins. The combat music is as engaging as they are beautiful. I haven’t heard of Marcin Przybyłowicz before, but his work together with the band Percival is sublime.
                The multitude of sound effects is impressive and their quality is as remarkable as the music, if only their application was at the same level. There are moments in the game when the amalgam of audio effects overlapped by the music creates a cacophony of sound from which is hard to differentiate which is what. The technicians of CDPR clearly worked hard and despite the problems, there are many areas in the game where their work can be appreciated as it should.
                But when it comes to sound an AAA title differentiates itself from the rest through voice acting and The Witcher 3 scores greatly at this chapter with a fully voice acted game and actors returning to reprise their roles as the important characters in the series with deliverance as immersive as it can get. The only downside is caused by graphical problems, as the game’s lip sync is sometimes off and the mimic animations when talking are not always so believable.
                The problems related to the technical part of the sound design don’t manage to affect its greatness. I loved the music and voice acting in The Witcher 3 and they are some of the game’s strongest suits and it deserves to be praised for them.


Geralt's true love, but not in my timeline.
No thanks!
Geralt versus Geralt 2.0.
Everything I did was out of love.



                In the latest years all the open world games made the same mistake of increasing their scale to a level where it doesn’t serve to their purpose and The Witcher 3 is no exception to this rule. The bigger a world is the more inconsistent the optional content is compared to the game’s overall quality and the more such a world is explored the more obvious this problem becomes. The Witcher 3 has the best attempt in years at a proper open world. But its biggest fault stands in the fact that CDPR didn't know where to stop and created a game bigger than it should be just for the sake of it.
                I was expecting The Witcher 3 to be an example of how such games should be done and in some aspects succeeded, being the best attempt in years at a proper open world. But its biggest fault stands in the fact that CDPR didn’t know where to stop and created a game bigger than it should be just for the sake of it.
This title proves many things, yet not all of them are on the positive side. The marketing campaign cannot be undone even by a quality product (at least not for me). But a game has to be judged by what it is and I kept the sanctity of this rule, still, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a growing threat that we cannot ignore anymore. The Witcher 3 is raising another alarm signal, louder than any before, showing once again that false advertisement is a real issue that becomes more and more popular throughout the video games industry, now being used even by developers that were praised for respecting their customers. It is rather ironic that in the end the entire controversy about the visual downgrade has served the game more than it did harm, proving that all publicity is good publicity no matter what.
                In retrospective, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a good AAA title and there is no denying that. It is the most coherent open world RPG since Gothic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas. It has its flaws, but the final product is worth going past those problems. Behind all the annoying things hides a game carefully created, with a great attention for almost every detail, a story worth remembering and a gameplay that isn’t dumbed down to a level that feels insulting to the players.
                With all its good and bad, I will remember The Witcher 3 for two things: as the AAA RPG that got us a few steps closer to a better open world game by reaffirming the importance of a well written story and as the game that showed the severe dangers of false advertisement more than any other title before it. 


Pros:
+ Beautiful and immense open world
+ Captivating and emotional story
+ Brilliant main and secondary quests design
+ Interesting characters, old and new
+ Choices and consequences
+ Great music and voice acting
+ A wide variety of everything
+ 100+ hours of gameplay
+ Gwent
+ Support for mods

Cons:
- Arcade combat system with many problems
- Controls are not so responsive and the movement is sluggish
- The feeling of discovery is diminished by the repetitive optional content
- Foliage and water quality aren’t the greatest
- The game is quite easy even on the highest difficulty level
- The camera can be annoying at times
- NPCs have repetitive faces
- There is no stealth and stealing doesn’t alert anyone except the guards
- Aberrant fall damage
- Optimization
- Various bugs and crashes




Nodrim