Tag Archives: the witcher 3: the wild hunt

The Witcher 3 : Blood & Wine review

The final instalment of the Witcher is a big deal. After the superlative main game, the ton of free DLC, the competent and enjoyable Hearts of Stone expansion, the gaming community – even those not particularly enamoured by RPG’s – have to admit that CD Projekt Red’s magnum opus is a highly polished and prime example of open-world game design. With that in mind, it would be very easy to lose all that good will in one single stroke, by failing to provide a fitting finale for Geralt, or should the latest expansion, Blood & Wine, fail to impress. Such is the fickle nature of gamers; You are only as good as your last success.

Blood and Wine sees a new bounty notice placed, calling for the attention of Geralt of Rivia to aid the Duchy of Tuissant, (yes, that is pronounced with a French lilt), in hunting down and removing the “Beast of Beauclair”, which has been terrorising the city and killing prominent knights and aristocracy. Arriving in Tuissant you find a world which has been excluded from the Northern wars. With its acres of vinyards, grandiose architecture and open, pastel inbued villages and towns, Beauclair is a unique area with a distinct mediteranean vibe when compared to the dark, medieval British aesthetics of Velen.

One of the first encounters with the new enemies you face, is extremely reminiscent of the original teaser trailer, (a night to remember), where Geralt faced a foe that few witchers dare to engage. Much like the trailer, it also leaves you with a distinct respect for the power of these creatures and, for me at least, made me question my confidence in my combat proficiency. This was not for the only time either. Without the right preparation, timing, spells or potions you will quite frequenty be seeing “You are Dead”, even on the lower difficulty levels.

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These overbearing enemies are thankfully the exception and not the rule, and alongside the regular denizens inhabiting the world, there are dozens of new variants and strains of enemies to be encountered and overcome in the Duchy of Tuissant. With an area approximately half the size of Velen, Tuissant brings a significant expansion to the game with a rich, vibrant and open-world to explore full of winding mountain paths, deep vales, derelict estates and crumbling ruins and crypts alongside the bustling towns and villages that make up the country’s focal points.

CD Projekt Red have delivered a compelling, expertly crafted story that is not only engaging, but has several twists along the way to veer the story off in a new direction. Of the several times this occurred; I would believe myself closing on the final credits only for the plot to take a logic, yet unexpected, twist and lead me further down a rabbit hole in the world of courtly intrigue and deception. As you progress through the main quest, there are several choices you can make that deviate further and further from your original path, and each of these endings can be played through should you wish. For the sake of clarity in this review, I thought it prudent to do precisely that, and there is plenty of content for this final expansion to feel justified.

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These diversions would quite regularly be a simple side step on the main story arc, but more often than not would provide enough details and revelations to allow you to re-evaluate characters and their stated beliefs several times over. For me, a particular character who marked himself out as openly hostile from the outset stuck out as a primary suspect, and several times the writers presented situations which could easily have allowed you to continue to believe this to be the case, yet by the end you find this character not only to be one of the most interesting characters based on how much insight you receive into his background, but also turns out to be the most stalwart of Geralt’s supporters by the time the story’s final act rolls round.

This is primarily down to how extremely well-acted the characters are, with particular honour going to Mark Noble for his amazing work voicing Regis. As a long-time wanderer of the world, the weight of knowledge and conviction conveyed in the delivery he provides is superlative and there is a credibility in the way he interacts with Geralt that made me believe the revelations that he is a long time and close confidant of Geralts. This is particularly poignant given the fact that most of the DLC exposition is between these two characters and as such a focus on his dialogue was critical.

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The world itself is spectacular to behold, and full of character. From the dusty goat tracks leading up to the highest peak, the crystal clear lakes that decorate the valleys, and the peasants picking and crushing grapes throughout the many vineyards. Everything pulls together to make the environment feel alive and reactive. Additional the character embued in the many denizens as well as the world, something CD Projekt Red do so well, make it all just feel so grounded. There is nothing that made me chuckle more, than a small side quest I stumbled upon late game to aid a pair of ghosts who had spent an obscene amount of time bickering over who should rightfully rest within a chosen crypt. Watching one of these bickering spectres flip off their unwanted neighbour when they finally knew they were going to escape the hell in which they had been trapped, is probably one of the, if not the, most amusing encounters I found during my time in Tuissant. It’s this charm that makes this DLC infinitely redeemable.

Once again, CD Projekt Red have stuffed the world to the gills. Dozens of complex and voiced side quests, several treasure hunts this time for Masterwork Witcher schematics to improve on those already upgraded sets, several bounties, countless landmarks, hidden treasure, crypts, graveyards; the list continues with easily 30+ hours of additional content to get your teeth into. This is not to mention that you also receive a customisable and upgradeable house and lands, much like the Hearthfire expansion to Skyrim, but more focus on the cosmetic rather than the actual construction.

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As I said at the start, to me this was a big deal, and I thought it only justified that I dig as deeply and as widely as I possibly could to try to find the chink in the armour or the blemish on the skin of this expansion. Thankfully, in my own opinion, there was nothing to be found. The expansion is, for want of a better word, flawless. Its deep, involving, contains a metric ton of content for a relatively low price, all while maintaining the high level expected from a game with so many distinctions as this one.

All in all, if you are a fan of the core game, (and if you aren’t, why exactly are you reading a review of its DLC?), Blood and Wine is exactly the sort of content pack you would want. I cannot recommend this title enough, and I believe everyone that owns the Witcher 3 should pick this up and enjoy it as soon as possible. A must buy if ever I saw one.

Thanks to Xbox and CD Projekt Red for supporting TiX

Game of the Year

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Tomorrow 2015 comes to a close and it’s been a spectacular year for gaming. We’ve seen some exceptionally good titles this year, largely from sequels that have made smart choices to enhance their stories and mechanics, and whilst new IPs and new ideas are a little thin on the ground the abundance of quality titles is still excellent.

Throughout the Christmas period we’ve been revealing our top three games from a number of different categories, now we reveal the top three for our most coveted award: The TiX Game of the Year 2015.

Third Place – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is excellent. It’s hugely ambitious with sky high expectations from it ravenous fan base, and yet it still manages to surprise, even astound us with its excellence.

…its open-world design is unmatched in the action and/or stealth genre, offering extreme freedom that offers oodles of replayability, and the story is intriguing, profound and subtly spun with a focus on action rather than words.

Says Greg Giddens (me) in his review, and indeed the TiX team all agreed that The Phantom Pain’s tactical open-world was rich with adventure, action, and opportunities to make you own decisions. It’s one of the most impressive titles for scope we’ve yet seen.

Moreover, the intriguing story, excellent gunplay and oodles of content make this an experience that lasts and sticks with you. No wonder it managed to secure a spot in our top three games of the year.

Check out the review here.

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Second Place – Fallout 4

…exploration is profusely rewarding. Every nook and cranny hides ammo, medical supplies, crafting and building resources, wasteland lore, easter eggs, enemies, missions and general adventure. It’s meticulously crafted to look lived-in as well as match aesthetically with every other aspect of the title. It’s truly a delight to roam this nuclear wasteland.

Says Greg Giddens (me) in his review, and it’s this vast post-apocalyptic world and it’s abundance of adventure that kept us coming back to it time and time again.

The TiX team fell in love with Fallout 4, much like we did with The Witcher 3, causing us to jump between the two when trying to decide which one was the better game. In the end the choice really came down to whether you were in the mood for a land of fantasy or of post nuclear war, and fantasy took the top spot.

Check out the review here.

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TiX Game of the Year – The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

With its incredible base game blowing out minds with its visuals, narrative, and vast world, and then for DLC and patches to come at a fast rate to improve it even more, it’s no surprise that The Witcher 3 grabbed our hearts and wouldn’t let go.
Richard Berry described it in his review as:

I can’t remember the last time an RPG gripped me so much, and it’s thanks to CD Projekt RED’s masterful crafting of the story and allowing me to play out some incredible adventures within the vast open world of Tamaria – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is about as close as it comes to being my ideal game.

And it really is that close to being an RPG fan’s ideal game. It’s a remarkable feat of design and we simply can’t wait for the second DLC to hit in 2016.

Congratulations to The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, you are our Game of the Year 2015.

Check out the review here.

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That’s it for another year. We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

Honourable mentions go to Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5 Guardians, and Elite Dangerous, all of which were nominated by the TiX staff but didn’t quite make the cut.

The Witcher 3: console bug to be addressed

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So hands up who is enjoying the fantastic The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, ok now keep your hands up if you have been hit with the dreaded save game bug?

Ever since the launch of the game CD Projekts forums have been filled with people talking about issues with the GUI, stability of the game, but the main issue that seems to be frustrating many consoles players, is the inability to save. Multiple people are plagued by an intermittent issue that randomly disables auto saving as well as manual saving , which you don’t typically realize until many hours later. Well help might soon be at hand.

Phillipp Weber, Cd Projekt RED quest designer posted a reply to a frustrated user on the official forums stating;

We are aware of the issue and treat it very seriously. We hope to put the fix in a patch as soon as possible.

Cd Projekt RED yesterday released a patch for the PC and on twitter Marcin Momot, Community Lead, confirmed that the console version of the patch was still in the works and would be made available “very soon.”

Until a fix is implemented many temporary solutions have been posted on Kotaku which some players might find useful.

In the meantime if your still in two minds about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, why don’t you check out our review here and find out what made our Senior Editor Rich not want to sleep for 4 days.

https://youtu.be/HbvcypoU5TE

 

More Than 300 Slightly Different Endings for The Witcher 3

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The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, scheduled for release during 2014 has been confirmed to have more than 300 different endings based on the choices that players’ take on their journey through the 36 different world states in-game. Each of the 36 different states has hundreds of different ending variations based upon tracking player behaviour – developers CD Projekt RED stopped counting at 300, there’s likely hundreds more!

Managing Director Adam Badowski tells Polygon.

The game is quite complex… We didn’t mean to develop something special for the endings; it’s a natural consequence of the storyline. The story has hundreds of different branches and sub-plots. We have to just sum all of those elements up in the epilogues. Some of those elements are taken from the very beginning and some from other moments of the storyline. All of them will connect in the epilogue.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is said to contain more than 50 hours of gameplay – if you wanted to read our review for The Witcher 2, you can via this direct link.

Via Polygon and Joystiq