e3 2014

The Witcher 3 Preview – Still Hunting for Hands-On


Last year at E3, CD Projekt Red titillated us with the promise of a more personal story for Geralt of Riva, the scarred hero of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. We saw a theater demo showing off his monster hunting abilities, the moral choices he must make, and a huge new world he has to explore.

This year, we were hoping for some hands on time and a chance to put the promise of a less intimidating combat system through its paces. We wanted to explore and experience Geralt’s journey as his story approaches its finale. Instead, we saw another theater demo showing off his monster hunting abilities, the moral choices he must make, and the huge new world he has to explore.

The lack of hands-on time is probably tied to the fact that the game has been delayed to February 24, 2015. Now, frustrations on lack of a hands-on experience aside, the demo was still impressive. This year’s demo showed Geralt hunting for an “ashen-haired” girl mentioned – and seen – in the E3 trailer for the game. She somehow ties into the Wild Hunt’s rampage through the neighboring country side.

In this little quest, set a couple hours in game time later than last year’s demo, Geralt has information on the direction the fleeing girl has gone. He tracks down a small childlike creature called a godling that has lost its voice. He must help it get its voice back so it can tell him what it knows. A few dead harpies later – featuring some cool combat moves and magic using a variety of witcher signs – the godling relates that he has seen the girl, and takes Geralt to a woman at an orphanage who can offer more info. Long, involved story short, Geralt gets the information after completing another quest that involved his monster tracking abilities and one of those moral choices that permeate the game.

By the end of the demo, he has gotten more information about the girl’s location, and witnessed an odd “payment” ritual that involved a villager cutting off his own ear to appease the spirits.

The demo was just as impressive as last year’s, but with not as much information revealed. We saw the fast travel system in action, which involves nothing more than clicking a road sign that points to the location you want to go. We did get a glimpse at some of the potion concoctions that Geralt can imbibe to enhance his abilities, with a warning that players much watch the toxicity level of his blood so as not to poison himself.

The demo, which was handled on a PC with a controller, did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm for The Witcher 3, but sooner or later we would love to get our hands on it. It will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC when it finally comes out early next year.

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