The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt PS4 preview – Massive next-gen open-world looks to claim the RPG throne
You see that grotesque, three-eyed beast over there? Yeah, the one with the antlers big enough to impale a dozen men with a single head flick. There are many of his kind in The Witcher 3 on PS4. But what do you know about him besides the fact that he’d appreciate it if you’d kindly refrain from picking wildflowers in his pasture? Well, if you don’t mind us spoiling the surprise, he’s called a Friend. (Oh wait, our mistake – it’s Fiend, definitely not Friend.) He’s got a devastating ram attack and a third eye on his forehead that emits a debilitating spell. In short, he’s a nasty one.
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Slaying monsters is an essential component of any RPG, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt wants to make the experience feel fresh and momentous. Instead of having you grudgingly hack your way through hundreds of interchangeable orcs to reach your goal, the game’s designers have introduced a new monster-hunting mechanic.
The game’s sprawling open world is filled with unique creatures such as the Fiend and uses lore to weave each one into the world. When asked what he considers the biggest departure from previous games in the series, Wild Hunt’s lead gameplay designer Maciej Szczesnik points to the thrill of stalking these epic beasts.
“What’s special about monster hunting is how we embed each creature into the world,” Szczesnik tells us. “Remember the Leshen we showed during E3 and Gamescom? The creature is part of the local folklore – an entire village is, in a way, dependent on its presence. There are even internal tensions between the villagers over it. You can choose to get involved or leave everyone be and there are consequences.”
“Before charging into confrontations, you’ll need to do your homework, uncovering weaknesses and attack behaviour by consulting with townsfolk”
The game’s developer has made it clear that these monster battles aren’t traditional boss fights, which have a tendency to break up the flow of a game. You could almost view them as exceptionally dangerous NPCs, each possessing their own backstory and influence on Wild Hunt’s unfolding tale. Before charging into these confrontations, you’ll need to do your homework, uncovering weaknesses and attack behaviour by consulting with townsfolk and other references scattered throughout the game world.