Let’s set this up for those who may be unfamiliar. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the third game of the Witcher series. Geralt of Rivia for those who are new to the series is a Badass Hunter of Beast and things that go bump in the night called a Witcher. Witchers are humans mutated at a young age to become monster killers. They’re faster, stronger and ,smarter than the average human and walk a fine line between Monster and Man. Think whatever Zack Snyder has created in terms of ideology for Superman. For those who have read or watched the Anime series Claymore you definitely are familiar with this trope. Hell it has been said that Claymore was inspired by the Witcher. They definitely share more than a few story elements and ideas, yet they are both unique and stand out from each other.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  is a unique title, sort of. An open world action RPG,  you could lazily say it’s like Skyrim and the criminally underrated Dragons Dogma but you would be very wrong.  The Witcher series deviates from this two games in that it tells the standalone of tale of a single protagonist. You’re not making things up as you go along here. This isn’t your legend, it’s Geralt’s.

Combat gameplay in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is stunning. You have your standard block and parry mechanic along with a light/med attack and heavy attack, like any weapon-based vehicle. However, what makes it so robust is the fact Geralt’s stamina is huge factor in it. Missing swings and even having bad footing can drain your stamina leaving you more susceptible to hits. This isn’t like Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing when you could create a Beast who wouldn’t tire out. Geralt can’t block forever either. So, fights will consist of you ducking and dodging and circling your opponent – like an actual damn fight.

Another big departure from open world fantasy games is that you start the game off fully equipped. Geralt is a seasoned warrior and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt avoids the extremely tired trope of removing a seasoned warriors powers and weaponry in some unfortunate circumstance before the game and you spend a good portion of the game trying to get them all back. No neutered items here (oh how I wish NBA 2K would understand this). You start the game with six magical powers / signs that enable you ensnare an opponent in a trap, set them ablaze,mind control, telekinetic blast and two others  I would say more but that might ruin the greatness of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Game developers CD PROJEKT Red wasted no time and from the gate allows you to explore to your hearts content. Random encounters are pretty awesome, I recall stumbling upon a group of Harpies in the game and after slaughtering a good handful of them I found a basilik that was well beyond my current level so I tucked my tail and fled for my damn life.  Moments of terror like that are what keep you on your toes. Wandering through the various swamps, forests, waterways in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt you may not know you what you can encounter. From Gargoyles to young dragons flying over castle ruins as old the world itself the game is full of wonder.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt encourages you to play as you see fit. Geralt isn’t a man of politics, so you won’t be swept up in a Game of Thrones type battle over the control of the world you’re the hidden hand who monsters go a bumping a night you bump back.  The missions are very refreshing, a simple quest for a missing wife can take you down a path of twisted fairytale horrors.  I won’t say much about the plot because even the mildest spoilers can really ruin the magic of the adventure. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is going to contend for Game of the Year, without question. If you’re a fantasy fan who always wanted the solitary adventure of a wandering swordsman on his horse or just a gamer who wants a break from all the shooters of late, here comes a badass with a sword and a ton of powers. And you’re going to deal with him.