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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - first look at CD Projekt's answer to Skyrim

Does anyone fancy telling Geralt about the hunting ban?

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So far, we've seen two travel systems that can be used to explore this huge area. First off, there's sailing. We've not seen how this works yet, or the mechanics of control, but the whole feel is that of a very dark Legend of Zelda, combining Windwaker and Ocarina of Time, with Geralt exploring the frozen seas of the North in a small dinghy, complete with other galleys and even whales. Second, Geralt is able to ride horses (which are probably the best-looking horses that we've seen in any game since Hudson Horstachio in Viva Piņata).

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That's not all that's been changed though. There's a new tutorial system, making up for the incredibly irritating opening of the first game, a new targeting system, which makes combat slightly more friendly, and a brand new animation system that makes it easier for Geralt's combat moves to flow between styles, and gives you a chance to break off attacks that simply aren't working.

Beyond these changes, we're betting that The Witcher 3 will offer the same mix of slightly overlong dialogue trees, truly challenging monster-hunting and exploration. Each monster has to be tracked to their lair, a process that should teach you how to defeat it - information that'll be displayed in combat using a new 'Witcher Sense'. "Monster hunting will be the main source of income for Geralt," says Ziemak, "not only in terms of gold but also crafting ingredients which can be later used for crafting the most powerful items."

CD Projekt RED has also confirmed this is the final chapter in Geralt's story: there'll be three different epilogues, depending on how you've played the prior title, and how you end up playing this one. As Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz puts it, Geralt has to finally find and protect those who are "important to him in his tumultuous, grimy, morally-questionable life." In this moody open world, with its twisty morally-grey plot, we can't think that either the man or his kin have much of a chance for happiness - but we're looking forward to trying.

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