Bioware Under New/Old Management

As of today, Aaryn Flynn will no longer be the general manager of Bioware and will actually be leaving the company completely. 

In a blog post written by Flynn on the official Bioware website, Flynn talks about wanting to move on and try new things. He says he has been thinking about this change for awhile and would like to branch out into new technologies. He was actually excited to hear that the former general manager, Casey Hudson, was up to the task of taking over Bioware. 

This exodus comes just four months after the failure of thier flag ship series Mass Effect came out and it leads to speculation as to the true reason Flynn is stepping down. All we can do is take his words at face value and believe him when he says that he is leaving because of his personal reasons. However, you can see how all the pieces line up. Bioware’s main series suffers a huge set back after it’s latest series is released with game breaking bugs and glitches along with lackluster reviews. The game was so negatively received that Bioware has decided to no longer invest all of its time and resources in the game. They announced that Andromeda will not have any single player DLCs and that they will be taking some time off from the series. This has obviously given Bioware a black eye and could be speculated that this lead to Flynns departure. 

But, there is still hope. 

Although Flynn will be missed, Hudson reclaiming the throne is not a bad thing for Bioware at all. 

Casey Hudson worked with Bioware for nearly 16 years before leaving in 2014. Hudson originally left to work on Microsoft Hololens which he said was a way to “broaden his horizons and try new technologies.” 

Hudson was the general manager during Bioware’s meteoric rise and he was the lead developer on many of Bioware’s top selling projects like; The Mass Effect trilogy, Jade Empire, and of course Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. 

Fans have been eagerly anticipating a sequel to Knights of The Old Republic for some time and Hudson becoming the general manager might bring us one step closer. 

Bioware is partnered with EA and EA has gaming rights to Star Wars. If they can work a deal with Disney in order to make a proper sequel, Bioware could very well get a cold steak for that black eye and we can start the healing process. This might be tricky since Knights is not cannon to the original Star Wars story and Disney as been pretty reluctant to let people pervert the story. However, if anyone can get them on board, I think Bioware and EA can. 

Thoughts On Remasters and Remakes

resident evil remaster

With the release of Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy, rumors have begun making the rounds that more platforming games form the 90s will be making a return. For me, these games were easily 80% of the games that I played as a child. Games like Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Spyro would take up most if not all of my time during long summer breaks. When my parents were at work, video games were a pretty cheap baby sitter.

Remakes on a classic video game series shows both old and new gamers how far we have come. Game designers have had decades to perfect some of the core basics that make not only platformers fun, but the general experience of video games more enjoyable. I remember thinking that I was awesome at games like Super Mario Bros or Golden Eye, but then I find out that I have been spoiled by easier game mechanics and more fluid camera controls. Just try and play the first Jak and Daxter today and see if you don’t throw your hands up in frustration over dying the same way over and over.

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I spent a lot of time trying to master Crash Bandicoot during one of my summer vacations and I feel a lot of the nostalgia coming back when I get a chance to play the remastered version. All in all, that is exactly what remakes and remasters do; they feed on our desires to relive those golden moments of our youth. They give us a chance to see if we remember all of the same twists and turns that we learned while grinding out the same area over and over. We are shown how our feelings and interest have changed as we ask ourselves, “how did I find this enjoyable?”

Personally, I can see both sides of this argument and I will try my best to outline the pros and cons of the remake argument.

Pros

Gamers love nostalgia. It’s what drives us to play another Mario game or follow along with a series that has multiple spin offs. We fall in love with these characters and want to know more. Having a new game in a series will not only help us to see what new adventures we will face, but it also expanse on the lore that the game is built around. A prime example is the Uncharted series which featured a new game for both the Playstation 3 and the Playstation 4. These games were blockbuster hits that showed off the true power of the consoles that they were attached to. Only problem was that the Playstation 4 could not play Playstation 3 games, so all of the hours you spent playing Uncharted 1-3 would just be a memory if you decided to sell your Playstation 3 in order to buy a Playstation 4 (Which I did). However, Naughty Dog released a remastered collection of the original games that could be played on the Playstation 4, allowing you to once again relive the adventure and be caught up on the lore before diving into Uncharted 4.

 

spyroRemakes can be a great thing for developers as well. Companies like Capcom are often times struggling to compete with bigger industries like Activision or Square Enix and will need more capital in order to produce new ideas. One way that Capcom can do this is by re-releasing older games for current consoles. By doing this, Capcom can spend less money than producing a new game, hiring new staff, and creating new engines. It’s cheaper to use a game that has already been made, put some polish on it, and sell it again at a fraction of the original price. Capcom has gone on the record and stated that they will make remakes of their series Resident Evil in order to fund their new projects and bring about new IPs. Though this may seem like double dipping, I can see how this is a good strategy and can understand it from their point of view. Just as long as they are not blowing smoke up our butts and they are actually going to do what they say.

 

Cons

Reliving older games from our youth is great, but often times will make us realize that we are living in the golden age of video games. I recently bought Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy because of my happy memories playing it when I was younger. I loved the idea of updating the graphics and character models in order for it to fit current generation gaming, but quickly realized they could have done a little more with the gameplay mechanics. When making a remake or remaster of a game, developers will either enhance the graphics enough to where it runs a little more smoothly or upgrade the textures so that you can see better detail, but will often forget to make better choices with the camera placement or the jumping mechanics. They will not touch the gameplay mechanics because they don’t want to spend too much money or time on a remaster. They just want gamers to buy them and have it be a quick surge of money for the company.

jak and daxter remaster

Again, I can’t be too mad when companies do this. I understand that making video games cost a ton of money and they need to make that money from somewhere. The problem with this is that gamers will feel like they just got ripped off after the nostalgia has gone away. I played the remake of Crash Bandicoot for maybe a couple of hours before I put it down. The new art style, the remade character models, and the reimagined world around me was great, but the gameplay was just lacking and often times impossible to master. I have become spoiled with polished gameplay.

 

All in all, remakes and remasters are becoming a normal business strategy among game developers. They need the new source of income in order to develop new and exciting games that will one day have their own remasters. Whichever way you land on the subject, we all benefit in some way to remasters of classic games.

Living In A Broken Age

broken controler

You watch a trailer, read reviews, watch the gameplay, and wait for your chance to play the next big game. You have been counting down the days and wondering if the game is going to hold up to all of your expectations. You go to pick it up at midnight and awkwardly wait in line with a bunch of people that just want to get their game, install it, and maybe play it for a couple of hours before they have to go to work. The anticipation is mounting during the drive home as you start using math to figure out just how many hours you have to play this game before your lack of sleep with hinder your performance at work. After a download time that feels as though you have downloaded every file known to mankind, it is finally time for you to play this long awaited game. You boot it up, the screen goes black, and you are kicked to the main screen. Turns out…. there’s a problem.

In recent video game history, this seems to be a very common occurrence. The maddening effect that broken games can have on our community has led to gamers blowing up social media with new memes and GIFs that will help to express the distaste they have for the industry, without actually holding up signs and protesting on the front lawn of Ubisoft or EA. Currently, we hear about a game being pushed back and we collectively have a sigh of relief because we know that they are finding some of the frustrating bugs and fixing them before we have a chance to turn it into another Facebook status or Twitter rant. Other times, however, we see a game series that has a new game every year and is riddled with game breaking glitches and story effecting bugs that create massive holes in your wall.

halo

So what has led to this decline of the gaming industry? Why do these companies think that they can continue to get away with barley passable games being produced to the public and then fixing them to the original intention some six months later? It all comes down to an industry term known as MVP or “Minimum Viable Product.”
MVP has become a common practice in the gaming community since the ability to patch a game via the internet. The Minimum Viable Product model means just as it sounds. The company will produce a product that meets the bare minimum standards in order to classify it as a “video game” and then ship it as a complete product. Because of the invention of the “Day One” patch, games can simply start the mass production cycle while game developers and coders try to franticly create a fix for all known issues.
However, some problems are too big for designers to fix, and this can cause a game to be shipped completely broken. Prime example is the fiasco that occurred when 343 re-released the Halo: Master Chief Collection and the multiplayer was impossible to play. I was one of the many people who bought the collection on day one and had waited in a lobby for thirty minutes in order to attempt one online match. I ended up talking with my friends and doing household chores while I waited. Though this was a great chance to catch up on laundry and dishes, this was a terrible experience with a beloved series. 343 issues an apology and assured us that they were just as shocked as we were.

day one patch

Since the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, we’ve received several, well deserved, complaints related to slow matchmaking and other issues. From everyone at 343 Industries, we are truly sorry and feel your frustration. You deserve better and we are working day and night to find solutions as quickly as possible, with our first priority focused on matchmaking improvements.
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday morning Pacific Time) we plan to roll out a number of server updates to help improve matchmaking. Again, these are server-side fixes, so you won’t need to take a content update or reboot your console; you should see the effects right away.
In addition, we are targeting another release for this weekend, which will address a number of other community priorities. An unrelated issue with services is also causing achievements to not unlock correctly, and we realize this just makes it all feel a bit worse.
A game as large as Halo: The Master Chief Collection has a massive surface area, and while we made every effort to have the best launch possible for our fans, issues surfaced with launch and we’re committed to improving this as fast as possible and get you all into matches. We’re committed to improving things as fast as possible so you can have the Halo experience you’ve been waiting for.
Your feedback has been helpful for us in isolating issues, so please keep the input coming. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we work through these challenges. The development team at 343 Industries worked insanely hard to create Halo: The Master Chief Collection for you, and we won’t stop until it’s worthy of your passion for our franchise.
Dan Ayoub
Executive Producer

 

They promised to have a patch for the problem right away and that we will soon be playing online in no time. However, because of the MVP, the apology was just an attempt to save face. You can’t tell me that 343 had no idea that Halo was this messed up. The amount of time and testing that goes into a game would have shown to the rest of the staff that there was an issue. The problem rests with shareholders and companies that want to show strong quarterly figures.

broken game 2

Another example is the issue with Ubisoft and their cash cow Assassin’s Creed. Since the launch of Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft has been wanting to suck as much money out of the consumer as possible. They created a promise for the shareholders and consumers that they would make at least one Assassin’s Creed game every year for as long as they can. Though this made a lot of gamers happy, this also put a strain on an already broken system. They pushed their developers to make something new and exciting for each installment, but lacked a genie that offered wishes or a devil to sell their soul to. Their promises for a new and improved Assassin’s Creed game every year, plus new entries into their already stacked game portfolio, just wasn’t based in reality. Luckily for us, it seems that Ubisoft has finally gotten the message and has started taking some time with their games. It only took five apology letters and years of them being social media targets for them to realize that maybe they need to focus on the gamer and not on how much more money they can make this year as opposed to last year.

Few companies seem to get the idea behind making the gamer happy before the company, one example is Rockstar. I tried to bring up Rockstar as much as I can because they just get it. Each time that one of their games comes out, you can bet that they have taken the time to track down 99.99999% of all bugs and it allows you to be completely immersed in the story. It took them almost ten years to make Grand Theft Auto 5 and their sales, along with glowing reviews, show that it was time well spent. They understand the idea of a slow, but controlled burn rather than dumping everything you got on a fire and hoping for the best. They will spend the time working and perfecting a game before giving it to the public. They want their name to be associated with great games rather than a few hits and misses.

broken game

What does that mean for us? Hopefully social media and other platforms can help shed some light on this growing problem. Gaming company’s poor tons of money into people that just surf the internet and find out what everyone is saying about them or their games. With this, they can see that we are not buying their apology and maybe start to change their ways. I am not dumb enough to think that this will happen any time soon. At the end of the day, money talks louder than consumers. If money continues too poor in, then they are going to continue to do what they are doing. I often think of companies as toddlers that are starting to learn right from wrong. If we don’t scold them, they will not know that they are doing anything wrong and will continue to do the same bad behavior. It may seem fruitless, and we may see the same apology letters over and over, but if we continue to hold gaming companies accountable for their actions and demand that they do better, maybe they will get the hint and we can start playing some good quality games.

Can Ubisoft Be Redeemed In 2017?

ubisoft logo

In 1986, five brothers founded a video game company that would one day be a staple brand within the gaming community. From their first game Zombi, made in 1987, to their most recent installment in the Tom Clancy Saga, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Ubisoft has delighted us with stories and characters that will last for all time.

My first experience with this company was with a game called Prince of Persia and the Sands of Time. I sunk more hours then I care to let on into this game. Even though it had an unforgiving platforming mechanic, the game offered you the ability to literally re-wind your game and correct your mistake. Something like this was never heard of and made me wish this type of technology was available before I slammed my controller into a wall after losing every single life on the same level in Super Mario Bros. over and over and over and over. I was at the age where knowing the company that made the game made no difference to me. It wouldn’t be until I started playing Assassin’s Creed that I realized that I need to start paying attention to this company.

prince of persia

Ubisoft was never afraid of trying out new ways to play in the early years of its company. Some of the most memorable events that I can recall in gaming came from a Ubisoft game. Video games like Ghost Recon; where simply running into an enemy held area and shooting up the place was no longer the best strategy. Rather, taking your time, commanding your teammates into position, and finding your first target was the only way that you were going to make it to the end of the game alive. It was their courage that lead them to be part of the competitive field of gaming.

Ubisoft started partnering with other game developers in order to continue to make even more games for a growing market place. They partnered up with a company known as Crytek in order to fund and publish Far Cry, which to this day has been reinventing what first person shooter games can be and how stories can be told through the first person model. Ubisoft would go on to develop different iterations of Far Cry and would give us some of the most notable villains in gaming history.

So, after all of this praise, and after such a long history of making noteworthy games, what has caused this leader of innovation to fall in the eyes of gamers? It stems from the success of Assassin’s Creed 2.

assassins creed 2

Ubisoft had just put out one of the best games two times in a row. They took the best parts of the first game and added to it to make a game that reviewers across the spectrum still talk about to this day. Though they had produced and co-developed other games during this time, nothing got as much attention among fans then Assassin’s Creed 2, so much so that they decided that they were not going to let this “cash-cow” go un-milked. They created a new marketing strategy with their shareholders, who are loving watching their stock prices shoot higher and higher, that they will make a new Assassin’s Creed game every year. As a young gamer with my head in the clouds, I found this news to be amazing. I couldn’t wait until they showed off the very next game that would blow my mind. The result, however, was a plague of glitches and save data bugs that makes my skin crawl to this day. Attempting to be Assassin’s Creed 3 was nothing, if not an attempt to break someone’s will as you reloaded the same file over and over in the vain hope that you could reclaim your progress. Which would ultimately result in you having to reload your save file from the night before, and truly ask yourself if you can handle this game mentally. Ubisoft apologized for the state that the game was in and rushed developers to created patches for the game in order to make the game playable. By the time all the patches had come, and the game was playable, I had such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn’t even stomach attempting to play this game again. I will add that as a sign of good faith, Ubisoft released the first DLC package for free (DLC and patches will be a discussion for another time).

Many of their games from his point on would follow the same formula. They would hype up a game at the different press conferences, they would show off a truly beautiful game with new and iconic characters, they would promise new innovation was right around the corner, and the game would be released with more glitches and bugs than actual working parts. One game in particular caused a lot of gamers to give up on Ubisoft entirely.

watch dogs

At E3 2012, Ubisoft announced Watch_Dogs for the next gen consoles. Ubisoft showed off this impressive view of Chicago and displayed unheard of realism with the way that the world and the people interacted. They showed side by side comparisons of present day Chicago and the game in order to make us believe that we were actually there. I was in line day one to buy this game and was disappointed in what I got in return. The game looked nothing like what they had shown at E3. On top of that, the game was once again riddled with glitches and bugs that made this fluid world feel like a maze of unbreakable barriers and fazed in landscapes. When interviewed about this, the creative director, Jonathan Morin, stated that the CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillmot, “forced” Ubisoft Montreal to reveal Watch_Dogs at E3, even though the studio told him that they were not ready. They had been working on Watch_Dogs without knowing what kind of power the new consoles would have and therefor would not be able to create a perfect picture of what the fans would be getting. These were the type of business practices that we as the consumer could look forward to in the years to come. Each game that would be released from Ubisoft would have one problem after another. Each one earning their own personal apology from the CEO and a promise of better times. The latest game that has come out, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, in my opinion, was one of the worst running open world game I have ever played. Within the first few hours of the game, I had two different game breaking glitches, one story bug that caused me and my brother to not be able to finish a mission, and a point where I was unable to exit my vehicle and ultimately having it end up being my tomb. After attempting to enjoy it one Saturday afternoon, I sold it to a friend for $20 (even though I told him how bad it was and how he should not even bother).

mario and rabbids

However, there is still hope. Last year, Ubisoft decided not to make another assassin’s creed game for 2016, and instead wanted to focus more on development. They have received such back lash from social media and from their shareholders that now they need to take a step back and reevaluate what is most important for their business. Leaks began to surface that they had been working on a reboot to the series, and during the last E3, it showed a lot of promise. They are actually changing the Assassin’s Creed game and implementing some new designs, combat tactics, and gameplay features that makes me very hopeful…cautious…. but, hopeful. They also showed a deeper partnership with Nintendo with a new game called Mario+Rabbids. A game that made me extremely excited to sink many hours into.

assassins creed origins

If Ubisoft is ready to change up their company’s policies and are ready to put the players first, I am willing to give them another chance and see what they can do. They have had such a good name in the past and are still the holders of some of the greatest individual properties. If they take the time, hire some quality people, and not forget what made them so beloved in the first place, I feel like they will be on top once again.

The Replay Ability of The Witcher 3

witcher 3 title

One of the most commonly asked question among both hard core and casual gamers is, “what is your favorite game?” It’s a question that can either cause a knee jerk reaction, causing someone to yell out, “SUPER MARIO BROS 3! YOU NEVER BEAT IT!? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!?” Or, “LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCORINA OF TIME! YOU NEVER BEAT IT!? GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

For those that don’t have an emotional imbalance and still have some friends, answering a question like that might take some time. For me, a favorite game must have the ability to make me want to play it over and over again.

Replay Ability is when you have enjoyed a game so much that you want to relive the experience again and again. You spent hours attempting to master particular mechanics, fight to defeat the main antagonists, and prove that you were the hero this world needed.

Some video games cannot be digested in just one sitting. They call out to you in the hopes that you will try and find a new way to overcome a obstacle that your friends were never able to find. For awhile, games like the Uncharted series or Legend of Zelda: Ocorina of Time (YOU NEVER PLAYED IT!? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!?) have had the ability to make me want to play it again and again, even if I know what the outcome will be. It’s the retelling of a well written saga that draws us in and no other recent series has had that potential like The Witcher.

witcher 3-1

I wish that I had this outlet when I first began playing The Witcher series. For me, I had never heard of Geralt of Rivia until E3 2014 when then first game play trailer of a dormant franchise made by CD Projekt was shown. I was blown away by this white haired man fighting mythical creatures and riding around in this vast and beautiful open world. However, I had a thought creep into my head that only years of overly produced game play trailers and unrealistic CG can harden within me…this can’t be real. They must have doctored this up to generate sales. There is no way that this can be a game….looks good though (Yes, I’m aware of their tactics will work on me every time.) Months later, the advertising trailers dropped and I felt a sigh of relief that I finally had something that I could play. There was a video game dry spell around the time The Witcher 3 had come out and I was ready to wake up my Xbox from it’s yearly hibernation.

Playing it safe and playing the same Call of Duty game every year is just fine for some people. Not for me, I would much rather see what different ideas their are out there and and see if I can find a new series to get excited about. Not knowing anything about The Witcher, I started looking up different videos and started researching the lore behind it. The growing recommendations between most gamers became, “don’t play the first one and love the second.” Which gave me pause at first. I decided that I needed to take those recommendations and use them as a cautious warning as I made up my own mind.

Again, I wish I had this as an outlet when I first tried the Witcher series, because man…The Witcher (1st game in the series) was terrible. It was an older game made strictly for the computer. You played as Geralt of Rivia, a master sword fighter and wielder of basic magic who fights various monsters for money (ie. Werewolves, vampires, striggas, and other well known or never heard of monsters from folk tales.)  People who take up this profession are known around the world as Witchers and are often feared because of the mutations that they undergo as children in order to be faster and stronger then the average man. Geralt ends up losing his memories due becoming mortally wounded during a city wide brawl. He is carried to the Witcher headquarters of Kaer Morhen where your mentor and fellow witchers attempt to re-teach you their skills and knowledge ultimately resulting in you becoming the famed witcher all over again and being reintroduced to long time friends. It’s a great way for new members of the series who have never read a book in the long running series to be able to pick up where they left off and become immersed in the lore. If only the game play had been better, more people may have noticed this game. The combat was a rock-paper-scissors type of system where you could perform three different moves using your mouse. Quick attacks for slower opponents, stronger attacks for quicker opponents. There was not a way for someone to move around your opponent or vary your attacks by very much. Honestly, I played the beginning of the game and could not bring myself to finish it. I ended up watching YouTube videos in order to understand the rest of the story and I felt pretty happy with my decision.

The Witcher 2 absolutely blew me away and really made up for the lackluster first entry into the series. They revamped the entire game play experience and made it feel like a true RPG worthy of standing up to modern RPGs. I like to tell people that The Witcher 2 was one of my favorite video game finds because I truly had zero expectations of it being a good game, and was pleasantly surprised. (The only other time that something like this has happened is when I played Persona 5. See my review for more information.) The Witcher 2 plays after the events of the first one and starts you off recounting recent events in your life as you are being interrogated in an underground dungeon. Your gameplay can change during these flash backs as some details can be altered based on choices that you make. I have always been a sucker for a game that gives more choices and options to the player, and this game did not skimp on these aspects. The game will eventually lead you on a great story and even better gameplay as your decisions shape the world around you as you attempt to finish recounting all of your lost memories. I feel like I will want to dive more into The Witcher 2 at some point, maybe during a ten year anniversary, but I wanted to talk about the replay ability of The Witcher 3.

Ok…I felt like I spent a long time summing the series and my experience with the series. For those that stuck with it, I hope that you have a better understanding for what I am driving at. If you left…I kinda understand.

witcher 3-3

It has been two years since CD Projekt has made the third and last installment of The Witcher series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. (As I write this, I read an article from the CEO of CD Projekt stating they are open to making another Witcher game. Duh. This game made a ton of money and has created a cult following. Pretty happy, but not surprised.) This game is a direct sequel to every other Witcher game and as you have now completely regained your memory and are now in search of your lost love Yennifer. During your travels in the very early parts of this game, you find out that Yennifer as been looking for you as well and has a message for you. She takes you to the Emperor who will eventually tell you that your ward, a woman named Ciri, is in danger and the Emperor, who is her actual father, wants you to find her and bring her back to him. The story revolves around your attachment with Ciri and how she has become more than just your ward. Geralt had been training her at the Witcher headquarters of Kaer Morhen since she was child in the hopes that she would be a witcher and be able to protect herself from evil forces that want to use her for her magical powers. Geralt has known that she is special and has been her protector and father ever since.

The story behind this game is one of the best written games I have ever played. You feel a connection with these characters in a way that I never though possible. Each one has their own story to tell and you truly will want to know more about them and how they know Geralt. The characters might me new to you, but Geralt has known them for a long time and you start to feel those decade old bonds between them.

The game play will challenge you and make you truly think about particular strategies before every battle. Normal hack and slash games would have you do the same techniques or use the same skills over and over again until you have logged in the correct number of dead bodies and the game finally says, “ok…you win…stop killing now.” The witcher is different in the sense that it requires you to really know the weaknesses and the strengths of the monster you are about to fight. Werewolves have the ability to heal themselves over time and cannot be harmed by normal weapons. Knowing this, you need to drink the right kind of potions that will either heal yourself over time, evening the playing field, or that will injure the enemy every time they attack you. Also, you will learn that applying different poisons to your blade or using particular magic spells might give you the upper hand that you will need in order to finish the battle. Just for fun, I attempted to fight similar beasts without any preparation and found that the enemies were pretty difficult and often time would fall victim to them. This was a challenge that I had not faced many times in modern games and it made me want to come back for more.

witcher 3-2

The game also has a very vast and open world that is ripe for exploring. Your map will become daunting as you zoom out and see the endless hours of secret caves, hidden treasures, and monster nests that litter this open world. I ended up putting in close to 140 hours into the main story and I think I might have actually seen half of the map. Often time, while traveling from point A to point B, you will stubble upon a monster nest and see a giant monster coming from the edge of a forest or from the sky. It would make your heart race as you attempt to run away from it and make it to the closest town only to find out that someone has placed a contract on that beast and you are the only one able to stop it.

Much like The Witcher 2, your decisions will shape the world around as you choose what path you want to follow. Though the story missions wont change, the choices you make in regards to the people around you will ultimately help you or hinder you in the end game. You can choose to be the model citizen and do what Witchers do. Or, you can be the terror that the people make you out to be and terrorize the land scape. You can choose to fulfill your duty to the Emperor or you can prove that Ciri has always been more than just your ward. Each choice will take the game in completely different directions and will truly make you wonder if you have made the right call.

Even the DLCs that this game offers have been high bench marks for future games. Each one felt like an entirely new game with the amount of content and new stories that they offered. It did not feel like a small, one hour, semi story involving a answer to a question that no one cared about.

So, what makes a game have replay ability? My belief is that it must grab you from the moment that you pick it up, to the second you put it down. It should make you ask whether you could have done something different or if you want to try something else in order to see the different outcome. The game play should want you to master it rather than be so easy that you have already mastered it. The story should make you want to learn even more about the environments and the people that inhabit it. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt has done this for me and so much more. It led me to not only know and love the games, but it has introduced me to the book series that has turned into some of the best books that I have ever read. If you love video games and you want to try something that will hook you the moment you jump off your horse, then pick up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and understand what a true game with replay ability is all about.