*This review originally appeared at wizarddojo.com*
Appeasing the gods…
God of War will stand as one of greatest reinventions in gaming history, breathing distilled life into a dormant franchise and reconstructing the preconceived notions of an established anti-hero. God of War is a brilliant thought piece that blissfully ripens with each passing moment, embodying the very foundation of the snowball effect. Its true brilliance lies within the sum of its parts and how each element is seamlessly weaved to craft an impeccably paced experience that rivals the meteoric heights of literature’s finest. Each exceptional element stands audaciously on its own but are beautifully accentuated as an ensemble, personifying a melodic orchestra of sorts. From its profound deconstruction of the familiar, redefinition of established characters, and completely revamped combat system, God of War is a blissful experience that constantly evolves and is exquisitely surprising. Its effortless transition from tranquil exposition to impeccably constructed gameplay is a pristine work of art, encompassing its creative theme of seamless harmony. Whether if you bask in the glory of its exceptionally gorgeous world, delve into the tantalizing water of its Norse mythology, deviate the beaten path in a rewarding sense of exploration and discovery, or partake in one of the most brutally satisfying combat systems to ever grace the medium, no single piece of the puzzle ever outshines God of War’s greatest triumph: its poignant story of paternal love, acceptance, discovery, and redemption. God of War is indicative to the strength of the single-player experience and their importance to this growing infrastructure, a bold proclamation to their sense of hopeful permanence. Its enriching sense and scale of world building, level design, and creative direction is an exceptional achievement that rightfully surpasses the likes of anything that came before it. God of War is a masterpiece in every meaning of the word, as it impeccably redefines the conventions of this established series, crafting a new powerful identity that is quintessentially more resonant and accessible, all of which is captured in one continuous camera shot of glory.
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A brave new world
150 hours. That is in no way shape or form an example of hyperbole, it’s the factual length of my first expedition into the exquisitely detailed and rancorous world of The Witcher. Now 150 hours of gameplay is no small feat and is extremely impressive to say the least, but every single hour would be meaningless if the moment to moment gameplay was incapable of warranting the gargantuan experience; in a similar manner to any open-world game, the vast world created is meaningless if the world itself is a lifeless shell. The genre needs to have core gameplay and objectives that are meaningful and rewarding in their own right, and a world that can breathe and be as amiable and vulnerable as the people who inhabit said world. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a remarkable experience that not only meets all these expectations, but surpasses them exponentially, in a manner very few open world games are able to achieve. The large expansive world of The Witcher 3 may be its greatest star yet as the world itself is dynamic, volatile, and exceptionally gorgeous. The world is quite literally your sandbox and you’re free to hunt, race, liberate, fight, gamble, craft, and explore to your heart’s content. Each task carries significant weight and never emits that monotonous aura which has plagued the sandbox genre for years. Meaningful gameplay, paired with an exceptional, engaging world is a delicious combo that is seldom crafted successfully, yet CD Projekt RED have nearly done this, creating one of the most optimal open world experiences to date. Unfortunately its extremely poor exposition, repetitive and shallow combat, and copious amount of graphical disruptions hold The Witcher 3 from being the perfect masterpiece it easily could’ve been. Despite its discrepancies, however, The Witcher 3 proves to be an engaging form of entertainment that severs the line between player freedom and exploration and merges them together into one solid foundation. The Witcher 3 is one of the most expansive games I’ve ever played; regardless of my current state of progression, there was always something engaging to do, a banal moment in time simply never existed. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best games I’ve played this year, no questions asked, and is the best choice if you wish to get the most bang for your buck.
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