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The Witcher - hands-on

We find ourselves with The Witcher on-screen before us and almost immediately the withering vines of hope have begun to flourish. We instantly think of Oblivion, but also of the immediacy of Guild Wars (there’s no multiplayer, before you ask) - even the multitudinous flavors of White Wolf’s World of Darkness universe, in the sense that you’re plunged into a fantasy world that at once seems familiar, yet also not quite right.

There are quaint cottages and rolling hills, but nothing is quite as fragrantly colorful as the lands that Warcraft occupies. Behind the bushes there’s a kind of seething animosity rather than any kind of overt forest-of-doom hellishness that you might come across in other beardy games. Walking through a village you almost get the feeling that the NPCs are watching you from behind their curtains, turning only occasionally to beat their children.