The Witcher

Last month at E3, we took an early look at The Witcher, a title that stabs the role-playing genre right in its evil, exposed jugular - crappy writing. Based on the epic and beloved writings of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher possesses a deep, sweeping fantasy backstory of ancient prophecy, monstrous invasion and a mysterious order.

The central focus of Sapowski's books is the anti-hero Geralt, a white-haired mutant called a witcher, trained from birth to fight all manner of monsters and beasts. He is a killing machine without equal, devoid of sentimentality.

Geralt is the best and most feared of all the witchers - swordsmen and spellcasters without peer. When you assume the role of Geralt at the beginning of the game, you are found unconscious, weak and without memory.

The Witcher uses the same game engine that powered Neverwinter Nights, which is a promising heritage. But despite being a bit dated graphically, early looks at the game make it hard to believe that The Witcher is based on a four-year-old game.

Meticulous motion capture makes The Witcher's action-RPG combat fluid and hypnotic. Your enemies don't simply slump over and die -instead, Geralt viciously decapitates foes as they vomit a helical spray of blood, or runs them through with his giant, two-handed claymore.