Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

A shorter than usual weekly Steam best-sellers chart this week, primarily because almost everything is explained simply by the words “Steam Summer sale”, but partly because I’ve already spent a chunk of today compiling a big list of Sale recommendations to help our beloved readers’ purchasin’ decisions. You can have a pithy and/or explantory line about each game next week, promise. Meantime: these are the ten best-selling games on Steam last week. Expect next week’s to look wildly different, thanks to the ongoing and regularly changing sale. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Rick Lane)

The Witcher 3 s second and last expansion, Blood and Wine, does a fantastic job of bringing the series to a close. CD Projekt clearly wanted to finish Geralt s story with a flourish and this is evident in so much of the expansion s design.

It s also a conclusion that brings the series full circle, although it does so in a way that, in typical CD Projekt fashion, is much subtler than you might expect from a game of this ilk. There s no getting the gang back together for a round of drinks and to reminisce about the Good Times (well, there s a little bit of that if you know where to look), and no revisiting of important locations from earlier games. Instead, Blood & Wine looks back at the series as a whole through its enemies.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The Witcher 3 loves to wade through the murk of its magical Middle Ages. Whether Geralt is trudging the forsaken swamps of Velen or topping up his tan in Toussaint, things are always more grim than they seem. A dash of domestic violence here, an avenging spirit there The Witcher s world is complex and muddy.

I m not interested in emotional grime, however. No, every time I play The Witcher 3 I m hit by its actual dirt: the mud, rocks, silt and sand that make up the Northern Kingdoms.

Immersion comes in part from CD Projekt Red s incredible textures and facial rigging, but the real legwork is done by topography. And I don t mean the awesome mountains of Skellige or the great expanse of Crookback Bog. CDPR s artistry is in the small details.

Erosion in progress, but still someone has built a shack. I hope their insurance is good.

Even amid the gentle farmland of White Orchard there s evidence of geological processes at work. Sheer, sandy banks overhang the river, fringes of grass suggesting ongoing erosion. Where many RPGs would dump a river in a convenient trough in the landscape, The Witcher 3 s ragged, crumbling riverbanks convince me that this stream was flowing eons before Geralt wandered by.

When the heavens open, rain spatters every exposed surface. Decades-old games can simulate rain of course, but as the torrent develops, rivulets start to run down rock faces, explaining how their deep crevices developed. Even throwaway items like a quest-specific frying pan catches raindrops as you hand it to an NPC.

Rocks, clifftops, tree roots and all the imperfections that make nature a pain in the arse each get their time to shine. They never feel like assets studding the landscape for variety s sake, as boulders often do in Skyrim, for example. They are the landscape, born of imagined natural processes. I like to believe The Witcher s NPCs considered the lay of the land before building their hovels. Roads, for example, typically take the easiest route up a hill, skirting ridges though a straight route would be quicker.

Ideal place to build a road, this. Good choice, peasants.

Attention to topographical detail comes at a cost. Geralt s movement is often sluggish, and I wonder whether his lack of precision, quite unbefitting a witcher, is a product of the landscape s complexity. Roach, his faithful steed, certainly sees things I can t, stalling on hilly terrain like she s missed a gear change. Thankfully Roach s initial fear of bridges (gephyrophobia, if you re wondering) was patched out.

Nevertheless, the sensation of controlling a drunk man and his intellectually challenged horse is a price I happily pay to wander a world so muddy, rough and crumbling that it s just like the real thing.

PC Gamer

The expansions might be over, but CD Projekt Red is still polishing The Witcher 3. Patch 1.22 is here, and it fixes a number of new issues introduced by Blood and Wine, plus some general tweaks for good measure.

Weird and wonderful highlights include:

  • Fixes issue whereby negative experience points were sometimes displayed if progress had been initially started in version 1.0.
  • Fixes issue whereby Roach's tail could vanish.
  • Fixes issue whereby pressing 'O' would add an unlimited number of Decoy gwent cards.
  • Fixes issue whereby Oriana's guard could become translucent during the "Night of Long Fangs" quest.
  • Adds display of food or drink vitality regeneration amount.
  • Fixes issue whereby players could knock down horses.
  • Fixes exploit whereby Aarding a beehive towards the dwarven blacksmith in White Orchard was possible.
  • Fixes issue whereby a noblewoman in red would sometimes follow Geralt everywhere he goes.
  • Fixes issue whereby body parts would sometimes remain suspended in mid-air after an enemy exploded.

There are many more fixes, and you can find the full patch notes here (amazingly, the inventory is still being improved).

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

The Witcher 3 is a wonderful game in a very literal sense. It is full of wonder, from the startling entities that stalk its darkest corners to the stories that echo through the ages, and even the alternately bleak and brilliant weather, which I enjoy on an almost metatextual level, appreciating the techniques that paint storms and rainfall onto the world. I could spend hours just watching the skybox transform. It’s also grounded in reality of a sort though and shot through with an understanding of folklore, superstition and historic belief systems.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Can a free-to-play standalone version of a card game within an RPG really be one of the best games at E3? I played Gwent [official site] yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Goldgust
Patch 1.22 is here! Check the list of changes and fixes that the patch brings!

  • Fixes issue whereby Corvo Bianco upgrades would not complete if players left Toussaint while an upgrade was in progress.
  • Fixes issue whereby Roach would not move during the quest "The Warble of a Smitten Knight."
  • Fixes an issue whereby camera hard lock could not be enabled following completion of the quest "The Warble of a Smitten Knight."
  • Fixes issue involving incorrect progression of the "Wine Wars: Vermentino" quest if player had completed all "Wine Wars: Belgaard" tasks previously.
  • Fixes issue whereby the "Envoys, Wineboys" quest would not progress correction under certain circumstances.
  • Fixes issue whereby mutagen icons were not updated on Steam.
  • Fixes additional instances of issue whereby interaction was sometimes missing from chests containing loot in the quest "Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear" in Kaer Morhen.
  • Fixes issue whereby some NPCs could not spawn after the completion of Blood and Wine.
  • Adds Dark Iron Plate diagram to the crafting list.
  • Fixes issue whereby upscaled levels of selected enemies would not be calculated correctly.
  • Fixes issue whereby negative experience points were sometimes displayed if progress had been initially started in version 1.0.
  • Fixes issue whereby a golem guarding treasure located between Bowdon and Brunwich could prove invulnerable.
  • Fixes issue whereby Bandit Camp near Kilkerinn Ruins could not be marked as cleared.
  • Fixes issue whereby Roach's tail could vanish.
  • Fixes issue whereby some enemies' upscaled level would be improperly displayed as too high.
  • Fixes issue whereby it was possible to permanently lose swords in Unseen Elder's cave.
  • Fixes issue whereby an improperly high amount of experience could be required to level up above level 96.
  • Corrects Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone credits.
  • Fixes issue whereby it was impossible to obtain the gwent leader card "Francesca Findabair: The Beautiful" after finishing the main story.
  • Fixes the issue whereby the corpse of Golyat had corrupted visuals.
    Introduces tweaks and improvements to the inventory system.
  • Fixes issue whereby picking up only one piece of dirty cloth at a time during the "Burlap is the New Stripe" quest could block progress.
  • Fixes issue whereby borders established during the "Night of Long Fangs" quest would sometimes exist after completing the quest, preventing users from exploring Toussaint.
  • Fixes issue whereby sword sound effects when Eredin was hit could be muted.
  • Fixes issue whereby some streamed audio assets could not be played.
  • Fixes issue whereby The Wicked Witch could be rendered invincible.
  • Fixes issue whereby Majordomo could refuse to move in to Corvo Bianco.
  • Fixes issue whereby the "Contract: Bovine Blues" quest did not progress correctly if the "Big Feet to Fill" quest had not been completed.
  • Fixes rare issue whereby the "Be it Ever So Humble" quest did not progress correctly.
  • Fixes issue whereby the "empress" ending would not trigger under certain circumstances.
  • Fixes issue whereby Legendary Feline Silver Sword was one one of the ingredients required to craft Grandmaster Legendary Griffin Steel Sword.
  • Fixes issue whereby diagrams required to progress in the "From Ofier's Distant Shores" quest could not be looted from a chest.
  • Fixes issue whereby Aerondight acquired in New Game Plus mode would not scale to Geralt's level.
  • Fixes issue whereby extra ability slots would not unlock correctly while researching mutations.
  • Fixes issue whereby pressing 'O' would add an unlimited number of Decoy gwent cards.
  • Fixes interaction with noticeboard near the Little Flint Girl.
  • Fixes possible exploit enabling unwarranted gains in experience points during "The Path of Warriors" quest.
  • Fixes issue whereby the player was sometimes unable to progress in the "Gwent: Never Fear, Skellige's Here" quest.
  • Fixes issue causing infinite loading screen after leaving portal in the "Turn and Face the Strange" quest.
  • Fixes issue whereby one of Geralt's hairdos could be more visible than it should when using Feline Grandmaster chest armor.
  • Fixes issue whereby Viper Armor could change color to red when displayed on armor stand in Corvo Bianco
  • Fixes issue whereby the collar of one of the armors was red.
  • Fixes issue whereby Marlene would be unable to engage in conversation.
  • Fixes issue whereby Oriana's guard could become translucent during the "Night of Long Fangs" quest.
  • Adds display of food or drink vitality regeneration amount.
  • An art dealer sets up shop near Lazare Lafargue’s Workshop in Beauclair.
  • Fixes issue whereby access to the Alchemy Table could be blocked.
  • Fixes issue whereby stamina would regenerate at a larger rate than it should after starting a new game.
  • Fixes issue whereby players could knock down horses.
  • Fixes issue whereby dogs and wolves would not die immediately after being knocked down and frozen at the same time.
  • Fixes issue whereby the "Wine Wars: Consorting" quest did not progress correctly.
  • Fixes issue whereby the "A Knight's Tales" quest could be restarted even if Jacob was already dead.
  • Fixes issue whereby courtesans at Belles of Beauclair could reappear in the room after a sex scene.
  • Fixes issue whereby an infinite loading screen could occur after fist fight with Baron in the "Family Matters" quest.
  • Fixes exploit whereby Aarding a beehive towards the dwarven blacksmith in White Orchard was possible.
  • Fixes issue whereby the game could crash after meeting the knights from the "Envoys, Wineboys" quest.
  • It is now possible to acquire the "Emhyr var Emreis: Emperor of Nilfgaard" gwent card from the innkeeper at the Inn at the Crossroads in cases where this formerly was not possible.
  • Fixes issue whereby music/sound effects would sometimes not play.
  • Fixes issue whereby day value was missing from displayed total played time.
  • Fixes issue whereby Marlene could disappear from Corvo Bianco after a few hours.
  • Fixes a rare issue whereby players could lose earned levels.
  • Fixes issue whereby witcher gear and diagrams could go missing.
  • Fixes issue whereby Geralt could die after a loading screen in the "Turn and Face the Strange" quest.
  • Fixes issue whereby a noblewoman in red would sometimes follow Geralt everywhere he goes.
  • Fixes issue whereby body parts would sometimes remain suspended in mid-air after an enemy exploded.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

That there Ian Video Games was telling the truth, you know: The Witcher 3‘s card game Gwent is being spun off into its own standalone game. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game [official site] will be free-to-play, and is due to enter beta in September.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

When CD Projekt announced that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would include a Hearthstone-style game-within-a-game called Gwent, two thoughts immediately leapt to my mind: First, that "Gwent is a terrible name for a game, and second, that it would be a quickly-forgettable Witcher mini-game, like dice poker or drunken fistfighting. I was right on the first count, but as to the second part, well, not so much. The game-within-a-game became a hit-within-a-hit, and now it looks like CD Projekt is going to spin it off into a stand-alone release.

As noticed by Nerdleaks, the studio recently filed for two trademarks with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, one for Gwent which appears to be an expansion of a 2015 trademark filing of the same name and the other, more tellingly, for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. That filing includes a logo and, according to a Google translation, covers computer games and videogames in various formats, online gaming services, and also doodads like jewelry, medallions, key rings, statues, clothing, writing instruments, stationery, and luggage. CDPR really wants to be sure that all the branding bases are covered, I guess.

If this turns out to be true (and I fully expect that it will), it will hardly be a surprising move. Card games are big business these days, and everyone seems to want in on the action: Hearthstone is a runaway hit, Bethesda is working on one based on its Elder Scrolls series, and the only thing left of the once-mighty Fable franchise is a card game Kickstarter. Add to that the fact that Gwent is basically a fully-formed game already, and the real question isn't whether CD Projekt will release a version separate from The Witcher 3, but why it hasn't already.

(Actually, whether is a real question too, and one I've asked. I'll let you know what I hear.)

The PC Gaming Show returns to E3 on Monday June 13, featuring game announcements, updates to existing favourites, and conversation with top developers. You can find out what to expect here, and also book free tickets to attend in person at pcgamingshow.com. The PC Gaming Show will be broadcast live through twitch.tv/pcgamer from 11:30 am PT/2:30 pm ET/6:30 pm GMT, but be sure to tune in beforehand to check out The Steam Speedrun, in which one lucky winner will buy as many games as they can in three minutes.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

You’ll never guess what Ian Video Games heard down at the trademark and patent office! Oh, yes, of course someone said “This is the daftest idea I’ve ever heard”, you’re right there. His patent does make a certain sort of sense if you think about it, though. Inevitably some Frankenstein will make a perpetual motion machine by strapping buttered toast to a cat and hurling it off a roof – but how will they safely attach the toast to the cat? Cushioned heat-resistant toast straps. Always thinking ahead, that Ian.

Anyway, no, the other thing he heard: someone filing a trademark for a standalone version of Gwent, the card game from The Witcher 3.

… [visit site to read more]

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