The Witcher III: Wild Hunt review

Monster-hunter Geralt is back and better than ever in this genre-defining action-RPG

The king is dead, long live the king! It's taken five years, but with the release of this third game based onthe series of fantasy stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has lost its crown as the king of open-world action RPGs.

Concluding the story of monster-hunter Geralt, The Witcher III… finds the Northern Kingdoms in turmoil as rival political factions use any opportunity they can to fight one another, while an otherworldly army known as the Wild Hunt embarks on a rampage of death and destruction. It's all pretty grim and gloomy stuff. But just like Game of Thrones, it's used as a way of depicting the cost of the violence being perpetrated and the decisions being made.

As well as telling a wonderful story, The Witcher III… also delivers a thrilling gaming experience. Developer CD Projekt RED has continued to tweak the game mechanics, resulting in improved combat, an expanded potions section and a seemingly infinite degree of character customisation. Heck, the sheer scale of the game and number of quests (and sub-quests) ensure well over 100 hours of play. Meanwhile, the new REDengine 3 means that the gameworld looks utterly spectacular; conjuring up breathtaking HD vistas that will give you pause for thought amid all of the violence and bloodshed. Simply magical.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Namco Bandai, Xbox One/PS4/PC, £50 Approx