The Witcher 3 leads off a big week in new gaming releases

twig may 22 2015 witcher04

Lots of anticipated game releases grace stores this week. The Witcher series has steadily grown in popularity and acclaim over the previous two entries, and the new, third game might be its breakout hit, and one of the first, defining RPGs of the new console generation. Meanwhile Destiny fans get another generous portion of juicy new content to feast on with the House of Wolves expansion. Life is Strange‘s action heats up with the third of five episodes in this time travel coming-of-age story. To fill the moments between bigger games, 3DS now has a spinoff of the popular Puzzles & Dragons match-3 series, with a special Mario twist.

What will you be playing this week?

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

PS4/Xbox One/Windows (May 19)
Return to the saga of Geralt of Rivia, a mutated, professional monster hunter whom everyone needs, but no one really wants to stick around (except for sexy sorceresses, of course). Adapted from a series of fantasy novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, this is developer CD Projekt Red’s largest entry in the series yet.

Ciri, an immensely powerful young woman and one-time protege of Geralt, is on the run from a pack of relentless, spectral knights called the Wild Hunt, and Geralt is tasked with finding her before they do. Track her in a massive world with sprawling vistas full of secrets to discover and complicated ethical decisions to make.

Life is Strange: Episode 3 — Chaos Theory

PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One, Windows (May 19)
The time travel and teen angst adventures of Max Caulfield continue in this third of five episodes for Dontnod and Square Enix’s episodic, narrative-driven adventure. Not everything is as placid as it seems in Arcadia Bay when Max Caulfield returns home. Her newly manifest ability to rewind time and change events allows Max to dig deeper into the web of secrets around the disappearance of a fellow student.

Episode 3 sees Max and Chloe getting closer to learning what happened to Rachel Amber, going so far as to break into Principal Wells’ office at night. Max will also apparently find a new use for her ability.

Destiny: House of Wolves

PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One (May 19)
The Queen of the Awoken has been betrayed by the Fallen. She has sent a call out for Guardians to come out to her realm in the Reef at the edge of the solar system, with a promise of great rewards. This is the second major expansion for Bungie’s massive online shooter, Destiny.

Although there is no new raid this time around, House of Wolves does add substantial new endgame content, such as a wave-based cooperative challenge at the Prison of Elders, or a new, high-level competition for the best of the best, the Trials of Osiris. It also adds a host of new weapons, armor, and missions, and reworks a number of the game’s systems.

Puzzles & Dragons Z/Super Mario Edition

3DS (May 22)
This Japanese mobile match-3 puzzler with elements of a roleplaying game has come to Nintendo’s handheld 3DS, and includes two fully featured games in one. Puzzles & Dragons Z adds even more RPG elements to the addictive, match puzzling gameplay, with towns to explore and NPCs to talk with. Puzzles & Dragons Super Mario Edition takes those same basic mechanics, but translates them into the world and characters of Mario, but with fewer RPG elements, instead using a traditional Mario level progression.

Players assemble a team of characters to fight opponents. Matching like-colored gems triggers characters of the corresponding element to attack, with more gems and combos leading to more damage. The characters level up and grow more powerful through experience, and teams can be swapped in and out in order to best deal with the challenges of a particular level.