No More Lurking In The Shadows: The Witcher 3 Released

It’s been a long wait for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – four years since The Witcher 2 came out, and two since 3 was announced – but CD Projekt’s open-world monster-slaying RPG is finally, finally here. It unlocked in the wee small hours in the morning and I would very much like to be playing it right now rather than telling you that it’s out. What a noble, considerate, and responsible soul I am.

Our review is still in the works, as review code came late. But look, you and me, let’s watch the launch trailer and pretend we’re playing through what we see, and pretend we’re not at all resentful of the people who’ve already played a chunk already.

The Witcher 3 is on GOG and Steam for £49.99. I guess also Origin and Uplay too if you somehow prefer one of those? Or – good grief – even in a box.

Also out today are the first two of sixteen free DLC packs. You can nab some armour for Geralt and his horse, and a selection of fancy beards for Geralt (but not his horse, sadly). RED have also announced two expansion packs, though the first of those isn’t due until October. The two will cost £19.99 and run about thirty hours between them.

But for now, The Witcher 3 is out! Tell me, did you play last night? I loaded it up and watched the intro then realised no, I really do have work to do. But I will feast vicariously on any titbits that you, dear reader, might care to mention.


  1. Marclev says:

    £32.99 on Amazon, for both boxed and digital versions.

    • Mint says:

      My MSI GTX970 is being delivered in a few hours including 2 game vouchers, 1 for the witcher 3 and another for batman arkham night, The witchers release day , Perfect timing i would say

      altough i did not enjoy the witcher 2 much >:) but that was mostly because of all the small maps trying to look big and the whole structure of quests therein. The open world in 3 should not have that issue. Also a great title to break a brand new 970 in with.

  2. Kreeth says:

    Played about an hour and a half last night when I noticed they’d unlocked it early :).

    First impressions are great, really great. I can see I’m going to need to really practice the combat, but the conversational stuff is really strong, good voices etc. Can’t wait to get back to it.

  3. Wowbagger says:

    They certainly continued the form with an amazing intro cinematic, I’ve only managed 2 hours in (mostly collecting plants) but I can tell this is one to saver.

  4. Dr_Barnowl says:

    Holy monkey, that video is all in-engine rendering. My PC is going to have an asthma attack and die.

    • Howard says:

      Yes, yes it is, even though the game looks nothing like the trailers thanks to the lies of the devs. Game runs like a one legged dog.
      Performance is the least of its issues though – its just a really bad game.

      • golem09 says:

        I don’t think you have a grasp on what a really bad game is.

        • Mint says:

          If this game is a bad game for him then he seems to have a pretty good grasp on what a bad game for him his.

          You’re good game is not everybody’s good game.

          • golem09 says:

            One is subjective, the other objective. He stated that it is objectively a bad game. Now I can get behind not agreeing on what an objectively good game is, but declaring something an objectively bad game should have easily defined features, and not just be some subjective exaggeration.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Christ, I’m sick of the internet’s fawning adoration for “Nuh-uh, it’s my opinion, you can’t tell me I’m wrong” – maybe so, but I can make a pretty good case that your opinion isn’t supported by any particularly strong arguments. It runs well on Ultra at 1080 with Hairworks off (no Nvidia card), it has no particularly noticeable visual problems, production values are very high, it’s easy to control, it’s a heavily action-oriented RPG just like The Witcher 2 was and gamepad controls are a natural fit – if you hate gamepads, sorry, that’s your problem. You can certainly criticise CDP if they haven’t implemented proper key rebinding, no argument there. I could nitpick a bunch of stuff about the game already, it’s far from perfect. But anyone coming out with OMG SO BAD etc., sure, you’re entitled to your opinion, yadda yadda, and I’m entitled to roll my eyes at how ineptly you’re putting it.

          • Mint says:

            So basicaly you just said “Nu-uh, this is my opinion” :3

      • Wowbagger says:

        That’s quite the unqualified statement there. I’ve not had any performance issues, apart from turning off treshairrfx effects to stabilise at 60fps. I haven’t had a chance to get very far in but It’s an astoundingly good game so far, the voice acting is a cut above the Witcher 2 and the combat is much more fluid and well controlled.

        • Mungrul says:

          Indeed, I had a brief go this morning, and aside from a worrying nVidia driver crash that didn’t repeat, the performance was very impressive.
          While I may have a GTX 970, my CPU’s a 4 year old i7, and the game’s silky smooth set to Ultra at 1,920×1,200.
          I was also very impressed with how the combat seems to have improved since Witcher 2, and there’s a seriously distracting amount of things to do. So far, it seems far from “a really bad game.”

          • Mungrul says:

            To add to that, I suspect that again, we’re reaping the benefits of the game being optimised for consoles.

          • Horg says:

            AMD drivers aren’t out yet so there’s room for improvement, but so far my 270X Devil can handle the high settings with floppy hair turned off. That’s pretty good going for an open world with so much detail. Floppy hair absolutely kills the frame rate, even just set to Geralt. It’s so bad the in engine close up dialogues with Geralt got out of sync with the audio.

        • Mint says:

          on wich GPU is that?

        • shaydeeadi says:

          I preferred the Polish VO to the English one in the last 2 games, is the English one improved or the Polak one superb?

          • Wowbagger says:

            I haven’t tried the Polish in any of the games – but the English is much less stilted and is more varied, I haven’t got that far mind so take it as an early impression.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Well, the difference doesn’t matter, only the fact that the english version has Charles Dance.

        • Howard says:

          How is it unqualified? I didn’t give details because, frankly, no one really cares, but a game looking like this should get more than an average of 50 FPS (in low density scenes – its regularly <20 elsewhere) on a 4.4gig quad core, superclocked 970 with 8 gig of ram and a fast SSD.
          Performance is just bad. The game looks like hell and the combat is a disaster (not Witcher 2 bad, I grant, but god is it awful).

          • jerf says:

            “The game looks like hell” – I’m sorry, could you please point me to better looking open-world RPGs? I must be missing some fantastic games out there.

            “combat is a disaster” – it’s easy to make such general statements, but would you care to clarify in detail why is it a disaster? I personally think that it’s very good, and all the major reviews agreed with that. Ok, it’s debatable that Souls/Bloodborne games have better action combat, but what other swordfighting action RPGs have better combat? Again, from your statement I feel that I’m massively ignorant on the existance of some fantastic games out there.

          • Thurgret says:

            On a similar machine, albeit with double the RAM, and no fiddling with overclocking anything, I get superb performance. Is it possible that one of your components is defective, or that you are having driver issues?

          • jerf says:

            Based on his “its just a really bad game”, “the game looks like hell” and “combat is a disaster” statements, which are given without any detailed clarifications and impressions, I bet that he’s just trolling, sadly. I’m not even sure that he played the game at all.

          • Lanessar says:

            You have some system issue going on.

            I’m running a 3.5 GHz quad core intel CPU, EVGA FTW 970 with 8GB RAM. Everything on Ultra save for Hairworks. It’s a pretty solid 50 FPS, the only drops to 30 are during cutscenes (but I believe those are capped to 30).

            I won’t comment on the rest. I think Voltaire said it best: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

          • Biaxident says:

            I thought Witcher 2 had one of the best combat systems of any game I’ve played so just goes to show that it’s all subjective.

          • HothMonster says:

            You update your drivers? I have the same specs as you and am getting 45-60 FPS on ultra.

          • Howard says:

            @jerf – oh do shut the hell up with your tiresome troll accusations. Yes, I’ve played it, ffs, and while the performance is not constantly awful, it is pretty bad considering how naff this game looks. A world filled with 2D sprites is not very impressive. The character models and animation are pretty damned impressive, but the actual world is extremely lackluster to me.
            On this subject, the performance has improved now I have tried it again this afternoon – nothing has changed as far as I know – no new patches or drivers – but there we are. Still, even if tomorrow it locks itself at 100FPS and never flinches, its still not a pretty game, to me at least.
            As to the combat, well that is mostly my bad, I suspect. I wasn’t expecting an action hack and slash type thing, but more a “Skyrim in 3rd person” sort of affair, and so I bounced off it. My bad for not understanding what was being offered. Its not bad combat, I just do not like it at all.

          • PearlChoco says:

            Still waiting for your list of open world rpgs that all look miles better than Witcher 3, which “looks like hell”.

            And if you’re regularly getting < 20 fps on a 4.4Hhz with 970, I suggest finding someone to help you configure your hardware/software environment. It's really not that hard, you'll see.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        I see we’ve found the most insufferable individual on RPS.

        • Chalky says:

          Yep. Game runs like a charm on my year and a half old PC on high settings so… I dunno maybe if you’re trying to run it in ultra settings or on a toaster or something you might run into trouble.

          Also it looks just as good as the in gameplay trailers, absolutely astonishingly pretty. All the people “furious” about the graphics being worse than the trailers are now crying because it turns out that the preview copies of the game had ultra settings disabled – now they can’t get the game to run on ultra on their rigs at all! Poor babbies, if only someone had thought to downgrade the graphics!!!

          • Cinek says:

            To be fair – Red Engine seems to have some random performance issues with random PC setups. It’s something that affects only small portion of the users, but similar story was there with Witcher 2 and by all accounts it seems to be repeating with Witcher 3. With Witcher 2 it took 3 patches from nVidia to the GPU drivers to make it work smooth for me, and apparently nVidia already released first dedicated GPU driver patch for Witcher 3… so… I would recommend installing that for a good beginning.

  5. shoefish says:

    Sucks to be left handed I guess, or some other person who doesn’t like using WASD. They really dropped the ball with keybindings, lots of the keys are locked, and movement keys aren’t even an option for changing. Apparently the .cfg files can be edited manually to get things playable but I really cant be arsed with that yet.

    • theschnuffel says:

      Why not use a left handed controller?

      • Howard says:

        Maybe because controllers are terrible and we should not be forced to use them through moronic design?

        • Beva says:

          God, not this again…

          • Howard says:

            Yes, this again. Controllers have their uses, RPGs are not one of them, and it has no place in the PC version of this game.

          • golem09 says:

            They have their uses, and ALL third person games not using aiming reticules for 90% of their time is one of them.

          • aleander says:

            It’s grand sweeping statement of preference masquaraded as objective truth time!

            Computers have a place, but an individual’s home is not one of them. Games should be always played in arcades, everything else is just anti-social. Also all games should be turn-based railway simulators.

          • shaydeeadi says:

            I thought TW2 was pretty enjoyable on a pad, perhaps even more than on keyboard for what it’s worth.

          • Beva says:

            @Howard Are you sure you aren’t confusing this with PoE, in which case I agree, PoE is much better with a mouse.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Shit man, thank *god* you let us know! Phew, and just in time. I’m throwing all my controllers into the incinerator righht now. Real sorry about that. Enlighten us again!

    • TheTingler says:

      I was going to say that only the menu shortcuts are locked, but seriously? The movement keys aren’t even an option? I’ll have to check that, I know all the other keys are available to change but that’s crazy.

      Also, it’s much better with a joypad. It’s playable on keyboard/mouse and some things are better, but mostly it feels built for a pad.

    • Caelinus says:

      It is not ideal, but apparently the keys are rebindable in the ini settings.

  6. moocow says:

    I predict this will be RPS Game of The Month for let’s say August

  7. sonofsanta says:

    I cannot believe it is four years since Witcher 2. Four years! I really should get on with that second playthrough, especially as my PC isn’t quite up to spec for W3 until the end of the year.

  8. Grim_22 says:

    I’ve taken 5 days off work starting friday and also informed my girlfriend that I’ll be unreachable for that time to really get to sink my teeth into this monster of a game. But friday is so, so far away…

    • instantcoffe says:

      I’ve divorced my wife and given our baby for adoption. Also faked death in order to avoid work. I really want to play this game.

      • Horg says:

        I married your ex wife and adopted your baby, then faked their death to get time off for mourning. The thing about faking your own death is that people get suspicious if you show up a few weeks later saying ”I got better!”.

  9. elsparko says:

    Ah too bad it has been released. This means if you couldn’t play it this morning you’re already lagging behind everybody. I suspect the whole Witcher deal will be old news by the end of this week already. Remember the last big AAA RPG release? Some Inquisition something? I guess it must have been 10 years ago. Nobody is playing this old crap anymore!

    • KillahMate says:

      Yeah, the ‘gottafinishgottafinish’ mentality is incredibly annoying.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        That’s one reason why I like singleplayer RPG’s and dislike MMO’s, because I can be as lazy as I want to be and nothing will be affect my gaming experience. I won’t feel like I’m left behind, that I need to catch up (e.g. level up) because I’m the only one playing the game in that setting. I might not be able to join the discussion where people talk about the next Mass Effect game, because I haven’t even started the first Mass Effect game, but I can do that whenever I want to, because it doesn’t matter when I do it.

        For once, though, I’ve been able to read all the comments of The Witcher 3 articles and not be afraid to encounter spoilers or feel confused, because I’ve already played both previous games and explored almost everything about them. I can here join in the general cheer and anticipation, instead of going “well, I guess so, I haven’t played any of them yet”.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      tbh if I haven’t started by 5:45 tonight I’ll probably uninstall it – what’s even the point?

      • ansionnach says:

        If there’s ever a true Ultima sequel it should maybe finish with you sitting at your desk at home and you’ve got to uninstall the game to finally kill the Guardian, closing the gateway to Britannia forever. It could start with you getting and removing a virus called Ultima IX: Ascension. You might then start to notice characters from the game on earth and in the sequel you’d find the space ship from the first Ultima and use it to travel back through space rather than a moongate. I wonder how receptive Disney would be to TIE Fighters making a return to Ultima as well?

      • ansionnach says:

        Oh, yeah – here’s how the Guardian arrives:
        link to

        Seeing how old your computer is the uninstall process would probably be to quit to DOS and type:
        deltree u7 (and confirm)

  10. Lacero says:

    the best thing about this is the team might be able to move to cyberpunk and get that game finished. or started.

  11. edwardh says:

    Actually, I’ll be busy playing Legend of Grimrock 2 instead ;)

  12. Gwilym says:

    Oh that looks lovely. I won’t be able to afford this for a while, but what I *can* afford is to listen to the bizarre and rather brilliant “Witcher: Music Inspired By The Game” album. It was included in the Enhanced patch for the first game, and it’s a real treat.

    The trailer includes a Song, so this is an entirely relevant and pertinent comment

  13. Easy says:

    Have played a couple of hours. Bounced off hard from Witcher 2… This one, well, this is is FRIGGIN AMAZEBALLS! They even improved the combat quite a bit, which was my #1 pet peeve. But this number is smooth as milk, sweet as honey, very strong voice work and dialog as already mentioned, and the world really feels like it is alive and vibrant. Hopefully this first impression lingers. Oh and UI much improved to, not half as confusing.

    • Horg says:

      It feels a bit like they went back to the Witcher 1 roots in a lot of respects while keeping the good bits from Witcher 2. Pirouette is back in, and it’s more useful in combat with humans than rolling most of the time. Consumable food and drink are back as the standard healing mechanic. I haven’t looked at the level up options yet, but the character sheet looks properly detailed this time around, every stat is tracked and explained in game. The crafting looks improved over Witcher 2 and there are more options for gearing up Geralt. Dialogue is at least as good as Witcher 2 standard, translations seems to be spot on so far and the voice acting for the main characters has been good. I’d say that this is the first Witcher you can endorse at launch without an enhanced edition, no regrets pre-ordering, might be a contender for game of the year.

      • Minsc_N_Boo says:

        I am a bit of a weirdo, as I preferred the combat in the first game! I did really enjoy TW2, although I though the last act felt a little rushed.

        I will be picking this up at some point, although I have the great problem of having far too many AAA RPG’s to choose from :-)

  14. Luminolza says:

    I’ve still got 1 and 2 sitting unopened, which I guess I should probably play first. Although the fact they’ve been unplayed for years is maybe a sign that won’t happen any time soon.

  15. Bishop149 says:

    This might have been one to tempted me briefly way from my never buy one day one policy. . .. but the tech specs scared me off. Anyone playing on similar to a 570GTX? (Well under the recommended but its Wot I Have)

    • cpt_freakout says:

      It won’t look incredibly amazing but it will look from OK to great, depending on your taste for (some) graphics to (all the) graphics. I have a miserable 560M but 12 GB RAM – hell, it’s a laptop, and it runs pretty well with almost every setting on low. What I did was drop everything to low from the start, and then adjust what is most important for me in visual terms, so I knocked the textures all the way up to high, for example, and it still runs fine. I think the game looks great even on low settings, so there’s that.

      What I strangely have issues with, though, is the M&K control settings – it feels wonky, even in the menus. Another couple people commented on it on another post, so I seem not to be the only one.

      • Zenicetus says:

        You’re not the only one. Mouse & keyboard feels weird, especially in the menus. Definitely an “optimized for gamepad first” project.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Yeah they similarly scared me off too. My 1gb HD7770, paired with a haswell i5 and 8 giggly-bytes of ram manages to make Witcher 2, and even Shadow of Mordor, look soooo pretty, yet falls way below even the published minimum spec for Witcher 3.

    • Guran says:

      I have a Gtx570 and 6 GB ram, below the minimum requirements. And it still looks gorgeous and runs ok with everything set to low. Haven’t encountered any issues so far, except for the occasional drop in frame rate (for example when Geralt enters the balcony in the opening scene). This seems like a very smooth and polished release so far!

    • whbboyd says:

      I’m running it with a Radeon HD5770 with 1GB VRAM which is, uh, wow, four years old now. Medium settings; I had to bump the resolution down from 1080p, but the framerate is extremely smooth. So there’s no issues with swapping textures in or out; full resolution is just too many pixels. =/ Looks perfectly nice other than the monitor’s dubious scaling.

      • noodlecake says:

        That’s great to hear. I’ve got a HD6950 and I was worried it wouldn’t be playable. I might get it now. :)

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          I have a Radeon 6650 with 1 GB VRAM, but my laptop has a 2.3 GHz dual-core processor and only 4 GB RAM, so I’m gonna wait until either I get a new PC or there’s a demo/free weekend on Steam for this. With my backlog, I don’t know which will come first.

  16. Biaxident says:

    Trying to decide whether to play Witcher 2 again before I get into this. Been like 4/5 years so don’t really remember anything. Anyone else bother to?

    • ansionnach says:

      Still need to finish the first game. By the time I get through the second one (which I have), Wild Hunt will be available complete and for a budget price!

  17. Solidstate89 says:

    I would very much like to be playing it right now rather than telling you that it’s out. What a noble, considerate, and responsible soul I am.

    You the real MPV, Alice.

  18. ansionnach says:

    Yay to expansion packs! I’m not goldfish-memoried enough to say that a lot of them weren’t disappointing back in the day, but their length at least stood a chance of offering something worth playing. All this bite-sized episodic gaming and DLC is a load of old (new) nonsense!

    In honour of good expansion packs, here are a few that I enjoyed:
    Throne of Bhaal
    Duke Nukem 3d Plutonium PAK
    Brood War

    In “honour” of DLC here are a few expansions that were of questionable value at full price:
    Any Origin Systems speech pack
    Forge of Virtue for Ultima VII: The Black Gate
    The Silver Seed for Ultima VII: The Serpent Isle

    In honour of expansion packs that expect you to be an expert player, I don’t think I could finish the first level of Syndicate: American Revolt even though I found the original game handy enough.

  19. Winged Nazgul says:

    Erm…you may want to spellcheck that last sentence, Alice.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Titbits? That’s correct in British English. Tidbits is North American.

    • MiniMatt says:

      As a self appointed grammar-nazi (all the best ones are self appointed), I’m struggling to see fault with it. Starting a sentence with a conjunction may make a few bluster but I’m a hip and fly young grammar nazi and I can get down with that, y’all.

      Unless you’re referring to “titbits”? Perhaps a colloquialism which doesn’t translate universally.

  20. kud13 says:

    Unlocked last night here in Canada. Played it, went through training (combat feels simpler, more intuitive. Also that intro sequence gets all the “awwws” I have). Got to the first tavern in-game- impressions:

    -Minimap looks VERY cluttered-I’d much rather have a key I could hold to have everything intractable pop up ala TW1 (though this may be what Witcher Sense does). There may be a way to tweak the Minimap to fix that though-there’s a lot of UI options.

    -Movement keys are locked? Didn’t notice, as I use the arrow keys, and they are fine. I’m slighlty annoyed CDPRED locked ENTER as their “open all menus” button, since I generally use it as my “interact” button. Ditto with backspace.

    -performance-wise I didn’t tinker much. I’m running an 8 GB RAM, 4.0 GHz AMD FX 3850, and NVIDIA GT 730 2MB. Given my card’s a bit weak, I expected low frames- on most stuff low, some medium I get 20 FPS in-game, and 10 in cutscenes-but there’s still much tweaking to do.

    -after some pretty intense gaming sessions this weekend, I’m halfway into Act II of the original- and loving it as much my 6th time around as I did before. I’m certainly in 0 hurry to play through TW1, it’s a game I plan to savour over an extensive time.

    -Russian voiceovers available on launch! Continuity in voice acting from 2 to 3 (they had a diff main actor in 1), and it sounds amazing still.

  21. fish99 says:

    The game reset my PC twice when I went out to the balcony in the first room. I didn’t even know that was possible on Win7. Haven’t had a chance to look into why yet. Almost seems like the PSU was overloaded and shut down (and if so that wouldn’t be the games fault), but GTAV in 1440p (DSR) didn’t once cause the same thing in 50hrs. Not gonna jump to any conclusions yet though.

  22. Horg says:

    Nvidia have a performance guide out, which includes bench marks for the various in game settings, and .ini tweaks if you want to push the game beyond ultra:

    link to

    Some things to consider if you are needing some extra frames; FloppyHair™ is the worst offender for frame drops, even on Nvidia cards you need a beefy PC to use it. SSAO, shadow quality and foliage draw distance are the next worst offenders. I got an extra 10 FPS going from On / High / High to Off / Medium / Medium respectively. You barely notice the difference visually. The in game V-sync seems to be creating micro stutter so I turned that off and enabled dynamic V-sync in RadeonPro. After all that I can get a stable 50 FPS that feels smooth on High preset with above exceptions (AMD 6350, R9 270X Devil 2GB, 8GB DDR3 @1866mhz for reference).

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    As this may be decent timing for it: Has anyone played The Witcher 2 with and without the combat overhaul and can tell me which one they feel is superior? I have yet to play through it and I don’t feel like bothering twice, and there seems to be quite the division over it.

    • notenome says:

      Yeah I played Witcher 2 both ways (rawr). Not sure what you’re asking here, but I feel the combat overhaul helped TW2, though Geralt can still feel unresponsive. Overall combat remains the weakest point in a landmark game, but not as a weak point.

      As for TW2 and TW3, combat has improved by leaps and bounds. I disagree with some of the changes (potions in particular are a bit gamier) but its still much better. That said, Geralt is STILL a bit unresponsive and slightly wonky.

    • jonahcutter says:

      TW2 combat rebalance helps some, no doubt. If for nothing more than making you far stronger against ordinary human foes. A couple of strikes are generally more than enough to take them out, speeding up the process and supposedly being more in line with how highly-skilled Geralt is portrayed in the novels.

  24. notenome says:

    Well… I went to sleep at 6 in the morning thanks to this baby. NOT THAT YOU CARE.

    It’s quite lovely, and quite striking. A few points:

    – A lot of icons on the map, but less-so than ubisoft games. Also all icons begin as question marks, so you dont know if its a quest, place of power, or treasure chest. Which is also to say that all icons are substantial.

    – CDPR seems to have responded to criticisms of the witchers 1 & 2 being very sexually laddish by doing two things: first, including three powerful female characters who are central to the plot (Triss, Ves, Ciri) right at the start. Second, by objectifying Garrett with the ‘camera’. A lot of bare-chested Garrett, Garrett in bathtubs, Garrett with a towel on etc. Not sure if I think this is the way forward or not, but its clear they got the message. Or some message. Also a rather touching moment with a gay character at the beginning, which I think was fairly well handled (contextually).

    – Game runs okay-ish on my computer. Did not expect that.

    – Incredibly movement (and by extension combat) is still a bit wonky. Garrett turns like a high-speed race car, which means a lot of slaming into doorways instead of through them. Everyday my respect for the souls series grows and grows.

    – Overall, my first impression is that I want to cut this comment short because I’d rather be playing the game. But so far it seems to be getting (for me) everything right that DAI got wrong.

  25. aircool says:

    i5 3570k & HD680. Looks good, plays good. Need to find a way to stop double-tapping keys in combat to stop rolling.

  26. Zenicetus says:

    First impressions after getting to the first inn and doing a couple of local quests.

    Graphic performance is fine on a GTX 750ti. I have a 970 but haven’t moved it to this machine yet. Voice acting and environment design excellent. The weather effects as a storm came in…. wow. And it’s such a pleasure to walk into a building from outside and not have to wait for a load screen.

    I haven’t done enough combat to know if I like it better than Witcher 2, which I thought was okay, except for the rolling on the ground bit. One thing I did notice is that it feels very fast… maybe a little too fast. It encourages lots of attack button mashing because things happen so quickly when attacked by multiple creatures that I can’t see where to block, evade, or use other defensive moves instead of just constantly swinging the sword. I probably just need to get better at it.

    I did have two disappointments. The first is lack of FoV control, unless I missed a setting somewhere. The view angle feels a bit restricted and I’d like to widen it a bit.

    The second disappointment is the weak feel of mouse control, once again indicating a developer prioritizing gamepads over M&K control. It’s laggy in menus, whether Vsync is on or off. I had a hard time finding a mouse speed setting that feels right. It’s better when moving Geralt around, but I still had to set mouse speed almost all the way to the left, and the mouse still feels a tiny bit distant, like I’m not quite directly connected to him. And before anyone suggests it, no I’m not going to play this on a gamepad. I sure hope they can fix this quickly because it’s getting in the way of enjoying the game.

    I saw a few other minor rough edges, like a change in Geralt’s voice volume between cut scenes and in-game dialogue, and the wrong key shown in the tutorial for climbing/mantling (S instead of W), but otherwise it seems pretty solid.

    • Thurgret says:

      A gamepad is a worthwhile investment for the purposes of playing a number of games, including this one. Yes, I suggested it.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Nope, won’t do it, but thanks for the suggestion. And not just for doctrinaire reasons, but because as a fan of flight sims, I already have my USB ports jammed with joystick, throttle quadrant, rudder pedals, and TrackIR. Soon to be jammed up further with the consumer Oculus Rift, I hope, so that’s one more (lose the TrackIR, add two USB 3.0 ports for the Rift). And also a Wacom tablet, so that’s one more. It’s enough control inputs to manage, and I just don’t want to throw a gamepad on top of it all.

        Also, my games are flight sims and strategy, with the occasional dip into a good action-RPG like The Witcher or (rarely) an FPS where mouse works better for aiming anyway. I just don’t play enough games that “require” gamepad as an input device. It’s not rocket science, after all, to support mouse & keyboard at the same level as the gamepad. Plenty of games do it just fine. I had no problems with running Wolfenstein New Order. Why can’t Witcher 3 perform as well?

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Ooh, I too have a 750Ti, was looking for some impressions if it’s even worth bothering with on that hardware. Nice to hear it’s okay? What setting and FPS did you get, if you bothered to check?

  27. Betamax says:

    Wasn’t expecting to be able to run this, or at least not very well, on my 4 year old set up but so far it’s pulling it off on medium settings and seems smooth enough (GeForce 560 ti 1gb, AMD x4 955, 8gb RAM if it helps anyone).

    So far I’ve just played enough to horse about a bit and witcher some monsters into little pieces, and it’s looking delicious even on the lower settings.

    Now to get back to the Witcher 2, a game I am four years late in finishing.

  28. shagen454 says:

    Just wanted to add some impressions I had in the first 6 hours of play last night.

    Obviously, I was excited for the extremely detailed open-world without load times when entering buildings.

    A couple of aspects I really appreciate that I was not expecting:

    The world pacing. I hate it when RPGs feel zoned as combat/creature placement feels blocked out.
    In Witcher 3 many times you can wander the trails while being able to see where the enemies are behind the bushes or off in the distance with witcher senses. This adds so much to the immersion & atmosphere.

    I knew this Witcher would be “cinematic” in the ways of the old Witcher or Dragon Age games. But, this game is very cinematic in a way that is much closer to film than any other game on the market. It’s very well done.

    Excited to play lot’s more.

  29. jonahcutter says:

    Some quick reactions from very early in the game:

    Graphics run and look decent on my i5, gtx 680, 8g ram, with most regular settings on med/high. Hair physics off. At least early on here, I’m thinking I can stick with my current rig and enjoy it. Which is good because a 970 means an i7 which needs a new motherboard and then might as well get more ram and… EEP!

    Combat is improved a great deal. There’s a side/backstep move now, a parry, and a riposte to go along with your signs and potions. And the eternal video game trope of the diveroll. There is a tactical usage though, as stupid as the trope is. Side/backstep keeps you closer to your target still. Diveroll moves you far away. I still think diverolling is a stupid, silly-looking crutch for designing a combat system around, but at least they’ve given us the side/backstep move, which looks and feels much more like actual sword-fighting footwork. Rant aside, combat feels pretty good. Tactical and fun.

    All the animations in interaction and combat still feel still just the slightest bit clunky, though they are improved over the previous games. It doesn’t achieve that unconscious smoothness that I personally enjoy. It feels and plays pretty good, just not great.

    Art design is excellent. Great low/realistic fantasy look to everything. Most pieces of clothing look like something people would actually wear, even if stylized and not actually something that existed in reality. Landscapes, buildings, etc are lovely.

    Geralt with a beard: Excellent

    The opening zone has that smallish and scaled-down feeling to its open world. Which is fine, if a bit cartoony. Nothing I can’t live with. I don’t know if this changes into more expansive landscapes later. It is still far far more open than the previous games’ zones, which were pseudo-openworld with everything actually structured around paths.

    Writing: Excellent. There’s some silly moments as always with these guys, but the writing is confident and mature. And thankfully it continues with the series’ refreshing lack-of-shame openness and sense of fun about sexuality.

    Geralt is as growly as he’s ever been. Be forewarned if annoyed by silly-but-charming gruffness affectations.

    I haven’t seen much cleavage yet, but I’ve heard there’s plenty. Be forewarned if frightened/annoyed/offended by the space between female human breasts.

    Geralt is pretty sexed up himself. Be forewarned if frightened/annoyed/offended about men in bath scenes and running around in tight leggings.

    All told, I’m only a small ways in and haven’t been this anticipatory about a huge game that’s waiting front of me in a while. At this point in most recent open-world games, I’ve already been feeling like it’s a bit of a boring slog and that it’s an effort just to fire it up.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Oh, and I’m playing through GOG Galaxy. The client has been clean and easy to use so far. And there’s even achievements if that’s your bag.

      It’s a bit refreshing to not be in Steam for absolutely everything.

      • Isometric says:

        It opens up once you get past the first area. Prepare to be absolutely amazed.

  30. WinterlightSong says:

    Just completed my second playthrough of ‘The Witcher 2’ this morning…brilliant! This time I let Letho go instead of killing him simply because he seemed so damned reasonable! And he let me swig his vodka!
    The Witcher 2 is one of my all time favourite RPG’s with ‘earthy’ characters, brilliant voice acting and anabolic steroids…has anyone defeated Numa without taking the steroids?
    The Witcher 3 is currently downloading on Steam…my system should handle this game easily: AMD Piledriver 8 core 9590 (4.7ghz) Sapphire Radeon R9 290x, 16GB DDR3
    I am so excited…like a child waiting to open Xmas presents!!!

    • Zenicetus says:

      I let Letho go in my Witcher 2 play-through too. It was just so damned refreshing to see a game that ended with an option NOT to have the big climactic boss fight.

    • Horg says:

      Sort of, if you count talking him into not juicing anymore. Not sure if it’s possible to beat Numa when he’s on the sauce.

    • steves says:

      I’m playing through W2 now, just to get my imported save exactly the way I want it.

      Going to wait for another patch or two for W3, ’cause I’m patient like that, but fired it up briefly to see if it runs ok, and to check out the opening.

      This was using an import from a save I downloaded, where, amongst other unimportant decisions, Geralt never removed the blue stripes tattoo.

      Three observations:

      I still have the tattoo!

      Little Ciri in the opening tutorial is absolutely adorable.

      Lack of any FOV/zoom adjustment is fucking criminal – the camera is basically 2 feet behind your head, and feels horribly cramped. Might have to wait for that to be fixed too.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Lack of FoV adjustment is one of the first things I noticed (besides the laggy mouse) in Witcher 3.

        It’s probably locked to keep the frame rates reasonable on anything but high-end hardware, especially for reviews and first impressions. Since the game seems to be running very well on everything from midrange GPU’s on up, I hope they add in a FoV option soon. I’d gladly trade off a little eye candy for a wider view.