Wot I Think – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Goodness, is that the time? And, more importantly, the date? Well, yes. In my defence, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [official site] isn’t the kind of game you can rush, in any way whatsoever. It’s the RPG that CD Projekt has been working on for ten years now – the first two games in retrospect simply being necessary baby-steps steps on the road to this, the Witcher game of their dreams. It’s a flawed masterpiece, but make no mistake, it absolutely is a masterpiece – one of the best RPGs ever created, and a true tribute to Sapkowski’s stories. Here’s Wot (Else) I Think.

Looking back, The Witcher 3’s greatest strength and weakness is how easy it makes everything look. There are games that jump up and down, waving and screaming, desperate for you to notice how clever and brilliant they are, and then there’s The Witcher 3, as casual about it as its hero Geralt after killing some unstoppable monster. An open world with the narrative depth and fidelity of a linear game? Well, yes, it muses, sloping off to the pub. That is indeed quite a thing. A map that, while full of little icons and collectibles, never feels like Dragon Age Inquisition’s awkward offline MMO or Assassin’s Creed’s pointless filler? Yes, yes, it yawns, reaching for a pint. ‘Aint no biggie, but thanks for noticing. Anyway, don’t you have the fate of entire kingdoms to reshape or something?

Time and time again I just had to stop and – in a good way – remind myself of just how good what I was playing actually is. Wild Hunt is so grounded, so good at world building, so subtle in its cleverness that after a while, it simply is. Never before, for instance, has there been an RPG so reactive, yet so content to hide the mechanics. There’re no icons next to dialogue options to tell you what’ll happen, no “Clementine will remember that” flag. Quests and character interactions simply flow naturally, with an off-handed comment or decision from hours earlier having equally natural effects – a guard who remembers you massacring your way into his boss’ HQ for instance, or some heavies showing up in the street to get revenge for a priest you insulted. Characters will remember former lies told even if you don’t. One of my favourite little touches is that you have a spell that lets you pull a Jedi Mind Trick on characters, but if you do it to a guy while his friends are there, they’re just going to start going “Wait, what the shit? Kill this guy, he’s brainwashing Dave!”

Honestly, it’s an almost irrational level of detail, to the point I’m convinced that CD Projekt’s definition of Quality Assurance is a team of guys with spiked whips. “You! Is there a reason Yennefer doesn’t comment on the current state of Geralt’s beard in this scene?” “It’s… not important?” WACHAK!

The catch is that being surrounded by so much great stuff makes the dodgier moments all the more noticeable – often unfairly. Sure, the open world is so well engineered that you can ride seamlessly through forests and multiple villages and end up in the clustered streets of Novigrad, a rare RPG city with a triple-figure population. But pffft, check out that wonky rock texture there! Shameful! What’s that? Well, yes, it is a beautifully told story full of amazing characters, humour and moments of warmth that constantly reinforce that while this is a cruel, harsh world, it’s also one with love and lifelong friendships forged in blood and iron. But have you seen that wonky swordplay? 6/10!

To be sure, there are real issues. The swordplay for instance is better than it first seems, fitting Geralt as a character and bolstered with alchemy and dodging that do let you fight above your weight class… but yeah, it’s indisputably wonky, with a bad camera and some very annoying elements. An early story mission called Wandering in the Dark verges on torture, with too many bosses, running long enough to guarantee you break all your equipment, and featuring a section where you have to fight in a small protective dome that Geralt just will not stop rolling out of into death.

Still, perspective! The swordplay isn’t Dark Souls, but it’s not crap either. At its worst, it’s still fine 90% or so of the time. It’s just that it’s ‘fine’ in a game that does such a great job at excelling.

I guess at this point we have to address the graphics, and the ‘downgrade’. Look, another time, another game, I might agree, but if you look at The Witcher 3 and you see anything other than an amazing-looking game, get your eyes checked. Could it have looked better if all development had been focused on the PC? Sure, but to dismiss its graphics because of a few wall textures and fire shaders is – well, you’re that guy on TripAdvisor who gives the Taj Mahal 2 stars because there isn’t a convenient McDonalds nearby. The game still makes great use of the PC and offers plenty to crank up and outshine the consoles, to say nothing of mods like ENB and supporting 4K. This game looks great. Let nobody tell you otherwise, and certainly not with a casual scribble of ‘no atmosphere’ on a screenshot. Bullshit does this game have no atmosphere, even if it is sunnier than expected.

As elsewhere though, the real achievements are understated – a big one being the character animation. It doesn’t necessarily come across in a quick video or pic, but the facial animation during conversations, the choreography during both the biggest and the smallest scenes, the incidental details… they all add up. It’s not that CD Projekt is doing anything that other RPG developers couldn’t with all this, just that it almost never misses an opportunity to actually do it. Whether that’s bothering to update a character’s model after an injury, or splashing a little unique decoration into a location to separate it from the often admittedly samey-buildings, it’s done, again to the point that it’s only the occasional stumbles like a character drinking from an invisible cup that end up standing out.

On page 2: Quests and monster-bashing

242 Comments

  1. sixsixtrample says:

    It’s an absolute masterpiece, and I honestly can’t fathom how they pulled it off.

    • Timbrelaine says:

      This. They’ve really raised the bar for what I thought was possible from a project of this scope.

      • TimePointFive says:

        I keep finding myself walking instead of running or riding through Velen. Roach following behind for a while before he huffs and sees some tasty grass and goes to feed. That makes me notice I’m sort of low on essential meat so I go off and use axii and igni on some deer, not breaking the walking stride once. I am Geralt.

  2. Ansob says:

    As it is, the benefits are things like ‘10% bonus damage to this monster type’ rather than anything particularly worth searching for. You can also go the entire game without even mixing

    If you play on the difficulty meant for Witcher veterans, you definitely can’t do that and you definitely will need those potions and oils (which incidentally go up to at least +50% damage at Superior quality) for the tougher enemies and bosses.

    I imagine that on the next difficulty up and the eventual Dark difficutly they’ll add in the now-mandatory Collector’s Edition patch, alchemy will be even more mandatory, so it’s basically the same deal as normal.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah, I noticed that the higher tiers of oils and potions are significantly more potent. The first tier is a bit misleading because of how low the stats are, but it ramps up fast. There are also skills that make you resistant against enemies affected by your current oil, which further ramps up the impact.

      Similarly, abilities start off with pretty low impact, but ramp up quickly. Unlocking the channeled abilities is essentially like unlocking a brand new ability, and maxing them has a serious impact (for instance, Quen’s channel is a shield which regens your health, and at max level it drains no stamina unless you get hit).

      I initially thought the combat mechanics had been simplified too much, but there’s far more depth to it than it first appears. Its biggest flaw may well be that it’s not immediately obvious, and that at regular difficulty levels it’s not necessary.

      • SMGreer says:

        Spot on, very much how I found it. Can appreciate their restraint though in not overloading players, especially newcomers, with loads of abilities with alternate modes etc. Even I was a bit overwhelmed now and then.

      • aepervius says:

        Same here. initially I thought it is just hack hack hack, but i found out that depending on the creature, where you roll and doge , and what cue to wait for differs.

        The only “disappointing” enemy are human and alike, because then i mostly use incinerate and the fight is quickly over. I even used the same tactic on a level 24 quest I mistakenly took too early on dwarves, as a level 14-15.

    • Ansob says:

      And yeah, the entire system of gear and enemy levels is completely pants. I really wish they’d dramatically flattened stats and just had the bulk of your power come from equipment upgrades and made them hard to find and craft, rather than just resorting to “you can’t use this slightly better sword until you’re level 37” and stuff like enemies more than 5 levels above you taking virtually no damage from your attacks. :(

      • Cinek says:

        You must be playing different game, cause in the one I played I was perfectly capable of killing opponents 7-8 levels above me. More than that was very annoying, especially for bosses, but still doable if you have patience. Just use potions, use oils (oils are mandatory) and light gear oriented on critics (going for heavy gear and tanking damage doesn’t really pay off as well as not getting hit does).

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s not a question of difficulty so much as theme. I think the basic difficulty of the regular modes is fine for most combat, it’s just that when you go up against the monsters, they’re just enemies to beat up. I think it’s fine that you don’t need to think much about alchemy on the early modes, but I don’t think that precludes other stuff to prepare for contracts which isn’t just following instructions on the screen to have Geralt do it all for you.

      As said, I’d like a Witcher mode that cranks things up on those without doing a general difficulty spike across the board. And yeah, I know they go up to 50% but it’s still the same problem – it becomes a question of efficiencies over special knowledge, when there’s so much cooler stuff they could do, like needing a Cat potion to fight something that lives in the dark, or making full use of spells instead of just slapping on Quen every time the icon lights up – mechanics that really draw the line between monsters that are just pests, and monsters that very clearly require a Witcher specifically, rather than some guy who knows how to swing a sword.

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        Thulsa Hex says:

        I’m not that far into the game after 30 hours as I’m taking it slow but did you fight the Nightwraith in one of the earlier Velen contracts? It was kicking my ass despite my level exceeding the suggested and I couldn’t figure it out until I read the beastiary. There I found out that you needed to draw it into Yrden traps to make it temporarily corporeal so that you could land blows and do some actual damage. There was no way I could have beaten it otherwise and thought that was pretty cool.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          Nope, didn’t get that one. Certainly didn’t 100% the game, so if there are closer bits to that that I just missed, then cool. In particular, later on in the game was focusing more on the story missions for obvious reasons. Barely even looked at the noticeboards in Skellige especially.

        • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

          I find it neat that it took you 30 hours of playtime to finally use Yrden on a wraith, and yet here I am only 10 hours in and I’ve had to use it three different times. I actually sort of rage quit last night because a particular wraith and I battled for a solid 20 minutes, me chipping its health down to almost-dead, and then it killed me because I became overeager to finish it off.

          • Atog says:

            Happens to me all the time, “Only two hits and he’s down. Damn he hit me twice and I’m dead ?”

          • Cinek says:

            yea… playing safe is really important in Witcher 3. Especially because some monsters can block your attacks or try to dodge them making rushes for a victory even more risky than in the other games,

      • Ansob says:

        Yeah, that’s fair, and I’d also love a difficulty mode like the one you mentioned.

        Nitpicking aside, this was an excellent review. Thanks!

    • brat-sampson says:

      My problem with the difficulty essentially boiled down to it seeming like 75% of the game is aimed at levels 10-15, certainly there’s enough at those levels to take Geralt from 8 to 20, at which point there’s still *hours* of them available to do. Bumping up more of the beasts and high-level gear requirement to end-game levels might’ve been a good idea. I’ve already found myself taking on optional treasure hunts I’ve only just gotten round to doing, enjoying the journey but winding up with a bunch of gear worse than I had when I went in.

      Additionally, the later abilities are insane. I remember thinking it seemed very restrictive to only allow players 12 (ax) perks applied at one time, but it seems than given many combinations can swiftly become almost overpowered in isolation, I can see why they wanted to make people choose.

    • SamfisherAnD says:

      Even on Death March which I switched to in Act 3, everything was laughably easy even without oils. Only potion I use for bosses are Swallow and Thunderbolt. I was quite surprised how easy Death march was in the end game, although I know it’s brutal at the start when you have no skill points to use, and especially when bowman start appearing and you don’t have the arrow deflect skill yet.

  3. SMGreer says:

    Couldn’t agree more, such an astonishing feat in the space of three games where the first was as rough a diamond as you can possibly get.

    Although, playing it on a harder difficulty from the get go did put more emphasis on the potions/oils/research aspect of being a Witcher for me even if I too would love to have seen it go further. I did find the use of signs quite inventive, especially monsters like the Noonwraiths or the Ifrit where using your signs is almost a necessity and makes a juggling act out of offensive and defensive signs. Not a Dark Souls in that regard but then, honestly, what is?

    Glad you took the time to give it a proper WIT even if the pressure must have been there every step of the way. Like the game itself, a thing best not rushed.

  4. Mrice says:

    Loved the review. Agreed with pretty much all of it.

    One thing i think is worth mentioning. I quite liked how i could always tell how to approach an enemy by a quick glance (which the bestiary expanded on with additional ideal signs and oils). Big monsters were almost always best served by rolling out of their big hit boxes and using heavy attacks to stagger them. Small monsters were almost always best served by dodging out of their small hit boxes and quickly using fast attacks to turn it back on them.

    Its. I dunno. Even if people dont seem to like the combat much you can tell they put real thought into it. Its nice.

  5. FriendlyFire says:

    Great review, amazing game, fully agreed. The best RPG I’ve played since The Witcher 2, probably, if not the best RPG I’ve ever played flat out.

    It’s been touched in the review, but my biggest gripe (and it’s a small one in the grand scheme of things) is the level scaling. It makes little in-universe sense that a bandit can one-shot you just because his level is arbitrarily higher than yours. It makes even less sense that an ancient artifact sword you found 30 minutes ago is somehow worse than a regular guard’s crap sword, just because levels.

    The good news is that they intend on releasing a modding kit again, and I’m hoping that the game’s success will mean a flourishing modding community. A mod that outright eliminates level scaling could be extremely interesting, instead rebalancing enemies according to just how dangerous they should be (a werewolf should never be a pushover, but a guard shouldn’t be better at swordfighting than Geralt). Such a system could probably even factor in potions and oils, such that enemies are too dangerous or difficult without them.

  6. Fathom says:

    Great review. Glad this highlights how irrelevant complaints about slightly wonky combat or whatever are when you look at the big picture, and the quality of the writing. We need more games like this and less mindless shooters or time sinks that you forget the moment you finish.

    • kevinspell says:

      It’s a bit silly to say wonky combat doesn’t not matter all that much when this is something that takes one of the largest chunks of your total gameplay time. Most of the people I know will never play Witcher 3 because they refuse to endure the boring combat while they wait for the good parts of the game to come.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        I’m trying to fathom how the combat in this game is terrible. Is it Dark Souls good? No.

        But terrible? I’m struggling to think of another recent third person RPG that does this style any better (outside of the aforementioned Souls games). Definitely not Dragon Age 2/3 or Kingdoms of Amalur. I think it’s pretty solid.

        • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

          I’m not sure if the 2nd game had terrible combat, or I was just pants at it, but I absolutely love 3’s combat. It feels weighty and intuitive; I’m a great monster hunter, sure, but that’s because I’m careful in my battles, thinking about signs and oils and such. I really feel like a witcher.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            At release, Witcher 2’s combat was pretty crappy. The core of it was okay, but it suffered from some major problems like Geralt being useless (parrying especially was a joke) and it was very poorly explained. The Enhanced Edition did a much better job of introducing it, and the lessons that went into that are very visible here too.

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            Haywardan says:

            I’m very leery of the combat. I couldn’t even finish the combat tutorial in the Witcher 2. Played half the prologue and gave up. And given how Richard compared both the Witcher 2 and 3 to their Dragon Age counterparts, and given how much I enjoyed DA2 and DAI, I can’t imagine picking this up. I kind of feel like I might be missing out on some great stuff if I can get past the initial “this is total bum” feeling, but then I think about the 40 euro I entirely wasted on the Witcher 2.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            Is that the tutorial-tutorial from the Enhanced Edition, or just the opening in the original? If the latter, try downloading the Enhanced Edition because it’s closer to that than the original. If not, or you hate it, probably pass because while it’s a bit more polished this time, it’s the same basic schtick.

          • Cinek says:

            I completed vanilla Witcher 2 and I liked combat. Only a fight on a tower near the very end was annoying/frustrating, but otherwise – I liked it. It wasn’t brilliant, felt too consolish, but offered a lot of variety and fun between the moves if you choose to play it in a fun way (instead of rolling all the time like some people did). But I absolutely disposed Witcher 1 combat, to this day I can’t think of the RPG with worse combat mechanics than the first Witcher. It’s the epitome of mistakes. With the whole mechanic of “click the flaming sword” being absolute disgrace.

        • Rumpelstilskin says:

          I think Exanima has the most interesting melee combat.
          As for Dark Souls, it’s a bit of a personal crusade of mine to show people that it’s really not as good as it’s hyped. The mechanics are pretty standard for fighting games, there’s not a whole lot of different tactics – basically it’s just dogde/block/counter-attack ad nauseum. And magic and alchemy are nowhere near TW (in fact, they are embarrassingly rudimentary), let alone any RPG that actually has specialized casters.

          • zentropy says:

            Except, you just described the main reason why the combat system is so praised…

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            “The mechanics are pretty standard for fighting games.”

            I’m really curious how you would support this assertion.

          • Rumpelstilskin says:

            Well, what’s there to support? You pretty much only have 3 actions in Dark Souls – attack, block, or dodge. Parry/counter-attack is too twitch-based, so I never used it (and thus left it out). All magic is just magic missile with different power and casting time (I think they realized they weren’t massively good at making magic and ditched it completely in Blood Borne).

        • Steve Catens says:

          I think it comes down to the fact that so much of the game experience rests on the combat, and as an action game, it’s decidedly inferior to a number of other contemporary action combat games.

          It just doesn’t offer much to the traditional rpg audience. The writing isn’t that great–this is always tough to define, but the story is whatever, the game world is bland and derivative, the dialogue, which might be Shakespeare in the original Polish as far as I know, is utterly mundane in the English version. The progression mechanics are uninteresting compared to a party based system with a variety of distinct builds to choose from, and don’t inspire subsequent playthroughs just to be a little better at throwing bombs than at casting fireballs. It railroads you into playing one of the blandest “good at everything” fantasy jedi characters imaginable. The mostly binary story/dialogue choices somehow offer even less than the Mass Effect series, giving Geralt basically two options for being gruff and surly to various degrees, that both end up in the same place story wise.

          So that leaves the graphics (game is very pretty), the “open world” appeal, and the action combat. The open world is less interesting than a typical offering from Rockstar, and maybe even Bethesda, with far less to do, and breaking the illusion far more frequently. They give you a landscape rife with abundant, colorful vegetation to pick, only to realize you really need very little of it, and potions magically regenerate every time you rest. You run into the edge of the world, bringing up an immersion-shattering Fast Travel screen with alarming frequency. The world is so small and easy to traverse, I’ve yet to really feel like my poor horse was necessary–poor Roach is still parked wherever I left him in the prologue.

          So what you’re left with is a pretty looking, third person action combat game, that is in essence not much difference from your typical Ubisoft action game, albeit with token dialogue choices. Except the combat just isn’t particularity good. It’s not terrible, it’s just not enough to hook me in compared to a number of other contemporary third person action games, with far more compelling third person combat. I’m only a third of the way through the game (my progress has slowed as I become increasingly disenchanted), but I’ve yet to find a situation where buttom mashing and dodge/roll spamming wasn’t perfectly effective.

          We’ve had a year or two of really great RPGS on the PC platform, both in terms of systems and writing. Why everyone is on the hype train for a game that is a big step backwards for the genre, based on nothing more than graphics as far as I can tell, is baffling to me.

          Obviously this is only my opinion, and I don’t take any pleasure in being contrarian, but I disagree strongly with the RPS review. It’s not a great action game, it’s not a great open world experience, it’s not a great RPG. It’s not a terrible game, but it deserves far fewer superlatives than are casually being thrown around.

          • Jeeva says:

            > You run into the edge of the world, bringing up an immersion-shattering Fast Travel screen with alarming frequency. The world is so small and easy to traverse

            Someone above this comment, I believe, pointed out that this probably means that you’ve not got past the tutorial area yet. I’d recommend persisting, despite what you think currently.

          • Fox Tree says:

            You’r so funny. I’m really glad it is only your opinion.

            W3 is the best action rpg game in years. More to that it is best rpg game in years.

            I know which game you came prise here, so let me tell what I think. And yes it will ne only a modest opinion.

            I find party based classic rpg combat system boring as hell. Especially this in DA:I. Not only that skill tree has nothing to offer but also it does not affect a gameplay at all. I don’t need tens of builds when the most important thing is to PAUSE the action and chose a skill even though some choices are better then the others. This is not what defines a good rpg game.

            So no we did not have two years of good rpg games. It’s contrary. And I am willing to give actual arguments to prove that. Contrary to your empty allegations put in fancy words. For that to do I will use example of DA:I which in my opinion is not even an RPG game.

            Amount of lore do not create an role playing aspect if there is no connection between lore an characters in game. DA:I is great example. We have in this game a huge amount of stories about characters, like in a book, but yet this does not have any meaning because it does not affect a gameplay and in game world. Same thing happens between characters in the party. Contrary to DA:O where you could lose a party member because of action taken by a player in DA:I such a thing do not exist. You can do whatever you want and all party members will always do as told. That makes them flat as hell nevertheless amount of lore about them. I know it’s nice to read as a fantasy but not enough for a decent RP aspect, which btw build up immersion.

            In general DA:I has a problem of not having an RP aspect in intended rpg game. There is nothing player can do to affect in game world. Bioware has a huge experience of telling the story, which is in my opinion in DA:I boring as hell, so there is always a lot of it. It is always beautifully told either. But by the opinion of majority simple storytelling isn’t enough to create a role play immersive gameplay.

            Contrary to such games are, because I don’t even want to comment such a stupid reference to Rockstar games, for example Skyrim were you shape not only relation between fractions and change destiny of a land but also interact with world itself by destroying, picking up, throwing most of objects in game, crafting, building, renting properties etc. That is the way B builds up immersion and role play aspect in their games. That is why games like Fallout New Vegas become the cults for generations to come.

            And at the and you have a developers like CPR who build up RP aspect by giving a player a possibility to reshape entire in game world of fractions relations. Your enemies can become close friends or you can make that they have even more enemies. You can change history or a condition of life o a peasant. There is more to that. Examples are hundreds. That is why when it comes to immersion build CPR is simply the best.

            But yes you don’t have to fill it. It might be that it is not your cap of tea. It might be that Bioware style talks to you lauder. I can understand that.

            What sadly I can’t get is why with so many fancy world you weren’t able produce by your bran a single argument to prove at least one of your opinion.

            Pls answer.

  7. chesh says:

    For what it’s worth, if you’d had time to play gwent you probably would have seen the archer whose flavor text is “I always aim for the knees”, which I think is a much better arrow in the knee joke than the one highlighted.

    • gschmidl says:

      The pitchfork thing happened in the novels.

      • chesh says:

        Right, I do vaguely recall being told about that in the first or second game as well.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        The pitchfork did, but the wording of his line has to be a reference.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          Play Gwent!

          It’s super addictive and smart. Wish I could play it against live opponents. I completely abandoned the story and the quests, just to expand my gwent collection and hunt down the best cards.

          When I emerged from this trance, I was 5 levels above my quest backlog.

    • Atog says:

      Yeah I thought of this one too. Another line reminded me of the arrow-to-the-knee-joke, also in Skellige, don’t remember precisely.

    • Zenicetus says:

      In one of the villages you hit in the low levels (so this probably isn’t a spoiler), there is a peasant sitting down and moping, saying “War… War never changes…”

      It’s absolutely appropriate for the setting in Velen, which is basically a war-raved battlefield. And then his wife chips in, and says something like “Yeah, that’s what you keep saying you lazy layabout, now get up and do your chores!”

  8. almostDead says:

    ‘but to dismiss its graphics because of a few wall textures and fire shaders is – well, you’re that guy on TripAdvisor who gives the Taj Mahal 2 stars because there isn’t a convenient McDonalds nearby’

    How is that an appropriate analogy. There are better ways to try and make someone you disagree with seem ridiculous.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s dismissing something amazing because of something that’s only tangentially relevant.

      It’s a totally appropriate analogy.

      • almostDead says:

        No, an appropriate analogy would be ‘and giving the taj mahal 2 stars because you found some peeling paint in the customer toilets’.

        McDonalds location has nothing to do with the taj mahal admiration. But the graphics gripes were about graphics.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          Nope, that’s a terrible analogy. Leave them to the professionals.

          • almostDead says:

            Wow you told me. And you played the ‘I’m a pro card and don’t have to explain myself’.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            It’s true though. I saw Cobbett’s performance in the Analogy World Finals. He was like a cat in a room full of elephants.

            Man, I’m bad at this. Help me out, Richard.

          • Mrice says:

            I think he was just tired of you, but ill jump in.

            You ruined a funny joke through sheer pedantry and in an aggressive attempt to prove yourself right managed to turn it into something trite and awful. Now you are whining at the failure of people to fall to their knees and deep throat you for your “intellectual superiority”

          • jrodman says:

            I find this line of critique of the article a VERY APROPOS simile.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            I’d have played the Ace of Spades, but it might not have conveyed how little I care whether you like my analogy or not.

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            Wow. It really doesn’t take much to turn RPS writers into snide assholes these days.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            Oh, it takes quite a bit. Pedantry coming out of some 55 hours of game and being up until the dark corners of Friday night to get a 3000 word review out will do it quite effectively, for instance.

          • Asurmen says:

            Since when does a bit of snark = snide asshole? That’s a weird world you live in if that’s your scale of assholeness. Does that mean stealing sweets from children is a bit of ethnic cleansing and kicking a puppy outright nuclear WW3?

          • pepperfez says:

            We’re talking about games here; proportion isn’t allowed.

          • drewski says:

            It’s hyperbole escalation gone mad. I saw someone compare a kid being a bit rude to a politician to fascism the other day so, y’know.

          • Fathom says:

            I liked your review but you’re coming off as a huge prick here. Just let the guy disagree with your analogy, saying “I’m a pro” has never made anyone look good.

          • froz says:

            But he is pro and he is right. I can’t stand amatour idiots thinking they have skills, knowledge to do a job better then a pro. I’m sorry if it’s harsh, but it’s true. Sometimes you just have to accept that someone is better then you at something and he may not want to waste time to argue about it.

          • bill says:

            Good grief. It’s a joke. He didn’t say “I’m a pro”.
            Richard is one of the loveliest most helpful guys I’ve ever seen on the internet, and always takes the trouble to pop into the comments and respond to people’s questions with both quips and useful information.
            But no! We can’t have that! We need to make sure that kind of behavior stops by being overly sensitive and having no sense of humor!

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Well, the Taj Mahal is about to get closed down because it’s more or less black when it used to be white. Pollution is that bad.

            So yeah, actually it IS a terrible analogy, because you’d give it 2 stars even if it had a convenient Mcdonalds nearby!

          • PancakeWizard says:

            Richard was clearly being tongue in cheek with his ‘leave it to the professionals’ comment, but I don’t think it’s a problem him responding to snark and pedantry with more snark. You complainers all need to step out of your cotton wool burrows once in a while. No one is going to fawn over you arguing the toss.

          • zapatapon says:

            Since the analogy applies quite accurately as well to almostDead’s irrelevant and anal critique of Richard’s fine review, I initially thought almostDead was actually attempting to play the self-referential irony card. Was it actually unintended irony?

          • Apocalypse says:

            As if we have not seen just as terrible analogies from professionals :D

            Anyway, thanks for the review, I for once liked the analogy, it has the right amount of RPS randomness to it. I like the little Cara vibe.

    • Mrice says:

      Its also clearly intended to be funny.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It’s like dismissing the Sistine Chapel because there were more god rays coming through the windows in the tour brochure photos.

    • caff says:

      Actually there is a convenient McDonalds nearby. So you’re all wrong.

      link to tripadvisor.co.uk

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        Well, that just makes that two-star douche even more of a douche!

      • Mrice says:

        That has to be the grimmest McDonalds i have ever seen and that’s saying something. Why on earth was their choice of decor “George Orwells McDonalds”

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          “Under the spreading specials board I sold you and you sold Maude:
          There lie burgers, mustard daubed,
          Under the spreading specials board.”

          ― George Orwell, 1984 (Paraphrased)

        • Premium User Badge

          kfix says:

          Well at least they have decent objective reviews of the place, not like this subjective rubbish that RPS forces me to endure:

          This is a restaurant of international fast food chain called Mc Donald’s. You can get all type of fast food here. whether it is a burger,bread,pizza or cutlets etc. All Youngsters these days love to eat from these fast food restaurants.

      • skullBaseknowledge says:

        Good Lord … preordered this Taj Mahal right away!

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      I thought it was a terrific joke. I actually laughed out loud like a madman.

    • Fox Tree says:

      I think you simply did not get it. There is no analogy to a graphincs but a human nature. Let the dark side be with you.

  9. Zenicetus says:

    Good review! I haven’t finished the game, but it still impresses me every time I dip into it.

    It has some rough edges, like the way monster leveling is handled, but it’s still the closest thing to a “masterpiece” in PC gaming that I’ve seen in a long time. The studio’s sheer hard work, creativity, and love for the genre shows through in every bit of this game.

    It’s going to be a tough act to follow, since this is (apparently) the end of the road for the series.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Technically, they’ve said it’s the end for Geralt’s story, but they’ve left the option open to do more games in the universe. (Plus of course there’s two expansions coming.)

  10. Beybars says:

    Good evening Richard and great review.
    How would you compare the side quests to those found in Dragon Age inquisition, another game you reviewed and recommended? Have yet to play it myself, tho it is in my Origin library, but people keep telling me it’s a chore and I’m a little bit apprehensive that Witcher 3 might be similar.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I enjoyed Inquisition a lot, so not going to turn on it now, but The Witcher 3’s side-quests are far, far better. Much more intricately designed and produced, usually tied to the ongoing story, much more smoothly integrated with the world and the campaign and usually a lot more surprising. There’s very little split between ‘main quest’ and ‘side quest’ as far as it’s concerned, and I can’t remember much which came across as filler. They basically come in a couple of forms – a guy asking for general help, or a dedicated Witcher contract where you go after a monster. It helps of course that fighting monsters for coin is what Geralt *does*.

      (There are a few quickie things which you just stumble into now and again, like some guys who have ghouls in their barn and need them killed, or defending some scavengers, but they’re less quests than opportunities. The actual quests are much bigger in scale and usually with a ton of scripting, choices and character stuff to keep them cool.)

      • lordcooper says:

        Defending the scavengers successfully can save you a fair chunk of coin later on.

        • akstro says:

          This is a fun story to portray how amazing the games is… I ran into that quest and defended the scavengers but the quest giver himself died. I got the reward but later ran into the merchant and he says that if you go and do a task for him he would give you the pass and Geralt is like “I already did that but your brother in law is dead! lol” and the merchant tells me to fuck off. I found the pass from somewhere else but I really appreciated such a small side quest can have such a noticeable impact.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      As someone who hated DA:I, The Witcher 3 is exactly the game I would recommend to people who want a huge story-driven RPG that’s still relatively accessible to newcomers of the series. I’m loving it. If anything, it shows what a hollow, dull hack-and-slash DA:I really was underneath all the set dressing.

      Also Pillars of Eternity, but that’s a very different kind of RPG.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Note: I meant I would also recommend Pillars, not that it’s a hollow hack-and-slash. I can’t write at all today.

      • BM says:

        Couldn’t agree more! i played DAI and enjoyed it. But experiencing the witcher 3 just magnified DAI shortcomings to astronomical levels. I’m glad they came out in that order, i would’ve thrown away my controller if i had to endure DA after the witcher.

    • Fathom says:

      DA:I can’t even lick W3’s boots. It’s the worst Dragon Age game and a completely hollow MMO-ish timesink, while Witcher 3 is pretty much the best open world game since Red Dead Redemption.

  11. InfamousPotato says:

    Great review! Thanks for taking your time. It would be horrible if you had to rush through a game like this (I hope worrying about finishing the review didn’t hinder your enjoyment of the game).

  12. montorsi says:

    It’s alright. Looks terrible, controls terrible, is more of the same boohoo slay my monster crap with a couple mildly interesting quests along the way. 10/10 for the Hollywood cardboard environment look they seemed to have been aiming for.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      “Looks terrible”

      If you’re going to troll, it helps if you don’t lay your cards on the table before you’ve even sat down.

      Hey, I think I analogied correctly this time.

    • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

      Looks terrible? Was your face reflecting in your monitor?
      SCNR :D

    • Deathshadow says:

      I’ve played about an hour, kinda boring, when does it pick up?

      • demicanadian says:

        Had this problem with previous games. I’d say it never kicks in.

      • Cinek says:

        If you find it boring after an hour – I guess it’s just not the kind of a game for you. I got hooked up since the very beginning – played it 8 hours straight. It gets more funny after the prologue, but in terms of being interesting – it keeps on the same level through most of the story.

  13. Scelous says:

    I’m going to break the mold and say I’m somewhat bored with Witcher 3. But also let me say that I do think it’s a masterpiece — the amount of content in the game is seriously impressive. Even so, I’m on hour 60, and I’ve gotten tired of fighting drowners and bandits over and over again. Don’t even get me started on how every interest point in the water in Skellige is a smuggler’s cache, a boring affair where you have to fight off irritating mobs while dealing with the swimming mechanic.

    Additionally, I’m close to the end, I’ve done tons and tons of sidequests, but I have yet to see this “reactivity” that everyone is raving about. People remembering things you’ve done, or your decisions in quests affecting communities. I specifically kept my eye out for such reactivity after Kevin VanOrd raved about it on Gamespot — I checked on NPCs I did things for earlier in the game. Nothing. No one noticed anything I did.

    I do think Witcher 3 is overrated, much like the Witcher series as a whole. However, please don’t take this to mean I think W3 is a bad game. It’s not. I can see why people like it. But me, personally, I was greatly missing Dragon Age: Inquisition as I’ve played W3 (and I had complaints about DA:I as well, don’t get me wrong). I think Richard’s comparison between DA:I and Witcher 3 is correct, and that DA:I had some problems to overcome. I still preferred playing as the Inquisitor over Geralt, though.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      The reactivity comes through in lots of ways, big and small. It can be something as simple as a character hurting their hand and you later getting a “How’s the hand doing?” option, or as big as taking part in a quest to assassinate a king that ends up changing the whole political landscape. If you insult the priest who’s talking shit in Novigrad for instance then later in the game, you get jumped by some Witch Hunters who want to get revenge in his name. A sneaky mission gets destroyed almost immediately if you’ve attacked that group before because one of the guys recognise you. Incidental details like whether you have a snowball fight with someone at one point play parts later. Wooing one of Geralt’s two sorceress lovers is on the list too of course, throughout the entire game.

      (None of these are big spoilers, natch)

      Really, it happens. There’s a ton of it. Way more than in, say, Dragon Age.

    • Corwin71 says:

      As Richard Cobbett wrote, there are no flashing neon signs directing you to the changes you have wrought, but I can think of many, many examples. Just one, that I found particularly fun and satisfying in such a grim world: orphans stealing chickens from a crank old woman east of Novigrad. You can find the kids, convince the woman to take them in, and then wander by there later to find the kids playing around her yard while the woman protests half-heartedly about being called “gran” by her new charges.

    • Cinek says:

      I’m close to the end, I’ve done tons and tons of sidequests, but I have yet to see this “reactivity” that everyone is raving about” – you haven’t been paying attention. There are dozens of moments where quests are altered and game changes depending on your decisions. From villages being burned down through people helping you out in some quests later on because you helped them 10 gameplay hours ago, down to comments made by some villagers passing by. I understand that some of these might be difficult to spot, but you might want to try saving before one larger mission from the main plot and playing through it twice, making different decisions – you will see how it affects the outcome. In some missions there are multiple different plots and events depending on what you do, not just two, so toy around. You might be surprised.

  14. jsbenjamin says:

    Hi Richard,

    In your first impressions you mentioned it plays better with a controller than with mouse and keyboard. Did that stay true throughout? Did you adjust to mouse and keyboard? Or (as you seem to imply in this WIT) did you find yourself switching back and forth? And, if so, what were the reasons for switching back and forth?

    I have no problem playing a third-person game with a 360 controller (do it all the time), but just wondering if that’s the best way to approach this game, in your view?

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I just played with a controller. I tried for a bit with mouse and keyboard, switched to controller, that was better, so I kept using it. But every time I hit my screenshot key, I’d get the sodding pop-up of hate. Hence, hate.

      • Paul says:

        The pop-up can be disabled by some ini tweak, one number must be changed…saw it on reddit r/witcher.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Even removing the popup you’d still be left with a game that hard-switches between two different control schemes, and i’d say that’s the worst thing.

          I’d love the flexibility you can find in GTA5 for instance, in which you can use anything you want simultaneously, works like a charm. I prefer the gamepad for TW3, but i wouldn’t mind if i could use the right hand to reach for the mouse when it’s time to aim the crossbow.

          • Gryz says:

            “Even removing the popup you’d still be left with a game that hard-switches between two different control schemes, and i’d say that’s the worst thing”.
            Once the popup message is gone, there will be nothing to remind you that you use 2 control schemes. So that can’t be “the worst thing”. I play with a joystick disguised as gamepad. For analog movement. The keys on the joystick simulate a keyboard. And I use a trackball (which is just like a mouse). When I move Geralt (analog gamepad/joystick x/y-axis) and look around (mouse) at the same time, I was getting the warning message pop up every second. But there is a way to get rid of that.

            Go to Documents\The Witcher 3
            Open the file user.settings with an editor (like NotePad).
            Find the section: [Hidden]
            Add one line:
            [Hidden]
            LockControlScheme=1

            No more warnings. Only when you start a new level.
            The downside is that all hints are now displaying xbox gamepad button names, in stead of keyboard buttons. Not perfect. But after a while you know the buttons anyway.

  15. 0positivo says:

    I don’t understand. On paper, The Witcher should be a game I would LOVE to play. It sounds insipired, challenging, vast, awe-inspiring…

    And yet… I can’t get myself to like it. I play it for a few hours, and then give up, not “getting it”. I don’t quite understand it myself…

    • jrodman says:

      Is it called Old? Or do you not have this with other games?

      I have a serious case of Old at times.

      • Stevostin says:

        Don’t know for that one but I feel the same for the first 2 and I can explain: they’re not good. 2nd is butthead ugly (even at release) unless you have so low visual cue that any cheap fx can hide all the misery from you. It’s awful at explaining its mechanics as well as its lore. It’s TPV and not a good one. It forces me to play a very specific someone but totally fails to interest me at playing him. And that’s how TW 1&2 are amongst the 5% of RPG I didn’t finish.

        This reviews does a hell of a job at telling me I should play this game so I am really considering it. Still, re the above issues, no clue if it’s better. Screen & video are so so – not as cheesy as before but still a hard time to undersand color and how to use them. It’s still TPV, still fixed character, still mandatory everything on the things that matter (potions aren’t an option here) etc.

      • Eggheart says:

        I also wonder if i’m getting old. I played witcher 2 for a bit, but then i ran into a bit where it just kept crashing. So that was it for me. I tried Dragon Age: Inquisition after it got rave reviews. But I quickly found that the story and characters made me feel nothing at all and the ‘huge open world’ didnt really feel that way. So I stopped playing that too.
        This review of Witcher 3 sounds pretty good, and it sounds like the story might be a bit more grown up than DA:I, so I might give it a go if it comes on special. I dunno… CGI sex scenes seem a bit silly to me though… maybe I got the olds bad. All the RPG’s and all the anime – it all seems like kids stuff.

    • gamebanger69 says:

      hey bud are u playin on the death marchs on difficulty? cuz if you are not, i would recommend that you try it…. i played the first time on the middle difficulty and i was blowing through the game and getting broed of collecting all this extra equipment and stuff, but damn on the hard difficulty, not only to you have to strategize before every fight, you blow through your potions and food and degradation of equipment happens much faster, so not only did i feel a dark souls-esque feeling of accomplishment everytime i was victorious in battle, it took me three times as long to progress, and i really really appreciated equipment upgrades, mix and matching character perks, along with armor and different strategize lioke on the horse while attacking and all different signs and potions.. u really gotta experiment and utilize everything, whereas on the blood and something difficulty i felt it was just a kinda hack and slash and lottsa rolling.. for instance on the hard level ur stamina goes quick so u learn not to roll, and how to evade and dodge.. before i was rolling like i was infected with dark souls juice !!! hahahah cant do that nonsense on hard.. Also, from my experience with the previous witcher games, they were meant to be very difficult, and since the devs had to dumb it down for this nig release and going for the homerun, its almost a given to play it on the hardest difficulty cuz anything less it becomes boring old skyrim for millenials again.. sorry millenials, you know its true,, sane thing with mad max… hhaahahah

    • bill says:

      Do you like RPGs in general?
      Because I’m not a big RPG player and I think that every RPG i have ever played has managed to put me off in the first few hours. Some of them have had enough extra to interest me to come back and try again a second time, many others never get a second chance (though I suspect that if i gave them one then they’d grow on me).

      Basically, a couple of hours has never been enough for me to get into any RPG.

      Specifically, the first few hours of The Witcher 1 were god awful. When I pushed on a few more hours (when i went back to it a month later) it was less awful. But it took a large number of hours before it clicked for me.

      • horsemedic says:

        I think that’s because RPGs are an unworkable medium for pretty much anything they aim to do.

        The complex attribute/leveling system makes combat impossible to balance throughout a long game. You always end up over-leveled, unless you start out under-leveled and give up in frustration.

        Immersion? And RPG can be immersive for a stretch. But that immersion is always going to be broken by the fact that EVERYONE you meet has some physical task they want you to accomplish. “Long time no see, Triss! Oh, you dropped a bag in a river.” “So how’d that go down exactly, Baron? Well, sure, I’ll kill the monster so you continue talking to me.” Humans don’t interact with each other like that in real life. But it’s a game so you need to be Doing Things.

        Story-wise, choice cripples narrative, I’m sorry to say. In a great book, every single line of dialog and plot tick feeds into the story’s grand themes and narrative arc. When the writer has to constantly provide alternate branches for the player, the story gets diluted and wanders. It may be enjoyable from moment to moment—agency and all that—but it’s never satisfying by the end, for me.

        And the gamer has to absorb most of the plot by staring at identical close up shots of 3D modeled face with, even if they’re good models, have the emotional range of a high school drama student.

        The Witcher 3 is by far the best RPG I’ve ever played, and I had fun with it through the first map section. I still go back to it every day or two for a while, but the flaws of the genre are already dragging it down. They always do.

  16. Commander Gun says:

    Richard, i just want to voice that i love your contributions to RPS the most because you actually respond to most comments and discuss with us, simple readers. Great stuff man!

  17. brulleks says:

    It is truly an incredible game, but I’ve had to take a few days’ holiday from it back to San Andreas, simply because of Wandering in the Dark. Perhaps I attempted it too early after reaching the second map, but after grinding like mad to beat the golem (at level 5), and, expecting that this was the boss, using up all available food stuffs, to be hit with the gargoyle straight afterwards was pretty moronic design.

    Here – in a game that usually requires you to have amassed good knowledge of an enemy before having to engage it in combat – have two hard as nails f**kers in a row with no idea what will work against them, after about an hour of faffing about beforehand.

    I will go back to it, by reloading an earlier save and working up to a level where I feel I’ll be able to get through it, but that was really crappy level design in a game that deserves so much more. Fortunate are those that left it until they’d levelled up a bit, as they never had to taste the bitterness of wading through the drowners only to be hit with double-barelled bullshit.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Wandering in the Dark is the absolute pits – my least favourite quest in the entire game. If it helps, the gargoyle is a completely optional boss that’s more than a bit of a screw-you. Just ignore it. The actual boss is down the other corridor and is a real monster, though it’s possible to cheese it quite easily. Kiera’s Force Push attack will trap it against a wall, then you can just stand a bit away casting Igni until it falls over dead. If it escapes, and the couple of times it summons adds (those weak Hounds again), just wait for her to pin it down again and continue spamming it to death.

      The worst thing of all about that mission though is that if you do need to leave to restock, finding your way in and out again is just… urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

      • Paul says:

        Huh, I played on Blood and Broken Bones and had no significant issues in Wandering in the Dark, even with gargoyle…it was fun to see a big dungeon in a witcher game, they are very rare. Somehow I did not even have to leave it..

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          It had me pulling out my hair throughout – surviving the dome gauntlet with Geralt’s flippy-skills (and skipping the endless dialogue before it), the Wild Hunt guy seeming overpowered, breaking my silver sword and armour and running out of food (I didn’t have Swallow yet) and needing to go and restock in town…

        • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

          I had the same experience as you (difficulty level and all). I think it probably helped that I had created the Cat and Swallow potions just before entering. Every time I ran out of either, I just meditated.

        • Jimbo says:

          I had no particular issue with it on Blood and Broken Bones either. Perhaps that difficulty level has just already trained the player to approach things in a certain way by that point?

          The magic dome bit with the hounds is cake. Just drop Yrden right on Keira and chop chop or burn anything that runs in. Actually that whole mission could fairly be called ‘Learn To Appreciate Yrden’, as it’s pretty handy for the Foglets, Wraiths and Golems too.

      • brulleks says:

        Optional? Does that mean I can just run past it, or find another way around? Gah! If only my innate cowardice had chosen that moment to flare up.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          You don’t need to go into its room at all. The boss is down the other corridor. But if you do go in, the door locks behind you.

          • brulleks says:

            There’s another corridor? I think I’ve just got so used to the ‘main missions’ in games (GTA, AC, Far Cry etc etc) pulling me where I had to go that I hadn’t expected there to be any available choices as to where I could go. I’ll reload and have a proper look round.

            Cheers Richard.

        • brulleks says:

          And I didn’t even realise I could try to leave the level – I’d assumed, as it was a main mission rather than a side-quest, that I was just stuck in it until I’d got to the end. Does that mean I don’t have to go through the whole golem fight again, and can just reload and run away from the mission if need be, to play the rest of it later?

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            Yeah, just walk back to the exit. Keira shouts something like “Okay, I’ll wait here.” Make a note of where the door is though because the GPS will point you to the middle of a hill instead when you try to get back. BTW, there’s some more of it after the boss, which starts a load more missions with her.

          • brulleks says:

            Great – cheers again!

      • Zenicetus says:

        Richard, it’s encouraging to hear that Wandering in the Dark is your least favorite quest, because I didn’t enjoy it either. So if that’s the worst, the rest should be fine. :)

        I’m not sure what the problem was with it. Maybe the suggested level, or the way it’s easy to slide into it unprepared if you’re following the main quest lines.

        The one good part about that quest is the amount of loot and diagrams you can pick up there. So if anyone hasn’t hit it yet, be sure to stop and look around in every place you walk through, between combat episodes. Keira and the quest progression will wait will you pick up stuff.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          I think it just comes a bit too early and goes on a bit too long. You might be the right level but still be poorly geared, and you almost certainly don’t have enough stuff to last a dungeon that long. It’d be one thing if it was intended as a wake-up call dungeon for future things, but it’s pretty much an anomaly in terms of size.

          Really, I think it’d have been a lot better if it was the portal, the hounds, the Wild Hunt guy and done. There’s no need for the golem, the gargoyle, the underwater stuff and the stuff with the magic lamp that could just have been under a floorboard to continue the storyline.

          • spacedyemeerkat says:

            The magic lamp part felt rather incongruous to me, as if it was a piece of DLC I’d downloaded and, since I was in the appropriate area, the character mentioned it. Strange one.

          • Gryz says:

            I loved it.
            I was level 6, just like the quest itself. I had already made cat and swallow potions (and some oils). I played at B&BB difficulty. I loved the fact that it’s not linear. After I was done, I went back in, to see if I missed something. Yep, found a recipe for a lvl34 silver sword. It took me a while to realize the layout of the dungeon. I loved that. There were surprises. Decent loot and recipes in hidden chests. The gargoyle boss.

            I had just explained someone that I use an aggressive attack style when fighting groups of NPCs. Kill them before they kill you. Quen is useless, it just takes longer for you to die. Well, the gargoyle proved me wrong. Couldn’t beat it. Until I started using Quen. Then I could stay alive long enough to kill it. I loved that, when a game disproves your dumb believes.

            Wandering in the Dark reminded me of Skyrim. A lot. Just done better. I didn’t mind it took a long time. It felt like an adventure. Maybe just because it was the first large dungeon, and you don’t know what to expect. Save often, and all is fine. I hope this was not the last large dungeon as well.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Kind of a response to this whole sub-thread, but Wandering in the Dark was one of the high points of the game so far for me. I loved the extended, multi-stage nature of it. It was long no doubt, and not without flaws (the Wild Hunt boss in particular seemed to prone to getting stuck on the wall, as pointed out), but I felt it was very strong, confident quest design and writing. I really enjoyed it.

      In that questline there’s one particular moment that really struck me. It’s when you can explore a little side chamber and Keira says “I’ll wait here”. After you explore and come back to her, they actually bothered to code in having Keira sitting on a rock while waiting for you. Geralt and Keira even exchange a couple lines of banter. It stuck out because the npc wasn’t just standing there like a typical wax figure computer game npc, but they actually bothered to give even that tiny re-encounter a bit of unexpected life. It’s a tiny, inconsequential moment but it really illustrated the amount of care and effort they’ve put into the game.

  18. Easy says:

    Thank you, Richard, for eloquently stating the simple truth. The amount of crap I have seen written about the game elsewhere saddens me greatly (though to be fair most of the crap comes from comments)

    No other RPG has EVER, EVER enthralled me such. It almost scares me. Now excuse me while I go sailing around Skellige while the sun sets.

  19. Xyviel says:

    Reviews like this are why RPS is my n°1 gaming news website.

    Well done, Sir, well done.

  20. italianprick says:

    One thing that made me enjoy the game much more was disable the undiscovered locations icons on the map. It really makes you explore the world and enjoy the beautiful world to look for points of interest and usually they make sense. Also i ended finding a lot of smaller places and treasures that weren’t marked that i probably wouldn’t find

    You can disable the pop-in when you change controllers. Go to your game folder, then to “…\The Witcher 3\bin\config\base”. Now open the “hidden.ini” file using Notepad. You will see two lines: edit “LockControlScheme=0” to “LockControlScheme=2” and that is it. No more pop-in.

    • brulleks says:

      I’ve disabled pretty much every element of the HUD, including the mini-map. Can you disable side-quest locations on the main map too? That’s my only way of navigating the world now, and having constant reminders of where all the ‘good stuff’ lies is rather irritating when I want to uncover it by exploration alone.

      • italianprick says:

        When you disable the undiscovered locations on the mini-map it also disable it on the main map. It’s beautiful!

    • pepperfez says:

      I can’t believe I haven’t seen that mentioned in any reviews. There’s always a line about, “There are still icons on the map, but…” so I assumed the option was going to be in a mod. Good news!

  21. HumpX says:

    the #1 issue with this game that nearly ruins it is the control scheme. Default is that crap GTA4-style option with no way to lock the damned camera behind your avatar. At least Skyrim gave you a choice of FPS, 3rd person locked or 3rd person unlocked.

    I can’t emphasize just how f*cking annoying this is. There’s a great game here, just wish the control issue was addressed.

  22. karnak says:

    How dare you praise the game in such manners, Richard??

    I’m gonna warn the good folks down at the “RPG Codex”.
    They’re going to give you a good beating, for sure.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      If the Codex ever liked a AAA RPG, I’d be worried that Ragnarok was upon us.

      • jrodman says:

        Is there ever a game that’s overall received positively?

      • Machocruz says:

        There is a quite a bit of love for New Vegas, Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma over there.

    • Gryz says:

      Why did you have to mention that website ? I never had heard of it. It should have stayed that way ….

  23. blastaz says:

    Awesome game.

    My list of complaints:
    Levelling system is the worst of the three games
    Itemisation is poor.
    It’s a bit directionless especially at first where if you randomly go left instead of right bad guys are ten times as powerful as you for no reason.

    Otherwise though it’s pretty great.

  24. drewski says:

    Great review Richard.

  25. Herbal Space Program says:

    I’m quite afraid to express anything about the review, maybe once Richard is asleep I’ll try.

  26. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Lovely thoughts, Richard. I’d like to comment on two things in particular:

    1. “…the swimming sucks so hard that whoever implemented it should be ashamed.”

    I seriously don’t understand how it’s so bad. The swim up button barely functions, and both swimming faster and diving seem to do the same thing. Minor, yes, but it really is terrible.

    2. “There’s also a fantastic in-game guide to every single character and quest written by your friend Dandelion, which fills in any remaining blanks.”

    I didn’t complete a quest during the tutorial area, figuring I’d go back later and finish it if I could ever make a decision (the one about giving the dying woman the Swallow potion). I failed the mission after leaving the tutorial area. But, I looked at the failed quest, and Dandelion filled in the blanks about why it failed; Geralt didn’t take the decision lightly, and couldn’t reach a proper decision before the woman succumbed to her wounds (I’m paraphrasing). It was an amazing moment to me, albeit unimportant, but something that really encapsulates how much care has gone into the smallest detail. This small detail really elevated the game to another level for me, and I wasn’t even angry that I have a failed mission in my quest log. It was more like an addition to my particular story.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I think the problem with swimming is the mismatch between the movement they give you and the level design for the swimming bits.

      It got easier once I realized that just holding the space bar would swim to the surface, and I should hold shift to “fast swim” everywhere. But the up/down movement is still very clumsy, relative to the way the camera shows Geralt when swimming in those directions, especially when trying to swim straight down.

      There are some treasure areas where you’ll have to swim inside a sunken ship by spotting the stairs leading down from the top deck, then swim underneath the deck to treasure, and try to find those stairs again to escape before your breath runs out. I did that kind of thing for a couple of years in WoW, and it didn’t feel nearly this clumsy. All they had to do was copy whatever Blizzard did for underwater swimming in WoW.

      On the other hand, it’s balanced by two other great things in the game. First, you can one-shot any drowners in the area underwater with the crossbow (any crossbow). Second, as bad as swimming is, the horse combat is practically Mount & Blade quality and fun. So I’ll forgive the swimming mechanics.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        I’m fond of how if you’re in the boat you get enemies like Sirens grabbing onto the side of it, and Geralt just glances at them wearily and shoots them in the face with the crossbow.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      The swimming WAS terrible, so I took the time to learn it – once you understand the design (which is terribly un-intuitive) it gets pretty easy!

      One button slowly rises you up, the other down. However these are not intended as the main control of your underwater altitude. The most important thing is to AIM in the direction you wanna swim in – underwater you use your “camera” to navigate Geralt.

      So to swim down to that particular chest – aim your camera/geralt directly down on it and go forward.

      • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

        Thank you. It’s definitely not made clear anywhere that’s the case.

    • cristoffson says:

      Oh, I had something weird happen to me on that quest. I never went to the herbalists house, never knew someone was dying. I left White Orchard and had a failed quest that said what you described. Then, I came back and found that hut, and talked to the lady, I needed some herbs. And she said I shouldn’t have let her die. Geralt said the potion wouldn’t have saved her. So the game didn’t consider a scenario where you didn’t meet that lady.

      I’ve loving the game, and I really liked this review, made me want to ignore work and play more.

  27. aSleepingPanda says:

    Just gonna say some little things did niggle me. Such as a certain blacksmith who once you complete their quest and disown their partner they continue to not do blacksmithing things. Also when Yen commented on my luscious beard I just so happened to have it shaved for the occasion which made what should of been a light playful banter take a more stalkery tone.

    • jacobvandy says:

      This happened to me, as well. And so the description of CDPR’s QA obsession is rather amusingly undermined. You’d think they ought to have prepared for that, since they decided to put a barbershop right across the street from where you pick up your fancy clothes for your fancy party that Yen wants you to look good for.

  28. Stevostin says:

    Question: first two games, I really didn’t like. The 2nd I could see how it was a good thing for the genre, but still it felt out of my hand (and few rpg do that).

    Can I play TW3 without playing the first 2 ? The 2nd clearly told me “no, it will kill a lot of the understanding because we at CD project hate the players”. How is the 3rd one to that regard ?

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s more approachable than the second by a long way. It ties into previous games and there’s a lot of returning characters, but generally it’s done in a (more subtle) “Ah, my friend, THE FORMER SPYMASTER OF THE COUNTRY OF REDANIA” and so on, and there’s always Dandelion’s notes to fill in the gaps if you need them.

      The actual story is standalone, mostly – as mostly as you need to worry about, anyway. It all revolves around Ciri, who’s an important character from the books, but hasn’t been in the games so far.

      The main difference that makes this one more playable though is that Assassins of Kings is all about politics and nations and so on, while Wild Hunt (while it does get into that) is more about being a travelling monster hunter. That’s inherently a much more graspable starting point to pick up other things like who the various nations are, what a witcher does (the prologue explains, while in Witcher 2 it was assumed you knew everything) and all the other stuff like that. Expect to be a bit drowned in names and terminology early on, but not too much to be impenetrable.

      • Stevostin says:

        Ok. As other stated, appreciate your involvement in the comments and… in the game. You seem to like it so much I am prepared to give it a try at the first 50% cut (sorry, but the negative experience with the first two keeps me cautious)

        • Dicehuge says:

          Before Wild Hunt I only played the 2nd, and to be honest didn’t really care for it. It was so lore and politics heavy I never knew what the hell was going on. But as Richard points out, the third is so much better. I still struggle to know who the hell all of these people are that I’m supposed to know about, but it doesn’t really damage the game, because the central focus is on searching for Ciri, and that’s a far more straightforward and well told story than the peripheral stuff. Plus, there’s so many great self-contained stories in the side quests.

  29. Danley says:

    Every character in the entire world is Caucasian. Or did I miss something?

    • Danley says:

      Excellent game. Maybe my favorite, actually. But this is fucking amazing.

      • Richard Cobbett says:

        In the games, yep, if you’re only counting the human characters. Only exception I can think of is the mage Azar Javed from the first one, hailing from a place called Zerrikania. Very, very white games.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Very, very white yes, but not out of context for the setting.

          It’s like Grimm fairly tale, where it wouldn’t make sense (to me anyway) to complain that the stories didn’t feature more diverse ethnic characters.

          • Danley says:

            I guess that’s the only point I’m making. It is out of context, because there is no such context in our history where such an all-one-‘race’ society existed. At least not on the scale of medieval culture and technology. Even the civilizations of South/Middle America probably interacted with people from other continents.

            It’s an artistic choice, but a choice nonetheless.

          • Danley says:

            Some other people have pointed out to me that Poland is extremely homogeneous (like 98.5%), having a lot to do with the impact of the World Wars. Crazy.

          • Zenicetus says:

            “there is no such context in our history where such an all-one-‘race’ society existed. ”

            With respect, you’re wrong about that, if you study up on world history and ethnography.

            Until the modern era of European colonial expansion, every local culture had its own ethnically-focused stories and folklore. And the skin color of the heroes and villains were the same as those telling the stories.

            Read up on Polynesian or African folklore for example. Tell me if there were any white Europeans in those tales.

          • Bernardo says:

            Actually, while Poland may be “homogeneous” today (due to the extermination of most of its Jewish and Roma/Sinti population in the Holocaust and the redrawing of the map and displacement of its German population after the War), it used to be one of the most tolerant and multicultural states in Europe – the Polish king’s religious tolerance was one of the reasons why so many Jews settled there in the MA. At one time, the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and had a very multilingual, multireligious and multiracial population. Even today, there remains a small Tatar community. In Eastern Poland, you can still find several beautifull small Mosques made out of wood, which date back to the Middle Ages.

            So, while there might be arguments for not representing Africans (although there used to be a few in MA Europe, mostly coming through Arab slave traders, e.g. as presents from diplomatic missions), the game (and Sapkowskis stories) could be much more diverse.

          • Bernardo says:

            Sorry, I meant to put a question mark after Sapkowski’s stories. I haven’t read them.

          • wwwhhattt says:

            Folklore might not have particularly diverse characters, but large RPGs tend to have more characters than just heroes and villains. (And there have been africans all over europe since the roman empire, what with trade, invasions, slavery and all that)

          • ohminus says:

            Danley, the key point comments such as this misses is that the Witcher’s world looks like Europe, but it isn’t Europe. Humans are not native to these lands AT ALL. They arrived a few hundred years before the timeframe of the stories in the so-called “First Landing” and quickly displaced the Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes who had already settled there.

            As such, you have what is called a genetic “Founder Effect”, with the humans all being (as per their human ancestry) descendant from a fairly limited population. If we assume that all of the settlers arriving in the Pontar Delta were white, it’s not too surprising that twenty generations down the road, they are still very white.

            There is still discrimination, and the Dwarves and Elves are used as metaphors for minorities and displaced native populations (though even the Elves arrived on ships in that area, albeit about a thousand years before the Humans).

    • jrodman says:

      And in the game?

    • Danley says:

      And actually, one more, because this shouldn’t just be a moot point. The game actually deals with the concept of racism, so maybe portraying all humans (and human mutants) as homogeneous allows for a clear contrast. Or maybe it didn’t want to deal with ‘tokenism.’ But at some point there had to have been a discussion in-house about this, and they made the decision to make everyone have the same skin color, when it’s not how the world is, not how any part of history has been for at least the last 1800 years in which there would have also been medieval technology) and not even how The Witcher universe is. I just don’t understand.

      (My longer-winded reply to someone who said this was a non-issue: link to medium.com )

      • jrodman says:

        It’s worth questioning. Fantasy stuff strongly influences popular visions of historical Europe, whether or not the games, movies, and so forth are intended to suggest historical Europe. Of course the historical truth was various skin shades were present since well before the middle ages and all through it, though not as upper classes for sure.

        That doesn’t mean you can’t make a very very white game, but it’s done so often it’s worth questioning if it’s the right choice or if it’s lazy.

        • ohminus says:

          What is lazy is people condemning issues that have nothing to do with the game designers at all, are scientifically validly explained and rooted in the literature a game is based on.

          • jrodman says:

            1 – Who is condemning what?
            2 – Scientifically? really?

          • ohminus says:

            Oh, plenty of people are complaining the game was “racist” when in fact it uses elves and dwarves as metaphors for oppressed native populations. And that’s the other point: Humans aren’t native to the area. They came a few centuries earlier as settlers and quickly pushed the elves out. The humans thus are descended from a limited founder population – if these didn’t include any people of color, there’s no reason to expect them having evolved later on without any kind of evolutionary pressure. Called a “founder effect” in genetics.

          • jrodman says:

            Okay, so .. no one here.

            But really, “made up fantasy history” is not “scientifically”.

          • Rumpelstilskin says:

            Ok, since I’m still getting notifications from this topic, I’d say something. I think that under no circumstances not having something in a game (or in any entertainment product / work of art for that matter) can be considered morally reprehensible. It might lessen its artistic impact, make it less believable for some people, more frustrating if it’s a part of the game mechanics that’s missing, but assuming that every product must have, for instance, black and gay people (interestingly though, rarely both), is just a result of brainwashing and aggressive media propaganda.

          • jrodman says:

            The only propaganda of whitewashing is the whitewashing itself.

            That said, as above, as simple lack of representation does not perforce mean whitewashing.

    • Timbrelaine says:

      True, but it’s a game by a Polish company based on the work of a Polish author, and Poland is an incredibly homogenous country that’s probably closer to 100% white than 99%. Nazi occupation and all that. Is it strange that their vision of a brutal, racist fantasy world isn’t much more diverse than the one they actually live in?

      • Danley says:

        Something I’ve learned more about because of this. Didn’t know how homogeneous Poland actually is, with people of non-Caucasian backgrounds numbering in the hundreds, out of millions.

    • demicanadian says:

      Too late. There already was one article on gamasutra, that complaint about lack of afro-americans in easter european world of Witcher.

      • ohminus says:

        There also was an article there positing tired old tropes about Tolkien’s representation of races that only illustrates that the author has barely read Tolkien, if at all. Sometimes I think the bloggers there should stick to the meta-aspects of design.

  30. Kaine says:

    Great review, which makes me even more eager to play the game, although I probably won’t until I’m able to upgrade my HD 5870. I’m posting a video which includes a music theme I wrote, and is inspired by Polish and Slavic folk music as well as the soundtrack of the game itself. I’m expecting to see a “This I like!” comment on the video comments. Don’t disappoint me, and happy gaming!

    link to youtu.be

  31. Tim James says:

    Nailed it, thanks. I’ve teased you about your Witcher 2 review — I don’t think the short Chapter 3 was worth getting so upset about, especially in light of the masterful (yet dead-end design) of the alternate Chapter 2 — but you precisely captured the pros and cons here without seeming petty or cranky. A rare thing at RPS these days, so kudos.

  32. jonahcutter says:

    Excellent review for an excellent game.

  33. spacedyemeerkat says:

    “An early story mission called Wandering in the Dark verges on torture, with too many bosses, running long enough to guarantee you break all your equipment, and featuring a section where you have to fight in a small protective dome that Geralt just will not stop rolling out of into death.”

    Crikey. I only finished that mission about two hours ago (in game time) and I’m almost 25 hours in!

  34. running fungus says:

    Goddamnit, I’m buying a ps4.

  35. racccoon says:

    Its Brilliant!! Origin have the best launcher/upgrader/Patch thingy the game runs like a dream and I been playing for….
    61 HOURS! so far..
    & just got to the first big city. I run mostly as its a pain jumping off your horse and back on again, I hardly ever use it, I know you can use it in fights, but I fight better on the ground and under the water, I’ve explored every bit of land so far up to the big city.
    This game rocks so hard I’m loving it, the games mechanics & imagination that’s gone into it Its almost a master piece, matter of fact, I think is, for a 2015 game!
    Go get it!!

  36. lemartes says:

    is that 3 nude ladies with baby screenshot from main quest line ? i am at around 60 hours in game and havent seen that yet.

    • jacobvandy says:

      It’s a severed head, actually. :p

      But yeah, late main story.

  37. corroonb says:

    Great review. Eventually.

    About the three pages . . is it possible to put in a single page option?

  38. Delora says:

    I see that the reviewer shares the same opinion about W3 as probably most of people who’re playing the game.
    Witcher 3 is a masterpiece and without doubt one of the biggest candidates for game of the year awards.

  39. thinkforaminute says:

    The Witcher 3 has the best questing of any game, including the oldies I grew up with. Only niggle is it tends to throw the consequences of your actions in your face, just in case you didn’t realize you helped cause all of everything. I would have enjoyed the ‘surprise’ alternatives in a future playthrough. Still a masterful achievement in quest writing. I feel like I am playing a good book!

    It’s a shame they went full console with the UI and FOV. Radial wheels in a PC game? C’mon. Plus we loot too much stuff to be confined to a few item categories. It’s hard to decipher what can and cannot be removed from my inventory. Even my “junk” items can be broken down into crafting materials.

    Still, I’m 50 hours in and I feel I’ve just begun my story. I can’t imagine a better game coming out of the current crop of AAA competitors this year. I hope they are playing and taking notes.

    • Machocruz says:

      I think Batman, Metal Gear, and Zelda will have better core mechanics. Specifically, I think MG is going to raise the bar for open world games in this respect, with the polish and responsiveness of a linear AAA console game. LoZ may be even more polished and tight, but open world isn’t a novelty to that series.

  40. Brosecutor says:

    Good review. Found myself utterly enthralled by W3 after bouncing off hard from the predecessors. Many things in the game remind me of Gothic 2, which to me is still King in immersion and world-building; including the fact that bandits are a very welcome sight for all the glorious stuff they carry around.

    One of my favourite details: Geralt stood to close to a fire and started to burn himself. The damage was no big deal, so I decided to mount Roach and be off. But Roch wasn’t interested in carrying a burning man and ran away from me. Great attention to detail.

    • Morcane says:

      Same here, I just could not get into parts 1 and 2 and had a really hard time getting into this one, due to mainly the clunky controls. However, the latest patches and the beta AMD Catalyst driver improved things immensely and I can start getting over clunky controls and funky graphics glitches and see just how vast and delicious this game is.

  41. Dorga says:

    Great review, thanks.

  42. asadlittlepotato says:

    Could never get into the first two games due to Geralt’s being one the the most unappealing characters I’ve had the misfortune of playing as. That and the writers’ idea of ‘mature’. Will attempt to dive into the series again with the hopes that it might finally live up to its raving reviews. Third time’s the charm, eh?

    • Brosecutor says:

      It was for me. Hated Geralt before; in Wild Hunt he comes across as a genuinely cool dude.

    • Henson says:

      Try it with Polish voiceovers.

  43. OmNomNom says:

    Excellent write-up. Thoughtful and balanced.

    I’ve had the game sitting on one side until I had the time and inclination to give it a good go but this review inspires me to very soon.

  44. Doc Revelator says:

    A superb review of a stellar game. I almost feel sorry that you had to review it and rush it a little, but I’m glad you did for our sake. A cracking read, and (from what I’ve played) bang on the money.

  45. DrGonzo says:

    How does everyone put up with the awful controls and dreadful combat? Is it just me that bounces off doorways, walls? Can’t ride the horse for more than 30 seconds without getting stuck behind that rock a— now I’m stuck on a fence. The combat is so dull too. I do like the world and story, but just can’t get passed how terrible the whole game part is. Just me?

    • Easy says:

      Yes :)

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Yeah it’s kinda a problem even with the gamepad controls. Yet that’s pretty standard with those kind of games (Gothic, Risen, Morrowind etc.) esp. the getting stuck in surroundings.
      You can check every corner of a corner then just generic copy or arrange placeables in variety without having them checked.
      I ran around on a hillside then got stuck in a cliff but I can forgive that for being able to scale the cliffside at all. Most games restrict the PC from running everywhere or jumping to their death.

      • jrodman says:

        It will be so amazing when we figure out a solution to handle these situations dynamically in code.

        • Machocruz says:

          Or developers can make different choices that would avoid these problems, like not giving characters such a wide turn radius, toning down or eliminating momentum, giving characters more agility. In 80+ hours of Dragon’s Dogma, I never once had an issue with environmental obstacles, because of the agility of the characters, polished controls, tight motion dynamics, and smart environmental design. It’s ridiculous how low your jump is in games like Skyrim. It’s not good simulation, and it’s not good game movement, so I don’t know why they persist.

        • Fiatil says:

          There does appear to be a fix for anyone who thinks Geralt’s movement is too sluggish with a gamepad.

          If you go to your base game folder, and then \bin\config\platform\pc, you’ll find the “platformgameplay.ini” file.

          Change the first line in there to be:

          [Gameplay]
          LeftStickSensitivity=1.0

          And it should make Geralt more responsive with a gamepad. I’ve been enjoying the combat since before that tweak; it definitely started to click once I got dodging down (not the roll dodge). But it’s a nice tweak for anyone on a gamepad.

  46. aircool says:

    Fantastic game with the shittiest control system ever. Combat is easier if you don’t touch the movement controls. Just press the mouse button and Geralt will move himself, use the movement controls and he’ll get all confused.

    It’s damned frustrating at times, but I’m still playing it because the rest is so good.

    • aircool says:

      Oh, and if you ever need to get down from a high cliff, just use your horse… he floats down and you take no damage.

      • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

        You can also double tap the jump button just before you land, causing Geralt to roll. I haven’t tested it from really high, but medium falls work.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I don’t like the feel of the controls either (mouse and keyboard here), but I’ve gotten used to it. One of the first patches tightened up the keyboard response delay, so that helped.

      I couldn’t do without the movement keys myself, they’re too important for Dodging in certain fights. I double-tap A or D for circling around to the rear of a slow moving enemy. Double tapping the S key to Dodge backwards after a strike is critical for staying within the Yrden field when fighting wraiths, or for quickly backing up when a Rotfiend is about to do their explodey death animation. I can’t turn and run fast enough, but dodging backwards works in that situation.

      • aircool says:

        I’ve definitely got used to the controls, in the same sort of way that a prisoner may get used to a daily beating in some godawful jail for hardcore masochists.

        I’ve got used to it, but it’s still dreadful.

        • Zenicetus says:

          I wouldn’t go as far as “dreadful” because that might imply one can’t get used to the controls at all. But yes… it’s still disappointing. Especially since everything else about the game just screams passion and hard work. And then they left the controls like this.

          We shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, based on control issues in the last two games (mouse & keyboard especially). But it’s still odd. It’s like they have a mental block about it. Maybe they’ve never played the Batman Arkham games, or anything else with a tight, fluid control feel in combat. Either that, or the game engine they’ve developed that works so well in other ways, has some terrible difficulty in delivering smooth and low-lag control input.

  47. Fathom says:

    The skills and knowledge to do things better than a pro? It was an analogy. It’s completely subjective, as is most writing. No one cares how many English degrees a games journalist has, only what work they put out and how they treat people.

    • Fathom says:

      Meant to be a reply to @froz earlier in the comments, but I can’t edit or delete so I guess it’s stuck here!

  48. DThor says:

    I’m loving it, savouring it, taking the time to grey out all those white map icons and obliterate the yellow exclamation marks. Without spoiling anything, there was a quest where I did “the right thing”, a terribly dark love story that I wrapped up as best I could, sad still, but at least there was some closure, some feeling that I had brought some peace, and as I jaunted out of that shack and headed into the woods, there was a truly horrific shriek. I ran back and PLOT TWIST. In no way did I see that coming, and it’s been a very long time since a game genuinely shocked and moved me. Great writing and tremendous care taken with this game. My favourite annoyance that I don’t care about is not letting you escape escape back out of a shopping session. You are forced to hunt down a (different for each encounter) key to get out. Whatevs.

  49. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Excellent review. Am struggling to express the following:

    The closing comment about alternate-universe Daikatana 3 really elevated the emotional stakes of the read — not something I normally associate with product reviews…It turned a normal (well-executed) review into something memorable.

    Nicely done!

    • zapatapon says:

      Though comparing the Witcher 1 to Daikatana is fairly insulting to the former, I think. In spite of many flaws, the first Witcher game had many brilliant moments and had more atmosphere than most of the RPGs I’ve played.

      • Johnny Go-Time says:

        I see what you mean, but I think the intent wasn’t to compare the actual quality of the 2 games. Rather they were both “ambitious products which didn’t meet [some sort of] expectations” and then Daikatana got cancelled instead of being given the second chance that Witcher 1 received…

  50. Monggerel says:

    So I think we can all agree that The Witcher 3 is the GTA Vice City of video-games.