Have You Played… The Witcher 3?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I have a mental firewall about how recent a game can be before I’m allowed to write a Have You Played? about it. In my head, The Witcher 3 is about three months old and therefore invalid.

It’s two years old next month. I’ve had it on my hard drive for two years now, thinking “yeah, I’ll finally finish that next weekend.”

Despite not having seen it through to its conclusion, let alone its DLC, I’m reasonably confident that I can assign CD Proket’s third Geralt ’em up modern classic status. It’s a comfortable blend of of random sandbox monster-bashing, a grand-scale overarching story and some surprisingly thoughtful side quests, but more importantly it sets all that within a place that is both beautiful and palpably lived in.

Sure, there’s a few wince-worthy moments in terms of some characterisation and routine ‘investigation’-based questing, but this is a game of unusual focus and confidence, given its sprawl. There’s a reason that people have been saying that Bioware should be looking to what The Witcher 3 did, given the somewhat hollow MMO-like structure of its recent Dragon Age and Mass Effect sequels.

Modern classic. Hasn’t aged a day either, even though it’s somehow two bloody years old.


  1. Viral Frog says:

    I actually have not played this yet. I still need to complete the first game. I got probably a little over halfway through and got distracted. It’s one that I’ve meant to come back to for a long time, but I’m not too keen on starting over. I would have to at this point. I haven’t played my last save file in over three years and would have no idea what’s going on.

    • Fenixp says:

      For Witcher 3, you don’t really want to play the previous two games. W3 barely reacts to them, and their stories are not basis for story of W3. What you do want to do is to read the Witcher books.

      • StAUG says:

        I’ve most of the way through three of the books I managed to get a hold of, well after playing the games, and yeah. The books are great, the dialogue in-game nailed the personality of Geralt perfectly.

      • jonahcutter says:

        While you don’t need to have played the previous two games, it definitely adds texture and weight to some events in Witcher 3 to have done so. At least for someone who’s never read the books like myself.

        If one wants to blaze through W2 to experience the story, there’s the Full Combat Reblance combat that makes combat move a lot quicker. It’s both faster and more lethal. I’d recommend it if anyone is interested in experience the story while not getting bogged down in long combat sequences.

      • Coming Second says:

        I don’t know about that. There are some characters that are introduced in the two prior games, like Roche and Thaler, and others that take on much more prominent roles than from the books, like Triss and Philippa. Knowing what they’re about helps a lot with engagement.

        That said I’ve got plenty of friends and acquaintances who couldn’t give a stuff about either the prequels or the books and thoroughly enjoyed it, so hey.

        • Qibbish says:

          I skipped the first, played the second (grudgingly — great story, horrid game play on my system), and melted into the third on release. I’m now one DLC away from completion, but the game has been put on the shelf for fear of having no more (silly irrational humans).

          I can see the benefit for playing the first two games, but honestly don’t think you’d miss out on much if you skip the first. Enough of the narrative has been recapped that I have never felt lost — but I would recommend playing Witcher 2 solely to appreciate some of the side characters better. Nothing in the story of Witcher 3 demands this, but it certainly does add texture to the emotional connections.

          Wonderful game.

          • Rack says:

            When it comes to storytelling, gameplay and presentation Witcher 2 is a quantum leap forward completely unrecognisable from the first. Witcher 3 takes it with unparalleled confidence into an open world but the second is still worth playing.

            You really don’t need to bother with the first. It’s got a great story buried in there but it’s buried too deep in clunky mechanics to be readily recommendable. And it REALLY shouldn’t be the reason you don’t play 3.

          • RaymondQSmuckles says:

            It’s good to know that things keep improving so dramatically from Witcher 1 because I tried it for the first time recently and thought to myself, “What in the hell is the fuss all about?” The controls were so terrible I just couldn’t see why I’d want to play two more games of that.

          • Unclepauly says:

            Nobody in their right mind thinks W2 and 3 play like the 1st.

          • vahnn says:

            Playing 1 and 2 is nice, but the midst important thing is what Rack said: no not let incompletion of 1 and/or 2 prevent you from playing 3.I’ll go a step further and say if you haven’t already started 2,them skip them bothabs just play 3. Is more than enough game. Read a synopsis of 1/2’s stories if you want it that badly.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It’s a difficult game to return to, I can’t really remember much beside the ending which was a nice reveal.
      You should probably read a write-up, then play Witcher 2, it’s rather short.

    • Caradog says:

      I loved all the character based stuff and world building in the first game, and really dug Geralt as a protagonist.

      Unfortunately I was unable to finish it as I found the game itself to be interminably dull. There’s a never-ending section where you must repeatedly venture out into a vast swamp. It’s very entertaining for a while, but the game finds endless excuses to send you back out across it. I’m going to assume the second game has similar quirks so I’ll be skipping straight to the third… when I have time.

      • Coming Second says:

        That swamp section (and the very poorly explicated detective side-plot which runs alongside it) is the worst part. If you can weather it, the game improves thereafter. You get to punch out Cthulhu!

      • Rack says:

        It doesn’t. Witcher 2 is nothing like Witcher 1 and extremely close to Witcher 3. The combat is a touch unrefined and a couple of the mechanics are clunky but if you were charting a path between Witcher 1 and Witcher 3 Witcher 2 is like Witcher 2.9.

        • rasko1nikov says:

          Yeah, the combat is a little smoother in W2. To be honest though, I always felt a little boxed in in W2, unlike W1, which seemed to have bigger, more interesting areas to explore. W1 really tries your patience with the aforementioned swamp and sewer sections (that I enjoyed, haha), but 2 is guilty of the same thing (what was that really dull fishing village it drops you in for HOURS after the really promising start?). 2’s gameplay also felt quite limiting/linear compared to the first. I suppose it depends what you have ptaience for – 1 is the more idiosyncratic, less friendly game, for sure.

          I thought 3 did a great job of combing the strengths of both games.

    • welverin says:

      Don’t let that stop you. Just start playing again it you’ll back into it.

      I went a couple years in my play through and while a little lost when I picked it back up, it didn’t ultimately hinder me much.

    • LucShep says:

      Witcher 3 is such a good game (and series).

      Regarding the need to play the first two games in the Witcher series (to play the Witcher 3), I guess it’s debatable.
      The first two games do provide an important background to make inumerous things make much better sense in Witcher 3.
      But, at same time, they’re also very different games (gameplay wise), and some will see them as too dated.

      If you’re already certain that you will NOT play the first two games in the Witcher series, but want to know what happened before the Witcher 3 (story wise), there are two videos that, in my opinion, are a great way to get into Witcher 3 before you even start the game.

      (WARNING: spoilers for W1 and W2 in the following two videos)

      – The Witcher story in 5 minutes (before Witcher 3):

      – How The Witcher 2’s Story Affects The Witcher 3:

  2. Paul says:

    Yeah I played it. Twice. Completionist style. 550 hours in total. It only overtook Fallout 2 as my favourite game of all time. Took 17 years, that. Simply the quality/quantity ratio is unparalleled. That said, there are some annoying issues. Most can be fixed in menus and by mods, but some narrative ones can’t and what a shame. Brilliant expansions though.

    • Troubletcat says:

      This was basically my experience. It was so good that it cut through the nostalgia for the classics and my favourite games of all time (Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate/BG2 and FO2 which you already mentioned)… There hasn’t been a game that’s come anywhere near The Witcher 3 in well over 10 years in my opinion.

      It raised the bar not just for RPGs, but for open world games in general. I used to sort of enjoy Ubi’s open world games. Now I find them utterly unplayable. The Witcher 3 probed that you could have a gigantic open world and then populate it with content that’s ACTUALLY GOOD. There are so few quests in the entire MASSIVE game that are misses that it’s… it’s simply ridiculous.

      It’s easy to associate open world sidequest heavy games with having lots of garbage filter. TW3 proved it didn’t have to be like that. “The combat could be better” is the only critiscm I have of it. But it hits so many marks so perfectly, does much that had started seeming impossible…

      Gah, I could fanboy for hours.

      TW3 is the first new entry on the list of games that I consider absolutely essential in over a decade. Play it and love it or don’t even talk to me about videogames.

      • noodlecake says:

        It is awesome, but The Witcher 2 comes very close (for me) in terms of awesome story telling. It was my favourite PC epic RPG thing ever until the sequel came out. I was really put out when I heard it was going open world because generally games go bigger for the sake of it and are often less good than their sequels because they add so much pointless filler content.

        It’s the fact that they managed to nail the level of quality of The Witcher 2 right across the whole world, which is insane. I think it’s unfair to hold other games to that standard. If another company releases an RPG with the same quality as the witcher 3 but on a much smaller scale (say you can do everything in 30 to 50 hours) I’d most likely be very happy with it.

    • napoleonic says:

      The quality/quantity ratio? You mean, it has very high quality but very low quantity? That’s what a ratio means, but I was under the impression that it had a lot of both.

    • celticdr says:

      What about Deus Ex, Paul? Your profile pic certainly thinks highly of it :P

      Can you suggest any of these mods to improve W3?

      I’m looking to do an NG+ playthrough on death march (only for the achievement) at some point and it controls like a dog swimming through a vat of molasses.

      • Paul says:

        Deus Ex is brilliant of course, I love the whole series (incl. Invisible War…yeah). First one is still unmatched though. Although Mankind Divided was wonderful, it was more of a spiritual successor to Bloodlines than Deus Ex (which I am fine with).

        As for mods, my playthrough was immeasurably improved by Immersive Cam and its submods (Immersive Motion, Alternative Horse control). Total must. Other cool mods are Sensible Map Borders, Immersive HUD, Volumetric Clouds, HD Reworked.
        And I always enable alternative movement response and disable fish eye effect in the menu.

    • NumericDyslexic says:

      Oh man same thing happened to me. I love Fallout 2. Always have. Still have my original disk from 1998 but the Witcher finally took the top spot after all these years. Which was admittedly a tough decision but in my second play through upon reaching the Skellige islands I knew this game was more than special. It has such a profound sense of satisfaction and its world building is like no other. Before the DLC it was a extraordinary game but now with everything added on its simple unmissable.

  3. celticdr says:

    Beautiful looking game and one of the best ARPGs I’ve ever played – if you can get past the iffy controls and difficulty in the first 4-6 hrs, it’s well worth the time.

    The DLCs also set the bar for all DLCs from now into the future – first time I ever felt like I got my dollars worth out of a season pass, take note Bethesda (and the rest).

    Looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077 being a total fan of the genre (Gibson’s Neuromancer, Blade Runner spring to mind).

  4. SaunteringLion says:

    The Witcher 3 is one of my GOAT, easily top five, and the most recent game on there.

    You don’t need to have played the previous games to enjoy it, the story is absurdly entertaining, exploration and combat are solid, and the DLC crystallizes the already amazing features into pure satisfaction.

  5. StAUG says:

    I checked Steam and apparently I’ve played The Witcher 3 for 155 hours. So I guess my answer to your question is ‘yes’.

    • waltC says:

      As you mention it, don’t know if you are aware that the Steam version of Witcher 3 (like the GOG version) has no DRM component–in that Steam does not have to be running (!) at all in order to play the Steam version of the game–you can run it from the W3 executable, just like the GOG version, and completely bypass Steam itself. (Not talking about “offline mode”, either, which is something different altogether.) The Steam version of Pillars of Eternity is the same; and it holds true for lots of Steam titles I’ve found. Any DRM component (notably the requirement for Steam to have to be running in order to play the game at all) is deliberately asked for by the game dev–not put there by Valve/Steam arbitrarily.

      That’s the way I have played the game from day one–but if your are someone who likes the Steam hour counter (that you mentioned), and/or the “achievements” thing, you must run the game through Steam to get them. Speaking of Pillars, though, that game has its own internal clock counter for hours played, a trend I’d like to see more of from game devs in the future.

      But I think Witcher 3 is a masterpiece in terms of an RPG–W3 is surely not an “ARPG,” though (like Sacred 2 Gold is an ARPG), and I can’t figure how anyone could make that sort of mistake…;) The only reason to play the first two games–or at least some of the first two games, is to get to know Geralt as a person and character. Doing so definitely helps in understanding Geralt in W3, and the world in which the game takes place.

      But W3 is head & shoulders above the first two games as an RPG in that its story and plot are driven (masterfully, I might add) without the cumbersome choke points of timed twitch segments that plague the first couple of games. The first two games are entertaining and fun to various degrees right up until you hit one of those choke points–which nearly ruin them, imo. Of course, some people enjoy twitch fest and button-clicking reflex contests that force the player to jump through timed hoops just to continue the game story line–but not me, and I feel they have no place in a true example of an RPG. It’s OK to build them in for the people who like that sort of thing, but there should always be alternative routes for game progression for the people like me who find them unbearably annoying and distracting–a cheap gimmick, etc.

      W3 comes the closest of any game I’ve ever played in hitting the mental concept I had back in the 80’s/early 90’s of what a “perfect” computer game should look like and how it should play! We all wanted something like W3 back then even though it would be decades before we’d actually see such a game developed because it took that long for the necessary hardware and software foundations to be created and reach market saturation to the degree that a game like W3 could be developed and turn a handsome profit at the same time. I’ve got ~200 hours in between the main game, side quests, and both DLCs for W3, and I think I’m about 2/3 done…;) And what’s remarkable is that I am still interested!

      And let me not forget to mention that W3 is also a “save anywhere, anytime” (except during some combat situations) game–because these days I just won’t buy a check-point-only savegame product! It’s that important to me–I hate checkpoint saves with a passion. Restricting a game to checkpoint saves is an automatic “no sale” flag for me. If you are someone who craves a truly excellent RPG play, then W3 is the game for you!

  6. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    This game gets way to much credit given the atrocious combat and bland controls.

    I like it but still think it’s overrated. It’s a well made RPG but there is nothing new or revolutionary about it. Take away the writing and graphics and you are left with a pretty lackluster game. RPG really needs to stop being secret code for “fuck it, we don’t have to worry about making the actual gameplay any good.” That doesn’t fly in a post-Dragon’s Dogma, post-Dark Souls world anymore.

    Let the hate begin.

    • FreshHands says:

      Have to agree here. Really didn’t like it.

      Too big for an interactive movie, not enough customization for an open-world game.

      However! Despite not liking it, I have to say it is quite the achievement and (apart from being not fun to play) did many things very right. Big hopes for Cyberpunk.

      Of course, Souls really is its own league – Bioware and Bethesda are the guys who need to watch out here.

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      subdog says:

      By “actual gameplay” you just mean combat, right?

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        I mean having the horse-riding be enjoyable, having the running, climbing and jumping be enjoyable, have the sailing be enjoyable, have your witcher sense do more than just show you where blood or monster farts are. Fighting monsters is a huge part of this game. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect they put a little more effort into the combat especially when the company boasts and is praised for their “we’ll release it when it’s done” ethos.

        It would have been a better game if it dropped all pretense of being an RPG and was instead a dialogue heaving open world action game.

        • Seyda Neen says:

          As much as I love the game, every movement system in The Witcher 3 is indeed awful.

          • ulix says:

            I have to agree. I’m playing it for the first time right now, and all movement systems in this game are bad. All of them. Some more than others.

            Swimming controls are the worst offender here, I hate this shit. It’s really annoying that your horse stops all the time, often without any obstacles in its way. There are only two movement speeds, which is very counter-intuitive if you’ve played any recent 3rd person game with a controller. Usually in thse games movement is more or less entirely analogue, not binary. There’s more…

            I really like the game, and combat generally feels good (even if it also has its problems). But man, if they had just improved a few of the movement systems it could be so much better…

        • DelrueOfDetroit says:

          That was meant to be dialogue heavy but heaving is much much better. Like an overstuffed pastry you squeeze a boxed copy of W3 and you hear old-man Dandelion going on about the crack on crate.

          • Unclepauly says:

            I took a bite and seemed to get a little Yennefir on my shoe.

    • emotionengine says:

      “Take away the writing and graphics and you are left with a pretty lackluster game.”

      You don’t think the former two are pretty remarkable and admirable achievements in and of themselves, let alone in the context of a massive RPG as accomplished as this one? Indeed, you can take away these two and add all the “gameplay” dressing and extra sauce that you want (whatever the eff it is that floats your boat) and you’ll be left with exactly that: “a pretty lackluster game”. Fancy faffing about for 100 hours in dull as dishwater Genericlands with fan fiction level dialogue and FedEx quests, but at least you got a cool gun while doing it? Mass Effect Andromeda says hello!

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        When did I ever say it couldn’t be both?

        To say this game doesn’t have ‘faffing about’ is ludicrous. There are many question marks that lead to chests filled with useless equipment and there are many ‘kill 10 monster’ quests dressed up with dialogue.

        You don’t do anything in this game that you wouldn’t otherwise do in any other RPG. It is just prettier and better written because the developers have a near constant stream of funds and can self publish their game.

        As for the writing it’s good in moment to moment but the overall plot is nothing special and kind of inconsistent. Plus they never properly explain a lot of things like The White Frost. There are more McGuffins in this story than a season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I don’t care if these things are explained in the books.


        • Abacus says:

          I don’t think I remember a single “kill 10 monster quest”, could you be more specific?

          The thing The Witcher 3 did so well was that the side quests were given enough attention to writing and characterisation that the majority of them felt like main line quests to me. So when I took a ‘break’ from the main story, I could turn to quests that didn’t skimp out on animation or effort. The Witcher Sense is overused, yet even then it ended up being a way to hear Geralt’s comments on things which allowed for even more rounded characterisation. In contrast I can’t think of many games where side quests were as organic and polished as they were in The Witcher 3. I quickly began playing the side quests because I wanted to meet interesting characters and see how Geralt would react to them. Quite a few even have alternate outcomes depending on whether you are paying attention or not. So yeah I am rather dumbfounded regarding your comments about ‘kill 10 monster’ quests. I played through The Witcher 1 so I’m quite good at spotting them. The only quests I can think of are ‘kill 1 monster’ quests and those are the contracts, which are fairly self explanatory.

          Characters just felt plausible. Having recently tried to play the original Nier the difference in TW3’s side quests and that game’s is night and day.

        • emotionengine says:

          “To say this game doesn’t have ‘faffing about’ is ludicrous.”

          Not what I said though. That was in reference to the hypothetically “good gameplay RPG minus the writing and the graphics” (or, you know, Mass Effect: Andromeda). But while we’re at it, a game of this scale is bound to have filler material, some of it better quality than others. I didn’t 100% the game (because I’m not insane) but the quality of what I did get to experience was good to exceptional. Side quests that defied my expectations, were genuinely moving and memorable and added to the experience.

          “You don’t do anything in this game that you wouldn’t otherwise do in any other RPG. It is just prettier and better written…”

          I don’t see the point in breaking it down like that, though. Writing is essential to an RPG, it’s a core component that determines the quality of the entire experience to a significant degree. So by that measure, you DO get to do things here that you don’t get to do elsewhere. I have yet to experience a quest line as engaging and well written as the Bloody Baron story in any RPG that I have seen to date. Saying it’s all the same but “prettier and better written” is a bit like saying that you don’t see the point of good cooking because you’re just consuming molecules and amino acids in the end. I mean, technically you’re not wrong, but you’re also being ridiculous.

          “[…] because the developers have a near constant stream of funds and can self publish their game.”

          So self-published games from well heeled studios were bound to produce great writing by default automagically? The other AAA titles simply didn’t have enough money to produce the high quality writing? Or you think that the Dragon Ages or the later Fallouts would have had better writing if it weren’t for EA/Bethesda/Zenimax somehow hindering them from including it? What is your point exactly?

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            I’m not saying The Witcher 3 is not a good game. I just think that there are a lot of valid criticisms that are overlooked because of this supposedly amazing writing that trumps all of those points. Yes, questlines like the Bloody Baron and Craven have really good writing, but can you honestly tell me anything about the numerous help-a-peasant quests? That is what I am talking about when I say ‘kill 10 monster’ quests dressed up with dialogue. Hey this peasant needs help, where you need to help them just so happens to have 10 nekkers there. The only difference is your motivation. This seems to be what people praise the game so much for but I don’t think that’s good enough for a game that has received the praise this game has.

            On a personal level I didn’t connect with the plot. I found it to be a lot of objectivist bullshit (to the point where I question whether the name Geralt is a coincidence) wrapped around the usual daddy “nobody hurts my baby girl” fantasy trope every game has to be nowadays. Any questions of morality are pretty much made null due to the fact that it’s a save the world quest. Yennifer is a sociopath. The invading force on the mainland are seen as fantasy nazis but the rape-and-pillage culture of Skellige doesn’t get Geralt’s world weary ire? I could go on if you like.

            Yes, my point is that publicly traded companies tend to do things by the books and not take risks over a company that is entirely focused on making games but also in the privileged position of having the cash-flow of a studio under a big corporation. As I mentioned above, it would be nice if they focused some of this cash flow into things other than textures and words. edit time running oooout!

          • Coming Second says:

            I don’t think Nilfgaard are necessarily presented as being any worse than the Skallywags. It’s made clear every side in the conflict is pretty awful. The only difference is that Geralt happens to be mates with the Skellige leader. And yes, Yennifer is a terrible person. Where is she presented as an unassailable hero that Geralt and the world in general doesn’t constantly point it out?

          • emotionengine says:


            “can you honestly tell me anything about the numerous help-a-peasant quests?”

            Yes, easily. Off the top of my head, there was quest on a village notice board that tasked you with finding the lost wife a hunter. I thought this would be a little diversion, little did I know that this would eventually lead to a tough as nails boss battle with a werewolf and a story of unrequited love and tragic loss: link to witcher.wikia.com

            Or another one where you’re supposed to help an old woman investigate a haunted house and clear it of ghosts, but meet a past acquaintance thought long lost and discover his reasons for being there: link to witcher.wikia.com

            I could name many more of these, and even if the only thing that was different was my motivation, as you claim (which would be an achievement in itself, if the game managed to set this up convincingly), the quests end up being completely different to what I expected before going in, have memorable agents and stories of their own with convincing motivations for each. That is exactly the point I and others have been trying to make, the Witcher 3 was remarkably consistent with lovingly crafted optional quests that were substantial, quite unlike the cookie cutter filler material found in lesser RPGs.

            No, that doesn’t mean it should be immune from criticism where it’s warranted, but saying that it’s “all the same but better written” is really missing the point. I won’t get in to the rest of your argument re: the plot, but if you didn’t connect with the plot personally or didn’t like it, fair enough, different strokes and all that.

            For the record, CD Projekt S.A. is a publicly traded company. Also, this doesn’t let the big publishers off the hook for being risk averse and delivering lower quality product, and neither should it take away from any of CD Projekt’s achievements (even if they weren’t publicly traded – which they are!). You make it sound like they threw money at writing and graphics and elected to neglect the rest. I don’t get the feeling the combat and other gameplay elements received less attention than the former, and given CD Projekt’s reputation for post-release support (their patch notes are the stuff of legend), it’s safe to assume they dedicated as much time and effort as they felt was right. I’d say your criticisms of the gameplay elements are debatable, but I don’t think you’re going anywhere meaningful with this supposed self-funded publishing vs. publicly traded argument in regards to overall quality, which doesn’t even apply here anyway.

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            subdog says:

            ‘I found it to be a lot of objectivist bullshit (to the point where I question whether the name Geralt is a coincidence) wrapped around the usual daddy “nobody hurts my baby girl” fantasy trope every game has to be nowadays.’

            A.) There’s pretty much zero ‘objectivist bullshit’ unless you want to project it.

            B.) “nobody hurts my baby girl” is the exact opposite lesson of the game. Making choices along those lines is a straight ticket to the worst possible ending.

          • aepervius says:

            Delruedetroit , I am sorry but which quest is “kill 10 nekker” ? I can think of exactly zero. I am incidentally replaying it right now. All the peasant quest , the small one, are of the style of “somebody disappeared please search them” or “get me that” or “there is a monster there” , yes, but the motivation are made clear so that it isn’t a simple fedex or kill 10. And that is the smaller 5 minutes quest. The longer secondary quest are much more involved (read above). One I remember was after the initial quest with Keira Metz. You can do the main quest with her… And then afterward there are two secondary quest. Or even the forefather eve quest. The characters are well fleshed out. Heck even a random woman asking me to check for her husband because he did not come back from setting snare, a 2 minute quest , is more fleshed than 95+% of the dreck of open world we get from other AAA title. And that is not counting that the human looks far more human than whatever ME:A gave us initially.

            So I reiterate my question : where did you get those “kill 10 nekker” quests because so far I have seen none.

        • SaunteringLion says:

          “Plus they never properly explain a lot of things like The White Frost.”

          They explain most things, including the White Frost. It’s an apocalyptic, Ragnarok style scenario. It can be averted. That’s all you really need to know.

          There’s a book, in game, that hypothesizes it’s caused by some dust or subatomic particles.

      • nottorp says:

        Some people are happy with Bethesda like borefests because they don’t read the storyline anyway. They’re there for the “systems” – 10000 crafting options, out of which 3 are useful. 50000 spells that you can’t keep track of etc.

        What I really loved about Witcher 1 is that they didn’t have the budget to have crafting. There were all of 3 silver sword upgrades and you had to *work* for each of them. In 2 and 3 they caved in to the ‘i want my gear treadmill’ crowd and now you have a hundred components and upgrades, so you don’t care any more.

    • jellydonut says:

      I agree, currently trudging through it to get the vaunted story people are talking about, but I could pass on the overly complicated systems and the combat.

    • Kasjer says:

      Atrocious combat? Really? It’s way more deep combat system than most of open world RPGs have. It ain’t no Dark Souls or Bloodborne, but it is far better than what Skyrim, modern Fallouts or Dragon Age games offer.

      Well, as for the controls – it is a multi-plat game with dynamic combat. It was designed around gamepad controls, not m+k. Played it with X360 pad right from the start and never had any issues with controls.

      • Archonsod says:

        Skyrim has more interesting combat largely because the player has more options – sword and board, two handed, ranged, magic, dual weapons, weapon and spell, two spells … then which spells, axe or mace et al. That said I don’t find Witcher 3’s combat bad, it’s just that it’s not particularly amazing either (although these days being ‘adequate’ is something of an achievement in and of itself in 3rd person games).
        Mind you I wouldn’t hail Dark Souls as having a particularly good combat system either; given how much it simply relies on timing I usually think of the game as Guitar Hero with a worse soundtrack.

        • skyturnedred says:

          Never thought I’d see someone praise Skyrim’s combat.

          • napoleonic says:

            Skyrim’s combat is one of the best combat systems ever released. It is quick, intuitive, and a lot of fun.

        • Premium User Badge

          subdog says:

          I don’t think those options have any more depth than the options you get in this game. Between alchemy, combat and signs you have sub-builds that completely change your pace and strategy.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          More isn’t better. It doesn’t matter if I have 10 options but they all suck, I’m still stuck with something that sucks.

          None of Skyrim’s combat options are interesting or developed. Melee weapons are floaty and all work the same. Magic is awkward, underdeveloped and generally underwhelming – you hear of great feats, you become the best mage in the known world, but your best shot is to spam fireballs and shout at people. Ranged weapons are the least awkward, and that’s only because they’re basically primitive FPS controls and even Bethesda can’t fuck that up.

          I won’t say Witcher 3’s combat is the best, but it’s unarguably more refined and well thought out than Skyrim’s.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        The problem with the combat is that it thinks it is better than it really is. They are attempting to do a choose-your-moment type of combat but it winds up making it feel dragged out. The oils and buffs start to feel like a chore after a while and end up resulting in a lot of quick-loads. It’s kind of telling when the most interesting spell in the game is the one that makes other characters attack each other so you don’t have to.

        • Bernardo says:

          Have you tried the Ghost Mode Mod? I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I’ve heard good things about its combat system overhaul.

        • Kasjer says:

          Lot of quick-loads, really? I’m not some kind of badass, but playing on normal difficulty usually by playing smart – using potions, food and spells to stall enemy while I’m low on HP I’ve managed to avoid death most of the time. I’ve used oils and certain buffs when I knew what I will be facing in advance – and this was very “lore” kind of thing, as witcher should prepare for a fight with a monster. Never used the spell to make enemies fight among themselves either.

          On my first playthrough I went with gear of Bear route and choose skills that buffed my heavy attacks and defense along with Quen sign. My Geralt was basically a tank who did not have to make much of dodging. I grew tired of it and during 1st expansions I’ve reskilled and went with Cat gear and fast attacks, relied much more on explosives and offensive signs, potions and dodges – it was completely different playstyle. In Blood and Wine I’ve maxed out Mantricore armor and use even more explosives (with this armor+swords set they now have chance to deal critical damage), also choose new mutation to buff crossbow damage – now, when I’m slashing with my sword, it’s basically just a finisher.

          The game really gives you a lot of possibilites how to play and there are mutations/skills/rune combinations (introduced in 1st expansion) I have not even tried yet and I’ve spend over 150 hours with the game. If combat get’s boring for you, maybe you should try to mix things up and find playstyle better suited to your tastes.

          • DelrueOfDetroit says:

            I played on the second hardest difficulty.


            I guess none of the play-styles suited my taste as I didn’t feel there was much variance between them.

      • aepervius says:

        It plays IMO much better with k+m once you remap all controls. I have tried both, and it feels much easier (to me) with k+m.

    • popej says:

      Aye it’s pretty damned good but it isn’t Souls/Bloodborne good in my humble opinion.

    • jerf says:

      “Atrocious combat”? Hyperbole much? Name any other RPG (apart from the Souls games and maybe Dragon’s Dogma, which are all entirely combat-focused) that has better melee combat.

      Also I believe that you haven’t tried playing The Witcher 3 on the hardest difficulty, and/or haven’t actually tried to learn the nuances of the combat. On the hardest difficulty it’s actually very satisfying. Souls games probably have better combat, but The Witcher 3’s one is certainly very far from “atrocious”.

      Now regarding horseback riding. Name any game apart from Red Dead Redemption that has better horse riding. Just one example from my own experience: I played Dragon Age: Inquisition right after completing The Witcher 3, and one of the (frankly, many) aspects in which it felt inferior to TW3 was the horse riding. It felt awful compared to TW3’s one.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        RPGs not aspiring to being better than other games is kind of my point. Why put so much effort into making an open world with a grand story if you are just going to phone in every other aspect of your game?

        • jerf says:

          “if you are just going to phone in every other aspect of your game” — this is blatantly incorrect in TW3’s case. As I said, on the hardest difficulty the gameplay is very satisfying. Also, “every other aspect of your game”, really? Even if you hate TW3’s combat (apparently just because it’s a bit different from the Soulsbourne combat, and also because you apparently haven’t honestly tried getting accostomed to the flow of the combat at the highest difficulty setting), this claim is frankly ridiculous, sorry.

    • OmNomNom says:

      I completely agree. I’ve tried to get into W3 so many times (mainly because of all the love it gets) but i just get so BORED because of the combat mainly. It just doesn’t compare (for me) to something like Skyrim with a decent gameplay overhaul (Perma, OBIS, ASIS, ROTE etc).
      W3 is a very well crafted but really stale experience for me.

  7. Werthead says:

    I do want to play it, but stalled halfway through The Witcher 2 due to it being awful and buggy. It took me ages to finish The Witcher 1 as well, so the franchise hasn’t exactly gripped me.

    That said, I hear the third game is far, far better than the first two so I’ll definitely get round to it at some point.

    • CartonofMilk says:

      yeah i hadnt cared for witcher 1 or 2 either and as i just mentioned my experience with witcher 3 ended up being the same so… but you should try it anyway. At least on sale

    • mavrik says:

      I really don’t get why people push newcommers to play Witcher 1 and 2 – those games have their good parts, but for most part are wonky and broken to the point that they will make newbies hate the series forever before they reach the third one. Also Witcher 3 does introduce characters and the world well enough that you really don’t need to play the first two to enjoy it.

      • Coming Second says:

        I agree with this. You’ve really got to grit your teeth to complete Witcher 1 in particular. There’s a couple of moments of magic in there, but you’d never play it and envisage the same team would be capable of pulling the third game out of the bag.

        Witcher 2 is light years ahead of the first game, but it’s let down by a poor combat system/frustrating bosses and a rushed third act.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I’d heard good things about the first one, so I gave it a go, but no. Although the story and the world building were great, it just wasn’t that fun to play, so I quit after a few hours.
      The second one came out, and I heard that they’d sorted a lot of the problems so I picked it up, and again just couldn’t make it more than a few hours.
      So when the third one came out, I heard even more about how good it was, and so I picked it up on sale with all the DLC, just before the GotY edition came out and now I’ve put almost two hundred hours into it and I started my second playthough last week after reading through the books.
      It’s comfortably one of my favourite games ever.

      tl/dr Witcher 3 is miles ahead of both of the previous two, just play it, you won’t regret it.

  8. CartonofMilk says:

    I love open world rpgs and couldn’t get into it…. yeah i dont know either. I played maybe 15 hours and realised i didn’t care to launch the game anymore. If i have to force myself to play…I had waited for it in eager anticipation. I think part of my issue is playing a rpg with a predetermined character with a predetermined story and even a predetermined class is just not good for me. That’s not my idea of a proper rpg. Anyway I still prefer elder scrolls…

    • The Algerian says:

      I think it definetly wouldn’t work well with a player created character.

      Just like a game like Dark Souls wouldn’t work well with a pre-determined.

    • Archonsod says:

      I put it on a par with TES (nothing has beat Planescape to my mind yet). They’re kinda two different ways of doing the same thing – TES makes it’s open world interesting because even when the sidequests, caves et al are functionally the same you’ve got so many different options you rarely need to do the same thing. Witcher 3 on the other hand tends to make those side quests functionally different, so while you’re usually doing the same thing it’s for different reasons.

  9. Cinek says:

    IMHO overall the best RPG since Morrowind, in terms of storylines – the best since Planescape: Torment. Yea, yea, people whine about combat, I for one found it enjoyable, though obviously that’s not what the game is about. It’s everything else that’s the game and it flippin rocks!

  10. Stargazer86 says:

    I really quite enjoyed the Witcher 3 and would put it up there with the likes of Baldur’s Gate 2 and Fallout as one of the greatest RPG’s of all time. With that said, I’ve only played it through fully once and even then rushed through the Skelliga area because I had burnt myself out pretty badly doing every quest I could find everywhere else. And, of course, I really should stop buying DLC for RPG’s because I rarely find myself getting around to playing them. I bought the White Marshes DLC for Pillars of Eternity and haven’t played through the DLC either. Same goes for Witcher 3’s DLC.

    • StAUG says:

      White March is definitely worth your time.

    • Kasjer says:

      Hearts of Stone is definitely DLC you should play. It is light on side quests and main storyline is much more focused and enganging. Blood and Wine is kind of “best of” to the main game on the other hand. More of the same, but way more polished, laid-back and fun.

      • mavrik says:

        Yeah, Hearts of Stone is the single best piece of writing (and most interesting protagonist) in the game – and that’s a really really high bar to pass.

    • Coming Second says:

      Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine are both perfect “come back to this game six months later and remember how good it is” material. Both absolutely top quality DLCs, although with distinctly different tones.

    • golem09 says:

      I had stopped played the game for 1.5 years when reaching Skellige, and continued this february. I played through the main story and almost felt burned out again even though I enjoyed it.
      But then the DLCs managed to create a MASSIVE motivation boost to keep playing. Both are masterpieces. Just go and watch the trailer for Hearts of Stone. It’s one of the best video game trailers I’ve ever seen, and the DLC actually is that good.

  11. zaphod6502 says:

    Wonderful game except for the consistently awful combat system. The combat in the earlier games in the series was also mediocre.

    • Paul says:

      Except it is not awful at all.

    • napoleonic says:

      The combat in Witcher 1 was horrifyingly bad, as was the quantity of cutscenes. In fact it was so bad that I stopped at the end of the opening castle and returned my copy of Witcher 2 for a refund.

  12. Eleriel says:

    I own it. bought the GotY edition on GoG back in January.
    I have yet to start playing it.

    I just know that when I do, I’ll get stuck there for WEEKS.. and I have school and work to worry about currently.
    I hate being a grownup.

  13. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    The high-water mark for open world exploration. The high-water mark for meaningful choice and consequence. The high-water mark for cinematic and actorly design. The high-water mark for superfluous minigames that are actually worth playing. The high-water mark for a strong launch followed by attentive patching and gobs of free DLC. Paid DLC that are a return to old-school expansion packs.

    Just the best.

    • aepervius says:

      And best of all, it is an open world without radio tower/high place/eagle view ;).

  14. Yachmenev says:

    Great, definitely a classic.

    And a game that gets way too much criticism for the gameplay. The problem with the game is that it doesn’t work very well within confined spaces, where the camera messes up things. But when the combat takes place out in the open, it’s actually pretty great. Lot’s of tools available (signs, abilities, alchemy), and I don’t know that many other RPG’s that handles encounters with multiple enemies at once as well as this does.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Agreed. The combat is actually really good if you configure the controls to something agreeable (I put fast attack on left-mouse, strong on right and quick dodge on another easy to reach mouse button)… dodge more than roll and actually make use of all your tools (signs, potions, bombs). It was great.

      (sidenote I used the slightly more responsive “alternate controls” rather than the default movement)

    • FriendlyFire says:

      People won’t admit to it, but I suspect a lot of gameplay criticism is playing favorites. Someone’s enamored with Dark Souls or similar and will just not have another game in a similar genre be praised more than their beloved franchise.

      The criticism regarding the combat always feels hyperbolic, ignorant and myopic, like the person making it is just looking for something to complain about so they can say that their pet game is better.

      Note that this isn’t to say Dark Souls (or any other game Witcher 3 gets compared to) isn’t a good game. It’s a common comparison point, but it’s rather unfair to compare a game strictly about combat with something as wide as Witcher 3. On top of that, Souls combat is actually very much an acquired taste as well, which is quite ironic.

  15. AutonomyLost says:

    Oh yes. In my top five games of all-time without breaking a sweat; undoubtedly a masterpiece.

    It’s been less than a year since my full playthrough of the campaign and both sets of DLC, so I’ll give myself just a bit more time away, and let the heart grow fonder, before jumping back in. I actually began a NG+ on Death March difficulty immediately after I finished Blood and Wine, but decided to tuck it away and give some other deserving games attention. I can’t wait to revisit the world.

  16. Vroomparrot says:

    Started playing this recently, 2-3 hours a night, 2-3 times a week, and have already clocked up over 40hours. Of course this means I have barely touched on what it has to offer – but I don’t feel overwhelmed by it. I’m just enjoying the place and its people – it feels remarkably alive (at least compared to anything else I have ever played). God knows if I’ll ever finish the main quest, or get to do any of the DLC but this doesn’t bother me tbh.

  17. smeaa mario says:

    There are only 3 things I’d ever complain about in Witcher 3:

    -The xp system: In my first playthrough, it took me while to finally notice that killing monsters were as good as entirely insignificant for leveling. Obviously you had to do quests for that purpose. And so I did.

    However, there came the issue with quests not giving you xp or giving you only a small part of it if you were above or too close to the recommended quest level. In such a huge open world where you could just go your own way for however long you want, it was quite restricting to obligatorily stick to the order in which you had to complete each quest. Otherwise it is all in vain. Nothing smacks you harder in the face than finishing a supposedly major quest and ending up with 5 xp.

    -The 6 levels rule with enemies: Actually this rule was also applicable for the quests. It was what determined the amount of xp you could claim from them.

    Basically, if enemy is 6 levels or more above you (the ones with the skull marks), they get this extreme hp and damage boost, making it almost impossible for you to give them even a scratch. If you reduce the gap to just 5 levels, you magically became capable of harming them and sustaining damage from them. I think Gothic is the prime example of how one should handle enemy encounters and their toughnes.

    In Gothic (I am mainly taking Gothic 3 as my unpopular all time favorite as an example here), all enemies were there in various locations and they had their designated toughness levels. It wasn’t close to impossible for you to harm them because of level gaps. You could just give it a tiresome grind with your bow and arrow, and take down an Ogre early on. The Ogre didn’t magically become easier as you leveled closer to it. It had 100 hp and 40 attack power (just making these stats up) in the begginning of the game and it still had exactly the same stats when you reached level, I don’t know, 50.

    -Items and loot: Nothing much to say about this really. Items you can loot scale with you, which means you can’t ever get lucky and happen to find something that’s awesome. Pretty much all swords and armor you find in chests and containers are useless. Witcher sets are the only meaningful choices, unless you are some fantasy fashionista.

    This one is more insignificant than the others though. It’s not like a witcher is supposed to rely on randomly found gear. The whole concept is not so suitable for looting. I guess this was the price for adding a little spice to the game through a loot system.

    All in all, these don’t constitute game-breaking or tedious issues. The whole game sucks you in and makes it worth your while. So much that these are just “meh” issues or issues which you would be better off without, yet you don’t care so much about.

    • Premium User Badge

      subdog says:

      Your issue with the level scaling seems to assume that Geralt’s power level increases linearly, when really it spikes and plateaus at uneven rates, depending on which talents you buy. The high level monster handicap is meant to account for that.

      Gating encounters behind levels is already a contrived abstraction, and the game actually does a pretty reasonable job of “zoning” its content appropriately.

    • Kasjer says:

      Taking on enemies that are 6-7 levels above you is perfectly possible, challenging and rewarding. Thing is the game doesn not inform you just how above your level the enemy is once it’s marked with a skull. Getting one level closer doesn’t magically nerf enemies – it’s just that you most likely have better gear and stats when you are closer to “recommended” take-on level. So I did had several victories over monsters well beyond my level, but sometimes I’ve had to run from a fight only to come back to it later in the game and learn that enemy was like 10-15 levels above me when I’ve first tried to take it down. And it’s fine. The world is more interesting when you have one-hit enemies, the ones that can put up a good fight and the ones who can just totally destroy you.

      • smeaa mario says:

        I am not saying you can’t take the skull enemies down. You can, with insane effort. As for the “magical nerf”, yeah, it totally and truly exists. It’s a built-in mechanism. It’s not your higher level or newfound equipment that makes the fight easier. The game indeed places an artificial wall between you and enemies 6 or more levels higher than you by buffing them. As I said, try hunting an enemy that is 6 levels higher than you. And go back after gaining 1 more level with exactly the same gear. You’ll see it for yourself that it will indeed “magically” become an a lot easier match for you.

        Since you are strictly thinking about monsters here, I think you need to also think about human/non-human enemies too. For instance, in my first playthrough I ventured a little as soon as I got out of the beginning area and made my way to Novigrad. I think you might remember that rich guy who you stumble upon at the docks. He wants you to accompany him, in case thugs attack. And they do. The impracticality and lousiness of this mechanism became obvious there. You are a superhuman witcher and you simply are no match for those simple street thugs encounter. You know why? Because their level is higher. And your sword seems to be nothing more than a twig against their unprotected flesh. You chop them on and on and on. And no damage. But of course they just gut you like a fish in 1 hit.

        Now tell me. Does this make sense to you?

        • Sandepande says:

          This was an issue (well, one of several) for me, too. The whole leveling mechanism felt a bit broken at times (and especially with those fucking invincible city guards), but it’s a familiar thing in RPGs, so I can understand why they didn’t bother to reinvent the wheel.

          • smeaa mario says:

            Again, guards I’ll understand. They are after all trained military men with decent weaponry and armor at their disposal. But in that very specific example I am talking strictly about a bunch of street thugs with no armor, who, due to the entire mechanism, are like walking metal walls to you.

    • pelwl says:

      My issue with the level scaling was that early on I spent 20 minutes trying to kill something. Gave up and came back to it several levels later by which point I was able to kill it instantly.

      The problem with making things too easy or too hard unless you’re close to the recommended level is that you end up with little choice as to the order you take on missions. I was forced to pretty much do whatever was closest to my current level (even though it meant endlessly backtracking around the world) and if I decided to do any out of sequence it gave me enough XP that I’d be overpowered for the lower ones in the backlog.

      I also didn’t like being given a mission 10-15 levels above my current one, meaning it had to be relegated to the bottom of the backlog, and by the time I got to it I’d completely forgotten who’d given it to me or why.

  18. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Actually I haven’t played it yet, but I’m looking forward to do so. Gonna take the plunge as soon as the GotY Edition hits the 25€ mark, after digging through a ‘recommended mods’ list.

  19. sicanshu says:

    My fiancee, who hadn’t played a video game since Mario kart 64, booted up my copy kind of at random and got completely hooked. My favorite part was her insistence on calling him “Gerald,” which gave it almost a “Life of Brian” quality. Geralt may be a master swordsman, but Gerald somersaults around enemies like an asshole while cramming handfuls of olives into his mouth. Geralt is an expert gwent player. Gerald thinks gwent is fucking bullshit (most especially the “Scorch” card). Geralt never turns down a horse race. Gerald didn’t realize you could equip better saddles until over thirty hours into the game. In all seriousness though, it was pretty cool getting to see the game through new eyes.

    • Coming Second says:

      Oh god, I call him Gerald too. Instantly becomes 20% more likeable.

      • lokimotive says:

        This aligns with my playstyle which positioned Geralt/d as an occasionally ineffectual oaf. Oh Gerald, you just unleashed a plague on a small village. *sad trumpet*

    • Bostec says:

      I call him Geraldine but only at weekends though.

  20. tomimt says:

    W3 is best game in the Witcher series and probably the best open world RPG made. It’s one of the very few open world RPG’s where the world actually feels like people life there and even the side missions and collectible quests are very well done. Most things have actual story lines, despite they’d be pretty small, they usually are well written and interesting.

    • MierNeuker says:

      Little people having storylines was one of the great things about W3 for me. I went off trying to become the world’s greatest boxer, and ended up taking a dive because my opponent was so down on his luck and clearly needed the win. Paying attention to this was completely optional, so although I’d heard his story, and how (iirc) the woman he was trying to impress would only be interested if he won the tournament, I could still have kicked his ass if I chose to, and my progress through the main body of the game would have changed little as a result. A hundred tiny stories like this were what made this a truly immersive game for me – kept dragging me in even though the combat was mostly not enjoyable for me.

      • Unclepauly says:

        Hah, I still kicked his ass. Don’t remember if he got the girl though. Probably not, and now I feel like an asshole.

  21. geldonyetich says:

    I’m in the same boat, Alec.

    I’ll finish Witcher 3 some day, some day.

    Perhaps when I retire.

    If retirement is still a thing 30 years from now.

  22. Gordon Shock says:

    Yes and as much as I wanted to fall in love with it I put it down after 45 hours.

    First, the game visual use a bizarre type of contrast that really tired my eyes. I am a film director and editor and so I can stare at a monitor for a long time and not be bothered by it, so there is definitely something wrong here. I tried a few tricks that I found but it only made the game looked washed out.

    Second, and this is not entirely this game’s fault but it is the tipping point I guess, I have grown completely tired of the “before you get it you’ll have to do something for me first” type of quests that have invaded open world RPG’s lately and this game seems to be stacked to the brim with them. When I entered the Baron’s town and I saw the wanted poster I thought to myself “I guess I know what I will have to do next”, and, what do you know…

    Third, it leaned too much in Ubisoft icon bonanza territory. I am tired of chasing icons, I want to play a game, damnit.

    Fourth, You want side quests? Here’s a helping, and a second, and a third and a….ad nauseum. I get it, you need quest to level and explore the world but how much side quests is too much? If I don’t do them I feel like I am missing out on the world and if I do them it quickly becomes and interminable laundry list of the same 3-4 tasks to accomplish. Not to mention that when you are on a side quest, chance are you will trigger more side quests just by going to your destination. It all became white noise after a while and I simply didn’t give a shit.

    Fifth, and that is a problem with a LOT of games. Do we really need game worlds that are that big? If all it’s gonna be is side quests and repetitive backtracking what is the point? There is too much choice and options in games now. I remember playing Vice City and at one point I knew the entire city by heart. It was a blast because I could go on a rampage, rob a store or just plain goofing around and know exactly how to get myself out of trouble. In GTA5 when you get in trouble you just drive and you’ll lose the cops eventually, where is the challenge in that? I am exhausted by open world games now, they are just vast, mostly empty, vistas that exist for no particular reason other than to give the developers a chance to boast.

    Now, I go for a tighter and more focused world or narrative before open world games and it’s a lot more fun.

    My expectations for Cyberpunk are now non existant and that’s a shame because I take Sci-Fi over fantasy any time and so the prospect of Cyberpunk is right up my alley. Sigh…

    End of rant

    • Coming Second says:

      Most of your points (aside from the contrast thing, I’m sorry to hear about that and am a bit flummoxed by it) come back to the same thing: That the game is too big, and you found it wearying.

      Whilst it’s true W3 is ridiculously big, except for right at the start it’s actually pretty easy to tunnel vision the main story to the exclusion of everything else. You get gobs of experience for completing the main missions, and if you do anything else you wind up heavily over-levelled for them. For me, this is the good way of balancing proceedings – you can crack on with it if it’s beginning to wear, or ride around being a peasant saviour if it isn’t.

      That said yeah, there’s a reason why the endless refrain for this game is “I’ll get around to completing it some day”. But I prefer a huge quantity of well-written content than a game completable in a weekend that’s padded out with several shed-loads of fetch quests.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Fair points, you can turn off the icons however and at least it got no radio towers
      For me I love the hugeness as it’s the appeal of open world games. There are still Baldur’s Gate/Pillars/Dragon Age 2 type, semi-open world-games or Dark Souls with its praised integrated dungeons.
      Can’t really see why the Baron quest is so bad, while it seems standard “quit por quo” from the outset, the quest plays out quite differently and has branches. There seem to be say only a dozen of variations on how to do questing in RPGs.

    • smeaa mario says:

      Just like the person above me noted, the hugeness of the world is the greatest appeal for people like me. In a great rpg, I am usually so fascinated by the experience that I don’t want it to end anytime soon.

      It’s not like the length won’t be tiresome when it’s not correctly done though. The “lifelessness” of the world can grow offputting really quickly. However, Witcher 3 is such an enchanting experience that it most probably still wouldn’t bother me, if it were twice as long as its current entirety (together with the two expansions). I’d just rejoice.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Regarding too many icons: The best way to play is to turn off the question marks on the map and just explore freely, following the story and making occasional detours. You’ll still run into more quests than you have time for but it won’t feel like you’re trying to clean the map.

    • Chromatose says:

      The contrast issue stems from the fact that, like almost every ‘AAA’ game recently, your only antialiasing option is temporal AA, which everybody loves for some bizarre reason in spite of the fact that it introduces more artifacting than it eliminates.

      In almost all cases, TAA washes a ton of small detail out of a given scene, leading to a lot of developers using a super aggressive edge-sharpening postprocess in to try and rectify it. My suggestion would be to disable all in-game AA, and use a postprocess injector like Reshade, which has support for SMAA, which blurs a scene much less aggressively.

      • Troubletcat says:

        A: That’s not what he’s talking about and B: You are wrong about TAA. SMAA can and often does blur the scene much more aggressively than TAA. All of these post-processing AA techniques, it really comes down to how they’re actually configured by the developers. TAA is fantastic when done right.

        Personally I’m a fan of CSAA but it’s so rarely supported – even forcing it from the nVidia control panel usually doesn’t actually work.

        • Chromatose says:

          Please then elucidate me as to what he was talking about, unless you’re just here to start a pissing contest over favoured AA methods.

          Temporal AA induces plenty of visual artifacts, and most games employing it also include an edge-sharpening postprocess to alleviate it, as seen in The Witcher 3 itself because CDPR at least had the good grace of letting the end-user tweak the sharpness amount. Same with Warframe and Dishonored 2. Try turning that sharpness all the way down. You’ll see that it generally blurs the scene really badly.

          Hell, in Dishonored 2 it smears certain game objects entirely out of the image at a distance – look at the wind turbines you can see from the boat. They disappear.

          Saying it’s just a case of how developers employ it doesn’t really make sense, because the algorithm is largely the same across all games i.e. jitter the image at the subpixel level and then whack a temporal reconstruction filter over the top. It is the algorithm itself that is the issue.

      • Gordon Shock says:

        Troublecat is right, that is not what I am talking about at all. Contrast is the color and brightness of and object compared to other objects within the same field of view.

        For some reason the developers decided that absolutely and utterly crushing the blacks was a good idea. In interior cutscenes it can create a great mood but when I am out and about (which is most of the time), and I suddenly go into a wooded area the whole image becomes very VERY dark, even though it is 1pm.

        Interiors and caves/dungeons are the worst as they become pitch black. My monitor is calibrated and I have a GTX 970 so there is nothing wrong with my system, and beside, it looks the same in all the videos I watched trying to find the perfect adjustment scheme/fix.

  23. Parrilla says:

    Did Novigrad and Velen when it came out but burned out on it by Skellige. Currently playing through to see Toussaint and just finished most of Skellige. Not playing anything except this and BF1 until I get to the end.

  24. badmothergamer says:

    I bought this on the day it came out and to date have only played it for 90 minutes. I enjoyed the first game, but also bought and only played the second game for a couple of hours so in hindsight my purchase was probably a bit foolish.

    I appreciate the accolades the game has received but like others, I’ve been spoiled by playing my RPGs in more of a “choose your own adventure” style where I create a custom character then play through the story in my own way. Playing with a fixed character in a fixed story where every player has the same experience just doesn’t interest me.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Well, I’m sure they appreciate you buying their game even if you never wanted to play it.

  25. Doubler says:

    I played it for a good long while but eventually stopped because the universe just kept demoralizing and exhausting me. I think after all the grim and grim of popular culture the last few years I just need something cheerful again :P

  26. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Played it with all achievements, death march, all DLCs all Gwent battles. So sad there’s nothing left to do really besides maybe replaying it without minimap and icons.
    It was a truely great RPG experience, only minor problems like the item/crafting UI, aweful swimming, aweful riding like in any other game, rest would be just nit-picking.

  27. Quite So says:

    I played it for about 20 hours and do think it’s a great game, but I just couldn’t get past the way he moves. Character movement in a 3rd person game is critical to my enjoyment of it. If they are too slow, or have a lot of extraneous motions I get annoyed and lose interest in the game. Something about his movement bothered me, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Too much swinging?

    • Zenicetus says:

      In the initial release version, there was a small amount of inertia and momentum modeled in Geralt’s movements. I think the idea was to give him a feeling of “weight” for the sake of realism. It worked okay once I got used to it, and could anticipate the effect. Later on, one of the updates included an option for a different movement style where that was reduced or eliminated for quicker movement response.

      My only complaint about the combat and movement is that sometimes it felt like a sign wasn’t firing when it should have, or a blocking move was late (and I don’t think it was me). Something off about the keyboard/mouse response time, even when I had fast frame rates and a good PC for running the game. It was sporadic though… most of the time it worked okay.

  28. Stevostin says:

    I hate non first person view RPG. But The Witcher I got so much praise I bought it (cheap). Played 2 hours, really didn’t like it.
    When TW2 was released, I thought I wouldn’t fall again. But the praise was so high, I bought it. I played something like 15h, then concluded it was wrong on too many level. I think the last drop was when I finally found the leveling system I was actively looking for for hours, with the game failing to point me this very basic part of the gameplay. Now of course, if the quest weren’t packed with characters that were pretty sure I was super interested in them while I actually had no idea who they were or why they mattered, maybe I would have stick a bit more.

    TW3 has got even higher praise, but I am not jumping in anymore.

    This is not to say The Witcher praise isn’t diserved. I can see how the writing brings it further than most thing Bethesda. Still, it lacks badly the system, be anyone, touch anything, everything you see has some consistency etc. And of course, the essential first person view if you create a world to visit. There’s not feeling of “being there” without that one. Or very tame.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I don’t mind first-person in a shooting game where almost all your enemies are in front of you. But with a game focused on melee combat, it helps to see what’s happening behind you. Third-person view is much better for that (IMO, and I know everyone has their preferences, regardless).

      The only time I got killed in the game was either trying to tackle a monster way above Geralt’s current level, or allowing him to get surrounded by lower level monsters and mooks. It would have been much harder to see and avoid that situation in first-person view.

      The player character in the Dishonored games has that same quality if you take the open combat vs. stealthy path. You’re a deadly force as long as you can see what’s in front of you, but it’s easy to get killed if you let yourself get surrounded. First-person view just doesn’t give you enough situational awareness sometimes.

    • Unclepauly says:

      You would hate Planescape:Torment or any of those types of games then. You’re missing out on some good RPG’s friend.

      • dethtoll says:

        He’s not missing much.

        • Paul says:

          Only some of the best games ever made.

          • dethtoll says:

            [puking sounds intensify]

            The only cRPGs from that era that aren’t garbage are Fallout 1 and 2, and maybe Deus Ex if you count it as one.

            Planescape Torment might actually have been the worst game I’ve ever played. At least Final Fantasy 8’s defenders admit it has serious flaws; PST’s fans meanwhile scramble over each other to be the first to scream “you just didn’t GET it!” whenever someone says they didn’t like it.

          • drinniol says:

            Wow, did you train to be so ‘edgy’ or does it come naturally?

          • dethtoll says:

            Thank you for the example.

          • Unclepauly says:

            What I’ve found is PS:T’s fans usually tell people if you’re not a text heavy person you won’t like it. Not once have I seen someone say “YOU DUN GET IT BRO” that doesn’t even sound like someone who would like that game.

  29. Sagiri says:

    I own it (according to Steam, I bought it this past Christmas), but I’ve never played or even installed it.

  30. Cyrus says:

    Well, it’s a work in progress, only played 12 hours or so starting some day last week. I had my goal to play through 1st and 2nd game again this winter and I made it so I can finally experience this supposedly gem. Still a bit overwhelmed by the open-world but I can manage. In the end it means a longer game and I’m okay with that as long as it’s awesome.
    I know what will occupy some of my time for a few months I guess ;)

  31. Laurentius says:

    I did, it’s a great game. It’s though the ‘worst’ Witcher game in a sense of keeping up with spirits of the book and main story plot.
    Also CDPR bold statement of marrying plot heavy game with open world didn’t come to fruition. To even bigger complains is leveling and loot, it’s boring and unsatisfying. So game i snot without flaws, it’s still extremally good. The best part? Heart of Stone DLC, this delivers trule amazingly well writen self contain, small scale story, perfectly encapsulating Spakowski’s prose. HoS deserves all regonition and it’s peak of CDPR and one of the best writing in video games.

  32. Sandepande says:

    My first attempt at a playthrough petered out at 17 hours, the second has stalled at 22.

    Subjectively speaking, the world isn’t terribly interesting though it is beautifully realised, nor are the characters, and that’s it, then, because as a game it isn’t particularly good. The combat is passable, movement feels clunky, the menu system is a mess… But the worst offender is the leveling mechanic and the character development.

    However, none of what I feel are flaws in the gameplay wouldn’t matter that much if I could muster some enthusiasm for the fate of the characters. Pity.

  33. Premium User Badge

    Big Dunc says:

    A simply stunning game and the high water mark for open world action RPGs. It’s not without it’s flaws but I love the grimness of the world and wonderful cast of characters. I’ve played it for 200 hours and look forward to finding the time to replay it. Also, THIS is how you do DLC.

  34. Rack says:

    Currently playing through it now. It’s an intimidating beast being so vast but it’s absolutely wonderful. Most of my issues are fixed by mods (and they’re really more personal gripes than genuine flaws)

  35. dethtoll says:

    Hated the first one for its shit gameplay and abject sexism bordering on just plain misogyny. Never really found a desire to play Polish Sexism Simulator 3 despite all the adulation it’s received.

    • Unclepauly says:

      I would like to extend an invitation to a party.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      The arc from Witcher 1’s pinup cards (which were more of an accident apparently) and clumsy dialogue (“I would like to get to know you better” = commence sexy times) to Witcher 3’s fairly sophisticated handling of romantic entanglements is interesting. Honestly, Witcher 3 gives Bioware a run for its money on player romances and has seriously great female characters, my favourite being Cerys an Craite who gets to be queen of the vikings (with some minor assistance from the player) by being smart and awesome. Also: Ciri, Triss, Yennefer, Keira Metz, Shani et al are all great in their own way.

      • dethtoll says:

        Bioware’s romances are terrible, so that’s not really high praise.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          Whatever their faults they are among the more popular romances in mainstream AAA games so they are a relevant reference point.

          But if you’re just here to be contrarian I think I’ll pass, thanks.

          • dethtoll says:

            Stop saying wrong things and I’ll stop being contrarian :)

    • Chromatose says:

      Yeah, this really irked me too. Also, I’m kind of aware it wasn’t any kind of deliberate intent on CDPR’s part, but the fact that TW3 is so beloved of white nationalists kind of makes me feel uneasy about playing it again.
      I know that makes me one of those oversensitive people that the internet loves to rag on, but that’s the way it goes, I guess.

      • dethtoll says:

        Yeah, I have noticed that, but to be honest the Venn of old-school cRPG fans and white nationalist (often with major hangups about women and queer people too) is, if not a perfect circle, then certainly a partial eclipse.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          Hey I’m basically a Luxemburgist and I love (some) old-school CRPGs. But yeah, the online communities dedicated to such things are…not good.

        • Morek Natar says:

          Ah, generalizing… no better way to invalidate any point you try to make.

          You’re implying with that Venn that in the time of old-school cRPG’s there weren’t any non-white people with PC’s? Or that none of them liked any cRPG?

          And even for the white people, a good game was a good game. And the pool to choose from wasn’t as big as it is these days. So I’m pretty sure any kind of PC-gaming minded person back then showed interest in new games that created a buzz.

          Also, white nationalists aren’t the people that come to mind as the majority of gamers in the 90’s, or who were the main target audience of those cRPG’s. All around me I saw teenagers and young adults playing them, and they grew into all kind of type of people.

          If anything I’d say the further back you go the more open minded people (who were into PC’s or gaming at that time) seemed. Or nerdy, heh.

          The Venn you described would be a regular Venn, two circles with some overlap for sure. But a mess to describe in a certain sure analytical way. Just like most Venn’s of any two unrelated things people like/are.

          While I do support the spirit of your and OP posts (which seems to me: equality for all, no matter sexual preference or color – No to white nationalists) it’s dubious to express it like that.

          In one go you offend most people who like old-school cRPG’s and those games themselves (and by extension their developers). As if they were designed around being a white nationalist or anti-LGBT utopia.

          And that some idiots make the most noise, even today in online communities, can you name me a topic where it isn’t so? Ssschwep… euh, Internet… What did you expect?

          BTW: You can RP Geralt monogamous, or even let him sleep with a succubus (TW2). It’s really the mindset of the player that decides Geralt’s tastes that way. Even if the world around you isn’t perfect (just like RL heh) you can strive for Geralt to set a good example!

  36. ShiArch says:

    Greatest game I have played so far. Been gaming for last 24 years…. so yeah, its awesome.

  37. reroracle says:

    DLCs for Witcher 3 are really top notch as well. This game is a masterpiece. I played a random side quest the other day, and it was ten times better than the main narrative of Andromeda or many games that have been released since W3.

  38. basilisk says:

    A completely useless post here:

    No, I haven’t. Because W1 was bad, W2 was also bad and The Witcher fanboys are some of the most annoying fanboys in this entire industry, capable of truly extraordinary levels of hyperbole. In fact, most of my gameplay time in W1&2 was spent in complete confusion why so many people praise these so much.

    I’ll definitely get W3 at some point, but my expectations are at rock bottom.

    • dethtoll says:

      Witcher fanboys really are the fuckin’ worst, aren’t they? But considering they’re mostly old-school cRPG fans who grew up playing the likes of Planescape: Torment, it’s no surprise at all.

      • Paul says:

        You two, kiss. But get a room first.

      • meskus says:

        Old school cRPG funs at least know what good cRPG looks like. Mainly a game with good story, characters and complete world without political, racial or social agenda and propaganda taken over from `real` modern world. Actually W3 very truly shows reality of wars influence on land and people no matter the age and land. There is no good guys and saints on the ground, no great ideas or rights, just survival and lots of muck. If you been there you know it. As for Torment and other old RPGs its true that they asked for lots of thinking, brain and meaningful decisions and less of reflexes, button mashing and shallow dialog. Today it seems glorified fighting game or shooter with some RPG elements, some `correctness` or outright propaganda and lots of fetch quests is top of the line RPG( ME:A, DS, DA:I etc.) Great games, some at least, but not always as great RPGs. Many of them are closer to Gears of war, For Honor or Assassins creed etc.( none of those even try to sell themselves as RPGs even if some elements are there) then to objectively defined idea of true cRPG.

      • SigmaCAT says:

        You don’t like Planescape’s writing?

      • zero signal says:

        “These games are garbage and their fans are the worst.”
        “Uh, really? Garbage?”
        “See what I mean! The worst.”

        Since the title of World’s Oldest Profession is already taken, we’ll have to call this the World’s Oldest Hobby for the Under-socialized. It’s a demerit against our species that some of us still think it’s amusing.

  39. Samudaya says:

    All games are primarily for straight white guys. But this game is most brash about it. Witcher 2 was extremely homophobic with Dethmold. The developers said they wanted him to be as dispicable as possible. Making him gay is meant to provoke the disgust of straight players. As usual there are only gay villains but never gay heroes. Witcher 3 hasn’t improved. There is a hunter ostracised by society for being gay. His boyfriend killed himself. The boyfriends father became a drunk and the family estate fell into ruin. All because of homosexuality. So no, I have not played the Witcher and I never will.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      That outcast hunter character is actually portrayed very sympathetically as I recall. Depicting homophobia is not the same as endorsing it, you know?

      • dethtoll says:

        You’re missing the broader point, that a gay character seems to be by necessity a tragic one, which is a rather unfortunate message for how often the trope is repeated. It’s worth calling into question why we can’t just have gay characters with happy backgrounds and happy endings, and why a gay character in a story filled with mostly straight people always seems to end up dead or face some other tragic fate, either as part of the plot or as a backstory.

        Plain point of fact, the “tragic queer” is a fucking boring story element, and is actually made worse if their death is meant to convey some sort of moral lesson.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          I think telling the truth about how society has treated certain groups, historically (and frankly even today depending on where you go), is more honest. It’s kind of the central theme of the series if there is one. The Witcher is not interested in utopias because the world is complicated and difficult and often horrible and good things don’t automatically happen to good people – in fact they are more often at the receiving end of the conflicts of others – but there is still warmth and humanity and goodness in the world if you look for it.

          • dethtoll says:

            Sorry, but that’s crap, on multiple levels. Anybody who isn’t a moron knows what LGBT people face in the real world, every day. It would just be nice if a queer character was represented in a positive way for once, where their queerness doesn’t make them a target for tragedy. This isn’t to say queer characters should never face hardship in a story, ever, but the sheer preponderance of this trope should give pause to anyone whose head isn’t firmly lodged up their ass.

            That’s not even touching on the reductionist argument that requesting a queer character not automatically be tragic somehow is unrealistic. Nobody is asking for a utopia ffs, but it would be nice if queer people were allowed to just exist in stories like this. Shit, Baldur’s Gate can’t even have a completely optional transgender character with just a few lines that you don’t even have to talk to without people going apeshit — the least devs can do is ditch the tired “bury your gays” trope for once.

        • drinniol says:

          TW3 rarely has happy endings for anyone, let alone happy backgrounds. It’s a story about a war torn region with a persecution of just about everyone on all sides. It’s not a modern Disney-fied family friendly fairy tale.

          • dethtoll says:

            Your reductionist argument is just as boring and cliche as the trope it’s attempting to defend.

          • drinniol says:

            Eh, no skin off my nose. Don’t play if you don’t like it, but your low opinion does not a bad game make.

          • dethtoll says:

            The game could be the best game ever made and give you oral sex on a daily basis, but if it treats queer characters as inherently tragic then that’s a misstep on its part.

            But you get points for that icon and name. :)

          • drinniol says:

            Wait… Dethmold… Dethtoll…

            Roche killed your father in TW2! Ouch man I’m so sorry.

          • dethtoll says:


            It’s actually a reference to a Duke Nukem 3D MIDI.

        • Coming Second says:

          Being homosexual in a medieval rural backwater *is* a tragedy, portraying it any differently would be a deception.

          For me that was a brilliant piece of writing, because the hunter’s tragedy was used to characterise Geralt and tell you something about the world they live in at the same time. The hunter lives separately from the rest of the village and refuses to say why. Geralt naturally believes he’s some kind of werewolf, thinks he can help, and keeps prodding him until he explains there’s nothing he can do. In that short vignette you get told there are problems in Temeria that a gruff albino with two swords can’t ever hope to solve.

          It’s also worth pointing out that Philippa, who is extremely gay, gets the most satisfying scene in the entire game.

        • Karrahad says:

          What about the other gay characters in Witcher who haven’t ended up dead? Why is this one so important? And if a story doesn’t revolve around a character’s sexual orientation, do you just assume they’re straight?

          The Witcher saga is specifically a deconstruction of classic fantasy and classic fairy tales, where the often happy story elements have been turned around. The original author didn’t just draw elements from what he considered to be realities of medieval life but also from the suffering of people in his home country during World War 2.

          Telling tragic stories is specifically the Witcher’s niche, so a tragic story of a gay character is just one out of numerous believable tragic stories. Atheists killed because of their atheism, women dying due to misogyny, “non-humans” dying due to racism, peasants dying due to the ruthlessness of nobility, progressive thinkers killed by convervative folk. Why doesn’t the game give these people happy backgrounds and happy stories? Oh.

        • Abacus says:

          The hunter you meet in White Orchard is hardly characterised as a “tragic queer”. The guy’s sexuality is so incidental that it’s mentioned maybe once.

          By all means, don’t let little facts like Ciri being bisexual influence your raging hateboner for this game.

  40. popej says:

    A great title overall but (for me) it was badly let down by its loot system. If they’d only made some non-green loot comparable in power it would have been much more interesting. Loot helps drives the impulse to explore but if you’ve already done all the cat/bear/wolf school (or whatever they were called) quests and got the loot you’re basically set.

    In hindsight I find I prefer Dark Souls vague story telling and mystery too, as well as the combat. Yes they’re quite different games but I guess Soulsborne has spoiled me.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Some of the swords you find are better than witcher swords. Armor wise though I don’t think so.

  41. Mungrul says:

    Oh I have played so much of this.
    Over five hundred hours according to Galaxy, three times through, first time through on Blood and Broken Bones, second on Death March and third, Death March with Enemy Scaling on.

    Absolutely adore the game, and I actually enjoy the combat too. But having played it so much, I know for a fact that the stat system backing up character levelling is completely broken. My current game has all sorts of hilariously broken scenarios, where Drowners may be a challenge, but the rats in Tower of Mice will one-hit-kill Geralt.
    The thing that kills me the most? Wolves. They too take off a ridiculous amount of health per attack, even more than larger, feature monsters such as Arch Griffons.

    If I knew how to do it, I’d redesign the whole levelling system so that player and monster/NPC stats remained constant from level 1 all the way to the top, the same with gear, and you’d only get skill points on levelling, with the number of levels you can get topping out before you could max out all skills.

    Gear in particular shows how badly the system was designed in my current run. Because there’s a level requirement to use gear sets, it becomes significantly under-powered as soon as you exceed the level requirement even by one level.
    It’s actually quite interesting, as it promotes me using levelled gear instead of the sets.

    Also, I never did understand how something would stop burning as soon as Geralt attacked it.

  42. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    This game sets a new standard for RPGs and open worlds on so many levels.

    I liked Witcher 1, didn’t care for the combat, but the world and story and choices were interesting. Witcher 2 was an improvement in a lot of ways, more compact but with a lot more personality and detail. Then Witcher 3 comes along and blows them (and other games) out of the water.

    A spectacular world to explore filled with great characters, best-in-class quest design, well-acted characters rivaled only by smaller linear games (eg Naughty Dog) – seriously, see this for an idea of how good their dialogue system is link to gameanim.com – surprisingly thoughtful and delicate handling of complicated sensitive topics (especially given the series’ history) and a mini-card game that is so much better than it has any right to be. Gorgeous art direction, fascinating monsters, great music and exciting combat (if played properly)… Including all the DLC I put 300+ hours into this beast of a game and loved every minute of it.

    Other devs have their work cut out for them trying to top this, and for that matter, so do CDPR with Cyberpunk. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

  43. RosalietheDog says:

    I have loved TW3 and its expansions. Its my favourite game. Still, let’s not waste this opportunity to share some critical reflections. I wonder if other readers of RPS know of mods which address some of these issues.

    Recently I tried to replay the game, and its design flaws did become more apparent. Particularly the leveling system en looting system, as many point out, doesn’t work very well. The whole idea of a ‘progression’ of Geralt doesn’t make sense anyway. Why would an experienced witcher first have difficulty beating simple monsters like drowners, while cutting them down with ease some weeks later? Why are the same monsters x10 stronger in other areas? It would make sense if the game were linear, but the open world design is predicated on returning to earlier areas.

    The same is true for the difficulty of the quests. During my first playthrough I ended up with a whole series of quests I had become too powerful for. (Or I came back to White Orchard, which I had left completely unexplored, only to find it completely without challenge.) This stimulated a feeling of anxiety that I wasn’t finding / doing quests in the right order. Playing again, I realized that this is inevitable.

    Less fundamental issues. The indoor combat is disastrous (remember those frustrating battles with Novigrads gangs). The game relies too heavily on UI, where it could and should have been integrated in the game world itself (for instance Morrowind-style signposts instead of Minimap). The interaction between Geralt and his environment is minimal and feels wooden, his movement in the world too detached compared with other 3rd person games (e.g. the awkward experience of exploring Novigrads buildings vertically, Geralts awkward jumping animation, etc.). Geralts sleuthing also reduces the player to spectator of his own character (highlight an object, let Geralt comment upon what he sees rather than look at it yourself, repeat).

    To sum up: TW3 is a stunning and interesting game, but its open world design doesn’t rhyme at all with an +exp leveling system. All kinds of minor flaws break immersion in the beautiful world CD Projekt Red created.

    • Bernardo says:

      You might want to try Ghost Mode:
      link to nexusmods.com
      As I mention above, I haven’t tried it yet myself, but it does address Exp. and UI issues (details in the link), and it has been recommended to me by several people.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      That is a problem yeah. It’s weird when you return to a quest overlevelled and a monster that is narratively set up to be very dangerous is killed in one or two blows, or on the other side of the coin when you start Hearts of Stone and get clobbered by simple bandits that should be cannonfodder to Geralt. It’s a bit odd. Playing on the higher difficulties and staying in the 5-10+ or – range of recommended quest level is mostly a good recipe for keeping the combat consistently challenging.

      I think Gothic did this better: gating areas by difficulty (ie you are free to try but you will probably get killed) but the same type of enemy always remains at the same level throughout the game and you simply encounter new and more dangerous foes as you go along.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      And yes, navigating interiors was not great. I almost always switched to walking-mode when going inside houses.

    • carewolf says:

      The worst part was the controls. They were terrible and needlessly complex. They seemed to have tried to fix the terrible controls by having them constantly change and remap in every possible scenario, which would have been unnecessary if they had just used standard PC RPG mouse controls.

      • zaphod6502 says:

        Exactly. As others have said though maybe completely remapping the controls will help. It is TW3’s biggest weakness. Apart from that it is an extraordinary game. Let’s hope the control mess doesn’t carry over to the Cyberpunk 2077 game.

  44. poliovaccine says:

    Dammit, I’m driving for Uber just to upgrade my gaming PC to be able to run The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Metal Gear Solid 5 (not in that order of priority, but I couldnt resist the 3-4-5 haha) – sigh, I know I’m a dinosaur (in fact, I can’t even properly run ARK), but please don’t rub it in..!

  45. Blizniak says:

    Played it and dropped it after about 10 hours, just couldn’t deal with the movement.

    • Paul says:

      Enable alternative movement response in the menu. And get Immersive Cam + Immersive Motion, which add analogue control over movement and full camera control.

  46. aryman says:

    Best RPG I’ve ever played and one of very few games that really touched me. Amazing experience, recommended to every gamer.

  47. Rince says:

    I never played it. I tried the Witcher 1 but I got bored and I never tried another Witcher.
    Anyways, what I would like is a game in the same universe, but where we can create our character.
    And from I can see, the combat system of Dragon Dogma.

  48. kud13 says:

    Played it, loved it.

    But then again, I’m very much the target audience: I read all the books before the games came out, and I replay the original every 2 years or so, because it is (to this day) one of my favorite games.

    This game didn’t quite resolve the “main plot urgency in an open-world game” dilemma, but it did the next best thing, by making 95% or so of its secondary content absolutely top notch. I’m pretty sure all of my favourite story-lines in this game are from optional stories, like “Mortal Sins”, for example.

    I never finished the second DLC, because I hit a point in the story where every choice seemed to be a wrong one, and I just couldn’t bear going on- because I got that invested in the characters.

    Easily one of my top games of the decade.

  49. Frank says:

    Part of the reason I upgraded my comp was to play W2… but I hated it, so still haven’t gotten around to buying W3.

    The bad combat and annoying crafting/potioning/lotioning, those I knew to expect from W1. But not an incredibly dull story — we’re talking mind-numbingly dull.

    Still, I’ll give W3 a shot whenever it gets deeply discounted or humbundled.

  50. malkav11 says:

    I have not. I own it and the DLC, but there never seems to be a right time to get into a game so ridiculously large. Honestly, I thought Witcher 2 was about the right size – long enough to be satisfying and tell a strong central narrative with some fun sidequests, but very manageable. And short enough that playing a second time to see the other branch wouldn’t be an insurmountable barrier. I really don’t appreciate the decision to make Witcher 3 so much larger. I’m sure it’s good, but jeez, guys. Have some respect for my limited gaming schedule.