The Wild Hunt

Since I’m not good at writing, here are just some notes/thoughts I had after finishing The Witcher 3.
In the end it showed once more how gamers still don’t know what really good quality is. Does that mean, the game is bad? Of course not. Actually it is the best made RPG so far – still pretty awful though, compared to the current “new game generation”.

Of course it is not fair to compare an open world game, made by a small team in Poland, to a high class blockbuster made by Naughty Dog for example. I know that. But still – in the end, the final result is what counts. Doesn’t matter, if a linear game is “easier” to make and so on. If you have great ambition and high goals and see you can’t reach it, you shouldn’t do it – and wait until you can. The Witcher 3 is very ambitious. But nowhere it comes even close to its ambition.

the-witcher-3-together

There were moments which could have been great – but were not in the end, because it never lost its “gaminess”.

It plays like an old game – actually, it just plays like a regular game, with regular game mechanics. That’s the biggest problem with it. It’s just a game. It has no atmosphere, beyond some beautiful sunsets and nature sets.

Most of the game mechanics just don’t make any sense for a real fleshed out world.

I’m Geralt, I look for my stepdaughter Ciri. But wait. Let me first help this stranger, 100 miles away, then let me play a card game because – why not? And let’s not forget all those contracts. My main goal is to find a loved one but… who cares, let me first slay that beast for some coin.

Sure, in it of itself, some of the quests are nice, better than in most games. But that doesn’t make the game overall a coherent work of quality.
Everything just flies by too quickly. Everything moves awfully sterile on a train line.
The horse races? Move awful, just as all the characters, including Geralt. Nothing ever feels “real”, smooth, like you are in an actual (fantasy) world. It’s just a traditional game where you move a character from one place to another, bumping into people who scream, hitting X several times along the way.

Mockery – Fetch quests
No voice fits its character (including Geralt)
Hand movements like in a 90s game

What this game gets lauded for a lot, is its “grey” decisions. Yet the whole playthrough I didn’t have a single one where I had to wait and think about it, or one I would have regretted. Games like Walking Dead by Telltale or Life is Strange by Dontnod, also Heavy Rain and Beyond had them.

Incredible nature – but almost pathetic tree movement

Almost every character looks the same
One of the very few interesting looking characters dies after about 10 seconds of screen time. (The woman going on to the boat to die with her husband)

Music great in parts

No consequences, a Witcher was angry with me for avenging his friend, the next scene, he suddenly makes jokes

Near the end, I completed 5 to 6 quests, of which all of them gave me a great sword as reward. So within in about an hour I first got a better sword “Oh nice”, then another one “Oh, even better”, then another one…

The pacing of the main story is awful, plus the plot itself is too. If you don’t waste your time with the several sidequests, all you do is… chasing one character, from A to B over C. With all the other quests being obstacles to that chase. Boring.

And I know, I hear you already screaming “Of course, it plays just like a game. It is just a game”. But that’s the point. It could have been so much more. An actual great experience, like more and more modern games are trying to be. Let’s just remove useless and boring features. Let’s just not build the game around one main feature – fighting. Let it be more like a Heavy Rain or whatever. Then you would have moments that actually felt like something. Walk with your love Yenifer up to a broken ship on top of a snow mountain. Instead of running there, hitting your “scan” button, clicking X while running around everything glowing, fighting a big boss, then watch a short cutscene and forget everything immediately afterwards.

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