Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review!

                The development of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was a long and tedious endeavor in the eyes of someone that followed it up closely. It involved visual downgrades, spot on (yet insulting) marketing and an end product that should wipe the slate clean, or maybe not!?
                CD Projekt Red worked on this game for almost four years, this being their most ambitious title up to date and the last based on the books of polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski with Geralt of Rivia as protagonist.
                Six months have passed since the climactic ending of The Witcher 2. During this time war broke out and with King Foltest dead, Temeria has fallen prey to the Nilfgaardian Empire followed by most of the northern states. Now Redania is the last state standing thanks to king’s Radovid’s strategic genius, but the situation is tensioned on both sides and it is uncertain who will come out victorious.
The Witcher 3 continues the adventures of Geralt of Rivia in these dark times when the neutrality of a witcher is put to question by events that are way past their pragmatic and distant nature. With his recovered memory, Geralt travels north following the trail left by his true love, Yennefer of Venderberg. Once the story is put in motion, Geralt finds out that Ciri, his daughter by choice, has returned to the world and he is sent by the emperor of Nilfgaard himself to find and protect her from the Wild Hunt, a lethal group of elves traveling from world to world hunting Ciri and anything inferior to them that stands in their path. Geralt goes on a tracking quest following in the footsteps of his daughter. He seeks the help of his friends and of those who entered in contact with Ciri to put together the pieces in order to find her before the Hunt does.
In his journey Geralt finds friends where none could be found before and foes wait for him at any wrong turn. Characters from the past make a comeback in this game including Triss Merigold, Zoltan, Dandelion, Vesemir and many others that should be discovered in game. Some of these characters play important roles and knowing them from the previous games is a big advantage in understanding their actions and better connecting with them. But despite the plethora of different personalities, when it comes to Geralt’s friends and acquaintances, one thing is sure, they will stand up for Geralt as he stood up for them.
                The story of The Witcher 3 is not about saving the world, but rather about protecting those that you love. This makes the story a captivating and emotional ride, full of joy and sorrow, which kept going on high from the beginning until the very end.
The story is interesting and the presentation is mostly top notch making it easy even for the newcomers to get into it. But it is hard to enjoy and fully understand without having played the previous games and even reading the books as there is a huge amount of details that relate closely with them.
The storytelling is split in two: with the conventional RPG part seen from Geralt’s perspective that covers about 90% of the story and an action focused part presenting Ciri’s flight and struggles.
The constant switching between characters adds greatly to the story value by creating an emotional attachment between the player and the main characters and by making Geralt’s bond with his daughter understandable even for those who, until The Witcher 3, didn’t know much about her (I barely knew who Ciri was before this game and I got to love her as a character by the end of the game).
                The story doesn’t unfold flawlessly as small mishaps in writing and poor presentation of some rather key moments can ruin the atmosphere at times. But the biggest immersion breaker stands in the poor connection between the main story and the world. Despite the terrible things happening in the story, the sense of urgency doesn’t manifest in the gameplay in any way besides the dialogues, cutscenes or uncompleted side quests which can fail as the story progresses. The action stands still for the player and can easily be resumed at any point when deciding to continue the main quest. In the time I took to explore and enjoy the huge world of the Witcher 3, Ciri could have died multiple times and instead of pushing me to find her faster, the story entices me in secondary quests that feel more urgent than the main story itself.
                The story in The Witcher 3 is well structured and evolves at a bigger scale than it might seem at first. Even if  the game doesn’t try to be as in depth as possible and adopts the rather explosive style of an action movie, everything is normalized by the political struggles and day to day problems of the common man. Politics, magic, religion and many other factors are mixed to bring this fantasy world to life and even if Geralt’s actions and decisions can change the outcome of almost every important matter, the subtlety of Geralt’s involvement makes the action more plausible by not always placing the main character straight at the center of everything, but rather as one of the participants. Yet, this doesn’t stop the game from showing some epic moments with on the edge action and crazy outcomes and multiple endings reflecting perfectly the choices made throughout this great adventure.
                The story reached maturity of a trilogy and doesn’t let itself taken down by the stereotypical idea that sequels are worse, but rather uses the foundation of the previous titles in order to build something great. Even the sexual content has grown in this game and it is now more tasteful and defined by choices that carry on throughout the game (be careful what you wish for!).
I won't blend in.

                The main story is reinforced by the enticing yet optional secondary quests that play a huge role in expanding and completing the main plot in a way we rarely get to see nowadays. The line between main and side quests is so thin that sometimes it’s hard to make the difference between the two without looking into the quests log. The quality and design of main and side quests is exceptional (as it should be in an RPG) and create an immersive impression of an interactive and ever evolving world. The decisions taken in these quests can have an immediate or a late on effect and it was a delicious experience to find the outcome of my doings. After the Bloody Baron quest line, the game made me question and weight my own decisions as their impact could be devastating, because in this world choosing the lesser evil is a heavy task.
                The dialogue system is as well written as the quests themselves, but the options are limited and while sometimes it provides interesting alternatives, most of the time it circles back to the same result. I felt the game deserved the dialogues complexity of Fallout or Planescape Torment, but doesn't do bad with what it has.
My choice!
The mad king.

                Besides the main story and the secondary quests, there are some alternatives to spend your time in game and earn some extra coin for the battles ahead. The witcher contracts are a good way to get distracted into some detective work using the advantage of the witcher’s enhanced vision and senses to investigate and follow the trail of monsters that threaten innocent (strange word for this world) lives. While clearly being a monster hunt, a witcher contract can evolve in something rather interesting and sometimes Geralt has to decide if what he’s facing is really a vicious monster or a misunderstood creature that was put in a situation without any other options. But this isn’t all, there are many other activities that might be worth looking into like: fist fights, horse races, scavenger hunts for good crafting recipes and Gwent (!!!).
Tunnel vision camera...

                 Gwent is an easy to learn and not very hard to master collecting cards game designed to replace the dice poker of The Witcher 2 and one of the most fun activities in The Witcher 3. Gwent offers the option to play four different decks, each with its own play style and unique cards. At the start there are a limited number of available cards, but more can be won by playing and beating other Gwent enthusiasts.
There are many quests related to Gwent (everyone in this world seems to have an obsession with this card game). These quests will guide the player to adversaries with powerful decks which can award unique cards, but require stronger decks to be defeated. There is a progression system and not every Gwent player met can be beaten at first, many times the game requires more than just a lucky hand and it is wiser to come back with a more balanced deck to wait for fate.
Gwent is a fun and addictive card game and it’s a great replacement for the annoying dice poker. Even if at some point my deck was absolutely unstoppable, I had a great time with it and it’s probably the best game within a game that I ever played.
A battle of numbers.
Geralt vs Geralt 1.0

                The quests in The Witcher 3 open up the world to adventure, sending Geralt to explore in all the corners of the land, but the questing system was never an issue with this series. I always felt like the series wanted to exceed its boundaries and the enclosed levels were drastically limiting these games from what they could show, especially with The Witcher 2 which was loudly screaming for an open world setting. The Witcher 3 makes this big leap and delivers an immense open world that changes many of the gameplay aspects and not all of them in a good way.
                The game’s gigantic world is split in explorable areas separated by a single loading screen. This was done mostly because at the scale of this world, the geographic location of each explorable area makes it impossible to connect them without loading screens.
                The adventure starts in White Orchard, a big enough area that serves as a tutorial to accommodate the players with the changes that come with an open world while delivering the premise for the whole story. The search for Ciri will force Geralt to travel a lot, from the no man’s lands of Velen , to the burning pyres of the neutral city of Novigrad, the mountainous isles of Skellige and the sanctuary of Kaer Morhen. The Witcher 3 landscapes vary in relief, from vast meadows to lush forests, dark swamps and snow covered mountains surrounded by deep and dangerous waters.
                The exploration feels great at first and the game seems like an explorer’s heaven. With the help of horses, boats and fast travel, closing the gap between distant locations isn’t so much of a problem (but beware of heights, falling down from half a meter could be lethal).
Each village or city has notice boards, which provide information about the surrounding areas, marking with a question mark on the map the points of interest (the Far Cry sickness) but diminishing the sense of discovery in this process.  Sinking further and further into the game’s world it becomes obvious that nothing worth exploring is placed by accident. There are no castles, peculiar buildings, ruins or caves that aren’t tied to a quest or a task of some sorts and when learning this, the feeling of exploration starts to die.  The secrets are rare and finding them meant little to me as they didn’t offer anything that I wouldn’t find elsewhere, other than the satisfaction of finding something that isn’t marked on the map.
This world doesn't lack artistic beauty.

                It feels to me that one of the biggest focuses for The Witcher 3 was to create a huge world and having such a world requires a proportional amount of content. It is almost impossible to create a gigantic world without fetch content and while optional, this content is extremely important in how a game like this is perceived. There has to be a balance, not only in quality but also in quantity and TES V: Skyrim or Dragon Age: Inquisition have proven that if this is mishandled it can have a highly negative impact on the gameplay.
                I said it before that the secondary quests are great, but it is not all roses when it comes to the questing system. The Witcher 3 is filled with repetitive fetch quests designed to fill its world so it doesn’t feel empty. In Velen, the balancing between fetch and high quality content is done well enough making the problem less noticeable, but once reaching Skellige, the game is bombarding  the player with dozens of question marks, cumulating to over one hundred from which most of them are the same repetitive task of searching for some lost loot, mostly under water or on small islands.
I’m a completist and yet I felt abused by the game, taking advantage of my obsession with repetitive and nonsensical content that overshadows in quantity the awesome quests of this game and reinforcing my idea about gradually decreasing the feeling of exploration. I couldn’t finish exploring the map of The Witcher 3 because I didn’t want to do it anymore as it started to affect my impression of the game in a negative way so I put a stop to it (fifty question marks left).
                It feels that CDPR went overboard with the size of the game, forgetting at some point its purpose. If the world would have been smaller, the action would have been way more compact and I don’t think this game would have had many moments when the content wouldn’t feel at the highest quality.
If only Skellige was like this...

                One game mechanic that desperately needed improvement from the previous games was the combat. The Witcher 3 improves and expands on the base of the combat system used in the second game, but trying to build on something that didn’t work so well isn’t always such a great idea.
                Watching a witcher fight is like watching someone dance while wielding a blade and I’ve been told by the books readers that this is normal, I’m not one to demand a visually realistic combat, but I do put great value in the mechanics and functionality behind a combat system and the Witcher 3 has great problems at this.
                The combat system is surely an improvement over the previous games, but this is more of an overstatement than reality. While the sheer amount of new animations makes the action much smoother and spectacular, many of the problems from the Witcher 2 are still present and the game picked up a few new ones as well.
                Realism shouldn’t necessarily be the focus point for combat, but logic should be a key component. Geralt’s attacks have no weight or momentum behind them and at times it feels like he wields a toy sword which he can move around for as long as he wants without getting tired.
                The engagement design makes no sense, as the character enters in a restrictive combat stance which doesn’t allow the character to use key moves. While in combat stance the attacks direction cannot be fully controlled, a target is automatically picked from the ones in front and Geralt adjust his position according to that target, opening himself to flank attacks. The combat stance also cancels some of the basic controls over the character like jumping and makes running away from an enemy quite difficult because the character keeps turning to face the target. These problems produce chaos when fighting multiple targets and can lead to extremely frustrating moments. Since Geralt has no stamina, the roll playing is still the best way to deal with almost every type of enemy in the game and to make matters even easier, a side jump has been added which helps greatly at stepping behind targets, rendering useless the enemies that can block and counter attack.
                I wish I had more positive things to say about the combat system, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much. The improvements over The Witcher 2 are visibile, but they aren’t enough. I can only imagine how much more enjoyable this game would have been if it had a combat similar to Shadow of Mordor.
Come down!
Killing monsters!

                There is a decent variety of enemies, with many new additions as the open world setting offers room for expansion in almost every category. The variety of monsters offers a better insight of this world and the bestiary describes every monster like a witcher’s study book. The attention given to each monster’s strengths and weakness to go with the lore and the way that they can be killed grows the idea of how dangerous this monsters are and why this world needs the witchers.
                Each enemy has special attacks and moves fit for their body structure and nature but the AI doesn’t help much affecting the difficulty. The game starts strong, but eases up even on the highest difficulty after just a few hours. Once learning how to deal with them (it takes one fight), the enemies don’t continue to be challenging and the almost exploitable moves during combat (roll, roll, side jump, side jump) simplify things even more. The AI isn’t reactive enough and can’t handle all the situations. I pushed a bandit for more than 200 meters by hitting his guard, Geralt never gets tired and the bandit didn’t know how to counterattack me.
Agility versus strength.

                The skills system has changed, but it still follows the baselines that the series got us used with. There are four types of skills to invest in, three of them are designed for combat and the last one has general enhancements. The combat skill trees are suited for different playstyles and even if they are not completely balanced, no one should be worried because each tree has at least one excessively and useful skill that can make things easier. After being learned, the skills have to be activated in a skill panel with a fixed number of slots that unlock progressively, converting the character progression into builds. Adjustment between the desired learned skills can be made at any time out of combat.
The skills system offer enough options to choose from when creating a build, but doesn’t have the complexity to encourage the exploration of new styles in other playthroughs, especially since there is an option to reset all the spent skill points.
While the complexity can be overlooked since it is hard to create an in depth skill tree based on only two weapons and six signs, the sad thing is that the game can probably be finished without spending a single point in learning new skills.
OP skill!

                The arsenal hasn’t changed much. By lore witchers wield two swords: a steel sword for humans and a silver sword for monsters. This might seem annoying to some people, but I like the idea and I’m not bothered by the fact that Geralt’s weapon options are limited, because witchers are hybrid fighters and they have access to six magical signs and a wide variety of alchemy bombs, special potions and sword oils (quite overkill considering the difficulty). There is even an addition to the arsenal: a crossbow which is useful at taking down flying creatures and killing underwater monsters.
                The gear feels more varied than ever before in this series. There are loads of powerful relic swords and rare armor sets that can be found while exploring the huge world of The Witcher 3. The crafting system adds some interesting items to the table, luring the players into using. Both alchemy and the standard crafting come in handy at some point and while many materials come naturally while progressing into the game, gathering more materials shouldn’t be ignored (stealing works like a charm, except guards nobody has anything to say).
                The itemization is set back by the lack of out of the ordinary items (why the RPGs of today have quit the idea of unique items?!), especially since some of the interesting weapons repeat themselves after a while.
Bear armor set ftw!

                With all these elements put together, the action filled part is easy on the eye and fulfils its purpose and like many other mechanics, it doesn’t do justice to the game. The fluid animations combined with Geralt’s new moves and the increased violence create a spectacular view at a cinematic level making the combat better to watch than actually play. Many of the new monsters look terrifyingly awesome and can put a good fight when first met.  But the functionality problems, the low difficulty level and the questionable AI really take away a part of the game and it is quite unfair because it deserves better.
                It is disappointing that in the last few years the action combat hasn't evolved much despite the fact that there is so much more room for improvement and I’ve come to the realization that physics based combat and an enhanced reactive AI are still distant dreams (come on Sui Generis and Kingdome Come: Deliverance!).

                The potential of this title exceeds by far the one of any RPG released in the latest years, mostly because the CDPR team is very talented and as an AAA title it can afford to go way further than the beautiful but restricted indie RPGs we have gotten lately. But much of the potential is wasted on rushed features designed for multiple platforms and many technical problems that become a real nuisance as they affect some of the most basic and used mechanics of the game.
                It feels that it was hard to miss on PC when using a grid inventory (remember this format Bioware?!), but in reality the UI is a hybrid designed to work for consoles as well. The interface is split in multiple tabs for each category and while this can be normal for a game with so many details, the navigation is slow and it is slowed even more by bugs that stop the players from exiting the interface and constant crashes.
                The narrow indoor spaces push the camera close to the screen in an annoying way and it doesn’t help that the frames drop dramatically when inside. The decision to make the witcher ‘s vision camera come so up close to the character is quite odd as it limits the field of view to an extreme degree.
Even the interaction with objects didn’t come without issues as until the latest patch it was difficult to access some of the game objects, even impossible at times, due to standard objects interaction overlapping with the fires.
                But the biggest problem of them all stands in the responsiveness for movement and some of the controls. It took me one day to find out that my horse can actually gallop and jump (and I already knew this from videos), just because when I used the keybinds designated for this commands they never worked despite my insistence. It took an actual spamming of keys to finally get them going.
The movement is sluggish because when pressing the key to go in one direction the character moves way more than he should naturally do, taking away some of the character control from the player. The horse riding suffers the same fate as the character movement transforming the races into troublesome attempts of making sure the horse actually goes in the wanted direction at the wanted time. Luckily the game doesn’t have many moments when precision of movement is relevant, but when it does, brace yourselves, because it is horrifying.
Overall, the movement was responsible for more deaths than the bosses in the game (I didn’t die at the last boss, but I died three times when chasing a guy on a roof).
Have fun doing this the normal way!

                The gameplay suffers more than it lets to see, mostly because the story is captivating enough to cover many of the game flaws. But taking a second look at the game or playing it for the second time reveals problems that might slip by otherwise. The problematic combat, the unresponsive character control, the déjà vu exploration feeling, the blunt itemization and the flaccid skill system, might be ignorable problems individually, but put together they add up to a not so great gameplay experience.
Yet, in spite of all these things, The Witcher 3 still does a better job than all the open world games since Fallout: New Vegas and I’m not talking strictly about RPGs. The game absorbs the players in with its story, characters and setting and doesn’t let them go until it is finished. So when you decide to start playing, it is safe to free some time in your calendars, because you will need it.

                After lots of videos the graphics quality was lost in youtube's video compression, The Witcher 3 lost it a lot of it altogether. CDPR answered to this matter (after release) by saying that during development the rendering had to be changed since the one shown in the 2013 videos couldn’t realize their vision of an open world.  But let’s be honest with ourselves, they knew this the whole time and we, the fans and customers asked for an answer and what we received turned out to be lies. The change of rendering is nothing more than a late excuse after a long line of marketing stunts and false advertisement.
                The next-gen looking The Witcher 3 is gone, losing in the process a tremendous amount of graphical effects that wouldn’t just enhance visually the game and represent it better as a 2015 video game, but also would have greatly increase the atmosphere and immersivity.
                There is a long list of cut features and at the top of it stands one that I was looking forward to, the clouds shadows. This graphical effect ignored in almost every game could be a huge immersion and atmosphere booster and it was praised by the developers themselves, but didn’t make it even in the videos.
                The lighting has received a complete overhaul and it is made to look impressive but doesn’t deliver a truly realistic image and rather uses bloom to cover with oversaturation the low quality of outdoor textures (especially at dawn and dusk). Because of the change in how the lighting works, the color scheme has changed drastically and not in a good way. The darker and realistic tone shown two years ago was replaced with a much lighter and less atmospheric color pallet, which doesn’t look bad at all, but the previous one was better suited for this game’s theme.
                The textures and shadows pop-ups that were so annoying in The Witcher 2 crawled their way back into the newer version of the Red Engine, but more annoying than ever. The cut-scenes are full of pop-ups with characters having their facial features loaded gradually and distant vegetation appears out of nowhere.
Speaking of vegetation, the foliage is composed of flat, washed up and repetitive textures slightly hidden in its abundance and is affected by a wind so powerful that it could make El Niño jealous.
The trees bend but the hairstyle withstands!

                The water effects have suffered some inexplicable changes. The reflections are pre-renders of seemingly static images and I cannot understand why, since water reflections have been at a high quality since Crysis times and it seems to be one of the easiest effects to work perfectly for most of the games.
The water physics are dull and the repetitive waves have only a slight impact on the boat navigation or swimming even during a storm.
                Even the fires had been downgraded as I couldn’t see any heat effect generated by them and their textures are so low quality that many times they feel out of place.
                Considering the amount of things cut off, it was only logical that the particle effects wouldn’t go unpunished. The intensity and presence of particles is low compared to the original footage or to what the hardware of today could normally handle.
To optimize things even further the not so important NPCs have their faces repeated so much at one point I didn’t know which is who.
That flame!

                It is a shame that many of the high end graphic effects and assets have been cut out, because despite the things mentioned above, the world design is magnificent for the biggest part and the game looks quite beautiful (not that any video game that abused landscapes was visually repelling despite the lower tech quality). The change in scenery, relief and vegetation is immersive and creates the impression of a realistic world that so few games manage to do well. But the visual beauty of the game doesn’t stop here.
                In a game with a story so intense and emotional the characters faces should be as expressive as possible and The Witcher 3 nails it. The faces of the main characters are detailed and the eyes are vivid, adding great value to the touchy moments of the game.
The animations play their part well as a feast for the eyes and Geralt’s movement in combat is so fluid and spectacular that from time to time it makes me forget how awkward and annoying the combat system is. Even the Nvidia Hairworks does its job and compared to the blurry fur shown in Far Cry 4, it actually looks sharp and much better, sadly I couldn’t take joy in this feature because even as an Nvidia GPU user it was impossible to run the game with this feature without losing a lot of frames per second.
                Probably the most impressive thing that The Witcher 3 has to show is the cities, not only they impress through their design and magnitude. The lively atmosphere and the streets full of people in motion, is what makes these cities so much better than what I’ve seen in any other open world game. The amount of detail and the exploration possibilities of Novigrad put to shame most of the areas in the game and make this city the crown jewel of the game’s  artistic style and graphic fidelity and one of the things I loved the most in this game.

                There are many moments when this game looks spectacular but also moments when it is extremely disappointing and it is a shame that so much technology was thrown away for whatever reasons (I bet I know the real reasons), when this technology could have been pumped up into it to make The Witcher 3 the true next-gen looking title that PC gamers are lusting for. The mod support will most likely help in improving the game visually, but I’m reviewing the original content and as it is now, the downgrade affected not only the image of CDPR because of the way in how they handled the situation, but many elements that are part of the game atmosphere.
I can't remember when this happen, but I'm sure something is not right.

                Apparently polish composers don’t joke around when it comes to music. The artistic part of the sound design in this game is at the highest possible quality. The music is amazing and fits perfectly with the ever changing tone of the game. From the action sequences to the emotional moments, being joyful or sad, the music captures and intensifies the feeling of these moments to their maximum potential. I’m fascinated by the soundtrack of this game and I downloaded it on my player so I could listen to it from time to time. The ambient music of Skellige reminds me of thematic music of Dragon Age: Origins. The combat music is as engaging as they are beautiful. I haven’t heard of Marcin Przybyłowicz before, but his work together with the band Percival is sublime.
                The multitude of sound effects is impressive and their quality is as remarkable as the music, if only their application was at the same level. There are moments in the game when the amalgam of audio effects overlapped by the music creates a cacophony of sound from which is hard to differentiate which is what. The technicians of CDPR clearly worked hard and despite the problems, there are many areas in the game where their work can be appreciated as it should.
                But when it comes to sound an AAA title differentiates itself from the rest through voice acting and The Witcher 3 scores greatly at this chapter with a fully voice acted game and actors returning to reprise their roles as the important characters in the series with deliverance as immersive as it can get. The only downside is caused by graphical problems, as the game’s lip sync is sometimes off and the mimic animations when talking are not always so believable.
                The problems related to the technical part of the sound design don’t manage to affect its greatness. I loved the music and voice acting in The Witcher 3 and they are some of the game’s strongest suits and it deserves to be praised for them.

Geralt's true love, but not in my timeline.
No thanks!
Geralt versus Geralt 2.0.
Everything I did was out of love.

                In the latest years all the open world games made the same mistake of increasing their scale to a level where it doesn’t serve to their purpose and The Witcher 3 is no exception to this rule. The bigger a world is the more inconsistent the optional content is compared to the game’s overall quality and the more such a world is explored the more obvious this problem becomes. The Witcher 3 has the best attempt in years at a proper open world. But its biggest fault stands in the fact that CDPR didn't know where to stop and created a game bigger than it should be just for the sake of it.
                I was expecting The Witcher 3 to be an example of how such games should be done and in some aspects succeeded, being the best attempt in years at a proper open world. But its biggest fault stands in the fact that CDPR didn’t know where to stop and created a game bigger than it should be just for the sake of it.
This title proves many things, yet not all of them are on the positive side. The marketing campaign cannot be undone even by a quality product (at least not for me). But a game has to be judged by what it is and I kept the sanctity of this rule, still, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a growing threat that we cannot ignore anymore. The Witcher 3 is raising another alarm signal, louder than any before, showing once again that false advertisement is a real issue that becomes more and more popular throughout the video games industry, now being used even by developers that were praised for respecting their customers. It is rather ironic that in the end the entire controversy about the visual downgrade has served the game more than it did harm, proving that all publicity is good publicity no matter what.
                In retrospective, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a good AAA title and there is no denying that. It is the most coherent open world RPG since Gothic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas. It has its flaws, but the final product is worth going past those problems. Behind all the annoying things hides a game carefully created, with a great attention for almost every detail, a story worth remembering and a gameplay that isn’t dumbed down to a level that feels insulting to the players.
                With all its good and bad, I will remember The Witcher 3 for two things: as the AAA RPG that got us a few steps closer to a better open world game by reaffirming the importance of a well written story and as the game that showed the severe dangers of false advertisement more than any other title before it. 

+ Beautiful and immense open world
+ Captivating and emotional story
+ Brilliant main and secondary quests design
+ Interesting characters, old and new
+ Choices and consequences
+ Great music and voice acting
+ A wide variety of everything
+ 100+ hours of gameplay
+ Gwent
+ Support for mods

- Arcade combat system with many problems
- Controls are not so responsive and the movement is sluggish
- The feeling of discovery is diminished by the repetitive optional content
- Foliage and water quality aren’t the greatest
- The game is quite easy even on the highest difficulty level
- The camera can be annoying at times
- NPCs have repetitive faces
- There is no stealth and stealing doesn’t alert anyone except the guards
- Aberrant fall damage
- Optimization
- Various bugs and crashes


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