Witcher 3 thoughts Part 1
So last week I caved and ended up buying Witcher 3 to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve only played the prologue to Witcher 2 before so I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get with this game. I knew the series was based off a series of polish fantasy novels that the other games where notorious for their violence, sex and all round shitty atmosphere.
To me this all sounded a bit Game of Thrones like so I was certainly intrigued but just never got round to playing them. Off course with all the hype surrounding Witcher 3 (Such as Gamespots 10 score) I thought I owed it to myself to not miss out one what was clearly a very good game.
Now I’ve only played about 4 or 5 hours of the game so far so take everything i say with a pinch of salt. I’m only about level 6 so I haven’t really seen what the game has on offer but I’ve certainly had a few thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.
The Open world is bloody huge! The size of an open world never denotes the quality of it, after all if the world is massive with nothing to do then it’s really just a massive waste of hard-drive space. The Witchers world is filled with stuff to do, places to explore and random passers by to slaughter. On foot the world would easily take about an hour to cross and with a horse it’ll take close to 20 or 30 minutes depending on what route you decide to take. It’s incredibly easy to get side tracked off course with the spaces between towns and villages being filled with distractions to explore. In my time I’ve barely scratched the surface of the world and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can find.
I bloody hate the combat. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the likes of the Arkham series and their wonderfully flowing combat systems because to me the Witchers is horrid. I think it really comes down to how Gerard moves, with every swing of his long sword he does a bloody stupid spin, now of course I’m no sword fighting expert but to me this looks like a massive waste of energy and it feels infuriating to watch this spinning fool prance around. Against human foes it’s bad but against magical creatures it’s down right moronic, as in these spins the Griffin or what ever can easily sneak in a hit that knocks you back and opens you up to a flurry of hits. Of course you can dodge, roll and parry but these systems seem to be incredibly hit and miss in weather or not they work half the time. The time it takes to parry seems to vary so much that it makes trying to pull off a counter move almost impossible. I dare say all my issues with the games combat can be defined as “Get Good, Noob” and I am off course trying to get better, but Christ do they make it hard to want to.
The Talent System is odd. Yes, this is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in the game, it’s interesting in a way but also rather infuriating. You see, when you level up or obtain a skill point, you can choose to use it get a talent that improves you in some way, one will let you block arrows, while another will improve a certain spell of yours. Once chosen you then have to slot this talent into your skill tree which has a limited amount of skill slots (I think 12 is the max) Now this is clearly meant to get the player to mix and match their talents for various situations but in the early game as I am in, it forces you to specialize immediately when your still learning the ropes. I’ve yet to find a way to respec my build so for now i’m stuck with two points sunk in a skill tree which looked helpful at the time but now seems pointless. The game adds another level of complexity to the whole skill system by having ‘Mutagen’ which you can add to a set of three talents for some sort of bonus, you get mutagens by killing monsters, I’ve only been able to find green mutagens which don’t correspond with any of my talents so I don’t get any bonus at. Of course like the combat this all about learning what works and doesn’t but this system just seems needlessly contrived and annoying to my dirty casual mind.
The game seems to leer at women: As any red blooded man, I can appreciate the female form (even a male form given the right conditions) and luckily for me and other occasional wankers the Witcher 3 is filled with many beautiful and buxom lasses for us to enjoy. Now I’m not really familiar with the Witchers fan-base, but as a brief google search has told me there is quiet a fan-base for both Triss Merigold and Yennifer. The devlopers seem to know this, judging by the Polish Playboy center folds they made of Triss in the run up to Witcher 2 and the games rather liberal ogglying of any nude women in Gerards vicinity. Now I’m no scholar of such matters so I’ll keep my theories to myself but after the brief moments of titillation I felt a bit grossed out about just how much the camera seemed to loiter on any bare skin.
These have been some of my intial thoughts while playing the first six hours of Witcher 3. I dare say in the next few days after I’ve been through a few more hours I’ll come back and write a bit more about what I do and don’t like.