witcher 3

GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Like The Witcher 3?

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is not a good game.

I know many people loved it. I know many publications honored it. I can’t for the life of me figure out why.

I know the story and writing is allegedly superb. But when the actual gameplay, the act of moving and fighting with Geralt, is a joyless slog (some would say “digital gulag”), that content feels like a tantalizing treasure surrounded by a moat of shit with nary a boat or bridge in sight.

Now, my language is harsh, but that’s for two reasons; the first, is that I am being purposefully hyperbolic for the sake of comedy. I want you to read this and laugh, enjoying the act of my taking a popular darling out back and giving it the Old Yeller treatment. The second reason is that The Witcher 3 really, really, really, really, really, really sucks.

For starters, the combat is atrocious. And by atrocious, I don’t mean “Transformers atrocious” or something benign like that. I am talking about “Transformers: Age of Extinction atrocious” here. Something dark and malevolent, that could only have been placed in front of you by a sinister entity that gives not one fuck about your enjoyment. Geralt swings his sword with the skill of a drunken toddler trying to break open a piñata at his 4th birthday party, but with none of the passion. He moves like that same toddler, but only after being spun around a few dozen times by his father in order to “make it interesting”. I’ve never played Superman 64, but I imagine it plays similarly.

And don’t say I have to get good at it to enjoy it. I was plenty good at it. I could take out an entire group of bandits without a scratch and even the act of ownage gave me no joy. It just made me not want to engage in battle anymore. If it were possible for Geralt to be a big coward, I would have gladly role-played that.

In all honesty, in a day and age when Batman: Arkham Knight is able to produce possibly the best hand-to-hand combat the video game world has ever seen and when we see dozens of games happily ripping it off, The Witcher 3 is content to roll out fights whose quality is equal to the schoolyard fights you watch on Youtube when your boss isn’t looking. Let me put it this way: the tank combat in Arkham Knight was better than The Witcher 3’s swordplay. By a parsec.

That’s not to mention the horrid weapon durability system, which even the brains at Bethesda finally did away with in Fallout 4, praise be to Atom. There is nothing like getting caught in drowner ambush only to find that your silver sword is starting to crack like the Liberty Bell. It’s an archaic system that needs to be sent straight to hell. Along with the overburden mechanic, for that matter, something Bethesda unwisely kept in. It’s bad enough the game isn’t fun to play, but now the very act of picking up loot, the one oasis of enjoyment in a desert of mediocrity, is now filled with tension as you wonder if this will be the sword that will break Geralt’s back and have him hobbling to a signpost to fast travel his way back to the nearest merchant to sell his wares for an insanely low sum. It adds nothing to the game except padding.

Speaking of padding, the main storyline is like one of those TV shows or novels that promises answers, but either kicks the can down the road a bit or obscures the answers in so many new questions that you forgot what the hell you were even doing in this place and why it led to you finding this possible pervert’s goat. Each morsel about Ciri’s whereabouts is only doled out after you find someone’s parakeet and wipe their sister’s ass. One quest involved finding a frying pan. The lady who wanted it literally stood outside the window while you went in to get it. I wanted to bash her over the head with it and leave her for the drowners, but sadly, that option was not presented to me.

Look, many games string you along to pad out the story; some do it well, others poorly, but none have done it in such frustrating fashion as The Witcher 3. It’s a real simple story: find Ciri. There is no reason to make the player jump through that many hoops except you want them to see all this wonderful content you hid behind a hellish combat system.

And don’t even get me started on that asinine ability system. Look, when you level up, it should be an accomplishment. It should feel like a reward. Hell, even Call of Duty has that down by now and it’s not exactly looked upon as an RPG fan’s dream like The Witcher 3 is. But having the abilities rendered useless until you unlock a new ability slot (which takes a while) is just dumb. I would gain a level and then have nothing to put my points in because I needed an empty slot to put the ability in. Which makes leveling worthless. And since gaining experience requires completing entire quests, it’s a bit of a commitment to grind those out. It makes for a poor RPG experience.

Behind all this anger is a plea for understanding: I want to know why you liked this game and if so I want to know how you became a masochist and what’s your safe word? Seriously, I am asking: this game is not fun to PLAY and for me, that is the most important part of a video game. I can forgive some things, obviously; after all, Bioshock Infinite is my favorite game ever and it’s not like the shooting set me ablaze, but it was never unpleasant in the way The Witcher 3’s combat can be.

So answer best you can, I am sincerely wanting to know: what did you like about The Witcher 3 and why?

Written by

Age: 34 PSN ID: Starkiller81. I've played games since before I can remember, starting with my dad's Atari and I haven't stopped yet. Keep them coming and I will keep playing them.

6 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Like The Witcher 3?”

  1. *stands up with tears in eyes, clapping vigorously* Finally…

    I know you’re hoping for people to explain otherwise, but this is exactly how I felt.

  2. I really love the characters, story, world, the quest design, and while the controls could feel a bit better, I like a lot of the gameplay. Also how dare you compare the god awful tank combat of Arkham Knight to this game? Dammit that stuff pissed me off.

  3. This was a really interesting read, thanks Anthony!

    I’m one of the people who really loved The Witcher 3 (just for reference, I played 2 to completion…more than once too) and this article made me think about what I really loved about it since it has been some time now. Y’know what? I don’t think I loved any of the ‘playing’ I did.

    What I remember loving comes down to what I perceive as design based achievements. Sure the story was good and I liked the characters an awful lot but what they achieved with the side quests, monster hunting and world building was nothing short of incredible to me. How it was all expertly crafted with specific cutscenes, dialogue and animation all while leading into a little story of its own. This could be down to jadedness after working in the games industry for so long but I know what its like to try and put that much love and effort into a game and I commend them for that and I think it will be what I remember from that game.

  4. Honestly, I am not really sure. Something about the game just felt right. It was a good balance of traditional rpg elements like durability and weight system, with newer ideas. I will admit that I was not a fan of the perk system, and thought it was a little bit over complicated, but overall probably still my favorite game of 2015.

  5. I didn’t enjoy the game either.

    A lot of the main quest NPCs just keep talking and talking. I remember doing the Dandelion questline and spending nearly two hours just listening to NPCs chatter on endlessly. Instead of saying “Go get my sword.”, the NPCs will say “You should go get my silver sword from the crags, of underwhelm, a place that you must go to in order to get my sword that you don’t care about.Once you get into the cave system you can get my sword, and maybe my shield too. Also, I’m just going to keep talking for about a minute and a half longer than necessary. Do you have my sword yet?”

    Loading times take FOREVER! If you die it is almost a full minute wait for the game to reload everything.

    Combat is simplistic and easy. Knock enemies down with a magic spell. Walk up to them, and stab them in the chest for an insta-kill.

    Potions are meaningless. There is no reason to use them, even on hardcore difficulty.

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