5 Things The Witcher 3 Does Wrong

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May 2015 is without a doubt the month of The Witcher 3. I started playing this game on the release night and have devoted a solid 3 hours to it per day. I often find myself in open world games finishing the story quest too quickly and missing a ton of content (my worst example of this would be Infamous Second Son) and wishing I had taken a slower path to the end. TW3 has broken that trend for me as I can always find something to do, somewhere to go.  But behind the shiny exterior of TW3 hides many core elements that evoke reactions ranging from head scratching bewilderment to outright anger at broken shoddy mechanics.

While the game is good and could be a contender for game of the year I feel there are some area’s that other reviewers have either chosen to ignore, or not played the game enough to of actually encountered. Some of these issues can be resolved through patching, but others are core elements of the plot and game play leaving us stuck with them for the worse.

These are my top five things The Witcher 3 does wrong.

1) The Axii Sign

Early in TW3’s story you are presented with several scenarios where you can use your trusty “Jedi Mind Trick” AKA your Axii sign to influence your targets mind and… well get them to do whatever it is you want them to. If you have played any of TW3’s story quests you already know most of the time you are begging various lords’ barons and random plebs for information regarding where so and so is. Almost always we end up doing some errand for said person to get the simple information regarding someone who often

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JUST LEFT THE AREA WE ARE IN

So let’s get this straight. The mighty cunning Witcher finally traces his target to a town. He knows the local bartender knows more information about where his target is. The bartender wants us to go kill boars in the forest for twenty minutes. While we could just wave our hand in front of them and get the information we instead… decide to go kill boars in the forest… Sorry, but when you give someone Jedi Mind Trick powers and then watch them fail to use them you just start to think the writers of the game are lazy or your protagonist is “special”. Simple Solution: come up with some object that prevents us from using this on people or a race whom it cannot be done on… so far the game has mentioned nothing of this except that in later levels you needs more points in the ability to use it when it becomes an option in the chat dialogue.

2) Combat Combat Combat

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 We have all heard of the improvements to TW3’s combat and while it is better than the previous game there are some major issues. First if you have enemies who are elevated above you they will not go down ladders or path’s to get to you. They will literally just wait until you either walk up the ladder or get tired hitting them with your crossbow until they die.

 The other issue is if you just spam fast attach on any one human enemy without a shield you will 99% of the time kill it without taking a hit. Monsters usually have a pattern where you can hit it 2-3 times with fast attack before it strikes back. Want to master the current TW3 combat? Swing Swing Roll then repeat until whatever you are fighting is dead. If you are not on the hardest difficulties and run into a contract boss giving you issues you can run away, mediate for an hour to regen, and run back and the boss monster will still have the damage you inflicted on it. Are these bug’s or how the game is supposed to be played?

3) Too many reagents and inventory items, and no way of knowing how important some of them are.

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Above is the storage from the previous game. Now imagine in TW3 you have a tab like this x5. One of the worst sins is that if you sell your starting armor and weapons you will miss major upgrades, and as of yet I have not found a way of getting them back. I still have every book and contract I have ever found and my alchemy tab is pretty out of control. During one fight against a wraith it literally dropped hundreds of green mutagens all over the battlefield.

Perhaps I should just destroy them but there is a lack of information regarding what is really rare and what are the types of things you should sell. Thankfully you can carry a lot. A whole lot. You can carry a ridiculous amount of stuff if you stop and imagine our poor Geralt having all of this crap in his pockets. As most of it are monsters brains and bit’s I am sure our hero must smell.. interesting.

4) No indication how far reaching some of your choices are.

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I have had a few moments of shock during the story once I realized a choice I made earlier had such a dramatic effect on the trajectory of my story. When you start the game it introduces you to a system where you have limited time to make a choice. In most games this would mean these are the instances when a choice you are making is going to effect a branching story.

Well TW3 has these moments, and many many more not limited by a timed reaction that can change the trajectory of your story , and game content rather greatly… to the point you may end up even missing out on content because a certain character is no longer alive. Seeing the woman you just made love to dead by your sword 10 minutes later based on one vague dialogue choice is such a curious design plan since up to this point most major branching moments come with a time forced decision indicated by the UI.

5) The Story

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Other reviewers have commented on this but I will concur that TW3 lacks polish and pacing with it’s main story quest. The story seems to make you the eternal post man of a fantasy world, delivering items and information to NPC’s in a never ending series of fetch quests. There is no inovation with questing here, it is the type of go here grab this and come back type quests that you often find in MMO’s. Yet in MMO’s the quests are a means to an end with the eventual goal being to reach the end game. In TW3 these quests comprise what we learn from the story and the majority of the interactions we have with this world are based on these quests. The story also suddenly breaks immsersion several times by having us play the role of another character and giving us the viewer information that Geralt could not possibly know. TW2’s story was better and this is one major area of the game that is a down grade from the previous installments in the series.

Tell us other things TW3 got wrong and share in the comments below.

Here is ThisGenGaming’s review of The Witcher 3. http://thisgengaming.com/2015/05/24/review-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-pc/

Chris Grooms
  • i3myX1

    This article is criticism on a high level about a well designed game. Some things are nitpicky and others are appropriate:

    1) Axii

    According to the books the axii sign is more a sign for influencing emotions like implanting fear or rage or calming people/animals/monsters down. It is not a mind trick to implant ideas. Thus it is correct that you can’t wander around and do it Jedi-style.

    2) Combat

    I give you the not following thing if you are on another platform or some path-finding-issues. But the combat is tactical and you have to time your attacks, especially on higher difficulty levels. There it won’t be enough to simply hit hit dodge. Potions and signs play an important role there.

    One on one battles against normal humans are supposed to be easy. Geralt is one of the worlds finest sword fighters with enhanced reflexes. If you read the books you will find most enemies not capable in following his attacks. It may seem simple but true to the books.

    3)Inventory

    Your criticism is appropriate. The inventory is a mess if you have collected many items over time. Especially an extra potions/oils and book/scroll/letter tab would be nice and an option for sorting.

    4)No indication how far reaching some of your choices are.

    That is the strong suite and beauty of the books and the games. There is no black and white, only shades of gray.
    You never know how far reaching your choices are and whom they may benefit. And where there is a beneficary there always will be a damaged party. It is like in real life, often you don’t know what consequences your decissions will bring. I would not want it any different in this game as it is a key element of the books, to which the devs try to stay true.

    5) Story

    Clearly a matter of taste. I am a huge fan of the books and admire the level to detail and the many easter-eggs from the books the devs implanted into the game. Character transition from books to game is awesome and catches the essence of them. I really like the passages where you can play Ciri which enhances immersion in my eyes.
    Also the Quest design is so much better compared to other open world RPGs like Skyrim. Every quest and side quest bares meaning and I like the monster hunts where you act like geralt in the books: Get contracts, prepare for it with potions/oils etc and then fight with tactics according to your enemy. I don’t think there are any of the standard fetch and collect quests. I at least haven’t encountered the classic: get me x things of y and bring it to z. Behind every quest is a neatly done story.
    All in all this is an open world game and you won’t reach the story-density of TW2 but to open world standards I would say TW3 sets a new standard of how to drive story telling and designing side quests.

    Just my two cents

    • Chris Grooms

      Great points! Thanks for reading the article and coming up with such a well thought out response. And yes it is a matter of taste.. and don’t get me wrong, i do think this is a great game. Holding off on my entire review until I have at least spent 200 hours playing it 🙂

      • i3myX1

        Just wanted to add my view on some things 🙂 Your article is great and I am not trying to downplay your valid arguments, just have an other opinion on a few points.
        But true: final verdict is to come when I finished the game. So far I am 50 hours in and only reached 18% completion! Lots of hours of fun left to go 🙂

    • Johnny Cage

      Who gives a shit what the book says… a game should be, above all else – fun.

      Either consciously or subconsciously you are grading the game based on this simple fact.

      Everything else is excuses.

      Sour grapes, post-purchase rationalization, cognitive dissonance…

      • i3myX1

        “Who gives a shit what the book says… ”
        Eeehm, fans of the books! Fans like me! I don’t get what you want with your comment. I love the witcher game.

        • Johnny Cage

          The point is that it doesn’t matter what the books says because the purpose and utilization of a video game is not the same as a book; thus it’s irrelevant what the book says.

          The only reason he brought up the book was to explain away game faults.

          • estiver gringoz

            if it doesnt matter what the book says well just dont play the game durrrr.

            I guess if you are not trolling here johnny cage you are Chris Grooms using a fake profile to downplay i3myX1’s comments on the original post. Chris groom got offended by his comments but felt it would be better to use a fake profile so he could lower his argument level without hurting or screwing his reputation as a pseudo-intellectual reviewer. Good try Chris broom… i now its you, you cant trick me …. You have no one supporting your opinion on the op, you are clearly using fakes profile to make it look like you have someone’s approval…

          • Chris Grooms

            lol I actually really like i3myX1’s post and comments. He was well thought out and respectful. Johnny’s post was a tad immature. Everything is not a conspiracy 🙂

  • Admirateur

    4 is a strength of the game in my book. Also regarding 5 I believe TW3 is 100% Polish.

    • Chris Grooms

      It can be taken that way. The game is not 100% polished though. Just let your horse tank for you some time if you have not tried it 🙂

  • Drakulus

    I agree with the almost everything here. The combat is just too damn floaty for me. It’s always been that way in The Witcher games. It’s gotten better, but not by much. I agree with the story’s pacing, but I really enjoyed the main questline for the most. I hated Novrigrad with a passion though.

  • Mr Worldly Wiseman

    The game is shit all around. The stories/quests are boring. The cities are boring. The animation is blocky and amateurish. The only good part is running around the countryside. But even this gets boring because there’s nothing interesting hidden anywhere, it’s all the same, and crafting is just boring as well. The game is boring. It sucks.

    • i3myX1

      Good god, thankfully I have not to measure my funlevel by your standards. Almost everything must suck with that attitude…..

  • Josh

    I couldn’t agree more with number 5, but not fore the same details. I thought the conclusion was straight fucked. Being a protective parent shouldn’t get Ciri killed. If anything letting her run loose, wild and careless is far worse than being an actual parent. But the only way to successfully have her live is just let her be the parent and make all the decsions/ be her best friend when she’s sad. That is such fucking bullshit, I am Geralt, I am her father(not biologically I know) I should be allowed to act like a fucking parent and not have Ciri die. Ultimately the end ruined a perfectly good game.

  • mike connor

    Bah, it’s fun.

  • Mike Strawbridge

    I just started playing this game, and so far, on the second “big map” after the castle and White Orchard, the pacing is absolute shit. Why am I picking up a level 33 contract right outside of the second inn in the game? 90% of the equipment I’ve found so far is too high a level for my use. I did literally everything available in White Orchard, and I’m coming into the next map completely underleveled and underequipped.