Is The Witcher 3 Overrated?

Like many other massive open-world games to be released in the last few years, The Witcher 3 has been praised as a flawless game by many reviewers and sites.

After trying many times to get into the game, I just never seemed to be fully immersed in the world. I’ve put many hours into it, yet have months between play intervals.

Now that’s just my opinion, but I’d like to discuss many opinions of gamers online and how they feel about the game. The game is awesome, beautiful, and intriguing, but it is not flawless by any means.

Story

A friend of mine rarely ever plays single-player games. To wind down he either plays a multiplayer game or watches a movie. For some reason, the story in this game greatly captured his attention.

It’s not often that I pay attention to the story in a videogame. There is the rare occasion that I do, but this game just never did it for me. I spent most of my time running around the huge world being amazed by the scenery, but the times where I had to play story missions seemed boring to me.

This can possibly be attributed to the fact that I never played the first 2 games, so I was clueless as to what was going on. Why are we searching for this Witcher girl? Why should I care about these random women Geralt is with? Why does Geralt hate portals so much?

The game doesn’t really give much of an explanation for these things, and if they did I probably wasn’t paying attention. The times where the game forced you to play as Ciri were okay, but would have been more enjoyable if you were given a playable character choice.

I would rather be playing as my main, upgraded character in a part of the world I could explore. The Ciri scenes to me seemed a little dull due to the fact that I couldn’t play as my main character. It kind of breaks the whole RPG aspect of the game.

Many complain about the story is dark, but I like dark stories. Even then, it failed to capture my interest. The side quests are a bit of a different story, and I’ll go over that in a bit.

World/Graphics

The world is gorgeous. There’s no doubt about that. The game runs very well on PC (it runs much better with the gimmicky Hairworks option turned off) and is a joy to look at.

Inevitably every time I boot up the game the first thing I do is admire the view and take screenshots. I run around watching the trees and foliage blow in the wind, as the gorgeous sun rays cascade through the leaves. Anyone who says it’s ugly is trolling, as it looks better than real life in some areas.

Besides the graphics, it’s filled to the brim with areas to explore. You’ll find caves, monster nests, bandit camps, shipwrecks, and hidden treasures. There’s so much to do that it’s almost overwhelming.

I’ll slowly make my way through an area of the map trying to clear out as many question marks as I can. After barely making a dent, it often seems like they keep appearing as I go.

Sailing boats around the world is quite enjoyable too. I love the fact that it feels like you can sail to unexplored islands and areas. You feel free to go wherever you want until you come across an area with enemies that are a much higher level than you.

I like this because it gives the area more mystery and intrigue. It’s almost disappointing sometimes to clear an area out and realize there’s not more to it than you thought.

If you buy The Witcher 3 for any reason, buy it for the amazing world alone. Some people think it’s boring, but as a fan of open-world games, I enjoy exploring it.

Side-quests

For me anyway, the sidequests are more enjoyable than the main story. They give you options on how to complete them, but those options never impact the world in a big way. At least they make you feel like you’re doing some good (or bad if you wish) in the world.

I once saw a reviewer writing about how riveting every single side quest was. He described a quest where an old woman wants you to find her frying pan, and he makes it sound like the side quests were the most interesting stories ever.

I was disappointed to find that this wasn’t the case, but I still enjoy a lot of the quests. The monster ones are really fun to play, and arguably are one of my favorite parts of the game.

A lot of sidequests are simply fetch-quests or “defeat all enemies in the area” type missions. These can get tedious after a while, but the unique ones help to balance those out.

A game with a dark storyline and mostly violent missions are balanced out with a few peaceful quests here and here. Don’t get me wrong, I play games mostly for some good combat, but something about peaceful quests is a nice break from the action.

Overall, the sidequests are mostly fun, but some can get grindy and repetitive.

Music

Music is something that can make or break a game for me. A game with bad music just isn’t worth playing in my mind.

Fortunately, most of The Witcher 3 soundtrack is pretty good. Hearing the same few fighting songs gets quite repetitive though, which started to annoy me. The music in certain cities also got repetitive as well.

Every region of the world you explore has its own music, which is fitting for each area. All the soundtracks fit the tone of the game and help to make it more enjoyable.

Difficulty

There’s a huge argument to be made for playing on the hardest difficulty setting. I applaud CD Projekt Red for making the difficulties so diverse. The audience this caters to ranges from the most casual players to the most hardcore.

Some people just don’t have hours and hours a day to play video games, so they can play easier difficulty and enjoy the story with some easy combat thrown in. Others have loads of time to spare, so they play the hardest difficulty to experience what the game has so offer.

There are so many aspects of this game that are irrelevant at lower difficulties. Oils and potions will barely have any effects at the easiest difficulty levels.

There is a toxicity system that limits the number of options you can take at once. Personally I never even saw the need for health potions, as you can eat as much food as you want to heal in battle.

The higher the difficulty, the more you have to prepare for each encounter. You must rely on research and intel before just rushing into a monster den, and also on how well you prepared for the fight.

Lower difficulties will let you slay a cave full of enemies faster than an ’80s action hero could. Since they never pose a real threat to you, there isn’t a whole lot of preparation needed for the fight.

Honestly, if you have extra time to spare, take the time to play on a higher difficulty. If you don’t, many of the available features in this game will be completely useless to you.

Enemies

When I say enemies, I’m referring to the humans and smaller creatures, and not the large monsters. There is a pretty good variety of them, but it’s annoying when they gang up on you.

A pack of wolves sometimes poses more of a threat to you than a large beast can. Hordes of enemies are just sometimes much harder to defeat than a single one.

I’ve been able to cheese entire camps of high-level humans simply by luring one out at a time. It takes a while, and I’m not really sure why I did it, but it was enjoyable once or twice anyway.

It gets a little tiring fighting only the Drowner type enemies in certain areas of the coast, and wolves aren’t really fun to fight after a while either. Despite this, the enemy variety is mostly pretty good, and the creatures are interesting to learn more about.

Combat/Movement

Some people love it, others hate it. Personally, I thought it’s a bit clunky at times, and it’s really easy to win pretty much any fight by rolling and stabbing.

The crossbow barely does damage, although that’s mostly for knocking flying creatures out of the sky. Sometimes I feel like the hitboxes are bad in general, but they are especially bad with the crossbow.

There’s the option for parrying, which I really only use while fighting humans. The finishers are brutal and very satisfying, although sometimes I wish there was more variety with those as well.

I’ve seen people online saying that Geralt moves like a tank, and I’d have to agree with them. Sometimes he just doesn’t go where you want him to go. Recently I was fighting a group of harpies, and it seemed like I missed every single shot. I also just couldn’t seem to face the direction I wanted to either.

While the Witcher combat abilities like Igni are really fun to use, I mostly find myself using a couple of them and never even touching the others. Each one has a different use for different types of creatures, but all the small creatures die from your silver blade pretty quickly to makes these essential.

There really is a lot of depth when it comes to the combat in this game, but unfortunately, the depth is overshadowed by the ability to roll and stab every enemy to death.

There was one mission where I had to fight a bear to death using only my fists. This wouldn’t have been so bad, save for the fact that I was severely under-leveled for it. It literally took me 15 minutes of punching and rolling to beat the thing.

It was a tedious mission that made me very annoyed, but it was probably my fault I got into that mess. Pay attention to the recommended level, and you can avoid something like that happening to you.

It’s a shame the combat is like this because it has the potential to be great. Maybe if you do your best not to spam the roll button, you’ll have a different experience than a lot of players have had.

Monsters

The beasts of The Witcher 3 are an aspect I loved about this game. They all have unique traits about them, are intriguing to learn more about, and are exciting to defeat.

When you do defeat a monster, you can mount its head on your horse to receive helpful bonuses to your character. The horse only allows one monster head at a time, so use the one you like the most.

For some of the creature missions, you must use your special Witcher abilities like a detective solving a crime. You’ll go into a camp full of people torn apart by some beast, and attempt to decipher what creature did it.

When you discover this beast, it’ll be added to your Bestiary, where you can refer to whenever you need information on beating more of them. There’s a pretty large selection of creatures in the Bestiary, so you’ll probably refer to it a lot.

You can see a lot of these monsters on your travels throughout the world. One time I came across a Leshen in the forest, and it was kind of creepy to think that there are monsters like this just wandering about.

While the boss fights aren’t as heart-pounding as the ones from Dark Souls, they do make for some intense fights. Playing on a higher difficulty will make these boss fights more enjoyable though, as it’ll take more than rolling and stabbing to beat them.

Upgrade system

Seventy hours into this game, I still don’t fully understand how it works. There are 4 branches of skills: Combat, Signs, Alchemy, and General. Each one of these categories has upgrades boosting the skills in those areas.

Then, there’s a character panel where you actually place these upgrades. you can only have 6 of your upgrades at a time, which is kind of annoying. I prefer the type of skill tree where each unlocked item is a permanent upgrade to your character. I hate having to choose if I’d rather have an increase of 6% to melee damage or health.

Then there are items called mutations, which you get from enemies. These mutagens apply boosts to all equipped upgrades of a certain type. I’m sure that there are some great benefits that these provide to you, but I’m just not a fan of upgrading things a few percentages at a time.

You might feel completely different about this, so don’t hate me for not enjoying the system. When I’m playing a game, I’d rather be out slaying monsters and exploring caves instead of comparing percentages.

Crafting/Alchemy

Besides upgrading your stats, you can craft new weapons and potions to help you. I have yet to craft anything meaningful yet, as I’m still able to find good weapons around the world.

I know later on in the game you can craft some pretty amazing stuff, but I haven’t been able to craft anything decent. Even with all my exploring, I still haven’t found enough materials needed to make a unique piece of gear.

Lower difficulty levels don’t really even need to use alchemy, as the enemies are so easy your sword will suffice. Higher difficulties need to take every advantage they can get.

You can craft recipes for oils that you can later make using alchemy. Oils are put onto your sword, and deal more damage for certain types of enemies.

Besides oils, potions can help you as well. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a toxicity meter that is increased with every potion you take. When the toxicity gets too high, you’ll begin to slowly take damage.

Personally, I don’t use crafting or alchemy a lot, but I’m sure there are players who do. At least the developers give options for people, and there’s not any harm in that.

DLC

The general consensus on the DLC’s is that they are basically entirely new games to play. They give you new maps and missions, along with hours of new content.

It’s highly likely that The Witcher 3 will be on sale with the DLC’s included, and you should take the chance to get them then. I find it hard to believe that such a huge game is offered for $20 or less!

My friend absolutely loved them, and while I haven’t finished them, they seemed really enjoyable and well worth the money. It’s not often that DLC’s are as highly praised as the base game, but with this game, players love them just as much.

Conclusion

I enjoy The Witcher 3 a lot, but for some reason, it never holds my attention for more than a few hours. That being said, I’ve nearly spent 3 days of my life playing it, so obviously to me it’s a good game.

It’s just not a perfect game like many reviewers and players avidly say. You’ll enjoy it, but there are many flaws you’ll notice that may bug you during your playthrough.

Jay Simmons

I love writing about games and sharing helpful info with others. Whether it be exploring a vast open world or uncovering lore, I always enjoy learning about my favorite games.

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