My old PC barely ran Witcher 2, so I couldn't play 3rd one when it was released. I somehow managed to stay clear of spoilers (which may took some threats). So when I bought new PC this was the first thing I installed! And damn, it was worth the wait.
Witcher 3 is without a doubt one of the best RPGs released in the last decade.
Quest design is really something else. Even side quests are of a quality many games cannot reach even in main questline (khm, TES series, khm). Writing in general is something that exceeded my every expectation, and since we are talking about CDPR those expectations were far from low. The atmosphere is amazing. I can't remember the last time a game managed to capture the horrors of war that well.
Visual design is also top-notch. From characters to cities and landmasses. Both the concept and realisation (ME: Andromeda for example had quite good concept, but horrible realisation). They managed that without being huge drain on the system. The game is relatively optimised and bug-free – the only loading times that were noticeable were when you are changing maps. And with all DLCs and patches I haven't noticed any major bug (nor did I experience any crash at all, which is an achievement for a game that long).
Another strong point of Witcher 3 is its soundtrack. I don't remember when was the last time we got a soundtrack that good, and that appropriate for the scenes. It is definitely on the playlist for my DnD group.
But the game is far from perfect, no matter what some people are saying. CDPR has a lot of room for improvement in certain areas.
The biggest flaw this game has is a general gameplay design (weak-point of Witcher 1 as well). Level scaling is really really bad. You can easily kill huge monsters that are 5 levels below you, yet a few wolves 5 levels above you will easily kill you. That is kinda immersion breaking. Geralt is a seasoned witcher. It doesn't make any sense that wolves can be a threat to him. Or that he can get 10 times as powerful in the time-frame of the game. You can make a game where you feel that your character is getting stronger and stronger without breaking immersion.
Connected to that flaw is the inventory nightmare. First, having level depended equipment is retarded. If I managed to find a sword few levels above mine I deserve the ability to use it! Not to mention there is way too much of everything. From crafting materials to different weapons and armours. Most of which are useless.
Combination of level scaling and item level progression is something that actually punish the player for exploration. Something that shouldn't be happening in an open world game.
Leveling itself could also be done better. Having limited number of feats active is dumb. Being forced to spend upgrade points on feats you won't ever use is even dumber…..
Not that whole gameplay design is bad. Bombs and potions are well thought of (that with uses/rest). Combat is also interesting and challenging, and stays that way for the whole game (which is an achievement in itself, since the game is quite long).
Another thing is more of a personal preference than a flaw. Game is a bit too long in my opinion. Especially since gametime is artificially increased because of a bad gameplay design (for example with inventory management). And I think the authors realised that as well, since the quest design in the latter parts of the game is not of the same quality as before.
All in all, I would give this game score of 95/100 (with 100 being unreachable perfection). You can easily put it with the likes of KOTOR, Baldur's gate and Deus ex. Can't wait for CDPR next game!
TL;DR: After years of waiting I finally played Witcher 3. It is without a doubt one of the best games released in the past decade. Its flaws are easily overshadowed by amazing writing and visual/audio design.
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