After recently finishing my third playthrough of TW3, I'd like to share with you the few little flaws I see in it, some of which are actually not so little. Be assured that this comes from an absolute fan though. I love this game and the witcher is my favourite video game saga ever. Anyway, let's get to it.
Firstly, Geralt's movement can be frustrating, as it is sometimes inaccurate and irresponsive. There's a whole system adapting Geralt's path and animations to his momentum. If your walking fast, running or sprinting, turning the left joystick will result in a curved trajectory rather than an immediate change of direction. (Quite difficult to formulate as English is not my primary language, but you probably know what I'm talking about.) I would have preferred a less realistic and detailed but more responsive movement pattern, except maybe for sprinting.
Also, Roach's behaviour is inconsistent and frustrating. The "auto-pilot" feature was a good idea, but in practice it can be unpredictable, toggling when you'd except it not to and vice versa. This can become frustrating, especially when you need to turn around because roach followed the wrong path, causing you to push the joystick slightly further than 90 degrees, which makes her immediately buck, no matter the speed you're going at. Having roach run around you while you're in an epic fight probably sounds familiar to all of you too. Having her spawn behind a wall or any where not quickly accessible as well. I don't know how I'd fix this. maybe being able to manually toggle/untoggle auto pilot, and a less sensible joystick. I'd also have her spawn closer to the player, even if it might look weird.
There is too much loot. If you're a maniac who can't let a yellow glowing container behind, you're soon going to have your inventory full of broken rakes, spoons and all types of items that will never be usefull, even with the dismantle system. I understand that it makes sense that you'd find such items in a peasant's barrel, but why have the option to loot them ? Why not just not have them? Delete useless loot and let the player assume that Geralt will only consider taking what might be useful to him. ( Don't remove the spoons though … )
Most treasure hunts feel tedious. In particular, smugglers caches in skellige and witcher armours diagrams take too much time and are not fun in my opinion. Not much to say here, there's just too many of these.
The game holds your hand too much. POI's being displayed on the map kinda ruins the concept of exploration in my opinion, and having every quest objective just given to you is a missed opportunity. Often, a note or an NPC will tell you where to find something, and rather than to have you actually use those informations, they just give you the exact position of the objective. This is a shame, because instead of immersing you in the world they carefully designed, they make you watch your mini-map. I know most of these features can be disabled, but it's like adding a "skip boss" button in dark souls. I'm not here to think about my stance on the complex bond tying effort and satisfaction. It's the game's job to put obstacles in my way, not mine. ( btw if we're having objectives on the map, I highly recommend that you get the mod that displays inactives quests as well. It allows you to do every thing you have to do in an area before moving to another, removing lots of goings and comings. Not fast travelling becomes a viable option.)
The game becomes easier and easier as you level up and craft your badass witcher gear, which is a shame seeing how smooth and pleasant the combat system is. Difficulty does make a little comeback in the DLCs though. ( HoS more than B&W). I admit that I only play on blood on broken bones, but the issue I'm talking about is balance throughout the game more than general difficulty.
Levelling feels shallow. Except for a few active skills, levelling results in you having more health and dealing more damage. The same goes for the enemies. A higher enemy of the same type will have the same look, attacks and aggressiveness, only it will have more health and damage. This makes levelling feel shallow. I know TW3 is far from being the only or first game to do that, and that there are not many alternatives to this system, except level scaling, which feels even more pointless and shallow. Still I like to think of ways this could be improved. Why not remove those buffs on both side ? Or a least reduce it by a lot. Higher level enemies of the same type would have more attack patterns, be more aggressive and quicker. And then remove the level cap that make enemies you should be able to beat yet invincible. This just annoys and refrains exploration.
Your choices in TW2 have no importance in TW3. Saskia's rebellion fate is dealt with in a graphic novel, never to be mentioned again. Except maybe one or two times by Zoltan an Dandelion. Also, I wished that sparing Aryen/saving Foltest's daughter had any consequence on the fate of temeria, and that I could have freed saskia with the dagger I got at the end of TW2. Kinda sad not to hear from Iorveth and Yarpen as well, but it makes sense if you're going to let the whole High Aedirn situation behind. On a more personal note, I was saddened by their choice to forsake TW2's fantasy graphic style, but this is obviously not a flaw, considering how awesome the world and visuals look anyway.
The end feels rushed. The white frost's critical importance is not discussed enough to make it the final twist, plus it is never mentioned that it can be defeated. Isn't it supposed to be the inevitable usage of all resources and energy of a world ? Eredin pales in comparison to letho as a main antagonist, he has like 5 lines of dialogue in the game, which is very disappointing since there was so many things to explore with his character. (His quest to save his people, fear of death, geralt was part of the wild hunt …) Also the "Avalach betrayed us both" attempt at a twist felt completely shallow and useless. Maybe it could have made sense with a proper set up, but in the final product, you're just left confused. Why even fight Eredin if Ciri's going to face the white frost ? Either way Eredin will have no reason to chase her, since she'll either be dead or his world will be freed of it's nearing apocalypse. Why would she hide her plans from Geralt ? Risk her friends life for nothing ? It doesn't make any sense to me. Geel's changing side was weirdly done as well. Those who have every thing to gain from his treason make him see something in a dream and he automatically assumes it's the truth ? And is he so one-dimensional that the survival of his people as no weight compared to his loyalty to his previous king ? And if you're capable of convincing your people of forsaking him, why do it at the critical moment where he fights your enemies? Do it right away, and choose someone else to defend your interests in the upcoming confrontation, maybe? I think a larger Tir na lia chapter would have solved most of these problems. A better glance at the An elle people facing their nearing annihilation would have given us a chance to better understand the danger of the white frost and the psychology of Eredin. Also it would have been the occasion for an extended quest to sway Geel's, and make his betrayal make more sense. ( I've read this chapter was supposed to be bigger, but was cut short because of their lack of time. But even in its original version, the focus was more on the other worlds visited by Geralt than on Tir na lia itself, I believe. )
Some characters lack depth in side quests as well. Radovid was so much than a mad king! He was merciless and hateful, yes, but he was built up as a charismatic, ambitious, clever and calculated leader. In TW 3, he was completely reduced to his cruelty and paranoia. I guess they made it so just to justify that Geralt would take part in his assassination, but I think radovid's fanaticism and hate of sorcery and non-humans would have sufficed. Also, I feel like the whole skellige "choose the new king" quest is flawed by the one-dimensional characters that Cerys and Hjalmar are. Hajlmar is impulsive, so he has to be completly stupid? Cerys is wise, so she's completely free of skellige customs? She has no lust for glory and battle? Her ending felt so out of place. "And the vikings equivalent of this universe just became peaceful farmers on their tiny, rocky isles under her wise rule." Excuse me, what ?
Final point, the music is not always adapted to what's going on. Running from white orchard with Yennefer, pursued by the wild hunt ? Intrigue music. Discussing your upcoming heist in a secret room deep in the forest? Epic battle music. Boss battle ? Barely any music at all. Is this just happening to me ? I've never seen any body talk about it. It's not much, but still it bothers me a bit, especially considering how good the music is in this game.
I think that's about it. Obviously, I understand that a lot of these issues come for time and money constraints, and that in no way they outweigh the incredible things that were achieved in this game. Also, I know that some of these are not objective flaws, but choices that are completely debatable. Any way, this is just my opinion, feel free to disagree and to argue. 🙂
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