This won't be for everyone. I mean to say it has greatly improved my experience. I also don't know if I'd suggest this for anyone playing for the first time.
I've been playing for awhile, but I always found myself staring at the minimap and not the game. I at least eventually turned off the path to the objective, but it always disappointed me that I was so glued to the map, and relied on it so heavily. After all that time I decided to pull the trigger and turn it off so I could enjoy the atmosphere. When I saw how much more I enjoyed the game, I turned off every other feature in the HUD apart from Geralt's own stats (I figure this is something he would know) and the quest log (I have very bad ADHD and would not survive without).
As expected, turning off the minimap has improved immersion by making me pay attention to my surroundings, use landmarks, and keep track of where I am in caves. I'm sticking to paths more, even the inefficient ones. But it has also changed the game in ways I didn't expect. For example, I didn't know how much I relied on the minimap to tell if there was an ambush of monsters around the corner. I also didn't realize how much I used it during combat to know if I was being flanked, or to help guess which bandit was the archer. Now I have to keep track of all the enemies myself during battle. I also found out I was using it to know how many enemies I was fighting, but now I find myself counting them as I run in to fight.
Once I got used to not having the map, I decided to turn off most of the rest of the HUD, too. Enemy HP needed to go – it was making it too easy to keep track of enemies. Same with enemy names. Then critical effect and damage messages. Now, it's especially tough to know when an enemy is dead, since I don't have the clue from their HP bar. I also really have to pay attention to keep track of enemy positions in battle, even so far as tracking which enemies I've dealt a significant amount of damage to, since the game isn't keeping track of any of it.
Finally, I find myself really relying on Witcher senses to navigate. For example, I never used the senses to listen for enemies, but now it's necessary to know if there are any lurking around the corner of a cave. Cat is no longer an option in caves either – you have to use it to keep track of enemies in combat.
Those are all the changes I've seen so far! It's a ton of fun, and makes it feel like a brand new game again.
TL;DR: turning off the HUD has improved the game in some unexpected ways. It's probably not for everyone, but try turning off a few features and see what happens!
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