The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
 
 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a good game wrapped inside of a terrible one. This is a tale of two games: The Witcher and, what I call, the Glitcher.

The Witcher is a complex, woven story of Geralt of Rivia, the titular Witcher – hunter of monsters – searching for the girl he considers his adopted daughter, Ciri, as she is chased by the Wild Hunt – a gang of magical warriors – for reasons unknown.

 
Ad FeedbackAdvertisement

The Glitcher is a poorly made RPG, full of sexist clichés, inexact fighting mechanics, occasional bugs, and infuriating design that often have you groaning or rolling your eyes.

Sadly. the two are inseparable.

Though a day-one patch has made some improvements, The Glitcher can still be rather buggy and frustrating.

Geralt’s horse, Roach, can be called with a whistle almost anywhere in the world, but always appears out of Geralt’s eye line. This means that Roach often ends up trapped behind trees, fences, buildings, or villagers, and in the large cities, the horse can get stuck on stairs. In one instance, Roach appeared on the far side of a river to me (one I couldn’t get to), and no amount of recalling could get the horse to my side.

Geralt’s movement is fluid but he suffers from small impediments in his way and trees he just can’t get past. The most annoying thing is getting in and out of boats. You then need to stare directly at the tiller in order to climb into one. After that sailing is a breeze, but getting out again is a case of Geralt having to leap from the boat as though he is an Olympic hurdler.

Geralt’s leaps may also see him tumbling from cliffs, after what seemed like a simple small jump having your hero overshooting and flinging himself from the rocks. At worst you die, at best you survive but now have to climb the damn mountain again.

His animations cause issues too. When Geralt stops sprinting he animates for three extra steps. It looks like natural running coming to a stop except when he casually does so off the side of a cliff or into a nest of bandits. Sprinting also hinders Geralt’s automatic sword drawing, which means you could start a fight with no weapon drawn.

The fighting is pretty hack and slash, which is fine, but you may end up finding yourself vulnerable if you just mash away. Geralt’s sword animations look cool and move you across the battle in a whirl of blades, but often also mean that you find your opponents are now behind the camera and stabbing you in the back.

...getting out again is a case of Geralt having to leap from the boat as though he is an Olympic hurdler.

Playing this on a big TV also showed some of the limitations of the console’s graphic power. Occasionally NPCs or even dead bodies (there are a lot of people hanging from trees in this game) would appear in the middle distance as “scarecrows”, legs akimbo with their arms straight out at their sides. They would revert to being more realistic bodies when you get closer. It’s the type of thing that once you notice it, you can’t unsee it.

[Editor’s note: the bulk of this review was played on pre-release (version 1.00) of the game. We also tested a retail promo copy (version 1.01), and encountered the bugs above in that build as well. Additional patches have since been released, and the game is now up to version 1.03 which addresses the bugs.]

But the Glitcher isn’t just about the bugs. It’s also about simple bad game tropes.

The missions are often designed so that you have to travel back and forth between places. Go here, investigate something. Go back and report. Head back to the first place and fight monsters. Go back and report. Repeat until done.

Not quite fetch quests, but pretty damn close. But the world is huge, seriously huge, so when the quest tells you to travel back and forth it gets really dull really quickly.

The other thing that gets old quick is the depiction of women. All of the female characters have the same body type and none of them seem to know how to operate a shirt because every single one of them wears it open to the navel. Perhaps the only reason the women aren’t constantly falling out of their tops is because the breast physics in the Glitcher are worse than in Ryse: Son of Rome.

Don’t worry though. If you want to see awful, solid, unmoving breasts you’re in luck, because the female characters whip their clothes off with regularity. Nearly all of them have one reason or other to sleep with Geralt and so you get to sit through a few pretty terrible sex scenes.

Sex in games is ok by me (if I have to pick one I prefer sex over violence), but it just seems stupid if the male character is running around in armour while the women are wearing light shirts that are unbuttoned to the waist. It’s not even pretending to be armour!

Moreover this game contains a lot of sexual violence. (I was a bit surprised to see it was only rated R16, though sexual violence is listed in the classification notes).

Rape is mentioned a lot by supporting characters and more than once Geralt saves women from being raped by soldiers. Somewhat disturbingly there is at least one scene where Geralt can walk away and leave a woman to be raped and another where he can leave a woman to be tortured.

One quest, integral to the main storyline, involves tracking down a gang leader who enjoys raping, torturing and killing sex workers. When you finally confront him, it’s in a room filled with dead women killed in various horrible ways and all naked. It can be incredibly jarring.

As you walk around villagers, guards and other non-characters will just randomly say things (it’s something I’ve never understood in games). Most of the time it’s the repeated garbage over and over or vaguely related to whatever quest you’re on, but one point in the game I suddenly noticed that the random lines were getting incredibly sexist, and homophobic. In part this is because the game had entered a darker phase, but at the same time it just felt wrong and put in for shock value. (The usual poor writing trope of “oh these guys are bad so they’ll say something awful about women/gay people”).

I should note that there is a scene with a character who cross-dresses and that is handled fairly well. It’s not perfect, but it was a good attempt and for once, the cross-dressing was not a punchline.

Continue reading on page 2.




 

Relevant Articles

 

Comments Comments (20)

 
Posted by czk51
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 11:31 AM
2
Great honest review. Also refreshing that, although reviews have been out for about a week, this is the first I've seen to take the day one patch RESULTS into account - the obvious reason of course being that today, well, IS DAY ONE.

Bugs don't bother me too much, though I did read of sloppy frame rate on the ps4 non-day-one-patch version - can you confirm if this was fixed?
 
 
 
Posted by Rapidity
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 11:49 AM
-
Great review, been looking forward to the witcher but I think I'll wait a few months before I end up picking this up in the how's the bugs get sorted. Fortunately I have a pretty large back catalogue of games to catch up on
 
 
 
Posted by Rapidity
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 11:52 AM
-
The fetch questiness doesn't surprise me either, I felt the Witcher 2 ended up really suffering for it
 
 
 
Posted by hadyngreen
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 12:04 PM
-
19 May 2015, 11:31 AM Reply to czk51
Great honest review. Also refreshing that, although reviews have been out for about a week, this is the first I've seen to take the day one patch RESULTS into account - the obvious reason of course being that today, well, IS DAY ONE.

Bugs don't bother me too much, though I did read of sloppy frame rate on the ps4 non-day-one-patch version - can you confirm if this was fixed?
We obviously haven't played the Day One patch extensively, only the Day Zero patch (yep, two patches!) I did notice weird frame rate issues a few times when in heavily populated areas but took into consideration that is was the pre-patched version and I was playing on a giant TV that may have affected frame rate.
 
 
 
Posted by Mattress
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 1:07 PM
-
Can't wait to get home tonight and give this game a whirl! Thanks for the good review!
 
 
 
Posted by Bunnny
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 1:18 PM
-
I really appreciate the honesty here.

Still sounds like glorious fun.
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 2:09 PM
4
My question is what was the last true RPG that you played that didnt have a somewhat tedious quest design - particularly when it comes to side quests to flesh the game out? and what do you think is a non tedious design?

TBH its always something people talk or moan about but I havent heard anyone come up with or play a game with anything better. So should it be seen as a negative? otherwise you probably shouldnt bother with RPGs at all because it will generally always be a mainstay in the genre.
 
 
 
Posted by hadyngreen
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 2:21 PM
-
19 May 2015, 02:09 PM Reply to SpawnSeekSlay
My question is what was the last true RPG that you played that didnt have a somewhat tedious quest design - particularly when it comes to side quests to flesh the game out? and what do you think is a non tedious design?

TBH its always something people talk or moan about but I havent heard anyone come up with or play a game with anything better. So should it be seen as a negative? otherwise you probably shouldnt bother with RPGs at all because it will generally always be a mainstay in the genre.
It's pretty simple really. Good quests are ones where you actually do something.

Too often the quests were "go and look at X using your senses" then go straight back and tell people you saw something, Geralt too often lacks agency to do stuff. Or the middle steps are more busy work than anything that actually gets you towards the completion of the quest.
 
 
 
Posted by Vicx
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 3:22 PM
-
How does the combat compare with Bloodborne or Shadow of Mordor? Parrying humans, dodging monsters along with the alchemy and spells, it all sounds like Bloodborne in Skyrim, is this close?
 
 
 
Posted by Jono91
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 3:37 PM
-
Excellent review. I enjoyed the read! I kinda had mixed feelings about this game before release, but having read your review, I think I might be picking this up at some stage.
 
 
 
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 5:04 PM
-
19 May 2015, 02:21 PM Reply to hadyngreen
It's pretty simple really. Good quests are ones where you actually do something.

Too often the quests were "go and look at X using your senses" then go straight back and tell people you saw something, Geralt too often lacks agency to do stuff. Or the middle steps are more busy work than anything that actually gets you towards the completion of the quest.
I don't disagree with what you've said there but lets be honest unless you're getting a few hours of gameplay out of your rpg you fill it with fetch quests which if I've understood correctly is what SSS is saying here. They all do it and it doesn't make for a bad game necessarily as long as there's diversity. The difference between that 20 hour game and the 100's of hours is those types of quests....be it fetch or go look at this and come back sorta thing.

I like the review and especially that your open and honest about the fact that most was done on a review prepatch version. I am a realist and if your game is one that you want to come out without any imperfections there's a good chance you'll never see release. As there's no way to test all things and all possible instances before release even with a beta or two.

I am lucky enought to have a few weeks before we get this so it's possible we'll get another patch before then and I may not even see (or notice) some of the bugs mentioned. Still sounds good to me.
 
 
 
Posted by supabowl
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 8:57 PM
-
8.5 Still a huge score. The fact that I cant afford this right now is killing me. Want to play so bad!!
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Tuesday 19 May 2015 11:17 PM
1
"Wild Hunt is a good game wrapped inside of terrible one. " quick fix.
Not my fav review from you but that's okay. Lowest published score for the game so far which is a rare sight.

Don't care for the complaints on the game's 'trope's, violence and sexual misogyny.
My biggest hate is the game not being 60fps - would've settled for 900p. A slap to the face, for not gaming on PC anymore.
 
 
 
Posted by Rocky1986
On Wednesday 20 May 2015 7:22 AM
-
Think ill give it a month or so and see how it goes and a few more reviews, cheers for the honesty though.
 
 
 
Posted by Brentos14
On Wednesday 20 May 2015 10:20 AM
-
great honest review takes everything into account ! will def play it now !
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Wednesday 20 May 2015 10:52 AM
1
19 May 2015, 02:21 PM Reply to hadyngreen
It's pretty simple really. Good quests are ones where you actually do something.

Too often the quests were "go and look at X using your senses" then go straight back and tell people you saw something, Geralt too often lacks agency to do stuff. Or the middle steps are more busy work than anything that actually gets you towards the completion of the quest.
Well even side quests generally are "Good quests where you actually do something"- as ambiguous as that statement is - often they are stepping stones to bigger parts of the questline, and even if they arent remember they are only side quests that might be designed to send you to areas to explore where other events may happen, other village/dungeons, or to get used to game mechanics ie using senses properly. As jtbthatsme said as long as there is diversity then its generally fine, its been a mainstay in questing RPGs for as long as Ive played RPGs over the past 25 years.
Are the side quests like Infamous 1 or Assassins Creed 1 were there are basically 5 types (no diversity) of side quest and you repeat them exactly the same in every village? That is the only time ive been annoyed with a tedious mission/quest design. I highly doubt Witcher 3 would fall into the same pattern as those types. Guess ill judge it myself when my copy turns up in the post in the coming days.
 
 
 
Posted by hadyngreen
On Thursday 21 May 2015 3:31 PM
-
19 May 2015, 03:22 PM Reply to Vicx
How does the combat compare with Bloodborne or Shadow of Mordor? Parrying humans, dodging monsters along with the alchemy and spells, it all sounds like Bloodborne in Skyrim, is this close?
Wouldn't know sorry. Haven't played those other games.
 
 
 
Posted by Relmed
On Saturday 23 May 2015 12:50 PM
2
This is an interesting review. I can't at all agree with it as I've found the story to be deep and immersive and the quests to be highly enjoyable and varied for an rpg. I have honestly not come across any bugs or glitches of note in my journey so far, it's been beautiful and detailed and the music score is on point. Personally this would be a 9.5 for me. Far better than Skyrim was anyway.
 
 
 
Kudu
Posted by Kudu
On Friday 19 Jun 2015 4:32 PM
-
Can't wait to try this out!
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Wednesday 23 Mar 2016 1:24 PM
1
I forgot that this 'only got' an 8.5 from NZG as a GOTY titan. Dam haydon