It’s been just over a week that I’ve had The Witcher 3 now and, so far, I am a little underwhelmed. By my own admissions, and it has taken a friend of mine to put my perspective more on track, my expectations going in to the game were wrong. I have not played either of the first two Witcher games and so was not very familiar with the back story, but after catching on to the trailers and pre-release hype at the eleventh hour, I had this built up in my head as the Next Gen Skyrim game I’ve wanted ever since I got my Xbox One. And it isn’t.
After having a chat with my aforementioned friend, I realised that this was not to be the same as a Bethesda open world RPG game like Skyrim or Fallout. How could it be, it being the 3rd game in a series with a continuing story and the same set of main characters. So no, there was not to be this crazy, in-depth character creation to instil a ‘role playing’ element to the game. Glorfyndell the Wood Elf will have to wait for a different game to make his Next Gen debut (more on that later).
Even without the character creation element, I had thought that I may have some say in the style in which I approached the game. Maybe some kind of reputation element to the game, but certainly some variation in how I approached combat. Again, this was something I particularly enjoyed about Skyrim in that it allowed me to play the stealthy assassin arch type, with a bow on my back and a dagger at my waist. *Sigh*. Again, the back story of The Witcher is such that there is pretty much only one style of play, a combination of light and heavy attacks with a healthy dose of dodging and the occasional piece of magic.
Once I had got over the fact that I had to play a particular character and that combat was going to be handled in a style that I did not seem to have much say in, I thought that perhaps this could still be an immersive game with a huge world to explore and plenty of side quests to do amongst the main story line. And I maintained this mentality as I sunk myself a good few hours in to the game and did my fairly typical approach of doing the main story until the end of an area and then running around to complete all the side quests. And it was fun, apart from the combat controls being a bit clunky for my liking, but I tried to look past this.
However, I started to realise that the whilst the world was huge, there really did not seem to be that many people I could engage in conversation. Many of the worlds inhabitants barely have a complete sentence to say, simply acknowledging your existence with anti-Witcher slurs when you, once again, accidentally run in them on account of there really being no middle ground between slowly pacing and running at full pelt.
However, what has really effected my enjoyment of the game is the bugged/glitched side missions which I am now unable to complete on account of, according to various forum threads, me having explored bits of the area before I was given the quest! For a game which was talking so heavily about the size of it’s open world, it is a pretty devastating error to have quests which do not work if you do not explore the parts of the world in a specific order. Since discovering this a couple of days ago, I really have not felt the urge to pick the controller up again.
Having mentioned Bethesda already, the current talking point in the gaming world is the release of a trailer for Fallout 4 yesterday. On the Xbox 360, I must admit that I spent more time playing Skyrim than Fallout 3, but I largely put that down to my preference for Fantasy games over post-apocalyptic ones and simply having both games available to me at pretty much the same time (when I got the console) but I do wish I had put more time in to Fallout 3 and the trailer for 4 does have me excited for the game. I wont get into anything in any great detail here, largely because the trailer has only just come out and people are suggesting that Bethesda’s E3 conference will possibly have some actually game play or at least more details on the content of the game, so perhaps once that has been ‘released’ there will be more to say.
And now, back to Skyrim. Or, rather Elder Scrolls. Elder Scrolls Online to be precise. Having taken part in the beta program back on my MacBook and unfortunately was only just able to get through the starting area before it became too much for the MacBook to handle. But it is coming out on Xbox One (and PS4) on 9 June and I have my pre-order in and cannot wait to get playing this. I know it is going to be more restrictive than Skyrim in so far as the freedom I have in being able to ‘role play’ with my character but I still think it will satisfy that urge and it will be nice to explore more of the world from Elder Scrolls as I only really got involved from Skyrim and have not had the chance to explore other regions such as Morrowind or the Vale Woods. So yeah, super excited for that and I think it is this which is making me feel OK about not committing many more hours to The Witcher 3.
Until next time, peace out x