Content of the article: "I’m seriously disappointed with the choices in Witcher 3 *spoilers*"
I just finished the main game + both DLCs, after 100 and a few hours I have some strong feelings about one big aspect of Witcher 3.
The choices are terrible. All of them. I've heard people say that Skyrim is more of a game of Freedom, and Witcher is a game of choice. I couldn't disagree more, the Witcher is not a game about choice. There is no meaningful choices. I will go into each major choice specifically, but they all follow the same general rules for being bad:
- Geralt is a boring character with an even more boring character alignment, you are explicitly discouraged from ever making substantial moral or political decisions, he is bound by the witcher code to be loyal to whoever is paying him.
- It is completely unclear which dialog options will tilt you in which direction. Multiple times I tried to lean one way or another on a choice only for it to go the wrong way completely because the dialog options are often ambiguous as to which outcome they represent.
- The consequences of any particular decision are absurdly unpredictable even if you do manage to savescum/guess what the dialog options represent. If you don't kill Radovid you can't finish your gwent deck? Seriously? Is that a fucking joke?
- There seems to be zero consistence in how the boring lawful neutral stuff is even supposed to be applied. Are you supposed to always do whatever anyone pays you to do even if it directly contradicts a contract you are currently executing? Are you supposed to be strictly loyal to the first contract you got no matter what? Both of those options are boring and yet it is not even clear which one the witcher code expects of you.
I'll go over some of the specific situations to detail just how bad I found this all to be.
- The Tree spirit: Right away the decision is made 100% moot by the fact that you cannot really follow the witcher code, both parties are obviously lying to you, the consequences are obscured completely, and both parties are apparently evil. On top of that, I was going to side with the tree spirit anyway just for fun, and an ambiguous dialog option led to me being forced to kill it anyway even though I didn't want to. 0/10.
- The king of Skellige: They rig this decision absurdly badly. Prior to the chaos at the banquet, I would have picked Hjalmar to lead 10/10 times, no questions asked ever. Yet, the choice is presented between the previously irrational daughter suddenly being keen and wise, suggesting to investigate, which is what a witcher would always be required to do, or Hjalmar suddenly being retarded and wanting to go kill someone else assuming he knows who the perpetrator was. It's basically not even a real choice, and the railroaded decision sucks. Had I known this decision would decide who was king I would have picked hjalmar but it isn't obvious at all. Another 0/10.
- King Radovid: Probably the worst choice in the game, they fuck up everything there is to possibly fuck up here. I had an open contract with King Radovid, who had been completely reasonable with me the whole time, when I was suddenly presented with an offer to kill the King. Being a Witcher who does not take political sides, I sided with Radovid because Radovid had an open contract with me and was paying me to do things. Instead of there being any interesting way to "choose not to kill the king" and then perhaps kill the gangsters for even asking me to do it, it just sits there in my questlog unfinished, as if it's just something you are expected to do eventually, even though I chose explicitly not to kill him. As a result it broke multiple other quests in the game, most notably the gwent deck completion which so far I had spent a couple hours collecting, and is strongly implied to be the wrong choice at the end of the game????? I don't know what the hell they were thinking with this, horrendous choice. It would have been so easy to make this a cool choice too, and they managed to completely blow it. 0/10.
- Ciri: Her character itself sucks and is basically a self-insert mary sue with apparently no rules, but besides that, at the end of the game she just dies for me. Initially I thought that was just the way the game was written and therefore concluded "this game has a shit story", but found out after the fact that she can also become emperor, or become a witcher. I didn't know that. All the way through the game she has a stuck-up independent bad-girl attitude, it's constantly implied that you are supposed to let her make her own decisions, not force her to do anything, that it's about her and not you. I took her to the emperor because that was my job, but apparently that's bad?? I let her say no because she's independent minded but apparently that's still bad?? I accept payment because the entire game is tracking her down for the emperor but that is bad?? What? Nothing about any of the choices involving Ciri are clear as to which way they lean, what the consequences could eventually be, what you would be expected to do according to witcher code, what moral implications there might be, and you are also explicitly not supposed to do things like "side with nilfgaard politically". This decision is so bad that I would like to give it negative points if such a thing were possible, I cannot possibly imagine them doing a worse job with this.
- Girlfriends: I actualy kind of liked this one because there is at least some interesting characters here, Yennefer by herself is seriously more interesting than most of the rest of the characters in the game put together. So I sided with her the entire game and got a nice outcome, all is well. What I didn't know until after is that you can actually choose all of them? You can have basically a harem of 3-4 women all at once, though they get mildly pissed off at you if you do that. so in essence there is no consequences, you can just do whatever you want and it doesn't matter and has no real impact on the story or geralt at all. It's basically "which girl do you think is more attractive?" which is fun but not challenging and for me took 1 second to decide. 5/10 I guess.
All in all I still liked this game. It's the most beautiful game I have ever played by far, easily a 10 in that category. It is also the most technically sound game I've ever played at least of this scale, getting a 10 in that category as well. The environments are gorgeous, some of the characters are great, the atmosphere is excellent, the gameplay is half-decent. The story and choice elements of the game are just horrendously bad in my experience though. Skyrim SMASHES witcher 3 in all story-related categories, and Skyrim itself does not even have a very good story itself, it's depressing how hard they failed at that given how good everything else in the game is. That combined with the atrocious pacing of the game, where no matter what you do you will always be severely overleveled for all content, to the point where there is no actual challenge ever and all RPG mechanics like gear and levels are irrelevant besides aesthetics, also the insanely long cutscenes, there is no way I would ever consider replaying this game, though I did have a lot of fun in my first playthrough. By contrast I've beaten Skyrim 4 or 5 times and New Vegas 3 times, Final Fantasy VII 5 times, I love replaying RPGs.
TL;DR I think the Witcher 3 fails miserably at providing any meaningful player choice or freedom, and it is an extremely obvious problem in contrast to how good the rest of the game is.
- Here is why I find Witcher 3 boring.
- Last night I finished my eight month journey through the witcher franchise!
- Why the hell do people want to play as Ciri in the next Witcher ?
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