Content of the article: "Finished the Main Story – Review and Criticism"
The Witcher 3 is definitely the best open-world RPG I've played, and the best 17 dollars I've spent on in my life in terms of value. I clocked around 100 hours and I haven't played the DLCs yet. I plan to farm money in Skellige treasures so I can complete my armor sets.
I'd personally rate it 9.2/10, far higher than any open-world RPGs I've played.
Things I really liked:
- Its narrative has an amazing design of being woven with exploration. You have absolute control on your pacing but it doesn't feel that sidequests are a chore to do. It doesn't feel that you have to grind for the next story progression yet it doesn't feel too easy either.
- There are so much optional content has the writing quality of the main storyline. Sidequests made me pause for an hour agonizing over my decisions. This aspect is far superior to any other open worlds I've played such DA Inquisition, ME Andromeda and Final Fantasy XV (not counting Batman and Spiderman games I guess). Other games bloat their content with tiresome fetchquests but TW3 actually builds its world.
- Geralt is an engaging character who is quite charming. I must confess that I avoided playing this game at first because I stay away from works that are geared towards male players heavily. I was proven wrong and Geralt doesn't feel like an amalgamation of dark, broody masculine fantasy but like a real person. He has good snark, sarcasm, relatability, and most importantly, he makes friends with many interesting people.
- The world is complex and rich, and the maps are designed to tell stories. When I first stepped into Novigrad after Velen, it's like night and day. From a depressing warn-torn swampy country to a relatively more peaceful place with a grand city. There's so much to read, so much to observe about the environment (showing not telling), and NPCs to talk too.
- Open world is so big but traveling is easy. While there are frustrating areas (either I can't find the fast travel post or there are really none), the distances are reasonable. Plus seeing the "steps" needed to travel to one point to another is helpful. Loading times are reasonable.
- In addition to exploration, the game incentivizes resource collection (or looting lmao). The junk you take can be used for crafting or sold to get an overly powerful armor set. Not to mention the music, the environments and the large maps.
- Good, mature, and witty sense of humor. There are so many things but while it's dark fantasy there are just so many silly things to laugh about, plus references of other works (Game of Thrones, Twilight for example0. Pam pa ram.
My favorite parts:
- The Bloody Baron storyline. Talked about it here. I love the Baron storyline because its about two men looking for their daughters, with a good mix of mystery and complex characterization. I love the mystery than unravels, twists and turns, and encountering folklore creatures (lubberkin, godling, crones). It feels very exotic to me (I'm asian btw.)
- Kaer Morhen's drunk witchers night. "Summon the bitches!" It made me feel anxious for the outcome of my battle.
My preferred build is Mage Geralt or Griffin Armor. But since Feline looks cooler I wore it in the final battle. Here are my skill trees:
Summing up my outcomes:
- Set the Whispering Hillock free, orphans freed, Anna reverted to being a human but died, Baron hung himself
- Sent Keira to Kaer Morhen, she and Lambert now together
- Met Letho and saved his life, he showed up on Kaer Morhen
- Got the right serial killer in Carnal Sins
- I threw the baby in the oven
- Helped the mages escape, non-humans persecuted later
- Killed Radovid, but saved Roche so Dijsktra dies
- As a result, Temeria is free but other Northern realms screwed by Nilfgaard
- Romanced Yennefer. Have some thoughts here.
- Ciri becomes a Witcher – I'm happy with this but a bit frustrated on how I got it. I didn't take Ciri to Ehmyr first because I want to support her in her quest to avenge Vesemir, but the game removes the option to do it later and treated it as robbing her of choice/coddling her.
What I didn't like:
Note that what I loved in the game far outweighs what I didn't like in it. These merely removed 7 points from my final score while the last 1 point is due to the existence of bugs.
- I liked the first half more than the second half. The first half of the game felt very personal from Geralt's part, about a man looking for his daughter. I mentioned by I love the Baron storyline above on how personal it is. Novigrad feels a lot different because it's urban, congested, chaotic and I loved the contrast. That being said, I felt Skellige and everything after Kaer Morhen are a bit weaker or somewhat less engaging, to be elaborated in the points below:
- Skellige has a far less complex storyline. Very straightforward. Related to the point above. It's just Yennefer stealing a mask and going to this village to unravel what happened. I felt the quest of Cerys and Hjalmar could have been incorporated. Instead of stealing the mask, we could have been granted permission to use it if we help Skellige. Moreover, the choice between Hjalmar and Cerys isn't very difficult.
- Ciri's plotline feels like a generic fantasy with elves in it, with Eredin as the bland big bad. I really find Ciri cool and I love her relationship with Geralt, but the story revolving her special bloodline and world-ending catastrophe are not as engaging as the Bloody Baron part.
- Ciri's story is being told from Geralt's eyes at its conclusion, which waters down both their narratives. The Wild Hunt, Eredin, Avallache are all Ciri's journey, yet they're still treated as Geralt's. In my opinion, the Battle of Kaer Morhen could have been a stronger conclusion in Geralt's story. Ciri's choice of her destiny could have been more compelling if mostly in her POV.
- Religion isn't handled with nuance and felt cartoony. Since I compared to Dragon Age earlier, it's only fair to compare it again. The Church of Eternal Fire felt like generic evil villains who persecute poor sorcerors. The only religious character that felt like a human being is Tamara, the Baron's daughter. Dragon Age Inquisition has a more complex and nuanced approach to religion and arguably elves too.
- Yennefer isn't given justice/romance is not satisfying I haven't finished the books yet but from what my friends say, she was adapted poorly, her worse traits exaggerated, and her bond with Ciri not explored properly. I romanced Yennefer yes but a lot of their history is "told not seen," especially with Corine Tilly's section. They're supposed to be a legendary romance whom people write songs about but nothing about it is experienced onscreen. It feels half of the characters tell us how Yennefer is awful and Geralt should break up with her.
- I dislike Triss's prominence because she's written to be an appealing love interest in every way but actually irrelevant in Ciri's storyline. I want to divorce my opinions about what happened in previous games and books. I really find Triss sweet and adorable at first, but as the story progresses I felt the game is too biased to make her likable in every way while Yen is the one disliked by a lot of characters.
- The final battle is rushed and filled with cutscenes. The sorceresses recruited don't even matter, unlike Kaer Morhen's battle where your allies are all there. I fought Eredin while drunk, making sure I down a bottle every time my health bar is damaged. It's a little bit more fun that way. Should have fought him naked.
Thanks for reading. Honestly guys, this community is one of the most positive ones in gaming. Thanks for all the tips and discussions. I'm off to play the DLCs before I move on.
(God of War or Horizon first?)
- I don’t think this game can ever be beaten
- I wish we could play all side quests without Main Story
- thoughts after finishing the game
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