No game from this generation has earned more praise and approval from fans and critics alike than The Witcher 3CD Projekt Red’s 2015 release has received universal acclaim, earning numerous Game of the Year awards and is even considered one of the greatest games of all time. Although this game is a grand experience, it doesn’t do enough to achieve its status of being one of the greats. The Witcher 3, just simply, wasn’t that great of a game. It did set out as a truly ambitious experience, yet its combat, narrative structure, and performance issues continue to hold it back from being the title that many claim it to be.

First and foremost, the combat is incredibly clunky and slow. When engaged in a fight, Geralt isn’t able to quickly get around and execute combos. Sword fighting is unable to perform at a high enough quality where killing enemies is satisfying. This gets worse as bigger foes appear and combat is only able to do so much. To make matters far worse is that attacks are varied for seemingly no reason. The game tries to have each sword strike that is made feel different for instance, a swing is faster or hits harder depending on the angle. It comes off as an attempt at being realistic but it’s just not that much fun to play around with.

This sense of realism forces the player to become skillful in sword fighting, as one would during this fantasy era. Yet, it’s not a game that is well designed in creating this environment. The gameplay isn’t as fluid here as say a series like Dark Souls where players are able to make well-timed moves to finish off difficult enemies. The Witcher 3 attempts to be like this but they simply just fall flat. Combat is also incredibly complex for no reason. There are so many strategies that have to be used to take down enemies. Playing to an enemy’s weakness is a necessity to get by that every fight just becomes a chore. Using different signs or a crossbow comes into play but even then it feels like too many moving parts just to take down an enemy.

The story in The Witcher 3 does have some incredible high points, however getting there is an absolute slog. Its main campaign tasks players with constant fetch quests and travel sequences that grow redundant most of the time. If it wasn’t for the game’s side quests, it would feel like a chore for a large chunk of the game. Even with this, though, the main storyline shouldn’t be completely overshadowed by the sidequests of the game. The game’s side quests are all self-contained stories that help the fantasy setting thrive, yet the campaign falls flat in comparison. I found myself wanting to spend hours just playing the minigame Gwent than I ever wanted to finish up the story.

It also takes too long to get the storyline started. The tutorial took seemingly forever just to get through and constant travel to new areas made the story feel that much more tedious. Upgrading from the base game to a Game of the Year edition also wiped your entire progress so you’d be stuck having to do it all over again. There was no fun in replaying the hours spent getting to the good part of the story or just uncovering it the first time. Fortunately, the lively world that CD Projekt Red created makes up for this and allows users the freedom to explore. So, there is no need to go through the main story since it’s more fun doing everything else the game has to offer.

The Witcher 3

Finally, the game had performance issues that were hard to look the other way for. Loading times were one aspect that felt like forever and a half. Mixing that with its uninteresting narrative felt like a recipe for disaster. On top of that, performance speeds were not up to par. Unless you were running the game on a high-end PC, it was a mess at the time of its release. These two problems found in the game really hurt this game as it became one of the biggest complaints that were capable of hiding what The Witcher 3 had to offer.

CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt could definitely have been among some of the greatest games of all time. However, the issues found with its combat, story, and performance really hinder this title and hold it back from what it could truly be. It definitely isn’t as great as many claim it to be but it is an experience that can be well enjoyed if you look past these issues. Its two expansions are among some of the best in gaming and its world set the bar for what an RPG could become. Hopefully, the developers are able to learn from these missteps and can translate this into their upcoming, Cyberpunk 2077This game isn’t the worst title of all time, yet it’s definitely not the best.

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