I’ve been dabbling with The Witcher 3 off and on since it came out, as I’m sure almost everyone who plays RPGs has. After playing The Witcher 2 there was no possibility that I wasn’t going to get the third installment. Anyone who has even a slight interest in single-player, story-based RPGs should get it without hesitation.
That said, I haven’t yet been wowed or completely absorbed by it, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve only been playing in small chunks, which is made possible because it’s a very quick-loading and quick-exiting game, which is one of those small touches in a game that I really appreciate. Quite often I decide on the spur of the moment to start or stop playing a game, and it’s annoying to have to wait for them to load or shut down.
As a PC gamer, the biggest barrier to entry for The Witcher 3 (again) is the controller. (Don’t even bother trying to play it with the mouse and keyboard. The key mapping support is an absolute joke. You can’t even change the WASD movement keys.) I don’t fully understand why, but I find it awkward to control Geralt. I’m always overshooting things and having to turn back around, like when trying to gather herbs. I think it’s because the transition between walking and running with the left stick is so strange to me. It’s like you only have to barely move the stick before you’re running. It seems to me you should be walking until you push the stick all the way forward. Maybe that’s adjustable somewhere.
Those kinds of controller issues didn’t matter to me in the last game because I was only playing to see the story unfold. The mechanics of the game itself were secondary or even a hindrance to the story progress. I pretty much just button-mashed through all the combat. This time, however, I’m trying to play the game on the Difficult setting, so getting a handle on the controls is pretty important to me. They aren’t kidding around when they call it difficult, either, and button-mashing tends to kill you pretty quick.
Speaking of story, one of my favorite things about the Witcher games is how you seem to start somewhere in the middle of the story, as if you’ve missed the beginning, and you’re filled in on backstory details as you go. It’s very unusual for a game. It makes me want to keep playing just to find out what is going on.