Witcher 3 – Part No More

I wanted to give it another shake.  I dropped down the difficulty to rank 2 of 4.  This has 2 effects, the first of which is that enemies are apparently easier.  The second is that I now heal 24/7, whereas before I needed a “talent” to heal during the day.  I figured maybe it was the combination of load times and death in combat that was my problem.

Well, that’s not the issue.

Combat is just garbage, pure garbage.  Every fight is 4 on 1 or more.  You can’t see half the folks because they surround you (which is neat mind you) and they all attack in a staggered fashion.  Blocking either doesn’t work, or does and you get stunned.  Get 2 hits in, take off 10% of the enemy’s HP and then have to roll around like a gymnast to avoid everyone else swinging at you.  The entire combat feels like I’m avoiding 10 people continuously throwing knives at me.

And even if I manage to whittle them down to a single foe and just hammer them with blows, they end up blocking a third of them.  And once combat is over I’ve got damaged equipment, and no where to repair it.

But wait, there’s more.  The first “main map” is pretty big.  But I’ve yet to find a single enemy my level, most are 2-4 levels higher.  Heck, one town slightly off the main quest path had 10 enemies, 5 of which were level 16.  They killed me in 2 hits.  And it’s not like I can sneak up and take a couple out.  No, it’s 10 vs 1.  Why does that even exist within spitting distance of the main quest road?

Dying is one thing if you can avoid it.  I can’t avoid half the hits I take in this game due to the inability to cancel an action and inaccurate hit boxes.  In other words, while I’m in the middle of a swing, I can’t stop to block, even after I connect, until the sword animation is complete.  I also have no idea how big enemies hit boxes are so I end up missing my swings even though my sword goes through their characters.  And they manage to hit me by their combat animation causing them to take 3 steps forward in a swing.

Oh practice you might say.  Well, I can’t block or parry a downer or a ghoul, and that just leaves rolling around all over the place.  Really, that’s what people think are good combat mechanics?

I don’t mind a challenge, I really don’t.  I’ve played my fair share of hard games all the way through.  I think the hardest in mind was Ninja Gaiden Sigma on the hardest difficulty (that was batcrazy, and awesome at the same time).  But there was some sort of reward for it.  I didn’t end up with 2 monster teeth and a broken sword.  I progressed some story element.  I actually felt myself get stronger as I progressed.  After nearly 10 hours in the game, I feel  I’ve made no progress at all from an RPG-stats perspective, and just a dent in the main story.

I’m more confused than anything.  How a game gets this much praise, seems to fit my style (action + RPG + open world) yet so thoroughly hits bad vibe after vibe is a head scratcher.  I want to play the game people are fawning over.  Cause it just can’t be this.

6 thoughts on “Witcher 3 – Part No More

  1. Are you playing on PC? If so, there is a “side-step” dodge by pressing Alt, and that is usually enough to dance around Drowners without actually using up your Stamina. But, yeah, the beginning of Witcher 3 is difficult before you start getting decent weapons. That said, mechanics-wise, things don’t really ever change – left-click twice, Alt, Alt, left-click, Alt, Spacebar, maybe toss in a Sign or whatever, repeat.

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  2. I cant recognize all you write about, combat didnt seem hard, just “random” or how should I put it. But I definately didnt like it. (On PC, havent tried with controller). I really liked the stories, and i definately didnt mind the mixed level enemies in the zones.
    But the controls in and out of combat were enough to get me to quit even though I really liked most of the rest of the game.

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  3. Well it was on PC, with a controller. I didn’t have an issue with the control scheme, just the crap mechanics.

    I also don’t mind extra challenge near the front end of the game, it’s an incentive to come back. There was a basilisk who was just too hard for me and I was good with that. It was the 10 vs 1 portion, where there’s zero chance of survival no matter what you do. Even had I been at level parity I would’ve kicked the can.

    I’m not sure what the progress would be. A skill variant for the 5 magic spells. I didn’t see any “combo” unlocks, or anything that would have changed the gameplay. Most RPGS you’d get a new set of attacks, more tactical options, side content that opens up (like better lockpicking). That was the part I couldn’t get, the lack of clear progress.

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    • You do get a few more options like improved magical signs, and also bombs. You have a ranged attack too that can help stagger certain attacks.

      It’s a lot about knowing your enemies too. And attacks. Which to dodge, sidestep, parry and block. When to use a sign to immobilise and stagger. You get the hang of it after a time and can clear large camps like that no problem.

      But then, the combat just clicked with me and I was battling enemies much higher level than me and winning from the onset. Even a troll thing 10 levels above. Took a while to take it down though. It’s very assassins creed style though, wait for them to attack and exploit the weakness

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  4. I play W3 on standard difficulty mode and found combat very easy personally; it is not the most exciting combat (which I don’t care about because I play for the story foremost) but if you’re using your signs properly, dodge-roll and sidestep and upgrade gear, you are mostly overpowered in my personal experience. There are the witcher school gear sets which I would recommend looking into as they will last you very long – https://www.reddit.com/r/witcher/comments/3foscw/all_witcher_school_gear_diagram_locations_bear/
    They also look great and the first versions are simple enough to craft. I also recommend exploring burial sites and random treasure locations as they often carry upgrades.

    About the world map: it’s not linear MMO mode so yes, you have to be on your toes and actually check out what level mobs have. This is great in my book. 😉 Once you do a full tour of the first zone however, you also realize that there is a certain progression to the areas (iirc the north-west is very low level, where the pirate ships are).
    About repairs: you can pick up repair kits for both weapon and armor along the way and buy from vendors. They are expensive to buy, so one great source of repair kits is actually Kaer Morhen (where the witcher school is): loot the entire area around the fortress there and you’ll be good on repair kits for a while.

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    • I tried most of that, though only a smattering of crafting. The recipes I had access to were nominal increases, so I left most of it alone.

      I liked finding the random treasures, heck exploring in general. I dislike the lack of uniqueness in the environment though. One monster’s nest looks like every other one. The spots between those areas are the cool bits.

      My largest gripe is with the shoddy combat. I’ll take Melee in Skyrim before this thing. I’m not seeing a lot of people praising it for depth or breadth, so at least I know I’m not totally out of lunch. I am aware that I am totally blowing this out of proportion, but this one particular mechanic (and it’s associated events) has so thoroughly turned me off the game it’s almost comic.

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