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Blakey

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Well, this is officially out now, I got my code from CD Keys around 7:30pm yesterday.

Pre-loaded straight away after that on GOG Galaxy (28gb install), and after I'd watched this week's Game of Thrones I fired her up, played the first hour or so (headphones ran out of juice otherwise I would've played more) can't really give any thorough impressions just yet but the combat still seems a bit shithouse to me (never liked it in The Witcher 2) and the graphics look pretty incredible (despite the downgrade) in almost fully-Ultra settings on PC.

Just within that opening hour I've found myself wandering away from the main quest, exploring little villages and cubby holes so it bodes well for the rest of the game, shall give it a proper run-through later today.

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I'm very very early too. I'm running it on ultra, with some foliage turned down, looks fantastic, the controls have been more of an issue. The way they've got the keys mapped is a bit awkward, too many things are hidden under your hand. That and holding tab minimised the game and I couldn't get it back up. Reluctantly I'm going to have to play with a controller

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Yeah, I'm a little in. I've done what I imagine is the first chapter, maybe 3 - 4 hours in. I'm running it on default settings on the PS4 with a Dualshock 4 controller.

I am enjoying it. I had a mini break down when I saw the inventory screen and all the nonsense you can pick up but after running around a bit the quests you do are pretty good at introducing the lion's share of the mechanics so I'm a little bit more at ease with the alchemy side of things.

I even managed to take out an enemy about 4 above me at one point... A wraith!

I like how preparation is something that is meaningful. I hope it stays that way.

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the problem with Witcher 2 for me was that sometimes you'd accidentally walk in to a fight that required some preparation and there wasn't much you could do about it. If they can find a way around that all the better. I always wondered how it came across to people that hadn't read any of the books, preparation is a huge thing in the books, same with research, Witcher 2 did a really good job of that, but I can see how it's not fun to someone going in just experiencing it as a game

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Got to say that at the minute this isn't leaving a good impression on me at all, the controls are clumsy as fuck and the combat is pretty bloody awful...

The voice work is good though, hopefully something clicks because as of this moment it's annoying the hell out of me.

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For the combat, activate your shield straight away, eventually it will be able to take more hits and will even knock people back. The more offensive spells are for when you're used to things (but do use spells)

Other than that remember to parry and roll. Witcher 2 had a steep learning curve then got fairly easy, this doesn't seem entirely dissimilar

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It's not really that that's bothering me, there's no feed back, half the time you can't tell if you've even hit what you aim at (unless you notice the numbers floating up)... It seems a bit light weight.

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the problem with Witcher 2 for me was that sometimes you'd accidentally walk in to a fight that required some preparation and there wasn't much you could do about it. If they can find a way around that all the better. I always wondered how it came across to people that hadn't read any of the books, preparation is a huge thing in the books, same with research, Witcher 2 did a really good job of that, but I can see how it's not fun to someone going in just experiencing it as a game

I think why I took to the preparation and research stuff is because it is my first time with the series so I'm glad that there are clues to how to deal with enemies in the bestiary, as long as you've done the research. Like, I really want to know this stuff since it makes the game more manageable since I don't know what to expect, really, and the pay-off is pretty good when you do it. I really enjoyed the Noonwraith quest that teaches you that stuff.

I like the combat so far. I'd say it's pretty heavy feeling in the movement; the evasive dash and rolls have a good sense of weight to them and have a range that makes them useful. Attacks don't recoil the enemies to much but it seems to be more about getting in, slashing some, then back dashing out to avoid counter-attacks. It's all telegraphed well enough. I got a bit over whelmed by groups sometimes but I know getting my head around magic is key to dealing with groups... well, the fire spell is doing well enough for me at the mo. You just gotta get good at owning that space; it's a bit Souls-y, Monster Hunter-y or has that fighting game psychology to it... whatever way you wanna explain it it feels pretty satisfying when you're in the right head space.

I'm happy I like it after all. It doesn't have the kind of fantasy nonsense that puts me off stuff like this (though some JRPGS are so preposterous it swings all the way back round to be enjoyable again). I like how low-key it is and some of the characters are well fleshed out in relatable ways (though I feel whoever wrote the game's dialogue did forget they were writing fantasy at times. Geralt said 'on-topic' at one point and it seemed like an out of place phrase to me).

Anyway, the characters have been okay so far. I hope I get to rub up against the herb lady at some point, she seems cool.

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the problem with Witcher 2 for me was that sometimes you'd accidentally walk in to a fight that required some preparation and there wasn't much you could do about it. If they can find a way around that all the better. I always wondered how it came across to people that hadn't read any of the books, preparation is a huge thing in the books, same with research, Witcher 2 did a really good job of that, but I can see how it's not fun to someone going in just experiencing it as a game

I think why I took to the preparation and research stuff is because it is my first time with the series so I'm glad that there are clues to how to deal with enemies in the bestiary, as long as you've done the research. Like, I really want to know this stuff since it makes the game more manageable since I don't know what to expect, really, and the pay-off is pretty good when you do it. I really enjoyed the Noonwraith quest that teaches you that stuff.

yeah I've just done that mission. I was a bit disappointed that I still had to fight her after 'solving' the case, but the difference in damage when I was doing it 'right' and when I first encountered her was huge

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Griffin is down... :)

And I've just had a shave...

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The place beginning with a V (forgot the name) after that segment is fecking huge!.

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Gave it a proper go today, played 3 hours and I still don't really know what to make of it, I spent the entirety of my time going around all the ? markers in White Orchid and seeing what was there, done a few side-quests and collected quite a bit of loot along the way as well, but it just hasn't really grabbed me, a lot of people have made a lot of the side-quests but so far they've just been your bog-standard RPG side-quests really, nothing special to them really but I'm still very early in for a game of this size, I found myself getting a bit bored as well, feeling like certain tasks and stuff were becoming a bit of a chore, and this is just 4 hours into the game.


What I've taken away from my time with the game is that it feels quite a bit like Dragon Age 3 to play which is not a great sign at all for me...but we'll see how it goes, I'm staying positive for now, but the world is not grabbing me (just generic fantasy really) and I don't really give a shit about the characters either, feel myself zoning out of dialogue cutscenes already, and Geralt is just as much of an un-charismatic arsehole as he was in TW2.


Probably what I like the most is the graphics, the game looks stunning I must say, not as good as the pre-downgrade screens still but it is still a pretty damn beautiful game.


Will play some more tomorrow.

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I've done the first area, really enjoyed it, did loads of side quests, and went to all the question marks, which was maybe too much as I'd had enough before moving on, but also a good sign as I don't usually do any extra stuff. It looks amazing. I feel bad wandering around people's houses stealing everything, then do a quest and they give me even more stuff, but then one bit you can loot it tells you not to while the guards are watching, so I'm not sure if I should be taking stuff from people's houses, but how else are you supposed to get stuff, at least I don't smash the stuff like link would.

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I've put around 13/14 hours into this now and I'm still undecided on how I feel about the game. On one hand I can see it's massively ambitious in its scope, on the other it just feels a little bit janky... controls are imprecise and stiff, Roach is thick as fuck and gets stuck on everything and anything, the combat just isn't very good....

lakitu mentioned Red Dead, that game was rock solid compared to this, so far.

I'm gonna keep on playing and I'll either flip flop into loving the thing or it'll end up being my disappointment of 2015...

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Though the high review scores have my interest, not sure I'll get this just yet. Ive never played a Witcher game before, so bit unsure I'll know what the Hell is going on. Is there a Yakuza style "previously..." catch up?

Also, to be fair, ive enough to play at the moment as it is.

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I reckon you'd be able to get the gist of the game pretty well without playing the earlier ones, characters appear in a glossary which helps refresh up on who they are... It's gonna be a massive time sink too.

Out of interest what difficulty are people playing on?, I started up on "Death March" and rapidly got my arse handed to me on the very first fight a couple of times, dropped it down to "Blood and broken bones" and that seems challenging but fair.

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I think that's what I'm on

after 2 games and one book, I'm still not sure I fully understand what the wild hunt is

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CD Projekt respond to the Downgrade debacle:
While open world role-playing game The Witcher 3 has been met with critical acclaim, including receiving an Essential award from Eurogamer, its launch has been marred by discussion of a graphical downgrade.

Much of this discussion revolves around a comparison of the finished game to a PC gameplay trailer that aired two years ago at the VGX game awards show. The VGX trailer, below, shows glimpses of a world more detailed and with more impressive visual effects. Was this PC version neutered because PlayStation 4 and Xbox One couldn't keep up? As launch approached all the questions remained unanswered, and a more damaging accusation arose: did developer CD Projekt Red deliberately try to mislead?
Three days after I arrive in Poland to see CD Projekt, I sit down with company co-founder Marcin Iwinski, studio head Adam Badowski and global communications manager Michal Platkow-Gilewski, for a meeting called specifically to address this issue. It's been a busy week and for one reason or another it's taken until now to face this head on.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, know that a big patch with 600 changes - including improvements to graphics and graphical settings - was sent to certification today (Wednesday 20th May), and will take between five and seven days to clear. There will be patch notes covering it all.
In addition, CD Projekt Red will patch the game to allow editing of .ini files on PC, to push graphical settings even higher. You will be able to tweak grass and vegetation density, post-processing effects such as sharpening, and draw distances. The .ini patch will arrive soon after the other patch. "And we think about some other tricks but we need time," Adam Badowski says.
Did the console versions restrict the PC version?
"If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is," answers Marcin Iwinski, definitively. "We can lay it out that simply. We just cannot afford it, because consoles allow us to go higher in terms of the possible or achievable sales; have a higher budget for the game, and invest it all into developing this huge, gigantic world.
"Developing only for the PC: yes, probably we could get more [in terms of graphics] as there would be nothing else - they would be so focused, like if we would develop only on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But then we cannot afford such a game."
Why did the graphics change?
"If you're looking at the development process," Iwinski begins, "we do a certain build for a tradeshow and you pack it, it works, it looks amazing. And you are extremely far away from completing the game. Then you put it in the open-world, regardless of the platform, and it's like 'oh shit, it doesn't really work'. We've already showed it, now we have to make it work. And then we try to make it work on a huge scale. This is the nature of games development."
It was captured PC footage, not pre-rendered, Badowski confirms, but a lot had to change. "I cannot argue - if people see changes, we cannot argue," Adam Badowski says, "but there are complex technical reasons behind it.
"Maybe it was our bad decision to change the rendering system," he mulls, "because the rendering system after VGX was changed." There were two possible rendering systems but one won out because it looked nicer across the whole world, in daytime and at night. The other would have required lots of dynamic lighting "and with such a huge world simply didn't work".
It's a similar story for environments, and their texture sizes and incidental objects. It was a trade-off between keeping that aspect of them or their unique, handmade design. And the team chose the latter. The data-streaming system couldn't handle everything while Geralt galloped around.
The billowing smoke and roaring fire from the trailer? "It's a global system and it will kill PC because transparencies - without DirectX 12 it does't work good in every game." So he killed it for the greater good, and he focused on making sure the 5000 doors in Novigrad worked instead.
"People are saying that 2013 was better but actually there's plenty of things that improved since 2013," Michal Platkow-Gilewski points out. "Size of the world, frames-per-second..."
"Yes!" realises Adam Badowski. "The game's performance: people say the game is well optimised. This is the first time for this company!" It's the first smile I've seen from him all interview.
Marcin Iwinski picks it up: "Maybe we shouldn't have shown that [trailer], I don't know, but we didn't know that it wasn't going to work, so it's not a lie or a bad will - that's why we didn't comment actively. We don't agree there is a downgrade but it's our opinion, and gamers' feeling can be different. If they made their purchasing decision based on the 2013 materials, I'm deeply sorry for that, and we are discussing how we can make it up to them because that's not fair.
"It's very important to stress: we are continuously working on the PC version, and we will be adding a lot of stuff, and there is more to come. We've proven it in the past that we support our games and we will be looking at the feedback and trying to make it better."
Why didn't you say anything until now?
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"Frankly speaking because we didn't see it as a problem," Iwinski admits. They didn't ignore the issue: every tweet, every mention of the issue for weeks now has been sent to the tech team to immediately address - and I've seen firsthand how closely they monitor everything said about the game and how much they care.
"You're saying that we should have said 'hey we've changed stuff and now it looks like this'?" he asks. As it was, I tell him, it looked like CD Projekt Red had something to hide. "So actually here we strongly disagree," he returns, "because we are not trying to hide anything." You can't hide what people can so easily compare and see, adds Badowski.
"We don't feel good about it," Iwinski adds, "and I treat it very personally. Maybe it doesn't seem [like that] because we run around like crazy at the release but..."
"The whole team was touched by this," Michal Platkow-Gilewski chimes in, and I can testify to that. "They really care," says Badowski.
Marcin Iwinski adds: "You play it and you are not fine: really, that's touching and we'll do our best to make it up. But if you didn't play it and you're trolling: think twice please.
"In a way, because of us not seeing it as a problem, and working hard on the game until the very end, that's where we are today and that's why we have to explain. I hope it shows our intentions, because we are not hiding anything. Considering our values, hiding is the last thing we ever want to do.
"And for those who are still not 100 per cent decided, I definitely encourage them to wait and see what we will be releasing in patches, updates and whatnot."
Will definitely be cool to see them gradually bring the PC version back upto the 2013/14 graphical levels over the next few months with patches and stuff, but it may never get back to that because they took out a lot of the Dynamic systems etc. that were in the game and swapped it for more robust ones, it makes sense, but I still think there was a bit of mis-marketing going on, and they should've maybe been more honest, but that's game development I guess, you have to sacrifice some aspects of a game's design to make it more stable or make the world more enjoyable and stuff.
Put 12 hours into it so far (5 yesterday), and things have definitely started to click more today, finished up everything there was to do in White Orchid and moved the story on, absolutely loved the bit in the Castle, really cool stuff, loved it, couldn't for the life of me remember the decisions I made in TW2 though, the only one I remembered was I chose Iorveth over the other guy in Flotsam, pretty much guessed all the others :lol: after this I went out into the next area, Velen, which is an incredibly cool area.
White Orchid felt like a more traditional vanilla-RPG environment to explore, and Velen feels like somewhere unique to The Witcher, it has a kind of melancholic beauty to everything, the lovely vistas the game puts out and the beauty of the world is in stark contrast to the battlefields strewn with mutilated corpses, monsters, mud and misery that you see all over the world and the swamp lands as well, Velen feels like a much darker, more atmospheric place, and has a bit of character and soul to it, I love just riding around and seeing the wind pick up and the trees all react, it really is in incredibly stunning game.
Spent the entirety of my time in Velen going to each of the ? markers in the first area you come to and discovering what's there, couldn't do a few of them as I'm still only Level 4 and the monsters in some of these places are like 12+ at times, but picked up a lot of side-quests, found a lot of Bandit Camps, Monster Nests and Treasure Chests, attempted a side-quest but I managed to f*ck it up somehow so now I can't get the item that I needed and have to find another way to get it, it's cool that you can fail quests like this, but I was a bit miffed at the time as I didn't realise I'd fucked it up until it was too late to correct it.
Love the hunting contracts as well, really well done, and it almost feels like hunting someone down using Detective vision in one of the Batman: Arkham games or something, genuinely compelling.
Had an annoying bug today as well, crashed 3 or 4 times in the Inventory screen, just stalled and was unresponsive so I had to bring up the Task Manager and close it. The horse is really annoying me as well, I really wish he just ploughed through everything, it seem so picky about what he can or can't go over and when you have to make him jump or not, keep getting him stuck on trees, rather frustrating, the other annoyance is the loot system, I've already maxxed out my loot, and if you go over it you go over-encumbered, haven't found anywhere to store all my gear yet so may have to just dump it near a fast-travel point in a town or something and hope it stays there, 'tis rather annoying getting over-encumbered all the time, had to sell a load of stuff and dump a load of weapons just to make it by.
But yeah, I was enjoying it today, I started to get into and even started to like Geralt a bit, the way the story has set out is really cool and intriguing as well which helps, just got to try not to be OCD with all the markers otherwise I may start to find it a chore again.
Will continue on tomorrow.

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Good post, Blakey. Can't upvote as I'm on mobile.

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