The Witcher 3 - Critique | The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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An in-depth review/critique/retrospective/analysis of CD Projekt RED's "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt." Often regarded as one of the best open-world action/adventure/RPGs ever created, its reputation is partially deserved for the sheer amount of quality content and high production value put into it, but it still has plenty of its own critical flaws and shortcomings holding it back from achieving a level of perfection befitting of a true masterpiece.

This video takes a highly detailed and analytical look at the various achievements and flaws of The Witcher 3, first with "The Good" for things it does well, then with "The Bad" for things that actively detract from its quality, and finally with "The Ugly" for more minor nitpicks of things that don't affect the overall gameplay experience, or that are more personal annoyances, that I feel could've been handled better. Note that while this review is very critical of TW3, it's something I do out of respect and appreciation for the game itself, because I did enjoy both of my playthroughs and had a lot of fun playing it, but it's obviously not a perfect game.

The bulk of this video is adapted from my original written review from September of 2016, but has been updated with extra sections from my recent replay. You can find the original review (plus other articles on the other Witcher games) on my blog, here:

Also note: this video contains lots of random SPOILERS for The Witcher 3 and I can't tag them all individually, so view at your own discretion.

0:00:00 - Introduction
0:03:23 - Disclaimer
0:05:27 - The Good
0:53:18 - The Bad
1:41:18 - The Ugly
2:13:22 - Conclusion

THE GOOD:
- The audiovisual aesthetics are outstanding. (5:35)
- All characters have personality and motivation. (12:59)
- Recurring characters keep the story connected. (16:41)
- Small details make the world feel more real. (17:47)
- Fast-travel and horseback from the beginning. (20:40)
- The world shows signs of dynamic elements. (22:28)
- Interesting quests with engaging storylines. (24:48)
- Tough moral dilemmas. (28:26)
- Meaningful consequences for decisions and actions. (31:24)
- Three different endings. (34:35)
- A satisfying epilogue. (35:41)
- Strong character-building elements. (37:05)
- There is a ton of content. (39:51)
- A buttery smooth, well-polished experience. (41:05)
- I really like the Skellige isles. (42:36)
- Lots of tie-ins and references to TW1. (44:58)
- Humor and easter eggs. (46:54)
- Elaborate journal, beastiary, and quest entries. (49:37)
- A more useful inventory screen. (50:44)
- Custom map markers. (51:27)
- Alchemy is much more accessible. (52:16)

THE BAD:
- Horrible first impressions. (53:27)
- Game balance is non-existent. (55:23)
- Combat is shallow and boring. (58:44)
- Gameplay doesn't evolve as you level up. (1:03:11)
- Progression is slow and unrewarding. (1:05:23)
- The world is too big, with too much content. (1:09:47)
- Exploration is unrewarding. (1:13:23)
- The world doesn't always feel alive. (1:15:45)
- Simple, repetitive quest mechanics. (1:18:20)
- Decisions often feel trivial and unimportant. (1:22:44)
- A lot of restrictive gameplay. (1:24:49)
- Too much reliance on linear scripting. (1:26:49)
- The main story bogs down like crazy. (1:30:22)
- Meandering, conflicting pace. (1:33:11)
- The whole third act is underwhelming. (1:37:46)
- Alchemy is over-simplified. (1:39:33)

THE UGLY:
- Movement controls feel weird. (1:41:27)
- Imprecise combat controls. (1:44:04)
- Witchers ain't got time for these trivial tasks. (1:46:05)
- No penalty for stealing from people's homes. (1:47:47)
- Too much useless junk cluttering inventory. (1:49:01)
- Nothing to spend money on. (1:49:58)
- Quest rewards scale down as you level up. (1:50:53)
- Long, frequent cutscenes hold the player hostage. (1:51:52)
- The Battle of Kaer Morhen is a little disappointing. (1:53:20)
- Playing as Ciri. (1:56:12)
- Minimal exposition for new characters. (1:57:05)
- Lots of repeated ambient conversations. (2:04:39)
- Gwent is pay-to-win. (2:05:46)
- Not much variety in builds and playstyles. (2:09:13)


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