8 things reviewers hated in Witcher 3

We love this game. The whole series. Even the books. But we hate raving reviews. Even when the game is great. And we know The Witcher 3 Wild hunt by CD Project Red is great. If you want to read the Gamespot praise review or the 12 objective reviews we have them too. But we just enjoy thoughtful criticism. And fortunately, most of the criticism raised by reviewers against the Witcher 3 IS thoughtful. Here we isolated all the criticisms and present them in a nice collection. Keep in mind that overall these were not bad reviews. Anyway, let's see what the reviewers didn't like so much.


First hours

Unlike its predecessor, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt doesn't exactly come screaming off the starting line. Compared to The Witcher 2, where you're immediately plunged headlong into a sexy story of intrigue and betrayal, this main quest can seem mundane, even perfunctory at times.
Vince Ingenito (IGN)

It takes four or five hours, but eventually The Witcher’s own personality begins to shine through. Roger Hargreaves (Metro)

Performance

Unfortunately, in our time with the pre-release PS4 version, the game’s performance is somewhat rough around the edges. We ran into a few bugs, elements awkwardly loading in and choppy frame rates in particularly demanding areas like the bogs.
Daniel Bloodworth (Gametrailers)

The one caveat on all that though, is the technical performance on the PS4 version I played for review. 30 frames per second was sometimes too much to ask, transitions between The Witcher 3’s two main maps are just a bit too long, and minor glitches do pop up from time to time.
Vince Ingenito (IGN)

In combat, however, things can get jerkier, particularly when a bunch of characters are fighting on screen at once. When the shit really starts to hit the fan toward the end of the game, the developers’ technological ambitions finally overwhelm the PS4’s capabilities, and the frame-rate and responsiveness become a real problem. This only happened to me a few times, but it did detract. When the frame-rate begins to fluctuate, it becomes harder to feel as connected to Geralt’s movements, which can obviously be a problem in tougher encounters. I’ve yet to play the PC version of Wild Hunt, which will likely benefit from a steadier, higher frame-rate.
Kirk Hamilton (Kotaku)

Story and main Quest

The main story is ultimately the least fulfilling part of The Witcher 3. You might call it another case of The Elder Scrolls Syndrome. Our tale begins as a multi-continent search for Geralt’s long-lost lover Yennifer, and Ciri, his surrogate daughter. My single biggest issue though, is that it never becomes much more: the overly long main story is essentially just Geralt running errands for people in exchange for information on Ciri’s whereabouts.
Vince Ingenito (IGN)

That we don't feel as emotionally connected to Geralt as we would Red Dead's John Marston or Joel and Ellie in Last of Us may be an issue intrinsic to the fantasy genre with its clear separation from the real world, or that this is a character whose personality and relationships comes with two games' worth of baggage.
Gillen McAllister (Gamereactor)

Because Wild Hunt’s story is a culmination of two previous games and a whole collection of short stories and novels, it can be dense and difficult to follow. Game of Thrones’ recent popularity has given the general public a higher threshold for complex, politically driven fantasy narratives, but Wild Hunt feels like hopping into the middle of Storm of Swords without any preamble or hand-holding. I’m familiar with Witcher lore, but I often found myself saying, “Wait, who?” before pausing the game and referring to in-game character descriptions to catch up with what the hell was going on.

It can feel as though Wild Hunt requires the player to maintain a cheat-sheet just to keep a handle on who’s who. To wit: There is a character named Ermion and another character named Eredin, joined by yet another character named Emyr. All three are major players who are important to the narrative, and Geralt and his friends often refer to more than one of them in a single sentence. While it would be easy for characters to refer to Emyr as “Emperor Emyr,” which would greatly help clarify things, he’s frequently just referred to as “Emyr.”
Kirk Hamilton (Kotaku)

Part of this has to do with the way the game is structured. Instead of one giant, epic quest, Wild Hunt feels more like a collection of short stories. A collection of quests rather than one huge epic. Andrew Webster (The Verge)

Witcher 3 bad reviews
Is it as impressive as it seems?

Openness/Freedom

Perhaps still more telling is that you rarely get distracted while roaming the land. There’s simply very little to distract you with – perhaps a pack of wolves, or a treasure marker, but not enough for you to weave your own anecdotes borne of spontaneous goings-on. Lush as it is in vegetation, Velen feels curiously barren of intrigue and activity when you’re not questing.
At a certain point, you’re just going to have to fall in line with what The Witcher 3 wants you to do. And at that point – not before it – you’ll start having tremendous fun. Stop trying to play it like Skyrim (the game CD Projekt RED took many a swipe at during the run up to release) and you’ll quickly see why, despite some sizeable flaws, it’s still capable of coaxing you into hundreds of hours of beast-slaying play.
Phil Iwaniuk (Gamesradar)

Interface

I’m also hopeful that the PC interface will improve inventory management, which is a real mess in the console version. As you make your way through Wild Hunt, Geralt will accumulate more quests, sidequests, crafting items, herbs, books, notes, monster parts, and upgrade materials than any reasonable human being could know what to do with. So it’s a problem that Wild Hunt’s menus are so convoluted and unwieldy—it takes ages to scroll through your inventory to find whatever object may be necessary for a given task, particularly if you’re in the habit of hoovering up every book and magical item you come across.
By the end of the game, the “usable items” tab of my inventory looked like this
Kirk Hamilton (Kotaku)

The menu system doesn't cater for easy management or custom lists, and while we're deep into the double-dights in our hours playing, we're still confused by it. The result is we're left feeling like we're missing an important element of the game, and combat devolves into a slow slugfest as we chip away at enemy health knowing we could be better equipped and therefore have a better chance of survival.
Gillen McAllister (Gamereactor)

Gameplay

The diversity of situations couple with one other fact: enemies don't level with you. While accepted quests signpost danger through a suggested XP level to be at before commencing, you've no such warning when stumbling on dangers that populate the countryside. We encountered a griffin on a mountainside ramble that killed us with one hit. We took ten minutes downing a gigantic Fiend at the end of one main quest mission and felt a badass, only to be knocked on our ass during a brawl with two looters half hour later. Get stuck in the middle of a group of Dwellers and your health bar can be torn into ribbons in seconds. The game keeps you on your toes.

There's an important element to combat that while theoretically one of the game's better assets, is crippled by an obtuse menu system and lacklustre tutorial. Conceptually preparation is a big part of surviving Witcher. You're supposed to prepare for battles by studying menu bestiaries that suggest potions and sword oils that targets are weak against. Ideally it gets you invested in the world's lore, even in actuality its just equipping buffs as a quicker way of ending fights.

But it doesn't work like that. We needed Wolfsbane to poison an otherwise quickly-healing werewolf. We have no clue of where it'd likely grow (hillside? By a lake? In a forest?), and the only herbalist who might sell some was a long ride away. And that was a "might", leading to a lengthy detour. Elsewhere we wanted to forge armour from schematics we found, but needed Dark Plates to finish the build. We had to find a blacksmith and painstakingly go through our collected wares one by one to see if any could be dismantled to source the material, and when that yielded nothing, we had to hope to stumble on some by chance along the way. "Needle in a haystack" comes to mind. Some pointers - general areas that you'll find what's needed - would have been of huge benefit.Gillen
Gillen McAllister (Gamereactor)

Controlling Geralt doesn't feel as smooth as playing, say, Grand Theft Auto 5, nor is there the deftness of Assassin's Creed when it comes to jumping gaps or climbing. But those are entirely different games, ones we've played enough of and enjoyed for what they are.
Mike Lowe (Poket-lint)

Overhyped

It’s also one of the most attractive, although again we suspect many will be slightly disappointed at first – as a result of watching too many trailers that are clearly taken from the PC version. But the console versions still look great, with the epic landscapes enhanced by some excellent art design and good use of colour. There are a lot of screen-tearing and frame rate issues though, as well as other random bugs. The inevitable day one patch is claimed to fix them all but, well… we’re sure you’ve heard that one before.
Roger Hargreaves (Metro)

To really enjoy what’s laid out in front of you in the marshlands, forests and settlements of Velen, first you need to forget everything you know about The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. The ‘Skyrim killer’; the ultimate open-world RPG; the game delayed by its developer to ensure your adventure is so polished you can see your delighted simper in its every frame.

In truth, Geralt Of Rivia’s PlayStation debut isn’t any of those things. And while thankfully that doesn’t preclude it from being immensely enjoyable in its own right, it’s an issue you and I need to address right now. Because your journey through the opening hours of The Witcher 3, like mine, will be flavoured more by the discovery of what it isn’t than any narrative exposition or horseback escapade.
Phil Iwaniuk (Gamesradar)

General Criticisms

The opening few hours cover a lot of familiar territory if you’ve played other, similar games. Combat is solid but never remarkable. Lots of bugs and graphical issues pre-release.
Roger Hargreaves (Metro)

Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I’d start to burn out. Even if the plot isn’t terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are.  Vince Ingenito (IGN)
We can forgive a dodgy camera angle here, a bit too much nipple there, or even a misbehaving horse bumping into yet another tree, because all those other glimmering moments of brilliance amount to something greater.
Mike Lowe (Poket-lint)

A different game to the one many were expecting. And in an industry that places such enormous emphasis on pre-order sales, the manner in which a game presents itself in the months prior to launch matters. CDP RED did previously state that Skellige wasn’t accessible via real-time travel, but have referred to The Witcher 3 as an open-world game from the start. It’s been equally keen to draw Skyrim comparisons, and was sonorously vocal about games releasing in a sub-optimal state following its most recent delay. It is, simply, hoist by its own petard.

It’s a game that’s effectively talked itself out of a recommendation in every PlayStation gamer’s collection, by the narrowest margin, but still deserves recognition as one of the deepest and most involving narrative-lead RPGs of the current generation – an accolade it’s likely to hold for some time to come.
Phil Iwaniuk (Gamesradar)

Again, don't be misguided by our compilation of criticisms. The Witcher 3 is an astonishing game.