Great game, in-depth and engaging combat, decent story and a lot of choices that have large and definitive impacts on the game world. For 8 pounds it's a very good deal. I'd say you should go for it.
Getting ready to play this, as the digital version (at least on PC) has unlocked. Something that irritates me: why does it take 20 minutes to boot up a pre-loaded game on Steam? I've noticed this with several recent releases. This isn't an issue with Origin, PSN or Xbox Live. It's annoying. I mean I've been waiting for it to launch for 20+ minutes. I don't know why the day 1 patch (which its downloading) couldn't simply have been automatically downloaded earlier today. At the end of the day, not a major issue. Just sort of bizarre.
I wish I could stay up and play it tonight, but alas, I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I just booted it up, watched the intros, and did a little of the tutorials. Hope to take a nice big bite tomorrow night.
With my 970s I'm playing maxed out at 4K (incl. Hairworks) at 30fps. My cards can actually muster more than that -- around 40fps -- but the variable frames were annoying so I locked it at 30. Call it my console backround, but it's smooth and consistent enough (take that, PS4 and Xbox One!) that I'm totally fine with it.
Sadly not. I'm stuck with my rather cheap $700 49" 4K TV. That's okay, though -- I always need to plan for something in the future.
BTW, regarding FPS in cut scenes, if you go into the config file and lower the baked-in HairWorks MSAA (I dropped it from 8 samples to 0), you'll get a pretty decent performance boost.
Was able to take the rest of the day off early; went and picked up my copy at the store. Got home, opened it up, and was very pleasantly surprised to find the "thank you" note included by the developers. Classy, all the way.
Installing right now. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, I do not even exist for the next 8-10 hours.
Just got about an hour with this, and am proud to say that my PC is handling this at Ultra like a champ so far. We'll see what it's like during some of the bigger set pieces I guess, but so far so good. And I only have one video card! Don't know whether I want to keep going right now, as I'm also playing Pillars of Eternity and I don't know that I can juggle both right now. But it was nice to see that my investment last year is able to really handle the current state of the art, though not as nice as it was just being able to enjoy this world again along with impeccable design on just about every level.
I quickly learned last night that not all Drowners are created equal. Yeesh. I tore through a group on one side of a large creek without breaking a sweat, waded across to the opposite bank towards a second group not even thirty feet from the first, and promptly got my ass handed to me in under five seconds. By the way, is there a quicksave? Couldn't seem to find it last night.
So far it's everything I hoped it would be. Runs like a dream even on Ultra, looks amazing, sounds amazing, and I'm already intrigued by the quests available. I think I'm going to explore this first area as thoroughly as I can before picking up the main quest again.
Same thing here -- have basically been sidequesting like crazy in the White Orchard region; took down the griffon and am preparing to move onto the next stage of the main storyline, but just when I'm about to saddle up and head out of town, I run across yet ANOTHER interesting side-mission to perform (like with the "merchant" who lost his horse and wagon in the swamps). Many of these quests have much more going on under the surface, story-wise, than it initially appears.
I love that even dinky little quests like "The Frying Pan" can actually net you some decent loot.
Though they seem to be pretty stingy with XP so far, but I guess that could be considered a good thing. I like to feel as if I've earned my levels.
I may have to post an occasional screenshot in here. I came across a sunset on a bridge that was just remarkable.
Definitely loving the sunsets in this thing too -- saved a wonderful one right as I was heading up to that abandoned village to cleanse the well of the murdered bride's spirit.
Got a kick out of the fact that the game holds off on asking you to set your previous Witcher continuity/canon until you actually make it to the royal palace in Vizima; most games tend to do that right at the very beginning. From what I can remember, my continuity choices were: stuck with Vernon Roche, killed Aryan La Vallette, spared Letho, rescued Triss, and...something to do with the peace conference (can't quite recall right off the top of my head).
Before you finally leave White Orchard, make sure you run down every last "?" symbol on your world map -- chances are, not only will you frequently unlock power-shrines (which grant you an automatic skill-point to spend), you'll still gain tons of XP by murdering bandits, creatures, and by completing the pretty-plentiful side-quests you stumble across in the wilderness.
By the time you hit Velen, you'll comfortably be in the Level 4-5 range (if not higher), which is the recommended zone for that phase of the storyline.
BTW, has anyone figured out how to lure swimming Drowners out of lakes and rivers so I can kill them? There's this one underwater treasure-stash near the Nilfgaardian garrison surrounded by the fuckers, and it's doing my nut right now.
I'm balls deep in Novigrad and feeling like I need to head back out to the wild, the city feels filthy. I think I might have to bump it up to Death March because I've finished a few quests that were almost 10 levels above me just by dodging and whittling away at the enemies and keeping Quen up. Right now I'm on Blood and Broken Bones. I'm not finding the lack of healing during meditation that unmanageable but damn the game is stingy with money. As soon as I got to Novigrad I exchanged all my currency and sold everything in my inventory that I had more than 5-10 of and took out a loan from the bank. Got my gear upgraded to the Griffin Witcher stuff and I'm sitting pretty on 500 gold with a nice set of saddlebags and a recently won saddle. Roach is such a bitch I swear, every time I call him the bastard is off somewhere eating grass and just ignores me. "Fuck off Geralt..you have legs, walk." Hands down this is the most satisfying buy I've made on PC since Wolfenstein: TNO. The weirdest shit though is I keep finding gear in the world that's around level 20 and that's a ways off for me and I haven't found anywhere to store things yet.
How are ya'll liking the combat? It feels way more Arkham to me but you can't just parry everything like you can in that series you actually have to move your ass or parrying in a group can fuck you harder than if you dodged or rolled out instead. I hope there's some way to allow for carrying more gadgets too. I don't mean more than 2 different ones but more than 2 of each bomb, etc. And I'm not sure if you all figured this out for yourself..I was reading those quick little loading screen things and it mentioned not stealing so for the longest time I wasn't stealing out of peoples houses either. It seems like you can steal from anywhere that isn't a vendor.
And in closing...Bart is fucking awesome. I really just want to go adventuring with Bart. Frolicking through the countryside, taking out Griffins and Drakes and Golems...oh sweet Bart.
EDIT: I have to add that I fucking love Gwent too. When you get your first few Heroes and Special cards so you can drop a fucking 10 on some cheating Nilgaardian prick it feels so good. The best thing too is that the AI really does play well because I've been able to trick a few of them but the better players won't fall for it and seem content to just hammer you with a deck full of rare cards...just like a real CCG.
If you're looking for item storage, now you can just pick a spot and drop whatever you want within the open game world, Bethesda-style. The game will spawn an item loot-bag that you can return to any time you want. I'll typically commandeer the back-counter of some inn or a corner of some poor slob's house whenever I'm wanting to lighten my load, and I'm not sure if I want to sell or break down an item for crafting-purposes.
Playing on "Blood and Broken Bones," and damn, shit's expensive in this game, even flasks of water. So when I'm injured (which is constantly), I'll scarf down tons of raw meat, since Vitality-regen is virtually nonexistent on that setting -- seems like I'm always busting out the ol' crossbow to slaughter a pack of deer to keep my meat-supplies regularly topped off.
Non-cruelty-practicing vegan in real life, but like in Red Dead, I get a weird cackle out of utterly decimating fictitious local in-game wildlife populations.
I thought BioWare did an excellent job blending Skyrim-style exploration with BioWare-quality storytelling, but I think CD Projekt Red has done even better. Nothing here feels as light as Inquisition's MMO-like fetch quests. Even the smallest quests feel like they have at least some impact.
I was dicking around in places I shouldn't be too, just seeing exactly how many levels above me something could be before I just can't hurt it. Seems to be around 15. It was one of those spider queen things and I was dancing around her killing the small ones but I dodged toward the wall and she pinned me...one bite, dead. My sword, grenades, crossbow, etc. weren't doing shit but I spent a good fifteen minutes trying. On the flip side I found this...I don't know what it was but it was well above my level and I was giving it a good old fashioned beating when it summoned a pack of wolves...I had to run and then they followed me to a run down house so I had to kind of jump up on this little pillar and get them to go up the steps single file so I could kill them and not get ganked. Good stuff.
Those saddlebags...I had so many weapons, just random absolute garbage. So my 500 gold is a little over 3000 now. I'm RICH! I'm the richest Witcher ever...buying potion stuff can bankrupt you really quickly though if you aren't paying attention to how much the recipes are and buying the ingredients on top of them. I figured out the extra grenades thing too so that was nice.
I had a sword disappear on me and the camera get stuck in Geralt's head once. Loaded a quicksave both times and it was all good.
They definitely need a no hud button though. There's a lot of screenshot opportunities, I wish it had the free cam like MORDOOOOOOOOR so I could get some shots of me shooting sirens out of the sky from their perspective.
There's soooooooooo much story crap that I want to talk about but I don't want to spoil anything and I don't wanna be spoiled..ugh so sad.
You know man...hairworks, I dunno. It looks weird to me sometimes. I mean it looks better in cut scenes than the standard Ultra hair but there's a weird sort of bounce or something to it that I don't think I like. On the plus side it seems like someone on reddit has figured out how to let people on the AMD side use it too so yay for that. Sharing is caring.
3-day weekend! (in the States, at least). I plan on sinking deep into this in between the grilling of burgers and downing of beers.
Started the well quest last night, but have yet to buy or craft my first grenade, so I'll have to finish it up later. I love that I can take down higher level creatures as long as I'm careful and don't just hammer light and heavy attacks. Glad they have those shrines of power, 'cause leveling alone would take forever to build a decent character.
And man, swimming adds so much potential for exploration here. In something like DA: Inquisition, you see a beautiful body of water and say, "Yep, that's some purty water right there", and keep moving. Here, you see water and dive the fuck in, looking for treasure and quests. Much more satisfying and immersive. Gonna have to get a crossbow to kill underwater baddies, though.
When you're doing the Baron's dead dumpster-baby escort mission, and the fetus starts getting agitated, cast Axii on it to calm it down; otherwise you'll be in for a huge-ass battle against a fucking goddamn giant 10-foot-high dumpster-baby.
Took about three reloads before this finally occurred to me. At least from all this there's basically a whole new paradigm of epic "dead baby" jokes that can now be told by the bards of the land.
Axii works on Roach's dumbass too... I was riding around earlier and he immediately tossed me when we came across a level 22 cyclops that was sleeping. I /might/ have ridden directly into it because it was laying in the road but you know..dumb horse.
The gold-farming trick:
In Novigrad (Town Center) near two flaming bodies, there is a merchant who sells shells and seashells.
1) Buy both types from him.
2) Exit to where it shows the screen to ask him questions. Buy again from this point. He will be restocked every time. Buy as many as you like.
3) Behind him is a blacksmith. Go to that guy and "dismantle" the shells and the seashells. They will turn into valuable pearls, white and black. Costs 1 coin per shell.
4) Once you have a bunch in inventory, head east from that location, and you will see a few mime-looking characters with a red banner hanging over the entrance of a loan shark. Go in.
5) When you sell the pearls to him, you back out to the question screen, and IMMEDIATELY ask him again to see what's for sale. His money randomly generates every time you do this, from 500-1500.
6) Keep selling, backing out, reselling, etc.
"Blood and Broken Bones" (between standard and Insanity) -- didn't receive any prompts the 4-5 times I attempted that sequence, from what I can remember. Now that you mention it, I'm wondering if maybe those types of prompts are disabled in this mode.
This review just killed any enthusiasm I had for this game (and my pointer wandered over the "Buy" option on Steam a few times in recent days):
An awful combat system? Immersion-killing gameplay? NPCs walking through each other? Is it really this bad? It looks pretty bad.
Yes, but the review specifically points out that people are not focusing on the gameplay issues he brings up, which is why I'm asking in spite of the above posts. Everyone's apparently giving it 10/10 scores based on the story whilst ignoring the fact that you can leave an NPC fighting the same monster for a year whilst you ride around to towns where people walk into your horse and then ghost through each other, that you can rob people and sell their own wares back to them whilst they blather on about the quest they want you to go on, and that the combat system is basically stab-roll-stab-roll with no complexities. If I want a good story, I'll read a book. That review has made me think I'll never bother buying this, unless I hear that those problems are somehow not as big an issue as he believes them to be.
I think the combat complaint is kind of weird, as there are a lot of viable strategies that you can use. The combat system gives you a lot of stuff to master and get down, which is really cool, and I find myself using signs and parrying a lot rather than rolling around and hacking at the bad guys. Is that fact that the latter is a viable strategy a problem with the game, or the gamer? The fact is that there is actually a pretty deep combat system to dive into if you want, and as someone who want his Geralt to feel like a hyper-competent badass, diving into it is important to me. If you don't like the "roll around and stab: style of fighting, then just don't do it and explore what the system really has to offer. I'm still developing a playstyle, but when I time my parrys/deflections right and get an awesome fatality animation on the last guy in an encounter, it's really satisfying.
Edit: I'd also recommend using a controller for the in-world gameplay, and using keyboard/mouse for menus. You can switch between them on the fly at any time without selecting any options. You just start using what you want and the game picks it up. Also watching that video, that guy is really misrepresenting or glossing over the way a lot of the mechanics work. Enemies frequently interrupt your blocks, for example, and I've had enemies stun me after a blocked hit. It's all about parrying here, and the game punishes you for just holding down the block button. Also, if you're not finishing quests or letting them kill you, you're not that immersed anyway. Same goes if you're taking your horse in the middle of town to see if NPCs clip or not. Immersion is already broken when you decide to do that shit.
Thanks for the info, D.S. I was looking for a counter to that review from someone reliable (i.e one of the video gamers at CHUD) and you gave me pretty much what I was looking for.