The world does not appeal to me, for one thing. And the style of worldbuilding itself doesn’t either. To borrow someone else’s phrasing, “No matter how much of a weird anti-social dick you/Geralt are, we assure you that you kick so much ass and have the sex.” It feels like the mancave dudebro of gaming in every possible way. And the combat sucks. In all of them. Frankly, it was so fucking weird in The Witcher 1 that I could almost enjoy it in spite of its awfulness because at least it was trying to do something interesting with all the weird stance shit and dance’y sword swinging. 2 and 3’s combat sucks too though.
So, the conversation usually flies as such–
- Oh, have you played The Witcher?
- Yep, didn’t like it.
- Oh, have you just played the first game?
- No. I have also played both sequels.
- Oh? Did you play to [part of the story] in 2/3?
- Nope, I couldn’t get into it.
- Pffff, you have to play til then to get it.
- I don’t feel like playing an awful game for hours on the off chance it gets better.
- Well, you should–
Childish rendition, yeah, I know, bite me. Throwing aside the strawmen and redditors, I’ll lay out my gripes with the series properly I guess.
The world itself is bland. Boom. End statement.
But, no, I mean. It falls on my biggest issues with the fantasy genre as a whole, that sorta…pardon the buzzword’y liberal arts stuff I’m about to say, but…It relies on eurocentric fantasy tropes–albeit doing said tropes well, I know it plays with Polish folklore a fair bit or something–and ends up feeling less like a world and more like a vessel for Geralt’s hardcore mega adventures. The books apparently deal with the world better, but…eh. Overall it just feels like “yet another euro-fuck fantasy romp” which…if I wanted to play a standard fantasy RPG I’d just go play one of the Baldur’s Gate games again. That’s not an insult to those games, either, they’re the default for a reason
And the style of worldbuilding in of itself bothers me–all three games have this weird ass style of treating the player like an idiot for not knowing basic worldbuilding info for whatever plot-determinant reason it is now, then spoonfeeding it to them…and when said info comes up later, the game treats you like a golden god of the nerd kingdom for knowing that basic lore you were mocked for not knowing earlier.
It simultaneously manages to feel exceptionally pretentious and wildly childish in the same brushstroke. The first game is the worst in this regard, since the plot element of amnesia is beat into your head over and over and over again like it’s a damn cast iron skillet in a Looney Tunes skit.
Geralt. Holy fucking christ I hate Geralt. Like, okay, plenty of fantasy games have the goofy trope of “stoic asshole” protagonist, and plenty of fantasy games have unnecessary hornyness. Hell, I love a bit of unnecessary horny in my games–that shit’s great here and there! But uh. God. Fucking GERALT. The games go out of their way to make sure that you know he’s a dickhead and that he definitely has sex. Lots of sex. So much sex. Not so bad in the first game, maybe part of why I didn’t slide off of that shit as quickly as I did with 2/3. But the sequels? You have to know that Geralt is a sex haver.
The games provide a minimal level of roleplay, which is fair, you’re playing a predetermined character rather than the standard blank slate. I have no issue with that concept in of itself, some games have done great work as RPGs despite having a determinant character. But I do not find any joy in playing as Geralt, and that by itself is enough to kill the trilogy for me. I can’t fucking stand the man, nor his personality, so why should I dump a few dozen hours into playing through his story? He’s insufferable, so why the fuck would I?
Answer: I won’t and never will.
All in all, I just cannot enjoy the franchise. People try and try and try again to get me to play it, watch it, or read it, and. I will not, cannot, and will not. If you ask me to just try more, I will tell you to pound sand. If you complain that I didn’t try enough, I will tell you to pound sand. If you whine, I will tell you to pound sand.
If, at the end of the day, you enjoy the games? Great! I’m happy for you, they have plenty for fans to enjoy. Just. Not for me. At all. So please do not try to change my mind, for the love of god. I will not have my opinion changed, and trying to do simply makes me dislike the franchise more and more with every single indignant attempt.
Kind of a bad impression to write a whole post whining about a franchise considering that’s usually not at all my vibe, but, eh, I need something to send to people whenever they try to get me to play the goddamn Witcher again. If you comment on this post trying to change my mind I will simply tell you to pound sand.