I’m about ten hours in to The Witcher 3. I’m having a lot of fun with the game, and am making decent progress on it. So, when I next load it up, I’ll be scrapping all of my saves and starting all over again, after having already done so once.
Why would I do this, you ask? Several reasons.
First and foremost, this has been a rough week. Monday night, a cousin who had been battling cancer for a long time was put in hospice; Wednesday, she passed. Yesterday, I was not up to going to work and slept the better part of the day. I received word that one of my best friends lost his brother this morning.
Suffice to say that what time I have had with the game has been rushed, with me zooming ahead to complete each quest as quickly as possible so I can just Get On With It. That’s not how I want to play this game. I want to truly experience it. I want to feel like each session with the game is a quality experience.
Also, as I play, I learn, and I see where my lessons could apply earlier in a more advantageous way. The Witcher games have always had a steep learning curve, and this one probably has the steepest. It has so many nuances and subtleties that you have to learn: for example, I didn’t realize you couldn’t stack food with food and drink with drink; you could only stack food with drink (for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, know that the primary way of healing on the higher difficulties is by consuming edibles). So, I’m burning through my edibles to no avail, leaving me empty handed as I tackle a tough early quest, “Wandering in the Dark.” By going back and making smarter use of my food and drink items, I will have more left over for later.
I’m also learning how combat works most effectively. In most other action/RPG games, you hammer out big combos with occasional defensive maneuvering to avoid damage. In this game, you spend most of the time on the defensive, dodging and rolling away from strong attacks while parrying quicker, weaker ones. When you have a chance to get a hit, you take it—but you only land one or two strikes before you’re on the defensive again. The Witcher 3 is like Dark Souls II in that regard: patience and timing trump flashy swordplay. I feel I’ll have a better overall experience applying these lessons from the start, fighting like a Witcher ought to.
So, I’ll be starting fresh again, and having just as much fun. It wouldn’t be the first time I started a game anew just to have an easier time of it. I could just drop down a difficulty level, and in a bout of frustration, I did. But as I said, I want a rich and hardy experience from this game, not just to plow through it. Call of Duty this is not.