Even though I own all Witcher games, I never really got into the first two due to the combat and quest system. Don't get me started with the Witcher 2's three stance system. In the beginning I also agreed with OP on this but the more I play it, the more I enjoy it. It has some nuances you need to learn. It's not a pick up and play, hack n' slash, click the mouse buttons randomly and you will win type of game. Dodging and attacking is basic combat in this game. Also, some games have beastiaries or some form of monster encyclopedia mostly for lore or entertainment purposes. They are not critical in winning the game. In the Witcher 3, they are. If I hadn't read it to find out how to beat the well wraith, I would've given up in frustration.
This isn't your simple hack n' slash game. It takes some effort to get into. But when you do, it's the best game.
Jeff mentioned in his Mixlr broadcast just now that he'll pass it on to the GBEast branch to quicklook it. Jeff said that even though the disc he got was already day-one patched, it crashed on him twice in the first hour. He's losing faith in that stuff. By the way, it was the PS4 version.
I loved the first one. More so than the second one and Brotherhood. Never played 3, played some of 4, have not touched the newer ones. I would love to play the first one but with updated graphics and mechanics.
Things have changed but the magic is still there. Also keep in mind that there is much more content than before so all that takes much of their time. I do miss some features that are currently in hiatus (ie. Endurance Run), but I am satisfied with what they're offering right now.