As someone who works in Shanghai, this whole thing sucks balls. Major disruptions to everything. Don't even know where to start. If anyone has specific questions, ask away. Currently at home in Vancouver and will be until April. Vancouver feels woefully unprepared for this, hopefully spread won't get totally out of control. Wish people can start taking this seriously. Don't panic, but please, please, PLEASE, exercise every precaution.
Finished up over the weekend, just some brief thoughts:
1) Overall, pretty decent. Some really bad CGI aside, nothing too visually offensive. Well, maybe lay off the nudity just a little bit next season. Just a tad much.
2) Geralt, Yennefer, Dandelion all well acted. Particularly Dandelion. Fuck that guy.
3) Not too thrilled about the story changes. I understand why they did it, but it does removed a lot of the important stuff. The Brokilon bit got completely butchered, and it's one of the most important moments in the books. The Battle of Sodden Hill is another notable change. One of the most crucial battles between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms became a little skirmish. I was hoping they wouldn't do it this season because judging by the looks of the poor CGI, they likely didn't have a big enough budge to work with.
1)Man, they sure changed a lot of stuff about Ciri and the Fall of Cintra. Literally removed all of the story bits with Geralt prior to the Fall. Even the fairly important Brokilon stuff in the novels sort of got glossed over. I understand they want the story to move, but cutting all of the early stuff makes the later stuff feel inconsequential.
2)Cavill's pretty good as Geralt! He's clearly going for book Geralt while mimicking Doug Cockle's delivery. Color me impressed. Also, did they fucking dub over two lines of dialogue in the medical tent with actual Doug Cockle? I listened to it multiple times and am fairly convinced it's Cockle and not Cavill.
3)Dandelion is perfect. I wanna punch that guy in the face so bad.
4)Some of the special effects are real bad. The Sylvan costume in episode two is one of the worst offenders. Looks like something that came out of the original Power Rangers. The CG during the Aretuza ball is another bad one.
Still three episodes to go. Guessing this is going to end before or maybe even after Sodden Hill.
I'm okay with this Normal-Reedus-wasteland-postman-simulator. This is either going to be Kojima at his best or him constantly tripping over his own feet. Either way, I'm very glad this thing exists. Would love to play this day one, but unfortunately don't own a PS.
I feel like expectations played a part in why some people felt the combat was bad. The Witcher 3's combat plays out fairly similar to how Dark Souls handles some of its encounters. You watch an enemy's attack patterns and animations, then adapt accordingly while being mindful of your own animations. For example, ghouls have a pattern where if they're hit twice they will back up then quickly lunge at you. The optimal course of action is to do two light attacks and side step the lunge, then follow up with damaging attacks from the back because attacks from behind stacks crit multipliers against monsters. and instant-kill multipliers for human enemies. You can do a similar thing to drowners, as well, since they have a similar attack pattern. Roll and quick dodge are used for different situations since one has invincibility frames whereas the other does not. Add in the crossbow, potions, and bombs, the combat becomes very flexible and satisfying to experiment with.
Some players probably came into the Witcher 3 expecting an adventure game where they can hack-and-slash their way through most enemies with relative easy. Then they run into a pack of wolves that mauls their faces off, so they proceed to mistakenly put blame on the game for have sluggish controls when in reality they should have taken their time to study the enemies first before jumping into the fray. I will, however, concede that the game doesn't do a very good job of dropping some necessary hints regarding isolating enemies from groups and positioning so one does not get swarmed by enemies like wolves and nekkers.
The complaint about animation priority is an interesting one, considering that one can actually animation cancel out of quite a few of the attack moves. Many attacks can be animation canceled with a dodge toward the end of the animation. Some attacks, like Rend, can actually be canceled by themselves if timed correctly, allowing for some pretty overpowered swordplay mechanics. Even without doing this however, there are only two attacks, the heavy overhead finisher and heavy spinning finisher, that adds significant animation time during the attack itself and its backswing. It's fairly easy to figure out the pattern, given the player experiments with different swing orders. There is a minor degree of randomness to the animations (mostly the heavy attacks), but the difference in animation time is negligible in most situations. Besides, enemy attacks are so telegraphed it's extremely easy to play around that issue. Plus counterattacking is OP as fuck, and its actually usable on some monsters even if the benefits aren't that great.
So, y'know, I think the Witcher 3's combat is pretty good. People just need to spend some time with it to figure out the nuances. Granted, I don't think there's really much depth in the combat, because it's always most efficient to take the path of least resistance with fighting monsters once you have their patterns down. Still, it's nowhere near as bad as some people claim it is.