My Witcher 3 Replay Continues: Skellige is Beautiful and Majestic...

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#1 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

...and just a fucking mess, in my opinion. Has some of the best content in the game (everything with the Crach and his family and the choosing a new king is great, some of the Witcher contracts are unbelievable), but geographically it is a fucking nightmare combination of icon barf and bad path-finding. Fuck these slopes that sometimes look like they can be walked up but oh wait! Now I'm suddenly sliding back down!

It's a shame because I LOVE the setting SO much, and I genuinely get why it is set up this way, but from a gameplay standpoint it feels like the ultimate argument for function over form (I think I have that right). Having a gazillion question marks in the ocean in a game with swimming/boating that already feels a little slow is the least enticing thing ever. Meanwhile, you have the land bound question marks that I have no EARTHLY idea how to get to. Do I need to go underground or behind this ancient mountain to actually get there? Does it matter? Is it another fucking BANDIT CAMP?

Again, I love the area. I know a lot of people fell off in this area where I just felt more drawn in. But I can't help but feel like maybe making the area smaller might have helped some people feel less overwhelmed and less like there is less game to go. It's too much, it's too hard to traverse, and even if it IS all worth it to get to, it's TOO HARD to get to it.

I would love to hear some thoughts from some other people here, particular those of you that have actually uncovered all of those question marks! Surely someone here must have!

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#2 Posted by htr10 (916 posts) -

I loved the Skellige setting too. My favorite part of the game. I can say with 100% confidence that I will never replay The Witcher 3. One run all the way through was enough (took me from before Halloween through New Years).

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#3 Posted by Nodima (2425 posts) -

Skellige was where the main game took a pretty hard turn for me and I was fairly underwhelmed by everything but the smaller, character study moments the rest of the way through the game. Given the nature of The Wild Hunt (the army) I knew where that game was likely headed from the beginning, but the wider the scope of the task at hand got the less interested I was in that task.

Also, like you said, the design of the space was just not conducive to a game that controlled and moved the way Geralt and his tiny sail boats did, especially since they littered that area with total junk. I checked off every question mark on the mainland and both DLCs, but I gave up on yet another sunken treasure chest after about an hour in Skellige and powered my way through it; my biggest gripe with that space may have been the way it seemed to stretch a 2 hour side story into a 5 hour mess just because of how confusing and plodding of an environment was.

I wish I had something nice to say about Skellige...I suppose the royal family was interesting, but I can't recall any names at this point. All I can conjure up in my memory is the winding path from the castle to the docks along that cliffside, the guy with the staff, endless ocean and rocks on rocks.

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#4 Posted by Teddie (2067 posts) -

If the sailing/swimming in this game felt like a viable method of moving through Skelige, I'd probably have scoured every inch of it for content. The music and visuals were by far my favourite in the game (though to be honest I think I was just happy to be rid of the unnerving music from the swamp area), and the promise of a bunch of islands to explore in a game like The Witcher 3 was super exciting until I actually got in a boat.

I really do think the game fumbles the execution of everything post-Baron (I'm sure everyone's sick of hearing that opinion by now), and so I was in "let's just finish this already" mode for almost everything that came after. A good version of Skelige would have saved this game for me, no question.

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#5 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

@teddie: Well, thanks for stopping by, I guess.

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#6 Edited by IVDAMKE (1787 posts) -

I can't say I agree about Skellige but I'm the type that will stick to a road for immersion reasons unless I must deviate so I don't tend to run into issues like sliding down slopes. My biggest issue with Skellige is the monster contracts brought no new monsters at all. Which is big shame considering the very different climate and geography as well as the surrounding ocean. I feel like a lot of the content on the ocean may have been cut but that's just speculation.

Also yes, I did absolutely every question mark over the period of around a year and a half with some side quests interspersed between them. It's not worth it, none of question marks are worth it. CDPR should've never marked them on the map and just made them minor encounters like RDRs random events that you can stumble into. Marking them on the map implies importance, the ? POIs are so incredibly unimportant and only serve to make people filthy rich for no good reason. My advice? Turn those POI markers off in the HUD options and use all your willpower to ignore the fact that they exist.

EDIT: The only POIs worthwhile are the places of power but you'll run into them as they're generally placed in areas that the story takes you to.

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#7 Edited by NTM (11229 posts) -

Yeah, I did. I did everything I possibly could in the game. There was always small little side quests that trickled its way in that would surprise though so I'm not sure if there's more of that, but I don't think there are other than perhaps in the Toussaint area. I loved Skellige and it's the place I'd visit most just to relax and walk slowly through the environment to soak in the atmosphere. The music is wonderful there too. I agree that getting around it is the worst though with some mountainous areas that you feel you might be able to get to but it ends up making you slide far back down, or the boat riding was a slog. I can tell you, most of the question marks in the sea are pointless. They're just sunken treasure and what have you. I spent around 300 hours in the game. I don't know, but it's the reason why I would probably never do a new game plus. If I ever go back it's because I have a powerful enough PC to play it at max, or just to enter that world again and explore it more on my save on the PS4. I haven't played it since the last DLC. I can't tell you if you should do all the question marks on land; I would because I have, and it's obvious that some are more interesting than others.

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#8 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1679 posts) -

The music in Skellige is simply beautiful.

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#9 Posted by warcrow (11 posts) -

I double-dipped on this for the Xbox One X so I could play it in 4K, and that's after play through the entire game + DLC on the PS4.

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#10 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

@ivdamke: @ntm: Yeah, I absolutely figured as much regarding the question marks. It's just...for such a well designed game in a lot of ways, it's a real head scratcher because that is an absolutely demoralizing thing to a lot of people, I'd wager. Seeing all of these things after you've just been to two relatively big areas (White Orchard: big, Velen/Novagrad: Huge) and just feeling like "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?" I can't help but feel like it's partially responsible for part of the drop off among players of the game.

The music is truly amazing though, agree with @frodobaggins on that one. At least I can be pleasantly serenaded as I'm cursing up a storm sliding down this fucking small hillside that looks like I can run up it but apparently I can't.

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#11 Posted by sandrawilf (22 posts) -

Skellige is beautiful and amazing. I miss my time in it.

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#12 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (687 posts) -

I'm currently replaying it on Death March with all the DLC, and just got to Skellige. After spending what felt like 15-20 hours each in Velen and Novigrad, it does feel overwhelming, but it's definitely my favorite area of the game if only for the atmosphere and music. I haven't touched the DLC yet, so that opinion may change soon enough.

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#13 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1679 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: the area in the second DLC may very well change your mind. It's simply beautiful.

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#14 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: You play the DLC before? Because yeah, Touissant is pretty amazing. It's a really interesting and unique spin on high fantasy in a low fantasy setting too, which is fun (this is all assuming you haven't played the DLC).

The real treat though, if you haven't, is Hearts of Stone. It all takes place in Velen/Novigrad, but it's some of the best story stuff and characters in anything, ever, at least in my opinion. And there is a wedding sequence that is just...perfection.

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#15 Edited by csl316 (14691 posts) -

Rocky mountain areas are generally just a pain to navigate through in games. I haven't played Far Cry 4 because it just looked like I'd spend much of the game looking at cliff walls.

The music and atmosphere are great, though.

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#16 Edited by habster3 (3685 posts) -

Novigrad and Toussaint were my favorite areas in the game, but Skellige was really fantastic too. I feel like it was kinda rushed in comparison to some of the earlier parts of the game, but the scenery, music, and quests were all really phenomenal there. The geography is definitely a pain, but ah well.

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#17 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (687 posts) -

@sethmode: @frodobaggins:

Haven't played the DLC yet. I played the base game around a year or so ago, and then started a new Death March playthrough after picking up the DLC recently. Excited to finally get to it though.

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#18 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

@zombiepenguin9: I hope you share your thoughts when you do! Not necessarily in this thread, depending on when you finish them (no need to bring it back from the dead if it's a while from now), but I'm always curious! I am up to Blood and Wine in my Replay and *swoon* forgot how much I adore it. The setting, the writing. Sheesh, it's so good.

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#19 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

Me: I don't understand why everyone complains about the combat in the Witcher. It's great!

Also me, anytime I'm not allowed to use my entire arsenal: FUCK THIS GAME WHAT THE FUCK.

Sorry...while I do feel the complaints about combat are overblown, this game does have some shit, especially on higher difficulties, that is just downright not fun.

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#20 Edited by IVDAMKE (1787 posts) -

@sethmode: I think the combat is serviceable but it lacks depth for a game that lasts as long as it does. The other factor is it released off the heels of Bloodborne which just outright has better combat. People will compare the two despite The Witcher 3 being much grander and a very different game.

People who say its garbage are just jumping on a hyperbole bandwagon.

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#21 Posted by SethMode (1407 posts) -

@ivdamke: Boy yikes, yah, comparing it to Bloodborne is utterly absurd. It does become rote, no doubt about that. The writing is what inevitably holds the Witcher series as a whole up. I did not know people compared it to Bloodborne? I always assumed people just didn't like the way Geralt handled (both before and after the update).

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#22 Posted by IVDAMKE (1787 posts) -

@sethmode: Souls/Bloodborne I've even seen complaints it's not like DMC levels of depth but who knows which of them are serious and which are just grasping straws to make an argument. As someone who is heavily into fighting games and character action games I did find TW3s combat to be overly simplistic and too easily exploitable but I also acknowledge it's an incredibly large RPG that does a lot more than just combat.

And yea a lot of people don't like how Geralt handles, that's just personal preference. I find it so easy to just say to myself 'this is how this was designed, I need to learn it rather than expecting it to be like every other game.' With that mentality those sorts of things don't become much of an issue. Naturally there's a limit, mine just appears to be a lot more forgiving than most.

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#23 Posted by Trappister (22 posts) -

Witcher 3 is love, Witcher 3 is life, Witcher 3 is best game ever made so far. Here is hoping for Cyperpunk 2077

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