Partially because there have been vast swathes of my life that went un-gamed, and partially because I have only kept a nintendo console around for quite a few years now, I tend to get into games late. My latest to finally add to the pile was The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, the main storyline of which I finished today, probably prematurely due to a week of being sick.
Holy shit it's a lot of game. And unlike Skyrim, you can go just about anywhere. Nobody climbs like Link, but Geralt does a good job of getting around territory. At least until he dies of falling from any height greater than 6 feet.
Like most 3d action RPGs, you can either parry or dodge-and-roll your way through combat. And as with all the rest, I take the latter path (arguably blocking is better since a perfect parry almost always gets you a nice opening — probably just one of the many reasons I'm shit at Souls). But either way the combat is a lot of fun. Much like Link's runes or a weapon/destruction hybrid build in Skyrim, the weapon and magic combo is really satisfying and gives combat a lot of variety. Geralt is a little slower to act than say, Link, but you get his timing down and you feel unstoppable.
Using mechanics to tell the story
I really think one the bar to hit here is Nier: Automata, but W3 does a great job sporadically. Playing as Ciri in flashback (or her supremely overpowered moment near the end, one-hitting wild hunt warriors) is a fun mix-up that lets you "live" the story a bit more. With a few exceptions, I have very little idea what the dialog options did to my playthrough and that's kinda cool. I guess it's a choice-mechanic equivalent of the open world.
Like I said, something about the linear story that's very cleverly woven into an open-world game left me feeling "done" when it resolved. And I know there's a lot more there I haven't done.
Load times are really unfortunate, at least on the Switch. In story-heavy sections, there's a lot of it. Fast travel feels not all that fast when you can sometimes ride your horse there faster.
Frame rate is not great. Automata is a newer game that feels really intensive, but it rarely got herky-jerky. When it rains in a busy place like Novigrad (which is often), Geralt starts doing the robot. Weirder and more distracting is the crappy framerate in some cut scenes. In a game with so many of them, it's unfortunate.
None of this impeding me enjoying the shit out of it. Even the fall damage thing, because I laughed my ass off every time Geralt died by tripping over a rock.