For the sake of simplicity, let's consider this blog entry the start of my "review in progress" for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. What's the holdup? Well you see, The Witcher 3 is a big game. Very big. Even if I just played through the story, it would take me at least 30 hours on its own.

But the thing about The Witcher 3 is that you can't just play the main story. Oh no. No sir. Instead you think you're going to play through the main story and then you see some lady that needs help recovering her pan. Then you come across an overrun outpost that you want to liberate of all nasty creatures. Then you get to a notice board to find that a man is searching for his brother and would like some help. Then you buy a treasure map that leads you to a new area in search of new armor or gear upgrades. Then you play a round or two of Gwent, the card game found within The Witcher 3. And before you know it, 2 hours have passed in the blink of an eye and you haven't done jack squat when it comes to actually making progress on the main story.

I love that about The Witcher 3. I love that I can sit down to play the game and have time fly by. I love that even the sidequests feel fresh in a world where the typical RPG sidequests usually boil down to boring fetch quests. I don't recall actually having a single typical fetch quest yet in my time spent with the game. Which, if you think about it, is just damn remarkable for how vast the world is.

Now comes the unfortunate news. No, not about the game. The game is great save for some weird janky stuff which I will address in a minute here. The unfortunate news here is that while I did have a pre-release version of the game, it was only a "pre-release" version by less than a day (once it was downloaded and installed on my PS4). Yes, other outlets did have review copies well ahead of the release date. Those outlets are much larger than we are here. It was also my understanding that codes for the Xbox One version were ready long before the PS4 and PC versions were. Seeing as how I do not have an Xbox One, I simply had to wait along with the many, many others who were waiting for a review code. Though it is nobody's fault here, I will apologize to you for how late the review will go up for The Witcher 3 here.

I suppose I could take a cheeky way out of the eventual super late review and simply tell you that if I were to score the game today, it would be a solid 4 or a tentative 5 out of 5. I mean, I could do that. I could tell you that despite its faults I absolutely love the game and find it to be far more engaging than the latest Elder Scrolls titles, but I totally won't say that. And I certainly won't say that anybody who loves fantasy RPG games should go pick this game up immediately for whatever platform you prefer (graphics lovers should pick PC though PS4 still looks and performs exceptionally well). I'm just simply not going to say those things!

Hm yes, anyway.

About those faults I mentioned? Some of these do feel a bit nit-picky, but others kind of completely sour me on the game for the briefest of moments. There are some times where the high resolution assets (textures) loaded in a bit slow into a scene. It wasn't Unreal Engine 3 levels of slow, but it was still noticeable quite a few times when camera angles quickly changed. Swimming under water, even with a controller feels really awkward. Some of the UI elements are super tiny! This is especially apparent on text elements within the UI. This is less of an issue on the PC version for me simply because I'm sitting far, far closer to my monitor than I am to my TV, even though the TV is larger. I wish there was a way to loot all lootable objects within an area around your character. As it is, having to go to each object and just mash on the button can be tedious. And really, with there being next to no penalty for stealing, it seems kind of silly not to simply have a "loot all within area" option.

Some of the bigger faults are the low framerate and framerate hitching that I've noticed on a few rare occasions. Again, this is the PS4 version I'm primarily playing here. For the most part, it's a very solid 30fps but there are times, namely during the start of cutscenes, where the video would get super choppy for a few seconds before going back to normal. I assume this is because the game is also trying to load the next area in the background, but I'm not quite sure. The framerate did take a small hit in a few instances during actual gameplay as well. It wasn't major but it was noticeable. Another rather serious issue I encountered was the fact that the game refused to load a new area at one point. I triggered a level load and was met with a perpetual loading screen. It said it was loading. The icon indicated it was loading but nothing ever happened. I waited about ten minutes and it never loaded. I closed the game down from the PS4 dashboard and relaunched it. This time when I returned to the same area, it loaded after just a few seconds. I have no idea what caused the initial issue.

Besides that, there is just some oddness when it comes to combat in the game. Even after all this time, the combat still hasn't fully clicked with me yet. I still expect it to be more flowing, like in the Batman games, but it's not. The combat is rather unforgiving, especially on the harder difficulties. Oh, one last thing: When I mention that time speeds on by while playing the game? I mean it. I'm actually not able to play as much as I would like because I need to make sure I have a few hour chunk of time free to play since it's difficult for me to pick this up and play it for small chunks of time. Others might not have this problem, though.

But, even with those faults, I still am enjoying my time with the game. I offer no ETA on when the "full review" will be released. You already have a decent idea of my thoughts on the game. You can probably make some good assumptions as to what my score would be. You can also probably figure that the positives far outweigh the negatives in this game. And you can probably also assume that yes, it's damn fun.