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  • 8.8: Polygon's review for The Witcher 3 has attracted a fair bit of backlash from some players. We'll just leave it at that.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Avallac'h is more or less made from this trope. While an antagonist in the books, he actively helps Ciri throughout the game and even manages to win her respect. Which becomes a Broken Pedestal due to Ciri hearing second-hand information from Avallac'h's mistress which may not be true. What's his goal? Is he a racist or not? Does he feel anything for Ciri other than a useful tool? We never learn for sure.
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    • Emperor Emhyr gets his own. We know he wants to protect his daughter and give her the throne but is that for Ciri's good, the Empire's good, or his own legacy? Has he reconsidered his Squick plan? If he manages to win the war against Redania, he also proceeds to continue fighting against the North despite having made a secret treaty to stop fighting if Radovid is assassinated. He does however keep his word to Roche.
    • Roche gets one in the Reasons of State quest. After you slay Radovid, he reveals he's part of a secret treaty to surrender Temeria to the Nilfgaard Empire in order to have peace—leaving Aedirn and Lyria to their conquest as well. Dijkstra promptly arrives, quoting the Witcher equivalent of Macbeth, and orders him (and Thaler and Ves) killed because he intends to take over the Redanian government as chancellor and continue the war after Geralt had revealed to him some Nilfgaardian complications that Emhyr accidentally let slip in front of Geralt. Geralt can leave them to their fate or kill Dijkstra to protect them. The decision has been hotly debated with some believing Geralt would never abandon a friend, while others think Roche's actions are a betrayal of The Quisling proportions, which the Witcher would never abide. One of the optional dialogues has Geralt call Roche for being an idiot for going along with Emhyr, pointing out that he will screw them over later. Djikstra when he enters, likewise, calls Temerian autonomy under Nilfgaard "dubious" and he sees Roche putting Temerian patriotism over that of other Northern states as justification to kill them, noting that Roche was willing to trade other lands suffering and struggling against Nilfgaard to Emhyr on a silver platter.
      • Roche and Thaler claim that Dijkstra was involved in drafting this Temerian-Nilfgaardian peace, something Dijkstra does not deny.
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    • Geralt, of all people, gets one from fans in Reasons of State for his uncharacteristic choice of leaving Roche to die if he chooses that option. Since Geralt is not a blank slate, that means it's in character for him to choose to do so. Is it because fans are meta-gaming, because he wants to preserve his neutrality, because it's not his fight, because he hates Nilfgaard, or because of other reasons? Fans have debated many reasons why Geralt would do such and come up with numerous answers. A popular one is that Geralt believes that Emhyr is a threat to Ciri and the only way to make sure he doesn't become a threat to her in the future is if Nilfgaard loses the war. Given Emhyr gets assassinated in such an event, it's a case of The Extremist Was Right. Others also point out, that Temerian independence and autonomy is a cause that Geralt has no interest in. He only helped Sigi to assassinate Radovid because Radovid was a threat to Yennefer and Triss. Likewise, Roche is a little hypocritical in browbeating Letho when he arrives at Kaer Morhan while at the same time he was planning to screw over fellow Northern states in exchange for Temerian autonomy under Nilfgaard.
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    • Triss was the preferred partner for Geralt for many people, partially because she's been around for the whole trilogy of games, and partially because she comes across as nicer and more heroic than Yennefer. However, book-readers and more critical players of the previous games may not be so forgiving, noting that she was taking advantage of an amnesiac in the previous games to pursue a romantic relationship, as well as some moments that cast her as far less noble and morally righteous than she's treated as.
    • Syanna in the Blood and Wine DLC. Is she evil because of the Curse of the Black of the Sun, or did she become evil due to everybody treating her like she already was? There are moments in the game that support both theories. Many of the larger quests in the game center around people being cursed, which demonstrates that curses have a real and tangible effect in the Witcher world. However, listening to Syanna's story shows that she was treated extremely poorly in her childhood and her current behavior could just be a natural response to that treatment. Even Geralt is not sure which theory is true.
    • Is the spirit of the Whispering Hillock the soul of a druid trapped there by the Crones, or is it really the being that created the Crones in the first place? And speaking of the Crones, do they truly care for the land and people of Velen in their own twisted way, or only as their playground and toys/cattle respectively?
    • Olgierd Von Everic in the Heart of Stone DLC. Was he always a cruel cutthroat, who nonetheless loved his wife dearly but had this one redeeming aspect taken away by his deal with Gaunter O'Dimm, or was he a decent, if not completely righteous, individual completely corrupted by O'Dimm turning his heart to stone? He's shown to have been a decent husband to Iris before the effects of his deal took hold, and Olgierd's brother Vlod regards him with nothing but love, indicating he once had good in him, but Vlod himself is a careless brigand and casual lawbreaker with little respect for boundaries, so how good a judge of character he is hardly convincing, not to mention they were leading a gang of cutthroat outlaws (though when this started is up for questioning; did he form the gang after losing his heart, when he lost his fortune, or even before that?). He made a Deal with the Devil, but only because events far beyond his control pushed him into a desperate bargain to regain what he lost, and he certainly didn't intend for the deal to come with the loss of his heart; after that point, he was Not Himself and its hard to judge how much of his resulting callous sociopathy is him being an asshole through-and-through and how much is the result of what would logically happen if someone is given immortality but prevented from being able to have any positive feelings. Tellingly, when he regains his mortality and ability to feel, he immediately renounces his past wickedness and is consumed with guilt for what he's done, but is this his true-self finally reemerging or a Heel–Face Turn?
      • Notably, Gaunter O'Dimm treats him like an irredeemable monster, and wastes no opportunity to inform Geralt of how cruel and heartless he is, but it was Gaunter himself who turned Olgierd's heart to stone in the first lace, and its in his interest to convince Geralt to dehumanise Olgierd so that he'll help in his attempts to end their bargain and claim his soul. Gaunter O'Dimm is also a monster himself, being Evil Incarnate, and the Witcherverse's counterpart to Satan himself, so how accurate is O'Dimm's judgement of Olgierd?
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • For all of his mocking of Geralt and the drama the game makes about Eredin being such a huge threat, he goes out like a chump to the same basic Quen/Roll spam that almost every basic enemy falls for. His attacks are extremely telegraphed and leave him wide open to multiple strong attacks. Both his generals immediately beforehand are up for a much tougher fight. Fortunately it's still a pretty damn badass fight regardless, even more so if you decide to fight him on the highest difficulty with minimum armor. It's also a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, due to Eredin going on and on about how much superior he is compared to Geralt... then you prove him wrong.
    • Both Whoreson Junior and Menge are set up as real-threats but end up being nothing more than a combination of Cutscene Boss as well as standard enemy. You catch Whoreson Junior in the bath and Triss can kill Menge without ever fighting him; if you do fight him, he is not a boss or even an Elite Mook.
    • Can happen to Dijkstra as well, depending on your choices. Should you play it right, it's entirely possible for him to die by the hand of a random mook.
    • Of course what connects all these characters is the political power they wield, rather than their physical abilities. Even Eredin, in spite of his fearsome reputation, is a threat more because of the loyalty that the Aen Elle have for him than any personal ability of his. Though to be fair, Eredin is shown to be quite a formidable fighter, managing to kill Crach an Craite in a duel. Too bad he has to fight Geralt.
    • The final fights for the Fists of Fury: Skellige and Champion of Champions boxing sidequests are very easy compared to the other fights. The last fight for the former is a bear and the last fight for the latter is a rock troll. Both sound difficult, but they are really just big, slow targets that cannot block or dodge unlike their predecessors. The big thing that breaks the challenge here is that, unlike every other fistfight, you can use potions to recover or boost your abilities while fighting these enemies. Note that these contenders still can easily one-shot Geralt if he's lower level, but the ability to both recover as well as roll means that they usually won't lay a finger on you.
    • Hubert Rejk, the murderer in the "Carnal Sins" questline. He's built up as being both incredibly sadistic and cunning; when Geralt starts to get close to finding him, he attempts to pin his crimes on someone else, a ploy that can actually succeed if the player isn't careful. If you see through the ruse and confront him, he's revealed to be a higher vampire, one of the most powerful types of monsters in the setting. But in the actual fight he's not even classified as a boss, and goes down as easily as Mook enemies of the same type.
    • The Crones/Ladies of the Wood are built up to be a terrifying foe, with an incredibly ominous atmosphere whenever Geralt gets involved with them. Geralt himself declares the Crones to be incredibly dangerous, warns the Baron not to confront them, and tells Tamara that the only reason they are still alive is because the Crones haven't shown up yet. Even during his face-to-face talk with them Geralt doesn't try to engage them in a fight. Yet when Ciri confronts them later in the game, the Crones prove to be a massive letdown, no harder to kill than any beast fought up to that point. They spend most of the fight trying to melee Ciri, and despite being witches the only magic they use is teleportation and a homing poison cloud cast by the Brewess. Adding insult to injury is that Ciri has none of Geralt's tricks or abilities and fights with a steel sword, not a silver one! It can't even be excused by Ciri being the only one powerful enough to defeat them, as Geralt explicitly wants her to face the Crones because they are a lesser threat than Imlerith, meaning he could have fought them himself. The final nail in the coffin: The Weavess escapes by playing possum, but then is killed offscreen by Geralt or Ciri.
    • A contract in Skellige where you have to kill a "big" Ekhidna named Melusine who is supposedly so powerful that she was worshipped by a cult, Melusine is just a re-skinned ordinary Siren/Ekhidna with slightly more health and goes down incredibly easy.
    • Related to the above, this actually applies to a great deal of Contract bosses. While some are actually quite dangerous, many are merely reskinned, slightly stronger versions of normal enemies. And even the most dangerous ones are still vulnerable to a One-Hit Kill via Aard.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Subverted in China, where this game is considered to be the prime reason why gamers in China started to call CD Projekt RED as "The ass of Poland"(波兰蠢驴). This is because the way they handle DLC and their no-DRM policy is considered to be pro-consumer yet financially unwise. Gamers in China considers this as a sort of Insult of Endearment to the developers.
  • Ass Pull: Dijkstra's betrayal at the end of Reason of State, which many players felt was a contrived way to force the players to side with either Dijkstra or Roche. The main point of contention was how Dijkstra uncharacteristically grasped at the Idiot Ball in banking his cards on the possibility that Geralt would abide by the Witcher's code of neutrality even after he just became complicit in assassinating a king.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The previous games in the series were frequently criticised for how they portrayed women, so The Witcher III included a large number of varied female characters, made many of them legitimately badass, undid the Chickification Triss underwent in the second game, significantly cut down on the Optional Sexual Encounters, and had some reality ensue if the player made Geralt too frivolous in the Love Triangle.
    • After some criticism for the lack of characters of colour in the base game, the DLC included several dark-skinned foreign characters in the Ofieri, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Middle Eastern nations.
    • The developers acknowledged the criticisms levelled at Eredin, the Big Bad of the base-game and leader of the Wild Hunt for being underwritten. This led to a focus on making the villains of the following expansions much more fleshed out and interesting in comparison, leading to memorable villains like Gaunter O'Dimm and Dettlaff.
    • After the negative view most players had regarding the Eredin fight, the (both technically optional) boss fights against Ogierd and Detlaff are considered the highlight of their respective expansions. Olgierd due to his Wake-Up Call Boss status breaking any Complacent Gaming Syndrome and being a Worthy Opponent that can't just be defeated with brute force. And Detlaff's fight is considered the best boss fight of the whole game period, having multiple stages and giving him 2 One-Winged Angel forms. A true Final-Exam Boss worthy of being the final boss you'll encounter in the game.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Silver for Monsters, otherwise known as a good portion of the kickass track from the "Sword of Destiny" trailer.
    • Steel for Humans gets you really pumped up for a fight.
      • As a Bilingual Bonus, the lyrics of the song are from an old Bulgarian wedding song, celebrating the boy and girl being wed and wishing they have as much health in their new home as there are leaves in a forest.
    • Priscilla's ballad as well, encountered in Novigrad while hunting for Dandelion.
    • The Orphans of Crookback Bog, which makes an already unsettling setting even creepier.
    • You're... Immortal?, Olgierd von Everec's boss fight, one of the toughest humanoid fights in the game.
    • Hail to Caranthir, the Boba Fett of the Witcher-verse, no, even better. For at least our Golden Child of the Aen Elle doesn't go out like a punk and his Boss battle with Geralt is accompanied by this awesome track!
    • "Song of the Sword Dancer" is a really badass combat theme.
    • Go for It, the theme that plays when Geralt and Ciri trash Avallac'h's lab and whenever Geralt and Zoltan go Back-to-Back Badasses.
    • Lullaby of Woe; once upon a time, witchers were feared by humans far more than the monsters they hunted.
      • Related to the above is Blood and Wine, the main theme for the eponymous DLC pack. It perfectly captures the fact that Geralt is about to be in for the fight of his life due to him facing off against vampires in the story.
    • Merchants of Novigrad truly captures the feel of a bustling marketplace and is an excellent song of choice for going out shopping.
    • Kaer Morhen is a beautiful and melancholy rendition of Geralt's theme.
    • "The Slopes of Blessure" perfectly captures the beauty of The Duchy of Toussaint.
    • "The Fields of Ard Skellige" is simply gorgeous.
    • "Whispers of Oxenfurt" is a peaceful and beautiful track.
    • The music during the boss battle with the Beast of Beauclair is ominous and epic, the music for the second phase of the fight is also worth mentioning.
    • The combat music in Toussaint is incredibly thrilling.
    • Cloak and Dagger, which plays during horse races, perfectly capturees the speed and the thrill of competition.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Baron Philip and his wife Anna are both considered either monsters or victims, depending on whom you speak to. Philip is an alcoholic wife-beater who caused his wife's own miscarriage, tortured and killed a man, and either allows, or ignorantly enables, the various ways his men Rape, Pillage, and Burn across Velen. His wife Anna cheated on him and planned on running away with her lover (the man Philip tortured and killed), specifically said things she knew would hurt Philip the most, and wished so badly that she'd miscarry her second child by a man she didn't love that the Crones (the supernatural beings which rule the Velen) enticed it to happen. Fans who hate one and not the other tend to have strong personal beliefs about murder, rape, abuse, abortion, infidelity, and many other sensitive issues.
    • Yennefer is either loved or hated, due to the extreme corners of her Sugar-and-Ice Personality. Yennefer acts according to her own wants and needs, not bothering to ask permission or explain her actions. She expects everyone to simply trust her planning and intuition, although she doesn't extend the same courtesy. What crossed the line for many players was the quest "Nameless", where she ignores the grieving townswomen, ignores the pain of Skjall's corpse as she performs necromancy on him, and destroys a sacred garden all to find Ciri. Other fans love her Mama Bear and Ice Queen tendencies, feeling that she did what she had to to protect her daughter and save the world.
    • Olgierd von Everec was cursed by Gaunter O'Dimm and thus can't feel any love or empathy, but it's clear that he wasn't exactly a nice person before that happened either. He and his merry band of bandits did their fair shape of burning, raping and pillaging by the admission of his brother and second-in-command. His sole redeeming feature was his inital love for Iris, but even then detractors insist that a happy marriage was something he didn't deserve.
    • Is Syanna's Freudian Excuse good enough to excuse her actions? Is Dettlaff's? Do either of them deserve a happy ending? Fans can agree on none of these questions, and opinions range from hating one of them and loving the other, or hating/loving both.
    • Time has turned Triss from the preferred love interest into this. There are people who love her for her heroic role in saving the mages and having a sweeter disposition than Yennefer, while other players dislike her for taking advantage of an amnesiac. The developers seem aware of this as In-Universe, no one is more critical of her taking advantage of Geralt's amnesia than Triss herself - which contrasts nicely with Yen's Never My Fault attitude. Ultimately Triss vs Yen is much more Book vs Game than anything to do with their character development.
    • The Cat Witcher Gaetan and whether to spare him or not has caused much debate in forum like Reddit. His defenders point to his absolutely miserable lot in life, the fact that the village elders and his goons did try to cheat him, his soft spot for the little girl and the fact that you may have also spare Letho, another Witcher antagonist as reasons to spare him. While his detractors counter that while his motive is understandable he did not stop at just those who wronged him but defenseless villager as well note ; only spared the little girl because of passing resemblance to his sister and operated on a Violence Is the Only Option mindset note .
  • Best Boss Ever
    • The final battle against Eredin in the third game. It's not only very satisfying to finally cleave the elf a new set of lungs for all he's done, but it's one of the rare cases of Anti-Climax Boss being somewhat of a good thing - it makes one feel the fight is not a titanic struggle against a martial equal, but an effortless display of power on your behalf, against a leader who is more Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy than a true badass, only kept alive in the interim against the beast that is Geralt due to Aen Elle armour superiority and his cheap navigator magic. Magic lights to the White Wolf.
    • The boss fight with Olgierd Von Everic in the Hearts of Stone expansion. The atmospheric setup: a duel in the middle of a thunderstorm, with the backdrop of a burning manor house and cheering mercenaries, and "You're... Immortal?" playing in the background. And the battle itself: a high-speed sword duel with an incredibly skilled and fast opponent. Olgierd doesn't use any fancy tricks or gimmicks like the Wild Hunt warriors do; instead he's just nightmarishly quick, using a sort of demonic Flash Step to get in close to Geralt, and attacks with unrelenting combos. The only way to beat him is just to be as quick and skilled as he is, dodging, parrying, and countering his attacks. It makes for one of the most spectacularly intense duels in the entire series.
    • The "Caretaker" entity in Hearts of Stone is pretty awesome as well, being a horrific Humanoid Abomination that attacks with a shovel loaded with the spirits of the damned. It's a rather challenging fight too, as he is fully prepared to outlast you thanks to the healthy amount he heals on hit.
    • The final battle with Dettlaf in the Blood and Wine expansion. It starts out pretty normal in the first phase but when he goes into his next phase, he goes into a One-Winged Angel form, launching clouds of bats at you. The very last phase takes place in a Womb Level. It is an epic fight from start to finish.
  • Best Level Ever: The Hearts of Stone mainline quests are usually viewed as being the best in the entire game. Every single one of them is creative or unique, and each has its own twists and turns that make it into something that stands out from the base game. Chief among them are Dead Man's Party, a comical, light-hearted quest following Geralt getting possessed by a fun loving ghost and getting dragged off for an evening of merriment at a wedding, and the Mind Screw barrage of Scenes From a Marriage, which is long, hard, engaging, and contains one of the game's best bosses: the Caretaker.
  • Broken Base:
    • The base was fractured when the Xbox One version of the Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition was given two extra items while the PS4 and PC versions didn't, prompting a statement from the developer explaining the rationale.
    • Do the free DLCs demonstrate CD Projekt Red's dedication to their players, or are they a patronizing attempt to look like good guys for extremely small bits of content? Most of the DLCs are purely cosmetic, and even the ones with actual quests are extremely short and shallow even by the game's standard. Critics have pointed out that Witcher 3's DLCs amount to far less than what had already been released for Dragon Age: Inquisition before the 16 DLCs were even announced, without any self-indulgent promotion from BioWare. This was mitigated somewhat when later DLC included well received quests like "Skellige's Most Wanted" and "Fool's Gold." Further mitigated by the first major DLC, Hearts of Stone, being longer and more fleshed out than nearly any other game's DLC, including its direct competitor, Fallout 4.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • While Gwent has four factions (with Blood and Wine adding a fifth) each with their own distinct play styles, most players tend to just stick with the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard due to the prevalence of spies in both decks. This is especially jarring given all opponents players might face are AI-controlled, meaning all the dirty tricks with Monster and Skellige deck (a lot of brute force and card-spam) can be pulled easily. In fact, Skellige deck can completely neuter spy swap and medic ability, the two essential elements for effective Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard decks... yet is ignored, precisely because it lacks spies and medics. The Northern Kingdoms' special ability of drawing an extra card upon winning a round makes them an even more appealing faction to use.
    • The trope is enforced by the game itself. Starting each and every new game, Geralt will get a handful of Northern Kingdoms cards. It will take a long while before players will collect enough cards from other decks to use them at all, not to mention assembling a good hand out of them. When it's finally possible to try playing other decks, players already have all-powerful Northern Kingdoms deck assembled and know all the tricks for it. All while there is barely anyone left to play with (or, at least, not for any substantial reward). It's possible to assemble a Northern Kingdoms deck capable of winning 85-90% of the matches in the game reliably before you reach Novigrad.
    • As for the main game, Quen is a godsend from the very start, particularly on higher difficulties. When things kill you in three hits on Death March from the beginning, being able to take an extra hit or two and conserve much needed healing items is invaluable. Be prepared to use the majority of your stamina on that single sign.
    • While Quen is likely the most used signs, Axii is definitely the first upgraded since it give both in and out of combat advantages.
    • Most players who want to focus on swordplay will use light attacks exclusively due to the long wind-up time of strong attacks giving enemies time to dodge or strike first, interrupting the attack. The damage-per-second is similar between light and strong attacks as well, and light attacks hit more often giving more chances for effects like Freeze, Bleed, and Poison to activate.
    • 4 staple enchantments have emerged in Heart of Stone: Levity which turns all worn armor light, Deflection which deflects all arrow, Preservation which retains armorer's and blacksmith's bonus indefinitely and Severance which gives your swords more range when performing Whirl & Rend. You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone using enchanting without at least one of these, probabbly all three.
    • On that point, using Whirl with Severance has the additional effect of blocking by human enemies being significantly less effective (except on higher difficulties), making it ideal for wiping out groups of enemies or even single large enemies by the Death of a Thousand Cuts. Blood And Wine negates this with Alps and Bruxae, who move far too quickly for this to be an effective strategy.
    • And of course, the infamous mutation Euphoria from Blood and Wine. It's so overpowered that every "optimal" build out there suggest picking it as your mutation of choice.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Eredin Bréacc Glas, King of The Wild Hunt, is the ultimate villain of The Witcher saga, the Big Bad of this game, and the Arch-Enemy of Geralt of Rivia. Leader of the "Dearg Ruadhri" (red riders) cavalry, Eredin has led his armies to the genocide of humans on the Aen Elle elf worlds. Able to cross over into other worlds, Eredin participates in massacres of anyone not sufficiently Aen Elle and takes innocents as slaves, even children, until they are "empty" inside and broken. Eredin murders his king Auberon and attempts to capture Ciri to control her Elder Blood and allow him to invade all the worlds he wishes. Chasing Ciri, the Hunt regularly slaughters all those who might help her, and at one point forcibly conscripts Geralt into their ranks, brainwashing him to take part in numerous atrocities. When he encounters Geralt at the end of the third game, Eredin mocks him with how he'll torture Ciri when he no longer needs her. While Eredin wants to escape the coming apocalypse, his sadism, racism, attempted genocide, and cruelty eliminate any sympathy or good intentions and make Eredin without doubt the most evil monster in the worlds of The Witcher.
    • Cyprian "Whoreson Junior" Wily is one of the four crime bosses of the free city of Novigrad and runs the casinos, fighting rings, and brothels, and is widely regarded as the most cruel and sadistic of the city's four crime bosses, and even evokes disgust from these fellow criminals. He has his men dress up as Monster Clowns to torment and intimidate the people of Novigrad, including Ciri, Geralt's adopted daughter. Geralt seeks out Whoreson Junior to get her whereabouts and discovers dark secrets along the way. Cyprian works under the orders of King Radovid to undermine the armistice between the gangs of the city and incite gang wars and mass chaos so that Radovid can invade. Cyprian is paid in prostitutes he can rape and butcher at his leisure. When invading his hideout, Geralt discovers the grisly remains strewn about in one of the most nightmarish levels in the game. Ultimately, Geralt discovers Whoreson Junior bathing in the blood of his latest victim, and Geralt, normally rational and stoic, brutally beats him as he pitifully begs for his life.
    • The Concerned Citizen, aka Hubert Rejk, from the "Carnal Sins" sidequest, is a Serial Killer dedicated to the cult-like Order of the Eternal Fire, and shares their belief that Novigrad is a fallen city. Targeting people he believes have blasphemed against his religion, the Concerned Citizen tortures his victims by removing their eyeballs and placing burning coals within their empty sockets, forcing them to drink formaldehyde, and cutting out their hearts. He believes these horrific murders will act as a form of shock treatment, awakening the city to its decline and causing its populace to repent. He first comes to Geralt's attention after brutally assaulting and nearly murdering his friend, the bard Priscilla. Other victims include a lecherous dwarf, a lecturer on theology who criticized the Church, an old woman who had a crisis of faith after witnessing the church burn people alive, beggars, street walkers, and orphan children. When Geralt gets too close to the truth, the Concerned Citizen frames another for his crimes, and should Geralt fall for the ruse, the killer leaves behind a final body and a mocking note detailing how he's going to move on to a smaller village and continue his work. Should Geralt uncover his true identity, the Concerned Citizen reveals himself to be a Higher Vampire, meaning that he is such a zealot that he willingly supports a religion that wants to completely wipe out him and all his fellow non-humans.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: More than a few players have reacted to the game's attempts to force Grey-and-Grey Morality by simply ignoring the options to try to do good, since it isn't rare for well-meaning quests and choices to go horribly wrong because of something you were never told about or couldn't have possibly predicted. Best exemplified in the conflict between Radovid and Phillipa, with many players upset that Phillipa is a Karma Houdini for all she had done.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Succubi can cast fireballs faster than Geralt can cast quen. Even worse, no amount of damage resistance will mitigate magic damage.
    • All the new enemies in the Hearts of Stone expansion hit like a truck. Any group can cut your health bar to shreds in a second, and the actual giants spiders will jump Geralt and run out range before you can retaliate.
    • The Arachnomorphs are easily the worst (not to mention the most literal) example, as they constantly flee from Geralt when confronted, but strike him in the back when his back is turned. Going against several in an open space is a nightmare on the highest difficulties. They could also stun Geralt in webs, leaving him helpless to their attacks.
    • Scorch would be a card game equivalent to this trope in Gwent. It destroys the strongest card in play, and any that are tied with it will be wiped out as well. A well-played Scorch card will probably be what causes most of your Gwent losses, and after a certain point, it's all but guaranteed that every player you encounter will draw at least one.
    • The Giant Centipedes in Blood and Wine are a real pain. They parry any attacks that don't land on their soft underbellies, and burrow around underground in unpredictable patterns. Yrden is most effective at stunning them, but doing so is difficult because they never stay surfaced long enough for it to take effect and trying to lay one down right before they surface will just result in Geralt getting whacked hard. Your only choice is to lay down a Yrden sign and hope that a centipede will eventually come out within it.
    • Also in Blood and Wine are the freakin' Kikimora. Not only are they one of the few enemies who can poison you (which means they can push you beyond your toxicity limit if you've consumed potions beforehand), they have this really nasty tendency to attack twice in one swing. If you are a Quen user, you know that this is a nightmare, because their first strike breaks your Quen shield, and the second hits you without any recourse for you to defend yourself. Even the basic Worker variant is good at wrecking your shit because they usually come in packs, and are occasionally accompanied by a Warrior.
    • Due to an oversight rats, of all things, become this during the "A Towerful of Mice" & "A Matter of Life and Death." Usually the swarms of rats fought in these quests are very low level and go down from one bomb or a blast of Igni but if the player has 'enemy upscaling' turned on, the rats become juggernauts that destroy Geralt in mere seconds.
    • Bruxae and, to a slightly lesser extent, Alps from Blood and Wine are incredibly fast and hit hard in addition to taking a lot of damage. Their loud screams can knock you on your ass and their invisibility makes them a pain to track.
    • Wolves, Wraith, Endrega Warrior, necrophage and human mooks all became this if you played non-New Game Plus Death March (and having upscaling on if you feel really masochistic). They all attack in large groups, which easily exposes your back for massive damage, and their movement styles makes dodging them a pain. More specifically, Wolves leap at you, Wraiths teleport behind your back, and the Endrega Warrior's tail swipe has a deceptively long range. As for human mooks, unless you took them by surprise, basic ones with a sword/mace/ax will charge at you, forcing you to run or dodge in the middle of a combo, pikemen can block and skewer you before you reach them, or tap your Quen shield to instantly bring it down, bowmen will pelt you from afar (breaking your Quen shield in the process) while positioned behind all their melee friends, and the sword-and-shielder will block you like no tomorrow; worse still, they can stagger you for half a second, opening you up for hits or combos.
    • Fleders can regenerate health and they deal massive amounts of damage with their leap attacks.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • The Nilfgaard get this treatment by many fans, due largely to their contradictory attitudes in this game compared to the books and even prior games.
    • Both Syanna and Dettlaff from Blood and Wine get this treatment from their respective fanbases, often combined with a Ron the Death Eater towards the other party. Fans of the former tend to blame everything on her sister and the curse, ignoring her very murderous actions while fans of the latter tend to completely overlook or downplay the sacking of Beauclair, which had nothing to do at all with the previous blackmailing.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Bloody Baron is an odd one in that the game doesn't hide the fact that he's a terrible person but many reviewers praise him for being exactly that while showing some realism towards his behavior rather than doing it For the Evulz. He and his quest are usually highlighted as one of the best moments of writing in the game.
    • Vlodimir von Everec from Heart of Stone has a lot of fans due to his boisterous, fun-loving personality and his surprisingly touching attempts to woo Shani. He is the source of some of the most humorous moments in the expansion.
    • Talking Roach from Blood and Wine is perhaps one of the most memorable characters ever for her humorous banter with Geralt as well as plenty of Self-Deprecation about the horse mechanics in the game. Many players wish they can somehow keep her talking after the associated quest.
    • Count Beledal from the Big Game Hunter sidequest in Blood and Wine is well-liked for his genuinely bloodless sidequest, his inane selfie painting and perhaps the first NPC in a long while to treat Geralt with complete and utter respect. The Reveal that he truly is a loving and dedicated father has only helped increase his popularity.
    • While many feel that their boss Eredin was a little under-served, his two lieutenants, Caranthir and Imlerith, were both very well-received for being extremely badass villains with awesome designs:
    • The Ladies of the Wood mostly serve as the Arc Villains for the Velen story and are little more than lackeys for the Wild Hunt, but them being so utterly depraved and the god-like menace they exude over the whole region make them the most memorable antagonists in the game for many players.
  • Even Better Sequel: Often considered by fans and critics to be the best game in the series, with some even calling it the best RPG to come out this console generation. It's no small feat that on top of the literal hundreds of awards the game received upon release, it was included in multiple Game of the Decade lists at the end of 2019.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Genre Roulette: The overall story involves a missing child with a cosmic horror looming on the horizon; however, as Geralt is an errant monster-slayer/mercenary of meager means, you'll spend a lot of time deconstructing every possible fantasy plot and folk-tale for cash. Even within the main quest, one segment has you dealing with abusive demi-goddesses and next you'll be acting in a play to convince a doppelganger it's safe to speak to you.
  • Genre Turning Point:
    • Witcher 3 is one of the most influential games in The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games, proving that a narrative focused RPG game with heavy immersion in lore, theme, and setting could become a major mainstream success, which overnight made CDPR (a relatively niche company before) into a major AAA developer. Along with Dark Souls it became a Genre Popularizer for the Action RPG.
    • The massive open-world RPG of Witcher 3 subsequently came to inspire the direction of sandbox games in The New '10s, with even Nintendo acknowledging it as a reference for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while also inspiring the Assassin's Creed series (Origins, Odyssey), as well as opening the doors for developers and IP from Eastern Europe, leading to games such as Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
    • Witcher 3 has also been acknowledged as a game which brought respect and mainstream attention for the medium. Its success proved that video games were a fitting medium for literary adaptation, with many highlighting the sophisticated use of RPG games to explore a Morality Kitchen Sink while also dealing with the topic of Domestic Abuse in its "Bloody Baron" quest in a mature way. Its success revived interest in the The Witcher books leading to translations of remaining stories into English for the first time, and also inspiring a Netflix adaptation starring Henry Cavill.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Became the most popular Western RPG in Japan in 2017. This led to Geralt's Guest Fighter appearances in Japanese-made games such as Soulcalibur VI, Monster Hunter: World and Daemon X Machina (albeit as a pilot skin).
  • Goddamn Bats:
    • Archers. They can go down easily enough when you close the distance, but they always fight in conjunction with a crowd of melee attackers. Failing to avoid their arrows on top of all the other attacks coming your way will make short work of you.
    • Drowners. If your boots are wet, chances are, there's a cluster of Drowners somewhere nearby. Individually, they're easy to make short work of. But you'll never find just one. You'll always stumble on a group that will leap on you en masse, and usually time their attacks so that the next one hits you while you're still staggering from the previous one's attack.
    • Sirens, Erynias, and Harpies are all over Skellige and make exploring a chore. They come in swarms, and they are usually flying, so it takes forever to shoot them down one by one with the crossbow and finish them off with your sword. Sure, even at higher levels, they're comparatively weaker enemies that don't do a lot of damage and don't have a ton of hit points. Regardless, their erratic flight patterns make them tough to hit without better-than-average timing, and they can really wear down your stamina when they attack in larger flocks. You get an item later that stuns several Sirens and Erynias at once, but it doesn't kill them, does not work on Harpies, and if you are sailing they fall into the ocean and immediately recover. You can also level up the power and radius of your Aard sign, which knocks them out of the sky and stuns them for a chance at a one-button insta-kill. Not that this helps a lot when you're in a boat anywhere in Skellige, since they delight in swooping down and attacking said boat out of nowhere, usually managing to bite off a giant chunk of the hull (which can sink you if it happens too many times) by the time the controls let you step away from the hull and draw your sword.
    • Nekkers. The most common and scrappy of the ogroids, there's never just one. If you can count the number you just killed on one hand... you're in all likelihood not done yet.
    • In the same vein, Pixies from the Blood and Wine expansion. While incredibly weak and will go down with one or two blows, when you encounter them, they come in swarms of a dozen or more.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Iris Von Everic's wraith in Hearts of stone. It's not too different from a normal wraith except that it can rapidly heal itself and does so often. The only way to interrupt it is to attack one of the paintings which can be tricky to do while targeting her, and even if you're quick the amount she recovers is still substantial.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Bruxae are normally immune to Axii sign... unless they are still in their disguise, so the game engine considers them a harmless human civilian. If done quick enough, it's possible to cast the sign before the Bruxa drops the disguise, walk around her or even loot the treasure she might guard, leave and... yup, she's still strolling around, still pretending to be human, skipping a relatively hard fight.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • If you spared Síle in the second game Letho tells you that it was no mercy to leave her to the hands of Redania's witch hunters like that. You will eventually find her in a dungeon in Oxenfurt, brutally tortured to an inch of her life and begging for a Mercy Kill.
    • At the end of the second game, Geralt dismissed Letho's plan, saying that "the North could be united like never before." He turns out to be correct, but while Radovid does indeed unite the North and halts Nilfgaard's invasion, he ends up becoming a tyrant on par with Emhyr. And if Radovid isn't killed, then things will go From Bad to Worse.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay:
    • A purely optional mission with Letho the Kingslayer can have this option. Geralt can easily drop everything he's doing to help the man who (accidentally) framed him for murdering King Foltest. He can then go to elaborate lengths to get him out of trouble and invite him to live at Geralt's home of Kaer Morhen. Obviously, this is purely optional and Letho may even be dead depending on whether or not they chose to kill him in The Witcher 2. Of course, it can be interpreted as keeping an eye on Letho, or even trolling him, as Geralt's "help" neatly prevents Letho from reaching his true goal of faking his own death. If Geralt DOESN'T help in just the right way, Letho's plan fails, though, and he dies for real.
    • Ciri acts very friendly to a waitress named Bea, hugging her, saying how great it is to see her again, and buying her a gift so Bea will have something to remember Ciri by. Even Geralt picks up on the subtext and lightly teases her about it. The player has the option to remove ambiguity by having Ciri state that she prefers women (though the player can also chose to avert the trope and have her show interest in a male character instead).
    • You run into your old pal Lambert, who's dropped everything and has been traveling continents avenging his fallen "best friend" Aiden. His grief is pretty hard to watch- even if you help him kill Aiden's killer, he still looks completely lost and heartbroken. At one point he even describes Aiden as the person he's been closest to.
  • Iron Woobie: Ciri has spent the past seven years being hunted like an animal by an implacable army who have driven her across dozens of worlds. She's survived nearly being beaten, eaten, murdered, and raped on numerous occasions (and not the nearly part for some of those if you're a book reader). However, she still manages to keep a reasonably upbeat idealistic manner and kicks more ass than Geralt.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • The Bloody Baron is a spouse abuser, a traitor to Temeria, a drunkard, and a man who exerts no control over his thuggish army. I dare you, however, not to feel at least a little bit sorry for him during "The Family Matters" quest.
    • Geralt's witcher comrade Lambert is a vitriolic piece of work who tends to be tactless at best and sometimes outright cruel at worst with his snide insults. It turns out that he finds his "fate" as a witcher one big joke because he was promised as a reward to a witcher who saved the life of his brutally abusive father whose death he and his mother prayed every night.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Olgierd, Anna Henrietta and especially Dettlaff have become very popular on tumblr for creating new pairings.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Gaunter O'Dimm, AKA Master Mirror or evil incarnate is the cunning devil of the Witcher-verse. Traveling and punishing the arrogant in inventive ways, Gaunter makes deals with people and takes their souls when he has fulfilled his end. A master of Exact Words, Gaunter eventually conscripts Geralt to help fulfill a bargain with the immortal swordsman Olgierd von Everec, completely tricking Olgierd before moving to claim his soul, only stopped if Geralt participates in a final contest with him. Despite being a timeless evil being, Gaunter is unmistakably charming and pleasant, willing to play to the letter of his deals and treats enemy and ally alike with unmistakable pleasantness, quick to answer any slight with retribution.
    • In the "Blood and Wine" expansion pack, Syanna is the long-lost sister of the Duchess of Toussaint Anna Henrietta. Seeking revenge on the knights who abused her as a child while they were escorting her to her exile, Syanna fakes her kidnapping to blackmail her vampire ex-lover, Dettlaff, into murdering the knights. Syanna instructs Dettlaff to murder the knights in specific ways to make it look like their deaths were divine retribution for their lack of chivalry. No one in Toussaint suspected that the deaths had a more mundane purpose before Geralt was hired to hunt Dettlaff and found the blackmail letters. When Geralt exposes Syanna's scheme to Dettlaff, she doesn't hesitate to risk (and potentially sacrifice) her life to protect Toussaint from the vampire's retribution. Throughout it all, Syanna retains her calm demeanor, even when discussing the horrific events of her past.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Memes were abound after it was declared that Charles Dance would play the part of Emperor Emhyr var Emrys. Probably the most funny one was this clip coupled with Emhyr's official title, the White Flame Who Dances Upon the Barrows of His Foes.
    • The vampire scene from the gameplay trailer has become an oft-repeated phrase among the fans, commonly replacing the year the vampire's asking about with the game's release date:
      Vampire: Is it May 19th yet?
      Geralt: No.
      Vampire: Then fuck off!
    • From the same trailer, one part of the game's numerous features has raised a fair bit of mirth: "Even racism!"
    • "Top-notch swords!" This, from the journeyman armor-smith in Novigrad, who, being the weapon/armor merchant closest to the city's main fast-travel point and who also has deep pockets of gold, will be saying that a lot when you drop by to unload your Vendor Trash loot weapons.
    • "Pam paraaaaam!" Coming from the song sung by random guards in Crow's Perch and Novigrad.
    • "*Fart* Buhahahaha!" The same guards will also fart loudly and laugh about it.
    • Playing Gwent. It's become a running meme in the fandom that Geralt will play Gwent with anyone, anytime, to the point that the developers included commentary from characters if you play it at weird times and with strange people. Olgierd von Everec, for example, will be flabbergasted that Geralt's reaction to meeting a genuine immortal is to ask to play Gwent with him!
      Olgierd: An immortal demands you fulfill three wishes, and you've got the gall to propose a round of gwent?
    • "Gary of Nivea." note 
    • "LE-LE-LE-LE-LE-LE..." note 
    • "BANANA TIGER, BANANA TIGER!" note 
    • The (in)famous image of Geralt in a bathtub from the game's introduction. PC Gamer is mostly to blame for this one.
    • "Big Geralt": An extremely stretched closeup of Geralt's face. Like the bathtub scene, this image became popular among PC Gamer writers and readers.
    • The Sidequest Copypasta
  • Misaimed "Realism": Bludgeon damage works like this. Half of all the mooks are armed with maces or blackjacks, which all do extra bludgeon damage (this is actually Truth in Television as blunt weapons are incredibly effective against armor). Meanwhile, only heavy armor offers even moderate protection against bludgeon damage; even Witcher armor provides excellent protection only against monster damage. Because of this, a random mook armed with a simple mace or blackjack can do far more damage than even most boss monsters, and a big reason why Imlerith is That One Boss.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If Radovid holding a pogrom of all magic-users due to the actions of one doesn't make you hate him, then his attempt to kill Geralt simply because he doesn't like the Witcher will show you precisely why he needs to die.
    • Emhyr crossed it before the start of the game, with his by now THIRD unprovoked and brutal war of conquest against the Northern Kingdoms. A more personal note on this whole ordeal however is him having his soldiers hunt Letho down, this being after he did his dirty work by killing 2 Northern Kings no less.
    • Dettlaff crosses this in Blood and Wine when he leads a vampiric assault on the city of Beauclair with the intention to kill thousands of people who've done nothing wrong to him simply because the woman he loved wounded his pride.
  • Narm:
    • A lot of quest objectives are "Use your Witcher Senses to search for clues/follow the trail/etc." This is reasonable, as a Witcher's senses are far sharper than a human's and can reveal things a human would miss. But during "Ghosts of the Past", one objective is "Use your Witcher Senses to find a ladder", as if searching a barn for a big, bulky object is something no human could do. To make matters worse, the ladder is out in the open and incredibly easy to find without the aid of Witcher Senses.
    • Similar to Monster Hunter: World, Geralt's armors show up during cutscenes which can invoked laughter during dramatic cutscene. Special mention goes to the sleeveless Feline armor which you get around the time you did the Bloody Baron or Dandelion's quest, some of the most poignant and dramatic quests in the game. The result is that you can investigate domestic abuse, lift the curse off his botchling daughter, rescuing his maddened wife; rescuing your best friend from crime bosses and even visit his girlfriend after she was attacked by a serial killer in what looks like your gym outfit.
    • The chirpy, upbeat Gwent music overwrite environment music to signal you when there's player around. Unfortunately they also affected in game cutscene in such a place. As a result, dramatic scenes taking place in the Chameleon has a bizarre music dissonance and undercut their seriousness.
    • During the quest "Ghosts of the Past," Nilfgaardian agent Arnout Vester says he will buy an estate in Kovir where he will "lie about, eating fruit." Except with the actor's stilted delivery, Vester states this as if his retirement plan is to falsely claim that he's eating fruit.
  • Newbie Boom:
    • Caused a huge influx of new fans for the series who never player or even heard of the previous games (particularly since the first game was a PC exclusive and the 2nd was PC and Xbox only). Its runaway success is believed to be at least part of the reason why Netflix decided to start production on a new live action adaptation of the stories.
    • And then when the adaptation came out on December 20th, 2019 and it became The second most watched series of the year on Netflix after only 10 days since release. It created a surge of new players, particularly because it happened right as every gaming storefront was running a holiday sale and the game had been just recently released for the first time on Nintendo's Switch making it available to anyone with a current generation gaming console. The game repeatedly broke it's own record of concurrent players in the weeks following the release of the TV adaptation, even far more players were playing it at the end of 2019 than when the game was initially released in 2015.
  • Older Than They Think: Gwent is not an original game, but a slight retooling of a 1995 board game named Condottiere. Condotierre uses one line of battle and (in games with three players of more) battles take place on a map of medieval Italy; the victor is the first player to control three touching territories or any five. Gwent is a variation on Condotierre's two-player rules, which remove the map and make the victory condition a simple best three of five (Gwent goes with two of three). Gwent also diversifies cards into three different lines of battle and adds leader cards and different factions. The Collectible Card Game aspect is also an original addition; in Condotierre everyone shares the same static deck.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • In the Blood and Wine expansion during a quest, Geralt is under the influence of a potion that allows him to talk to his horse Roach. The banter between Geralt and his mare makes it hilarious from the start.
    • Vlodimir von Everec only appears during the quest Dead Man's Party, but his personality makes him one of the most popular Ensemble Dark Horse of the game.
  • Player Punch: The choices you make within the game can result in several negative consequences. One of them in particular is the worst ending where Ciri lets herself die. If you have made Ciri unhappy throughout your playthrough, the game will play a montage of her bitter recollections towards you before she sacrifices herself. It can be easy to accidently get this ending since the choices you make towards Ciri may seem very minor and trivial.
  • Polished Port: The Switch version of the "Wild Hunt" edition of the game, while having some sacrifices on the graphical side, otherwise functions perfectly fine, on top of coming with all the DLC. The most notable aspect of it comes from its physical release: while most Western-developed titles like L.A. Noire and Mortal Kombat 11 needed a mandatory download to complete the full game even on a physical release, the Witcher 3 cart has everything on it and needs no further updates to complete. Even more amazing is that the port was developed by Saber Interactive, which apart from Quake Champions, previously has been infamous for their games being So Okay, It's Average or their Porting Disaster efforts of the initial (now has been patched through) Halo The Master Chief Collection rereleases.
  • Porting Disaster: The Xbox version suffers from a number of problems listed above. On top of that, the inherent DRM on the Xbox One caused players to not be able to run it period. Particularly galling is the fact that, in the U.S. anyway, the game was marketed as if it were an Xbox exclusive, not unlike how Destiny and Battlefront were for the PS4. Particularly problematic for the developers was the fact that the heavy Xbox promotion was because they helped fund the game, and yet Xbox got the worst version of it upon release.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Before she was a Shout-Out to Snow White, Jo Wyatt was Sleeping Beauty in another RPG.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Some people (mostly people not familiar with the books and Triss-fans) tend to paint Yennefer in the worst possible light. While it is true that she comes off as not nice and manipulative on occasion, it's mostly due to her emotional distress because her adoptive daughter is in mortal danger. The same people also tend to ignore that Triss herself can be and has been very manipulative too, especially emotionally in regards to Geralt, in both the books and the games.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Nilfgaard, due to completely going against the canon of the books and the previous games, gets this treatment for their prettied-up representation. One of the best outcomes in the ending involves them succeeding at their conquest, leading them to treat their conquered people completely contrary to how lore established their attitudes. Nilfgaard in the books is the only nation engaging in slavery. They also use state-sanctioned terror and Salt the Earth tactics in order to subdue those countries under their command or soften them up before next war. Or, as The Sword of Destiny anthology puts it:
      Dandelion: "Not this war, Geralt. After this war, no-one returns. There will be nothing to return to. Nilfgaard leaves behind it only rubble; its armies advance like lava from which no-one escapes. The roads are strewn, for miles, with gallows and pyres; the sky is cut with columns of smoke as long as the horizon. Since the beginning of the world, in fact, nothing of this sort has happened before. Since the world is our world... You must understand that the Nilfgaardians have descended from their mountains to destroy this world."
    • The game is sorta biased in favor of Vernon Roche and against Sigi Djikstra. But there are fans who prefer Djikstra, mostly because of his infectious talkative nature, his incredible intelligence, and the fact that most of the Novigrad quests tie into him one way or another, either directly or optionally. Djikstra is a man of his word to Geralt, free of prejudice and bigotry, and opposes both Radovid and Emhyr. This is also an issue for fans who started the series with Wild Hunt as opposed to gamers who came in with earlier titles, because Roche has a smaller role here than in Assassins of Kings and as such the emotional stakes aren't as clear to the former group as they are to the latter.
    • The Witcher Gaetan got a suprising number of defender who empathized with his situation of being cheated out of his reward and ambushed despite A, he murdered the entire village for the action of a few people B, he had done it before and C, he would have murdered the little girl as well if not for some passing resemblence to his late sister.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Hattori, for conning Geralt to doing his bidding. Even worse that if you want the blacksmith of Novigrad to open and having the only Master Blacksmith (at least before Blood and Wine, which introduces the Grandmaster Blacksmith in Toussaint) at your service, you have to make sure Hattori survived the whole ordeal.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Candles. Sometimes Geralt end up in a loop of igniting or extinguishing candles when he's trying to pick up some loot or talking to someone.
    • The targeting system, especially when facing multiple opponents, since it would often arbitrarilly shift targets in the middle of a fight. Geralt would be just a hit away from finishing off an enemy, only to switch targets when the dying enemy comes closer. As a result, many players were better off not using the targeting system at all.
    • While brawling has arguably been greatly improved from the previous game when it comes to fighting contests, it makes little sense outside the context of arranged fights. Geralt suddenly becomes unable to draw his weapons just because the enemies attack with their fists instead of swords. And since it's quite tough to block and parry multiple opponents at once without a weapon, these fistfights against common thugs end up being more challenging than swordfights with high level monsters.
      • The fights are even more infuriating because the fighters can block and parry your punches to leave you wide open for counterattacks, while having very-tricky-to-non-existent parry windows of their own. The Novigrad brawling champion can even stun you for several seconds with a very fast jab that you have no chance of blocking. We remind you that Geralt is a Witcher who can fight high vampires and griffons, and he can be stunned by a light jab from some random street elf.
      • How irritating can the fistfights be? In the brawling sidequest, Geralt will eventually be asked to fistfight a bear and then a rock troll. Punching a bear to death turns out to be significantly easier than punching a person.
      • Gets turned up to eleven in Death March mode, where enemies can kill you in one to three hits. Normally, you'd use your signs, decoctions, and food to up your survivability, but when fist-fighting, you get none of those options, and your mobility is greatly reduced. One notable hair-tearing section is halfway through the High Stakes sidequest, where you suddenly are required to fistfight after beating two opponents in fairly tricky games of Gwent.
    • Inventory management is one of the most frequent complaints about the game. Certain tabs tend to get far more cluttered than others over time, particularly the Useable Items tab which contains potions, bombs, oils, food, and books/notes, making finding specific items a chore. However, this was massively improved by a later patch, which divided the tabs into sections based on specific item type.
      • Even with these improvements, there's no way to sort identical items together. So if you have more than 100 of something you'll need to scroll for a while to find that you don't just have 8 of something but 408 split into 4 piles of 100 plus a pile of 8 and they're all randomly spread across your inventory instead of sitting together. And considering there's hundreds of items used in recipes that you may not yet have collected you don't know if you'll need these items in the future, so be aware that just switching to the craft/alchemy tab of your inventory will make the game lag for a second or two as it loads the literal thousands of herbs and other materials you've looted.
    • There's no way to apply oil to your weapons in combat without pausing the game and going to the inventory. Given the tedium of having to apply oil when it runs out or encountering a different enemy-type, while also breaking the flow of combat, a lot of players just opt to install a mod so oil is applied automatically in combat without using the inventory.
    • The swimming controls, in particular the diving and surfacing mechanics, are generally loathed. While they are fairly realistic in how much they limit Geralt's range of motion they're incapable of any sort of quick or precise movement, which is a huge contrast to the rest of the game and makes them feel extraordinarily clunky and sloppy. And don't even try to turn around if you overdid it and whatever you were gonna loot is right behind you, it's sometimes easier to just go back to the surface and start again from the beginning than trying to spin in place.
  • Scrappy Weapon: Crossbows are massively underpowered compared to other weapons; Even high end crossbows loaded with Explosive arrows tend to do a lot less damage than simply slashing at someone with a sword. The situation is not helped by the fact that unlike swords, axes, blackjacks and the like, crossbows don't have level requirements and, therefore, don't have their stats boosted based on level. It only really comes into its own underwater, where it's given a damage boost and can kill most creatures with a single shot, and against smaller flying monsters like Harpies, where it can drop them out of the sky, allowing Geralt to follow up. Blood and Wine does attempt to remedy this by offering a mutation that boosts crossbow damage, but this involves sacrificing other mutations that the player might find more useful.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Ciri's levels on the hardest difficulty, which turns the Crones from Anti-Climax Boss into That One Boss. Unlike Geralt, Ciri can't use customised gear or use signs/potions, while turning her from a Lightning Bruiser into a Fragile Speedster doing Scratch Damage. The only reason to do this is to get the two hardest difficulty achievements, as there's no in-game reward for playing on a harder difficulty.
  • Ship Sinking: Depending upon the player's choices, either the Yennifer or Triss ships can be sunk (and in order to achieve a romantic ending, the player must choose one or the other to lock into a romance).
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Geralt/Yennefer and Geralt/Triss shippers are fiercely locked in combat forever. Yennefer supporters say that Triss is opportunistic, naive and too much of a damsel, while Triss supporters say that Yennefer is too high maintenance, selfish and causes problems for Geralt.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: To say that many love Gwent is an understatement. It became so popular that the ever-savvy CD Projekt Red made it a little deeper and spun it off into its own standalone game, giving it a life of its own.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The scene where Geralt is in a bathtub at the beginning of the game. It's frequently used by websites, most notably PC Gamer, to accompany articles related to the game.
    • Also, the scene where Geralt and Yennefer have sex on a stuffed unicorn in her house at Skellige.
    • The entirety of "No Place Like Home" where Geralt, Eskel, and Lambert get extremely drunk, put on Yennefer's clothes, and prank call the Lodge of Sorceresses with a megascope. It's much needed comic relief before a very emotional turning point in the story.
    • From the DLC, the entire wedding sequence in the questline "Dead Man's Party" from Hearts of Stone.
    • And from Blood and Wine, "Equine Phantoms" the quest where you talk to your horse, Roach.
  • Signature Series Arc: Wild Hunt is the game that made The Witcher series mainstream. The one questline that for many defined both Wild Hunt and the overall series themes of gray and nuanced morality, ambiguous characters, and difficult choices is The Bloody Baron questline in Velen which happens very early in the game but is easily the most discussed and referenced part of it, with many considering the Baron to be the most complexly shaded character in the game.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Neutrality isn't always the right choice, and refusing to take a stance enables those in power to oppress the downtrodden.
    • Sometimes you have to hurt people, even the people you love, to do the right thing.
    • Racism, prejudice, and discrimination exist everywhere, even in small doses. You can either let it continue, or you can try to make the world a better place, one person at a time.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • While there are various elements of the game's engine ranging from eyepopping to jawdropping, they too occasionally go bonkers, such as when the game averts No Flow in CGI so hard that a statue frozen solid has hair and mail armor dangling freely in the wind, or when the dark night sky suddenly decides to beam you blind at 3 AM for no reason, only to return to its dark state afterwards.
    • On a related note, rain can sometimes begin immediately, and you can be walking around in a perfectly sunny day and the music stops, sky goes dark and only Geralt's "A storm, dammit." line will clue you in that what happened was just abnormal game behavior and you're not just being suddenly attacked by the Wild Hunt or some other supernatural entity.
    • The cat school armor has Geralt's wolf medallion hang in an odd position. In the console version the engine really doesn't like this and the medallion will constantly be jumping out of control during cutscenes.
    • An audio version occurs during the scene where Priscilla sings at the Kingfisher, if you don't have a very powerful graphics card. Due to the way lines of dialogue are queued, and because her lute playing is part of the script rather than background music, there is a pronounced silence between the lines of her songs where her lute cuts out abruptly if your computer is lagging due to the lighting effects of the scene. This throws the meter of the song completely off and ruins an otherwise beautiful piece of music.
    • Due to the way the game handles clothing, armor isn't completely rigid. During a conversation, a close look at someone armor can show the metal flexing as they move their torso around and bend.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • Super Bunnyhop argues that it's a pretty good, unofficial The Legend of Zelda. Funny enough, the success of Wild Hunt inspired many of the system mechanics Breath of the Wild had.
    • It's been said to be the best Game of Thrones game never made, given that it has dark, gritty, mature and sexual themes in a fantasy world much like GoT. In an ironic twist of fate, the Netflix adaptation is often considered the Spiritual Sequel to the Game of Thrones series precisely because of the dark, gritty, mature and sexual themes.
  • Squick: The Crones of Crookback Bog are no oil paintings (ahaha) but Weavess in particular takes the cake, as one of her eyes has been replaced by a hive of some sort of insect as seen by the buzzing bugs flying around her face. Each time the camera focuses on her you feel like scratching.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Many fans think that the "bad" endings for the Blood and Wine DLC where either Syanna or both Anna and Syanna die are the better endings solely because Syanna and Anna both display very unlikable traits.
  • That One Attack:
    • Humanoid enemies with spears can potentially be this for lower level players due to their huge range and annoying habit of always blocking your attacks which stun you in the process; once you learn their attack patterns they'll be less of a threat.
    • The leap attack from Endrega Warriors & Arachas can send you flying back and does a ton of damage. The worst part is how ridiculously large the hitbox is for this attack; you can be 10 feet away and you'll still get hit even if the Endrega is nowhere near close to you. About the only way to reliably avoid damage from this one is to Quen up and take it on the chin.
  • That One Boss:
    • The racist half-elf from the high-stakes Gwent tournament quest manages to be more difficult than most of the storyline bosses thanks to being a forced fistfight in a crowded arena against a very talented opponent. Infuriatingly losing to him will give Geralt a game over as well, despite there being zero logical justification and almost every other fight simply penalizing him some crowns for losing. That a quest ostensibly about playing cards has an oddly high suggested level (normally Gwent related quests have no level requirement) provides the only warning of what the player is in for.
    • The Werewolf in Velen is considered very difficult considering that you face him at a relatively low level, he's fast, he's good at dodging your attacks, and he regenerates health quickly.
    • Imlerith is widely considered to be the hardest enemy in the base game, tougher than even the final boss. He hits hard and shrugs off whatever blows you deliver when he's not blocking with his shield. And when he ditches that, he becomes a lot more aggressive and constantly teleports around the battlefield, becoming a full-on Lightning Bruiser who you just cannot get a safe distance from.
    • The Toad Prince is durable enough to tank several blows from even the best silver swords, the agility of, well, a toad, the ability to cover much of the area with poison fumes, and a powerful ranged attack using its long tongue. Being hit by its leaping attacks also does huge damage, enough to destroy an active quen shield in 1 hit. Better hope you have the Golden Oriole potion & enough frost bombs!
    • Dettlaff is considered the most challenging boss in the entire game and DLC, as most methods of cheesing enemies (overly-relying on Signs like Quen) will not work on him. He has three phases, each more difficult than the last, with no checkpoints in between. Detlaff also has several attacks that can easily one-shot Geralt, and has an annoying habit of flying and attacking from a distance.
    • "Iris's Worst Nightmare" involves fighting several apparitions of Olgierd, each one is more difficult than the last. He blocks most of your attacks while dealing heavy amounts of damage towards you. He has one attack that could kill you in one hit if you fail to dodge or parry. If you are careless enough to attack more than one apparition of him, you are practically screwed.
      • The worst part about this particular boss is that it ignores all resistances, meaning there is absolutely no difference between fighting naked and wearing endgame armor.
      • And if you're going for the trophy/achievement for fighting all the apparitions at once instead of one at a time. Well... good luck.
    • As mentioned above, The Crones becomes this for Ciri when playing in Death March mode. Ciri inherits none of the stats that Geralt gains from his equipment or skills, and the Crones will take and do the same amount of damage no matter how high your level. What this means is that even if you grind your way to Level 100, you will still do piddling damage against three opponents who can teleport around the arena and take out a third of your health with one attack, you can't consume food or potions or cast spells to survive those hits, and to add insult to injury, after the cutscene loads, there's a good chance one of them (most likely the Brewess) will be standing very close to you and take a swipe at you before you can even regain control.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Of Swords and Dumplings, especially in early game. You have to get into fights with high level human enemies multiple times and make sure Hattori (the only Master Blacksmith in the game, before "Blood and Wine" introduces another one in Toussaint) survives in order to be able to use his services.
    • The Gwent tournament in Toussaint. Not only do you have to win four consecutive games of Gwent without saving in betweennote , you can only use the Skellige deck. Because the Skellige faction has no Spies to give you extra cards, the whole thing becomes something of a Luck-Based Mission, since one bad hand is all it will take to spell doom for you.
    • The original Gwent tournament in Novigrad isn't much better. You're allowed to use your own deck, but the opponents are very difficult, especially Sasha, who uses the powerful (and infuriating) Nilfgaard deck. However, the nasty parts of the quest aren't even Gwent related. First, the fight against the racist half-elf mentioned above takes full advantage of the game's bizarre fistfighting mechanics to make it much more difficult than it logically should be, and forces a game over if you lose (implying that the half-elf has somehow murdered Geralt in a fistfight in front of a room full of people). If you win the tournament, the substantial prize money is stolen. The game forces Geralt to work with Sasha to find the money, even though the quest could easily be done without anyone else's help (and if Geralt refuses to help her, the quest ends immediately and you get no money at all) and then after you find the money, the game forces Geralt to split the money with her. It's a fairly egregious case of railroading in a game that's generally pretty good about avoiding it.
    • On that note, the 'Collect 'Em All' quest, which requires you to collect all non-DLC Gwent cards. It's made difficult by the fact that there are several easily missable cards and the majority of the others are randomly earned from merchants and vendors throughout the world. What makes it worse however is that you can only earn one card per person and it's highly possible to win a card you already have.
      • The Blood and Wine equivalent quest does remedy this somewhat by pointing out the location of all the players currently holding the cards so all you have to do is follow the markers and beat them, and there's only 19 of them and none of them are missable.
    • "Extreme Cosplay" from Blood & Wine sticks you in a tiny arena full of obstacles and surrounds you with pikemen and mages, any one of whom can probably stunlock and kill you in four hits or less. The mages are particularly unfair—some of their firebolts originate from their position, but most of them appear out of thin air right next to your head, making it impossible for you to react. It's possible to run to a staircase and out of everyone's aggro range to give yourself a minute to breathe, but since the game autosaves right at the start of the battle, when you're in perfect striking range of everyone, you'll probably be too panicked to notice without dying several times even on the lowest difficulty.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many are of this opinion concerning Eredin. Despite being the Big Bad of the game and the Greater-Scope Villain for much of the entire franchise, he has precious little screentime and only a few lines of dialogue. He's also described from secondhand sources as having some fairly complex motivations, but he just acts like a typical Evil Overlord whenever he's onscreen. Perhaps the worst part is that he had more interactions with Geralt in the first game.
    • The Ladies of the Wood/The Crones are very intimidating and even leave Geralt wary about facing them. They are also more ancient than anything in the known world and have a great character design. They almost seem like contenders for the Big Bad, and the quests involving them are a highlight of the early game. So it's rather disappointing when you encounter them later and first you discover they are subservient to the Wild Hunt, secondly they are easily despatched by Ciri with little ceremony, including one of them getting killed offscreen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The an Craites raised Ciri, with Crach and Hjalmar being eager to see her again. In spite of essentially being family to Ciri they don't get a moment together or any recognition from her, even when they're a stone's throw away.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The godlings. Their childlike looks and benign, if sometimes mischievous demeanor make them highly endearing. Their "ugly" side is noticeable upon a closer look, which reveals that they have heavily lined, aged faces, suggesting an advanced age despite the childlike features and their eyelids are more similar to a reptile's (moving the lower eyelid up to close and not blinking with both eyes at the same time) adding to their otherness.
    • The Botchling. It's a hideous Fetus Terrible with a huge maw and More Teeth than the Osmond Family, but its large eyes and childlike cheerfulness about being held in its father's hands do make it look oddly innocent. Played even more straight if she's turned into a much more benign Lubberkin.
    • Rock trolls look like their faces were smacked around with an ugly stick. But their occasional simpleminded friendliness makes them endearing.
    • Uma, the ugliest man alive, also has some weird cuteness factor to himself. Particularly hilarious considering how serious and somber his real personality is.
  • Uncanny Valley: Though likely deliberate as they indeed aren't human, a couple cases still pop up.
    • The halflings in the game are oddly creepy-looking due to their oversized heads, facial features that seem oddly stretched and with some rodent-like qualities to them, and their oversized hands and feet.
    • The Aen Elle elves are a deliberate example, as they tend to be skeletally gaunt with pale eyes and some of them are enormously tall, rising head and shoulders above normal humanoids while retaining otherwise normal proportions, lending them a decidedly otherworldly look.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Haggling. Witcher contracts pay a pittance compared to the fortune you can acquire by being an Arms Dealer, so there's no real need for it. Worse, haggling only adds about 10-50 crowns to the original asking price.
  • The Un-Twist: Anyone who's played the second game will likely guess that Zoltan's pet owl is really Philippa.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • While it may be something minor in the main scheme of things, Geralt's beard will dynamically grow as the game progresses. Even with the "Beard and Haircut" DLC installed, it'll keep growing if you get a clean shave or grow/trim it to his fourth beard stage. All of the special styles are static.
    • If you have the Nvidia Hairworks effects on, they are amazing, with the hair of everything it affects moving and reacting to environmental stimuli in a realistic manner. Geralt's hair will even clump together and get stringy when it's wet.
    • If Geralt's toxin level is high enough, his face gets even paler and the skin around his eyes and the major blood vessels in his face will turn dark.
    • The weather effects are truly a sight to behold. The trees wave in the wind, the waves ripple to the shores, and the clouds and the sun are just amazingly beautiful. And let's not even begin to talk about the thunderstorms.
    • In the "A Night to Remember" trailer; not only is the creaking wood a clue as to where the monster is, watch the cracks in the roof allowing moonlight in shift as she (invisibly) passes by, or the dust below the rafters falling down. That is attention to detail.
    • The fireworks display during "A Matter of Life and Death".
    • The areas that you visit during the quest Through Time and Space range from a desert with a giant moon in the blue sky background, a swamp like area with tall rocks and eye catching red plants everywhere, the aftermath of the White Frost covering the world, and the city of Aen Elle. They all look BEAUTIFUL.
    • If you pay close attention to Udalryk in cutscenes during his quest, "Possession", you may notice a transparent layer in the shape of horns, hovering on his head. Later on, his shadow sprouts these horns but right before you cut to the next scene the camera pans downwards to show it to you if it wasn't obvious enough already. This is all to show that he's been possessed by the hym, which many players would initially assume to be a graphical bug. Even before this, in a scene where Geralt is searching for clues in the house, he can light up the candles downstairs, and when turning back after reading the notes, the shadow of the hym can be seen, acting as a brief jumpscare for unexacting players.
    • In the scene where Cerys has been crowned queen, you gain control of Geralt right after and if you are quick enough, you can take a walk around during the crowd cheering for her and notice some folks in the crowd disappear after cheering for a few seconds. These are possibly the spirits of those who were vouching for her to become queen, but died during the feast.
    • And, of course, the Blood and Wine expansion, which brings us to the true Scenery Porn that is the idyllic Duchy of Toussaint.
  • Wakeup Call Boss: The Werewolf in Velen, which can be fought as soon as you leave White Orchard— relatively early in the game. If you fight him at a low level you'll get a nasty surprise as the thing regenerates health at a ridiculous rate and hits like a truck all while dancing around any careless attack you make. This boss is how the game tells you that you really should not try to take on a quest with a big level difference unless you're very, veeeery prepared for it.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Some essayists have been discussing the possibility of hidden meaning in the Witcher's Gray-and-Gray Morality politics. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV
  • The Woobie:
    • Skjall. He saved Ciri's life and led the Wild Hunt away from his village. And in return he was branded a coward, killed by a werewolf when he tried to redeem his name, and then his corpse was painfully reanimated by Yennifer so that she could get information on Ciri's whereabouts. As a harmless, shy young man who has never even kissed a girl, he definitely doesn't deserve all of the bad stuff that happens to him.
    • In the Heart of Stone expansion, Iris von Everec definitely qualifies; she married Olgierd for love against her family's wishes, and then had to watch her husband's feelings for her wither as a side-effect of his Deal with the Devil. When she finally decides the man she married is long gone and tries to divorce him with the support of her father, Olgierd swears he will never allow her to leave him, kills her father right in front of her and then feeds his body to the dogs. After years of imprisonment by the man she once loved, she becomes so dead inside she's not sure whether she still hates him or not, and when he finally does leave and release her, she is so paralyzed by all her grief that she just withers away in her bed, and then gets to relive all her worst memories for eternity as a ghost. The real kicker? When her ghost briefly returns to sanity, she can't even decide whether she wants to be laid to rest or not, because she's too scared by what might come after.
    • A very subtle, yet heart-wrenching note from Blood and Wine expansion is written by Iza. A little girl from some very poor family with no money to buy her any toy and apparently mistreated by her father. She then describes how all her friends have some beautiful toys and how she's afraid she will never get one. She learned how to write just to send this note and makes a promise to make some unwanted toy happy, if only it was given to her. After which she instantly explains herself - she's all grown-up and knows toys aren't really alive... but that doesn't mean they can't be alive in our imagination. Given the circumstances of who the Master Shopkeeper is and what you later learn about the fate of related children and see first-hand, you really want to find that little girl and give her all the toys you can carry. If only she's still alive.
    • There's also the little girl in "Where the Cat and Wolf Play" DLC quest. A sweet and innocent young girl, she watched as a witcher from the notorious School of the Cat slaughtered everyone she knew in a fit of rage after being stabbed in the back (quite literally) after an argument over the price of a contract went very wrong, including her parents. She was only be spared by the witcher because she reminded him of his dead sister. Even with the best possible ending to the quest, the girl's future feels decidedly uncertain, as Geralt has no choice but to leave her in the care of her elderly aunt, who isn't enthusiastic about having another mouth to feed.
    • Triss Merigold, after being turned in to a statue and tortured at the end of Witcher 2 (which Geralt may or may not save her from), she broke up with Geralt because she believed Yen was his destiny and feels terrible guilt over taking advantage of his amnesia, for which she still doesn't forgive herself after they meet again. Then Radovid's Witch Hunt began, Triss lost her home, her privilege, her friends, and was forced to lead an unwanted Underground Railroad. Depending on Geralt's choices, she may have to watch her friend Keira Metz die horribly on a spike, be tortured (again). and forced into a Sadistic Choice which leads to the death of a sympathetic inn keeper or two innocent mages.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Arc Villain of Blood and Wine, Syanna, planned to murder all she feels wronged her (including her own sister), and seduced The Heavy to act as The Dragon for her. That said, she was ostracized, exiled, and had to fend for herself all because she was born at the wrong time. That, combined with her sister living the good life (and feeling betrayed by said sister), had her decide that "they think me a monster, a force of evil, well, Then Let Me Be Evil".

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