The Witness is a very interesting game, when you first hear the premise for it. You’re just a person going around an abandoned island, solving puzzles, and learning the story along the way. How that is portrayed is wonderful, but the execution is downright sloppy.
The moment-to-moment of The Witness is going around and solving puzzles, sounds simple, right? Oh, you are so wrong, it’s not even funny. These puzzles are the kind that make you sit and look at the possibilities for a while, I’ve even some people drawing out lines outside the game.
While I’m not that crazy, I did go to some pretty extreme lengths while playing this game, at one point, I even looked at a guide. I know that’s not the way to experience this game, but damn, this is game is way too hard for its own good. When I sit down to play a game, I don’t want to be frustrated, and left without any clue as to what I’m supposed to do.
This idea is seen as “old school” these days, and many people use this as an excuse. I think we can still have old school sensibilities, while also making sure people who don’t usually play these types of games, but are interested in what they have to offer get to enjoy the game as well. Wolfenstein: The New Order, as well as its prequel DLC, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, do this with flying colors. You’re not told where to go, but you always know where to go, based on visual and auditory clues the game gives you. However, The Witness isn’t a shooter, so maybe that’s not fair. Shooters require quick reflexes, while puzzlers require quick synapses.
I also wanted a bit more story than what I got here. The story you do get are collectible audio logs hidden throughout the world. When I mean hidden, I’m talking under the pillows, in a bush, that sort of annoying stuff.
It’s these very notions that make The Witness a D+. I want to love this game, but it constantly gets in my way. This game is worth $5, not $40, because of these issues. By all means, if you want to play it and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, go ahead. I’m just telling you that it isn’t fun to play this game. I like challenges in my video games, but after about 30 puzzles, I quickly became bored and disenfrachised with the entire game and its design philosophy.