When you’re playing any video game and you’re looking to tick off a number of quests from your to-do list, you highlight the quest you’re in the process of finishing and then consult the in-game map to know exactly where you need to go to get to your destination. Most maps are straight-forward and allows you to place a marker at or near the area you want to be. But when a map is poorly designed or just too damn difficult to understand, then it makes your task much harder to complete.
For as long as I’ve been playing video games, there hasn’t been too many maps I absolutely hated referring to for a location check. A lot of in-game maps are designed well enough to serve its main purpose of going from Point A to Point B. Even with my terrible sense of direction, both in real life and sometimes my gaming life, I eventually find my way. This hasn’t quite been the case during my sessions with The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
I’ve been making good progress with The Witcher 2 for the last few weekends. I’ve made it to Chapter 3 of the game and the final leg of the story. I would say it’s looking pretty good to have this game crossed off my list before the end of the month. However, my time with the game almost got derailed by its horrible map.
There were plenty of times I couldn’t make heads or tails of The Witcher 2’s map. There was really no way to add your own marker on the map to make sure you were headed in the right direction, and don’t get me started on the no fast travel option this game sorely lacked. Yes, I want the full RPG experience but it would be nice if I can save Geralt the time and trip of revisiting the same forest area or burned village for the 1,000th time on foot.
Key areas in the map like an NPC’s house were not labeled at all, and it was always a crap shoot trying to figure out where people were who you needed to speak with. There was one point in the game I was trying to find the houses of Cecil Burdon, an alderman of the town of Vergen, and Philippa Eilhart, a powerful sorceress, when I chose to do Ioverth’s path in the game. Even with the supposed “Tracked Quest” icon on the map, it was utterly useless to me. It never quite told me where either of these people were, and both were important to the completion of some of these quests to move the story forward. It finally took looking up a bunch of walkthroughs online to finally figure out where they were located. I had to make mental notes of what was in the surrounding area to find my way back to them again because, you know, you’ll have to revisit them for something else much later. Revisit I did.
Then there were the times I did a few side quest missions that led me to forests or deep dark caves. The winding paths on the map were so confusing I often missed my mark more than once. I was either so close to it I could almost touch it but never get there, or I was inexplicably too far from my destination. I dreaded the caves or mines maps more because I had to toggle between being on the alert for monsters popping up suddenly, while going back into the menu to scrutinize the map fully. In other words, navigating the world of The Witcher 2 was plain exhausting and annoying.
I had to take some breaks from the game because I spent more time running around in circles as Geralt and getting absolutely no where. Luckily, I’m pretty persistent when I want to be and it led me to Chapter 3 of the video game.
I never thought a map would leave a bad taste in my mouth but here we are. Other than the awful map design, The Witcher 2 has been a solid game experience so far. I’m excited to see how Geralt’s adventure ends and I won’t let terrible in-game maps spoil all my fun.
Did you ever encounter in-game maps that were just poor by design? Did it turn you off from continuing with a video game, or did you soldier on? Let me know in the comments!