Incredible game, truly a masterpiece of Game Design. While this isn't a game everyone will enjoy, it's gameplay and visuals will make those who will LOVE this game
I am so unbelievably conflicted about this game. What it does right is brilliant and genuinely some of the best things I've ever experienced in a game. What it does poorly, however, is unfortunately distracting. Regardless, I genuinely deeply respect this game.
"Oooh... Ahhh.. yes, yes. I see... I SEE now! It appears I have become... The Witness" ~ You, transcending gameplay itself!
Played this with my girlfriend. We made it probably 5 or so hours in and then had to give up out of frustration/boredom.
I'm already not particularly much of a fan of puzzles in games, and this is strictly puzzles. I thought I'd try it out anyways due to peoples general praise of it.
I see why people love it, but at some point the puzzles just become too annoying to care anymore.
I will say some of the things that we did figure out we felt pretty great about. It's just that those great moments were surrounded by moments of wandering and confusion.
I don't like the word pretentious. I very rarely use it to describe something. It feels condescending and dismissive of an artists' effort but The Witness? Yeah it's super pretentious.
Simply inserting philosophical quotes/passages/ramblings by historical figures in a game otherwise completely devoid of any narrative direction and leaving it "open to interpretation" does not make your game smart. It's cowardly. The Talos Principle is a puzzle game with similar vibes and a similar desire to convey heady themes but it does so in a self-assured, confident manner without resorting to cheap vagueness.
Narcissistic, superficial trash from a narcissistic, superficial developer.
I completed this game without looking at any guide or walkthrough online. I'm really impressed by the game especially with how much better it was than I excpected it to be with how much negativity I heard about it online. Instead of being frustrated all the time, I got one of the most clever and fun puzzle games I've ever played in my life with how it was able to twist and bend it's simple system in new and intresting ways.
It's just line puzzles. Can't I do that on my phone?
my favorite part was when jonathan blow made that guy roleplay falling and hurting himself like a big oaf, classic blow move
Individual puzzles in each area range from boring and stupid to revelatory and awesome (usually averaging out to be pretty good), but take up so little time on average that they kind of go in one eye (or ear, should be so unlucky) and out the other. The (attempted) interesting part of The Witness is the use of space and ways the spaces the puzzles inhabit “bring it all together" with the walks between the maze screens presenting their own complications, and often times resulting in a sort of "final boss puzzle."
When looking back several months to when I first played the witness, this part of the game completely dwarfs individual puzzle experiences in my mind. I’m pretty sure I didn’t care for the individual puzzles in the treehouse level but who cares, the bridge puzzle is the coolest thing in the game. I vaguely remember liking the individual puzzles in the hedge maze fort, but who cares the final puzzles are stupid time wasting memorization. I absolutely hated the individual mazes that incorporated the tree branch shadows, but loved the way they synthesized both themes for the final puzzle. The greenhouse color puzzles were kind of cool at first, but the final elevator was so dumb that I can only look back on the area in contempt.
The volatility of this dynamic defined my emotional experience with The Witness, as the conceit of the game’s world is that it was solely and specifically constructed for the puzzles. When the environments fail to significantly enhance the puzzles, or use their teachings in interesting ways, they have nowhere to hide like they do for me in a Myst, a Riven, or an Outer Wilds, with their Lewis and Clark-sy fascinations with exploring the details of their own worlds. In The Witness, more than all of the aforementioned games, the trees, mountains and rivers are nothing more (outside of a not insignificant aesthetic appeal) than extensions of those puzzle boxes. When The Witness’s world and environments fail, it's a total failure, and to me, The Witness totally failed with disappointing frequency.
Final note: this game didn't Tetris Effect me at all, like not one time did I see a circle or line out walking around and think of The Witness. This kind of makes me really hate the final cutscene, it called its shot and missed really bad.
This game is amazing but I am never finishing it.
As far as puzzle games go this game has some extremely good ideas that makes for really enjoyable puzzles ramping up in complexity, and the simple choice to force you to figure the puzzle mechanics out on your own gives you a deeper engagement with the game that makes it fulfilling in a big big way.
... and I really just wish they were put into a more accessible game. For as much as I love it I just keep getting gated by that one puzzle that hits my brain limit. Some particular points are too insane for me and I keep finding a point like that no matter how many times I try to come back to this game, so it's a shame that I have to say this game as much as I enjoyed it isn't one that is getting finished. Like I said, I hope more puzzle games take inspiration from this one just more accessible, I may unfortunately have been too dumb for this one.