The Witcher series premiered on Netflix last week, and it appears to have put Steam users in a witching mood. The player count of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt spiked sharply, even overtaking the recently released Red Dead Redemption 2.
According to the Steam Stats page, The Witcher 3 is holding steady at roughly 46,000 players at the time of writing, to RDR2’s 45,000. Red Dead 2 still overtook it at the peak for the day with 50,000, but it’s still an impressive feat for a game that’s nearly five years old to keep a dead heat with a more recent and very critically acclaimed game.
The Witcher 3 was GameSpot’s Game of the Year in 2015, and one of the only games to have received a 10/10 score in the site’s history. It also recently released as an included game on Xbox Game Pass for consoles, right alongside the Netflix premiere, so that may have helped it regain word-of-mouth as well.
Unfortunately for Netflix, the series is less than a smash-hit. It has received mixed reviews on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, and GameSpot’s review gave it a 4/10. Editor Michael Rougeau said that while the acting and production values are on-point, the story is delivered in a way that’s unnecessarily confusing.
“But in the end, Netflix’s The Witcher is simply broken. Like the original stories, it begins in media res for Geralt of Rivia, so game fans hoping to learn more about the witcher himself won’t find an origin story here,” Rougeau wrote. “And by trying and utterly failing to cram new and remixed backstories for Yennefer and Ciri in without making any attempts to place each plotline within the larger story, The Witcher completely falls apart. Game fans who haven’t read the books will be totally befuddled, and book readers will be scratching their heads just as frequently. If you’re utterly devoted to the world of The Witcher, you’ll certainly enjoy the familiar aesthetic and characters, but beyond that, this series is hard to recommend.”
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