However, we've played enough now to feel we have a sense of the game, and decided we needed to step in to provide something of a firebreak from the raging onslaught of unanimously positive reviews.
Reviews, we're assuming, by people who've never played an RPG before, and have never heard of Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones, or Xena: Warrior Princess. People who inexplicably grew up without ever once realising that there was a genre of fiction called "fantasy", and believe The Witcher 3 to be the greatest, most original, most epic story ever told.
Frankly, The Witcher 3 angered us so much that we couldn't hold anything back - not least our immense and all-consuming fury. So... is this going to be a review that damns The Witcher 3 outright? Actualy, it's not quite as simple as that. You see... well... just read on, sweet nuggets. Read on!
Here are the good things about The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt: the graphics are fantastic (well, the character models are slightly less fantastic than the scenery, but never mind), there's a ton of gameplay, the combat is great, we enjoyed the mild Arkham Asylum-style detective moments, and we loved the open world.
Here are the bad things: absolutely everything else. Specifically everything to do with the setting and the story... and for a game that rams its story down your throat from the off, with endless, tedious, soul-destroying cut-scenes that nobody other than an abject idiot will enjoy, that's a massive issue.
In short, The Witcher 3 is incredibly, profoundly, unintentionally dumb. Like, catastrophically, weep-inducingly witless. It's Tolkien fan fiction by someone who wasn't smart enough to understand the underlying themes of what Tolkien was writing about.
More importantly, Tolkien's work - much of which, let's be honest here, is often crushingly dull (it's basically a hiking travelogue with people bleating on about "hope" every now and then) - was nevertheless imbued with a sense of authorship. Like all the best writing, Tolkien had an emotional connection to his work - inspired by, among other things, his experiences in the First World War, particularly the Battle of the Somme.
The Witcher 3 is someone (or someones - this is classic game design by committee, with absolutely no sense of of an overall vision) reaching for the same sense of gravitas and worthiness, yet only being inspired by somebody else's inspiration via osmosis.
Like thinking you've been on safari, because you once saw a photograph of an elephant in a magazine, or telling people you fought a life-defining battle with cancer because your dad's bald. Actually - we know what it is; it's the gaming equivalent of everyone who tried to make out they'd been personally affected by 9/11, because their cousin had once been on holiday to New York.
There's nothing about The Witcher 3 which feels authored (which is ironic, because it's based upon a series of Tokien fan-fic books). It's hollow, false, regurgitated, criminally derivative, but - most importantly - lacking in truth. It's an empty, soulless mask of a game.
Peel back the curtain of the story here and you'll find an army of chattering nerds congratulating themselves over how many of their favourite, tired, depleted fantasy tropes they can crowbar into their swirling vat of reheated sword and sorcery slurry.
But it's not just the "story" and the world that disappoints in The Witcher 3 - it's the presentation of it. The acting is mostly appalling, the dialogue both clunky and inconsistent, veering between cod-medievalisms and modern day slang, and tonally it's all over the place.
Here you go from the attempts at portentousness in the main game to the godawful American voice-over of the loading screens, which sound like they're being delivered by the guy who used to introduce the old black and white Flash Gordon TV serial.
The characterisation is wholly inconsistent too - who is the main character? It's impossible to get any real sense of him, other than him being a sort of Mr Type 1 Video Game Hero: a bit gritty, a bit anti-establishment, but with a code of honour. It's like... Really?! That's where we're still at? That's as deep as we're going is it? Enough. Seriously. It's soul-destroying. Why should we even care what happens in this game?
Every element of The Witcher 3 feels recycled. There hasn't been a single watt of effort expended to introduce players to new experiences. It's purely an exercise in giving RPG fans more of the sort of thing that they like. Yes, it might look better than most games out there, but it's treading water.
And none of this would matter so much if the game had been terrible from top to bottom. That's why we're so angry about it, because it's a missed opportunity, and clearly a huge amount of effort has gone into it.
Here you've got a fantastic game engine, amazing graphics (again - apart from the cut-scene character models), and a brilliantly realised world... shackled to a completely awful, unoriginal, sloppy, derivative everything else. In all honesty, it's painful.
Thing is, it doesn't just crib from Tolkien, but every other RPG there has ever been - once again, we get taverns where you can sit down with some bloke and play a quick game of Magic: The Gathering. Once again you can wander into people's houses and start rooting through their stuff... so long as you don't get caught by the local guards. You can stroll through woods and forests, and expect to have fights with wolves. And you've got that same old branching dialogue guff that you won't be able to click through fast enough.
It's like... y'know... is that the best you can do? You've got the foundation of an incredible game here, and you're just wasting it. The Witcher 3 isn't remotely unplayable. Indeed, you'll probably play it and enjoy it, because the actual game itself is solid and it works, and it's fun.
Plus, we accept that this isn't the only game that can be accused of all these crimes - Skyrim and Dragon Age Inquisition aren't much better. Unfortunately, this comes on the heels of those, and our patience has worn thin.
Consequently, in context, The Witcher 3 comes across as burnt-out plagiarism on a grand scale - more cosplay than creativity.
SUMMARY: Solid gameplay and mostly beautiful graphics, but profoundly derivative - let down by its story, and the presentation of that story. Surely we can do better than this by now?
SCORE: Six rings out of ten.