In the lead-up to Cyberpunk 2077, I've been revisiting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt during a quiet period in-between PlayStation 4 releases. I already played the game upon its 2015 launch, but five years later, my appreciation for CD Projekt Red's mammoth RPG has only strengthened thanks to some truly incredible quest design and writing. It's still a phenomenal game, and since I never played the Blood & Wine DLC, I'm looking forward to experiencing something completely new once my initial Death March playthrough is over and done with. However, I still feel like I'm missing out on something.
It's because I take advantage of fast travel far too much of the time. Exploring Velen, Novigrad, and Skellige is a real pleasure due to how varied each and every location is, but the convenience that fast travel brings with it is so tempting that I simply cannot ignore the ability. I want to finish off the next side quest. I want to engage in the next conversation. I want to start the next game of Gwent. Because of that, however, I think I'm falling into the trap of skipping the journey in aid of reaching the destination. Yes, I am taking Roach out for a ride here and there when I decide to venture out into the wilderness, but it's only ever for a short trek. If I need to quickly get to Novigrad while I'm interacting with folk in Oxenfurt, I'm always going to opt for fast travel over simply riding there.
As such, I feel like I'm missing out on the chance encounters, the smaller side quests which pop up on the road, and the hidden treasure kept under lock and key in bandit camps. Now, let's address the question you may want to ask me. Why don't you just not fast travel and start wandering about the map as you see fit? Well, I'm roughly halfway through The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's main questline, I'm planning on unlocking the Platinum Trophy, and I still have the Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine expansions to complete. I want to get all of this done before The Last of Us: Part II releases next month, so taking a few days off to explore just doesn't seem realistic to me.
That's why I'm changing my approach when Cyberpunk 2077 finally comes along in September. I want to take in absolutely everything Night City has to offer, from its greatest side quests to the questionable characters you meet in its darkest back alleys. I'm going to try and play the entire game without fast travelling once.
It's going to be a tough challenge, I know that for a fact. However, I want the excitement of heading in the opposite direction of the main quest to come flooding back. It's something I experienced in both Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, and I hope to have those feelings return in just a few months time. I want a quest log inundated with optional missions. I hope to meet the weirdest personalities imaginable off the beaten path. I aim to discover secrets naturally. I'll try and beat Cyberpunk 2077 by exploring its map organically rather than fast travelling about the place. I won't find it easy, but I'll be sure to update you on my own, personal quest when the time is right.
Is fast travel a feature you use a lot of the time in RPGs? Or is something you only use as a last resort? Place your vote in our poll and expand on those thoughts in the comments below.