The Witness - Análisis
Because after having spent a full weekend I still don't know if I hate The Witness or I love it. On the one hand there are moments of tiredness when solving dozens of maze puzzles that are gradually adding new elements to the mix. On the other, I want to feel 'that' feeling again when I overcome them . That is one of the best kept secrets of this Jonathan Blow creation, the sense of accomplishment by overcoming a maze that you thought was impossible. When you finish a puzzle you feel almost almighty , up to the geniuses that appear in tape recorders and videos here and there. Because in The Witness there are no explanations of any kind, being we who interpret the clues that the development team has been leaving. This is so with the puzzles, which teach us through practice the secrets of their mechanics, but also with history, which is discovered VERY little by little by solving more and more of the 650 labyrinths that have been included.
Everything starts simple, without explanations: a tunnel and the first contact with the labyrinths. Press the Square button and a dot appears on the screen. We press X and the point seems to want to highlight something. Just look for a circle to highlight and begin the magic of the mazes , the main mechanic that is used to advance in The Witness. At the beginning we will only have to find the way out, but things will gradually become complicated until unsuspected extremes: we will trace geometric shapes, we will have to go through different points, separate elements, look for symmetries ... We will even get inside the labyrinths ourselves! The variants are many, but even more so, their combinations, making these simple mazes the main protagonists of the production . Sometimes we will end up in the nose, without understanding the requirements of a puzzle, but at least we will have the possibility to continue exploring the island of The Witness.
The exploration of the 10 zones in which the island is divided is the other half of The Witness, which is an open world, but full of closed doors, which can only be unlocked by solving a puzzle. Of course, we can arrive first and try our luck, however, it is more than likely that we do not understand the mechanics of the solution, which will force us to go back and look for simpler puzzles in the learn what to do with the labyrinths. However, after a few hours in which the marked path is 'more or less' clear, we will be able to leave the marked roads and discover the secrets of this island, walking through its beautiful forests, discovering landscapes and reaching places every More curious. It will be at this time when we begin to discover recorders with information, to ask what are those blackish totems that populate the island and to find the first environmental puzzles (Yes, the scenario is also full of mazes).
Actually, The Witness gets us hooked with its proposal thanks to the sensation of continuous realization , and the possibility of leaving a puzzle too complicated and later to solve it, when we are fresh (it has happened to us that after multiple attempts with a puzzle we have left to play, to solve it at first after turning on the console) . The game world is large and intricate , and it will take us a long time to discover all of its areas, but even more so to unravel the many secrets it hides. By the time we know how to locate each of the areas, we will already be axes with the labyrinths, and we can afford to ask ourselves if The Witness has a history. And he has it, light, but complete. Moreover, the game can be finished only by completing the main areas , and leaving aside hundreds of unresolved mazes, recorders not found and videos not seen. In that case we will feel powerful, but we will not understand too much, so we will want to go back and discover the rest of the subtleties that give meaning to the paranoia of The Witness. There are many, many hours of play (so many that we have not been able to find everything), which will lead us to fully understand the plot of the proposal.
In addition, everything in The Witness is geared towards focusing on solving puzzles. There is no music, the sound effects are not too frequent (although always correct) and the visual section distils affection and variety, but without being recharged or showing anything that should surprise us in the technical, to the point that we will notice some popping in the detail of landscape elements (which does not make us face a less beautiful game). It seems that Blow's intention has been to leave us in front of an almost blank folio, only populated by labyrinths in the purest 'book of hobbies' style, while we stroll through an idyllic island. In this sense, The Witness is a success, because it offers something different that treats the player as an intelligent entity, rather than as a mere agent within the function that has been organized. It may be minimalist, yes. I may get tired and desperate too. You can even blame The Witness for something self-pleasing. However, while you play, you live on the island and you just want to solve 'that' puzzle more and discover the hidden mystery. A challenge at the height of the best minds, which also has an extraordinary design.
A game so different that we recommend playing with pencil and paper next to it.