Witcher is denser in terms of map population, but more scripted. You can't kill any NPC you want. Lots of cut scenes for dialogue.
I just started it on pc. The mechanics seem clunky. I'm sure I'll get used to it.
The amount of cut scene dialogue makes the game play slow. It's a bit annoying IMO. I haven't played much of this type of game before so I don't know what "normal" is. I played through Breath of the Wild in 2018-2019 and AC Valhalla last year, Witcher has a much slower pace than either. I think BOTW raised the bar for open world games and W3 came out before BOTW so it's not surprising. The clunky mechanics and fighting is probably just the game showing its age. If BOTW is a 10 in game/fighting mechanics, I'd give AC Valhalla an 8 and W3 a 5, at least from my relatively inexperienced view.