The Witcher Enhanced Edition

By DeltaX, Posted 01 Jul 2010

Based upon a series of short stories, it's odd how some short stories can create an incredible, breathing world with a rich backdrop of lore, a repertoire of great characters, and a story that doesn't really seem so far-fetched.


Graphics: 8/10


The Witcher really looks great. Based upon Bioware's Aurora Engine (which they used for Mass Effect), the game also has the same level of detail as ME, though much like it, not without sacrifices. The game does require a fairly burly machine to run it at a great looking quality, and even then, still suffers from things such as lagging and random crashing, but the detail compared to other games is spectacular, and from an indie company, no less.


Gameplay: 9/10


The Witcher shares many of the standard gameplay features of Mass Effect; go here, talk to this, do quests, proceed with story. However, with many places that you visit early on, you are unable to return there later, so there are rarely any quests that involve some heavy backtracking (which may or may not be good, depending on the player, since it means you pretty much only visit each area once).


Quests are fairly straightfoward. Obtained from either talking to certain people, chancing upon a certain trigger, or grabbing witcher item collection quests off the notice board, most are fairly concise, and come with a helpful quest tracking tool that tells you where the next location for the quest is.


Combat is by far, one of the most unique features that The Witcher has. At the basest, you use two swords:  a steel sword primarily intended for combat against humans, and a special silver sword used for fighting monsters. Each sword has a heavy, fast, and group style (and both swords styles look different, so there's no need to worry about bland combat techniques), which suit different types of enemies and situations. This is coupled with a double-tap/click dodge system, since there is no manual blocking (only an off-chance of parrying a hit, which isn't something you should rely on).


As a witcher, you are able to use Sign spells. This is pretty much their version of magic; there are a total of 5 sign spells which are gathered during the first chapters of the game: telekinesis, shielding, trap, fire, and mind control, in which your "endurance" is consumed to cast these spells. These spells also have a charging function by holding down the spell button for greater effect, which can be either wholly useless (like the shielding spell), to very deadly (the trap spell throws up a field of spikes around you which blind and poisons all opponents near you). You can regenerate health, endurance, and more using potions, which can either be bought, or crafted through alchemy.


Now, regarding alchemy:  it involves fairly simple item collection from various plants you see in the areas that you're in. In order to harvest from a plant, you must read a book about them (same goes with harvesting certain alchemical components from a monster; you must have learned about the monster from a book). Alcohol which is classified as a potion base can be used for alchemy; these can be bought off of shopkeepers. Alchemical formulae for potions must be learned from scrolls or books (which can be found or bought). This means that alchemy is definitely something useful that requires upkeep, and at harder difficulties of the game, is actually required to make it through the game alive.


Sound: 7/10


There's nothing really special about the sound, just more like your stereotypical fantasy RPG with swords clanking, spells charging, and the likes. Voice acting is very average, some good, some bad, some in between, but nothing great. It's not bad, though, and that's just about the only saving point for it. Background music is something I found to be nearly nonexistent throughout my whole playthrough of the game, or just not really grasping enough for it to draw attention to me.


Story: 8/10


Playing as an amnesiac witcher of renown named Geralt of Rivia (aka The White Wolf), you encounter characters from his previous life that you must decide to react to as the new Geralt. The relationships and alliances you form in the early chapters of the game also determine how the game's endgame progresses. Nonetheless, the characters in the game are unique and memorable, from the jovial Dandelion the bard, the caring Shani, the stoic Triss, the conflicted Berengar, and more.


The game advances through 5 chapters, and ends with a prologue. Each chapter features a new area to explore and cultivate, and none ever feel too alike, with each having its own backstory and mood to it. As a major standpoint, relationships in the game are unavoidable in the main story, but it is up to the player as to whether or not to pursue more... laviscious relationships (all of which get you a card... spiffy, eh?). The same also goes along with alliances:  Geralt can choose to ally himself with the Scoia'tael (a band of nonhumans who fight against the humans for their rights), the Order of the Flaming Rose (who preach of a coming ice age and seek to save humanity... but not the nonhumans), or you can choose to flip both of them the bird, and take your own side, making enemies out of the other two in the process. It's all up to the player to decide.


tl;dr: The Witcher is a great game, but still has some technical problems to iron out. However, the great story and setting are thoroughly enjoyable, and if you've been looking for a mature, adult RPG storyline, then this is the game for you.

Verdict: 8/10

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  • I love this review. I think I'm going to give this game a try :)

    Posted Jul 03, 2010

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