The Witcher (PC) review
"Interesting, this game is nothing if not interesting. In so many ways the game is just enough different from all the rest of the RPGs to be considered quite good, in other ways interesting is quite odd indeed. "
Interesting, this game is nothing if not interesting. In so many ways the game is just enough different from all the rest of the RPGs to be considered quite good, in other ways interesting is quite odd indeed.
The combat system is initially engaging, and at first you really feel that they (the devs) are on to something and this may be a fun ride overall. Unfortunately while the choices of how to spend your points in level ups appears to be varied and 'interesting', things just don't pan out that way. Character development and level ups are linked here. The level up choices turn out to be nearly as linear as the story, but while a linear story can be saved by having varied character development allowing different avenues to victory the Witcher is a one horse race, or more specifically a 2 sword race. Combat is about the two Witchers swords and his limited attack styles of Fast Strong and Group. Bizzarely you can pick up other weapons but they serve no purpose, in fact you have various slots for them (not many) and they seem to be for show at best, while providing a bit of coin.
The visuals and graphics are fabulous, very much on the level of Oblivion, perhaps better in that there seems to be much more loving detail in the world. I used the Over The Shoulder (OTS) view and it worked well, the first cave I went into, which was a huge natural cavern looked incredible and the bats flying by made me duck more than once. Very Cool. This is the engine that runs NWN2 and we can only wish that NWN2 looked half as good.
Next we have the story, wherein you are a monster slayer (Witcher) who has amnesia. This is an acceptable plot device as it explains why you know so many people, yet don't know them at the same time. It gives you a sense of establishment with the world but allows you to be your own person, more or less (more less than more actually…). In this story Witchers seem to be on the decline and the reason appears to be that evil has embraced moral relativism, or maybe it was humans had done so and then evil followed, whatever they are getting at there. Evil thrives while Witchers fade.
Now to the point. I found the modern relativistic morality to be completely out of place in my fantasy RPG, and I did not appreciate the heavy handed liberal morality messages. In a lame effort, racism is dealt with in the game along with other modern 'issues'. Apparently humans are the culprits and the non-humans are the victims, I found that to be a rather transparent indictment all in all. Anyway, is it racism if the 'oppressed' aren't actually one of the human races? Are elves a race or a species? Confused by all this? So was I. Speaking of confused, the dialogue was plenty confused at times. On the plus side the voice acting is panned by many reviewers but I actually liked it. The accents were a real draw for me, and though some have called them cheesey I have no idea why as they seem to be genuine to me, so how is that cheesey? I realize that Scottish dwarves and eastern European merchants might not be everyone's cup of tea but those are the accents we have in this world aren't they, and so they'll do for atmosphere for me. I liked them. However, the dialogue trees are obtuse at times (most times), and even with giving the developers a pass for some translation oddities I found many of the conversations to be more than strange. This includes some rather uncomfortable moralizing by various characters, to include, much to my dismay, my own character! I sat dumbfounded as my character spouted more sophomoric inanity than a high school debate team mainlining hormones. Why was I saying these things? Why was a dwarf listening? Why do I shag everything in sight but I'm also concerned with such moral questions as racism? Apparently I can be a sexist pig, but a racist pig is just right out. It was all very strange really.
The quest system was a nice touch; although it included a lot of backtracking it really gave some twists and turns. None of the quests was a simple, go kill this, type. Well, some were, but not the majority and the chapter system and leveling of monsters did not seem to interfere with the whole affair. In other words I felt challenged but not overwhelmed and seemed to be appropriately leveled for most missions.
Overall there were some very strange moments in the game, some odd character dialogue and extemporaneous moralizing but as I said in the beginning it was all interesting enough to keep me playing. Unfortunately, there is zero reason to play again. You can make a few key choices to change the ending, but you can't develop your character in any meaningful way which would make you want to try again. Good game, it's worth the money but it's not a great game.
Epilogue - I just finished this game, I wrote the above about 2/3 of the way through. I'm glad I'm done with it, as it got worse as it went along. For the last 1/3 of the game money is useless, that was annoying. The moralizing was laid on even thicker, and I had to laugh (in an attempt to stop from throwing the disc in the trash) when 'global climate change' was included. And what happened to the love interest? It completely fell off the map, not that I cared for it, but it seemed to be a main plot line. I finally found something really I liked in the 2 minute high quality graphics cut scene at the end. But it sure was a lot of mediocre gaming just to get to that, I dropped the rating .5 for the dismal last 1/3. I really reccomend you get the first version, the dialouge oddities are not to be missed.
Community review by jsgx3 (July 12, 2009)
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