The Witcher (2008 game) First Impressions…

The Witcher (2008 game) First Impressions after the break…

The Witcher (2008 game) First Impressions…

No one showed up to suggest a game so I picked one out – The Witcher (The first one, not the recently released sequel).

“The Witcher” is a role-playing game that is played in the 3rd person. The company that designed the game has built a reputation for itself for producing multiple versions of the game and frequently updating it. As a result of all the versions floating around for this game, just writing “I’m playing The Witcher 1” might not be accurate enough for some people. Therefore…

I’m playing The Witcher Enhanced Edition, patched with the Director’s Cut and with v1.5. There. that’s as close to the final version of the game there is and, if it isn’t, I’m not going back to adding another patch or hunting it down. Which leads me to my first suggestion for future developers who want to make a gazillion versions of their game…

  • Please, for the love of [fill in deity here], when someone goes to your website, make it very easy for them to find all of the patches they need for the game. Write something to the effect of, “This is the patch for you.” I really shouldn’t have to hunt for patches in this day and age and certainly not for a game that’s only a few years old. If the game was from 1998? Fine. The Internet Hunt is what I get for playing a game over a decade old. A game from only a few years ago? No excuses.

“The Witcher” involves playing a character called Geralt who physically resembles a young Daniel Craig with white flowing Fabio hair. Apparently, in the world of The Witcher, “Witchers” are magical monster killers who are tolerated but not accepted in their society… Sort of like the medieval equivalent of the Jedi Knights from the Star Wars universe (but a lot less virtuous).

In the story, Geralt has lost his memory (how convenient…) but we quickly realize that Geralt is bad a$$ even amongst Witchers, who are generally considered bad a$$es to begin with. After a mysterious (it’s always mysterious, isn’t it?) attack upon the Witchers’ aging stronghold, Geralt is assigned to hunt down the source behind the attack while bumping into old acquaintances that he has to re-remember.

The game presents itself as a bit more heftier in the RPG department then “Diablo II” but less than an “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.” The game is played with a far away 3rd person view akin to the “Diablo” series with no chance for a 1st person perspective unless you download a 3rd party mod. Even installing and using the mod, though, convinces most that the 1st person effect is useless except for gratuitous eye candy – The game truly was designed with 3rd person in mind and 1st person allows one to see the jaggedness of some of the graphics that would otherwise look perfectly fine farther away.

Writing about gratuitous eye candy, “The Witcher” has no qualms about it’s main character bending the laws of ethics in order to have sex with the ladies. Unlike “Oblivion,” you’re stuck with Geralt as the player character unless you download another custom mod to adjust this as well. While I haven’t done so yet, I suspect that such a mod would not be worthwhile as the game story clearly revolves around Geralt. There is a system of “$ex cards” where “The Witcher” acquires an unique card for every woman that he can have sex with throughout the game. It’s like Pokemon but for 14-year old boys and their mental equivalents. I know one should not judge other cultures and their norms but the entire “card system” seems a bit trivial.

Leveling involves gaining experience points and then using “tokens” to buy new abilities. It’s not exactly the most honest way for advancing a character (A sword-swinging character can spend their tokens on magic spells and vice versa).

Combat involves a sort of rhythmic clicking. You have 3 fighting stances with your “Witcher Sword”: Fast, Strong and Group. The actual sword-swinging is done for you but you have to time the clicking to allow for bonus hits which quickly accumulate and allows one to successfully encounter creatures for more skilled then the player.

One way that “The Witcher” appears to be significantly different then “Oblivion” is the lack of openness. The game appears to be restricted to zones (just like Oblivion) but The Witcher appears to have a much more restrictive outdoor environment, as restrictive as an indoor environment. For instance, simple fences are as formidable as a brick wall.

Other differences include restrictions on inventory: Oblivion’s was based on weight but Witcher’s is based on space and amount. Alchemy is present in both games but the Witcher is more restrictive then Oblivion in this category – In Oblivion, you knew all of the recipes and all of the plants. The better you became at alchemy, the more effects each ingredient could offer but you needed special equipment to utilize the most from that recipe. In Witcher, you have to learn the formulas but there is no equipment for you to need, only to rest by a fireplace and the potions don’t appear to change as you get more proficient – You either make the potion or you don’t.

The dice game seems like a lot of work for not a lot of pay-off. It just seems like it was placed there for players to game save their way towards having more money.

I definitely do not hate “The Witcher” – Far from it. I’m enjoying this game more then the previous game, “Cryostasis.” However, anyone who thinks that this is a sandbox substitute for “Oblivion” has not been properly informed. My initial impression of this game is that it’s a souped-up Action/RPG with the looks of a “Diablo” but with considerable more RPG elements.

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