The Witcher

December 14, 2007

I started playing The Witcher last night, and I thought I’d make some early comments. If you want an indepth review, Google can show you a ton of them.

New battle mechanics, a fantastic storyline, and a gritty setting make The Witcher one of the most engrossing, mature RPGs to arrive on the PC in years.

That’s from Gamespot, which gives the game an 8.5 and Eurogamer gives it a respectable 7.5 and says;

One for those who value story and character over technical innovation then, but definitely a game worth trying if the concept has tickled your fancy.

Now that’s great and all, especially as I maintain that good characters and character development so important in a game. The problem is, after playing for an hour I’m just not feeling it. Yes, I’m admittedly only an hour in but there’s not been anything so far that hooks me, or makes me care about anyone or anything in this game. The plot mechanic of amnesia is straight out of some daytime soap, and the characters seem about as deep. Everyone I’ve seen so far is very wooden in both a graphical sense as well as a story sense. For the record, I’m playing at 1680×1050 max detail with very smooth frame rates so my comments on the graphics are not crippled by a lousy system. At one point I was drawn out of an ingame cutscene as I was thinking how much they characters look like wax dummies. The pre-rendered stuff is spectacularly rendered (less spectacularly animated) and the overall in-game graphics aren’t exactly bad… they’re just nothing to write home about. Sadly, I’ve played Crysis and as I suspected that experience has limited the wow factor in just about every game that comes after it as far as graphics go.


Graphics notwithstanding however, the characters do seem wooden. The story is there, the attempts at development are there and the rather long in-game cutscenes are there… yet I find myself not caring much about the charactersor the plot. Without spoiling it there is a scene early on that’s clearly supposed to pull the ol’ heart strings, but instead just left me sitting there rather dispassionately waiting for the exposition to be over so I could click-click-click my way through some more combat.

About combat; I only found out this game was based on the NeverWinter Nights 2 engine shortly before playing, but even had I not read that it would have been obvious. This game reeks of NWN, which isn’t a bad thing exactly as I enjoyed NWN back in the day but the more I noticed the similarities the more I wanted to actually go play NWN.

If playing one game makes you wish you were playing another, if the characters in it leave you bored and dispassionate and if the graphics are nothing to write home about… I suppose that equals a pretty bland gaming experience. Still as I said, I’m only an hour in so I’ll give it some more time before rendering my final judgement. As it stands so far though, I’m not terribly impressed.

Luckily I still have my NWN discs kicking around if things don’t improve.


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