So here we go
with yet another RPG game. Most see an RPG as a game, in which you
get to play the character, earn experience points and gain levels.
This may be somewhat true to the casual RPG fan but the hardcore
players will beg to differ. The true essence of a good RPG is the
ability to fully immerse yourself as a particular character. This
involves being able to create his or her personality, traits,
skills, race etc. The Witcher therefore is not your traditional RPG,
you don’t make up your character rather you play a predefined hero.
This hero is known as Geralt the White Wolf. He is the most famed of
all the Witchers. But who are the Witchers?
Geralt of Rivia: a one-of-a-kind
charismatic and unique
character, Geralt is a mutant
swordmaster and professional
Choose from over 250 special
abilities correlated to
attributes, combat skills and
magical powers to build the
character in a way best suited
to tactical needs and style of
Inspired by the writings of
renowned Polish author Andrzej
Featuring adult themes, less
fairy-tale than typical fantasy,
with mature social issues like
racism, political intrigue and
is a harsh world where nothing
is black or white, right or
wrong, often forcing players to
choose between the lesser of two
evils to advance.
Full of turns, twists and
ambiguous moral decisions which
have real impact on the
quests can be accomplished in
several ways and the game has
three different endings
depending on the player’s
actions and choices throughout
Engage in complex yet intuitive
real-time combat based on real
Motion capture performed by
medieval fighting experts at
Frankfurt’s renowned Metric
Minds studio, resulting in 600
spectacular and authentic
in-game combat animations.
combat styles, dozens of
potions, complex alchemy system,
modifiable weapons and powerful
magic add tactical depth to the
fluid real-time experience.
You pickup the
story as Geralt when the time of the witchers being everywhere
battling monsters and ridding their scourge from the land has
passed. A Great War has engulfed the land in fear and hatred. Humans
fight against non-humans in a hellish battle that brings forth the
evil that nightmares are made of. Geralt a battered man, barely
conscious and no recollection of his former self stumbles on across
the swamps in a remote valley until he is helped by a mysterious
tracker who is able to transport him by wagon to Kaer Morhen, the
last bastion for the small number of remaining witchers.
It is here that
we learn of a powerful and crazed sorcerer who has taken mutagens
(magic potions which give the witchers supernatural powers) from
them. The potions must not fall into the hands of evil as the fate
of the world depends on it. The witchers must embark on a desperate
mission to find the mutagens before it is too late. With the help of
Triss a sorceress and Geralt they must search the land of Temeria
for these potions to restore the balance of power.
The game play
in the Witcher centers around playing Geralt the hunter of monsters.
In this role Geralt has the ability to cast a small number of spells
and engages the use of a two handed sword for human enemies and a
silver blade for attacking monsters. Both these weapons can be
cycled during combat and you also have the ability to change
fighting styles. A strong stance can be taken when fighting
well-defended foes, a quick stance for nimble enemies and a special
group stance for targeting multiple enemies. The combat is action
orientated and uses motion capture techniques to give a nice fluid
and lifelike feel to it. At times Geralts attacks may resemble the
brute force of Conan the Barbarian or the finesse of Zorro.
You can chain
together attacks by clicking on an enemy and then when the cursor is
on fire clicking again to start the next part of the action to
perform a combo move. There are also five signs that you can use to
employ magic in your arsenal, which is needed to finish off certain
enemies who are more susceptible to this kind of attack. The use of
potions is also important as they are needed to help heal Geralt or
for him to see in the dark. However overuse of potions will poison
Gerald’s blood and to rectify this he must rest by a fire or an
There are three
main camera angles, which can be used to view the game. These
include high and low isometric views and an over the shoulder view.
I mainly used the over the shoulder view as it worked quite well and
felt more immersive.
There are also
various other undertakings that Geralt may engage in, which
contribute to non-linear style of the game play. These include
trying to out drink NPC’s to gain information, playing poker dice to
gain extra cash which is very much a game of chance. Another
activity, which may appeal to many, is the ability to seduce and
sweet talk the female gender. If successful Geralt’s risqué
engagement will usually end in a tastefully censored portrait shot
of himself and his lover.
The graphics in
the Witcher although not groundbreaking are still quite impressive.
Using a heavily revised version of the NeverWinter Nights engine,
the rendering of Geralt, NPCs and monsters are excellent. The fluid
animation during battles as previously mentioned is pleasing to the
eye and quite realistic. The environments in the game overall are
the standout feature, with changing weather details and night and
day effects that add to make an effective visual experience. The
outdoor locations have abundant foliage and plants, which add depth.
Areas such as the swamps with all the grass and fog effects where
also fantastic, however can be taxing on the overall frame rate at
In the Witcher
the sound is somewhat of a mixed bag. The sound effects for the
combat including the cutting of flesh and metal being bashed upon
metal for example do a good job of making you feel as though you are
in the thick of the action. The music has plenty of atmosphere and
ambient sounds help to create a believable environment and effective
time period, full of danger and excitement.
One minor gripe
is to do with the voice acting, which is serviceable but at times
seemed a bit lackluster and short. Also since when did they call
women ‘babe’ in medieval times? The only other issue I noticed was
also at times the volume levels of some characters was loud and
others were quieter.
Geralt in the Witcher is done in two ways. The first option is by
using just the mouse only or secondly by using a combination of the
mouse and keyboard. IF using the keyboard the default controls are
movement by WASD keys and strafing during combat. By left clicking
on an enemy you enter combat and as previously mentioned once the
cursor is on fire you can proceed to left click and reel off a combo
move. Using the witcher’s magic abilities, which are collected as
you adventure you, can also deal out special damage. This is done
using signs, which are initiated by pressing the assigned number
key. In time you will learn to use these abilities to advantage
according to what type of foe you are fighting. There is also the
ability to pause the game during combat and select what attack style
you wish to use.
The Witcher is
a very well crafted adult orientated RPG. With a solid story line
and elements such as crazed religious zealots, racial tensions, and
sexual connotations, it is certainly a game that differs to the
standard RPG fare. The game is immersive and is filled with
interesting characters and excellent environments. Also the way the
alchemy and leveling system has been done is very good. Much more
than your basic hack and slash affair and with a non linear path to
explore this game definitely has an edge over other RPGs. Minor
problems aside such as the long level loading times and minor sound
issues, this is certainly a game that deserves having a look at.