The Witcher PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 8.9
Sound 9.2
Value 8.9
Developer: Atari Australia
Review Date:
December 2007
Reviewer:
Jason Piec
Classification: MA15+

8.8


The Witcher

BACKGROUND

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 protagonist

  • A charismatic and unique character, Geralt is a mutant swordmaster and professional monster slayer.

  • 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 play.

  • Inspired by the writings of renowned Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

  • Featuring adult themes, less fairy-tale than typical fantasy, with mature social issues like racism, political intrigue and genocide.

  • It 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 storyline.

  • All quests can be accomplished in several ways and the game has three different endings depending on the player’s actions and choices throughout the adventure.

  • Engage in complex yet intuitive real-time combat based on real medieval sword-fighting techniques.

  • Motion capture performed by medieval fighting experts at Frankfurt’s renowned Metric Minds studio, resulting in 600 spectacular and authentic in-game combat animations.

  • Six 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. 

GAMEPLAY 

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 Inn. 

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.  

 GRAPHICS 

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 times.  

SOUND 

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. 

CONTROLS 

Controlling 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. 

OVERALL 

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.

 






 
 



   Games
   PlayStation 4
   XBox One
   PlayStation 3
   XBox 360
   PC
   PS Vita
   Wii U
   Wii
   3DS
   DS
   PSP
   Apple
   Casual
   Android
   Classics

  Movies
   Movies & IMAX
   Blu-ray
   Action
   Anime
   Comedy
   Crime & Thrillers
   Documentaries
   Drama
   Family
   Horror
   Kids
   Lifestyle
   Music
   Romance
   Sci-fi
   Sport

   IT
   PC
   Apple
   Hardware

   Information & Fun
   News
   Interviews
   Articles

   Tara's G-Spot
   Loren's Level
   Comics
   Books
   Mind & Body
   Music
   Competitions
   Community
 








 
 




Impulse Gamer is your source for the
latest Reviews and News on Video Games,
Entertainment, Pop Culture, Hardware &
More!

 


© 2001 - 2014 Impulse Gamer
 

 

About Us | Contact Us