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The Witcher Enhanced Edition
Reviewed by
Jason Piec
on
The Witcher Enhanced Edition PC Review. With faster load times, improved dialogue and voice acting, The Witcher Enhanced Edition retails for just $19.95 which is worth every gold penny.
Rating:
4.5

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.9
Sound 9.2
Value 9.2
Developer: AIE
Review Date:
August 2012
Reviewer:
Jason Piec
Classification: MA15+

9.0


The Witcher Enhanced Edition

Geralt of Rivia returns again... in the Witcher Enhanced Edition which addresses a few issues of the original game such as technical faults and questionable dialogue. Thanks for the game being such a hit, CDPROJEKT RED have been able to re-release the title to address the loading issues, redo some of the voice acting and dialogue plus add about 5 hours to the gameplay, thanks to two new missions. If you missed the game the first time around, now is the time to check out The Witcher. With that said, the majority of the gameplay remains the same but the story has been tweaked, thanks to the new dialogue written and new voice acting. Having played the original, it's almost like a new game. I guess some of these issues were lost in translation in the original release of the game.

BACKGROUND

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? 

Key Features

  • Uncontested swordsmanship, uncanny night vision, unrivalled knowledge of alchemy, and ability to spark desire in women and trepidation amongst foes

  • Training, trials and tribulations let you tap into supernatural abilities

  • Non-linear Decisions and Consequences

  • You will be faced with a vast set of choices, each with its own impact on the fate of the fantasy world. Retracing your steps with different decisions will unlock alternative endings and previously unseen sequences

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. In relation to the two new missions, "The Price of Neutrality" and "Side Effects", these add roughly about 5 hours of additional gameplay. In the Price of Neutrality, Geralt much return to the Witcher stronghold of Kaer Morehen to decide the fate of a young woman, whereas in Side Effects, Geralt must travel to the town of Vyzim to help out a friend who has gotten himself into trouble. Two great additions to the story.

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 look fantastic and some of the load times have been fixed with the areas.

SOUND 

In the first release, The Witcher the sound was somewhat of a mixed bag but fortunately this has been fixed. 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. Voice acting as mentioned is considerably better as are the sound levels compared to the original game.

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. Best of all, the Enhanced Edition has revitalised the game by not only modernising it but making it fit better with the Western Audience. With faster load times, improved dialogue and voice acting, The Witcher Enhanced Edition retails for just $19.95 which is worth every gold penny. Best of all, if you own the original, you can download these updates via the Witcher pack for free.

So it's a win win situation!

 






 
 



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