The Witcher was a great game. The Witcher Enhanced Edition, predictably, is even better.
We got our first look at The Witcher Enhanced at E3 2008 from CD Projekt, the Polish developer behind the 2007 role-playing hit. Enhanced is not a sequel or an expansion, but a rerelease. Our first question: If it's not broken, why fix it? The answer was simple. Fans on the forums had plenty of criticisms: inventory system, repetitive characters and enemies, and stiff player models, to name a few. So CD Projekt answered, and the result is The Witcher Enhanced.
Think of the enhanced version as a replacement for the original. For the exact same price, you'll be treated to loads of new bonus features that we'll detail in a moment, as well as five hours of additional gameplay. And for you angry Witcher fans who already purchased the game, fear not. All of the content from the enhanced edition will be available for download, for free. That's right, free.
So what's included? Of course you have the original game, based on the creepy universe created by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski in his 1990 fantasy novel The Last Wish. Given that much of the voice-over work was a bit cheesy, CD Projekt rerecorded about 25 percent of the dialogue in the game. Sprechen sie Deutch? The German dialogue was completely scrapped and rerecorded. And if you really care about languages, there are about 10 different language choices for both spoken dialogue and subtitles, great for those who want to listen in Italian and read in Chinese. CD Projekt says that The Witcher is best played in the original Polish.
The gameplay remains largely untouched, but you will notice a bit more diversity among Temeria's many inhabitants. Previously, swarms of enemies of the same type looked exactly the same, and citizens in town were nearly all identical twins. CD Projekt has since been able to randomize many elements of these character models. Although the models themselves will remain the same, clothes will be generated at random so each person has a different look. We watched our character take out several drowners that each looked slightly different from each other--some brown, some green--a nice improvement over the original game.
Characters in the many dialogue scenes will move and gesture in a much more realistic manner, mostly because they stood like statues in the original. Now, with hundreds of new animations, characters will gesture and move much more like real people. The other major aesthetic improvement is with the menu system. The protagonist Geralt will have slots for his weapons and armor now placed on his body, and alchemy potions are organized so that you don't have to continually mix and match to keep your inventory organized. In the original game, when you picked up items you were taken right to the inventory screen; in Enhanced, items will simply move to your inventory without taking you out of the game.
Throw in a map, a short story by Sapkowski, the original soundtrack, a second CD of songs inspired by The Witcher, a behind-the-scenes movie, and a game guide, and you have yourself the very edition of enhanced. This is the Witcher that the Witcher should have been, and it will be available later this year.