"What? Are you out of your mind? It's getting 9+ ratings from most respected reviewers!"
I know. But I've still got an ornate axe to grind. When Geralt made his first appearance in the first "Witcher", I was quick to snatch it up. It was rpg goodness, a darker take on fantasy than the market usually offers. The trailers had me counting the minutes to release. Once I got into it, I could sit in front of the PC for hours and carve up baddies with enthusiasm, switching from one fighting stance to the next as tactics demanded, and it seldom got tedious. The fun soon ran out, and Atari eventually conceded that "Witcher" suffered serious design flaws that made the game difficult, if not impossible, to finish.
This isn't unusual. Game designers and developers are under immense pressure from distributors to make deadlines, and quality almost always suffers for it. I could name a dozen games off the top of my head that could have been epic if they had just a little more work put into them, but if a developer has to choose between an unfinished product and painful layoffs, I guess I'm not the one to judge. That's a tough choice. With the widespread availability of high-speed internet, the gaming industry is often able to make up some of that quality gap through "patches", downloaded updates that correct flaws in a game after purchase.
Whether the gameplay flaws in "The Witcher" could have been repaired with patches or if those flaws were too catastrophic to be mended remotely is something I'm not programming-savvy enough to say. I am an educated consumer, however, and when Atari released "The Witcher: Enhanced Edition" only a few months after the first, I experienced a moment of hope...
From the Gamespot review (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/thewitcherenhancededition/review.html?tag=summary%3Bread-review): "The Witcher: Enhanced Edition is a great role-playing game. Developer CD Projekt has corrected almost all of the problems that made the original something of a flawed gem."
...but then the other shoe dropped. Atari wanted full market price, even from gamers who purchased the broken original. "Really?", I said. "Atari must have some 64-meg balls to think they can sell me the same game twice!" I'm happy to see Geralt return to offer more great fantasy rpg in the new sequel, but this consumer has been bitten once. I think the Witcher will have to pursue his adventures without me.