The Witcher may be a competent, original RPG...but it's sure not the gem in the rough that many make it out to be.

User Rating: 8 | The Witcher PC
On the plus side:

- Generally originally story, environments and gameplay...things that RPG games usually fail spectacularly at and deliver the same old stuff that's been done a million times before.

- The graphics are attractive - cutscenes in particular look gorgeous - without being too punishing on the system requirements.

- Sound is great - combat sounds crisp, music is pleasant and really sets the mood, and most of the voice actors are fantastic (if you can overlook the fact that they sometimes have to read utterly retarded dialogue). Geralt in particular is convincing as a gravelly-voiced antihero.

- Combat mechanics are simple, but feel fun and still require a basic degree of strategy. Combat never feels tedious or drawn out.

- I honestly thought the 'sex cards' were a fun collector's item in a game made for adults, as opposed to the usual scavenger hunts games throw at us gamers just to upset our latent OCD: y'know, the sort of things which aren't fun, but we do anything just because we want to play the game thoroughly.

Cons:

- Combat is too easy once you get the hang of it. My suggestion: play for an hour or so on normal difficulty, then switch over to hard, which makes you pay more attention in combat and rely more heavily on potions.

- The game's length is inflated by pointless fetching and running back and forth. The Witcher would have been vastly more fun if it was half the length.

- Inventory management and looting systems are horrible and click intensive to achieve the same mechanical tasks.

- I didn't like the Aurora Engine when it was used for Neverwinter Nights 2, and I like it even less with the Witcher. The game WILL crash with enough regularity that you will plan accordingly.

- The Quicksave button generates a NEW save file every time you press it. These save files will become 20+MB in size. Your save directory WILL hit gigabytes in size and the load screen WILL take 30 seconds to appear if you do not regularly delete the majority of the contents of the save directory.

- The writing was clearly done by someone who spoke English as a second language...which completely ruins any Geralt's potentially philosophical moments and makes attempts at humour seem puerile. Would it really cost that much money to hire someone who actually speaks English to punch up the dialogue before publishing it?

- The bad translation also makes it harder to follow the details of the story. In places, it feels like there IS no story, and you end up repeating the following steps: 1) click through your quest log until you get an arrow on your mini-map, 2) go to the arrow, and 3) kill, pick up or talk to the item indicated by the arrow until 4) you get a new quest and return to 1.

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