A few issues, and requires a lot from the player, but beyond that, The Witcher is a really good RPG

User Rating: 8.5 | The Witcher: Enhanced Edition PC
Frequent readers and visitors of my reviews (the few there are) know that I don't play a lot of PC games. While it does have some pretty good games, there just aren't enough that makes me want to go out and spend money on upgrading my PC to include the latest graphics card and such (unlike 10 years ago where everything seemed to be taking place on the PC). That is the reason why I originally missed out on The Witcher. I read a lot of good things about it, but it didn't look interesting to me, and I was more than content with the RPG's I was playing on the consoles. That all changed two months ago, when my brother suggested a possible purchase. Thus we have this review to read.


The game follows Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher (basically a monster slayer). After he has rid the king's daughter of an evil curse, a period of year's passes by, where he is taken to Kaer Morhen, a Witcher stronghold, with his memory lost, and very much alive, despite seemingly being killed a few years ago. Almost as soon as he gets there, the place is attacked by a gang called Salamandra, who manages to steal a few of their secrets, including a mutagen which alters a Witcher. The Witchers set out, to various places of the world, to find information about them, and steal the secrets back.
Despite suffering from the same old amnesia cliché, the story is actually pretty good. It's filled with interesting and realistic characters, and has quite a few twists to ensure the player's interest. And despite the game taking place in the same old medieval setting (complete with Dwarfs and Elves), the game takes a dark, yet interesting spin on it, and it does it's make the world seem as realistic as possible.

It's also one of those stories where the story changes, depending on the choices you make. These choices are far from your typical good/evil choices, but it's more a matter of narrative and character based. The choices enable you to continue through the story almost at your own leisure, though it also asks you to live with whatever consequence you should receive. It makes you think a little more about your choices, than any other game does, and gives you more control over the story (and character backstory) as a result. Overall it's a great story, that lets the player decide the various events. Yet it also manages to tell a realistic and gritty story, that keeps the players interest.



The Witcher is (as mentioned before) a role playing game. A complicated one, so I'll try my best to explain how it works. Combat is certainly different from many games, yet also familiar. You click on an enemy to attack, which is pretty similar to most PC RPG's. The difference here is this: you have two swords, Silver and Steel, one is meant for Humans (Dwarfs and Elves) and the other is meant for Monsters. So while figuring that out, you also has to think about what style you fight in. There's Strong (meant for the bigger and tougher enemies), Fast (meant for someone around your size or lower monsters) and Group (for when there's more than one enemy). You have spells to take account for too, but it should be possible to get through most, if not all fights without using any spells. Not that there's mean to speak of. Some games have a buttload of spells, while The Witcher only has 5.

It can take a while to actually remember what they do, partially because of the weird names, like Igni (Fire spell) and Aard (some kind of shockwave spell). It's a bit complicated at first, but after a few tries, it should be easy to learn, and when that happens, you should realize that the game somehow manages to keep combat-clicking alive. It does have an element of strategy, not just to swords and style, but also when you chose to attack. Most games just have you spamming the mouse button. It makes you anticipate your enemies' movements. Of course, it's not perfect. At times, Geralt continuous misses some monsters, which he shouldn't have any difficult hitting in the first place. So sometimes, he'll just stand there, missing and getting hit countless times. It also doesn't help that in some places, one encounter can lead to several enemies attacking you at the same time. It happens a lot, and it's quite annoying at times.

Outside of combat, you can run around doing quests as in any other RPG.
The quests can be your similar "kill x amount of monsters and get their stuff", or bring stuff from point A to point B. There aren't a lot of variations to this however, so most of the time, you'll just walk from one place to another, to bring and get items. What's even more annoying about the monster quests is that in order to get their items, you have to find a book about them and read it, before you can collect whatever they hold. It's an annoying system that can just bring a complete stop to those quests. At least, the reasoning for those quests is realistic. Its people with realistic problems, so at least they are well written. If it gets boring, you can at least just go rent a prostitute and get an explicit sexual card for it. It might be offending to some women, given they basically end up like trading cards. They aren't of any use anyway, so their inclusion is a bit questionable. But please, don't think too much about it, and just ignore it.

Another problem with the quests though, is that they often require talking to specific persons, who appears at one spot at certain times a day. Only problem is, the game doesn't always tell you when the person is at the exact place. So naturally you want to rest, but the only way to do so, is to find a campfire (and sing Combaja), or sleep at an inn. Why you can't wait whenever you want too, I have no idea.

Campfires are also where you can spend talents (bronze, silver & gold) to level up, and perform some alchemy. Alchemy basically lets you create potions (of whichever formulas you know of). There are a lot of potions that does everything from enhancing your regeneration, to make you faster and better in combat, among other things. Gathering ingredients is thankfully easy, though some can only be gained at certain events, and some can only be gathered if you researched about those monsters. On the lower difficult settings, you can get by with using it just sparingly, though on the highest difficultly, it's essential. It's easy to learn though. But despite that, the game could do with some more useful tutorials, that teaches the various things.

The difficulty is fair for the most part, though there are some tough difficulty spikes (like the aforementioned monster thing), and some boss battles requires a few retries. Despite the leveling structure, it doesn't always help just to grind. You need to think about what kind of upgrades you'll buy. You can't count on getting better equipment either. There are only a few swords in the game, and only 3 armor upgrades (from what I could find out). What it amounts to, is that The Witcher is one of those games that require you to think, and not just go out and expect the new armor or leveling up to save you all the time.

The game isn't also without it's technical issues. The loading times can range from just a few seconds, to 20 seconds, and saving takes even longer. The game also crashed on me a few times. Especially when I played in Windowed Mode.

The game is really long too. All of the press material promises around 80 hours of gameplay, and it took me around 79 to complete the game. It's probably due to the many side quests, which I ended getting involved in quite a lot. Helped me a bit when I had to continue the story, but it took a lot of time. Counter with the fact that there's many different ways events can play out, and you have enough reason to revisit the game, several times. There are new adventures in the Enhanced Edition, but I never really bothered to play them fully. They don't have any voice acting, and they just feel like last minute additions.


Graphics & Sound

The game is from 2007 (and updated a bit in 2008), and I guess for the time, it did look good. Environments are huge and the frame rate is actually really good, not chugging one bit. The magic effects are good looking, and the monsters have some pretty good designs as well. The characters however, are weird. For the most part, they are okay, but they can look incredibly weird doing some cut-scenes, and despite the game being updated to have motion capture movements in them, they movements looks incredibly weird. Like the developers had no idea how to animate moving characters… or maybe they did it without motion capture after all, I don't know.
The graphics is supposed to look better than the original version, if you have the Enhanced version, but without playing the original version, I can't really compare the two.

The music is pretty good and helps create a certain atmosphere in the various environments, though some ambience could have been nice. The voice acting is okay, though at times they can sound weird



The Witcher is a huge RPG, which demands the players to think, before they act, and read up on the game's systems. It refuses at times to tell you think about itself, which can scare some off. But if you stick with it, The Witcher is actually a good game that has its impact lessened a bit by a few issues. RPG fans should love the game, for the many choices it gives you with leveling and the story, though if you're not a RPG fan, and not willing to find out a few things on your own, you should probably steer clear.