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    Refried Hero's The Witcher (PC)

    [January 13, 2008 02:40:19 AM]
    Gameplay

    Stepping back into the world of the Witcher, the first thing I notice as I move into the first quest line of the game is the variety of the NPC interaction. Like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, the game world is populated by many NPCs, each of them interacting with each other, or the player. But not just that, the NPCs even have a reaction to the weather. As I ran through a small town, a light rain started, all of the nearby NPCs immediately ran to cover and continued their conversations there. Somewhat of a shocking experience compared to many of the other games I have played where, if there is weather, the NPCs have little to no reaction to it at all. This of course immensely helped the feeling of a real world that the player existed in.

    Further the game has just been fun so far. It is hard to put a finger on why. The combat seems to flow fairly well into the game, and the interaction between the character in the world is quite polished. The story, while still unfolding, seems to be heading in an interesting direction. All of these together seem to propel the player through the world. As, aside from some minor control inconveniences, the movement and flow of action and social interaction is quite brisk and enjoyable.

    Design

    I do however have somewhat mixed feelings from a design standpoint. Having only experienced a small portion of what the game, hopefully, has to offer, I find the design of the world itself to be somewhat bland and restrictive. The first explorable area is a relatively small village on the outskirts of a city, which you cannot enter due to story reasons. The area itself is not particularly boring or poorly laid out, but in order to complete one of the quest lines, the player is required to run through the village, form one side to another, multiple times. By the time I had run back and forth three times it was a fairly frustrating experience. Further, around many area's in the village are fences that the player cannot cross. These low wooden fences seem like they would be no impediment for someone who slays demonic hounds, and yet there they are blocking the path. This is really just a minor frustration though.

    Much of the rest of the game, however, seemed rather sound from a design perspective. In fact, having played many action RPGs, the style of timed clicking in order to execute combos was a nice break from the standard hack and slash style of games like Diablo. Switching between sword styles is easy as well, with just on press of a button. As the game will challenge the player with different types of enemies, it is extremely helpful to be able to switch between sword styles easily and quickly in order to experiment with what works best. Further, the game promises a whole new type of sword in the later levels, which will allow for an even greater selection of styles for players to choose from. Choice with an easily noticeable outcome is helpful for the player, and the game handles this well with the different sword styles in combat.

    Oddly enough, with the story providing all of the conflict in the game, I find that it is almost as much fun to play the game for talking to the other characters as it is to follow the story quests. Many of the NPCs provide useful tidbits about people or quests in the area, and almost every NPC I talked to had something different to say. There was no case of generic line number 25 being used over and over again, and I personally think this will draw in many players who are interested in seeing a realistic game world where every person is different. On top of that, many other characters will have extra dialog options if you have certain items equipped that show your affiliation with a certain faction. Simple touches that make the game world seem much more immersive.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 15th, 2008 at 13:25:54.


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    [January 13, 2008 12:43:40 AM]
    Summary

    In The Witcher, the player controls a 'witcher' or, as the game describes them, a anti-monster specialist. A specific witcher, named Geralt. Built on a revamped Neverwinter Nights engine, the game is either a top-down third person RPG, or an over-the-shoulder view third person RPG.

    Gameplay

    Playing the game was both fun and frustrating at the same time. As abilities unlocked during the introduction/tutorial level, the player would be required to use them at a certain time. Especially for the sword styles, this confused me. Geralt is a master swordsman, why can't I use all of his abilities immediately. Spells too had much the same problem, as Geralt – as per the common story cliché – has forgotten everything he knew when the events of the novel (on which the game is a continuation of) took place.

    However, even with this minor griping aside, much of the gameplay was also fun. The combat is a refreshing change of pace from other third person RPGs, like Diablo or Neverwinter Nights. As combat progresses in The Witcher, the player is required to attack in time so the the succession of blows creates a combo for the most damage.

    Also, the story is amazing. Aside from some dialog that feels really tacked on, which isn't too surprising as the game is translated from Polish, the interaction with each character feels fresh and unique. Sure some of the characters follow common clichés, but the voicing and the dialog make them feel unique and real. For example, one the first characters you meet, Lambert, acts with an egotistical air to another character, Merigold. As you talk to others about the two, you almost feel as if you can understand them better.

    Even with the frustrating beginning, the character interaction available seems to allow for a 'ton' of immersion, which is definitely something I enjoy in an RPG.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 15th, 2008 at 13:25:37.


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    Status

    Refried Hero's The Witcher (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 12 January, 2008

    Opinion
    Refried Hero's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See Refried Hero's page

    See info on The Witcher

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