The Witcher Reviews

While the official site highlights high user rating scores, the Witcher gets some more mixed reviews. Bit-Tech is pretty negative ending its review with a 7, and after lamenting the tired amnesia plot goes on for two pages to rag on the graphics.
The graphics in The Witcher are, if I'm going to be really blunt, a little bit schizophrenic in my opinion. In the screenshots, which are naturally all taken on highest detail, they look pretty good but in-game it's a slightly different matter.

The main problem is clipping and moving around. Using an isometric view and using WASD to move around is a little bit odd because Geralt will often start moving before his running animation starts. If he's carrying multiple weapons then you'll spot them clipping through each other regularly and, let me tell you, it ruins the immersion an awful lot when you see an axe continuously bounce straight through the blade of your sword.

We also had a few problems with framerate, despite running Vista with 2GB RAM and a GeForce 8800 Ultra which was freshly swapped into the system in preparation for Crysis. The framerate problems were odd in that they only happened occasionally. We'd be running along fluid as the wind, then the framerate would drop to a slideshow. I'd stop, restart and return to the same spot to find the problem vanished.
Gamers With Jobs (no rating as usual) is more positive.
There are numerous load times which could be an impediment for folks on slower computers. Even with a speedy system, a small house can take up to five seconds to load while a large game area can take up to thirteen by my watch. I can't say it's impacted my enjoyment of the game in any fundamental way, it's no better or worse than the Neverwinter Nights series from Bioware. It's also relatively bug free and stable despite the shaky Atari pedigree backing it, so PC players can buy with some confidence. There's already a 100 meg patch waiting for new owners, but I can't say I had any problems before or after I installed it.

After all this there's still a lot to say about the game. The story is well realized for the most part. Some warts will pop up here and there with a poor turn of phrase or a small plot point that could have been more clear, but not often enough to detract. The promised (lesser of two evils) decisions are in full force throughout the game, I've already been surprised many times by twists and turns in the story based on my past actions. No matter what happens, Geralt always has something to say about it and he's rarely apologetic about the decisions he makes. I've regretted a few, but even looking back I'm not always sure I would have handled some things differently.
More impressed is games xtreme, who are big fans with a 9.0 and the label of a "brilliantly executed take on Sapkowski's books" that "deserves to be on the shelf of any PC RPG fan."
A lot of these quests aren't just over in a moment either; they're broken up into phases that can take a while to complete. They range from the usual monster slaying and collecting (seen in games like WoW and Guild Wars) of certain items to following a conspiracy down through a group of people and having to make an agonizing choice between several factors, knowing full well that the results might not be immediately visible and they're going to come back and bite you in the ass when you least expect it.

That's one of the strengths and appeals of this game, the fact that you're not just making black and white choices, every action has consequences and if you don't think carefully you could find a dear friend pays with their life later on just because you thought someone else could be trusted. The conversation system works well in the Witcher and it's through this interface that you can usually make the best decisions or worst of your Witcher career.
Spotted on Blue's News.