The Witcher Reviews

Two more favourable reviews are added to the "we love the Witcher" pile. takes their usual long, hard look and concludes it's well worth an 86/100.
True, The Witcher isn't the first RPG to offer choices and consequences that influence the storyline, but in this case they are faithful to one of the distinctive features of Andrzej Sapkowski's fantasy universe (another good example being the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin): there are no (good) and (bad) characters; you will always have to choose the lesser of two evils. Moreover, the consequences of your choices won't become apparent right away, but after a few more hours of playtime, sometimes even stretching between acts. I have to admit that I was skeptical when I first heard about this choices & consequences deal, thinking it was just a PR gimmick (and I'm sure that I wasn't the only one).
Fortunately, I was wrong and CD Projeckt stayed true to their word. I think I clocked at least 80 hours of playtime with The Witcher, mostly because I replayed large segments of it in order to see what other paths the story could have taken. By their very nature, some choices will probably allow you to see, at least generally speaking, what the consequences will be, but others will have surprising results.
This is one of the main novelties in The Witcher: unlike other RPGs, you can't choose between A and B knowing for certain that you will end up at C or D. You will do so either because you will try to relate to what the developers wanted you to experience and say that (well, the other option wasn't important, and even if it was, I can replay the game) or depending on how you want Geralt to evolve during the story. For instance, in Gothic 3 things were simple: the orcs were (bad), so if you wanted to be an "evil" character, you sided with the orcs. If you wanted a (good) character, you sided with the human population. In The Witcher there are far more nuances: are the elves freedom fighters or can they be considered terrorists, in the modern sense of the word? Will I stay neutral or side with the humans, among which I have so many friends? This gives the game an extremely high replay value, even for an RPG.
Gamer Within is equally impressed, giving the game an 8.8.
First of all, The Witcher is an unusually dark and mature RPG. Racism, Sex, Love and Murder are themes that appear right at the beginning of the game's first chapter, and continue long into the game. Your character, Geralt, is a genetically altered human bred for combating monsters, and as a result you are subjected to the fear and distrust of the world's intolerant peasant population. The themes quickly expand, and side quests soon involve rescuing dwarves and elves from gangs of racist bandits, uncovering the truth behind suicides and deciding whether to save or condemn a town's local witch (who you can sleep with beforehand).

This is the truly captivating part of The Witcher. Whilst other Role Playing games will see you choosing clear cut paths between good and evil, here the lines are blurred, and it is up to the player to decide between right and wrong. The tagline on the back of the box reads (There is no good, no evil, only decisions and consequences), and this is one of the few cases where the back of the box actually describes the crux of the game accurately. The problem that arises, though, is that some of the consequences of your actions in the game are far more far reaching than would be liked, as the permanently active quest in my journal will attest to (The quest giver died somehow). These multiple lines of choice avaliable to the player, whilst sometimes a little buggy, also serve to boost the replay value on what is already an impressively long game.