The Witcher Reviews

Two more reviews for CD Projekt's The Witcher have little other than praise for the game. GameSpy deems it great, with a 4.5/5.
The Witcher's story is a good one. While combat, as mentioned, is a big part of the game it is by no means the only way to proceed. There will be many times where you will complete quests without even drawing a sword. It's hard to discuss too much of the plot without giving away some surprises. The basic idea is that there are only a few Witchers left in society, and a powerful mage and his band of goons have stolen a precious artifact from the Witcher stronghold and the remaining monster slayers spread out in an attempt to track it down as well as find out who took it. That all happens in the first 30 minutes of play, and the campaign is extremely long; this isn't a game that you are likely to finish over a weekend. There is a lot of stuff to get through and you can expect it to take at least 70 hours.

The design is also very clever in spots as Geralt is asked to make what are seemingly mundane choices throughout the game, which may not have any sort of consequences until many hours later. Remember when you slept with that prostitute back in Chapter One? That might have ramifications down the road. Things like that add a lot of spice to the campaign (the constant sex themes notwithstanding).
And styles along, giving the game a 9/10.
Basing a game on a novel or series is always a great way to go, considering that most game storylines are rather trite. Companies often seem to focus more on raising the technical bar (enter Crysis) than what really should matter; the writing. Ars Technica posted a couple of articles in the spring that discuss this problem in the industry, and I would recommend that gamers and game companies alike read up (even though I don't agree that Half-Life 2 is an example of great writing). The Witcher has an in-depth storyline and, in this aspect, the game is better than Oblivion. I'm not going to get into the storyline at all within this review because I'd rather not give anything away.

Like many RPGs, you have the main quests and several side quests that are available. You are, however, confined to certain regions; you cannot roam around to different areas whenever you wish. The regions are fairly large, but if you're really set on a free-roaming RPG, then you might suffer from some slight feelings of claustrophobia with this game. The areas you are confined to are fairly large, so I never really had a cramped feeling. For the most part, areas are fairly open but there are some areas where there are obstructions. Being able to walk off the sides of stairways, docks, etc. would have been better, in my opinion, and there were some areas in the swamp where you can only walk along a set path.

When the game advertises nonlinear gameplay, I don't think it's necessarily focusing on the order of the main quest, because that does follow a fairly straight order. There are, of course, side quests, but it seems to me that the nonlinearity term is focusing on Geralt's decisions along the journey. You have to make small decisions all the time, such as whether to help someone or not, to be friendly or not, to do a quest or not, etc., and these decisions seem to take on a ripple effect in that they change many things.