The Witcher Reviews

Two more reviews of The Witcher have drifted to the surface, both of which are on the favorable side. PALGN AU gives this game an 8.0 noting it "provides some deep, interesting and reasonably mature RPG action."
Many RPGs present multiple dialogue choices that, although varied in detail, only act as a façade behind which a single outcome is hidden, all leading to the same eventuality. However, there are moments in this game, although slightly too few, where the choices you have effect more than just what the characters are saying. Often these decisions also magnify the fact that within this world no one is right or wrong, and that actions often perpetuate the issues that infect the world. On one occasion, Geralt muses that life used to be simpler for a Witcher when things were simply '˜bad' and good' and his choices were clear. This seems a clear reference to the way in which many games are put together.

Unfortunately for The Witcher, a main element that is brought up by many is the player's ability to 'bed' partners who are scattered throughout the game. Even though this is only a small aspect of the gameplay, it is something that indicates that the game's birthplace was somewhere in Europe rather than within the Puritan founded borders of the USA. It's a shame though that The Witcher doesn't put this unique element to good use, or to even implement it in the truly mature way that other areas of the game are. Partners are mere conquests and once you've got your 'nudie' card as a reward for clicking on the plainly obvious dialogue option for sweet talking them into bed, there are few consequences to the game world or your relations with the character. This seems a missed opportunity for something that is rarely explored in gaming.
GameShark gives the game an A-.
This is hardly the first game that asks you to make choices. Bioware and others have been doing that for eons. But even games that did very well at it, most choices you make are obvious in terms of their good or evilness. The Witcher gives you far more to think about when answering most questions. Will you risk condemning an innocent man in a plot against you if you're not completely positive of his guilt? Will you bargain with a cannibal because he has information that's of use to you? One quest, early in the game, forces you to decide the fate of a witch. Both choices have consequences and it's not entirely clear, even after the choice is made, which was about the greater good. One certainly feels like the right thing to do, but the body count that ensues. well, even that choice doesn't feel good when all the ramifications of it are made clear. Not since Fallout has a game so skillfully made the choices a player makes both vague and important.

Typically, when a video game (or any other form of media, for that matter) is billed as having content for (mature) audiences, what it really means is that it's hopelessly immature, but in a way that's inappropriate for kids. (See: Grand Theft Auto or Showgirls.) Yes, The Witcher has its share of eye candy of the female persuasion (though it's been filtered some for the delicate eyes of the American audience). It uses plenty of harsh language, and drinking often plays a central role, but The Witcher's less than PG content stands out because it's not handled in an immature way. The characters that inhabit this game are eminently believable, precisely because they talk like you'd expect them to. For every shining knight who speaks in flowery language, there's a thug dropping f-bombs and telling you to (piss off.)

Alcohol and drinking is often required to get information and its effects are extremely well modeled, with the screen getting blurry, causing you to eventually see double and if you drink enough it'll leave Geralt unable to walk a straight line. And yes, while you can (get busy) with the ladies in the game, it's handled in a more adult manner than the few other games I've seen that attempted to model sex. The picture cards you receive for going to bed with a woman in the game are probably unnecessary, but hey, they work.