The Witcher Review

A fairly unimpressed review of the Witcher has appeared on Boomtown, feeling unable to "whole-heartedly" recommend it, after asking itself "[w]orth a place on your hard drive beside Oblivion?"
The combat system, while a bit strange, is fairly easy to adjust to. The real problems with The Witcher lie elsewhere, and are twofold. Firstly there is a decided lack of freedom, particularly in the early chapters of the game. For a long time, events are centred in and around the city of Vizima, and feel incredibly plot driven. The Witcher is certainly no Oblivion - there are Bad Guys out there, and you must find them, now. You will not be spending 80 hours riding around on a horse in order to find the best mountain from which to view the sunset. While this focussed approach is not a necessarily a bad idea particularly when backed up by the quality of writing The Witcher exhibits the length of time you are forced to spend in each area becomes frustrating, as there is often little in the way of a feeling of progress.

The other issue lies with one of the cornerstones of the RPG experience the quest for stuff. Loot is integral to practically all RPGs weapons, armour, magic items the constant search for something better than you already have. In the Witcher however there's a pretty basic set of equipment which barely changes throughout the game. Geralt uses two swords a steel one for fighting humans and a silver one for monsters and some armour, and that's about it. There is no longsword+5, no Boots of Speed. Instead you will mainly be collecting ingredients in order to brew potions which will help in the slaying of tougher monsters. It's strangely circular Geralt's motivation for taking jobs is to get paid, but as there's hardly anything worth spending the money on, it leaves you with a nagging feeling that something isn't quite right.