Realism in a game is never full or complete, realism is not fun in a game - well not complete realism.
Thus simply because one factor is realistic inspired does not mean everything else is should be "realism". That is pretty clear as we run around slaying monsters with big weapons etc.
Besides, as you say yourself the inventory is not realistic, it is simply "more" realistic compared to say - NwN for example, or Kotor or Oblivion from what I recall etc.
The world is also more realistic, due to all the "evils" of the gameworld isn't filtered out as it is in so many other games and it isn't black and white, it that does not mean it is completely realistic and that the entire game is a realism simulator.
Realism, like all other things implemented in a computer game runs on a scale. And expecting actual realism in the behaviour and attitude in the depicting of fictive people's behaviour towards a fictive mutant which women find fascinating and interesting, is quite different then a more realistic compared to many other game approach to inventory.
We are in agreement -- realism is not fun.
Inventory is not about realism, it is about convenience. I don't expect inventory to be overly realistic: I expect a good interface. If I have a hard time browsing through my inventory without a microscope, there is a problem. Weight is not an issue in this game (unrealistic too), so why carrying around multiple mugs of beer (probably stale ) and bottles of vodka, along with tons of other junk in a small pouch is suddenly more realistic than, say, carrying ten weapons for sale? And is it realistic not to be able to transfer, at least temporarily, a few items into a nearby chest?
I am quite satisfied that Geralt does not find boots of strength +10 in every other crate. But the treasure-hunting packrat inside me screams in protest when Geralt has to leave so much loot behind - all those weapons strewn about on the ground.
As to "the behavior and attitude", they are important parts of role-playing, imo. It is essential that behavior and attitude are believable, regardless. There is an example of incredible situation and irrational behavior, below.
Spoiler: [SPOILER]Geralt is invited to a “posh party” attended by princess Adda herself. Snooty nobles and wealthy merchants are giddy with happiness: they have a chance to see the princess. They can't believe their luck. And neither can I: the party is held in a tavern -- a strange place to entertain a princess. Oh well, let’s assume it is a 5 star tavern. Anyway, what is Geralt doing, besides talking non-interactively to important figures and stealing food, booze and documents? He is promptly getting completely drunk (stumbling around and having double-vision), which by no means prevents him from having casual sex with Adda who is practically dragging him into “her alcove", in the middle of the party. Needless to say, nobody pays a slightest attention, including Geralt's girlfriend Triss, an ambitious sorceress who can "read minds and conjure orgasms" but fails to notice this little incident. [/SPOILER]
I enjoyed the whole bizarre episode immensely, thanks to my twisted sense of humor.
My other peeve is the term “modern fantasy”. I have a problem digesting an eclectic mixture of traditional medieval fare and modern ideas. I realize that this is Sapkowski world but, to me, all references to racism, ecology and genetic research feel totally out of place in the world inhabited by elves and kikimores. Monsters and magic are much more natural and realistic in a fantasy game than “genetic research” and ecology (after deforestation caused by lumberjacks in chapter 3, should I anticipate a “global warming” in chapter 4?).
It reminds me of A Knight Tale movie. (I lost interest and stopped watching as 14 century rodeo aka jousting tournament commenced but a lot of folks apparently liked it). At least that was a comedy. The Witcher is damn serious most of the time. Does anybody else think that a fantasy would be better off without modern ideology? More real, so to speak?
I like The Witcher's moral ambiguity, but do you think the choices seem "difficult" due to this ambiguity, or due to something else?