The Witcher Enhanced Edition - PC - Review
The Witcher came out a year ago and hit most RPG player in the gut, hard. The game's morally stretched take on controversial topics while adventuring around a monster-infested land made gamers stand up and take notice. But due to some sloppy translations to the English language - and in some cases uncompleted dialogue - the game fell short in some areas and left players feeling underwhelmed when they knew they were on to something special with the game. Well, fortunately for us, Atari and CDPROJEKT have re-released the Witcher Enhanced version and addressed some the buggier problems that befell players before; here's hoping they got them all.
First off, if you missed the Witcher last year and really enjoy single-player RPGs, then I will say that it will do you much good if you pick this game up. The enhanced edition of the Witcher really addresses the problems in the earlier version and if you were one of the many who purchased the game a year ago, you can download the enhancement on the game's Web site. See how eager we are to help you; that's GameZone for ya, always looking out for the little guy. One thing I did note though, for some reason the game is having a hard time running on XP, so if you have Vista you should be golden; if you have XP, well, you may be in for a rough ride as you will need some additional patches. Kind of sad that the enhanced edition of the game that was released to address problems has problems. It's the world we live in folks.
"Man, when you said your dog had a tapeworm, I had no idea..."
OK, so, the Witcher is the story of a, uh, Witcher. In this case, a Witcher named Geralt. Now for the purposes of this game, a Witcher is a sort of battle mage who doles out justice to those who would bring evil onto the world whether it be monster or man. However, that justice is somewhat skewed since it is whatever justice you, as the player, feel like doling out. Regardless of your moral fiber, you will use both magic and some serious swordsman skills to take down those who would do evil (in your opinion). Yes, this game is pretty open ended and your choices throughout the game will affect how it ends, since there is more then one way to see the game to its end.
Anyway, our man Geralt is one of the few Witchers remaining and he has a large and rather complex back story that he is attempting to reconnect with. But in order to do this, Geralt has to rid the land of the evil influences that are attempting to take over the world. It is a deep and satisfying story for a really well-developed RPG. I love the idea of our hero missing his memories as it helps unfold more about Geralt as you also must deal with a power mad sorcerer who has stolen magical items and elixirs to further his cause of unmitigated evil.
"Ahhhh! I knew we shouldn't have left the cauldron on while we went to the smithy!"
Now, it should be noted that the game it really quite adult in its content and themes. Our man Geralt is given plenty of opportunities to sleep with the women he encounters and will in fact, run into murderers, rapists and other no goodniks of the human variety. Lets face it, monsters don't always have scales and spit flames; sometimes humans can be every bit as evil as the creatures of the game, and you, may be forced to deal with that, or let it ride depending on your level of tolerance; you may feel a bit icky when you are done playing.
The game has a cool fighting system for dealing with your foes, a combination of mouse and keyboard for real-time combat with options to adjust your level of view from the dynamic third-person camera. The option to dual wield your swords or unleash magic is nothing new, but it works well with the established world developed for the game, based on the works of Andrzej Sapkowski where everyone and everything is a shade of grey rather then black and white. Not to mention you can modify your character and your attacks by boosting your skills as a magic user or sword wielder. Additional attacks will become available as Geralt becomes a more powerful Witcher.
"An unemployed monster from the Power Rangers gets a second shot at fame."
The Witcher benefits from a good bit of glossing over in the graphics department. Primary characters look more animated, the lags previously reported on the last version are minimal now and sprites are much more plentiful making combat with magic a bit more exciting as far as the eye candy goes. I personally thought that the game also benefited from an almost re-touching of combat animations, specifically when attacks are punctuated by a kill. Either way, its as if the whole game was given not so much a face-lift as a touch up.
The big beef from last year's version was the dialogue that seemed to go no where. Well, I am happy to say that this year's version has gotten a complete revamp in the dialogue of the game and it finally makes sense. Characters actually complete their thoughts and dialogue this time around and the voice actors doing the talking do a better than fair job of taking the script seriously. The game has a very dark core to it and the visuals are translated by full sound effects and a decent musical score.
The enhanced addition also has two
additional missions to go along with the five chapters of the original game.
These missions are sort of stand-alone stories that involve Geralt and have
very little to do with the main game itself. In one chapter, "The price of
neutrality," has our man Geralt investigating whether or not a princess is
cursed and how to deal with the situation. This was the better of the two new
stories and it was really only around two and a half hours long. The second
story "side effects" has our man Geralt attempting to buy a friend out of debt
by raising 2,000 gold (orens in this game) by playing errand boy. Not much of
value was added to the game with these two quests, the first could have been
more if it had been fleshed out fully and the plot, more accurately ended, but
the second really needed to be so much more.
Review Scoring Details for: The Witcher Enhanced Edition
Working your alchemy while at the campfire, improving your sword wielding and attack ability, beefing up Geralt to be melee heavy or magic heavy, or both, the multiple choices throughout the game, and the different endings - it's a good time.
The game got a nice once over and cleaned up many of the game's graphical shortcomings. It also made it more friendly to run on the average PC rather than only the beefy ones.
The voice acting is better because the dialogue got better, way better.
The game is a dandy, and can be frustrating if you don't save all the time. Critical things happen, and then you will die; it's a fact in this title so save all the time.
What a kick in the pants; there is no high ground here, the land is dark and dirty and you will feel dark and dirty from some of your choices.
This is a great game for those who love single-player RPGs, now that the story has been re-dubbed and explained better, the game is everything we had hoped it would be a year ago, only now they got it right.