The Witcher Was Terrible

Earlier in December, I bought The Witcher from Good Old Games at the behest of a friend. We’ll call him Tim because his name is Tim.

He enjoyed the game. I did not. Here is a needless and terribly late catalog of why.

I’ll start with the things I liked. Combat had a nice flow to it, though it was very simple. Click, then click again when the icon glows. That’s … it, really. You also get a handful of magic powers – shoot fire, knock down enemies, set a magical trap. Those were the Signs – I liked them. They made combat much more interesting – except they were of very limited use.

(Source)

Knocking people down was my favorite. There’s just nothing like blasting bandits or the undead with a gust of wind, then killing them while they lie helpless. It really speaks to the sadist in me.

But the story was weak. The character you play (Geralt) as has – gasp! – amnesia. As a storytelling element, I don’t think this is unworkable. But we are never given a really clear indication as to why Geralt has amnesia – or why we should really care.

I only played up into Chapter 2, I think – when you get farther into the city – Merchant District, or something like that?

Probably some spoilers under the cut, so avoid if that’s your thing. Also a suggestive picture.

Geralt himself is pretty bland. It’s like the story was written by twelve-year-old boys. Every woman wants to sleep with Geralt. Corpse-white, straggly-haired, voice-like-boring-rocks Geralt. Which leads me to one of my next points – when Geralt sleeps with these women, he is awarded with a little card, on which is painted an image of the (half-naked, if not outright naked) woman.

Geralt's collectibles. Very 'mature.'

Pretty strong suggestions, here. See if you can spot all the juvenile innuendos!

Who makes these cards? Is Geralt making these women stand still while he paints them? That seems unlikely. So, are the women just carrying around these half-nude self-portraits of themselves, to hand out to men that sleep with them? The cards provide no bonus, no in-game mechanical benefit. They are just there to be looked at (by perverts).

One of the most outstanding weaknesses for me was when you enter the city. You get captured by the guards right at the city entrance and are put in jail right away, and you have one chance to get a pardon for forging an entry pass (which you didn’t do, you have a genuine one but who cares, this is the story, just walk along). To be pardoned, you must descend into the sewers and kill a cockatrice.

Once in the sewers, you immediately meet a Knight of the Flaming Rose or something like that. You team up (yes, with a man you meet in the sewers) to beat the cockatrice, then then head out of the sewers. Just before leaving, the Knight recommends you meet a private detective friend of his. He gives you a name. You leave the sewers.

So, you exit the sewers and you walk up a flight of steps that has maybe, ten stairs in it? At the top, there’s a cut scene where your character goes “I should talk to that detective” and the camera points to a door that’s like five feet away.

This far away. Geralt is standing at the top of the stairs to the sewers.

When I played the game, I went right into that door to meet the detective. In the conversation with him, he tells Geralt that he’s been followed.

From the sewers.

Across five feet of open ground.

The story doesn’t noticeably improve. Eventually I got tired of it and stopped. It made little sense, had no emotional impact, and mechanically was decent but boring. But if none of that bothers you, it’s really cheap at Good Old Games – check the link at the top, it should be around $5.

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About seansynthetic

"...so I says the the guy, I says to him, 'No, YOU ain't allowed back into this Chuck-E-Cheese.'"

Posted on December 28, 2011, in Video Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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