Eurogamer: Witcher Extended Edition Review

By Kieron Gillen on September 18th, 2008 at 10:12 am.

Is he going to have sex with someone next? Oh, that Witcher, he is a sexy man.

Eurogamer get me to review the Enhanced Edition of the Witcher. Wherein I start like this…

Not having read a film mag in years, I don’t know if they still do this, but… I always despised the dual-mark DVD review section where they give separate marks for films and add-ons, with a similar sort of split shown in the actual reviews in terms of what they talk about. Because if a film is rubbish, who cares if it’s got voiceover commentary by the entire cast’s family? It’s rubbish. You’re reviewing. That’s all that bloody matters.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition has provided me with the latest in a long string of opportunities to be a dirty great hypocrite.

And continue for 1500 words or so. Read!

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62 Comments »

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  1. Simon Jones says:

    “‘Best RPG I’ve played since KoToR.’
    What about Mass Effect?”

    I’d quite happily argue that Mass Effect doesn’t come anywhere near the greatness of KotOR in its time. I still thoroughly enjoyed Mass Effect and reviewed it as such, but it’s pretty dry.

    “suggested it’s because games journalists (being writers) are turned off games by bad writing quicker than the general game. Which is certainly an interesting theory.”

    Not sure I buy that, though. Oblivion is loved by games journalists and has some of the worst writing in gaming history (which was odd, as I recall Morrowind being quite well written). Mass Effect was also fairly loved, especially for its story, despite said story being fairly wonky and rather overlooking some core narrative essentials.

    “I found the shonky writing/dialogue/translation/whatever you want to blame incredibly distracting”

    I think what really surprised me with Witcher is that despite the writing being astoundingly awful, I still felt more immersed and drawn into the world than I have since KotOR (if we’re only talking RPGs, anyway). I think it may be because it wasn’t specifically the writing itself that was awful, but the translation. You could still sense there was a good story and good characters bubbling away underneath. A bit like a great martial arts movie that has been cheaply translated.

    But someone definitely has to do something about the RPG staple of “the first hour is shit.” What’s wrong with making games great from the start, and then get greater? RPGs always seem determined to start off rubbish…very odd. The combat actually becomes brilliant fun later on, but at first it is indeed rather woeful.

    “Poor writing (inept dialogue, grammatical errors, etc.), or bland, simplistic storytelling?”

    I’m not sure you can really separate them out like that. Depending entirely on the game in question, it’ll have a different balance. Bioshock, for example, has excellent dialogue but a fairly basic and light story (at least for the first two thirds). Mass Effect has solid writing throughout, but very limp storytelling and feels rather lifeless. Half Life 2 has very sparse dialogue and storytelling, but uses it to marvellous effect.

    So I’d say it’s a case-by-case basis. Ideally, of course, you want all the writing to be great. See: Psychonauts.

    (apologies for post length, I appear to have rambled)

  2. Kadayi says:

    The big question is are you going to play it to it’s conclusion Kieron?

  3. onkellou says:

    I never thought the Witcher had particularly bad writing – not for a CRPG, anyway. It’s not Planescape: Torment or Vampire, but it’s several orders of magnitude better than the stilted cheese that is so typical for Bioware (Kotor for example was awfully written), or the cringeworthy dialogues in Oblivion.

  4. Putter says:

    I checked futureshop and ebgames for this today. The EE either isn’t available yet for us Canucks, or both stores didn’t see it as impotant enough to get out onto shelves just yet. :<

  5. Mister Yuck says:

    Will this game run on my Dell Shitbox? It sounds fascinating.

  6. Bhlaab says:

    The performance in the enhanced edition is pretty bad. My 8800gt chokes pretty much whenever baddies are onscreen.

  7. Krupo says:

    I can listen to the Polish dialogue but play in English? And I can get the game via Steam?

    If so, that’s completely awesome. Thank you for the news!

  8. Tarn says:

    I’ve not had time to try out the enhanced edition yet, but the patched original ran extremely well on my 8800GT, with the exception of one scene at the end of (I think) chapter 2.

  9. Katsumoto (jvgp100) says:

    We need to find a way to put the original russian voice acting over Clear Sky, like you can put the polish over this game, and we’d be sorted.

  10. Sören Höglund says:

    Is there any Direct Downoad service that likes both Europeans and filthy Yanquis? Becuse both Steam and Impulse seem to be unwilling to sell to anyone outside the North Americas.

  11. Kadayi says:

    @Sören Höglund

    Sadly not I’m afraid, however the download versions are censored so I understand so it’s probably worth buying it retail, plus you get a bunch of goodies in the box.

  12. Alex says:

    @ Sören Höglund

    I don’t understand why Atari won’t sell the game over Steam to Europeans, seeing as how it’s owned by a French company.

    Oh well, no one ever said publishers were rational.