I’m grinding my way through the Enhanced Edition at the moment and finding The Witcher to be an uneven experience. There’s plenty to like about it – especially with Polish voice-acting and English subtitles glossing over the dodgy dialogue – the grim art style, decaying fantasy world, and general melee combat are all to my tastes. The mechanical elements of the RPG, however, are less slick. It’s full of annoyances in the way some quests are structured, as well as they way character development is introduced. These needed as much of an overhaul as the cosmetic stuff the Enhanced Edition dealt with. And sex cards thing? Wow. That’s so, so crass. I’ll probably write some more on the game generally when I’ve managed to get myself unstuck from the end of the first chapter.
Posts Tagged ‘The Witcher’
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!
Popular monster-thumping RPG The Witcher is being overhauled for 2008 with new lines of dialogue and new motion-captured gestures from the NPCs. CD Projekt are showing off these improvements in their latest trailer – and they do seem to be a fairly substantial improvement on the original ham. You can also switch languages in any version of the game, so playing with the Polish or German dialogue and English subtitles should be possible, if you fancy that foreign-language videogame experience.
Read the rest of this entry »
When I made my appointment to go and see Atari the only PC game they’d announced they were going to show was Deer Hunter Tournament. I thought I’d go along anyway as it might be kind of interesting – I’ve never played a Deer Hunter game, but I’ve heard they kind of have a naturiffic ambience, if you forget all that huntin’ and killin’ – but I didn’t actually end up looking at the title.
The Witcher website reveals that CD Projekt have released the 1.3 patch, which is stuffed to the gills with the adventure editor, and a new quest-o-thing, The Price Of Neutrality. Apparently the new adventure is about two hours long, with multiple endings. It explores the activities of others Witchers, as glimpsed only briefly in the original game.
The D’jinni editor, meanwhile, is the tool that CD Projekt used to build the original game, so you’re now going to be able to use all the original assets from the game to create your own Witchering projects. Should you have lashings of spare time, natch.
While our own feelings about The Witcher hover around worthy-but-flawed, other folks felt it was easily last year’s best RPG. And, honestly, that’s more than enough to make it worth talking about here. Especially in light of the upcoming Enhanced Edition, which promises to redress the major complaints about the original.
I’m happily stunned that the new version’s happening, both because it proves that I’m not alone in finding that dialogue akin to chatting with a crack-addled hobo makes it hard to love the game, and because perhaps I’ll enjoy it this time around. It’s rare enough that a game’s most serious failings can be distilled into a key problem; rarer still that a game’s creators hold their hands up to it; impossibly rare that they fix it. Kieron’s take on the EE is that it’s the sort of professional perfectionism that lead to the Star Wars special editions (as in making ’em slicker, not as in making Greedo shoot first), but I think of it more like some noisy young band taking the hipster scene by storm, then realising they need to learn to play their instruments properly if they want to make it /really/ big.
While we wait to find out what that new sound is like, we had a brief chat with CD Projekt RED’s Michal Medej, the game’s Chief Designer. Read on for his reasoning as to why the original translation fell down, how the Enhanced Edition fixes it, CD Projekt’s future, thoughts on Bioware and Bethesda and, yes, those infamous nudey collector cards.
A video discussing the new features and improvements in the enhanced version of The Witcher has appeared. Except, well, rather unfortunately the sound and syncing means it has an awful lot in common with the original game. If you can cope with the muddle of trying to read subtitles with the sound in all the wrong places, there’s information to be gleaned. (Working version below the cut).
Crivens, this is unprecedented. Last year’s most divisive RPG, The Witcher, is to be re-released. But not just re-released in a shiny box and with extra smutty collector’s cards – re-made, almost. Loading times are to be cut by up to 80%, stability’s in for a-fixin’ and there are to be improvements in “interactivity and precision in combat.” Most fascinatingly for me – as it was the often painfully wobbly dialogue that most kept the game from my affections – its script and voiceovers are in for a near-complete overhaul.
“The English-language version will, for the most part, be completely re-done. The amount of text in that version was reduced compared to other language versions and that was said to cause a significant decrease in immersion and atmosphere. Now the English version will be as polished and atmospheric as the other language versions.”
That’s still not all. Bloody hell.
Read the rest of this entry »
The much delayed demo of fantasy lady-collecting, monster-hunting romp The Witcher is now available for your perusal. The demo, which is a fantastical 1.97gb in breadth (141 Peggles, FYI), contains the tutorial prologue and the first act, making it so big that if you played it and then bought the full game you’d be annoyed by how much you’d have to replay to get to the same point. (Probably)
As we’ve been, ah, discussing The Witcher and its approach to sex here lately, it’s worth (somewhat reluctantly) mentioning that Playboy has apparently released its now annual ‘Girls of Gaming’ issue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Witcher features in it. After the jump is the list of pretend women set to display their pretend genitalia in it, together with a sexy picture from one of the games concerned.
(Thanks, Gametrailers. Thametrailers)
Someone called Martin Pagan posts on Gamefaqs, explaining that the script for The Witcher was given a decent translation, and then “butchered” to result in the garbled mess that now exists in the game (see the clip above – my favourite moment – and I stress, this is one continuous scene, no editing).
We can’t be certain Pagan is for real, but if it’s true, it certainly explains some things. Is this Atari trying to cut corners and save money on the voice recording?
Something new I thought I’d try. Kind of inspired by ever-lovin’ Kyle Orland’s A Game For Lunch, basically, it’s a first impressions based solely on the first hour of a game. One hour, no more. Clearly, this isn’t a real review or anything, just a collection of initial impressions. And clearly this serves the dual purpose of creating a thread for people who have played the game further to add their own impressions. That said, a motif that occurs again and again when talking to the most successful developers is the paramount importance of the first hour of play. It may be cruel, but if a developer working in the mainstream can’t get the first hour right, there’s a large question mark over whether they can’t get ANYTHING right. Bear that in mind.
Anyway, The Witcher. For those who haven’t been paying attention, it’s a Polish RPG based around a cult-pulp fantasy books from out there. Essentially, its “thing” is that it takes all the standard fantasy tropes, and drags them through the gutter. Racism is a big theme – smartly, as racism is something built into the foundations of most modern fantasy (i.e. Some races are lesser than others. You can kill orcs and take all their stuff as – hey! – they’re orcs) – and you have things like the Elves being radical terrorists and so on. Sex, drugs, violence and an albino with a big sword (i.e. you). Adult, mature fantasy. Abstractly.
Here’s what I made of the Witcher in its designated hour..
Read the rest of this entry »
John somehow – i.e. Couldn’t Think Of A Funny Joke (But – hey! – as if that’s ever stopped him before) – missed out the Witcher from his round-up of PC game releases this week, so it’s worth bringing to your attention, as it’s the biggest release unless you’re a foot-to-ball fan. It looks like this.
And that’s you, The Witcher. No matter what you want – like, say, looking like someone who isn’t a incy-wincy bit derived from top Albino Eternal Champion and general glorious self-obsessed fuck-wit Elric – that’s still you. This threw Dan Whitehead over at Eurogamer in his review, where he argues – pretty much – if you can’t create your own character, it’s not a role-playing game. Which was such a debatable claim, it (er) immediately provoked a debate. In fact, I initiated it, because upon reading the review’s intro, I mumbled “Christ, Dan, you’re going to get slaughtered for that, mate”, so I thought by getting it rolling in a relatively pleasant way, it’ll save the inevitable Final-Fantasy fan arriving throwing a stroppy trantrum in the manner of a final Fantasy character.
But still, it is a perennial question (i.e. It gets argued on forums only slightly less often than Whether Games Or Art) and I thought I’d try and do relatively brief take on it. Feel free to provide yours, as one of the main reasons to lob this stuff in public is so people can pick it to pieces, so I can rethink gaping flaws.
Read the rest of this entry »