Polish developer and publisher CD Projekt Red made their entrance into the gaming scene with this fresh IP. The Witcher is based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, this came to fill in a noticeable gap in the RPG market. A truly adult based non-linear role playing game in which your actions truly do impact the people and world around you. The game was released in 2007 as a PC only game along with an Enhanced edition coming out in 2008. This included free DLC, extra dialog and an overall improved experience.
The story has you play as a Witcher, a genetically mutated human who has forgotten all about his past. Geralt of Rivia, a ghost and legendary Witcher. The game pretty much throws you straight into the action and starts to unfold into a deeper more meaningful conspiracy that has you question just who your friends and enemies truly are. Although this is a dated game, being almost 6 years old it still has some of the deepest nonlinear stories in an RPG, even for today’s standards. Every choice you make, action you take and even the way you to talk to people can have adverse effects. This can even boarder on the ridiculous with one small action that you may find to be insignificant could lead to the murder of many people. I do not want to give too much of the story away as this is one of the strongest points in the Witcher, an adult political world with monsters, magic and many trust issues. The game has a day and night cycle, night is more dangerous and where some enemies only appear. Instead of having a sleep function, Geralt meditates, during this meditation you can assign your points to your skill tree after levelling up and create potions, this will be mentioned later in the review. Aside from the long main story quest there are a large array of secondary quests, in some cases these can even effect main story and characters. These quests are worth doing for the rewards and narrative development, it adds more depth to the few friends Geralt has. The game is spilt into 5 chapters and an epilogue, each chapter sending you to a new location as the plot thickens.
This is a 6 year old game so the graphics may not hold up to today’s standards, but it holds well. The animations in combat are flawless with seamless transitions from the various combat styles, swords and magic. The combat in this game is unlike any other, CD Projekt created their own system that works well. You have 3 different sword styles, strong, fast and group. Each make sense for their use case scenario, strong works best against the slower more brutish enemies. Fast works well against small agile enemies and group is for when you can fight off 3 or more enemies at a time, this happens a lot. As well as having these 3 sword styles you also get a steel sword, this works well against human enemies, a silver sword which works against monsters and two other slots for which ever weapons you desire. Using one slot for a torch is best advised.
To complement your array of weapons you can also learn 5 signs, you have to go out and explore the world to find 5 statues that when used give you a sign. A sign is a fancy word for magical spell, you get Wind (a force push), Fire (a force push with fire), Water (controlling enemies), a shield that blocks attacks (personally the best sign in the game) and finally a magic trap that slows/locks enemies in their place. On top of the signs and weapons you can create potions, alchemy is more important than you would think when playing the game. To learn about harvesting the indigents and creating the potions you have to buy books, there are a lot of books. These helps you identify the herbs and recipes for creating them. There are many potions to create and each have different effects, some help vitality, another can make you seen in the dark and one can heighten your sense and reactions. Early in the game these seems like they are not needed but as you start to progress and fighter larger groups of enemies you will learn the value of getting these potions.
The voice acting is what I think lets the game down a little bit, while some characters have really good voice acting, others just should really out of place and hollow. Hearing what is meant to be a deep meaningful sentence in the most bored tone tends to kill the mood. The music is top notch, it is not always persistent and helps set the tone in certain scenes.
This is a game that spawned the creation of CD Projekt Red who have now made their mark on the industry with some of the best adult open world RPG games out to date. This is a game that has won over 60 awards and with good reason. If you are looking for an adult RPG that doesn’t skimp out on the juicy bits along with a complex political story then this is the game for you, RPGs based for adults are slim but CD Projekt key have changed that. The Witcher franchise has earnt CD Projekt a lot of recognition and with the final in the trilogy coming out with the next generation of consoles there has never been a better time to jump into of the best RPGs for a while.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.