The Witcher Reader Review
An action RPG, using the much enhanced Aurora toolset 2007(NWN2), so you can play it top view (diablo style) or Over the Shoulder OTS (almost Gears of War style). The world is beautifully realised, much more grittier and realistic than Two Worlds (or even Oblivion), with a strong storyline by Andrzej Sapkowski behind it. I've only dabbled in it for an hour or two, but it does seem to be another sound action orientated "free roaming" RPG game with good presentation and a selection of unique skills to explore.
Fumbling with the Broom
The one area that is difficult to get to grips with is the combat mechanics. Basically if you're in OTS mode, you expect it to play out weapon strikes by clicking and holding your left and right mouse button.. but since its all based around a point and click mechnism from a top down perspective, to get the hang of it, you simply click the opponent at the appropriate time, to build up a chain of weapon swings. So it's not entirely free form and real time as such. You tap out the battles key strokes, when your icon turns into a flaming sword. Get the tap wrong, and you lose the chain, and sometimes can fumble the strike.. initially I struggled to understand this mechanism. And I would almost constantly be interupting my own attacks, making me seem inept at battle. But as you get into a rhythm with the game, it starts to click (forgive the pun) and you see how this almost turn based sort of timed combat actually works and is very cinematic and pleasing to watch. If you play it in top down mode, and you've played NWN/NWN2 you should find the combat easy to slip into to. I think its just the perspective change, and your expectations of real time sword swinging conflict with this "rhythm tap" style game.
Did I mention its an 18? And theres every encouragement for you to get drunk and have intercourse with some of the female NPC's you come across? It's all very artistically done, and I'm pleased it has such an adult approach to the gritty fantasy world. It kind of makes it a bit more exciting to be honest. In fact some of your key combat skills rely on you being drunk to perform them! Now then!
Quoff a potion
Well I've only scratched the surface of the game really, there seems a complex alchemical system built into the game for potion creation, the day and night phases of the world affects the encounters you have, and the starting quests are full on, no gentle lead in really, which is good.
The Silver Bullet
I think if you like action RPG's, such as Two Worlds, Diablo, you'll like The Witcher.. even those of you who fawned over Oblivion will see this game has merit. Whether you can get on with the Aurora way of combat, is another matter though. But as jarring as it is at first, I can say after 15 minutes or so you should slip into it with ease. Just be aware some of the load times are long, and frequent - especially when going into and out of houses/dungeons etc.
7 / 10