[GRWC8] The Witcher [Review]

Anything to do with games at all.
User avatar
A.I.
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: grcade.com

Post[GRWC8] The Witcher [Review]
by A.I. » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:55 pm

Click banner if you're interested in entering this competition.
Image

Anonymous wrote:The Witcher

One of the wonderful things about the human imagination is its ability to create alternate worlds out of nothing but its own dreams, desires and fantasies. Within these worlds are characters, towns and cities forged purely from the creator’s own mind. There are tales of love, betrayal and intrigue that are woven and passed down through generations. With technology improving all the time, these visions can be brought to life in ways they never have been before, and videogames are increasingly pushing forward in terms of immersing the player in these visions. The Witcher is a game at the forefront of this and will draw you into its world of darkness and beauty with some excellent production values and engaging gameplay.

The introduction to the game is one of the best in years and, to coin an American phrase, gets you ‘pumped’ for playing the game. The story follows that of Geralt, one of the few remaining Witchers. Witchers hunt monsters and are gifted with the ability to use magic and other unnatural skills. The storyline is very engrossing and so without giving too much away, it’s full of twists depending on the decisions you make and there are three alternate endings in relation to what you’ve done throughout the course of the game. The game uses a branching storyline system where the responses you give in conversations and the paths you choose affect what happens in the rest of the game, and while it might feel that options are being restricted from you, it’s a realistic way of making sure that you have to deal with the decisions you make.

The Witcher does a superb job of bringing its world to life and you can’t help but get lost in its atmosphere. The environments are detailed and give off feelings representative of their state. The castle at the beginning of the game, for example, is only inhabited by Geralt and the other Witchers, and it genuinely feels desolate and isolated from the outside world. Some excellent lighting that changes depending on the time of day adds to the atmosphere even more, and while the graphics are never stunning, they’re very good and the game runs smoothly even with all visual settings at maximum.

Aurally the game is again on top form, and the musical score that accompanies the game is of the highest order. Music suits the surroundings you’re in, and don’t be surprised if at times you just stop and stare to admire the lighting and listen to the music. It really is that good. Voice acting is suitably gruff for the characters involved in the game and while some of the lesser NPCs have slightly comical accents or voices, for the most part it’s all very believable.

Moving around in The Witcher is fairly customisable, with three different camera angles to choose from, with a different control scheme for each, and the option of either mouse and keyboard control or purely mouse-based control. Two isometric views and one over the shoulder view are on offer, and while the OTS view will be preferable for most players, the options available will mean you’re sure to find a control setup you’re comfortable with. Geralt’s movement is somewhat restricted in that he can’t jump, or crouch, or even walk, but when moving around this isn’t particularly noticeable or detrimental. During combat, movement is more freeform and the ability to dodge and so forth becomes available. Combat itself is quite unique, and will take some getting used to. Although in real-time, to actually execute moves you have to time your clicks of the mouse to chain together moves. An on-screen indicator tells you when to click, but mess it up and the chain gets reset and your opponent can fight back. It’s certainly different, and to begin can feel frustrating as a delay between your actions and Geralt’s often brings on an urge to keep clicking manically, although this only disrupts your combat. Over time though it becomes quite satisfying, and the timing-based system ensures that you keep concentrating on what’s happening on-screen and can’t just button bash.

There are three different fighting styles to switch between depending on the enemies you’re facing; a strong style for big and slow opponents, a quick style for speedier opponents and a group style for when you’re taking on more than one enemy. Switching between them is simple and instantaneous, and the ability to cast magic, or Signs as they’re called in the game, adds some variety to the swordplay.

Geralt’s inventory allows him to carry numerous items that will replenish his health, let him create potions, or help in combat. Selling and buying items will also bring in some gold for spending on other supplies. A branching upgrade system for attributes such as strength, agility, magic and other factors works well and provides incentive for playing on and increasing your abilities. A useful quest section provides details of your active and past missions and there’s also information on the characters you’ve encountered and details on all sorts of items and spells. The interface here is slightly confusing initially, but soon becomes reasonably easy to navigate.

The Witcher is a big game and will easily provide upwards of 30 hours playing time, especially if you’re one for seeing everything, collecting all the items and experiencing all of the game’s endings. There’s very little wrong with the game, and it’s clear the team behind it have put a lot of care and attention to detail into bringing it to life and making it enjoyable to play. A great example of the genre and a game that’s great to lose yourself in.
Atmospheric, enjoyable and engaging.


All comments and feedback welcome. Thank you.

User avatar
Pilch
Member
Joined in 2008

PostRe: [GRWC8] The Witcher [Review]
by Pilch » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:34 pm

This is an eloquently written review that covers all the essentials and spends just the right amount of time on each point. The opening's really lovely but, despite what I just said about it covering the essentials, the one complaint I have is that the genre of the game is never mentioned. When I finished reading the review I felt as though some small thing had been left out and I think that's what was niggling at the back of my mind.

The grammar of the piece can't be faulted, but there are a few sections that sound a bit strange - to me, at least.

...while it might feel that options are being restricted from you...


I think this is kind of a mixture of two phrases. I'd personally go either with "taken from you" or simply "restricted".

The environments are detailed and give off feelings representative of their state.


While I know what you mean, "give off feelings" doesn't sound quite right. "Give off vibes" might be what you were going for, or maybe you could say something about "atmosphere" or "ambience".

...even with all visual settings at maximum.


You should qualify this with some kind of description of the system you're running it on, I feel.

Moving around in The Witcher is fairly customisable, with three different camera angles to choose from, with a different control scheme for each...


Moving around being customisable sounds a bit odd. Only by reading on did I realise that you meant the camera and control schemes are customisable. Maybe some slight rewording would improve this. Also, the repetition of the word "with" lets the sentence down a bit.

It’s certainly different, and to begin can feel frustrating...


"...and can feel frustrating to begin with..." flows better, I think. You need the word "with" in there for sure.

Again, this looks like I'm being really critical, but I'm not. It's a very well written (in general) and excellently structured piece and these are just some thoughts I had whilst reading through. You can feel free to disagree entirely of course!

User avatar
Hero of Canton
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: GRcade
Contact:

PostRe: [GRWC8] The Witcher [Review]
by Hero of Canton » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:44 am

Anonymous wrote:One of the wonderful things about the human imagination is its ability to create alternate worlds out of nothing but its own dreams, desires and fantasies. Within these worlds are characters, towns and cities forged purely from the creator’s own mind. There are tales of love, betrayal and intrigue that are woven and passed down through generations. With technology improving all the time, these visions can be brought to life in ways they never have been before, and videogames are increasingly pushing forward in terms of immersing the player in these visions. The Witcher is a game at the forefront of this and will draw you into its world of darkness and beauty with some excellent production values and engaging gameplay.


Repetition of 'these visions' aside, a terrific opener.

The storyline is very engrossing and so without giving too much away, it’s full of twists depending on the decisions you make and there are three alternate endings in relation to what you’ve done throughout the course of the game.


That bit doesn't really flow too well. I'd lose the 'so', and put a full stop after 'engrossing', and a comma after 'make'. And 'in relation to' would sound better as 'which are affected by'.

The game uses a branching storyline system where the responses you give in conversations and the paths you choose affect what happens in the rest of the game, and while it might feel that options are being restricted from you, it’s a realistic way of making sure that you have to deal with the decisions you make.


Good, but you've gone back to talking about the decision-making. Perhaps the previous paragraph rather than this one should be tweaked, though.

The environments are detailed and give off feelings representative of their state.


I know what you mean by this, but it's a little clumsily worded.

The castle at the beginning of the game, for example, is only inhabited by Geralt and the other Witchers, and it genuinely feels desolate and isolated from the outside world. Some excellent lighting that changes depending on the time of day adds to the atmosphere even more, and while the graphics are never stunning, they’re very good and the game runs smoothly even with all visual settings at maximum.


Yep. All fine. Nothing spectacular, but the piece is doing its job nicely as a review.

Aurally the game is again on top form, and the musical score that accompanies the game is of the highest order. Music suits the surroundings you’re in, and don’t be surprised if at times you just stop and stare to admire the lighting and listen to the music.


You don't really stare to listen to music, though. Change 'stop and stare' to just 'pause' and that's all fine.

It really is that good. Voice acting is suitably gruff for the characters involved in the game


You don't need the 'involved in the game' - just 'the characters' or even 'the game's characters'.

Moving around in The Witcher is fairly customisable


Again, I see what you're getting at, but that sounds like you're customising the way your character moves. 'Movement options are customisable' would have sounded better.

Geralt’s movement is somewhat restricted in that he can’t jump, or crouch, or even walk


:lol: Really? I've not played The Witcher, so I don't know. What does he do? Hover?

During combat, movement is more freeform and the ability to dodge and so forth becomes available. Combat itself is quite unique, and will take some getting used to. Although in real-time, to actually execute moves you have to time your clicks of the mouse to chain together moves. An on-screen indicator tells you when to click, but mess it up and the chain gets reset and your opponent can fight back. It’s certainly different, and to begin can feel frustrating as a delay between your actions and Geralt’s often brings on an urge to keep clicking manically, although this only disrupts your combat. Over time though it becomes quite satisfying, and the timing-based system ensures that you keep concentrating on what’s happening on-screen and can’t just button bash.


Yeah, good. As Pilch says, it should be 'begin with', but otherwise that's fine.

There are three different fighting styles to switch between depending on the enemies you’re facing; a strong style for big and slow opponents, a quick style for speedier opponents and a group style for when you’re taking on more than one enemy. Switching between them is simple and instantaneous, and the ability to cast magic, or Signs as they’re called in the game, adds some variety to the swordplay.


Yep, all good.

Geralt’s inventory allows him to carry numerous items that will replenish his health, let him create potions, or help in combat. Selling and buying items will also bring in some gold for spending on other supplies. A branching upgrade system for attributes such as strength, agility, magic and other factors works well and provides incentive for playing on and increasing your abilities. A useful quest section provides details of your active and past missions and there’s also information on the characters you’ve encountered and details on all sorts of items and spells. The interface here is slightly confusing initially, but soon becomes reasonably easy to navigate.


Once again, no issues with that para.

The Witcher is a big game and will easily provide upwards of 30 hours playing time, especially if you’re one for seeing everything, collecting all the items and experiencing all of the game’s endings. There’s very little wrong with the game, and it’s clear the team behind it have put a lot of care and attention to detail into bringing it to life and making it enjoyable to play. A great example of the genre and a game that’s great to lose yourself in.
Atmospheric, enjoyable and engaging.


The end bit sounds like a three-word summary in a verdict boxout rather than a closing sentence, while the sentence before repeats 'great' in a slightly weak manner.

This is a generally well-written piece, with no spelling mistakes, and few real grammatical errors, with just the occasional clunkily-worded passage to blot its copybook. It's not the most charismatic review I've ever read, but it does its job very well, with the minimum of fuss, telling the reader plenty about the game and why it's so enjoyable. Very well done. Enough to get a vote? We'll see.

DML wrote:F'NARR!
User avatar
Eighthours
Emeritus
Emeritus
Joined in 2008
Location: Bristol

PostRe: [GRWC8] The Witcher [Review]
by Eighthours » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:08 am

Yeah, this is good. It's lacking a bit of "flair" in the writing (which is a personal preference rather than a criticism), but as a formal review it does its job very well. Good job, Mr Anonymous Writer Person!


Return to “Games”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AndyXMAS, jawafour, mcjihge2, Monkey Man, Parksey, Pedz, Photek, Rudolphin, smurphy, Ste, TonyDA, Yahoo [Bot] and 52 guests