Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Witcher Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  As CD Projekt Red marchs ever onward to completing the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, which looks like it could be one of the best RPGs ever, I wonder back to older times when they were just beginning their grand adventure.  Though The Witcher released way back in 2007, I thought to pay tribute to the original, also the game trough at my feet is almost empty and since I'm not made of money and am unable to buy all the new releases coming out.  I also don't possess a two thousand dollar gaming PC, sorry for being such a square, so I can't play all my friend's games that they lend me which is why I don't review PC exclusive games, but today is the exception to that rule, so pull out that confetti cause its time to go to fantasy land.  The Witcher is an PC exclusive released in 2007 by CD Projekt Red based off the novels written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that takes place in a mid evil land known made of several kingdoms.  Its kind of like Lord of the Rings with more swearing and racism.  The player follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher.  In the early days of man during their arrival in this dimension and event known as the Conjuncture of the Spheres put many monstrous creatures into the land.  To counter the brutality of the monsters humans created witchers, who were specially augmented from childhood to be stronger, faster and better than any warrior through vigorous training and later mutagens that made them superhuman.  This was done by a process known as the Trail of the Grasses which consisted of ingesting powerful herbs and modifying certain parts of the witcher's bodies, as a result of the trials witchers appear pale and have animal eyes.  They can also ingest hazardous potions that grant strength along with supernatural abilities and resistance to poisons, there also immune to all diseases.  The witchers also use Signs, these minor magical spells prove very useful to witchers (see picture).  As time moved on, humanity became stronger and no longer needed the witchers to protect them and they became shunned by all as mutants, and hated like the dwarves and elves, traveling the land as monster hunters for hire.  Like I said, lots of racism, you will kill alot of guys over racism.
 So the game opens with Geralt running through the woods in a hazy state with someone calling his name over and over again.  Geralt is found unconscious by his fellow witchers and taken to the witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen.  There are very few witchers left in the world, even fewer in Kaer Morhen, where there was 30 witchers and 40 students at Kaer Morhen, there is now 4 witchers and one student after a large attack many years back.  After recovering, Geralt can remember nothing of his past until two days ago when he was rescued.  When talking to Triss, a sorceress at the castle armed bandits invade the castle along with two sorcerers accompanied by a giant insect like creature.  After fighting off the bandits, Geralt can chose whether to stop the theft of the witchers secrets or kill the insect.  Choice is a key gameplay mechanic throughout the series, each will lead to different outcomes and a overall different ending, I hear the Witcher 3 will have 36 endings.  BioWare also helped on this project making it no surprise that moral choice is present, anyone whos played Mass Effect will know what I'm talking about. So Geralt chooses his desired path, find out these bandits work for Salamandra, some not so nice guys that want the secrets of the witchers for their own purposes.  After the attack everyone sets off towards a different part of the continent while Geralt sets off for Temeria and so his journey begins.  The combat is pretty straight forward meaning you click on the thing you want to kill followed by a few more clicks executed at the right time which create a combo that deals more damage.  There are many types of weapons you will use, mainly the witchers steel sword that is used against humans and witchers silver sword thats used against monsters and wraiths.  Theres also a bunch of useless side weapons that you will never use and were taken out in the second game because of said uselessness. Geralt also uses signs which can be learned throughout the story (see picture for effects).
Geralt wandering the wilderness
The many plant types spread throughout the world can be made into potions used to enhance Geralts abilities, these vary from given night vision, recovering health faster, or dealing more damage.  One annoyance the player will constantly face is that apparently Geralt's amnesia extends so far that he forgets how swords work on monsters because he has to research a monster by reading about it before he can fulfill the contract on the target. This can be annoying because you have to buy the books to research the creature and they can cost up to 400 orens, and for that sum I would expect the game to give me the magical sword of damnation that turns people into radishes or something thats actually useful.  Imagine what an awkward conversation that would be for an expert monster slayer for a How to book on monster slaying.  If you chop anythings head off, it dies.  Except a Hydra, but were not in Greece, are we?  Did I mention that Geralt is also perhaps the most famous witcher ever, known for his outstanding skills and knowledge, now reduced to a sap that will give away all his money for a book.  Anyways, moving on.  The player can rotate between fighting stances to suit the enemy type Geralt is fighting, be it fast, strong or group oriented (also another stupid feature taken out in the sequel).  As Geralt progresses through the game his level will increase, allowing you to upgrade his skills trees that his effect strength which determines his sword skills, his Magic skills that determine his effectiveness with Signs, and his general skills that effect his health and resistance to stuff.  The game is played out in five chapters along with the prologue and epilogue, they each have their different locations and unique quests to go with them.  Also alot of fetch quests and with it comes even more walking, but thus is the medevil RPG way.  There is also a crafting system that allows Geralt to give certain items to a blacksmith and ask them to craft a sword or new set of armor which can make a big difference when fighting enemies. Overall The Witcher is a fun game that can take some warming up to, although one can really appreciate the features of the second game once the first has been beaten and if your playing both on PC your save file from the first game can be transferred over into the second.  I'll probably review that game within the next couple months.  I hope you have enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with more games.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

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