I play semi-old games (The Witcher)

It only took me 3 months of on-again, off-again playing to do it, but I've finally manged to finish one of the more egregious black spots on my RPG backlog. I've been meaning to do this for some time now, as my impressions blog from mid January shows, but silly things like "School" and "Other Video Games" got in the way and helped contribute to my personal assumption that I am horribly inefficient at actually finishing games. With Midterms out of the way and no other immediate concerns I finally managed to sit down and finish The Witcher, giving me the almighty privilege of writing about it for my tens of adoring fans. This is also good because I can finally attempt to start writing semi-regularly again. But first, let me give you a brief summary of my video game playing from the last two months.

Things that are not The Witcher

Of all the other games I have played recently, aside from the always present League of Legends, the major ones of note seem to be Shadows of the Damned and Dead Space 2. They're both third person shooters with a strong "horror" element, with the difference being that they are practically inverses of each other. Dead Space 2 is, in fact, a game that is very similar to Dead Space. Similar enough that at some point I really couldn't tell you if it was better or not. Much like the first game, it's super polished, it drags something fierce around the middle before coming around at the end, and the actual art of murdering fake "The Many" is still incredibly enjoyable. The story is also still "Isaac! Go here! Uh oh, there's something in the way, so now you have to go here!" Having Isaac talk actually adds nothing to the experience since he is the most generic actionBro you could possibly put in a role like that and in fact I preferred it when he kept his mouth shut (on the plus, he curses whenever he stomps corpses). All in all, a great game and one I heartily recommend... but not on the PC. I experienced the shittiness of EA's DRM firsthand with this one and was unable to play the game until it randomly decided to work. It did look really good on my computer though, so there's that to be glad about.

On the other hand, Shadows of the Damned is not a great game. It's hilarious, bizarre and juvenile in the way that Suda 51 games apparently are (I wouldn't know, though I really want to play No More Heroes now). But the shooting is kind of bad. It's floaty in a way that is frustrating, making precise shots impossible and ensuring that you will kind of just fire wildly (missing far more than you should) instead of focusing on headshots. Which is weird, since Resident Evil 4 and 5 were, among other things, fairly tight as far as shooting went. I also watched all of Gurren Lagann on a particularly self-destructive bender. If we ever want to talk about tonal dissonance in an admittedly great work of fiction, that show is a textbook example. I also watched like 10 episodes of Fruits Basket because I was sick and my roommmate was goading me into it. I do not recommend that course of action unless you are a 14 year old girl who thinks that people turning into animals when they get hugged by Laura Bailey is in any way hilarious.

Things that are The Witcher

Made in Poland. Also, did I mention that Image Formatting is still the literal worst?

With that rather unfortunate revelation out of the way, we turn our internet heads towards the actual subject of what will obviously be a lengthy write-up. The Witcher is a great game with great characters and a great story. It's also about 10 hours too long for its own good and doesn't really show its true colors until halfway through, although when it does it's one of the better RPGs I have played since Dragon Age Origins.

But maybe I should slow down a bit. The Witcher is a RPG released in 2007 by CD Projekt Red, with much hulabaloo on the internets how it is supposedly super rad and is basically proof that you can release a full-on RPG in this modern era capable of achieving financial success. In the current climate of “Hating on Bioware is cool guys”, it is seen as a beacon against games that are dumbed down shooters full of pandering fanservice. To which I respond: Kinda. Saying that The Witcher is some sort of hardcore RPG is like saying that Halo Wars has the depth and complexity of Starcraft. Saying that The Witcher is free from pandering fanservice is a terrible lie, one that can be exposed the second one realizes that cards of naked women are a collectable, which may or may not be equally offensive to me as Bioware's weirdly obsessive focus on your dude romancing non playable characters. And let me tell you: there are a lot of cards. I still maintain that the combat is dull, the mechanics simplistic and needlessly obfuscated (you could finish the entire game without ever realizing that the secondary components of ingredients can be used to make better potions) and the actual quest designs are either based around the Planescape caveat of running back and forth between multiple NPCs or the excessively dull “kill X monster for money and experience that you really don't need”.

In general, I'd compare it to Planescape in that way, although every quest in Planescape was filled with that delicious, delicious writing that made it so great. In general, The Witcher is about 45% fetch quests that act as padding between story segments. It's one of the reasons that I think it would be a better game if it was shorter, and the not amazing minigames of fist fighting (which I never figured out, despite doing all the quests for) and dice poker (It's poker. With dice.) don't really serve as the interesting diversions one would think they are.

But these broad generalizations don't reveal what makes The Witcher great. While it fails to present a great impression until midway through the second act, once it starts rolling it gets a lot better. The grey morality at work is always interesting, with the game usually showing you the consequences of your actions, often in a real gameplay sense. While Geralt is a fixed character whose responses are clearly within a certain range, his choices and moral compass are within the hands of the player. Does one side with the terrorist Scoia'tel, who are trying to fight for their freedom (by murdering all the humans), or does one side with the zealous Order of the Flaming Rose, who may or may not be racist zealots. Or does one just say “Screw both of you guys, I'm not taking a side!” Because you can totally do that too. Giving any more specific examples would spoil the fun, since (like Planescape) the gameplay isn't good enough to hold up on its own. Similarly, the game does a surprisingly good job of establishing a supporting cast that can be helped or screwed over in a menagerie of ways. None of this would be as effective as it is without great writing, which The Witcher definitley has. The voice acting is less consistent, with Geralt's delivery being the kind of hilariously forced emotionless gravel that I find ironically endearing. Still, it never dips into “Early CD Game” territory, so at least we have that to be thankful for.

Other than that, I have to say that I'm pretty sure that the game still looks acceptable (especially considering that it's running on a heavily modified version of the Neverwinter Nights engine), but I wouldn't know from personal experience, as I had to do some out of game tinkering to get it to run on my laptop (which far exceeds the minimum specs) which in turn made me unable to improve texture quality or anti-aliasing. The anisotropic filtering was totally bitchin though, so at least the character models looked nice.

So thus, in order to prevent me from stealing any more of your time (then again, you are browsing a forum, so you clearly don't have much else you need to be doing), I will say this: I think you should play The Witcher. I don't think I personally will give it another playthrough, for as much as the choices make it viable to do so, but I think it's worth at least one of them. And thus, now I leave myself with another RPG out of my backlog completed... which means another one to start playing again. I'm thinking Vampire the Masquerade, or perhaps finishing up the last third of Icewind Dale II. So you can expect a blog on either of those... in 1-3 months.

34 Comments
34 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

It only took me 3 months of on-again, off-again playing to do it, but I've finally manged to finish one of the more egregious black spots on my RPG backlog. I've been meaning to do this for some time now, as my impressions blog from mid January shows, but silly things like "School" and "Other Video Games" got in the way and helped contribute to my personal assumption that I am horribly inefficient at actually finishing games. With Midterms out of the way and no other immediate concerns I finally managed to sit down and finish The Witcher, giving me the almighty privilege of writing about it for my tens of adoring fans. This is also good because I can finally attempt to start writing semi-regularly again. But first, let me give you a brief summary of my video game playing from the last two months.

Things that are not The Witcher

Of all the other games I have played recently, aside from the always present League of Legends, the major ones of note seem to be Shadows of the Damned and Dead Space 2. They're both third person shooters with a strong "horror" element, with the difference being that they are practically inverses of each other. Dead Space 2 is, in fact, a game that is very similar to Dead Space. Similar enough that at some point I really couldn't tell you if it was better or not. Much like the first game, it's super polished, it drags something fierce around the middle before coming around at the end, and the actual art of murdering fake "The Many" is still incredibly enjoyable. The story is also still "Isaac! Go here! Uh oh, there's something in the way, so now you have to go here!" Having Isaac talk actually adds nothing to the experience since he is the most generic actionBro you could possibly put in a role like that and in fact I preferred it when he kept his mouth shut (on the plus, he curses whenever he stomps corpses). All in all, a great game and one I heartily recommend... but not on the PC. I experienced the shittiness of EA's DRM firsthand with this one and was unable to play the game until it randomly decided to work. It did look really good on my computer though, so there's that to be glad about.

On the other hand, Shadows of the Damned is not a great game. It's hilarious, bizarre and juvenile in the way that Suda 51 games apparently are (I wouldn't know, though I really want to play No More Heroes now). But the shooting is kind of bad. It's floaty in a way that is frustrating, making precise shots impossible and ensuring that you will kind of just fire wildly (missing far more than you should) instead of focusing on headshots. Which is weird, since Resident Evil 4 and 5 were, among other things, fairly tight as far as shooting went. I also watched all of Gurren Lagann on a particularly self-destructive bender. If we ever want to talk about tonal dissonance in an admittedly great work of fiction, that show is a textbook example. I also watched like 10 episodes of Fruits Basket because I was sick and my roommmate was goading me into it. I do not recommend that course of action unless you are a 14 year old girl who thinks that people turning into animals when they get hugged by Laura Bailey is in any way hilarious.

Things that are The Witcher

Made in Poland. Also, did I mention that Image Formatting is still the literal worst?

With that rather unfortunate revelation out of the way, we turn our internet heads towards the actual subject of what will obviously be a lengthy write-up. The Witcher is a great game with great characters and a great story. It's also about 10 hours too long for its own good and doesn't really show its true colors until halfway through, although when it does it's one of the better RPGs I have played since Dragon Age Origins.

But maybe I should slow down a bit. The Witcher is a RPG released in 2007 by CD Projekt Red, with much hulabaloo on the internets how it is supposedly super rad and is basically proof that you can release a full-on RPG in this modern era capable of achieving financial success. In the current climate of “Hating on Bioware is cool guys”, it is seen as a beacon against games that are dumbed down shooters full of pandering fanservice. To which I respond: Kinda. Saying that The Witcher is some sort of hardcore RPG is like saying that Halo Wars has the depth and complexity of Starcraft. Saying that The Witcher is free from pandering fanservice is a terrible lie, one that can be exposed the second one realizes that cards of naked women are a collectable, which may or may not be equally offensive to me as Bioware's weirdly obsessive focus on your dude romancing non playable characters. And let me tell you: there are a lot of cards. I still maintain that the combat is dull, the mechanics simplistic and needlessly obfuscated (you could finish the entire game without ever realizing that the secondary components of ingredients can be used to make better potions) and the actual quest designs are either based around the Planescape caveat of running back and forth between multiple NPCs or the excessively dull “kill X monster for money and experience that you really don't need”.

In general, I'd compare it to Planescape in that way, although every quest in Planescape was filled with that delicious, delicious writing that made it so great. In general, The Witcher is about 45% fetch quests that act as padding between story segments. It's one of the reasons that I think it would be a better game if it was shorter, and the not amazing minigames of fist fighting (which I never figured out, despite doing all the quests for) and dice poker (It's poker. With dice.) don't really serve as the interesting diversions one would think they are.

But these broad generalizations don't reveal what makes The Witcher great. While it fails to present a great impression until midway through the second act, once it starts rolling it gets a lot better. The grey morality at work is always interesting, with the game usually showing you the consequences of your actions, often in a real gameplay sense. While Geralt is a fixed character whose responses are clearly within a certain range, his choices and moral compass are within the hands of the player. Does one side with the terrorist Scoia'tel, who are trying to fight for their freedom (by murdering all the humans), or does one side with the zealous Order of the Flaming Rose, who may or may not be racist zealots. Or does one just say “Screw both of you guys, I'm not taking a side!” Because you can totally do that too. Giving any more specific examples would spoil the fun, since (like Planescape) the gameplay isn't good enough to hold up on its own. Similarly, the game does a surprisingly good job of establishing a supporting cast that can be helped or screwed over in a menagerie of ways. None of this would be as effective as it is without great writing, which The Witcher definitley has. The voice acting is less consistent, with Geralt's delivery being the kind of hilariously forced emotionless gravel that I find ironically endearing. Still, it never dips into “Early CD Game” territory, so at least we have that to be thankful for.

Other than that, I have to say that I'm pretty sure that the game still looks acceptable (especially considering that it's running on a heavily modified version of the Neverwinter Nights engine), but I wouldn't know from personal experience, as I had to do some out of game tinkering to get it to run on my laptop (which far exceeds the minimum specs) which in turn made me unable to improve texture quality or anti-aliasing. The anisotropic filtering was totally bitchin though, so at least the character models looked nice.

So thus, in order to prevent me from stealing any more of your time (then again, you are browsing a forum, so you clearly don't have much else you need to be doing), I will say this: I think you should play The Witcher. I don't think I personally will give it another playthrough, for as much as the choices make it viable to do so, but I think it's worth at least one of them. And thus, now I leave myself with another RPG out of my backlog completed... which means another one to start playing again. I'm thinking Vampire the Masquerade, or perhaps finishing up the last third of Icewind Dale II. So you can expect a blog on either of those... in 1-3 months.

Posted by Claude

Actually The Witcher was a slow burn when it was first released. Most thought of it as a game that just happened to resemble a Diablo clone, but it turned out to be much more. It was Championed. A Classic.

Posted by MB
@Claude said:
Actually The Witcher was a slow burn when it was first released. Most thought of it as a game that just happened to resemble a Diablo clone, but it turned out to be much more. It was Championed. A Classic.
Are we thinking about two different games here? I never considered The Witcher to be anything close to Diablo at all, they're not even in the same ball park.
Moderator
Posted by Claude
@MB said:
@Claude said:
Actually The Witcher was a slow burn when it was first released. Most thought of it as a game that just happened to resemble a Diablo clone, but it turned out to be much more. It was Championed. A Classic.
Are we thinking about two different games here? I never considered The Witcher to be anything close to Diablo at all, they're not even in the same ball park.
I can't find the review, but Jeff Green played this game in the isometric view. Which in retrospect seemed to be the Diablo style of gameplay oldschool players enjoyed, much like Diablo; Left click, left click, left click... I believe he gave it a seven out of ten in his review for Games for Windows Magazine. I played it in the over the shoulder mode, much better if you ask me.
Edited by Claude
Posted by dankempster

Nice write-up Arbitrary. I bought The Witcher on a whim last year, when it was on offer on GOG (my first and to date only transaction with them, although I'm sure things won't stay that way). It's one of the many games that I've filed away in a drawer labelled "To Get Around To At Some Point", and I'm sure I eventually will, because it sounds like something I'd definitely enjoy. The promise of great writing is an alluring one, particularly if it side-steps the typical trappings of high fantasy that I find myself beginning to tire of a little. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said about Dead Space 2, and in particular your criticism of Isaac's transformation from blank slate into generic action hero. I also found the story to be pretty disjointed and verging on the nonsensical at times, which disappointed me a little after the first game's story, which was unremarkable but wonderfully told through the audio/video logs.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Claude: Interesting. You see, I barely remembered that that game had a classical isometric mode at all, and I think putting it in there gives a bad idea of what the game actually is. Also, that review isn't that far off from my opinion, though apparently they cleaned up the writing and voice acting some in the Enhanced Edition... which is precisely why I am waiting for the Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2 before I purchase that sucker. I might as well play the best version of that game before I write anything up on it, and you know that Steam or GOG is going to have it for dirt cheap at some point.

@dankempster: I'm going to be honest here and say that while The Witcher in particular is well suited to your style of write-up, it's not necessarily something you need to openly prioritize. And yes, Dead Space 2 does not have a good story and the best part of that game is walking around the church of space scientology.

Posted by Mento

I own the Witcher and still can't play it. It's one of those things I still need a better PC for. Odd, because I bought it for like three beans. I guess that's the power of Steam: Getting me to buy games I can't even run because it was too good a deal to pass up.

In my own little world of RPGs, I'm a few hours into The Last Story now. The combat is really quite bizarre, like a Gears of War-type TPS by way of Final Fantasy Tactics. I also dig that treasure randomizes itself before you pick it up with this little Wheel of Fortune ticker - it's completely meaningless, since it's easy enough to get on board with the concept of randomized loot without a visual aid, but it's kind of charming too.

Moderator
Posted by ArclightBorealis

I bought the Witcher not too long ago with that coupon I got during the Steam holiday sale. Only finished chapter 1 and so far I like what I've played. I still need to try diving into the alchemy system a bit more, but I don't have much incentive, probably since I'm not playing on the hardest difficulty where that stuff would be necessary. Really like the world a lot. Majority of the population are humongous assholes.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Alaska_Gamer: Really, you don't need to touch the alchemy system all that much. It took me a while to figure out that the secondary components of the ingredients could be matched up to make more effective potions, and other than a few tough boss encounters you kind of just need Swallow to regenerate your health at most. And yes, the trend of everyone in the game world being horrible continues, so have fun with that.

@Mento: You've intrigued me. I'm all for random prefix and suffix filled loot, and I'm all for grid based combat.

Posted by Mento

Then I suck at describing things, because it has neither of those.

All the equipment in this game starts kind of terrible and needs upgrading; the specific stat growth and the sorts of inherent bonuses (like a chance to insta-kill) you get at higher levels are what differentiates them. In a sense, they level like you do, though through the usual mix of cash and rare components instead of experience. The battles are all real-time and use cover, ambushes and the occasional ranged combat, and you need to be alert for enemy spell-casters and keeping out of their lines of sight to spring powerful surprise attacks. At the same time, there's a wealth of options on how to deal with enemies and each battle is set-up like one from an SRPG, where you get to see the whole battlefield and can ratiocinate on a plan of attack before it starts. Like with Xenoblade (and FFXIII, I guess), I've been very impressed with how they're able to put together battles that can sometimes last less a minute and still retain some degree of variation and strategic thinking.

Moderator
Posted by AhmadMetallic

Hmmm.. interesting read.  
As a, more or less, The Witcher fanboy I felt like striking you down with godly wrath as I dove through your scrutinizing paragraphs, but, A- You make some very good points and B- You seem to know your RPGs a whole lot better than I do, which I barely do. 
 
I don't really have much to say in response except for the fact that The Witcher was my first success into breaking through to the other side of gaming, the one that has much more thinking, patience, jank, reading, layers of gameplay elements such as multiple character skill trees and alchemy, critical decisions and long hours of progression. Which is why it was astounding to me, it was my first real RPG pussy, so to speak. You always cherish the first pussy right? 
Very interesting to read your seasoned views on it, but I found it completely and utterly captivating and charming. I loved the combat as well, those stances were something else. 
 
And I disagree, the opening levels TOTALLY set the mood for me as a player to get a feel of the universe. The start in the Rivia castle totally made me anxious to get out of those walls and see the world, and that village outside of Vizima is undoubtedly one of the most memorable levels of a video game for me because it felt so simple and so real. 

Edited by Animasta

@ArbitraryWater said:

@Claude: Interesting. You see, I barely remembered that that game had a classical isometric mode at all, and I think putting it in there gives a bad idea of what the game actually is. Also, that review isn't that far off from my opinion, though apparently they cleaned up the writing and voice acting some in the Enhanced Edition... which is precisely why I am waiting for the Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2 before I purchase that sucker. I might as well play the best version of that game before I write anything up on it, and you know that Steam or GOG is going to have it for dirt cheap at some point.

They aren't going to have an enhanced edition like they did on witcher 1; the thing that was different was the voice acting, which witcher 2 does amazingly. and the writing is far superior too, I feel.

and what's dirt cheap? they had it for 20$ a while ago

Posted by Praxis

It's good to know that the Witcher does get better at some point, but all the same, as someone who's put about five hours into both the first and second game and came away from both thoroughly underwhelmed, I don't think I'll be going back to either any time soon. I'm willing to concede that the general internet consensus that these games really shine in their latter portions is probably true, but there's something to be said for putting one's best foot forward, and I'm not really in any frame of mind these days to continue playing unremarkable games in the hopes that they're building up to some later payoff.

I fully agree that the combat seemed lackluster in the Witcher, though I probably could have put up with it if not for the inane undercurrent of Geralt being some sexual conquistador. Believing that even a single person would want to bed an individual whose defining characteristics are charmlessness and an utter disregard for inflection is hard enough, but that I couldn't go anywhere without someone wanting to jump into my pants strained credulity farther than I was willing to accept, and made it hard for me to believe that even the developers were taking their fiction seriously.

As for Witcher 2, it was ultimately a myriad of things that made me put it aside. The game seems to assume you'd rather die repeatedly than be told how any of its systems work, and it also became clear fairly early on that inventory management was going to be an issue, which is as sure a way as any to turn me off of an RPG. There are many things about old CRPGs that are fine and worth preserving, to be sure, but I'm with Vinny on one thing: encumbrance needs to go the way of the dodo. Sure was nice to look at, though, I'll give it that :P

Posted by falling_fast

goddamnit, now I feel really old

Edited by Animasta

@Praxis: the game was updated with a new tutorial and an easier difficulty curve if you wanna get back on it (witcher 2)

Posted by AhmadMetallic
Posted by Praxis

@Animasta: Yeah, I heard of that, and I'm not ruling out the possibility of going back to that game at some point, I'm just not in a hurry. I doubt I'll ever give the first game a second chance, though. That sex stuff was just too bizarre and off-putting for me.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Animasta I do seem to recall GOG saying that if you bought The Witcher 2 before a certain date they would upgrade it to the enhanced edition for free. Basically something about adding some more content or whatnot that will also be in the Xbox 360 version. But yeah, once it's around $20 again I will most certainly pick it up and possibly write something up about it.

@AhmadMetallic: As someone who's first "RPG Pussy" so to speak was Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, I can relate. Even though I wrote up a scalding critique of it at the beginning of last year, I still view it fondly in spite of the many flaws it contains. Still, for a game that was the freshman effort of an Eastern European studio it's incredibly impressive, and everything I have heard about The Witcher 2 suggests it fixes a lot of the problems I had with this one.

@Praxis: You straight up tell a naked nymph that she should sex you because it's fun and relieves stress. The irony is that her card has her more covered than she is in game. You can avoid most of this stuff if you so please, though I also agree that Geralt getting horizontal with everything that has a pair of breasts is more than a little silly considering he has no real charisma to speak of whatsoever. Quite frankly, it's the only real contention I have with the game from a stylistic angle, as the rest of the fiction is pretty great.

Posted by mosdl

@ArbitraryWater said:

@Animasta I do seem to recall GOG saying that if you bought The Witcher 2 before a certain date they would upgrade it to the enhanced edition for free. Basically something about adding some more content or whatnot that will also be in the Xbox 360 version. But yeah, once it's around $20 again I will most certainly pick it up and possibly write something up about it.

Pretty sure the enhanced edition of Witcher 2 is free for everyone as a update, same way it was for the first.

Posted by AhmadMetallic
@ArbitraryWater said:

@AhmadMetallic: As someone who's first "RPG Pussy" so to speak was Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, I can relate. Even though I wrote up a scalding critique of it at the beginning of last year, I still view it fondly in spite of the many flaws it contains. Still, for a game that was the freshman effort of an Eastern European studio it's incredibly impressive, and everything I have heard about The Witcher 2 suggests it fixes a lot of the problems I had with this one.

Sadly, Witcher 2 crushed my interest in this franchise just as quick as Witcher 1 raised it. Sure, stuff was "fixed", but that only deserted the first game's charm and lasting atmosphere. Beat the first witcher within a month, have been on the same Witcher 2 playthrough for 6.
Posted by SirOptimusPrime

I am 38 hours into The Witcher 1, but something is just stonewalling me from finishing the game (just beat the boss on the island area, forget which chapter). I just don't know what to do with it, it's got excellent atmosphere and is alright enough in terms of gameplay to not frustrate me to the point of almost hating it. Maybe I have a problem, because I did this with so many other RPGs that I liked, even loved. I'm still 27 hours in DA2, not because I hate it, and about 25 in FNV.  
 
Whatever, The Witcher and The Witcher 2 are really fucking good games and this style of low-fantasy is just what I love. 

Posted by Praxis

@ArbitraryWater: I'll take your word for it on the rest of the fiction, since I was still at the point where I was rescuing barmaids from would-be rapists so that I could immediately proposition them.

Posted by kalmis

@ArbitraryWater: Did you use any mods on The Witcher?

Finally got started with it myself. Just finished chapter three and got like ~30 hours clocked in allready. Really enjoying all aspects of the game. Especially after discovering that Blizzard potion. Makes the combat bit easier on closet quarters with lots of enemies. Also didn't realize you could stay neutral all game. After the first conversation with Triss I thought that I kind of had to pick a side. Ended up siding with the humans. Would have been interesting to see how this (chapter 3) had ended with neutral. Suppose each drug mission had belonged to separate faction.

Dead Space 2 is pretty much next on my list. Have gotten a Dead Space bug and have churned through pretty much all the available material. Read even the book!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@kalmis: I was unaware there were mods, though I guess with the engine it is running on that's not totally out of the question. You can still finish the game neutral however, so don't worry about that.

Posted by kalmis

@ArbitraryWater: Yeah apparently there are quite a few good ones:

http://www.gog.com/en/forum/the_witcher/recommended_mods_and_adventures

Like the Flash Mod and Stuff that makes Geralt's life easier. First one tweaking the UI and what not. The second removing the inventory limit. Also giving the ability to see in the dark, which is silly that it is not in the game. Since that is the point with the cat like eyes to begin with. Haven't tried these myself since the first one tweaks the difficulty and the latter might screw up my saves.

Posted by DeF

@Claude said:

@MB said:
@Claude said:
Actually The Witcher was a slow burn when it was first released. Most thought of it as a game that just happened to resemble a Diablo clone, but it turned out to be much more. It was Championed. A Classic.
Are we thinking about two different games here? I never considered The Witcher to be anything close to Diablo at all, they're not even in the same ball park.
I can't find the review, but Jeff Green played this game in the isometric view. Which in retrospect seemed to be the Diablo style of gameplay oldschool players enjoyed, much like Diablo; Left click, left click, left click... I believe he gave it a seven out of ten in his review for Games for Windows Magazine. I played it in the over the shoulder mode, much better if you ask me.

Interestingly, I started out exactly the same way. Isometric camera, didn't really like it too much. Then I took a break and when I saw the quick look Vinny did with the third person over-the-shoulder view and I felt I had a whole new game in front of me!

Edited by Tennmuerti
@Praxis: @ArbitraryWater
When it comes to Geralt's sexual endavours the developers are actually taking it seriously (at least in terms of sticking to the universe fiction).

Geralt as a witcher, who are mutants, is immune to any sexual disease so there is no risk of catching anything from him for any woman or to him from them.
As a witcher he is also sterile, so in combination with the above, sex with him is pretty much the pertfect safe sex you can get. 
Witchers also have more stamina/endurance then an everage male, making it extremely easy for them to satisfy a woman compared to your avarage selfcentered medieval male.
Most witchers are supremely well fit and well built, i mean jezus just look at Geralt he could be an underwear model.
The above facts about Witchers are widely known in the setting, so you can see how they are considered a catch for a one night stand for women.
Now add to that the fact that witchers are basically "mysterious strangers" always doing dangerous shit. Sparks of adventure/excitement in a bleak existance
He can be as charismatic as a brick and still be a pussy magnet.
 
@ArbitraryWater
I highly reccomend insane difficulty mods for anyone doing a 2nd playthrough as threy actually force you to properly use all the tools at your disposal, oils/stances/potions/bombs.
Edited by Praxis

@Tennmuerti: I understand that Geralt's promiscuity is faithful to the source material, and perhaps it is better handled there, but I can only speak to my experience as a player, where it felt contrived and out of place, especially in the context of witchers being unpopular individuals. I realize that there are a lot of reasons on paper why a woman might want to sleep with a witcher, but that all falls apart for me when Geralt is characterized with all the allure of a brown paper bag.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Tennmuerti: Ok, you've made a better justification than the game seems to do, though I'm sure it was probably somewhere in the codex that I didn't really read all that much. I would imagine that the combat would actually be better if the game was harder, yes, but I still think the tactical possibilities of controlling a party of one are far less satisfying than controlling say.... 6 characters at once.

@kalmis: Something that would have removed the inventory limit would have made my day. Seriously. That was a problem throughout the entire game. Oh well. I guess my policy is that if a game isn't horribly broken and in need of fan mods I probably won't use them on my first playthrough. The exceptions, of course, are games that are horribly broken and probably missing cut content. So when I get back around to Vampire the Masquerade, I will continue to play using the basic version of the unofficial patch.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Yeah, The Witcher is a great fucking game dude. I mean it's great in every department. But for the love of God, i just can't bring myself to replay it again. Just can't do it. And it's one of my favorite RPGs.

Edited by Tennmuerti
@Praxis said:

@Tennmuerti: I understand that Geralt's promiscuity is faithful to the source material, and perhaps it is better handled there, but I can only speak to my experience as a player, where it felt contrived and out of place, especially in the context of witchers being unpopular individuals. I realizes that there are a lot of reasons on paper why a woman might want to sleep with a witcher, but that all falls apart for me when Geralt is characterized with all the allure of a brown paper bag.

Interestinlgy enough the witchers promiscuity is one of the big factors why they are so unpopular among normal people :) 

He doesn't need to be charismatic to simply have physical sex with women. He isn't developing relashionships with most of them or asking them to be friends or get married. Most of it is one night stand sex. He is relatively good looking and body wise supremely attracitve. His atributes (outlined above) alone make him sex on legs.  His allure is already there, he actually does not need to be some charismatic womaniser at all, not one iota. Geralt is like the physical embodiment of the tall handsome mysterious stranger, that so much of steamy romance fantasy is about, in books movies. Except he is better, much much better, simply by virtue of being a witcher which a lot of women in that universe are aware about.
 
@ArbitraryWater: @Praxis
Tho Geralt's sexual exploits are actually severly toned down in the second game, at least in raw number terms.
Posted by mosdl

I missed the sense of exploration in Witcher 2 that the original had, but then I hated having to run a lot to get anywhere in that damn swamp island in the first game. Contradictions!

Posted by Praxis

@Tennmuerti: Like Arbitrary said, you're doing a much better job of explaining this than the game itself does. All the same, I'm not sure that roleplaying a "steamy romance fantasy" archetype would have been more appealing to me had the game made this clear. Some things don't translate all that well between mediums, and I think CD Projekt Red basically admitted in one of their dev diaries that the portrayal of sex in The Witcher was something of a misstep, which led to it being much more contextual in the second game.