Everyone seemed to like the hell out of The Witcher 3, but starting with the third game in a series seems like madness to me, so I picked up The Witcher: Enhanced Edition for $1.50 in a steam sale in October. Now that I’m through Fallout 4, I can actually give it a shot.
Apparently, it’s based on some Polish fantasy novels (the developer is also Polish). What I imagine is pretty generic for modern fantasy: an edgier version of Tolkien-y stuff with a gruff anti-hero protagonist. Gravelly-voiced, foul-mouthed, five o’clock shadow 24/7, usual 21st century genre fiction guy. Womanizer, alcoholic, not a hero, just in it for the money, that kind of thing.
He lost his memory, so of course everyone has to explain to him all the shit that I, the player, doesn’t know. A Witcher is a professional monster hunter, someone attacks your base with some sort of sinister plan, you’ve got to track them down and stop them. Also pretty generic plot. The dialog and voice acting are both pretty weak, but I gather this is just the English translation of an originally Polish script. By being based on an existing character, you don’t get a lot of customization. No character creation at all. No class choice, no race choice, no gender choice, no appearance options, no stat allocation. There’s a skill tree to progress through as you level, but that’s it.
It’s pretty… not progressive as far as gender goes. The women are almost exclusively peasants and witches and barmaids and whores. You have the opportunity to sleep with many of them, and are given a card with pin-up art on it for doing so. Basically “congratulations on banging this girl” trophies. Some of which are NSFW. And there are tons of them. It’s horribly sexist, and yet every time I have the opportunity, I ignore all my important quests and do whatever is required to have sex with the girl, because I am a hypocrite.
The combat is not great, but when trying to compare it to other older games, it’s better than like KotOR. The questing can be pretty tedious, it’s in desperate need of fast travel and a better navigation system. There are a few story choices, but a lot of the time you don’t have enough of an idea about the situation to know what you’re deciding. Like, you’re forced to choose between two love interests at some point. They both seemed perfectly nice, I thought one was a little bit hotter, and the other had some agenda she wasn’t forthcoming about, and that’s all I made the decision on. And it’s a bit buggy, there were a few times the game just stopped working right and I had to load an old save (or sometimes shut the game down and start it back up).
But I can see potential in subsequent games, so I stuck it out and finished. Definitely taking a break before proceeding to the next one, though.