The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
Release date: September 16, 2008
If they continue to make PC games this entertaining with action packed story-lines, I see the awakening of the PC thanks to “The Witcher: Enhanced Edition”. And I DO mean Enhanced!
Slow load times? Gone. Cluttered inventory? No mas. Cursing? Yup, but did they really say those words in Medieval times? All these previous issues were improved and revamped to make “The Witcher: EE” outdo it’s previous release. We’re big fans of RPG games here at Kezins with Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion topping out our top 3. So when we saw a fantasy medieval game with a kick ass white haired monster-hunter with an attitude, we were sold!
Hard disk space don’t grow on trees. First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way since you need to install the game BEFORE you can play it. When installing “The Witcher: EE”, be sure to use the “custom” install of the game. Unchecking all the additional languages, and subtitles will save you around 5gb. Now I know hard drives are cheap these days, but why have a 13gb install of the Witcher, when 8gb is more than enough? Also, let me mention that this game takes a muscled up PC to play it. Windows XP, 2.5 GHz, 1gb (2gb rcmd) memory and a 128mb 3D video card
Telling the Story. You begin as Geralt, a monster hunting Witcher of Rivia, who suffers from amnesia. The Witcher’s fortress Kaer Morhen is attacked by the Salamandra, a group of mysterious bandits. During this attack they steal valuable potions secrets, and magically disappear. The remaining Witchers decide to split up and search for information about the Salamandra to stop them.
Difficulties and controls. Unlike other RPG, in the beginning of “The Witcher: EE” it allows you to customize your difficulty. Typical three choices; easy, medium or hard. I was surprised to see an option for controls on a PC game, especially for an RPG. Mouse or mouse & keyboard. For this review, I decided to go with just mouse as it’s a rarity and I like testing how accurate a game with only a mouse can be.
Attacking’s a cinch… with a mouse of course. Enemy’s are clearly identified surrounded by red circles. Not sure? Hover over a “suspecting” enemy with your mouse, if you see a red circle, attack! Sounds simple and it is. Combat mode in The Witcher is very clever and is based on timing. Clicking on an enemy once, will initiate an attack. What follows is purely time based. After you initiate an attack, keeping your mouse over the enemy will display 2 colored icons. In order:
- Yellow sword – Normal Attack, which will be displayed for a longer period of time. This attack is the first step of a possible combination.
- Orange sword – Special Attack, will briefly show over the enemy. Click it and you’ll drop a nice combo attack on that bandit for sure.
Clicking prematurely or late, will break your chain of combination’s and you leave yourself open for a counter-attack from the enemy.
Develop your character. Killing an enemy gives you experience points (XP). Collect enough XP, and your character will level up. Once you level up, you are given bronze, silver, or gold talent coins which you can use to purchase skills. You can spread yourself thin across all characteristics or master one such as ‘Strong Sword Skills’.
The ‘Paths’ not taken. What I love about The Witcher, are the decisive paths you encounter throughout the game making it non-linear. In my opinion, choices made are what separate a true open story game from the typical linear game. I love wondering, “What if I decided to stay with the group, instead of assisting Triss in the Library?” Which reminds me of the saving game option. A flaw that I cannot understand is why it will not allow you to name your saved games. When it comes to PC gaming, this should always be an option.
- Not naming saved games
- Minor bugs
- Some characters were mono toned
The Witcher should be entered for cinematography awards, considering the opening scene and cut-scenes throughout the game. The opening “movie” between Geralt and “The Beast” does run for about 10 minutes, but I didn’t notice the time until I realized my foot fell asleep. Additionally the incredible visuals that “The Witcher” offers plus the gameplay and story make this our PC Game of the Year -2008.
Check out page #2 for videos and more information on the title…