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Default The Witcher - Review @ GameSpot

November 6th, 2007, 10:02
GameSpot has posted their review of The Witcher, awarding a score of 8.5/10 and really praising the combat (while ironically getting some of the details on difficulty and combat feedback wrong). Here's the opening:
Don't be afraid of change. Even though The Witcher may scare off some people with inventive combat that replaces comfortable old rapid-fire clicking with rhythmic sword swinging, there is no need to avoid one of the deepest, most adult role-playing games to hit the PC in years. Polish developer CD Projekt has crafted one of those landmark games that moves the goalposts for everybody, a truly grown-up take on swords and sorcery that breaks just about every fantasy tradition in the book. Once you experience a grimy medieval world so realistic that you can practically smell it, quests that reject simplistic good and evil for ambiguous "decisions and consequences," and, yes, newfangled battle mechanics that add welcome twists to left-click scrapping, you'll find it awfully hard to go back to the usual D&D rip-off.
Thanks, Melvil!
More information.
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November 6th, 2007, 10:03
Given that his main complaints are about odd dialogue and cheesy voice acting, I have to wonder how he would have rated the game given a decent localization. Overall it's a good review though, a nice break from the other 'professional' reviews.

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November 6th, 2007, 10:33
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
Given that his main complaints are about odd dialogue and cheesy voice acting, I have to wonder how he would have rated the game given a decent localization. Overall it's a good review though, a nice break from the other 'professional' reviews.
Probably still pretty low.

Remember, the Witcher, rating-wise, suffers from notbeingOblivionitis syndrome. It could never be higher rated than it is, 'cuz, y'know…it's not Oblivion.
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November 6th, 2007, 11:01
Actually, 8.5 isn't "pretty low" — it's pretty high. For a cRPG other than Oblivion anyway. I can understand knocking off a half-point for those load screens.
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November 6th, 2007, 11:13
By the way… is it really completely impossible to write a decent review without spoiling the entire plot of Act 1?
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November 6th, 2007, 11:46
Borelivion, Borelivion, Borelivion, that 'cRPG' is called BORELIVION ';..;'

I can't truly understand why everyone is comparing new RPGs to Oblivion? Why? Why? WHY? Except the fact that Bethesda seems to 'show' their 'appreciation' to the editors in some 'mysterious' way… Ask Brother None what he had to do to see Fallout 3 GC closed demo, I'm sure Bethesda doesn't show him any appreciation .

Where are the reviews that talk about RPGs compared to the classics, Fallouts, Torment, Baldur 2? How many decent games where thrown away on garbage 'because they're not Oblivion'?
Last edited by Crolug; November 6th, 2007 at 11:56.
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November 6th, 2007, 12:14
Originally Posted by Crolug View Post
Where are the reviews that talk about RPGs compared to the classics, Fallouts, Torment, Baldur 2? How many decent games where thrown away on garbage 'because they're not Oblivion'?
They're on GameBanshee, here, and the Codex.

Thing is, the readership of mainstream game sites is pretty young. Many of them couldn't even read when the Fallouts, Torment, and BG2 came out. If you're writing for them, it's better to pick a more contemporary point of comparison.

And, like it or not, Oblivion did sell very well. That makes it a benchmark for cRPG's much like Half-Life 2 is for FPS's. Especially if the cRPG shares obvious traits with it — such as the third-person perspective and real-time combat.
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November 6th, 2007, 12:18
Thing is, the readership of mainstream game sites is pretty young. Many of them couldn't even read when the Fallouts, Torment, and BG2 came out. If you're writing for them, it's better to pick a more contemporary point of comparison.
Yeah, but players of Witcher should be at least 18. So I hope they were able to read when BG2 was released .

Ee..but 8,5 for me is good sccore - first game of devs, they aren't ubisoft. 8,5 is good .
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November 6th, 2007, 14:14
Indeed, that is a very good score, and a positive review. The Witcher is getting a lot of such reviews, so let's hope the sales are high as well.
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November 6th, 2007, 15:01
8.5 + editors award is better than just 9.0 imho. It has received multiple editors awards.
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November 6th, 2007, 16:41
I disagree completely that The Witcher will move any goalposts, except in the minds of RPG gamers who frequent websites like this one. It is different in ways that companies like EA and Bethesda just can't appreciate. No doubt Atari will appreciate the massive payoff from a bestseller like this one, but without the slightest understanding of WHY they made so much money.

The one thought that returns again and again when I play this game is that it never in a hundred years could have been created in the U.S. Every developer here with the resources to make it wouldn't dare take the risk of not selling to 12-year-olds, of not being available in Wal-Mart, of attracting the attention of freaks like Jack Thomson.
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November 6th, 2007, 17:01
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
a bestseller like this one
The Witcher is a bestseller?
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November 6th, 2007, 17:01
It is in the UK.

Regarding ratings; Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a score of 7- 8 just an average nowadays? A score of 8.5 might be objectively considered good, but compared to the 9's and 10's the other hyped crap get it's nothing special, certainly not enough to affect any significant number of casual gamers or 'move any goalposts'. My evaluation is that any impact The Witcher makes on the genre will be rather long - term.

“Of all the journeys you will undertake in this life, uncovering the secrets you hide from yourself is the most dangerous voyage of all.” – Shyha Tuhlwin, Therish Philosopher
Last edited by Lethal Weapon; November 6th, 2007 at 17:18.
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November 6th, 2007, 17:52
Originally Posted by Crolug View Post
I can't truly understand why everyone is comparing new RPGs to Oblivion? Why? Why? WHY?
I'll tell you why I think that is. It's Oblivion's commitment to arcade-game interpretation. People seem to love that, even if they hate other aspects or hate every other aspect of an RPG.

It's a limited approach, so if you do an RPG that way, it can only be just as limited. Emphasize it to the best of your ability, and the result will be Oblivion. That situation is going to get worse before it gets better, I'm afraid.

Back in the late '70s I used to play a custom version of D&D up at Caltech that was hosted by members of its computer club. Every now and then the conversation turned to how D&D might be done, someday, with a computer. A few of those guys were obviously brilliant, but none ever imagined the state of CRPG today.

Instead of using computers as tools for evaluating the boundless possibilities of complex worlds with asserted realities, as we thought, today's game systems are, essentially, multimedia generators dedicated to the task of enabling you to picture yourself steering around whatever place you're in, finding whatever there is to find along the way and interacting only in the simplest of terms.

It's inevitable, IMO, that we'll reach a point where consoles will continue along the arcade-game path of multimedia interpretation while PCs will go back to being used as a platform for games that are more innovative. Until then, more and more RPGs are going to be Oblivionish.
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November 6th, 2007, 18:11
This game will probably sell like hotcakes in Europe but over here is a different question.

I think that it's an adequate score, but Gamespot has progressively gone downhill for the last four years. Their PC coverage has gotten crappier and crappier, and their reviews worse and worse. When Greg Kasavin left last year that appears to have accelerated the decay. Now they have basically the same level of retardation/fanboyism/inflated scores in their reviews as ign.
Last edited by doctor_kaz; November 6th, 2007 at 22:37.
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November 6th, 2007, 23:06
A honest review. Of course, personally, I might have given it a better score and perhaps the game has not been hyped enough. Such a refreshing game.
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November 7th, 2007, 00:17
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
By the way… is it really completely impossible to write a decent review without spoiling the entire plot of Act 1?
How else is he going to show off how far he got before writing the review? If he had made it to Act 2 he would have gotten to show off his knowledge of how a decision has delayed consequences in the game.
Last edited by Burress; November 7th, 2007 at 00:23.
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November 7th, 2007, 14:07
8.5 at Gamespot is not bad for a PC game without solid American base. I was expecting somewhere between 8.0 to 8.7. Generally speaking, modern gamers are much less abstract and impatient of annoyances related with micromanagements while being more demanding about graphics when compared with conventional CRPG players. Of course, CRPG sites give away around 0.5 point higher scores. Overall, the Witcher seems to have been moderately successful in being accepted outside of conventional CRPG fans to some extent without putting them off.

As for some negative points, I am rather glad that they are relatively minor. Choosing a different engine may have saved the common criticism about the NPC modeling and the loading time. As for the sex-mini game, don't tell me that I didn't warn. The issue with the localization seems not to be the responsibility of the designers, though.
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November 7th, 2007, 14:25
Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
As for the sex-mini game, don't tell me that I didn't warn.
Any talk about the sex-mini game, whether positive or negative, is only for the game really. I can only imagine most people complaining just pretending to be prude.

Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
The issue with the localization seems not to be the responsibility of the designers, though.
True, but there is this small detail that not all of us can speak Polish. CDP should have known better and choose a better partner. From what I've been reading Atari hasn't been doing a great job in terms of advertising/distributing the game in the U.S. either.

Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
8.5 at Gamespot is not bad for a PC game without solid American base.
I'm not sure I understand this comment. If Bethesda was the developer or EA the publisher, then the score would be 9+, solid American base or not (I assume you mean Americans not being familiar with Sapkowski).

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November 7th, 2007, 14:28
I played for a few more hours last night and I think that I would now lean even more towards scoring the game a 9.0. Once you get out of the prologue it becomes an excellent game. This definitely feels like a Fallout or a Gothic more than a standard high fantasy game. This is a very impressive game to me and it has the ambition level of a Troika game, but without the bugs.

Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
True, but there is this small detail that not all of us can speak Polish. CDP should have known better and choose a better partner. From what I've been reading Atari hasn't been doing a great job in terms of advertising/distributing the game in the U.S. either.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. The Witcher will probably get modest sales in the US, at best.
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