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Default The Witcher - Review @ Strategy Informer

November 7th, 2007, 05:18
Strategy Informer has kicked up a review of The Witcher, oddly complaining that the RPG genre is "over-explored" and concluding that The Witcher might suit jaded MMORPG players than hardcore CRPG lovers. The score is 7.7/10 and here is a snip:
The linearity of the game demands a few sacrifices in the expected freedom most RPGs now boast, and many quests or characters are simply unavailable until a specific in-game trigger has been pulled to progress the plot. While this might cause consternation for a diehard role player, the subtly of the forced direction and advancement of the overall storyline is repaid to the gamer (and then some) by way of an absorbing narrative that maintains a remarkable amount of empathy with Geralt. Indeed, The Witcher could quite reasonably be accused of being an RPG for non-role players; a game of middle ground and familiar mechanics for those who dont want to wander the countryside murdering wolves or designing their own costume.
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November 7th, 2007, 05:18
Seems like a review written by a hardcore Oblivion fan… if they found the Witcher linear, I wonder what they thought about NWN2.
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November 7th, 2007, 08:11
I think people don't really know what the word 'linear' should or does mean. Final Fantasy VII was linear but The Witcher? Oblivion's main plot was so boring and flat and you could finish the game in an hour, so is it nonlinear because you can roam freely the land? And The Witcher's limitation in roaming make it linear?

I think the problem is that Oblivion made a genre more worse than better imo. It created a feeling that cRPGs are not a niche anymore and can be played by everyone everywhere and everytime. That they are mainstream. And lots of 'RPG reviewers' these days are comparing new products, usually much better than Borelivion, to it. Every true, long-term RPG player wonders, wait, wait, the game X 'is not Oblivion'? Hell yeah!, while the casual RPGer thinks, oh well, not worth it. And of course, those latter are in greater number out there, which can severely and usualy it does lowers the sales and fuss of the game X.
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November 7th, 2007, 09:30
Originally Posted by Crolug View Post
I think people don't really know what the word 'linear' should or does mean. Final Fantasy VII was linear but The Witcher? Oblivion's main plot was so boring and flat and you could finish the game in an hour, so is it nonlinear because you can roam freely the land? And The Witcher's limitation in roaming make it linear?
Well, the thing with Oblivion is that you didn't HAVE to do the main quest, and I'm not sure about finishing it in an hour, especially on the first playthrough. You could go off and do all the guild quests before hand for example. Plus some normal quests here and there. So yes, Oblivion as about as non-inear as you can get, only games that have next to no plot at all have less linearity, like 'Darklands' and 'Mount & Blade'. Witcher has that too, but not to the same extent, and the obvious area borders are always an easy target to complain about.

Now the argument becomes: does non-linearity immediatly make the game more fun? The answer depends; it seems like its often the tradeoff between the story and the freedom of choice and either extreme draws lots of criticism. For example railroaded games like NWN series and KotR series can be annoying because their good parts are often spoiled by patheticly small exploration areas. On the other hand, the example of Oblivion shows how having huge open areas often makes most of them void of anything interesting.

So it seems that the best are those that combine both worlds well, like BG2, Betrayal at Krondor and Arcanum.
The Witcher isn't bad either, sure it leaning toward being railroaded, but the game makers tried to bypass that problem by having that Choice system, which by definition takes the plot in different directions and so, is not linear. All in all, it seems more Reviews are giving it lower scores then it deserves, its innovative, targetted at adults, has a great story since its based on actual fantasy books, has a good fighting system and even the fancy graphics addicts can't complain. Really the scores should be around 9/10
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November 7th, 2007, 10:41
Originally Posted by Sergius64 View Post
So yes, Oblivion as about as non-inear as you can get, only games that have next to no plot at all have less linearity, like 'Darklands' and 'Mount & Blade'.
You are right: Oblivion is non-linear in the sense that you can always choose to do something else. However, in another aspect, Oblivion is 100% linear: there is exactly one way of solving each and every quest. Personally, I'd rather have a general (linear) plot that has to be followed, with a multitude of ways to acomplish each task, which is, I assume, what The Witcher provides (haven't played it yet, but that's the feeling I get).
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November 7th, 2007, 11:06
Aye, I agree with VPeric. So called 'freedom' doesn't make the game non-linear. It looks like one, sure, because you don't have to do everything 'in-line', like in most adventure games for instance. But it's more about freedom of choice of the path. And as VPeric said, Oblivion is very lack of it. Fallout 2 for example - we could say it is linear, right? I mean, to finish the game, generally you have to get yourself on the oil tanker and blow up the platform, hardcore Fallout gamer could do that in a few hours. But is this really the case? I've played Fallout 2 like one hundred times but I actually finished it no more than three, maybe four times. The game for me is about atmosphere, making the same quests in different way, choosing different sides, looking for well-hidden goodies, about music and having a good time withing the world. Oblivion for me is more like simulator of medieval knight or fantasy sorcerer. It can be fun at times too, it really can. I run Oblivion sometimes, you know, to wander around without any particular purpose, kill some thugs here, visit some dungeon there. Am I playing a role? Like I said, I rather simulate one. Arcade style…
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November 7th, 2007, 12:33
Simply put: Each questline in Oblivion is completely linear, but the quest structure is not.
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November 7th, 2007, 12:42
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Simply put: Each questline in Oblivion is completely linear, but the quest structure is not.
I never quite thought of Oblivion as linear. I thought it was stupid, boring and a waste of money but not linear. But when you only have one way to solve a quest, be it main or side, then I guess you guys are right. Oblivion is about as linear as you can get when compared to The Witcher or any game that gives you real choices. It's an interesting point you guys make.

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November 7th, 2007, 13:45
This was already posted at the codex the other, where a few amusing lines were pointed out like:

"While an ardent RPGer might miss the expansive free roaming of Oblivion … Perhaps not one for the hardcore role player, but an FPS gamer or MMO addict might well find The Witcher to be a great alternative to watching a DVD during the evening."

I find it pretty amusing that his idea of a great RPG requires it to be free roaming and Obliviouslike(?!) when the portions that make an RPG of a game were so dumbed down in Oblivious I can only at best call it an adventure game, and at worst a first person melee with crappy melee. This doesn't even go to points like the triviality of quests in Oblivion, the auto-levelling that removed any need for levelling (unless the player wanted ph4tter 1007!), a game mechanics system that had been so dumbed down that it may as well not have exised as more depend upon the player clicking with the mouse than checking skills, etc.

(EDIT: I'm beginning to look at Oblvious as Bethesda's warmup for teh elderscrolls online MMORPG, esp with the nickling and diming trivial download mods, the entirely static world, simplified mechanics, and trivial quests with almost zero restrictions.)

Still waiting to order the witcher though, as it appears that I'm going to have to at least spring for a windows upgrade as well, likely because of TAGES. (I just LOVE draconian copy protection systems, or copy protection systems in general.) So it's either spring for a cheap OEM copy of XP pro(gotta be careful here) or wait and see if a crack comes out that allows it to run under win2k or a few patched dlls which will do the same. (Two Worlds had a similar problem, but a set of patched dlls was released that allowed it to run under win2k.)
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November 7th, 2007, 13:51
Originally Posted by Crolug View Post
And lots of 'RPG reviewers' these days are comparing new products, usually much better than Borelivion, to it.
I don't mind that you hated Oblivion, it's not my favorite game either. But if you're going to repeatedly use a made-up derogatory term for the game, can you try for something better than "Borelivion"? It sounds like cough syrup for Elven children.
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November 7th, 2007, 14:09
By blending some of RPG, SIM and FPS essences, Oblivion seems to have "caused consternation to" some game reviewers with no analytic ability. Indeed, some "die-hard RPG players" would be happier with freedom in choosing the order of the quests/free-roaming factor but probably not so with sim one. I don't know about the MMORPG remark but it may be to do with the character development system and the combat gameplay. In any case, Strategy Informer don't seem to be excited by the Witcher and probably just saying some other groups may find it otherwise. However, the reviewer seems to have no understanding gaming crowds especially "die-hard RPG players," which seems to have rub up RPG codex, who were enjoying a happier year with the Mask of Betrayer and the Witcher, the wrong way. As the game industry grew, the players became varied, too. However, some reviewers lack the perspective and don't even try to employ their insights to analyse groups of other game genres than their own. Less "fanboysm" and more journalism would be appreciated.

Personally, I find that Gamers with Jobs have a broader scope and that RPGWatch is doing well despite being a CRPG fan site. Talking of RPGWatch, I like the recent reviews with comments of some other editors. The new feature offers the readers various views and lets them see which editor's taste fit their own, which comes handy when we are deciding to spend our time/money on the reviewed games.

After Oblivion, the notion of CRPG seems to suffer from the identity crisis. Codex is probably stubbornly sticking to the formula of what they think CRPG, which is their choice. Personally, I'd like RPGWatch to be open-minded but critical and journalistic, keeping a distance to themselves and offering a perspective view at the same.
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November 7th, 2007, 15:24
What exactly did the phrase "rpg genre is over-explored" mean? Is the reviewer suggesting that they should stop making rpg's?

Also enjoyed everyone's comments on "Oblivious." I'm with Skavenhorde - never really thought about its linearity in those terms, but that's spot on.

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November 7th, 2007, 16:44
RPGs are the least over-explored genre there is. Want to know what's over-explored? World War II FPS games. That's what I call over-explored. There were other wars in history, guys!

About the Oblivion-teasing names: Hmm… "Borelivion" sounds okay, but looks bad when typed. Back when ES3 was the thing, I always had to type Borrowind "Bore-o-wind" to get the point across too. Perhaps Oborevion? Hmm, too obscure. All in all, I think "Oblivious" is the best name. It also makes a great adjective to describe all of the fans.

But in some ways "Oblivion" is a great name in itself, because it's so descriptive of the game's content. Sometimes when I would start playing it (after I crossed the "this new game is somewhat interesting" threshold) I would say, "I think I'll sink/spiral into Oblivion again… though I don't know why I'd want to."
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November 7th, 2007, 17:11
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
I don't mind that you hated Oblivion, it's not my favorite game either. But if you're going to repeatedly use a made-up derogatory term for the game, can you try for something better than "Borelivion"? It sounds like cough syrup for Elven children.
Did I say 'Borelivion' out lout? Oops, I mean Oblivion of course… What was I thinking?
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November 7th, 2007, 17:15
Oblivion is enjoyable for about a week, then you realize nothing you do matters, and then, uninstall
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November 7th, 2007, 18:28
Well, good thing about Oblivion is that its very moddable. And with some mods, things like the Auto-Leveling stupidity were removed. I actually played through the game 2 times and through both Expansions. Its a decent game, sure the quests are often linear(there are exceptions, like that amusing one where you get locked in with 5 people you're supposed to kill and they don't know which one of the 6 people locked in is killing whom), but most RPGs have such linear quests. I'ld have even more respect for Oblivion if it wasn't a step back from Morrowind. They took out half the skills and added auto-leveling, argh 8(

Witcher is pretty innovative when its quest system. And even with that said, you don't often get several different ways to complete a quest in the Witcher either, you just get Plot choices here and there and have to choose sides here and there. Witcher is no Fallout, they're just different and both good in their own ways.
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November 7th, 2007, 19:27
Aye, Fallout is unique in that matter, thanks to SPECIAL system and its implementation in-game. And remember that The Witcher is also moddable, soon CDProjekt will release the toolset, we shall see what the community will do with the title . I can't wait actually…
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November 7th, 2007, 20:10
If I were king of RPG, I might apprehend the design teams at both companies, Bethesda and CD Projekt, and place them in the same closed facility together. An inevitable scuffle would surely ensue. Afterwards, I'd force the surviving developers to create something that would please me.

If they succeeded the result would be a game world more complex and expansive than anything Bethesda had ever created, but it would be contrived with CD Projekt's imagination and good RPG sense. It would be made available to me to explore at my leisure.

By my command, they would mod it immediately and would continue modding it, adding to and improving upon their imaginary world, for many years to my continued satisfaction.

By virtue of inherent regal wisdom and benevolence, I would compensate them in a proper fashion that would correlate with their efforts and sustain their meager lives. It would be good to be the king.
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November 7th, 2007, 23:09
The only complaint about witcher from what I've heard about it, that I could raise, would be that it's an ARPG (and a somewhat limited game mechanics system) rather than a truly good old fashioned CRPG…

I just wish that this beast ran under win2k, and I'd order my import today if it did… (THANKS TAGES. Yet another half-***ed copy protection system breaking systems the world over. Crap should be labelled spyware as it's even more insidious than spyware, opening doors for just about anything…)
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November 7th, 2007, 23:29
The limited character development system is an interesting thing…I'd definitely prefer much more scope - but I think it's hard to criticise a game that clearly embraces the source material as fully as possible.

The ARPG thing I dismiss. There's an equal amount of combat in the majority of "old fashioned" RPGs I've played.

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