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Default The Witcher - Review @ The Escapist

November 27th, 2007, 03:15
The Escapist joins the list of The Witcher reviewers, with an article that is "overwhelmingly negative", according to the author. There's no score as usual for this site and here's the introduction:
At the heart of The Witcher's design lies a rich and compelling roleplaying experience. Unfortunately, the rest of the game serves mostly to obscure this fact. As a storyteller with nearly 20 years of tabletop roleplaying experience, I tend to take my computer RPGs with more than a few grains of salt. I stuck with Gothic, despite its awkward control system and uneven vocal performances. I grimaced through Ultima VII's tongue-in-cheek, Olde English dialog. I spent countless hours wandering the wastelands in Fallout, despite my antipathy for turn-based combat. I even slogged through all of Neverwinter Nights and its follow up modules - more than once. Still, after spending well over 10 hours with The Witcher, I can't see myself returning to it.
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November 27th, 2007, 03:15
Well, considering he just dissed some of my all time favourite games, I know where to file any rpg reviews from this writer!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 27th, 2007, 03:30
I find it curious that the reviewer has "nearly 20 years of experience" with tabletop RPGs, yet doesn't like turn-based CRPG's? He must have one heck of a tolerance for things he doesn't like…
If he didn't like Fallout's combat, but played NWN several times, I think I'll use him as a contraindicator.
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November 27th, 2007, 03:31
I should clarify that I loved U7 and Fallout, despite my minor issues with them.

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November 27th, 2007, 04:10
I wouldn't call despising turn based combat a minor issue but we'll let that go.

I'm about to go on a rant, but before I do so, let me make it clear that what I have to say is strictly my own personal opinion and in no way reflects the position of the site or anyone else involved in it.

I have absolutely no respect for this review for the following reasons:

1. The reviewer couldn't be bothered to finish the game.

2. The reviewer spent more time extolling his personal game philosophy, personal moral high ground and how the game failed to meet it within the ten hours of play he so generously spent with it than he did impartially discussing game or story elements.

3. Not surprisingly from someone bringing such baggage to a review, and playing it for such a short time, the reviewer completely missed the point of the game, and exaggerated every possible negative element to support his preconceived notions.

4. The whole thrust of the review is an attempt to play up the faults while ignoring the rest of the game and actually sounds silly at times "Sometimes Geralt becomes transparent, Sometimes I click on the wrong person by mistake because of the poor interface, sometimes I don't know what's going on and it's the game's fault…" Yeesh.

5. Some of it is just not true. How on earth can you operate the controls so as to have Geralt tripping over the ground? "In game, however, he has trouble navigating around large plants, small ledges, piles of rubble and slight rises in the ground level. I eventually learned to avoid running through grasslands, low hanging branches and small hills, but it was frustrating to need to worry about it." WTF???

I'm an old woman and I can run on top of the windmill without pausing for breath.

I don't understand this take at all, but it's too bad 10 hours into a great game enables someone to pan it so thoroughly and so cluelessly.

Okay, enough already—end rant—(exclusively my own, I reiterate and not the opinions of RPGWatch.)

Well of course, you have a right to your opinion Corvus, and may you someday meet a really good rpg—from your list apparently there aren't too many worth suffering through. You have completely missed the point of this game and that's your loss. Not everyone is going to love The Witcher. The game isn't perfect, and it isn't the Second Coming. But neither is it the unpolished mess this review tries to make it appear.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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November 27th, 2007, 04:34
Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
I should clarify that I loved U7 and Fallout, despite my minor issues with them.
As I mentioned in the comments on your blog, that really isn't how it comes off. When I review and intend to slam a game for crappy translation, I tend to show that I can forgive crappy translations … and honestly I have not found that The Witcher is anywhere near the bottom of the pile in terms of English translation …

— Mike
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November 27th, 2007, 05:52
It's a nothing article. Having only seen a fraction of the content, it provides nothing but an exaggerated view of some minor issues without being able to contribute with any opinion or insight into the developing gameplay. It's quite some time after release now and there's no need for a 10-hour-mark critique with complaints about clipping - that's already been done by a handful of sites tripping over themselves to rush something out near release day.

This far forward - and from a respected site like The Escapist (although I think the quality has deteriorated) - I want to see some informed dissection of the choices and their real impact and so on. The misogyny angle could be an interesting one but you'd need to see more than Act 1 to really understand the portrayal of women in this game.

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November 27th, 2007, 06:55
When people right outta the gate proclaim decades of tabletop experience as some sort of qualifier of sorts when it comes to the critique of a computer game, I'm wary!

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November 27th, 2007, 07:51
What the hell happened to The Escapist???
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November 27th, 2007, 08:59
Well here goes the rest of my respect for this once great site. And that has nothing to do with the stance towards the witcher (which I havent played yet, so don't even have an opinion on), but with the quality of the content (the problems are nicely highlighted above), here and in general *deletes bookmark*.
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November 27th, 2007, 09:09
Well, I wrote some crappy reviews by myself from time to time. But only seeing ten hours of a game that took me about 120 hours to complete - he cannot have seen much of the story then, can he?

What remains a problem, however, is when Geralt is surround by enemies, the engine confuses who you're trying to attack; usually if you try to attack the person in front of Geralt, you actually end up selecting the enemy behind him. So instead of following through on a combo, Geralt will begin to slowly turn to face the new target. Given that each successful attack slows a character down, this becomes a very frustrating problem. Moving the camera up and back helps alleviate the issue, but it still serves to make the combat feel sluggish and unresponsive.
Never had such problems. Usually when you're surrounded in combat you just switch to group mode and there's no problem with enemy selection. And while focusing on single targets it's always a good idea to use the pause function (I guess you can also do that in games like NWN which he likes obviously). So with this little paragraph the guy shows that he has not the slightest anticipation … not only for the reviewed game but the whole genre. Should have stayed with his PnP group(s)…

Opinions on games always differ. For me Geralts appearance on the LCD screen was the best CRPG experience since the first Gothic game.

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November 27th, 2007, 09:13
The Witcher is a great game. I have played at least as many RPGs as the reviewer if not more and must say that while I had to force myself to finish some of the mentioned classics, I had no such problems with The Witcher. Clearly if you judge The Witcher after 10 hrs of playing your judgement will not be well-founded. This game really has a lot to offer and every serious rpg-fan should play it.

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November 27th, 2007, 11:59
Well, I have learnt to especially value games that get such reviews: Every game that I enjoyed in the last couple of years (Gohic series, Operation Flashpoint, H&D2, Pathologic etc.) got few very low scores from either frustarted reviewers that don't even try to get professional and objective or console freaks that can't see beyond Halo. With "The Witcher" it couldn't be otherwise. Praised be! Thanks to that, when I see a title that gets scores that range from 100% to 30%, I know that there may be something new and intetesting in the game. Those "all above 90%" are usually dull clones or "games for everyone", which often means "for nobody serious".
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November 27th, 2007, 12:54
Ok, I read it too, while I don't/didn't have trouble with the voice acting or the running/stumbling over objects and the sexual situations are completely by choice, well at least one happens as the story progression at the start of chapter 3, I have made it to chapter 4 and maybe the lone RPGWatch forum member whom has had all the other problems he list and many many many more.

So here's my little rant, I know it's a shock me ranting.

These things are happening, maybe many of you are just lucky and there is only a minority of us whom are plagued with problems, so I envy you guys.

Things like, constantly breaking quest (I can list them, if anyone is interested otherwise I won't bore you), the camera will NOT lock behind Geralt (DAMN IT) and since Cd Projekt didn't/hasn't/won't (?) make buildings, tress or all object go transparent when they are between you and Geralt my camera is constantly change views turning me around in typical city streets and narrower, but not the bigger open areas.
That's the short list, even excluding the Loading issues.

I go out of my way to support many smaller independent developers and games, with dollars and time on their forums, so I have no disrespect for Cd Projekt as a matter of fact I have lots of respect but that doesn't mean the state of their game and the lack of verbal support from them doesn't piss me off.
I know they are trying to fix the game, however they haven't even said anything about Save game compatibility, we are talking about a freaking 40 hour minimum game and people like me whom are trying to experience the whole game, possible unbroken it's more like about 150 hours (after all the constant restarting) I have spent only completing up to chapter 3, hell it's not like I am not trying after putting in that much time.
All they have to do is say something like "We are trying our best to make Saves compatible so our fans aren't losing 30 hours of their game", but nothing I have seen.
Maybe these guys are like PB not comfortable speaking English and that's fine, disappointing but fine, they could get fans or game testers to make post for them if that's the case.

I still say currently it's close to equal time of gameplay and loading 50/50 and that's damn painful many of the quest are still in a beta state and my personal analysis is The Witcher is a great game, that needs more work and if they are having trouble with scheduling time or getting a patch out, they need to ask the fans for help.

Hehe, it's sort of funny I probably could have completed every quest in 2W in 150 hours and then maybe patch 1.3 would have been out.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
Last edited by Acleacius; November 27th, 2007 at 13:01.
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November 27th, 2007, 13:07
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
When people right outta the gate proclaim decades of tabletop experience as some sort of qualifier of sorts when it comes to the critique of a computer game, I'm wary!

Here's my RPG street cred, now lissen up I got the real dope for yas
My thoughts exactly…….. I've never actually had much use for "the Escapist" articles, and now even less.

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November 27th, 2007, 13:15
I certainly haven't experienced constantly breaking quests (or your camera issue, or that 50% of the time is loading) but I'm not claiming the game is perfect - there are some obvious flaws. But I do think the content renders the flaws relatively insignificant and a "review" at the 10 hour mark doesn't add much and can't meaningfully examine the balance between those flaws and the majority of the gameplay.

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November 27th, 2007, 13:18
One thing that puzzles me is the guy isn't even ashamed of the fact that he's writing the review after only playing the game for 10 hours. Some would call this sincerity; I'd say it's just insolence.
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November 27th, 2007, 13:37
Right, I am not questioning anyone's ability to judge reviews or opinions, as I probably have the worst grammar and spelling on RPGWatch!

I just mean I can vouch for the problems I listed and many other broken quests and I can easily see how someone can get frustrated with this game but still like/love it.
As with the loading times maybe I am exaggerating some due to frustration but clearly it's at least 40% for me.
I have never read Corvus's reviews before so I can't say much and I wasn't really commenting on the quality just accuracy of problems.

I should have been more clear, I need more sleep damn it!
Hehe, that 150 hours didn't even include the week it took me to get the game to even run with the video driver issues of ATI.

Edit, another thing with the loading times, it could be after so many restarts/replays I am just getting very efficient and know the 6 or 8 places I need to go before night and then the 4 or 5 places I need to get done at night, so I run in get it done and run out. <shrug>

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
Last edited by Acleacius; November 27th, 2007 at 13:53.
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November 27th, 2007, 14:22
Professional reviews are in a very sorry state right now, one has only to note the discrepancy between them and the general opinion. It is a similar situation with the first days of cinema, hopefully it will eventually become better. As it is, professional reviewers fail to inform the public and when they decide to trash a game they do it for all the wrong reasons. In return, every gamer who has played more than one game never takes them seriously and statistics show that they hardly influence sales.

Take The Witcher for example, it is such a good game that not even Atari's bad localization has been able to bring it down. Last time I checked it was in the best seller list in both the UK and the USA with a minimum amount of hype and advertising, notwithstanding the mediocre scores and the poorly written reviews. Everywhere, both hardcores and casuals praise it, I have across many posts of players who were not into RPGs and yet got sucked into the game. A professional Hollywood screenwriter states that he doesn't normally post in gaming forums but in this case he had to, he says that he would have to work really hard to make a movie worthy of this game and that in other cases it is the other way round. Another player says that it is the first game he played that successfully pulls off branching plots. An action oriented player particularly enjoys the cinematic combat and begs for a yet harder difficulty mode to provide him with a challenge when he will replay the game for the nth time. And so on. Word of mouth. What a perfect way to expand the market, as opposed with making and hyping dumbed down games under the pretense that games have to be accessible for everyone; players are not idiots.

I usually attribute the poor quality of professional reviews due to the fact that the majority of internet gaming sites as well as gaming magazines function as extensions of the big publishers. Not so in this case. After reading this review, which consists solely of siting together the most idiotic criticisms found in the internet, it becomes apparent to everyone with basic reading skills that the reviewer is what they call a 'drama queen'. He seeks to capitalize on the game's success by bringing attention to himself and he does so in the least elegant manner. At least PC Gamer's review, uninformative as it were, was well written and somewhat funny to read. After the publishing of this review, the reviewer's credability has suddenly fallen to zero, making all of his comments on how long he's been playing RPGs or the game in particular irrelevant. My personal advice to him is to use a different name next time he decides to write something.

“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 27th, 2007 at 14:33.
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November 27th, 2007, 16:09
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
from a respected site like The Escapist (although I think the quality has deteriorated)
It really has, hasn't it? Remember the large amount of factual mistakes in their Fallout 3 preview and their outright refusal to remove a number of them (most amusingly the remark that Van Buren was "made 10 years ago"). Between that and this, I'm really starting to wonder about that site.

They recently hit the 1 million visitors a month mark, I'm starting to wonder how worried they are about keeping quality consistent while growing, and if they're not just riding Zero Punctuation's success.

There was no Zero Punctuation this November 22nd, check out what that does to their user statistics.
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