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Default The Witcher - Review @ RPG Codex

December 1st, 2007, 23:44
RPG Codex has posted their review of The Witcher, in what could only be described as a "comprehensive" article. It's enormous, describing the gameplay in meticulous detail. As usual, there's no score, but they clearly loved it. Here's an excerpt:
You know by now that you can't choose your character's class, race, or even gender: you are Geralt of Rivia. Frankly, I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who can't get past that; if you think a game can't be a great RPG without letting you choose such details, then I implore you to try such masterpieces as Planescape: Torment and Ultima VII. What might be more of a problem, though, is that there's a level at which you can't choose your character's personality, and that might legitimately bother people. Often your character will speak to people without your guidance, and many of the more inconsequential dialogue choices from a Bioware (or even a Troika) RPG have been stripped out. Dialogues very rarely have two functionally equivalent ways of saying the same thing, so you're limited to dialogue responses that fit Geralt's hard-boiled, somewhat sarcastic, occasionally suave badass persona. You will, from time to time, insult people without having any choice in the matter, for example. Basically, you're taking on the role of an established character and are constrained to work within that role. You can make real, meaningful choices in the game, and you can decide Geralt's deepest values, allegiances, and even lovers; but you can't deviate too far from the character as established in the books, and you can't make him talk like either a Nancy-boy diplomat or a dumb brute.
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December 1st, 2007, 23:45
Well, there is a "theoretical" score:
If the Codex gave numerical scores, I'd give this an 8.5 out of 10. Since we don't, pretend you didn't see that
Another 8/10er, eh, Prima Junta
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December 2nd, 2007, 00:36
Well 8.5 is still a high score however you look at games.

Witcher is lacking in certain areas that nearly always come with a single persona rpg but it pulls you in successfully enough.
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December 2nd, 2007, 01:34
Good review, one of the better ones I've read—grats to the new regime.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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December 2nd, 2007, 08:26
Very good review.

Two very good reviews in as many days !
Could we talk for a brief renaissance in rpg reviews then ?
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December 2nd, 2007, 08:44
Good work, Cardtrick.
I agree with your overall views and most all of my experiences were the same, with these few exceptions.

Do you spare one somewhat evil witch
Are you referring to Abby? Evil? Anything in particular she did that was evil in your game? You can post it in spoiler if you wish.
Frankly, I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who can't get past that;
I don't see it as a matter of getting pasted, it's a matter choice for optimal immersion of interactive entertainment. Yes, stories are done with male or female PCs, however can you list a legit reason, why the Nameless One couldn't have been a female? I can't think of one, with the exception of added cost for the extra female recording time, but that doesn't really count in the theory of things. Personally I prefer playing a female, since I really would rather not be forced to look at some guy's butt, for 40 plus hours.
I soon realized that it’s an awful lot like the ending slideshow from Fallout or Arcanum
So far after completing the 3rd chapter, the most touching moment in the game came from one of those scenes, about access to the Dike.
forfeiting a winning hand for no reason.
Actually while they are forfeiting a winning hand in some cases, at least in my game, they just seem programed to go for a straits.
It's simply the prettiest 3D RPG ever made.
Prettier than G3? Maybe, iirc though G3 with a monster system allowing full effects is the best.
although I had to laugh when I noticed that, through some oversight, the combat dummies used by NPCs for training apparently gasp in pain upon being struck).
Doh, I thought that was the soldiers shouting out as an exhale, similar to marital arts. To force your breath out at a moment of execution of a move to help focus and prevent getting the wind knocked out of you, if you are countered. I better pay closer attention, as it does seem like funny bit as many of the game's easter egg surprises.
A certain - what shall we call it? - "Gothic-ness
I did notice some of the same actors as in the G1 & G2, such as Milton.

Thanks.

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December 2nd, 2007, 10:58
I don't see it as a matter of getting pasted, it's a matter choice for optimal immersion of interactive entertainment. Yes, stories are done with male or female PCs, however can you list a legit reason, why the Nameless One couldn't have been a female? I can't think of one, with the exception of added cost for the extra female recording time, but that doesn't really count in the theory of things.
The devs were homophobes and didn't want to include a lesbian relationship? Anyway, there are much stronger reasons for that in The Witcher - Geralt is the protagonist of the books, you cannot change his gender.
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December 2nd, 2007, 11:20
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Yes, stories are done with male or female PCs, however can you list a legit reason, why the Nameless One couldn't have been a female? I can't think of one, with the exception of added cost for the extra female recording time, but that doesn't really count in the theory of things. Personally I prefer playing a female, since I really would rather not be forced to look at some guy's butt, for 40 plus hours.
Acleacius, I can tell you haven't done much creative writing if you can't answer this one yourself:

(1) Ravel.
(2) Deionarra.
(3) Annah.
(4) Fall-from-grace.

More specifically:
Spoiler
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December 2nd, 2007, 11:21
What's lame about being bisexual? They could even make the male TNO bisexual, while they're at it.
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December 2nd, 2007, 11:24
We'll suggest that to MCA the next time he drops by!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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December 2nd, 2007, 16:00
Originally Posted by Ausir
Anyway, there are much stronger reasons for that in The Witcher - Geralt is the protagonist of the books, you cannot change his gender.
That's true. Well, unless it didn't matter in theory. Couldn't a female say the things Geralt says, do the things Geralt does? It's not like this would remove the ability for hardcore fans to play as male. Or do you think the harcore fans would have stress attack if they knew someone, somewhere was playing a female Geralt?

Originally Posted by Prime Junta
Acleacius, I can tell you haven't done much creative writing if you can't answer this one yourself:
Lol, well maybe your right. Then again, so your saying?
Spoiler

Is your whole premise this can't happen or wouldn't have succeeded at creativity because of hot steamy girl on girl action?
Or is your whole theory that it would be impossible for the talented people whom made the game? Possibly your suggesting their creating writing skills are limited to male dominated stories only? Or is the point due to MY lack of creating writing, which limited the Black Isle team, geezzz it could be all my fault Interplay closed BIS!
@ Acleacius, damn you!

Seriously though, of course it would have to be written differently, well if they intended to keep the quality. I really don't see anything here that would prevent TNO being female, in theory. Do you, really? I mean we see this all the time, in literature and even games.

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December 2nd, 2007, 16:37
Well, speaking as a female let me say something totally out of place with our current times:

Women and men are different.

They are wired biologically to perform different roles and to fulfill objectives in a different way. It's not condescending to say a woman might not do or say the same things as a man—it happens every day. Why torture reality to serve a politically correct agenda? (not especially in your case, Ace—I know you primarily want your main character to be female for visuals and hopefully not for titilating scenes of hot girl love )

I for one enjoyed Geralt's male…er, qualities…and would have absolutely hated to play him as a lesbian, or a female nymphomaniac, or an improbable twisted Joan of Arc fighter. Same with TNO—it explored male/female relationships, not female/female relationships—which I have no interest in, however politically correct they may be, as they aren't anything I can relate to( fine for those who can, of course.)

It may be possible to rework a plot to be as effective using two different genders, but I can only imagine how difficult this would be for devs if the game had to do both equally deeply—when games do both it's almost always the shallow bioware model, and pretty superficial and cosmetic that way usually is, though a lot of people find it entertaining. For serious games using a predefined character, especially one based on a well-realized literary protagonist, I think it's inappropriate.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; December 2nd, 2007 at 16:37. Reason: paragraphing
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December 2nd, 2007, 16:48
That's true. Well, unless it didn't matter in theory. Couldn't a female say the things Geralt says, do the things Geralt does? It's not like this would remove the ability for hardcore fans to play as male. Or do you think the harcore fans would have stress attack if they knew someone, somewhere was playing a female Geralt?
No, since it was Geralt who cured Adda from her curse years ago, it was Geralt who shared many adventures (or crossed paths) with Dandelion, Triss, Zoltan, Vesemir, Lambert, Eskel, Shani and Toruviel and it's Geralt that was a father figure for a certain girl that turned out to be a Source (and who actually met the King of the Wild Hunt in person) and who might be connected to a certain boy from the game. This game's story is so much rooted in the source books that you'd have to pretty much write it from scratch for any other character, not only a female one. Like it or not, Geralt is an iconic (in countries where the books are popular), predefined character - it'd be like changing the gender of Aragorn, Conan or Luke Skywalker in a LotR, Conan or Star Wars game. The devs wanted the game to be as faithful to the books as possible and they succeeded - it certainly wouldn't be faithful if Geralt became an elf, a dwarf, an ewok, a homosexual or a woman. A game with a female character in the world of The Witcher would certainly be possible, but not this game with this story. And she couldn't be a witcher (let alone a female version of Geralt), as witchers are exclusively male.
Last edited by Ausir; December 2nd, 2007 at 16:55.
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December 2nd, 2007, 17:09
Well I certainly don't mean it as an attack on Polish literature.
I have no problem if someone wants to play a female Aragorn, Conan or Geralt and I realize the cannon says he's male but that still doesn't give a reason in the game a female couldn't be recognized for all those same things. I think these things happen in mmogs all the time.

It's impossible for me to talk about specifics since we don't have the books in English. Lets take breaking Adda's curse, why couldn't it have been a female? Or if you have a specific situation you want to use that's fine, as well.
Even when you mentioned Star Wars, remember if Luke had fail there was a female to take his place.

Like I said this is theory of choice and not an attack on literature, to me it sounds like you are saying the hardcore fans would have a stress attack.

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December 2nd, 2007, 17:23
Originally Posted by Ausir View Post
What's lame about being bisexual? They could even make the male TNO bisexual, while they're at it.
Nothing as such, but making everyone bisexual simply to make it possible to have the main character be of either sex is lame. Most people aren't (practicing) bisexuals, so if a game has a bisexual character, that aspect of their personality should be fully developed. There's more to bisexuality than just having twice as many dating opportunities. Just ask any bisexual.
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December 2nd, 2007, 17:29
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Is your whole premise this can't happen or wouldn't have succeeded at creativity because of hot steamy girl on girl action?
Or is your whole theory that it would be impossible for the talented people whom made the game? Possibly your suggesting their creating writing skills are limited to male dominated stories only?
No. My point is that stories of Planescape: Torment quality don't write themselves. I'm quite certain that the writers of PS:T could have written the story around a woman just as well. However, putting in both a male and a female storyline at the same depth and complexity as the male storyline in it now would have been nearly double the work to do the writing — there's way more to it than just deciding that they're all lesbians and putting in a new character model.

Or, to put it into real-world terms where you have a certain budget and schedule to work with, you would have ended up with half the depth for either gender. Had they made that choice, I doubt PS:T would be remembered as the classic it is.

In other words, if you "can't think of a single reason" why they didn't do it, you don't really understand much about writing.
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December 2nd, 2007, 17:30
I think these things happen in mmogs all the time.
This is not a MMO, this is a game based on an established series of books - those tend to not change the genders of main characters or their other defining traits. Geralt is a white, (mostly) human male witcher with white hair, he's not a female blonde elven sorceress.

There's more to bisexuality than just having twice as many dating opportunities. Just ask any bisexual.
How do you know I'm not one myself?
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December 2nd, 2007, 22:01
The Witcher does not deliever the quality, or ammount, of dialogue that PS:T displayed. Of course, PS:T doesn't have full audio speech either but Witcher's delivery is sometimes quite poor. Justifying Witcher through PS:T doesn't really make sense to me it just isn't the same grade (story-wise).

I think the main point really is CDP wanted to make a game about Geralt from Andrzej Sapkowski's books. So, believe it or not, the protaganist is male and like in so many book inspired franchises you play the main character.

When Rare made Perfect Dark after Goldeneye on the N64 they made a new female hero because they thought that female characters were under-representated in games. I mean, can't we just give Geralt a stake, change his gender, and send him to Sunnydale High?
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December 3rd, 2007, 15:34
magerette, I should have been more clear, I didn't mean the question about why couldn't it be a women as being about politically correct, it's intended for greater choice which leads to greater exposure, of our beloved underexposed genre.
I sort of disagree with you though that a female couldn't say or do the same things, though it just sounds like it's more of a character you wouldn't want to play, clearly strong female heroines have existed in literature through out history.
How dare you suggest my wants for a female avatar are Not for hot girl on girl action!


Prime Junta of course I know about the increase cost, even mentioned it. However the increase in exposure and sales, verses cost out weigh this, plus it's about changing industry standards for the better. If writers know from the beginning they are writing for avatars of both sexes then the cost factor is not that great compared to the increased exposure and sales. Additionally when your talking about theory cost is not a factor, as you well know.

Ausir, I know it was Geralt whom saved and did all those things in the books, my question still stands why couldn't it be a female Geralt?
This is not a MMO, this is a game based on an established series of books - those tend to not change the genders of main characters or their other defining traits.
So your either agreeing it could be a female in principle or you saying since it's not a mmog, he can't be a female?

woges
main point really is CDP wanted to make a game about Geralt from Andrzej Sapkowski's books.
And overall, they did a damn fine job.
So, believe it or not, the protaganist is male
Shock.

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December 3rd, 2007, 16:06
Ausir, I know it was Geralt whom saved and did all those things in the books, my question still stands why couldn't it be a female Geralt?
Because Geralt *is* male. A female "Geralt" wouldn't be Geralt. Just like a blond-haired elven paladin wouldn't be Geralt. Changing the gender of a predefined character from a book in a game just to make it sell better is simply silly, especially if you decide to make a game as faithful to the books as possible, which CD Projekt did.

From an article in Polityka (biggest Polish weekly newsmagazine):

Publishers had all sorts of doubts: Why an RPG? Why is Geralt male? Can't he be changed into a female? According to our research players prefer female characters. Kicinski says: "This is crazy. Nowadays in big gaming companies nobody will lift a finger to make a game without marketing research.
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