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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Witcher - Review @ GameOver

Default The Witcher - Review @ GameOver

December 15th, 2007, 04:36
Gameover has posted their review of The Witcher, giving it a 78% score, citing interface issues, inventory confusion and the autosave and long load times as the main faults:
Usually when I give a game a score around 75%, it’s because nothing about it was that good or that bad, and all of the components of the score fall in between 70% and 80%. The Witcher, on the other hand, is sort of an odd game because there were parts of it that I loved, but also parts of it that I loathed. Let me start with the bad stuff.

Somehow, despite being based on an existing engine (and a fine but not great one at that), the Witcher has a terrible interface and some serious technical problems. Consider this oddity. Quick saves and autosaves always save to a new save slot. They don’t overwrite previous quick saves and autosaves. And since you’re not allowed to name your saves (you just get a tiny screenshot, the name of your location, and a time stamp), by the end of the campaign you’re going to end up with hundreds of saves but not know what any of them refer to. Well, yay.

Or consider your inventory. A lot of the game involves collecting ingredients (including things like flowers, zombie brains, and wolf pelts) and then using the base components of those ingredients to create potions and weapon oils. Well, that’s fine, except that there are dozens and dozens of ingredients, but you’re not given enough inventory space to keep even half of them…Some sort of display listing how many of each component you’re holding would have been an immense help, but even something as simple as an inventory sorting button would have made things easier…
…But here’s the big problem. The loading, saving, and transition times are abysmally long. When I said that the Witcher has a 50+ hour campaign, I think that translates to about a 40 hour campaign with 10 hours of staring at loading screens….The loading times really sap the fun out of the game, but supposedly the next patch (due out any day now) is going to address this.
Hopefully the first part of the review hasn’t scared you off, because the Witcher has some good stuff to it, too. First and foremost is the campaign. Instead of following the BioWare mold where you’re always given “good” and “evil” ways to solve quests, the Witcher swims in murkier waters. One of the themes of the Witcher books is having to choose “the lesser evil,” where you’re presented with a pair of options and neither one is right or wrong; they just have different shades of gray…

…The Witcher campaign is also interesting because it is a lot “denser” than other campaigns. In most role-playing games, when you go to a town you talk to the NPCs twice — once to pick up a quest and then again to turn it in — and then you move on to the next town. But the Witcher doesn’t have that many towns. Each of the campaign’s five chapters takes about 10 hours to play, but they only consist of a few major map areas each, and so you end up dealing with people over and over again through multiple quests. This helps to develop those characters so that you’re more likely to care how their quests turn out, but it also goes back to your decisions having consequences. Since you never know how many times you’re going to need to talk to somebody, you have to be careful what you say to them so you don’t burn any possible bridges.
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December 15th, 2007, 04:36
Ignore this review for the crap it is since everything he says that is bad about this game is nonexistent and the rest is over exagerated. For the inventory problems there is a place called an inn where you can store stuff and all the items that stack have a number on them which means the reviewer is blind since he can't see them. The autosaves have a limited amount of slots that is fairly high and maybe should be reduced some but are not unlimited.

I know the entire review isn't crap but the reasoning behind giving it a 78% instead of much higher is pure crap.

EDIT: Just to let people know my game only has 4 autosaves and they are all during the current chapter I am on and not from before the current chapter. I have had way more then 4 autosaves during this chapter alone.
Last edited by guenthar; December 15th, 2007 at 04:55.
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December 15th, 2007, 08:54
I thought it was funny how they admitted they give average games a score of about 75%, because it's nice to know who doesn't take scores seriously and where to avoid getting a good review from.
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December 15th, 2007, 09:45
The review seemed pretty fair to me, especially considering he's not necessarily a die-hard fan of the genre.

I have to say I find the general attitude towards this game around here pretty amusing. I like The Witcher a lot, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate that some reviewers won't forgive obvious flaws because they're so taken with the rest of the game.

People will do anything to objectively justify how they feel about something, but in the end we're all blinded by emotional bias in so many ways it boggles the mind, and it goes for this place as well as any other.
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December 15th, 2007, 10:21
I wouldn't be mad if he didn't lie about most of the reason he gave the game a 78% and gave it that with good truthful reasons.
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December 15th, 2007, 10:51
Originally Posted by cuthbert View Post
I thought it was funny how they admitted they give average games a score of about 75%, because it's nice to know who doesn't take scores seriously and where to avoid getting a good review from.

Well what do you think an average score is?

From my experience with the demo, I'd say around 80% is about right, so I don't really think they're that far off.
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December 15th, 2007, 13:45
Unfortunately, many reviewers played only the demo (i.e. the game up to Act I), which is not bad, but the Vizima parts are much better.
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December 17th, 2007, 08:36
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Well what do you think an average score is?

From my experience with the demo, I'd say around 80% is about right, so I don't really think they're that far off.
My problem is they seem to be playing it safe in not pissing off the developer with the average score being so high by not using the entire scale that the perception is it's good or great rather then average. And yes I know every website has it's own rating system but they could have easily gone with a 1-5 system where the 75% is now a 50% and looks more like an average score since most people won't bother to read to actual review and just look at the number.
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December 17th, 2007, 08:55
I have to agree with DArtagnan - while I enjoy the game greatly, the flaws certainly are present (loading times, inventory, etc), and I understand people that just can't ignore them.
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December 18th, 2007, 00:09
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The review seemed pretty fair to me, especially considering he's not necessarily a die-hard fan of the genre.

I have to say I find the general attitude towards this game around here pretty amusing. I like The Witcher a lot, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate that some reviewers won't forgive obvious flaws because they're so taken with the rest of the game.

People will do anything to objectively justify how they feel about something, but in the end we're all blinded by emotional bias in so many ways it boggles the mind, and it goes for this place as well as any other.
Good points all. I think as much harm as good is often done by over-enthusiastic gushing about games( and I have to say I've been at fault here myself afa The Witcher goes.) (Not that the avatar would be a clue, or anything….)

I think often a climate of adulation and hyperbole creates a backlash, where people's expectations are raised but then they're disappointed when the game plays out differently for them than it has for the rampant fans. Also some people just get turned off, feeling that nothing can possibly be THAT good. So in some senses, excessive praise can really be setting a game up to fail. Factor in the elusive things that make a game appeal to any one given person plus the fact that some people's minor annoyances can be other people's profoundly irritating frustrations, and there you are—80%. And in some extreme cases, lower.

On the whole, I think he gave the game a fair score from his perspective, and a score of almost 80/100 is nothing to be insulted about. It still rates higher than that for me, but I also can understand that other people may have a different experience with it.

I guess fun is as difficult to translate or explain as humor.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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December 18th, 2007, 00:18
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I think often a climate of adulation and hyperbole creates a backlash, where people's expectations are raised but then they're disappointed when the game plays out differently for them than it has for the rampant fans.

Very well said magerette, I've been playing the demo off and on over the last 2 days and wondering what the hell all the fuss was about.
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December 18th, 2007, 01:32
You won't find out from only the demo.
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December 18th, 2007, 02:17
Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
You won't find out from only the demo.

As far as storyline and plot\character development no, but it gives me a good look at the combat engine and overall feel of the game, ie: graphics, music, voiceovers, etc.
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December 18th, 2007, 09:14
It may be suitable for RPG watch to do without scores just like Codex. Generally speaking, I am skeptical of scores and tend to ignore them especially when the score is unusual. Personally, I took the "review" here is about the world setting (Even so, 100% made my brows knitted, to be honest). I have already read quite a variety of reviews. My main concern about the Witcher is that the game-play. The evaluation of gameplay seems to be drastically different dependent on reviewers and a point-and-click action RPGs are not my cup of tea. However, after playing the demo, I found it O.K. I think the unanimous and persistent criticism about the loading time, inventory management and some character models and odd dialogs and voice acting are legitimate, too. "Sex thing" seems to be totally avoidable since I haven't encountered any except some hints. That said, my priority is the content and it looks promising in the demo.

BTW, after actually playing the demo, what I felt odd is that I wonder if the Witcher would like to go for a direction of an interactive movie or that of an improved version of point and click action RPG. Especially, fast paced action movie like cut-scenes and the method of area transitions didn't fit together to me. Also, even in cut-scenes, the camera work seems to be odd at times. As a point-and-click RPG, I still have to let Geralt work around and talk to people by point-and-clicking, which is rather slow paced while cut-scenes are very fast paced. I don't feel the pacing is well designed to fit together. This is like I am walking around a country side and find myself in a roller-coaster at times. Mixing fast paced parts and slow paced parts without letting the players feel odd is probably an issue for RPG with movie-influences.
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December 18th, 2007, 11:45
Originally Posted by Dusk View Post
It may be suitable for RPG watch to do without scores just like Codex. Generally speaking, I am skeptical of scores and tend to ignore them especially when the score is unusual. Personally, I took the "review" here is about the world setting (Even so, 100% made my brows knitted, to be honest).
There will always be different preferences for scoring but our simple system is not very granular, so saying "100%" is mischaracterising the score, even if correct in a numerical sense.

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December 18th, 2007, 12:02
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
There will always be different preferences for scoring but our simple system is not very granular, so saying "100%" is mischaracterising the score, even if correct in a numerical sense.
So, how about getting rid of the "numerical" evaluation? Maybe from next time. In any case, I'll read the context as usual, though.
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December 18th, 2007, 13:31
It's not going to change for the moment…maybe we'll revisit it next time we write something really controversial.

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