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Default The Witcher - Zero Punctuation Review @ The Escapist

January 24th, 2008, 14:28
So, the famous Yahtzee has The Witcher in his sights in the latest Zero Punctuation review at The Escapist. If you don't know Zero Punctuation, it's an animated video review with a humorous, cynical twist - or at least, I presume that's the idea, although the forum comments seem to indicate a lot of readers take it quite literally. Yahtzee found The Witcher "boring and stodgy" and didn't like that the alchemy required "an 8 week correspondence course" to understand.
Thanks, Melvil!
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January 24th, 2008, 15:50
All his reviews are scathing. They are usually way over the top BUT do really skewer some things that need skewering.

Example from that review: "..so those dirty console-playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC gaming master race." :-)
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January 24th, 2008, 17:20
The guy shouldn't be taken seriously unless you want to get offended by him utterly whacking some of your fave games. His "reviews" are a good laugh, though; the one on Mass Effect is simply hilarious:
…and then the shit hits the hyperdrive

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January 24th, 2008, 18:47
I like that guy. I officially bookmarked his site!
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January 24th, 2008, 19:56
His review is strangely close to the other Escapist Witcher review by Corvus.
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January 24th, 2008, 20:42
Too fast for my brain.
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January 24th, 2008, 21:25
Didn't really find it funny, sorry. A couple of very vaguely amusing lines and that's about it. The Painkiller bit at the end was funny. Does he usually do better than that or is this exactly what everyone raves about?

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January 24th, 2008, 21:29
Pretty much. He rants about games while speaking really fast and uses simple flash animations for effect. Not much to like if you don't like the style.
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January 24th, 2008, 21:43
This world is a hard place for RPG devs. When they're not being chastised about making mundane 'Diablo' hack n' slash games with zero depth they're being chastised for not being hack n' slash and having depth.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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January 24th, 2008, 22:27
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Didn't really find it funny, sorry. A couple of very vaguely amusing lines and that's about it. The Painkiller bit at the end was funny. Does he usually do better than that or is this exactly what everyone raves about?
It certainly wasn't one of his funniest. But all his other review's are basically the same style, just a little wittier.

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January 25th, 2008, 01:20
He had a point as far as the quest system and combat goes. I know a lot of my codex-lurking brethren love to worship this game, but the truth is that the combat is just as bland and monotonous as Oblivion. The quest system, which is mostly fetch quests or "kill the foozle" tasks isn't the grand PC gaming epic people make it out to be.

I think a lot of us old folks like it because the "Diablo/Morrowind" generation hate it so much. We like it because they don't…and because it's PC only.

I played it up until halfway through chapter 3 and became very bored. I forgot why I was even questing and lost interest. I then returned to playing Exult.
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January 25th, 2008, 03:19
You like something because other people hate it? Really? I enjoyed the combat, although I can see not everyone would agree. The quest system criticism I don't get, unless we're talking about the completely optional Wither contracts, of which I did only a few. Otherwise, I thought the quest structure as a whole was very good and I don't really understand how you could forget why you were questing, with quite an interesting plot that strings along nicely.

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January 25th, 2008, 03:35
I think he's got a good sense of humor, but his main ingredient is the titular "zero punctuation". He's moving so fast that when you get hit w/ something funny, before it's even left your brain really he's got you snickering about something else. Do it as a slideshow and it's probably not half as funny.

But he does have a reasonable gripe, I think, which nobody else seems to really bitch about.

Come on now, the need to research every creature in the game (even after killing scores of them) to even know what it is youre looking at is pretty ridiculous. The fact that lots of quests depend on you knowing a bunch of almost random ones compounds it, it's totally frustrating. Time to run around buying $400 books, even after investing talent points in monster lore. Better hope you can even find the damn book. It's stupid as hell.

And dont even get me started on the herbs
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January 25th, 2008, 04:58
Hmm… I can see your point Sammy, but I haven't hit that aggrevation level yet. I've only bought one book,… wait… two - One on herbs and one on monsters. Haven't seen a need for more yet. At this point in the game (chapter 2) I have every bit of information that I need to complete any monster killing quest I currently have, so no big deal.

As far as this video goes, I found it quite hilarious actually. I completely disagree with nearly everything he said, but it was funny.

Unfortunately that completely buggered review by Corvus has permanently put me off of the Escapist. I still have nothing good to say about them. At least this guy had the decency to call it a "preview" citing that he only played for two hours. Corvus plays for two hours and calls it a "review."

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January 25th, 2008, 08:08
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Otherwise, I thought the quest structure as a whole was very good and I don't really understand how you could forget why you were questing, with quite an interesting plot that strings along nicely.
Deep down, we are all guilty of loving games that "they" hate simply because the RPG fan underclass hates them. There is no shame in admitting it. I revel in it.
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January 25th, 2008, 09:12
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Didn't really find it funny, sorry. A couple of very vaguely amusing lines and that's about it. The Painkiller bit at the end was funny. Does he usually do better than that or is this exactly what everyone raves about?
I think Yahtzee's pretty funny. The "lulz blowjob" thing at the end didn't do it for me, but he usually gets a chuckle or two out of it. His complaints and points on the Witcher are pretty asinine from our perspective, but I think they make sense from a mainstream console player perspective, i.e. not the target market of the Witcher. Kinda irrelevant, in that sense.

It helps to watch Zero Punctuation if you recognise it as a comedy schtick, which it is, and don't consider it a review, which it isn't.
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January 25th, 2008, 09:53
Originally Posted by Boilerplate View Post
Deep down, we are all guilty of loving games that "they" hate simply because the RPG fan underclass hates them. There is no shame in admitting it. I revel in it.
Speak for yourself. I'm not, and I do think there is "shame" in snobbery.
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January 25th, 2008, 10:11
I'm the kind of person who quickly grows very tired of this kind of "humorous" thing if it isn't spiced up or surprises me now and again. I was highly amused by his first couple of "reviews", but after a while I realized that it was very much style over substance. His Bioshock thing was pretty good and I agreed with that for the most part, but after having watched a few more and culminating with this Witcher review, I find that his intention is not to be objective but to be entertaining. That's when I lose interest.

For the record, I'm not a big fan of the game (not yet anyway - in Chapter 2 still) but most of his complaints were related to what I consider fully accepted and established standards in the hardcore RPG genre. The combat system is not great, I will agree, and the monster research is a bit silly - though such a thing is quite common in the genre and hardly a big deal. However, the overall fidelity of the interface and wealth of information available in the journal are very much positive things from where I'm sitting.

He constantly whines about the console influences we see everywhere - which I fully agree with - but to then go on and whine when a game DOES cater to the minority, and stays true in terms of target audience (i.e. doesn't compromise for money), is really not a wise move if you want respect as a reviewer. Since he seems a reasonably smart person, I can only assume he doesn't want to be respected as an objective reviewer and I shall oblige him in that regard.
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January 25th, 2008, 14:11
So why do you judge him as an objective reviewer then? I mean, even if he really likes a game, he'll drag it through shit, as he's done several times before. His entire "reviews" exist only to put games down as much as possible.
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January 25th, 2008, 15:04
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
So why do you judge him as an objective reviewer then? I mean, even if he really likes a game, he'll drag it through shit, as he's done several times before. His entire "reviews" exist only to put games down as much as possible.
I always start with the assumption that a review is - at least partially - based on objective observations, because that's the only way it can make sense to me. Naturally, it can be interesting to hear the opinion of strangers, but ultimately they're worthless to me if I don't have detailed knowledge of their personality and preferences. I need reviewers who are able to look beyond their own limited areas of perception and appreciate that other people exist with different expectations and experiences. What's more, I need consistency. It won't do to criticise games for one thing, and then criticise other games for not doing the very same thing. Such inconsistency demonstrates further the lack of value held in the words of the review.

I personally don't think his reviews are all that thoughtless and arbitrarily through-shit-dragging, but I realise there is always that element present, intentionally. But he has lavished significant praise upon certain titles in his reviews, and as such your claim is not entirely true - as was the case with Portal.

However, I don't judge him, as in judge his person. I simply observe that either his intention or ability to be objective is too limited, and as such he will get no more attention from me, because I find no use in reviews without that particular element present.
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