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October 3rd, 2007, 23:24
Thanks for the comments.

p53: That background was from the background material Atari shipped with the preview. I'll check I didn't misunderstand but thanks for the correction. Screens were taken on high at (mostly) 1024x768, although AF and AA were mostly turned down and even off in some screens (more on performance in part 2).

I don't think it looks remotely like Aurora five years ago but different strokes for different folks.

@woges - more on performance in part 2, although my hardware is modest and it ran very well (although witness a couple of people saying it doesn't look it's best on my hardware).

@GhanBuriGhan, check out the screen of the local map for one location. It's nothing like Gothic in that sense - closer to KotOR but that's too harsh. I'd say the Trade Quarter of Vizima is about the size of Khorinis in Gothic 2 or the scaled 3D equivalent of a BG2 map (that's a very rough sense). They aren't huge locations but they are big enough to wander without feeling *too* restricted. I'd say straight-up exploration is relatively weaker than Gothic: loading, smaller maps, map notations give away important spots and no hidden stuff that I've noticed.

It's not as walled in as KotOR but you can't jump, so you can't get over small barriers like fences or through dense bush and if the terrain is uneven, you sometimes need to stay near the path. I understand you can (eventually) use the world map for travel (in some fashion, anyway) but so far the areas are connected: walk through the gate from the outskirts into the city, go through another gate to the harbour area, talk to the boatman to take a skiff to the swamp islands. Ultimately, it's something like BG2/NWN2 etc.

@Harri, I think the story is very strong - but it's rather early for me to be sure how it lasts. I really like the "realistic" basis and contemporary themes. The outskirts of Vizima ended in a scene with reasonable emotional punch (although you could see it coming) and inside Vizima has been very interesting with some nice twists. Characters are more prominent than most CRPGs - you generally end up (so far) talking to NPCs multiple times and going back to them, so you get to know them a bit and they do develop. In that sense, the NPCs are far more interesting than most CRPGS. It isn't Vampire: Bloodlines - it doesn't have that quality of text (or the dialogue skills) but I'd say (at this very early point) it's the most interesting story from a commerical CRPG since that. It doesn't have Chris Avellone's great writing but the actual plot and characters are much more interesting than NWN2 *so far*.
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