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The Witcher Enhanced Edition review

AT A GLANCE
  • Genuine moral dilemmas
  • Fun characters
  • Fantasy world with personality
  • It's an acquired taste
  • Often long winded
  • Fiddly controls

Not many games get a second chance, but we’re glad that The Witcher is one of them. We went into it the first time around with low expectations, and after an opening chapter so boring you could use it to mine for diamonds, came out grinning at the first genuinely good, ‘proper’ RPG in years. There. We admit it. We liked it a lot. Behind the fiddly controls, constant wandering from A to B and back to A and then bloody B again, and silly stuff like the nudie cards after each gratuitous bonk, it offered everything recent RPGs have lacked. Genuine moral dilemmas. Fun characters. A fantasy world with a sense of personality, if a seriously nasty one. And to think, I almost microwaved the DVD.

This Enhanced Edition is an interesting re-release. Cosmetically, it’s much the same. New features include being able to Ctrl-click on corpses to auto-loot them, a slightly reworked inventory with a special slot for alchemy components, and supposedly more variety in NPCs, although not enough to stop it feeling like you’re meeting the same clones every few steps. In addition to the original campaign, you also get two smaller adventures – The Price of Neutrality, as released with the campaign editing tools a few months back, and a new one, Side Effects.

However, all this is just bonus content compared to the big addition – the new script. For reasons too silly to go into here, the original version’s translation didn’t so much get cut down as slashed to bits with a machete. Since then, the developers have scraped together the cash to pull the actors back into the studio, re-record a few thousand lines and slot them in. It’s exactly what the witcher doctor ordered... as far as it goes. The replacement lines are a massive improvement, but they’re resolutely a patch-job, not a full rewrite. Where before a question might be simply “Murderers?” you now get “Why do you say I work for murderers?” or extra flavor text such as “that flea‑ridden hick” instead of simply “Odo.” Go in expecting Geralt’s adventures through the land of tits and racism to suddenly smack of a Chris Avellone/Dostoyevsky tag-team, and you’re going to be disappointed. There are plenty of rough edges and dodgy conversations left over, not least the incoherent innkeeper from the very start of the game. They’re just not constantly shoved in your face any more, letting you focus on the bits that actually matter.

If you passed on The Witcher the first time around, the Enhanced Edition is a great second chance on both sides of the screen. If you already own it, it’s a free patch. Even better.

Sep 17, 2008

More Info

Release date: Sep 16 2008 - PC (US)
Sep 19 2008 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Atari
Developed by: CD Projekt
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Violence
PEGI Rating:
18+

4 comments

  • ravenlord - September 24, 2008 3:22 a.m.

    Definately worth it if you are a RPG fan like myself, or if you are a fan of great computer games, of which this is a perfect example. The new enhanced edition fixes the dialogue, which you will only notice if you played the first release or know about the Mature rating. Overall, the story and setting become alive and actions mean something. This is not a game of killing, but a game of being, where killing is a part of it. Well worth the price!
  • JohnnyMaverik - April 6, 2009 2:22 p.m.

    Heard so many people saying this is one of the best RPG's ever that I cant ignore it anymore, I never see it in any of the stores i frequent so I check on amazon. I tried the demo and was a bit put off by the combat system that looks like it would take a bit of getting used to. Still cant understand why people dont just go with the oblivion hack slash and block style combat system which while being a bit symplistic is both impressive to watch and fun to do... so whats the problem? I meen assasins creed's combat system was so boring that it made me turn off the game, and this looked like it was along the same lines, but there again i might be wrong.
  • anduin1 - January 4, 2009 7:33 a.m.

    definitely a deep rpg, the itemization is very weak as far as gear but making potions and buffs is really big in this game, moreso than Ive seen in some MMO's. The story is really fresh and the world is very weird- in a good way. Id recommend it to anyone who's looking for a neverwinter nights upgrade.
  • JimmySmurf - January 25, 2009 11:47 p.m.

    Definitely one of the best RPGs that I've ever played.

Showing 1-4 of 4 comments

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