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The Witcher


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The Witcher (Games)
The Witcher (Games)
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Information about The Witcher

The Witcher (from Polish: ''Wiedźmin'') is a computer role-playing game for the PC developed by CD Projekt RED STUDIO and published by CD Projekt in Poland and Atari for the rest of the world. The game is based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The game utilizes BioWare's proprietary Aurora Engine. It was released in Europe and North America in Oct. 2007 (10 years ago). CD Projekt spent $11 million to develop the game and its Enhanced Edition and as of Mar. 6, 2009 (8 years ago), the game has sold 1.2 million copies worldwide. A console version using an entirely new engine and combat system, titled The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, was to be released in Fall 2009 (8 years ago), but was suspended, due to a high risk that the final product wouldn't meet the quality expectations, and so, CD Projekt RED is already working on another major project.

The Witcher takes place in a medieval fantasy world and follows the story of Geralt, one of a few remaining "witchers"—traveling monster hunters for hire, gifted with unnatural powers. The game's system of "moral choices" as part of the storyline was noted for its time-delayed consequences and lack of black-and-white morality.

Gameplay

There are three camera styles available in The Witcher: two top-down perspectives, where the mouse is used to control everything, and an over-the-shoulder view, which brings the player closer to the in-game combat, but limits visibility. In all three views the controls can be changed to be primarily mouse focused or a combined keyboard and mouse approach.

The combat system in The Witcher represents a departure from most RPGs. Players choose one of three fighting styles. The quick style allows for faster, less-damaging attacks with a greater chance of hitting faster enemies; the heavy style deals more damage in exchange for a slow attack speed, and a lower chance to hit faster enemies; and the group style features sweeping attacks best used if Geralt is surrounded. The player can switch between the styles at any point. Both of Geralt's main swords also have distinctively different combat styles from other weaponry, and serve very distinct purposes. The steel blade is used to fight humans and other flesh-and-blood beings, while the silver sword is more effective against supernatural monsters and beasts (against some of which steel may have no effect whatsoever). The player can, with precise timing, link Geralt's attacks into combos to more effectively damage enemies.

Alchemy is a major part of gameplay. The player can create potions that increase health or endurance regeneration, allow Geralt to see in the dark, or provide other beneficial effects. The recipes for these potions can be learned through scrolls, or by experimentation. Once the player creates an unknown potion he can choose to drink it, but if the potion is a failure it will poison or have other harmful effects on Geralt. Each time Geralt drinks potions they increase the toxicity level of his body. This can be reduced by drinking a special potion or by meditating at an inn or fireplace. In addition to potions, the player can also create oils used to augment the damage done by weapons, or bombs as weapons in combat. Neither can be created until talent points have been allocated into the corresponding skills.

A time delayed decision-consequence system means that the repercussions of players' decisions will make themselves apparent in plot devices in later acts of the game. This prompts the players to put more critical thinking into making each decision, and circumvents a save-reload approach to decision making. It also allows the game to have a unique approach to replay value, as the consequences resulting from the player's decisions can lead to great difference in the events that take place later, and ultimately a very different gameplay experience than in prior play-throughs.

The nature of the options faced when playing the game rarely falls into the typical black-and-white morality present in most computer RPGs, and the players often find themselves choosing from the lesser of two evils rather than making a clear choice between good and evil, a situation more reflective of real life morality.

Plot

The game tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, who at the opening of the game is tasked to cure the daughter of King Foltest of a curse which causes her to transform into a feral monster. Geralt successfully cures her, introducing the player to the nature of witcher-work. A period of years mysteriously passes, ending with Geralt being transported to The Witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen by fellow witchers who had discovered him unconscious in a field. Geralt remembers almost nothing of his life before returning to Kaer Morhen.

The game's story is separated into five acts, each representing a different area and distinct set of quests. Geralt meets many former friends and foes throughout the plot who help him to recover information about his mysterious past. Through the storyline, Geralt discovers that he had died five years earlier while attempting to defend an oppressed group of non-humans from a racist mob. He also learns that he is actually a renowned witcher referred to in prose as "The White Wolf."

Through the player's choices and actions, Geralt redefines character relationships and navigates political intrigue in the changing landscape of Temeria. This allows the player to make decisions that affect the plot progression, and ultimately the game's ending. The concept of the freedom of player choice was intended to be showcased by the developers.

Expansion

At GDC 2008 (9 years ago), CDProjekt announced an enhanced version of the game which was released on sep. 16, 2008 (9 years ago). The significant changes featured in the enhanced version are over 200 new animations, additional NPC models and recoloring of generic NPC models as well as monsters, vastly expanded and corrected dialogues in translated versions, improved stability, redesigned inventory system and load times reduced by roughly 80%. In addition all bugs are said to be fixed and the game manual completely overhauled. There are also two new adventures available to play through: Side Effects and The Price of Neutrality. A new option is to mix and match ten different languages of voice and subtitles. For instance, players can now choose to play the game with Polish voices and English subtitles. Other featured languages are Russian, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Czech, Hungarian and Chinese.

The Witcher Enhanced Edition also introduced some problems, most notably the "Cutscenes causing blurred graphics" bug which was not present in earlier versions of the game. The bug manifests in a way that all textures become blurred immediately after the player exits any cutscene or dialog, and remain blurred until the game is reloaded. On dec. 23, 2008 (9 years ago) CDProjekt released a hotfix that addresses the issue, as well as fixing problems with EAX technology.

The patch has been proven to work in some cases, but not always. After applying the hotfix above many users reported that ingame FMV scenes have only sound and black screen instead of video. For some people the blur still remains after the patch. Inability to start the game also appears to be fairly common.

Aside from the game enhancements, The Witcher Enhanced Edition includes a "making of" DVD, a CD with 29 in-game soundtracks, another CD with "Inspired by" music, the short story The Witcher from the book The Last Wish, a map of Temeria printed on high quality paper, and the official strategy guide. In addition, a new and enhanced version of the D'jinni Adventure Editor is on the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) with the two new Adventures. The game updates, as well as the box's extras, are available as a free download for owners of the original version who registered their game on the official forum. Furthermore, old savegames are compatible with the Enhanced Edition.

According to CD Project co-founder Michal Kicinski, the Enhanced Edition required a $1 million investment, and the company has shipped 300,000 copies of the retail version worldwide as of dec. 2008 (9 years ago).

As of Aug. 1, 2009 (8 years ago), the cumulative Metacritic score of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition was 86% based on 29 reviews.

Reception

As of Aug. 1, 2009 (8 years ago), the original game's cumulative score on Game Rankings is 81.07% and on Metacritic, 81 out of 100 ("Generally favorable reviews"), though user reviews score it much higher (9.3). PC Gamer UK gave the intial release of The Witcher a lukewarm 67% on the grounds that the plot was generic, the combat engine was poor, and the main character was lifeless. However, Kane Ikin from Alchemy SBS Radio said "...Despite all its problems......The Witcher is one of the best role playing games to come out in a long time."

PC Gamer US awarded The Witcher with "RPG Game of the Year." In addition, The Witcher has received numerous Editor's Choice and RPG of the Year Awards, many from publications or websites that scored the game in the mid 80s. The Witcher's cinematic intro was nominated for the 2007 (10 years ago) VES Awards in the category of Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game. The nomination was given to Polish artists Tomasz Bagiński (Academy Nominee, director), Marcin Kobylecki, Grzegorz Kukus and Maciej Jackiewicz from Platige Image, who worked together with a team of about 20 people for a year on the game cinematic intro. The game's soundtrack by composers Paweł Błaszczak and Adam Skorupa was voted "Best Fantasy Game Soundtrack" in the 2007 (10 years ago) Radio Rivendell Fantasy Awards.

Source: en.wikipedia.org


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