After playing the Witcher 3 for a little bit, I told myself “this world seems interesting and I should start from the beginning.” Luckily for me, the Witcher franchise was on sale on Steam!
This might sound like me just hating, but I want to say this. I enjoyed playing the Witcher 1 SO MUCH more than playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After my little brother made me my awesome PC! I installed some games, most exciting of first installed were Witcher 1 and Skyrim. I played Skyrim to be mildly amused, then I tried Witcher. After that I juggled both games until finally just deleting Skyrim from my Steam library. With that out of the way, let’s start!
The Witcher is created by CD Projekt Red and was released in 2007. The Witcher games are based on Polish novels of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski. The game was only released for PC, I believe the console version were in progress but was cancelled. I played the “Enhanced Edition” which was the only one available on Steam.
Geralt of Rivia is the titular Witcher, professional monster hunters. In the beginning of the game, we find out that he has amnesia and cannot remember much from his past. Geralt is a powerful swordsman and magic user that can go against trained soldiers as well as gigantic monsters.
He is also a lady’s man. Since he is immune to all diseases and sterile, he can bone everyone without giving a second thought. He is also very sarcastic, does not take shit from anybody, and a fun character. He is not some silent generic hero were suppose to project ourselves onto.
Triss Merigold is a powerful witch that has a lot of feelings for Geralt. She was one of the people who found Geralt after his “death”. Now she is helping him and the Witchers to get their secrets back.
Azar Javed is the main antagonist in the game. He is the one that led the bandits to steal the mutagens from the Witchers in the beginning of the game. He is a powerful wizard that want to use the Witchers’ secrets for unknown cause. Majority of the game is chasing this man down.
Alvin is this little boy Geralt saves him near the very beginning of the game. He forms a father-son relationship with Geralt. Which is a big deal for Geralt as he cannot have children of his own. Alvin also has a very powerful magic potentials, but cannot control them and often becomes target for kidnappers and monsters.
The world of the Witcher is gritty but colorful, down to earth but fantastical. People are struggling with their daily lives as well as the plague and being poor, but it does not help that there are monsters everywhere.
Speaking of monsters, there are a lot of them. There are elves, dwarves, wyverns, specters, and every other fantasy monsters you can think of. And sentient species like elves and dwarves are considered to be second-rate citizens.
Geralt has lost his memories, and is in process of getting them back. He was supposed to be dead and everyone thought that, so when his friends found him, they were overjoyed. I think this is so because in the original novels this was based on and in the book, Geralt dies. Because of his amnesia, it is not that awkward when people tell Geralt information of this world.
During the early parts of his recovery, Kaer Morhen, the Witchers’ HQ, was attacked and robbed. This assault was led by the Professor and a mysterious wizard Azar Javed. The bandits stole the precious Witcher mutagens and Geralt and his friends must find out who they are dealing with and get the mutagens back before it’s too late.
The group separates and Geralt investigates place called Vizima, area filled with the poor and the diseased as well as many knights and monsters. It is quickly evident that Vizima’s politics are unstable, everyone is unhappy, and Geralt stepped in right before the shit hits the fan.
Gameplay wise, it’s a mixed bag. The combat was really weird, but then I got used to it. Essentially, Geralt has multiple stances, Heavy, Light and Group. During combat, you can pause time with Space Bar, and from there, you can choose which stance you like to use. Then click on the enemy, and Geralt will perform an attack, then the mouse will have a fire icon to use combo attacks. This felt like a hybrid of a strategy game like Star Craft mixed with generic action game…. so it was weird to get used to. But once I got used to it, I had no problems.
This is not really an open world game. There are blocks of areas Geralt can traverse at a time. Depending on the progression of the story, new areas are available or restricted from you. Each of these areas were unique and I had no problem with this system.
Some of the things in the game seem very outdated. The use of same character models for a lot of the characters seemed…. a little lazy. I know it is a lot of work to craft models for everyone, but it would have been nice. I literally went “Oh, there is Vincent, I should check up on him….. oh that Jean-Pierre… he uses the same model as Vincent. okay.”
The aforementioned combat takes a while to get used to and I can see if that would turn people off from continuing the game. I know a friend of mine that quit playing this game for that reason.
There are a lot of fetch quests and back tracking. I think a lot of people were off put by that. Almost every quest requires 10 to 30 things fetched from one town to another. Sure, the maps aren’t huge, but does not change the fact that it is annoying. There has been times where a guy tells you to go see something. You go there, and return and report. He does not believe you so you have to go right back, observe more, return, and report. Still does not believe…. and so on. I think these quests could’ve been streamlined to be less infuriating.
Oh, let’s talk about the voice acting. I am not very sensitive to acting skills, but some scenes in this game had some of the goofiest voice acting I’ve seen in a while. Some of the scenes were so bad it was good. Some of the songs Dandelion sings in great, the grunts made by the werewolf is hilarious, and there are a lot more. Be warned, the video here is a little spoilery.
The weakest part of the game, apart from all the GODDAMN fetch quests, is probably the ending. The last portion of the game seemed very out of place. It is this long stretch of land with enemies popping out and cutscenes every 20 seconds. It was annoying and kind of disappointing finale to such an awesome game.
-So Bad it’s Good-
So this is a new section. Not all reviews are going to have this.
In the Witcher 1, Geralt is a really loose man. He cannot get any diseases and he cannot have children, making him a natural sex machine. And most of the women in Vizima are so horny that it’s great. For example, an elf gets mad at Geralt for being horny before a war, then says fuck it and fucks Geralt. And to top it off, every time Geralt sexes, he gets a great trading card…. because why not. Above are some of the lesser woah ones.
The characters and the world of the Witcher is great. There are many memorable characters and places. Characters like Shani and Zoltan are some of the side characters that stand out to me. They are loyal friends that help Geralt through fighting monsters to wars. Characters like Dandelion, a bard, helps Gerlat because they are friends despite his wanting to be safe. I wish I saw more from Vesemir, but I think he will make a return.
The story is very intriguing. Hell, I played this along side Skyrim and I decided to stick with this one and deleted Skyrim to focus on the Witcher. Unlike Skyrim, which had better graphics and larger world, this one was …. more intimate. Sure Skyrim was huge, but it felt very empty. While the Witcher was populated with a ton of people and every square feet had something going on, be it people gossiping, people hiding from the rain, or kids playing. The place seemed to be alive rather than being a place for the main character to pass through.
The game feels very detective like, in the best way possible. In many case, you have to collect evidences and figure out who is lying, and who has an evil intention. After playing the game for a while, it becomes clear that there is not many “innocent” or “pure” people. Everyone has ulterior motives, and there is no good guy. The finale of chapter one, you have to choose which is the lesser evil, that was a good one. I liked that.
My favorite chapter in the game is probably Chapter 4. It takes place in a very rural town and the place is freaking beautiful! Sure the character models are still very stiff, but the views are so colorful and fantastic. The stories in this chapter were so much more intimate and personal, and magical! I had a great time in the village of Murky Waters.
- Will I play it again? Probably not, since I want to try the next in the series.
- Do I recommend it? Yes, but only to those willing to try something a little different.
- Overall thoughts? I thought it was amazing. It has ton of problems, but hell it was great. I had so much fun and the characters were so lovable.
As I am writing this review, the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is being downloaded onto my computer. I cannot wait to start it! And once I play it, I will let you know what I thought. I might start reading the books…
I also want to thank SuperBunnyHop for fueling my interest in this game with your videos! Here is a link to their Witcher 1 review!
Have you played this game? Did you like it as I did or did the fetch quests turn you away?