Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Witching Thoughts - Post Game thoughts on The Witcher

So, I finally completed The Witcher by CD Projekt RED. It probably took me at least 90-100 hours for the main game. These statistics came from my Xfire profile and ManicTime time tracker for PC.

Favourite game play elements:

  • Click to move if you are lazy.
  • Witcher attack styles.
  • Drinking alcohol makes you drunk.
  • Combining potions with special ingredients to make extra strong ones.
  • Hold down alt key to highlight objects.
  • You could press space key to pause the game even if mid combat and change Signs or drink potions. Look around the world.
  • Adding custom way point markers to the map.

Chapters and environments:

Prologue - Kaer Moren new and fresh. What's interesting is the premium module The Price of Neutrality actually uses the Prologue map as a real level even though in the original game it was only an in-game cut scene. This was because the cut scene wasn't just a video, it was a scripted camera animation path using the normal game engine.

Chapter 1 - Outskirts of Visima like a small country town. It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and the continuing story line. This level wasn't too tedious though it was lengthy (it felt about the length of chapter2), it seemed to provide enough variety.

Chapter 2 and 3 are set in Visima itself. Great looking city. These two chapters get a bit long and tedious. But they form the bulk of the story line. In these sections, there was a lot of running around between the city areas and the swamp area, with the swamp area being particularly annoying as there were so many things out to kill you. Chapter 3 was probably the longest in my opinion.

Chapter 4 moves to the Lakeside. The atmosphere here was wonderful, relaxing and the story line here provided a much needed break from main storyline. This is my favourite chapter in the game - this "diplomacy" chapter where you were just helping characters sort out their domestic disputes (with monster killing too of course) was very fun, and a few of the characters were quite memorable.

Chapter 5 and the Epilogue returns Geralt to Vizima to finish what is was started in the Prologue. This section, forming the conclusion of the game was quite interesting to look at - the environments were varied but they made sense, and weren't too tedious.


You can only walk up a ramp or stairs even if the height above the ground is quite enough to easily jump down. This of course is a limitation of the game engine CDPR used, and they managed to improve this in second game by allowing you to climb up ledges or hop down from a height. In The Witcher 2 you can click at the edge so Geralt will jump down or climb up, or ascend or descend ladders. (It will play an animation for this.)

Some of the enemies were quite difficult for the player character's level of experience, even with potions and stuff you still die several times. Come back, level up a but more and it's easy. If you don't like frustration... edit the save game like I did if it was too frustrating and ruining the actual fun. Actually this may have been improved in Witcher 2 as I haven't felt the need to that this time. Sometimes I still read the walkthroughs or play videos just to realise something obvious I missed though.

Some of the buildings seem almost as tall as Geralt from the outside, but inside they are normal height. Typically though RPG buildings are 1/3 scale from the outside.

Premium Modules

The premium modules were fan made bonus adventures that CDPR had professionally voiced for the release of the Enhanced Edition. (I don't believe that they were fan made mods anymore - I once did, but from reading around I think they are indeed developed by CDPR; but they had that fan made feel to them.)

Side Effects - 3.5 hours.

Side Effects has a very fun, "fan mod" feel about it, it's all the cool things you'd like to do in the game rolled up into a short story! It felt like exactly the sort of game I'd make if I were making a game with the editor, and... precisely the games my classmates made during our game design subject at university.

Price of Neutrality - 3 hours.

This module was fascinating and nostalgic because we were playing back with the other Witchers at Kaer Moren (and they were voiced by the original cast), but there a couple of frustrating times when I had to redo particular battles with monsters or that it was very difficult to survive a particular fight. But still I'd recommend playing it, just bear that in mind.