25 January, 2010

Game Journal: The Witcher

written by Blain Newport on Monday, January 25, 2010

First, for the casual blog viewer, pretty pictures.

I know. It's another water shot, but it's so pretty. If you look at the parts of the pier and plants that are underwater, you can see some of the distortion effect. Hundreds of games have water distortions, but The Witcher's is the only one I find myself paying much attention to. It's so restful.

Ooh. Pretty. Curse that silly druid for jumping in at the last second to spoil the shot.

The Witcher and some friends, getting hammered. Technically he's doing a stumble animation, but I like to pretend he's dancing. It was also funny because on the way back to the inn, an elven woman on the street said something like "Oh my." Whatever she said, it was supposed to imply admiration or possibly fear. But when you're drunk, it comes off as very tsk-tsk-y.

Second, for "core readers", my thoughts on the game so far (with vague spoilers, but nothing specific).

The Witcher is definitely a game for adults.

There's confusion.
Partly due to the somewhat free flowing structure of the game and the fact that you may or may not have killed certain people, I haven't found a decent FAQ yet. They either assume you'll make all the same choices the author did, or they're a mess of cross references.

There's sex. I believe it's actually required for the main storyline. And if you seek it out, it's all over the place. There's so much sex, I once had sex by accident. That's a lot of sex. To my knowledge, it has no bearing on the story. However, I overheard someone say one of the local ladies of the night had syphilis, so there might be a side quest involving a trip to the clinic. This struck me as kind of funny because I'm listening to the game in Polish and the Sci-Fi channel recently changed it's name to Syfy, the Polish word for syphilis.

There's boredom. There's a lot of schlepping and waiting in the game. I'm supposed to meet a guy at midnight so I have to go across town to the inn to sleep then come back across town to meet him. Then I've got to meet someone else at noon, so it's back to the inn. Plus there are plenty of fetch quests.

There's regret. The game has presented me with some choices and mysteries and always made it pretty clear that it won't stop me from doing it wrong. And when the wrong choice involves killing someone for a crime they didn't commit, that feels weighty. I feel like my choices matter. I am kind of curious how screwed up the game can get if the player does it wrong.

That's adulthood in a nutshell.

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