But there are definitely a few elements to The Witcher that don't live up to the same level of quality. Perhaps the first unflattering thing you'll notice in this game is the somewhat 'clunky' physical interactions between Geralt and the world around him. As you run around, you'll often find Geralt bumps into objects in an awkward fashion, often not being able to jump or climb over even very small objects and obstacles on the ground, which can get annoying at times. On top of this, when you're
moving about in less than specious environments such as underground sewers or tight indoor areas, the camera can often take on weird and confusing angles that interfere with your movement. The Witcher is based on the BioWare Aurora Engine which does help explain the somewhat dated feel, but I'm not sure how to explain the patchy frame rate performance even on low settings, the random crashes and the long loading times. Granted, two patches have been released that have helped improve in-game and load
screen performance to a degree, but the game still seems to suffer from optimization issues and crashes still occur far too regularly. While the graphics are quite good, there are other games out there that look better and run smoother on our PC so optimization seems to be a widespread shortcoming.
And, outside of the technical stuff, some general game design decisions are also lacking. To get the most out of this game, you're going to have to come to terms with periods of time where your primary quests are so dull and repetitive, you almost feel like packing it in. There can be reasonably long times of non-violent activity in the storyline and while it is nice to see some variation as it certainly does add to the complete package, it can get excessively tame. The make matters worse, some primary quests
in the game seem to rely on unnecessarily 'back and forth' style long traveling distances to extend their completion time which does nothing for the game at all except induce frustration.
Another area of slightly disappointment in The Witcher is the total lack of character customization. We can understand forcing Geralt on you to a degree - after all, the game is based on a pre-existing fiction - but some level of visual and character customization outside of choosing which weapons you carry would have been nice. On top of this, being an RPG, The Witcher of course has XP and a level system which grants upgrade points, and while there is a fair amount of upgrade areas
to choose from spanning across Geralt's strengths, endurance, dexterity, intelligence, prowess with each spell power and ability with each fighting style for both silver and steel swords, there comes a time pretty early on in the game where your options for spending points are pretty limited, basically creating an RPG game where the character you start and end with is going to be pretty much the same every time you restart the game. This limits The Witcher's replay-ability, because outside of a handful
of storyline related choices, the variation next time around is just not there.
In the grand scheme of things though, the game's positives do outweigh the negatives. It isn't the best flowing or feeling RPG out there, but The Witcher is still a solid game that will keep you hooked from start to finish, providing you can get into the story to the point the slow sections don't deter you for good. The PC platform isn't exactly starved for good quality RPG gaming, but nonetheless The Witcher manages to stand out with its highly detailed and rich story, crafted together
with some nice gameplay mechanics for safe measure. Ultimately, The Witcher is just too grand an RPG to dismiss, and CD Projekt should be proud of their development studio's first release. I wouldn't go as far to say this is a must have for the PC gamer but any fan of the RPG genre should definitely not miss out on one of the better PC RPG's in recent times with The Witcher.
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