Atari has decided to take RPGs in a more grown-up direction with The Witcher. Based on the book The Last Wish by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher will soon convince its players that people are not always what they appear. Endings are not always happy. And the main character? He?s not always consistent, either. The Witcher presents a fairly realistic view of what life is really like, full of trials, ambiguous moral dilemmas, and racism. Players decide the fate of Geralt, an absent minded witcher, and perhaps save a few other souls while they?re at it. Along the way they will learn of Geralt?s past friends and enemies and possibly change how these folks now view Geralt.
Atari and developer, CD Projekt, tout the fact that The Witcher contains very mature content and themes. Given such, it comes as no surprise that swearing is a common occurrence with multiple uses and forms of most swear words. Sexual innuendos are also prevalent during conversation especially since a common theme in the game is to see how many women Geralt can have sex with. Brief sex scenes are displayed. Also, for exceptional fights, Geralt can stun his opponent and execute a finishing blow, sometimes lobbing the head of his victim right off. Battle is bloody, leaving blood splatter all over the ground and the remains litter the streets for a while before disappearing. Alcohol and a simple form of magic known as the ?signs? play a large role in many parts of The Witcher as well (including some references to tarot cards).
Going along with the mature themes, Geralt will pass by possible criminals hung in the streets. One mission even brings him in contact with a cannibal, which Geralt has the option to kill or allow to continue on in his sickening existence. This is just one of the many moral choices Geralt will have to make during the course of the game.
There?s no doubt The Witcher is a game created specifically for mature audiences, covering the not so happy side of fantasy; though a deep and complex story will draw players in and the game?s artistic style shows through in the graphical detail and character model movements. We did run into a few bugs here and there and some further polish would go a long way for The Witcher, but the game is able to stand on its own. Its immense size and non-linear questing allow players to experience the game in the way they wish to play and three unique endings give the developers room to accommodate for the player?s actions throughout the game. While not a great moral achievement, The Witcher stands out as a deep role-playing experience few other games are able to touch.
» By Stephan Mack, Plain Games. Published 1/20/2008 9:41:31 PM.