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The Witcher hands-on preview at RPG Watch

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The Witcher hands-on preview at RPG Watch

Preview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 3 October 2007, 17:17:27

Tags: CD Projekt; Witcher, The

RPG Watch had some fun playing The Witcher's beta. Click here to read the first part of their impressions:

Citizens get up in the morning and head to work or their usual haunts, old women sweep the streets, children play hopscotch and soldiers sharpen their blades or practice swordfighting. Inns are busy and noisy with drinking, gambling and boxing matches. Not since the Gothic series have we seen such a realistic, living world steeped in atmosphere. There’s even some sense of context (although it’s hard to tell how far this goes): when it started raining in the city outskirts most of the villagers crowded under cover and I counted a dozen or so different comments such as “horrible weather”, “not rain!” and “quite the storm”. Each of the locations we’ve seen so far has a genuine “lived in” feeling – for instance, a swamp is typically just an excuse for monster hordes but The Witcher adds authenticity with a small, dirty brickmaking community working claypits and loggers taking advantage of the trees.
Very nice.

The main quest so far has centred on the investigation into the attackers on Kaer Morhen. While there has been a passing mention of an ancient prophecy, the story has been refreshingly rooted in politics and crime, rather than the typical fantasy fare of evil mages and meddlesome gods. Contemporary themes such as racism, prejudice and terrorism are clearly reflected in the story and quests as the trail illuminates elves and dwarves fighting against xenophobia with guerrilla warfare and petty local crime underpinning a drug-running operation.
Just how fucking awesome that is?

The consequences range from changes in the story, to pursuing a different line of quests to finding an alternative solution to simply paying a bribe. Of course, with this design philosophy it’s entirely possible that the choice to do a particular quest (or turn it down, for that matter) may have unknowingly shunted our current game down a different but yet to be revealed track. All that said, it’s important not to paint The Witcher as some sort of medieval action Fallout. This is an innovative – even brave – design choice but not every quest supports multiple solutions and each choice we’ve seen is binary. We understand there are some 12 or so major decision points throughout the game and with six chapters and two story episodes in each chapter, it looks to us like there is probably one major plot branch in each story sub-arc, as well as a solid sprinkling of other quests with choices or different approaches.
With the Witcher and MotB Fall 2007 suddenly seems like the best RPG season we've had in years.

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