Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review The Escapist bitch-slaps The Witcher

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Calis, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Calis Pensionado Patron

    Calis
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    Tags: Witcher, The

    We've heard it before - lack of engine polish, crappy writing and voice acting and a flawed combat interface. This time, <A HREF="http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/2672-Review-The-Witcher" target="_blank">The Escapist brings us a review</A>. The opening paragraph gives a hint as to just how annoyed the reviewer got with this game:
    <br>
    <blockquote>At the heart of The Witcher's design lies a rich and compelling roleplaying experience. Unfortunately, the rest of the game serves mostly to obscure this fact. As a storyteller with nearly 20 years of tabletop roleplaying experience, I tend to take my computer RPGs with more than a few grains of salt. I stuck with Gothic, despite its awkward control system and uneven vocal performances. I grimaced through Ultima VII's tongue-in-cheek, Olde English dialog. I spent countless hours wandering the wastelands in Fallout, despite my antipathy for turn-based combat. I even slogged through all of Neverwinter Nights and its follow up modules - more than once. Still, after spending well over 10 hours with The Witcher, I can't see myself returning to it.</blockquote>
    <br>
    Though I haven't played the game, the review does seem rather light on analysing choice & consequence effects in the game and the reactions on the Escapist forum suggest that the reviewer's awkward experience in combat may have been, in part, his own dumb fault for picking the wrong camera mode. As he quit playing after 10 hours, it's likely that he simply didn't get far enough to get to the good stuff.
    <br>
    He's also giving away a copy of the game on <A HREF="http://blog.pjsattic.com/corvus/2007/11/witcher-review-game-giveaway/" target="_blank">his blog</A>, so if you're in the US and would like to score a free copy, head over there.
    <br>
    Thanks, <b>PlanHex</b>
    <br>
    <br>
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  2. BillyOgawa Scholar

    BillyOgawa
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    Fuck this guy.
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  3. Bluebottle Savant Patron

    Bluebottle
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    I've seen this quite a bit from various sources; people who seem to get unduly frustrated by The Witcher. I'll admit to there being a couple of flaws that can lead to some annoyance (the game suddenly removing the ability for you to access the stuff you put in storage, often rendering you potion-less, for instance), but really it's nothing that warrants the obvious levels of pent up anger I've seen. I think a lot of it stems from people not used to having to forward plan in games.

    I'll also make a prediction that after playing for ten hours in he was probably stuck at the big fight at the end of chapter one, or two. Probably one.
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  4. Twinfalls Erudite

    Twinfalls
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    ...fail to realise one must present actual arguments and evidence in a review, rather than trot out the 'I am teh rollplayer'.

    Right. If Gothic's voicing is a big enough reason to not keep playing, there's probably no need to keep reading your review either.

    What a fucking trooper.
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  5. Elwro Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
    The game's out for more than a month and this well-known site finally decides to grace it with... 10 hours of their attention. And unabashedly admits it. Escapist has been going down the shitter for quite some time....
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  6. Naked Ninja Arbiter

    Naked Ninja
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    Hmmm, he is kinda right about the stilted dialogue, the translation has obviously lost something, but if you keep in mind that it IS a translation there is some good story under it. Also, the combat isn't particularly compelling for me.

    The thing about the treatment of women...meh. Geralt is a medieval James Bond type. Are characters that don't abide by common perceptions of "correct" behavior not allowed in games anymore? The political correctness police is annoying. Although, in all fairness, the card collection mini-game is tasteless and unneccesary, and probably does a fair amount to provoke such reactions. Don't know why they went to the effort of hiring an artist to draw a milkmaid pouring milk over her breasts...
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  7. fastpunk Arbiter

    fastpunk
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    So he played Gothic despite awkward controls, grimaced through Ultima VII, explored Fallout despite the turn-based combat and even slogged through NWN and its expansions (more than once even). He sounds like a fuckin martyr. Sir, if you're in such agony while playing RPGs why do you persist? Or better, why do you review them?!
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  8. psycojester Arbiter

    psycojester
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    Because every once and a while he gets a true rpg exemplar like Oblivion :roll:
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  9. Naked Ninja Arbiter

    Naked Ninja
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    Oh come on, stop picking on that statement. I've also put up with certain things so long as the game underneath is worth it.

    Awkward controls- check, awkward dialogue (ala Witcher) - check, yep, I've "put up" with quite a few of those things too.

    He is just demonstrating how he has tolerated some things in the past but in this case he found it too much.

    There is nothing wrong with that statement, but you can disagree with his interpretation of the degree of The Witchers problems.
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  10. fastjack Augur

    fastjack
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    re

    am i the only one who thinks the voice-acting generally rocks? i only just made it into the city (past the first village) but i was immediately struck by the high quality of the acting. Granted i started playing right after watching someone play two worlds (talk about crappy voice acting).
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  11. Micmu Magister

    Micmu
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    It certainly isn't the best out there but definitely not crappy. Does he rate all voice acting around Bloodlines?

    The mandatory mention of Fallout's obsolete turn-based combat was priceless.
    I bet he's a LARP "DM".
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  12. Naked Ninja Arbiter

    Naked Ninja
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    I just find it slightly stilted. Like...not quite naturally flowing. Which is to be expected from a translated piece.
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  13. caliban Scholar

    caliban
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    WTF? Gothic's voice acting and controls were fucking horrible, claiming that TW's are even worse is simply not true ;)

    BTW, run the Oblivion test on this guy. How did he rate it?
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  14. Herbert West Arbiter

    Herbert West
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    Oh sure there are flaws in that game. The steem however not from bad fundamental design decisions- those are sound and work flawlesly- kudos to the developer, the more so since it's their first project.
    Things that are flawed [the end and the beggining of chapter 1 for example] seem to be because of lack of playtesting and some experience, not wrong design philosophy. Valve would be the ideal to look up to here.
    Dialogues in the english version are sometimes badly messed up and it's a legitimate basis to lower the score- no matter if atari or cdpr is to blame, period.

    However playing for 10 hours, that is, about 20% of the game, and slapping an opinion that seems to be unjust, speaks volumes about what the reviewer thinks of his readers.
    Reviews are meant to help the consumer decide wheter to buy a game or not. Describing 20% of the product and giving an opinion isn't helping you decide wheter to shell out some cash or not, it's just misinformation and by no means pr0 journalism.
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  15. Tails Arbiter

    Tails
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    Yeah, real pr0 with nearly 20 years of tabletop roleplaying experience hate TB Combat...
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  16. Koby Scholar

    Koby
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    http://blog.pjsattic.com/corvus/

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  17. Hory Erudite

    Hory
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    Are you serious? 10 hours is more than enough time for a game to start getting good. Even if you play one hour and you didn't like it, then the game has a problem. I have no idea if Witcher's first 10 hours are good or not, but in general, it would be absurd to say that you need to play more than 10 hours to form an opinion. Hell, I gave Fallout 2 away because the Temple of Trials sucked. I don't intend on playing 10 hours of Oblivion to confirm that it sucks.

    Never thought about it, but Bloodlines does have damn good voice acting.

    I wonder what the formula for successful voice acting is.
    Is it the merit of the person that picks the actors?
    Do good actors need a lot of experience?
    How important is a good natural voice?
    Can a good actor make an awkward translation sound good?
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  18. obediah Erudite

    obediah
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    I've only noticed translations in a few places. But I'm pretty impervious to that stuff thanks to lots of exposure to foreign films and foreigners.

    Voiced dialog is for idiot fags that need their books read to them by mommy with exaggerated inflection. And also losers that like to see a large portion of a games budget wasted on something that always ends up crappy and places an artificial limit on the amount of writing in the game.

    Me neither. But story and interaction with the world is so much more important to me, and frankly I've given up on ever seeing both done right. I don't think the combo system itself is a bad compromise for diablo combat.My wrist doesn't fall off after an hour of play, and it doesn't feel like a screen saver. Their implementation should have been tested more though.
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  19. MasPingon Augur

    MasPingon
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    Yeah, but at least you didin't write a review. Did you?
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  20. Herbert West Arbiter

    Herbert West
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    Interesting questions. I've never really researched this topic but my guess would be that a voice actor has to "act" a character to some extent to sound well.
    Likewise, I usually need to believe in what I speak to sound good and convincing. It goes for most people I guess, with the exception of good politicians.
    And remember that in a video game, or a film for that matter, a character needs personality and individuality to be believable, not a whole biography. Sometimes quirky voice acting can do the trick.
    I don't suppose that even the best actor could save a really bad translation.
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  21. Bluebottle Savant Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Well yes, but then you're playing the games for your own enjoyment, not to publish a review. This guy is paid to play games, surely it can't be that sitting through a frustrating game is too much to ask of someone, can it? If that really is the most taxing element of his job, then he's a fucking fortunate person.
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  22. Kingston Liturgist

    Kingston
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    I lack the wit to put something hilarious here
    If he has grimaced and slogged his way through other games, why can't he pick up that strength again and finish the game before the review? What happened to his godlike powers of finishing games?

    Edit: What is so hard about the combat? It's really fucking simple, I started right off at the hardest difficulty and had no problem linking chains. Click when there's the special sound or his swing gets a different colour. A few hours and you don't need to look at them conciously anymore.

    2nd edit: Look what the writer posted on the forums: "'Im taking a lot of flack for writing this game based on 10 hours of gameplay. Well, I was completely up front about my background and the length of time I spent with the game. It's not as if I'm claiming my impressions are of anything more than they are. And as a storyteller I feel that if the first 10% of a game doesn't accurately communicate the feel of the entire experience--it's poor storytelling. Since I play CRPGs for the story that's a problem for me."
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  23. Herbert West Arbiter

    Herbert West
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    Uh, what? It's rather bizzare. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by the "feeling of the experience" and getting the hang of it in the first 20% of the game. I actually liked how the experience of the game and of the story shifted and changed. It was pleasantly surprising in TW not to really know where the thing is going and how the game will shape later on, regardless what my "feeling" was telling me during the first 10 hours.

    edit: I very highly value stories that completely change their heading, character and scope during their course. One of Stanislaw Lem's stories, "Futurological Congress" is the cause of that prefference of mine :)
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  24. Claw Erudite

    Claw
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    Well, I personally agree that the first 10% of a game, book or whatever should be representative of the entire work. I don't continue to read books that don't draw me in in the first 50 pages.
    I can't say anything about the review, I don't read the Escapist anymore.
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  25. Herbert West Arbiter

    Herbert West
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    I agree, if by "the feeling of the experience" he meant the quality of writing or design, not themes, plot and ideas. I like pleasant surprises.
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