Zero Punctuation: The Witcher

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I'm not trying to "defend my game". I've seen Yahtzee make fun of games I like before. ;) But this was the first time I didn't find it funny. His criticisms just didn't hit home. I mean, I like The Witcher, but it's not perfect. There were flaws in the game that he could have zeroed in on and made very funny remarks on - but everything he had trouble with wasn't a problem for me in the slightest. I'm genuinely mystified by this review.

The music selection is always appropriate for the video game under review. Just another enjoyable nugget of Zero Punctuation.

hahaha, Nice! :D I want to here his thoughts on the fox news debate about mass effect xD

Hm, least funny ZP yet. How can you claim the controls are too complex, and then 30 seconds later slam the combat for being too simplistic? Did you play on easy mode? Journal, dictionary and bestiary screens hideously complex? Not any more complex than a web page or any GUI with multiple virtual screens or tabs. Besides, you don't HAVE to read them... Alchemy difficult, elitist, and confusing? You just click on a recipe, then "brew" and its done! Unless the recipe is greyed out, in which case you don't have the necessary ingredients.

I agree with Estalindis. I usually like ZP because despite the informal and joking style, he tends to be more insightful than 99% of "ordinary" reviewers, and really put his finger on the most important aspects of the game instead of spending 75% of the text on graphics like other reviewers. But here it seems he totally missed all the really strong and weak points of the game. It IS something a bit different in a world of me-toos, it focuses more on plot, atmosphere and characters than most; and it has (some) moral complexity in a medium of cartoonish black and white. As others have said, perhaps he should stay away from reviewing games from a genre he doesn't like.

Incidentally, this marks the second time the Escapist publishes a negative review of the Witcher written by someone who has only played a fraction of the game.

While this did have me laughing my ass off i can't help but feel his some what missed the point.

First of all we have, as has been pointed out, his ranting about games given him no middle ground and when a game with truly 'real' options all with shady moral questions comes along it gets ignored. This can be sort of passed off beacuse his not really played far enough in to the game, the biggest failing of the game is the first chapter simply is not as good as the rest of the game by a long shot. Which is why almost all 'previews' of the game that don't get past the first chapter are negative and most full reviews praise the game so highly.

The game has a wonderful sense of a being part of a "real" world in which your actions have effects. You make a choice and the out come of that choice may not be made apparent until later on in a way that makes you feel like your actions have set off events in the world around you that you might not find out about until they come back to, say, bite you in the ass. There is no other game that dose this nearly as well and it leads to the feeling that your choices really are giving your a different game, unlike say KotR where you could tell if you took the 'good' choice what was going to happen if you took the 'bad' one since you know it will keep you on rails and the choices are very straight froward. While it IS the same with the witcher to a lesser extent you don't 'feel' limited and so you don't think about what the other choice would have meant which leads to a much more involving game.

Next is the whole sexism crap that seems to get spouted. There is a leaning towards it with the idea of the collectable cards but it is no where near as black and white as this, or the other "review" of the witcher on the escapist would have your believe. First of all lets just get something straight, Geralt is a completely sterile disease free man. Think about what that means in the setting you find your self in... it means his is likely to be the only person that a typical women will ever meet with whom she can have safe sex. Isn't it a bit one sided to say that its all about geralt going after the women when he offers the women he sleeps with danger free sex. Given the high level of deisease with the plague around "safe" sex would be a very very attractive quality. So it could easily be just as much the women taking advantage of him as he is of them. If you really want to question it you might as well question the idea of one night stands... but you can't really call one night stands sexist and nor can you if you look in to the context say the simple fact he sleeps with women makes the game sexist. In fact the game and the world is full of very strong and powerful female figures and not even in the typical fantasy way you would expect. Take sharni one of the strongest women in the game by far but one with no "power". She is an almost unique figure in gaming and one that could never be made if the game was truly sexist.

Again this may not be something that gets made clear in the game in the first chapter but even then you don't have to sleep with all the women if you don't want to. At that point there are only 2 plot line driven encounters... one with the women your told you used to love, and one with a women who is likely using it as a way to manipulate you in to helping her. Neither of these are 'falling over' to sleep with you in anything but an interesting plot driven way.

What its really sad to see if the number of people here who have said they where going to buy the game and now are not. The witcher is one of the best games of last year, easily in my top 5 even arguably in the top 3... if you like rpgs you owe it to your selfs to at lest try the demo and to read up on some real reviews, and by that i don't just mean the previews but just the fact that you should all by now know that yatze hates RPGs and his reviews are free to reflect that.

Over all i think yatze skips over some of the true problems of the game, of which there are many but all forgiveable in the long run to over inflate tiny problems that really aren't that much of a deal. Funny as it is its not very useful for any one thinking about buying the game. I really do think if yatze went back to the game and tried to get a little of the way in to chapter 2 even he'd have to admit the game is a lot better than his giving it credit for so far.

Great job again yahtzee. Suprised you aren't lining up an E3 stand-up debut. I'm always in fits of laughter on these reviews.

Will check back next week. Looking forward to it!

I enjoyed thoroughly, as always

I knew he wouldn't like it :P
But the controls and interface aren't that hard to grasp, you don't need to look at the manual.
He should have played though the whole game, but he put first impressions and not review as the title, that makes it ok I guess.
Still enjoyed it, few more laughs than the last.

banksie:
Several aren't real flaws though.

This isn't the place to debate minutiae of the game, but don't assume that I don't know what a Drowner repellent talisman is (really, that statement just told me you haven't seen the swamp in Act V...go ahead and wear that talisman and try to enter the Druid's Cave with a dozen of those peckers running around you, pulling you in and out of combat) or that I didn't play all the side quests. Just because you disagree with my opinions does not mean that you are more knowledgeable about the game.

Oh, about that other "review" of the game. I agree, it was abysmal.

Puffa fish. hahahaha

At the end he sounded like that woman from Absolutely Fabulous when she's fighting with her daughter.

The game dose have story but the gameplay is....sad and the menus cumbersome its a bastard child of biowares CRPGS, I would rather pause and plan out my actions the hack and slash nature of it could have been great if they went with a control scheme more like Revenants...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenant_(game)

bad gameplay design makes bad games.....

RabbitDynamite:
Hell,even fallout had the dull-as-dishwater "kill the Radscorpions" village before you got rolling.

You do realise you could complete that quest by causing a cave in, right?

Btw...

I finally found a LEGIT Article that criticizes The Witcher. It also talks about the story too, so maybe you might find it interesting.

http://www.gamedaily.com/games/the-witcher/pc/game-reviews/review/3106/1830/

It's hard to care about the story or any of the characters. Even though the game graphics generate some pretty good looking characters, they all lack facial expressions, and most don't even use hand gestures. With that said, characters rattle off lines while staring blankly into space, like statues with moving mouths. This game even has the silly role-playing convention where players can walk into any house and poke through the cupboards, cabinets and chests to take anything they please without repercussions. Then toss in the side story about non-human races like Dwarves and Elves forming guerilla squads against humans, and the narrative becomes almost impossible to take seriously, especially since the humans nicknamed these groups "squirrels."

SilentScope001:
Btw...

I finally found a LEGIT Article that criticizes The Witcher. It also talks about the story too, so maybe you might find it interesting.

http://www.gamedaily.com/games/the-witcher/pc/game-reviews/review/3106/1830/

It's hard to care about the story or any of the characters. Even though the game graphics generate some pretty good looking characters, they all lack facial expressions, and most don't even use hand gestures. With that said, characters rattle off lines while staring blankly into space, like statues with moving mouths. This game even has the silly role-playing convention where players can walk into any house and poke through the cupboards, cabinets and chests to take anything they please without repercussions. Then toss in the side story about non-human races like Dwarves and Elves forming guerilla squads against humans, and the narrative becomes almost impossible to take seriously, especially since the humans nicknamed these groups "squirrels."

And kotor and other Crpgs have them?
Bollocks....... the witcher has a interesting world a nice plot and ok charatcers the story/dialog got thrown through the dishwasher one to many times...the game play seems unfinished as dose the menu system.

All in all its the Crpg version of bioshock high theme/art low gameplay/ game design.

This must be one of my fav ZP reviews. I myself have never played The Witcher, and now don't plan to. Also, "Painkiller" was funny.

Next wednesday should be Rock Band.

I haven't played The Witcher, and I might give it a try even despite Yahtzee's objections because I've heard that once you get past the confusing interface it actually grants you some REAL moral choices, rather than just presenting you with saint-or-Skeletor either-or options over and over again. But in spite of that, this review touched on a couple of things that I've been griping about for years:

1. Entertainment that pretends to me "mature" just because it has a lot of swearing and PG-13 sexual situations. Look at the late-night fratboy cartoons (criticizing Family Guy on the internet, even on a board that prides itself on having some semblance of intelligence, is a one-way ticket to flameville, but I hate it, so fuck you, I'll criticize it) that call themselves "for mature audiences" just because they have a lot of ugly characters with grating voices yammering about bodily functions. Why do things get rated "mature" by having some of the most immature material imaginable?

2. PC users' superiority complex. I've tried to stay out of the flame wars on here between the consoletards and the PC Master Race, but boy did I ever laugh when Yahtzee went on the tirade about "typically designed to be as complex and unintuitive as possible so that those dirty console-playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC-gaming master race." (note that I am a PC gamer as well as a console gamer, so this isn't a "nyah nyah u PC snobs suck" so much as it's a "don't take our preferences so fucking seriously all the damn time")

3. And, indirectly, the lot of you who start yammering about how Yahtzee "isn't a real reviewer" and "isn't funny anymore" whenever he bashes a game you don't want him to bash. :-)

Sylocat:
3. And, indirectly, the lot of you who start yammering about how Yahtzee "isn't a real reviewer" and "isn't funny anymore" whenever he bashes a game you don't want him to bash. :-)

My sentiments exactly. He says he states his opinion, and I believe it. He said some things were fun, even if the emphasis was somewhat more on the bad things, and he even gave Crysis a fair recommendation, so it isn't all mudslinging, right?

Next Wednesday should be Barbie Horse Adventures. *is tired*

Rodge:
Next Wednesday should be Barbie Horse Adventures. *is tired*

I don't think the great stallion is interested in bestiality games staring dumb blonde's...altho......

Sylocat:
I haven't played The Witcher, and I might give it a try even despite Yahtzee's objections because I've heard that once you get past the confusing interface it actually grants you some REAL moral choices, rather than just presenting you with saint-or-Skeletor either-or options over and over again. But in spite of that, this review touched on a couple of things that I've been griping about for years:

1. Entertainment that pretends to me "mature" just because it has a lot of swearing and PG-13 sexual situations. Look at the late-night fratboy cartoons (criticizing Family Guy on the internet, even on a board that prides itself on having some semblance of intelligence, is a one-way ticket to flameville, but I hate it, so fuck you, I'll criticize it) that call themselves "for mature audiences" just because they have a lot of ugly characters with grating voices yammering about bodily functions. Why do things get rated "mature" by having some of the most immature material imaginable?

2. PC users' superiority complex. I've tried to stay out of the flame wars on here between the consoletards and the PC Master Race, but boy did I ever laugh when Yahtzee went on the tirade about "typically designed to be as complex and unintuitive as possible so that those dirty console-playing peasants don't ruin it for the glorious PC-gaming master race." (note that I am a PC gamer as well as a console gamer, so this isn't a "nyah nyah u PC snobs suck" so much as it's a "don't take our preferences so fucking seriously all the damn time")

3. And, indirectly, the lot of you who start yammering about how Yahtzee "isn't a real reviewer" and "isn't funny anymore" whenever he bashes a game you don't want him to bash. :-)

My main 2 complaints about the game
1.it tries not to be a point and click action RPG and fails, dodging is cute until you realize it serves no real purpose other then..."hey this is moving from KOTO to a diablo clone wat to do let strow in dodge and remove most of the pause command system lulz"

2.Menu system and even combat is needlessly cumbersome and out of the box you cannot rebind the keys/commands right because of bugs.

Past all that the english dialog is annoying sometimes...I got to the point to drop the polish voice tracks in it and leave the wonky english subtitle in, the experience improves, is like moving from a poorly dubbed anime game to a import that sounds a hell of a lot better even if you have to learn to play it since you can't read it..only this you can read....

One could say this is like a game version of the the brotherhood of the wolf the myth and sex factors make it a worthwhile film same for the witcher more or less, theres enough in it to make it worth while if you can get over the kneeing in the groin parts.

MinionOfCthulhu:
Did anyone else point out the irony that he mentions how The Witcher tries to make itself seem mature by having the characters curse up a storm and then after the review dub over a cutscene from Painkiller where that angel guy wants to suck off the boring Painkiller guy?

Yes, I noticed that too. And I thought about commenting on it. And then I read all the posts from LOLland that seem to love the Painkiller skit and I decided to just... let it go.

qrter:

MinionOfCthulhu:
Did anyone else point out the irony that he mentions how The Witcher tries to make itself seem mature by having the characters curse up a storm and then after the review dub over a cutscene from Painkiller where that angel guy wants to suck off the boring Painkiller guy?

Yes, I noticed that too. And I thought about commenting on it. And then I read all the posts from LOLland that seem to love the Painkiller skit and I decided to just... let it go.

Yes, but when did Yahtzee ever claim to be mature?

Funny review but Yahtzee must have serious ADD or something because I beat the Witcher a couple of days ago and I thought it was one the the best Action-RPG's I've played in a long time.

the review also had me laughing, pretty much like like every yatzee so far, whether i played the reviewed game or not. but this one I found a bit too harsh. lots of stuff he critizes is true, yeah, the researching, the point-click-combat (that actually had me frustrated for half an hour till I got the yist of it, then it was cake). but it didn't bother me as much. the combat was actually pretty nice, different styles for different enemies/situation, like Kotor. Alchemy could be more intuitive, as well as the researching bit, but well, nobody's perfect. I got through it and I really enjoyed the game, even more than the Kotor or NWN series. The only game that got close in atmosphere was Gothic 1&2.

I thought Yathzee reviews were supposed to be 'intelligent'. That is what the ads say and private advertisements are always right and the state is always wrong.

First it was the potty humour and unnecessary sexual jokes. Now Yahtzee is dissin' on tha Witcha because it is apparently not easy and intuitive to use - which translates to 'I want instant gratification and I want it now'.

I believed the Escapist was about games as art, or at least something more than dumb mindless entertainment. But apparently for the loudest voice of the Escapist an RPG is considered bad if the interface is not watered down for console controllers with two buttons, 'Kill everything ninja style' and 'Kill everything manga style'.

I am sure Yathzee thinks the paragon of modern RPGs is God of War because it has the coolest moves. At least in God of War, you do not have to make that annoying and overly difficult choice between strong, fast and group attacks that totally draws you right out of the game. You do not even have to run around between NPCs who all seem to take this monster-pwning thing way too seriously, almost like they were a character in a role-playing setting.

I have not played The Witcher because it is not my kind of game, but with reviews like that, who needs EA?

I think Yahtzee's point about the gameplay was that it feels like work, which I believe he states verbatim in the review. Not that it didn't give him instant gratification but that you play a game to...well...PLAY a game. When the controls and interface become so bogged down the game ceases to be fun and begins to be frustrating. There is value in simplicity.

yes, there is, and The Witcher isn't as "intuitive" or effortless as it could be - but nowadays a lot of games ain't. And if I have to push through that pain-phase to be rewarded with a great gaming experience - so be it. But well, guess opinions differ on that. Yatzee called it First Impression so I guess it's ok, as long as it's not supposed to be a in-depth review of the game.

Good points. And I think it should also be taken into consideration that these reviews are supposed to be negative and funny. I'm sure there were good points of the game but that just isn't going to send me rollin' on the floor. I mean...what do you expect from a fellow who ranked Adventures of Dizzy as the greatest game ever. :)

i have tye witcher, i played through 16hours of it.

first all i thought is "wow this is awesome" asnd then it got really really boring, strangely enuf.

why am i even commanting this? uh, drunk.

Shinsquall:
Frankly...this week's review was rather poor...the few things that Yahtzee pointed out to can be sorted out in about 20-40 minutes of starting the game ( alchemy is optional on easy mode at least), although I have to admit that I was a bit annoyed at having to walk unjustifiably long distances in the first chapter, but that's about where my opinion stops coinciding with his, try following the story a bit, you might end up liking it in the end. The painkiller bit was nice though...

QFE. Our man Yahtz obviously didn't get to 90% of the content.

The only knock that the Witcher deserves is that its starting area is far, far too long, boring, and slow-paced. I almost quit playing before it ended as well -- but once you arrive in the city, the game becomes one of the finest RPGs I've played on a PC to-date (maybe KOTOR still beats it, but whatever: it's fucking close).

I love this dude's reviews, but I was pretty disappointed today. Though in retrospect, I can't say that it's out of character as he does seem thoroughly incapable of enjoying any game that requires reading anything longer than three or four words at a time.

If you're still considering checking this title out, I highly recommend that you ignore Yahtzee's shallow and inaccurate synopsis and do so at your earliest opportunity. I believe Fileplanet is still offering a demo of the thing for members.

Guys, for those complaining that Yazthee hates games with lots of text:

He wrote story-based adventure games WITH lots of texts. That how he gained his fame. That why he managed to actually get the attention necessary to go and review games. Before you deride him for coming up with lame storylines, why not play his FREE games with storylines? (Never said the storylines were good, even though I think they are, but hey, at least he is a game writer who doesn't want too much text, short, snappy, to the point...at least that what he said. To me, his games has "about the same amount of text" as a regular RPG, but heh.)

http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/games.htm

Now, there is a difference between yon Traditional RPG, and the subclass of RPGs which are, or play like, MMORPGS. In the former, while you do have to grind some, you don't have to FARM EPIC MOBZ. And the combat, depending on if turn-based or semi-action, is generally moar than.. well, one click. Also, while you may have quests and things, you have less of the Collect 10 Heads of My Enemies type quests. Et al.

So anyway. Whether or not he likes RPGs, I think what's real obvious is not liking the MMORPG playstyle, whether or not the game is, in fact, multi-player. You can and should Do Moar with the quests if you're not lightening the system up to function while carrying the weight of tons or players humping on your server.

Dear everyone who is all 'well he clearly didn't play the whole game hurr':

OF COURSE HE DIDN'T PLAY THE WHOLE GAME. THAT'S THE POINT- HE COULDN'T PLAY THE WHOLE GAME BECAUSE IT FELT LIKE WORK*. THAT'S WHY THIS ONE IS TITLED 'FIRST IMPRESSIONS' INSTEAD OF 'A COMPLETELY FAIR AND BALANCED REVIEW OF THE WITCHER'S 80+ HOURS OF PLAY BY A MAN WHO LOVES GRIND AND KILLING GENERIC MONSTERS FOR CASH'!

I will probably regret yelling in the morning, so I'll apologise to you all now. Sorry. I am going to sleep.

*This was also brought up in... Super Paper Mario, I think? You know, with the penguin-on-a-stick. Games should be entertaining to the person who's playing them.

Love it...Yahtzee is funny until someone's favorite game gets hurt!

Personally, the Witcher is shaping up to be my favorite RPG ever, but the review was funny as hell nonetheless. And yes, the game gets off to a shitty start. I'm in chapter 2 right now though and it's a different game at this point...

As a game journalist, you probably have a shitload to play as it is, but if you ever find the time to get past the first couple hours of the game, give it a shot...you'll find a lot of the stuff you complain about is cured. The only MMORPG type quests are side quests called contracts. Otherwise, it's all pretty thick with story.

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