The Witcher: True Grit

Hunt down monsters as the powerful Geralt in The Witcher.
Hunt down monsters as the powerful Geralt in The Witcher. (Atari)
Friday, December 21, 2007

Based on the works of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher may be the most well-written, plot-intensive role-playing game ever. It's more than enough to keep you playing late into the night.

This is no fairy-tale setting: Medieval cities have all the dirt and disease that come with a pre-industrial society. Human emotions including vanity, racism, greed, lust and the pursuit of power all play a part in creating a world where the line between good and evil is not so visible.

Into this boiling cauldron steps the main character, Geralt, a professional monster hunter whose services are in high demand. Geralt has been trained since he was a child by the secret guild of Witchers and was given powerful drugs that mutated his body. No longer considered human, he has white hair and snake-like eyes. In a world where elves and dwarves are subject to genocide, being different is not a good thing. But only Geralt's lightning-quick reflexes and special monster knowledge can defeat the hordes of creatures populating the land. He is sorely needed, but not at all wanted.

Because of the drugs, Geralt is sterile but immune to disease. His one real pleasure is sex, which, without procreation or fear of disease, is a recurring pastime. This is the only mainstream role-playing game I know of where the main character has sex.

The game has great graphics, thanks more to the level of detail in the game's world than to new video techniques. The one graphical flaw is that character models are often reused, a puzzling choice for an otherwise intricately designed world.

Geralt's mission is straightforward. Although trained to fight monsters, you soon learn that sometimes the worst monsters are humans as you tangle with murderers, rapists, bandits and drug pushers. Every choice has consequences for the game world and for your own fate, and they sometimes come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

-- John Breeden II

The Witcher Mature; PC Windows XP/Vista ($50) Atari The Witcher Mature; PC Windows XP/Vista ($50) Atari

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