Reviews Comments: I couldn't sleep over the noise of my neighbor beating his wife last night

I couldn't sleep over the noise of my neighbor beating his wife last night
Thats a genuine line of NPC dialogue. So yeah, if you've heard The Witcher is mature, that's a lie. It's mature in the way replacing 'build' with 'f*@!' in the Bob The Builder theme song is mature.

This game has a minigame where you collect cards of naked women by having sex with the various NP Cs. Typically this will go something like someone saying 'I like flowers' and then you give them flowers and ask if they want to have sex. Or you save a women from being mugged and she asks how she can repay you and so you tell her she can sleep with you.

And then there's a witch whose about to be burnt at the stake and she'll let you have sex with her so she won't be burnt alive. But that's not the worst way that scenario can play out, you can make her have sex with you and then go outside, call her a whore for doing it and tell the villagers to burn her alive. It can be fun to play an evil character, but in Knights Of The Old Republic or Fallout, that's what it is, fun, silly cartoon evil in a surreal setting. They don't normally let you rape someone for collectibles.

The worst thing is, this review could have been longer. I played past that point, I collected my card. And there are other things to discuss, the start is boring and the scope seems to be pretty limited. The combat is uninvolving and the strategy involves more long term preparation and decision making and there are lots of plot gates. They go down the 'evil priest' route, because that's not a well explored theme. Geralt is trying way too hard to be cool, fighting and gambling minigames and he speaks rarely and in one line putdowns. He even has a scar. But a lot of its fun, the world is big, the upgrade system is good, the potion system, despite front-loading strategy is pretty interesting. And it's just a small part of the game, it's incredibly easy to ignore and pass by. I almost did and I imagine I was a lot less invested than others at this point. I sort of what to know what happens.

But this review is not going to be longer, because I didn't get past the second chapter of the game. I stopped and thought about it and decided that I really don't want to be playing a game where that event could exist and someone scripted, animated and found voice actors for it. It would have probably have been fun and enjoying this game would have been the worst thing of all


So,in this game, playing an evil character actually involves being evil? Also, you can do some pretty evil things in Fallout 3, such as massacring entire towns (you get special dialogue from your dad if you blow up Megaton). Does a foul mouthed faux middle ages setting make it that different from a zeerust post apocalyptic setting?
comment #17906 fenrisulfur 31st Jan 13
(both lightside and darkside Geralt can sexually exploit the women it's not framed as an 'evil' act in the game. Only betraying the women afterwards (and even then they're trying to describe it as morally grey))

If the question is, is sexual extortion more loathsome than mass murder in a fictional setting? Then the answer is: yes.

I don't fully understand why, but it is, many fold times more disgusting. Imagine a comic strip, the wife is nagging a husband who is clearly bored and not listening. Mid way through her spiel he

Shoots her.

Rapes her.

The first is just not particularly funny, it might garner a few frowns, but not much more. The latter could easily make the comic a national hate object. This happens, no-one complained when people get brutilated in Penny Arcade it was the rape comic that caused it. Maybe it's because rape victims survive and this sort of thing can cause triggers for them, maybe it's because sexual extortion is something that actually happens and people are more likely to do. Maybe it's because death often involves a motive or a crime of passion, whereas rape is torture and humiliation.

The funny thing is, the Penny Arcade comic is just a stupid line of implied rape for comedy in a ridiculous setting. I've smashed films before for invoking rape and not following through with the harsh realisation and appropriate unenjoyable exploration of the consequences that should come after. Heck Katawa Shoujo has a scene of sexual extortion that is frowned on by the plot, is there to make a very serious and real point, could very realistically happen and was in character and just the idea of the act was meant to give the player a huge negative shock. And I still commented that maybe they shouldn't have used it because it was possible to tell the story without it.

And here is a game that actually rewards you for choosing to do it.
comment #17909 TomWithNoNumbers 31st Jan 13
Well...I guess I'm glad I only spent $10 on this. But I have to say, you've piqued my curiosity, at least.
comment #17910 JobanGrayskull 31st Jan 13
So you rate a game badly because you don't like that it gives you choices that are actually morally realistic instead of the typical "be The Messiah incarnate or baby eatingly Stupid Evil"? The setting in The Witcher is supposed to be a Crapsack World where the morality is up to the player himself.

If you don't like the Grey And Grey Morality or the Optional Sexual Encounters that's fine, but i personally don't think that it's reasonable to review a game that you haven't even finished.
comment #17911 CapFox 31st Jan 13
I haven't made any statement about the game that I didn't directly experience, as such my review is exactly as informative as my experience which could and should mean not very informative at all, because I only want to talk about one specific incident (if you notice my review is categorised as an episode, one chapter out of 5) but I haven't said anything misleading or even made any statement about the overall quality of the game.

And whilst I imagine most of the people made the choice without really thinking about it, I'm just straight up uncomfortable with anyone choosing it after thinking about the implications. It would be classified as rape and I don#t know how I feel about people roleplaying rapists.

You may disagree with me, but I'm being consistent to myself. As I've said, I've knocked other things hard for including rape and just not dealing with the consequences well. This is the first time I've encountered something which doesn't show any consequences at all or choose to frame the act negatively. If this were Katawa Shoujo, that's like getting to the end of the Hanako arc and having the protagonist walk off grinning.

I'm not choosing standards for other people (although I will happily get in a fight with anyone who argues that this particularly act is moral or justified) but these are my own standards and this is how I view the game through the prism of them
comment #17913 TomWithNoNumbers 31st Jan 13
I've probably not being very clear. If my review headline were 'this game sucks' I think you're totally right, it's inappropriate. But I haven't said that and even said that it may be enjoyable. But I have firmly described the events that led me to choosing not to continue which may be relevant to someone else
comment #17914 TomWithNoNumbers 31st Jan 13
The fact of the matter is that all those events are optional. A work needs to be put in perspective for it to make sense and reviewing a single episode might work in a TV series but in a grand game like The Witcher it doesn't make any sense. Rape is portrayed as an morally wrong act. A plot point in the very same chapter you're basing your review on, is that a guard has raped a girl who ends up committing suicide when she finds out she's pregnant. The man is set up as evil and Geralt is clearly disgusted with the whole thing. The player is never given the choice of rape and the whole dilemma with the witch is another case of Grey And Grey Morality. There's clear evidence that point towards both the villagers and the witch herself as being behind the atrocities in the village and it's up to the player to decide who to believe in.

I could go on, but he point is that a lot of the morally wrong acts in the game is portrayed as just that, wrong. As said, the setting is a Crapsack World where these things happen on a daily basis and the protagonist can be played as both a Kinght In Sour Armor and a straight-up Anti Hero.

What i don't understand is the point in this review. If you're not making a "statement about the overall quality of the game" then what? Is seems like you're just dissatisfied with a single aspect of the game and if that's the case then Take It To The Forums or make a complete review were you include it.
comment #17915 CapFox 31st Jan 13
But having sex with the witch because she wants you to not let her burn alive is sexual extortion. And they don't do anything about that. In a court of law that would count because it the threat of Geralts action or inaction that puts her in that situation

Apart from anything else, I bought a game which I find myself unable to finish because of issues I have with it. That seems like something valuable to discuss for anyone who might feel like me and is considering purchasing it. If I'd read a review on the subject there is no way I would have picked up this game. And there was a reviewer (Roger Ebert?) who had a policy that a film that used children killing exploitatively would get a 0 because they felt the act was so disgusting nothing else could redeem it.

And I know we disagree on the serious of this point and it looks like we disagree as to whether it counts as rape or not, but would you say that there is anything in the remaining game (I did get to Chapter 2 and I had discovered that the dude was a rapist in chapter 1) that would change my mind about this? Given how seriously I take it, even if you yourself disagree on that? It was already borderline with Geralt suggesting that the barmaid could sleep with him when she asks if she can repay him. I don't think the issue of the witch would be raised again and I don't believe the game was about to whip out a mindblowingly powerful and important theme that would have made the game feel wholesome to me. If Geralt gets called out on it, then I honestly made a huge mistake in writing this review and I'll reinstall the game and play to that point so that I can feel happy about it
comment #17916 TomWithNoNumbers 31st Jan 13
Well, The Witcher franchise is mainly a deconstruction of classic fairy tales and high fantasy. I would never see a movie were children were murdered or women brutally raped, but the beautiful thing about a game like this is, is in my opinion that you have a choice. If you don't want to do something then it's up to oneself if you do it or not. You are not forced to sleep with someone just because she offers it. A plot point later on revolves around crafting a new identity for Geralt (since he's lost his old) and it's up to the player how his morality is gonna shape up. If we go back to the example with the witch, then you are right that if you sleep with her an obvious interpretation of it is that he's extorting her. On the other hand, I personally liked her character and I choose to interpret it as a less serious event. They like each other, they end up in an desperate situation, they sleep together and she pleads for help. It's not unlike or out of character (Geralt even mentiones that he was "drawn to her ever since he first saw her" iirc) and he is known to have a thing for sorceresses.

Well, i see your point now, but i still feel it's a bit of a shaky foundation to base a review on. I would urge you to try and pick it up again and try to push beyond Chapter 2. The plot really picks up later on and the game sets up some interesting dilemmas that really are deeper than just "Good vs. Evil".
comment #17917 CapFox 31st Jan 13
Naturally you have ever right to comment and your comments are useful to people to illustrate the other side of the story on this matter, but whilst I normally enjoy talking about this sort of thing with and various people have taught me an awful lot and made me change my mind on an awful lot before, I think it's fair warning that if you're hoping to persuade me on this particular matter, I'm really not going to change my position. If you want to give your side of the argument then thats great, but whereas normally you would do that and you may very well be in place to alter my opinion, I'm not willing to bend here and you should write the comments for yourself or for the other people who might read it.

I feel very strongly on this particular issue and this isn't something thats just come up with this game, but has been a long term mindset that I've had (for example on the sexual exploitation=rape, I ascribed the same in Katawa Shoujo). I don't want to like the act that went on and I don't want to like the game that contained it. And to me it's an act horrible enough to taint the game enough to be worth expressing in a review.

I'm sorry, I'm not too good at being flexible in arguments, but I work hard to make up for that and in another situation I hope I could be more impartial and open to new ideas on the issue, but this is just somewhere I've drawn a line and I'm doing you a disservice but I don't mean it as any kind of personal insult
comment #17918 TomWithNoNumbers 31st Jan 13
No harm done. I see your point and i think it's a shame you won't give it a chance, but i understand your reasoning. As you said i hope that this will help people see that there's more to it than just rape and on the other hand i hope that people with opinions like your own will get the warning.
comment #17919 CapFox 31st Jan 13
I haven't played the game in a while but, as far as I can remember, what happened in the cave was an attempt at sexual bribery by Abigail, not sexual extortion. The difference being that it was her initiative, not Geralt's.
comment #17933 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
I agree Abigail was in the wrong, but since she was about to die painfully, her role in it is more forgivable, it's not as bad true as if Geralt had initiated it himself but he was completely aware of the circumstances which means excepting was still extortion/exploitation. It's the level of the initiators need that changes it. If she'd just wanted something from Geralt that's James Bond territory, which isn't pretty and accepting is no great advancement for feminism but is pretty much entirely the fault of the initiator. If she's about to lose her job then it gets more iffy, the employer clearly has a lot of power over her and is letting that be used to get sex, but she can just try to get another job. In that situation they'd probably both get fired and both find it harder to get employed by someone else. Maybe there's a chance that the employer would end up in legal trouble but it's a bit small.

If the initiators life is at stake and the acceptor has control over that and is aware of that then this is the territory where he's entering the level of a pretty horrible crime (and just to stress again that this is something consistent with how I've always thought, in the KS situation I've mentioned above, the girl was the initiator, and in a circumstance much less extreme than this, the only threat that was mobilising her was the fear of being abandoned). One of the things I hate most is when you do it Geralt's dialogue tries to cover it up too 'I've always had feelings for you...' (which he sells if you sell her out or not).

We do see this situation fairly frequently in media but it's always in the situation of a bad guy that we're meant to have 0 empathy for. Maybe it's a Nazi being offered sex so he'll call his men off, or a slaveowner accepting sex so that he'll treat the ladies sun nicely... It's astounding that someone wrote the same trope for an anti-hero and then gave out a collectible for it. I just don't understand how someone could write that and then write a scene where the same guy is 'cool' in hte next moment
comment #17934 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
Speaking personally, the first three sentences and the title were the only things you needed to say to convince me to never, ever buy this game. The rest just adds a moral dimension to that decision.
comment #17935 nrjxll 1st Feb 13
The review closely matches my experience of the game, and I only got about as far as part of the way through the first city. It has a very childish idea of what counts for maturity, whilst its comprehension of morality is not only childish, but also kind of repulsive too. Situations are depicted with absurd simplicity: Act like a good guy and you get to fuck babes. Yeah bro! Being bad means siding with crazy priests who burn witches. Grrr hardcore! I had to purposely turned down sex whenever it came up, just because it felt so inappropriate for the situation. "Thank you for helping me during that battle just now! I'm wounded and our comrade is lying dead, but I'm in the perfect frame of mind to bump uglies!" I wouldn't call it misogynistic, but I would call it a terribly cack-handed attempt to approach adult issues like sex, violence and religion. It's a 13 year old's fantasy story that thinks its mature.

I didn't even like any of the other elements. The maps were a chore to navigate, being made up of simple routes with waist high fences. The dice game was totally broken, as a consequence of you always taking turns in the same order (and people being "better at poker dice" getting magically better rolls). The fighting and menu system is overly complicated, restrictive, and also broken. I often found myself walking into buildings and getting ambushed before the screen had finished loading (also, long loading times), resulting in my character being knocked backwards through the entrance and getting stuck in a netherworld between the walls. Potions can't be mixed together on the fly, so you have to collect every damn ingredient you can, traipse all the way back to a camp fire, and mix them at random, in the hope that you might get something out of it.
comment #17936 maninahat 1st Feb 13
In short, I want my 3 back.
comment #17937 maninahat 1st Feb 13
As for why someone thought that scene should even exist, considering that it's a direct follow-up to Geralt listing all the ways she was implicit in the crimes of the village, it was probably a last addition to show that she's not above offering such things if it serves her purposes. Without knocking down her moral high-ground a bit that whole decision of villagers vs witch wouldn't have any sign of moral greyness at all. If you do let her get lynched then she threatens the wrath of the Lionhead Spider, which is a lovely little cult that practices human sacrifice. On the other hand, if she got lynched then Geralt get's reprimanded for "letting an innocent die" 3 chapters later.

Or maybe the whole thing sounded better in Polish, I dunno.
comment #17938 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
Okay, I REALLY need to play this now, so that I at least know exactly what it is you're talking about. All I've heard is glowing praise for the Witcher series, but this is making me seriously doubt that. I'm not a big fan of the sex=maturity idea that's been creeping into video games lately. Sure, sex CAN be displayed in a mature light, but it's not the only thing that elevates a game to "mature" status, nor is it even really necessary in a lot of cases.
comment #17939 JobanGrayskull 1st Feb 13
@Mc Some Guy if thats true it sort of sums up my big overall problem with the thing. The game may be trying to call out the witch for being 'bad' and offering herself up to someone to influence them but it doesn't think at all about the morality of the guy who has all the power in this situation accepting the sex.

I don't think the developers are sexist or mysogynistic but rather it's like maninhat said 'It's a 13 year old's fantasy story that thinks its mature.' Yahtzee said ' Personally, I think it's less The Witcher's obvious hatred of women, and more the same misguided pretension to maturity that also causes the characters to cuss with every alternate word.'

And I agree, except just because it was intentionally bad doesn't mean that the game didn't turn out to be misogynistic all the same. Remember how Film Hulk Critic was annoyed with the way they kept using [[ the word 'bitch']] in Arkham Asylum? Can you imagine if he'd played the Witcher.

comment #17941 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
That's not what makes this game mature. It's the themes in the narrative being the whole terrorists or freedom fighters dilemma, gritty medieval Crapsack World riddled with crime, corruption and poverty, the value of morality in the face of extinction and so on and so forth where no punches are pulled. The collectible sex cards, while tasteless, have barely any real presence.

The plot of the second game, when you look past all the magic and monsters, essentially boils down to medieval politics.
comment #17942 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
@ Tom With No Numbers

I won't disagree that if Geralt accepts her offer then he doesn't come away from that scene looking like much of a hero, but really, no one in that whole ordeal was an image of goodness. The villagers were liars, thieves and murderers. The witch knew all of that and profited from it. And, if you make the appropriate choices, Geralt comes off as an opportunistic scumbag with no sense of integrity.

But those are still choices, and it doesn't exactly have to be that way.
comment #17943 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
I know and this where we can make a reasonable split, I've had some limited contact with women who've been abused by men and I have zero desire to play a game that won't actively condone exploitative behaviour by a protagonist. Particularly since, although the sex cards are entirely unnecessary, collection is a reinforcing gameplay mechanic. I hope no-one chooses that option, particularly consciously but the game had already put me off and I was unimpressed/slightly disgusted with what I'd seen in the way of 'maturity' so far (I was reading a forum where someone actually really non-sarcastically used my title quote as evidence of the games maturity =D), so it would have just been bad all round for me to continue.

But if people hadn't been bothered by the tone already, avoided the option (and to be honest that whole gameplay mechanic. There were other situations that were exploitative just in the first chapter) then I could understand people not as prone to hating this particular folly, ignoring that side of the game and finding something enjoyable in the rest.

I still wouldn't call it mature though, because the whole fact that there's all this ridiculous childish crud in the game you have to ignore is a barrier to that. Even aside from the sex thing, the way the priest/rapist/murderer was handled was really silly still. When JK Rowling made everyone a scumbag in The Casual Vacancy it was because she was making some very serious points about poverty and depravation, that she actively seeks to stop with the charity work she does and wanted people to stop closing their eyes to it. At best the depravity here is just a backlash response to the overly light consequenceless worlds we traditionally got in fantasy. They didn't have anything serious to say about rape or murder or unfaithful parenting which is why the game just walks away instead of looking at the consequences and dealing with them.
comment #17944 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
The general nastiness of the people you encounter, aside from reinforcing The Dung Ages feel of the setting, is supposed to feed into the overarching theme of the Witcher Order's ardent adherence to staying neutral in the conflicts of people. Their job is slaying monsters, where the morality of it is clear. The same can never be said for meddling in the conflicts of people. That is Geralt's main struggle in the game, trying to stay neutral while the world keeps trying to pull him into it's conflicts, political and otherwise.

That being said, a second theme puts a spin on the first. While staying neutral in political matters seems to be the least morally suspect way to go in this world, being a monster slayer on principle is put into question several times with vampires and werewolves, who are partly human. The conclusion that the writers seem to be pushing is that sometimes monsters are the one's who are more human. Hence this exchange:

Abigail: "I hear Witchers carry two swords, one for humans and one for monsters."

Geralt: "Both are for monsters."
comment #17945 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
Humans Are The Real Monsters?! Okay the politics stuff doesn't sound bad, I'm just not sure if it would really pay off the stuff it brought up, like it doesn't quite understand the seriousness of the stuff it's talking about (because lets be honest, it's pretty clear the devs don't know anything about most of the darker stuff they talk about or they wouldn't feel so comfortable making a joke (?) about wife beating). It sounds like a good theme but not a rapist-bitch-whore-abuser weight theme and the way they use that stuff just feels really juvenile

comment #17947 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
Okay I've been trying to figure out why I wouldn't consider something like A Song Of Ice And Fire immature whereas this is. Neither of them are ever going to aspire to the heights of something like Loved or even The Casual Vacancy, so they're always going to be a little indulgent but the former is interesting whereas the 'mature' aspects that I'd seen so far weren't. And I'd say the difference is that generally the mature aspects of A Game Of Thrones type stuff have a lot of weight in the plot and feel like they've been selected very deliberately. Incest and all the nastiness has a heavy effect on the personality of each person and drives the complex web of relationships and more importantly has fairly dire consequences. When someone does something horribly cruel to someone, there is normally something that will get explored along with that. We see the trauma of the victim and it shakes up politics or we're left with a strong desire to see the perpetrator get punished, which will be resolved somehow, although maybe not to our satisfaction. In that case its making a strong point with the unfavourable resolution.

Now the sex minigame as you've said is perfectly superfluous. It's story impact is: tits. And it doesn't even acknowledge the nastiness of some of it's acts. It's also very unrealistic and doesn't bare any resemblance to the real subject.

The NPC dialogue is also completely unimpactful and also incredibly unrealistic. It talks very casually of it's matters and they swear a lot and talk of unpleasant incidents a lot, of which the entire motivation it to impress on us that this is a mature game.

And finally the relevations at the end of the first chapter are also just left at the gate. You get told bad incidents occur and then you just move on. They're more mature than the first two because at least they're setting up an ongoing theme with a someone appropriate tone and they aren't quite so absurdly unrealistic as the first two occurences, although it's heavy handed to say the least. If everything had been like this, I wouldn't be praising the game and I'd probably describe it as inept, but it would be a 20-25 year olds attempt at being mature rather than a 15 years olds.

And the incident that actually got me to stop playing the game is basically unrelated to how mature or not the game is. It didn't make me feel the developers were trying to hard or something, just that they were oblivious to just how misogynistic and awful it was
comment #17948 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
Most of it is there to set the mood of the world and remind the player that these things happen in the parts you don't get to see, every day. They are the reality in the world you are exploring but they are not there to make a commentary on something. It's just ambient dialogue. I don't agree that writers shouldn't reference a topic just because they don't intend to fully explore it with all of it's implications, or that referencing it somehow makes it juvenile.
comment #17949 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
The way the random NP Cs talked was juvenile. And at best it set a tone where the serious incidents were meant to be funny which counteracts the theme, and the sex was the same in just how non-functioning it was. I haven#t heard anyone describe it in any light but as a kind of teenage fantasy.

The rest I kind of concede and kind of don't. Particularly with rape, it's a powerful enough incident that I think if you're not using it for a good reason, why use it? Luckily the Witcher probably only attracts a certain type of person, but the events that go on would be enough to possibly trigger a victim. Whenever you include that sort of thing in any work there is a serious chance that if the wrong person consumes it, it will bring back memories and emotions. So I feel it does need a strong reason to be included. But the Witchers tone is consistent enough at least that I imagine most people in that position would know to avoid it before it comes up, so it's less valid in this case at least.
comment #17950 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
The "way" they talk was probably like uneducated country hicks, who could make anything sound juvenile, so I can see how the point of it might get lost.

As for being directly offensive to rape victims, I must admit I have never considered that possibility and the devs probably didn't either but, as you noted, this game communicates the kind of things one should expect from it rather quickly.
comment #17951 McSomeguy 1st Feb 13
I don't think people aren't that open to strangers. You don't talk about you neighbour beating your wife, you don't mention how the local witch is a whore. People don't talk like that to their neighbours, they don't talk like it to their friends. Absolutely no-one in the history has ever said 'I couldn't sleep over the noise of my neighbor beating his wife last night' in an intonation that suggests that the even actually happens.

~~How are you feeling about the productivity of this conversation? The stuff you've been saying has been interesting, I've lightened up a bit on judging some of the non-optional bits of the main story and I'm a bit more open to the idea of the politics theme having some merit, but I don't know if I've really shifted my opinion on the bits surrounding it, although thanks to your help I've at least become a little bit clearer on what I think. And I'd guess that you still feel fairly sure in your own opinion in the same way. Agree to disagree? I don't want to spoil the enjoyment of someone who does like the game and in the same way there are plenty enough games for me to play without having to come back to the Witcher again. I might avoid CD Projekt as a developer a bit but I've got huge respect for them as a publisher still
comment #17952 TomWithNoNumbers 1st Feb 13
Well, I suppose my impression of that general time period where women had barely any rights fits with the portrayal of mentioning such things in casual conversation, but I understand that others may not share that impression.

As for this conversation, I previously hadn't thought much of that scene in the cave, mostly because I never took that option to see where it goes. And you're right, that scene is potentially morally deplorable, but it doesn't change my opinion of the rest of the game.
comment #17956 McSomeguy 2nd Feb 13
1. The line about wife beating is not supposed to be funny. It supposed to make you morally uncomfortable at first place, to show what kind of Crapsack World it is. In the short stories Geralt also notice and hear about even more disturbing things like that and it always pissed him off, but at the same time he knows that he was not created to solve this kind of problems, no matter how bad he feels about them. It also worth to mention that the thing you complained about (sharing personal informations with a complete stranger) happens in most RPG game when you can talk with bystanders, so it's just one of this genre traits. Also they're not always cynical and pessimistic. You can find also more optimistic and downright heartwarming lines (for example: a woman who condemn racists for their nonsensical prejudices against nonhumans).

Swearing also dosen't seem to be so over the top. Characters usually swear when they are angry or annoyed, which is justified. When people use it without any reasons, that usually means you shouldn't take their opinions seriously. It also let you learn more about stereotypical way of thinking among common people. There are some other justified examples, but it would pretty spoileriffic, so I end it here. 2. The scene with Abigail is actually much less disturbing in the context. After the sex scene it's quite clear that Geralt is willing to defend a woman in trouble. But during trial peasants show him some evidences that might indicate that she might reaaly be responsible for summoning beast and she was manipulating villagers. So when Geralt decided that she's guilty, it doesn't play like this: "Fine. Do with her whatever you like. I don't care." It's actually Heel Realization, when he actually combine all the facts he learn during this chapter and he realize that she was just trying to manipulate him. Of course, some players may do that just for sake of being dicks, but from Geralt personal point of view it's justified. If you're still not satisfied with this explanation, this choice has it's consequences in the future. Not to pleasant.

3. You realy judge this game themes on pretty shallow level, don't ya? Theme of this chapter wasn't "evil priest and some bad dudes want burn awitch". It's about a small, isolated society, how it focused around one person chosen as their leader and misinterpreted religion, which start creating it's own rules, it's own morality. If you follow the backstory (plague, post-war hunger and anarchy) you can easy understand how does it happened. I don't know why the fact that in the game there are some corrupted and psychotic characters make it less worthy. In Game of Thrones they also appear and it still considered by many one of the most mature fantasy works. The Witcher by the most parts is focused on Grey vs Grey morality and touch some really deep themes like all shades of revolution, non onesided racism, leadership based on charisma and symbol, "end justify the means" rule, what is the difference between man and monster and so on, and so on. It's never discuss any of this problems in onesided way. You just need to pay more attention. Really, this game gets better the more you play in it. And the final encounter is one of the greatest one ever written in any RPG game.

4. Geralt is not some "cool" action hero who communicates with oneliners. He was idealist who's Knight in Shining Armor where completely destroyed when he find out that he's not a hero of romantic novel and longer he lived, the more cynical he become. He's not using sarcasm to sounds cool, for him that's the only genuine reaction, because he's fully aware in how much broken world he live. He's not happy about this, but he was forced to accept the things the way they are. Of course, he still have some bits of his old idealism left, so when the time is right, he's usually willing to act right. Despite his amnesia, he never forgot his personal worldview and old habits.

5. Yes, the sex cards were such a bad idea that even CD Projekt Red is ashamed of it and admitted that it was really childish. For their credit, they still show you a difference between just a casual sex and actual love. For me it is one of the best heartwarming moments in video games history.

I agree it's not a perfect game (mostly on technical level), but it still has realy good and smart story, interesting characters, the way consequences of your choices where handled was quite revolutionary when the game came out and it's clear that developers put a lot of heart into it. And sequel is much better on almost every level.

So in my opinion you should play it again, finish it and judge it with full perspective.
comment #20260 Shavod 19th Jul 13
^ Bravo, sir!
comment #20267 Bobchillingworth 20th Jul 13
I'm always surprised by how invested people are in seeing other people play games. In a different review I was having an interesting conversation about how I really didn't like ME 3's extended cut and uninstalled it and despite him being pretty understanding about my point of view he still made a comment along the lines of 'I don#t think you should do that'

I can understand people saying my opinion is wrong or that I'd need to do X to gain a proper perspective on it, but I don't know why people care if I play a game or not. I mean there are an incredible amount of good games out there that I haven't played yet and more are made every year and there's no urgent shortage of interesting experiences to play through. I mean I really don't like that sex scene which I did explore fully in context and I've got a deep personal desire to avoid associating with it and it's not like the friggin' Witcher is going to change my life. It's not Actual Sunlight and I feel like I've got a better perspective into abusive relationships than the writers of the Witcher and I've certainly had much more meaningful and accurate experiences relating to that in my life. I don't really see what the Witcher would offer me on a reinstall that playing through New Vegas wouldn't do.

I'm not a very good communicator so what I mean is, I can see why you would disagree with me and think my impressions are wrong and you make good well written points, even if I still don't personally find them convincing, but I don't really see why it's important that I play through it completely. If my opinion of the game is wrong, you've done the job of explaining to readers why that's so and there are other opinions that they can look to.
comment #20284 TomWithNoNumbers 22nd Jul 13
I think it's not that The Witcher has anything particularly profound to teach you about life, and more that, your initial opinions having been ill-informed, you ought to consider playing the game again, because otherwise you're depriving yourself of a fun experience (plus wasting whatever money you invested in the purchase). Comma comma comma comma.
comment #20291 Bobchillingworth 23rd Jul 13
Your right I guess that was a bit more reasonable, I probably took a bit of umbrage at the 'You realy judge this game themes on pretty shallow level, don't ya?'

The thing is though, I really didn't like that first chapter to the extent that I removed the entire game from the computer and wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. I really didn't like the tone or situations, and even if my opinion were misinformed or incorrect, which is very reasonable for people to argue, thats never actually going to change my feeling about the game.

I mean have you ever read something that you ever watched a film that felt shallow and forced and horrible to you and then someone said 'Ah but you're not taking into account X,Y and Z' and then on rewatching you found that you didn't hate it but actually liked it? That's a pretty rare experience for a lot of people because films and games and books are experienced subconsciously, you're not analysing the film in a serious thoughtful way when watching it (and if you are it means that deliberately or not, you're not immersed in the film). The film/game/book has already failed you when it's unable to explain itself in a way to you when you're watching/playing/reading it without you absolutely loathing it. There's plenty of space for discussion afterwards to determine some sort of objective quality, or to assess the themes or deeper meaning and it's cool to do that.

But if I hated the Witcher when I played it on my own with my own senses, mind and impressions, I'm not going to enjoy it if I'm playing it with a window open to this comments page trying to keep in mind other people's ideas and impressions and emotional reactions, unless the piece is very intellectual and has a lot of deep fresh meaning behind it.
comment #20293 TomWithNoNumbers 23rd Jul 13
Um not only am I bad communicator, but there were a horrendous amount of errors I missed in those paragraphs so:

Being entertained by something (to me at least) is a subconscious immersive process, and all this stuff that I've wrote about afterwards is me trying to analyse my natural deep revulsion towards the Witcher and the feelings of shallowness and non-understanding. The intellectual discussion of whether that anaylsis is correct and those opinions deserved is interesting and useful, but it can't change that reaction to the game because this is all on a conscious level. The game already failed me personally when it wasn't able to speak to me and convey it's ideas in a way that I didn't feel trite and boring, whilst I was playing it
comment #20294 TomWithNoNumbers 23rd Jul 13
Hmm, that's actually not entirely correct. If someone gives you a strong enough idea that allows your mind to wholly reinterpret something, I guess that might change your opinion on a rewatching, but I don't think anything anyone has suggested has been a paradigm shift, but thats got to be on a level that you were already watching it. Lets assume that I didn't notice the small community thing and dismiss it as dull and standard as the individual components and didn't include it in the 400 word review because I felt like it added nothing into the game, but also wasn't quite so repetitive as the individual components.

Even in that case '3. You realy judge this game themes on pretty shallow level, don't ya?' I still can't enjoy it on a replay because my mind would be reading themes at a shallow level. The comments don't unlock in me an ability to experience games in a way that I don't normally experience games. The way I read and process themes in a game is still unchanged and I wouldn't get to experience the deeper themes for myself, because then yeah, I would judge games on a shallow level. If they were particularly powerful themes and complex themes, even if I couldn't process them they still might be interesting to see, but I don't think the Witcher reaches those levels.
comment #20295 TomWithNoNumbers 23rd Jul 13
I wouldn't stress much about the phrasing, I understand what you mean. If gameplay was the main issue I could tell you that The Witcher improves immensely after the first chapter, but the fact is the tone and situations will only get "worse". The Witcher series has a fair amount of humor, but it's set in an unapologeticly brutal world, and it's full of awful people doing terrible things and often not getting punished for it. When CD Projekt Red says it's a game with "mature themes", they aren't mainly referring to the much-derided sex cards. Misogyny, abuse, class oppression, drug addiction, racism and even genocide are major parts of the storyline and played dead seriously. There's no shame or anything inherently wrong about wanting to avoid delving into such topics when looking for a source of entertainment. But at the same time, the fact that a work embraces controversial and/or uncomfortable realities should not by itself automatically preclude for others.
comment #20301 Bobchillingworth 24th Jul 13
Should have put the "Didn't get past chapter 2" as first line, since that alone already explains why this review is utterly useless for anyone not already familiar with the game.
comment #26091 guy1 8th Sep 14
I am sincerely sorry for the 250 words I made you read before I said that :P

I don't expect anyone to ever make a purchasing choice off something I said either. Everyone should always read a wide range of opinions and perspectives on something if they really want to understand how people feed the game and my 21 month old opinion on the things that happened before chapter 2 was just one particular, very small, point of view
comment #26095 TomWithNoNumbers 8th Sep 14
The Collectible Cards game was kinda tasteless and superfluous, I'll give you that. However, one very important thing about the Witcher games is that consequences do not become immediately apparent, e.g. a choice from the prolog has consquences in the middle of chapter 1, etc. Also, this was a game made by a budding studio. They listen to their fanbase and act accordingly, thus smothed out many flaws for the second game, e.g. the collectible cards game.

I think it is a little unfair to focus on the worst aspect of a game and then call the whole game out on that. The Witcher IS a mature role playing game, but due to First Installment Weirdness not on every topic.

I do not call your decision in question, mind you. Just pointing out that this game is more than those negative bits. I for one can overlook them/view the situation differently.
comment #28510 wormwoodvonriva 24th Mar 15
Well, the 400-word limit does force a reviewer to make these kinds of compromises. I've practically stopped making reviews on here because you're essentially forced to marginalise some aspects of the work due to the limit, and no-one really seems to read these reviews unless they happen to be really controversial (like the one above) or contain off-topic controversial statements (i.e. the mini-flamewar about My Little Pony on a review about Sinfest.)
comment #28511 NTC3 25th Mar 15

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