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Witcher: Initial Thoughts, the Bad

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  • Witcher: Initial Thoughts, the Bad

    I've played Witcher for a few hours and although overall I like the game there are a number of things that keep me from loving it--so far anyway. Maybe my opinion will change after I've spent more time on it. For now I will discuss what I dislike about the game. In a followup post I will discuss what I enjoy about the game.

    It all started off when I made the mistake of looking over the readme file and noticed that it had a performance tips section which said: "The following video cards should be run at 1024x768 with high-detail settings...nVidia 8800GTX." An nVidia 8800GTX? My video card. One of the fastest video cards on the planet running on a 3GHz Quad-core computer with 4GB of RAM. It needs to run at 1024x768? I'm not even sure my 24" monitor will display 1024x768. I promptly ignored that bit of advice. If I can run Crysis at 1920x1200 I will certainly be able to run Witcher at the same resolution.

    After installing it I spent 10 minutes trying to configure the controls. First, I attempted to determine why I couldn't map forward to the right-mouse button. Then I spent a good amount of time looking for the jump key. Oh, wait. There isn't a jump key. WTF? No jump key? I haven't played a game that required you to only glide along the floor since Doom. While I've gotten used to and even enjoy the key mappings--WASDZ for movement and mouse for camera control--the inability to jump is driving me crazy. Maybe if they implemented hit-box testing differently it wouldn't be nearly as annoying, but as it is you can be running along and come to an abrupt halt by a stick of wood. Or attempting to turn right or left off of a flight of stairs only to become stuck until you realize that you can't take that 6" step off the first stair, you have to be all the way on the ground before turning. Things like that really detract from my enjoyment of the game.

    The graphics are not very good. I'll admit, this may simply be my perception since I played a lot of Oblivion and more recently Crysis. So, my expectations for graphical quality are pretty high these days. But even taking that into consideration, you would think that with every graphical option turned as high as possible that large monsters such as the Freightner would not have so many polygon angles. And can the graphical engine designers not make sure that Triss's hair doesn't poke through the front of her neck? Or that I can't walk through the giant leg of a monster?

    Load times are abysmal. Someone mentioned in another thread that they have been significantly improved in 1.2 and 1.3. If that is the case, I can't even imagine how bad they were, because they are currently the suck. Even on my uber fast Raptor drive. The first time an area loaded I thought it was caching something and wouldn't be as bad in subsequent loads. Alas, that was not the case. In the larger scheme of things it doesn't bother me that much, but note to Atari: you need a new caching management engineer.

    I don't want the take away from this post to be that the game is terrible. It isn't. Aside from my critiques I am enjoying the game. I'm just surprised that these issues even exist in a game designed in the last year. Particularly the graphics. If there is anything that is avoidable these days it's mediocre graphics. There are plenty of top notch 3d game engines out there available for purchase. It seems silly that a company would use one that is lacking.

    Enough for now. I'll play some more and give some more thoughts later.
    Last edited by Twisted_Firestarter; 04-16-2008, 12:01 PM.
    Twisted Firestarter
    a.k.a |TG| Harkonian



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