The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut
Now you can experience this fantastic RPG on Mac and PC!
User reviews:
Very Positive (739 reviews) - 84% of the 739 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (15,099 reviews) - 85% of the 15,099 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 16, 2008

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About This Game


Become The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, a legendary monster slayer caught in a web of intrigue woven by forces vying for control of the world. Make difficult decisions and live with the consequences in an game that will immerse you in an extraordinary tale like no other. Representing the pinnacle of storytelling in role-playing games, The Witcher shatters the line between good and evil in a world where moral ambiguity reigns. The Witcher emphasizes story and character development in a vibrant world while incorporating tactically-deep real-time combat like no game before it.


The RPG of the Year (PC Gamer, GameSpy, IGN) is back in a Premium Edition packed with powerful extras!
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition takes all of the acclaimed gameplay that garnered the original game more than 90 awards, and perfects it with a number of gameplay and technical improvements.

  • Superior dialogue and cutscenes - The developers have re-recorded and rewritten more than 5000 lines of dialogue in English and redone the entire German edition to create more a more consistent experience, while adding more than 200 gesture animations to make characters behave more believably in dialogue and cutscenes.
  • Enhanced inventory - The new inventory system makes item use and organization less complicated by introducing a separate sack for any alchemical ingredients, as well as a simple sort-and-stack function.
  • Technical improvements - The enhancements made to the technical side of the game are too numerous to list, but a few of the highlights include greatly reduced loading times, greater stability, improved combat responsiveness, faster inventory loading, the option to turn autosave on or off, and more.
  • Character differentiation system - To add more variety to NPC and monster appearances, we've added a new character differentiation system that randomizes the appearance and colors of dozens of in-game models.
  • In your download you'll also get: Interactive Comic Book, D'jinni Adventure Editor, Two new adventures offering 5+ hours of gameplay, Official Soundtrack, Music Inspired by The Witcher album, Making-of videos, Official Game Guide, Two Maps of The Witcher's world
Key features:
  • Geralt of Rivia: a one-of-a-kind protagonist
    • A charismatic and unique character, Geralt is a mutant swordmaster and professional monster slayer.
    • Choose from over 250 special abilities correlated to attributes, combat skills and magical powers to build the character in a way best suited to tactical needs and style of play.
  • Original fantasy world drawn from literature
    • Inspired by the writings of renowned Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
    • Featuring adult themes, less fairy-tale than typical fantasy, with mature social issues like racism, political intrigue and genocide.
    • It is a harsh world where nothing is black or white, right or wrong, often forcing players to choose between the lesser of two evils to advance.
  • Non-linear and captivating storyline
    • Full of turns, twists and ambiguous moral decisions which have real impact on the storyline.
    • All quests can be accomplished in several ways and the game has three different endings depending on the player's actions and choices throughout the adventure.
  • Stunning tactical action
    • Engage in complex yet intuitive real-time combat based on real medieval sword-fighting techniques.
    • Motion capture performed by medieval fighting experts at Frankfurt's renowned Metric Minds studio, resulting in 600 spectacular and authentic in-game combat animations.
    • Six combat styles, dozens of potions, complex alchemy system, modifiable weapons and powerful magic add tactical depth to the fluid real-time experience.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • Supported OS: Microsoft® Windows® /XP/Vista
    • DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (included) or higher
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or Athlon 64 +2800 (Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 +3000 recommended). Athlon XP series, such as the Athlon XP +2400, is not supported
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or ATI Radeon 9800 or better (NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX or ATI Radeon X1950 XT or better recommended)
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM (2 GB RAM recommended)
    • Sound: DirectX version 9.0c-compatible sound card
    • Hard Drive: 15 GB Free
    • OS: OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5
    • Memory: 4 GB of RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GT 650m (1440x900), AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1440x900) or Intel HD 5000 (1366x768)
    • Hard Drive: 14.25 GB free space

      Display compatibility notice: 1440x900 resolution is the recommended resolution for best performance. It is not recommended to use native Retina resolutions.
    • OS: OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 or Core i7
    • Memory: 4GB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GT 650m (1440x900), AMD Radeon HD 6970M (1920x1080) or Intel Iris Pro 5200 (1440x900)
    • Hard Drive: 14.25 GB free space

      Display compatibility notice: 1440x900 resolution is the recommended resolution for best performance. It is not recommended to use native Retina resolutions.
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (739 reviews)
Very Positive (15,099 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 36.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
+ just like in real life, when you hook up with a woman in the Witcher you get their sexy pinup trading card.
+ thaler is pretty cool. he kinda feels like arkham city's penguin but likeable.
+ you can be bros with a werewolf and it pays off later

- triss feels like a different character in this game than in the sequels (think shaundi between saints' row 2 and 3.)
- zoltan looks like a what happens when you give a glass-eyed doll the gift of life. dandelion isn't as terrifying to look at.
-after the first act you don't get to hang out with your wolf school bros
- kalkstein
+/- combat is like a crpg where geralt auto attacks, but you can switch stances for different combat effects. i prefer the later games' more actiony approach to combat, but it's not too hard to understand how to fight everything here.

if you're playing the Witcher 3 and want to know where Thaler and Shani came from, then give this game a try.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 31.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
I played witcher 2. i played witcher 3.
but witcher 1 has some feeling, i love it. the story, i remember that i was scared but, scared like a child from a ghost story. that feeling gave me this game, and that feeling is not in witcher 2. for this feeling, and for the story i recommend this.
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( 3.8 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
night mare to play hard to control could of been a good game
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Geralt of Rivia
( 39.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
This is the game that started the sensation. I am a huge fan of all things Witcher and this game is an amazing first entry by CD Projekt Red. While the games controls and combat are a bit wonky the story and atmosphere make this came a perfect starting point in the White Wolfs adventure. I read the novels and this came follows the lore very well. The games graphics are dated but the story more than makes up for it. Please, if your a Witcher fan then this is a must play.

Can't beat this game. The sequels are even better!
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Kardi Dextroyer
( 53.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 22
although the first impression of the gameplay is boring, but with the good story, i finished this game. i want finish all withcer trilogy
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( 2.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 21
I really wanted to like this game. The reviews are excellent and its sequels were some of the most anticipated. So, I hoped the pedigree would extend this far back into the line.

The combat system is one of the worst I've ever used. The protagonist is not even a little bit likeable. The story is assembled from bad tropes, the dialogue is even worse. And that's before we get into the pretty blatant sexism that pervades the game. I could put up with one or two of these issues, but the combination of all of them makes it very clear that I am not the intended audience for this game.
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( 4.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 21
Sometimes age is a problem and sometimes it isn’t. Unfortunately The Witcher suffers from a case of simply being out of date, while not being particularly timeless.
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( 23.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 21
too good
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[Gavin] nerdsley
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 20
Game was simply too clunky and mechanics not fun for me to continue. Storyline is engaging and sets up the world well, but I could not get past the poor gameplay. Watch a video on its storyline and you'll be set for the next two games.
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White Eyes32
( 47.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 20
Alright, I have to start this review off by saying that this game is by no means TERRIBLE, and if you enjoy it I can understand why. Me personally? I feel the other two games in the series are superior in every regard.

This one? Well, the studio was brand new and for their first major release, it's pretty damn impressive. The issue is, a lot of the inexperience really shows. Translation errors, wonky animations, and bugs are rather commonplace. It's a shame, because I really wanted to get into this game. However, the game is executed in such a way that the story makes little sense and the characters seem kind of bland. Mix that with an awful combat system and some poorly voiced characters, and this game kind of becomes a chore to complete. However, I did occassionally find myself having fun, and some of the environments are amazing for their time.

Long story short, buy it when it's on sale and see for yourself. If you like it, great! If not, well the sequels are still absolutely amazing games.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
71 of 80 people (89%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
37.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Yeah, it looks like ♥♥♥♥.

Yeah, it has one of the worst combat systems i've personally seen for an RPG.

Yeah, you'll have to go through the swamp and want to die the entire time.

You know what this game has though? Something that is a little harder to find in the more recent games that are being put out?


The Witcher has some of the best feelings I have experienced in a game. You aren't playing Geralt of Rivia, you ARE Geralt of Rivia. You become attached to those faces that look like they were made by a 10 year old, your heart thumps in your chest when you hunt the cockatrice that has been rampaging through the sewers, not knowing if you'll survive the encounter. Your choices matter, and you know that a happy ending is nearly impossible. Those elves had to die to bring stability to this area, unless you want to side with them and run out the villagers. Maybe you don't want to help anyone, you don't have to. The Witcher follows a neutral path, it is against their nature to commit to sides, yet this won't make them many friends.

Despite the flaws of this game, you won't care by the end of it. You will become a force to be reckoned with, a monster hunter that will live and perhaps die by his choices. You will become a Witcher.
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27 of 29 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
63.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Great story and characters, clunky interface and controls, but still well worth the money
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
37.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
This was the first game of the trilogy that I’ve played and I must shamefully admit that when I opened it for the first time, I did it with the idea of getting over it as quickly as possible in order to advance to the newer titles. By the time the prologue ended, I had realised how wrong I was. The story hooked me from the beginning: I found myself actually interested in the lore and happenings of the world, I really wanted to know more about witchers and especially about Geralt.

The plot of the game is its strongest point: it has several turning points and twists. Not only that, but also you feel that your choices actually have relevant impact. And perhaps the most particular and captivating feature is why people praise the trilogy so much: there is no right or wrong. Unlike other RPGs, here you have to make actual decisions whose consequences you can’t exactly predict and every choice is supported by legitimate arguments. Besides, even the NPCs behave unpredictably: the ones I thought would be potential enemies ended up being allies and vice versa. All that uncertainty makes the game feel more realistic in terms of characters and personalities.

Unfortunately, the one thing about this game that I have to criticize is the fighting system. It felt unresponsive at times; dodging attacks isn’t intuitive and enemies chaining stuns made some battles quite frustrating. I really didn’t mind most of those negative features until I got further into the game and, logically, the difficulty increased. Other than that, there are a few other things that, in my opinion, could be improved, like variety of NPC models or voice acting, but neither of them made the gameplay worse, so that’s fine. However, I never quite understood the reason of the ‘romance’ cards; they added nothing to the game but a sexist connotation.

Finally, to my surprise, I ended up being fond of Geralt as a character. He is more than just a badass monster slayer –as I first thought- and I could actually feel how he struggles to find his place in the world, to be loyal to the witcher’s code and to recover his memory. No doubt I will see him develop into a deeper character in the following titles of the trilogy and I’m eager to experience that.

To sum it up, this is a very enjoyable mature RPG with a compelling story and solid characters; a firm establishment of a trilogy that promises to not disappoint.
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
41.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 5
Note: At the time of this review I have yet to play The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition is a 3rd person medieval RPG set in the fictional land of Temeria. Despite being tragically held back on a technical level, The Witcher offers some of the best story telling I've ever seen within the gaming medium. To provide an in-depth analysis on The Witcher, I will be going over its presentation/performance, gameplay/mechanics, as well as its narrative, and then conclude with my final thoughts.

The presentation of The Witcher is... tolerable. The graphics are a product of their time, but even in 2008 they weren't particularly impressive. As far as visuals go the two things The Witcher really has going for itself are the variety in its several environments, as well as the nicely designed sky boxes. Other than this the textures, lighting, modeling, etc. are, as I said, just enough to get by without you wanting to put your eyes out. The one thing that really isn't passable graphically is that there is no V-Sync option, which is bad for me because I can't stand screen tearing. To fix this I had to resort to using a 3rd party program by the name of D3DOverrider, but I digress. Moving on to the voice acting, I'd say it's a really mixed bag. The actually sound of the voice is great, but the delivery is often very flat, and not always sensibly structured. This is something I'll bring up again when I discuss the narrative, but for now let's focus on the performance. As is the theme of The Witcher's technical backbone, the performance is utterly mediocre. The engine itself doesn't really seem to be able to handle CD Projekt Red's vision for The Witcher, thus resulting in the more pretty environments and some of the more intensive sequences dropping you FPS down to the 30's and 40's, but 60+ FPS is usually the norm. I also experienced the rare crash, maybe 5-6 of them throughout The Witcher's 40ish hour runtime. All in all, the presentation and performance of The Witcher is very average, and not at all a driving factor of the game.

In The Witcher, the majority of what you'll do is two things, questing and fighting. The questing is usually a great experience, nearly all of the quests are very interesting and rewarding, whether they are main or side quests. The quests also repeatedly offer role-playing choices for you to reflect upon, resulting in some great predicaments you must deal with. As far as the combat goes- and I'm sure you've heard this before- It's almost entirely awful. With the combat system you choose one of two swords (steel for humans, silver for monsters), and then one of three combat styles (strong, fast, or group stance) for any given battle, and then... click on your enemy, and then click again when the game shows a flaming sword prompt. It's overly complex and not fun in any sense of the word, and after just a couple hours 99% of the fights feel like a chore. Extremely rarely does it ever come together well, and in the end it's something you're just going to have to accept and deal with as you play the game. There are also “signs”, which are essentially magic combat spells, but you only get five different spells and only one of them is actually useful so I won’t explain them any further. The combat is not all that challenging as you have very little control other than choosing your battle stance and then clicking away, but there is one good aspect of combat; potions. You can craft and brew potions to use at strategic moments in battle, and the management/acquisition of these potions gives a nice DIY vibe, which is cool because most modern games hold your hand through everything. You can also make oils for your swords and bombs for your enemies’ faces, but I never did this because I didn't invest in the right skill trees to allow me to craft them (potion crafting is a given ability). Speaking of the leveling system, it's another thing (like the combat) that is convoluted and unintuitive. The perks you choose from are usually effective, but are just stat raisers and thus don't really change up the gameplay too much. Other than what I’ve described so far there are also a host of things to do within the UI, whether it's reading books, examining beasts in your bestiary, reading glossary entries on characters and places, etc.; all in the interest of building up a strong lore for the epic story. Everything I've said so far about The Witcher, whether gameplay or presentation, has been quite mixed, but that won't be true for the narrative.

This is the sole reason you should consider playing The Witcher: Enhanced Edition. The narrative is so unimaginably good, it holds up all of the games many, many faults; and then impresses further. As I said in the introduction, some of the best writing in any video game to date can be found in almost every aspect of The Witcher, from its main story to its side quests, from its characters to its lore. But that's enough gushing about the incredible writing of The Witcher, allow me to lay out a spoiler free plot explanation. You are Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher. A Witcher is a genetically modified human, who became so through the use of mutagens. This gives Witchers many superhero-like abilities, from being able to drink useful potions in doses that would kill the average man, to cat-like reflexes that allows a Witcher to take on a dozen enemies at once, be they beast or man. You'd think this would make them revered among society, but you couldn't be any further from the truth. Witchers are social outcasts that common people want nothing to do with, and they only tolerate them because their skills are often needed in this dark and brutal world, as a necessary evil in their eyes. Continuing on to the characters, they are also splendidly written, as almost everyone in the story is both morally grey and morally complex, just like the real world. Very rarely is anyone you find truly good or truly evil. Another great product that the writing produces is the story of the game world- it makes you feel like you aren't necessarily the main character; that this is an established place that would continue on whether you were there or not. Don't get me wrong, you are the badass of the story and a huge plot pusher, but the atmosphere is one of indifference to your existence, (once again) just like the real world. All of these elements come together spectacularly in a near flawless narrative experience with great pacing and a grand ending, including many well deserved pay-offs. The sole weakness of the story is its delivery, as mentioned in the presentation's wall of text. Much of the story is told through flat dialogue and wonky scripted sequences, which require you to use some imagination to be able to grasp the significance of it all. Then again, this is an RPG so you should be able to handle that. All considered, the narrative is the driving factor of The Witcher, and it does its job so amazingly well it formed this game into an instant classic.

Final Thoughts
The Witcher is a very flawed game, there is no denying that. It does nothing exceptionally well when looking at every aspect of the game, unless you are talking about its story. That's why I am immeasurably excited to play The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and then The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, because as far as I can tell these issues were heavily reworked in the continuations of the series. The Witcher will indoctrinate you into a wonderful story should you elect to forgo its many errors in game design, which I can whole heartedly say I believe will be worth it as I continue on with the franchise. Regrettable technical deficiencies but a spectacular narrative that outshines all else is what you will find within The Witcher.

Personal Rating: 8/10
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
61.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
Witcher 1 really isn't a game you can immediately fall in love with. I guarantee you will not only dislike, but absolutley hate this game at the beginning. You will hate it for the dumb and boring combat, you will hate it for the lack of character models, you will hate it for feeling like a game that should be so much more open. But then you start playing more, you starting reading books, learning the lore, brewing new potions, and finding each and every way to kill everyone and everything as fast as possible. The game doesn't allow you to play in the style you want, but instead makes you learn throuh hard work the way it is meant to be played. And when it finally all clicks together near the end might be one the most rewarding things I've ever experienced in a game. If you have this game in your library, give it a chance it might suprise you by just how good it is.
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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
33.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 15

The Witcher 1 has an awesome storyline and many interesting characters, the choices you make really affect the game and how it plays out as well as how certain characters treat you. Alchemy is a big part of the game and you have to make potions in order to survive most of the quests which is a part I like as it has a kind of DIY feel. There are a vast array of enemies both monster and human alike, quests are plentiful and most of them are rich with stories of their own whether it be main quests or side.


The game does not run very well and struggles to keep up during intense fights where many AI are present or in areas where there are many people and building (parts of the trade quarter in Vizima). There are a lack of character models in the game and many people you meet will look identical or very similar to someone else you have met previously (this does not include most characters in the main quests). The combat system in The Witcher is below average and is little more than waiting to click at the right time and using signs (which you will see are mostly useless).


I recommend picking up this game if you are into fantasy themed RPG's set in an open world where your decisions affect the storyline. I got this game to play through so I would know fully what is going in the next two games that I have already purchased. Get this game if you want to fully experience the Witcher trilogy and become engrossed in a truly magnificent story.
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
22.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Still a good looking game despite its age. The additions of "enhanced" and "directors cut" solve all the problems of the early release whilst improving many aspects of the game. I remember when it first came out there were floods of complaints about very slow loading screens and there are no such issues now. The game itself is a perfect example of an rpg with heavy action elements. The storyline is as absorbing as it ever was and the characters are memorable. Despite the rave reviews of W2 I, personally, feel this original was superior. The Witcher feels far less of an on-rails series of action segments linking cutscenes than does The Assassin of Kings which, to me, felt more like a console rpg with its set progression and boss fights. Regardless of what you think of any of the 3 games there is something to be said for the increased immersion that can be had from playing them in their original order and that is why I am revisiting this aging classic and its sequel before doing much with the gorgeous looking Wild Hunt. I think those going back to this will be surprised and delighted at how well it has weathered and that there is no better place to start for those new to the now legendary series.

*edit* I also remember that there was some outcry over the "sex cards" at the time of release. Compare this to the abject voyeurism in sections of W3 and it will make you realise how times have changed. As far as I'm concerned if a game has an age rating you may as well make good use of it; and in no small way The Witcher contributed to paving the way to the many adult orientated games we see today.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
31.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 15
Had Moral Dilemmas: Wing
The Witcher, this is the first part of the famous Trilogy made by Polish Studio CD Projekt RED, they were making Witcher Series, every four years (Witcher - 2007 ; Witcher 2 - 2011 ; Witcher 3 - 2015). This game is in my opinion definitely better than The Witcher 2 but, it won't beat Witcher 3, as for game from 2007, it's clean masterpiece.
To feel the story, you must play it. Description says true "There is no Good or Evil, only your choices and their consequences". Every character is unique, but here's a tip from me, don't trust anyone fully. Let's show here few of them [BEWARE OF SPOILERS]:
  • Triss Merigold - Sorceress, red-haired, cute but dangerous, she will help us even when she won't like us
  • Shani - Also red-haired, greatest medic in Vizima, had a crush on Geralt
  • Alvin - Child, powerful, in his veins flows Elven Elder Blood, decision in mid-game = Give him to Shani or Triss, beware that one of them will be hating you, depends to which girl you'll deliver the child
  • Siegfried - Knight from the Order of the Flaming Rose, depends on which side we'll hold, Order or Scoia'tael, if Order - he'll help us to the end, if Scoia'tael, he'll want to kill us
  • King of the Wild Hunt - (Who told there will be only Good characters?) - Unseen follows Geralt until the end, where we have a choice to fight with him
  • Jacob the Aldersberg, Great Master of Order of the Flaming Rose - He do not shows himself until end of the game, but from there, he is our enemy and main target to the end of the game
  • Azar Javed - Main Enemy until the near end, powerful Zerrikan mage, destroys Kaer Morhen, Witcher's home
  • Berengar - Witcher, we look for him about 60% of the game, he becomes our friend, he dies on fight with Azar but we are avenging him shortly after
  • Vesemir, Eskel, Leo (dead in prologue), Lambert - Witchers, we see them only in prologue but we can identify with them in that short period of time
Let's talk here about few organisations in the game:
  • Salamandra - main antagonist organisation, main chiefs are Azar Javed and Jacob de Aldersberg, they attack Kaer Morhen from Berengar information and steal Witchers Secrets, Geralt hunts them all game until all Secrets are safe.
  • Order of the Flaming Rose - fanatics, Jacob de Aldersberg is the Great Master, one of 2 sides we can stand with in the game
  • Scoia'tael - Elven rebels, killing humans to retrieve freedom, one of 2 sides we can stand with in the game
There are much more organisations in the game, but these are the most important
Let's talk shortly about Combat System it's simple but satysfying - clicking mouse and respectively Z,X and C to change styles.
Gameplay - 10/10 - Masterpiece, one of those RPG games where you really want to know more
Audio - 9/10 - From simple ambients to combat music, it's climatic and awesome
Graphics - 7/10 - It's from 2007, but with few graphic mods it can be satysfying, but if you want to fully experience The Witcher, just play without them
Story - 11/10 - Just too good
Characters - 8/10 - Every one is unique, every one can either hate or like Geralt
Difficulty (On normal) - Combat 6/10 - Simple and satysfying / Side-quests - 7/10 - There are hard quests, and easy quests, no grinding ;)

OVERALL - 9/10
- It's piece of solid, good RPG, beginning of beautiful Trilogy based on Andrzej Sapkowski books, length is really good - It took me 32 hours to beat the game with doing every side quest I could, I completed the game with 38 lvl, pretty high as for that game, if you are doing side-quests, you shouldn't have any problems with Main Story
If you are a fan of Witcher and didn't played that part or you look for part of solid RPG, just buy it, don't even think, just buy. You're still not convinced? Geralt had sex with 7 different girls during his journey, alright?
Greetings, Wing
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
27.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 15
I got this as a part a steam sale bundle and it exceeded my expectations, especially for being the first in the series. This RPG has a great feel to it and it feels like the choices you make have an impact on the game. The controls take a little to get used to.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
181.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 20
First, the bad:
This game is fairly old (came out in 2007 on a then-five-year-old engine), still somewhat buggy, and the graphics, while decent on my Mac, are still not great. The voice acting in the English (US) version is inconsistent at best, and a lot of the dialogue comes off as lackluster too. The sex cards.... I'm glad they were optional, for the most part, but it's possible to trigger some of them without the dialogue choices making clear that that's where you're headed. I get that Geralt is supposed to be a ladies' man, but that doesn't mean he would necessarily be okay with women throwing themselves at him. The romance part of the plot came off feeling very contrived, although perhaps it would have felt less so had I read the books that inspired this game series. And then there's the fact that you're limited to playing a single, specific character from a book series, who despite his amnesia still seems to have his basic personality intact. For me as an RPG player, this was actually the main reason I hesitated to try this game.

The good?
What I initially feared would be the game's biggest limitation for me - being forced to play a character with a preset (if largely forgotten by him) backstory and personality - actually turned out to be one of its biggest strengths. Instead of just playing as Geralt of Rivia, I began to see the game's world through his eyes. And for someone like me (daughter of a medieval/early Renaissance scholar, longstanding interest in Celtic and Norse/Teutonic mythology)... what a world! I loved the extent to which the game draws on the various cultures, beliefs, problems and conflicts that existed in Europe, and particularly in northeastern Europe, during our Middle Ages. Geralt of Rivia is a man who does not remember his own past, who is an outcast and a mutant, trying to figure out what his role is in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. By limiting me to playing from his point of view, the game thrust me full tilt into its world, and I quickly fell into the trap of becoming emotionally involved. (Minor spoiler alert: If this happens to you, you may very well end up feeling like you got sucker punched in the gut at least once per chapter.) The decisions you make can have far-reaching consequences, and just like in real life, what seemed like a good idea at the time may turn out in retrospect to be the worst of all possible choices you could have made.
I likewise grew to appreciate the combat system. I know that for some people it ends up feeling clunky (I've seen it described as "rock-paper-scissors" in at least one other review), but I like the concept of using different styles for different types and numbers of enemies. And I loved the lore element of making most monsters resistant to steel and susceptible to silver. I also enjoyed the alchemy system, although by the end of the game I had way more potions, oils and bombs than I needed, and I did have to do a lot of running around to gather necessary ingredients.

The so-so:
There are a certain number of MMO-style fetch quests in this game. I personally don't mind fetch quests, because they're useful experience, (mostly) easy money, and I'm the kind of player who likes to explore as much of a map as the game will let me before moving on. However, the inventory system is somewhat clunky even with modding, and finding ways to store excess items requires a lot of running back and forth, so this merits a caveat.
A bigger caveat, though, is the way this game handles gender and racial politics. I will say that, from my personal perspective and given that the game appears to be set during the equivalent of our Middle Ages, that although many of the gender and racial stereotypes shown in this game may be offensive to us in the 21st century, they are also (unfortunately) based on how women and minorities were often viewed in medieval Europe. This was a time when women were typically viewed as the property of their nearest male relative and when anyone who didn't fit in, for whatever reason, was treated with extreme suspicion if not outright hostility. I, personally, feel that - for the most part - the way this game handles such things adds to the sense of authenticity it provides. HOWEVER, having said that, I still take issue with some of the game's dialogue that relates to relationships between men and women. I won't go into details, because main plot quests are involved, but chapter 3 is particularly bad in this regard. The gender politics do seem to get marginally better towards the end of the game, with women taking up leadership positions in various factions and courts, so at least there's that to be said for it. And the game does feature some very strong female NPCs with minds of their own and agendas which can differ markedly from Geralt's, so it does have that going for it, at least.

Whether or not the racial politics improve depends mostly on choices you as Geralt made throughout the game, so it will vary from playthrough to playthrough. I just finished my first (neutral) playthrough, and I ended up with a stronger sense of who the leaders of the "human" faction were as people than I did of who the leaders of the "nonhuman" faction were as people, although I suppose that that makes some sense given the plot.

In summary:
This is an older game, with noticeable flaws in its design and execution. It is also set in a sort of fantasy version of our Middle Ages, with associated gender and ethnic stereotypes of the sort that, quite frankly, can be disturbing from a 21st-century perspective. However, it also features a world steeped in the lore of our own, a flawed protagonist who struggles with questions of identity, purpose and loyalty, and a rich cast of supporting characters with their own distinct agendas. It's definitely not a game for everyone, and its shortcomings are significant enough for me that I can only give it a 7.5 out of 10, but I honestly didn't expect to find it as enjoyable as I have, and overall I'm glad I bought it.
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