I won't deny that this has taken longer than I had first hoped it would. I knew it would take me longer than most, due to my ill-health, but I think my health and some life events have had a bigger impact than even I thought it would have. I think now of those parts that still need doing, and reckon (when I was in better health), that they would probably only take me a few weeks. Instead, they will take me a few more months yet - such is the impact of my health.
GAMEPLAY (The Witcher Review)
On a side note, I finally finished playing The Witcher (Enhanced Edition). I know most people probably finished this game years ago, but .... see above. The point being, however, I do like to take note of things in games I play that may also work in my own module. Here are my "good and bad" points I found with The Witcher (in no particular order):
1) Interesting story.
2) Amazing scenery / Excellent designed areas. (I liked the colours and textures used.)
3) Weather system. (Inspired my own weather system.)
4) User Interface system as a whole.
5) Interesting quests.
1) Travelling became tedious.
2) Unusual mechanics. (I prefer d20 / D&D.)
3) Single player.
4) Alchemy system too complex.
5) Lack of other skills.
6) Lack of interesting items.
7) Use of strong bad language and "nude" scenes.
Considering this game was built using the NWN Aurora game engine (with a couple of extras), I am simply astonished at the great areas and atmosphere the designers of this game have achieved. And while it may still suffer from missing a useful z-axis, I can say that I would be very happy if my own areas came out looking even half as decent as those found in The Witcher. The weather system I designed for my own module was inspired by this game. After seeing it in action here, I felt NWN was missing out on some atmosphere that a well built weather system could bring.
I found the user interface well implemented and especially enjoyed the map system part, which made use of "fog of war" (a favourite of mine in any RPG game). The journal kept good track of my quests, but I found I did not make use of some of the other information in that part of the interface as much as I thought I would. Having come from a "pen and pencil" background, I thought I would have found the extra information useful. However, (and perhaps this is the point), the extra information, while serving as background, it did not serve much in any other way. I think I would have preferred it if it had been presented as a brief introduction to an area, which I could then refer back to (if I really wanted to). The same can be said to some of the other sections here. The point being, I only ever made reference to them after the fact (and if I remembered to go and look), which felt like a missed opportunity to me.
The combat system was "OK" for me, but I missed the D&D system, with which I am comfortable. What really felt lacking to me was the use of spells, but I understand that is down to the design of the universe, and is something you either work with or don't. As I always felt driven to improve my "combat" skills, I felt my "spell" powers were always added as a secondary concern with "talents" I had left over and could not place on more "important" skills. This probably shows me lacking as a player with respect to this part of the game, but I would be interested to hear how other players managed the "spell" usage section of The Witcher. (I believe I only ever used the "wind" to clear some blocked passages and knock down an enemy, and the "fire" one to start a fire or try as an attack.)
I was looking forward to trying out the alchemy system, and while I did use it quite a bit (I guess you have to to play the game properly), I did so with
I found the inventory system used interesting. It was divided into three sections (ignoring worn items): one section for plot items, one section for normal items and one section for alchemical items. This was quite a good idea, except I often found I "missed" items I had picked up because I did not realise where they had been placed. Occasionally, I would come across an item in one of these sections I did not realise I had picked up. This was especially annoying if the item was a "readable" object that offered more information. Of course, some of this could have been me being inattentive as much as anything to do with the interface. Furthermore, while some of the items I found were interesting, sadly mostly were "not". I say "not" because many of the items I picked up were "food", but just described in a different way, like "bread" or "berry". This was a little frustrating because most of these "foods" did the same thing (restore vitality), but each version took up a different slot in your inventory and could only stack to ten. Personally, I would have preferred just a single "food" item that took one slot and could stack to 100 or more. In this way, the game "appeared" to have more items than it actually had, and so felt lacking for me.
There were the same issues like those I find in a lot of games with respect to logical flow (could take stuff from anybody's home without consequence), and shops being full of "useless stuff" that makes visiting a store a little tedious and more of an exercise than a pleasure. There was even the occasional bug I encountered (a big monster near the end kept having the fight restart after a cutscene replayed), which required me to have to load an earlier saved position to get around. However, all these "problems" aside, the experience was a relatively fun one for me (Final Score), which I believe could have been better if the game was improved in the areas I have already mentioned, but also been coded to allow a co-op multi-player game as well. (My personal belief is that every RPG should allow players to play the game co-operatively.)
Graphics/Area Design: 90% (Ignores limited z-axis.)
Sound/Voice Acting: 95%
User Interface: 85% (Presentation and ease of use.)
Gameplay Aspects (Personal Experience): 50%
Final Score/Fun: 70%
I am now starting to look at Fallout 3 (Game of the Year version), and from what I have seen so far, it ticks more boxes for me than The Witcher did. I am really enjoying Fallout 3 to date!