The Witcher: Enhanced Edition in the test - from bug disaster to adult role-playing game

Author: Heiko Klinge
Date: 2008-09-24 16:08:00
Sensible improvements and additional content make the former bug disaster The Witcher an all-round successful adult role-playing game. We tested the Enhanced Edition.

It has been a long time since a game greeted us with this melodious sound: "Éhínseg és járvany pusztított, tengernyi volt az áldozat." This is Hungarian and in German means, in a sense, far less melodious: "For five years after the war the northern kingdoms licked their wounds. “If you like, you can now play The Witcher in English, Russian, Polish or Italian, and even with Chinese subtitles if you wish. No less than ten language versions slumber on the two DVDs of the so-called Enhanced Edition. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is an example of the “now but right!” Mentality of the new edition of the adult role-playing game.

The Polish developers of CD Projekt have actually put a record-breaking effort to reconcile the old fans for the many bugs in the original version and to gain new fans.

Watch or download The Witcher: Enhanced Edition test video

Sounds different

The most important message for all owners of the original version: All scores from games that are already in progress also work with the Enhanced Edition. So you don't have to start your adventure all over again. Either way, it will only take a few seconds until you discover the first important innovation, or rather, hear it.

Because CD Projekt has set the entire German language version to music. Children finally no longer have adult voices, prostitutes sound appropriately wicked, and play hero Geralt now speaks easily two octaves lower, which increases his coolness factor again. The fact that the frequent dialogues now seem much more believable is not only due to the better speakers, but above all to the revised cutscenes and over 200 new gesture animations. Threatened people wave their hands soothingly, recipients smile in delight, ignorant people shrug their shoulders. A new random generator for clothes also ensures a diverse population of clothes. However, since there are no new faces, there are still an absurd number of twins walking the streets. Nevertheless, the world of The Witcher in the Enhanced Edition looks noticeably more lively than in the original version, which is why we have increased the atmosphere rating by one point.

Fight differently

When talking doesn't help anymore, Geralt takes up his weapon - and at last at a reasonable speed.

Because the developers have accelerated the excruciatingly slow sword drawing animation, which in some situations can mean the difference between life and death. The fights themselves are now faster and easier to understand. Enemies and Geralt are less likely to get stuck in the area, the mouse and keyboard controls react more directly, and failures can be better recognized thanks to revised animations.

CD Projekt also increases the pace when it comes to preying: if you hold down the control button, you skip the inventory screen, all the treasures of the monster you have just killed land in your backpack without any menu detours. Space problems are a thing of the past. Because instead of four storage compartments for all items, there are now six - three of them for general stuff, the other three for alchemical ingredients. A new sorting function saves annoying rearranging and automatically stacks the same objects. Episode 1: You spend significantly more time in the game world than in the menus. Episode 2: One point more for the service rating.

Adventure different

With new content, the Enhanced Editon is considerably more stingy than with the improvements: no weapons, no spells, no monsters.

With »The Price of Neutrality« and »Side Effects« there are at least two additional short adventures that will keep you occupied for around eight hours. In the former, the CD Projekt had already released patch 1.3, you protect the daughter of an old friend, in the latter you mess with a wyvern-breeding crook king. Both adventures are completely set to music and quite entertaining, but neither achieve the playful nor the dramaturgical quality of the main campaign.

If you want to do it better, you can put your own quests together with the included Djinni editor. This adventure kit was also released with Patch 1.3 and is extremely extensive, but also extremely complicated. In any case, we only understood Hungarian.

Which version?

If you already own The Witcher , you can download the improvements and new features for free. A fast Internet connection is a must: the enhanced update will weigh around 930 megabytes, each language package between 450 and 680 megabytes and the new short adventures around 300 megabytes. You can also buy The Witcher's Enhanced Editon in the store. The thick box then not only contains two game DVDs with all language versions, but also a map of the game world, a making-of DVD, the orchestral soundtrack, a CD with Witcher-inspired pop and rock songs, a Witcher short story as well as the 112-page solution book for the game.

The most important innovations

Watch or download the The Witcher: Enhanced Edition test video