psi_star_psi: (freaky)
[personal profile] psi_star_psi
A couple of years ago I got The Witcher for Christmas. I played it through the Prologue and first chapter, then got distracted for a while. Last month, I took it up again to finish off the rest of the five chapters and Epilogue.

From the closing credits, I learned that this is based on a fantasy series by a Polish author. I may have to hunt it up now, because the story and characters in the game are awesome.

A witcher is a monster-hunter recruited for training at a young age and mutated by magic and alchemy. The training gives special combat maneuvers vs. the various monsters one encounters around the landscape. The mutations grant immunity to disease, extended lifespan, rapid healing, toughness, ability to use buff potions, and infertility. Witchers are trained in a few magic abilities termed signs. Their eyes are cat-like. Given all of this, almost everyone treats them as creepy freaks. But when the monsters come to your town, who you gonna call?

Witchers' signature ability is their potions. They have an extensive knowledge of alchemical components and a vast array of buff formulae. Going into a tough fight? Chug some buffs for regeneration of health and stamina, night vision, haste, whatnot resistance, etc. It's a party all around? How can you fail?

Oh, did I forget to mention that potions are toxic? Yes, chug and buff away, but drink to many and you'll gak yourself. Careless. Once you get to about half of your maximum toxicity, you start experiencing visual distortions. After one battle, I was at 90%. I had to stagger back to my rest spot in a zombie shuffle.

Fortunately, an hour or two's meditation is enough to heal your ills and clear the toxins from your system. You can also throw together a potion while you are resting to build up you reserves of buffs.

The story opens with your character recently recovered from a bad case of dead (not a normal witcher ability, everyone's a bit confused how you pulled that off), with the requisite amnesia and impaired abilities. You're hanging out at the witcher training castle, chatting with your fellow witchers, when unknown forces assault the castle and steal all of your secret mutagenic methods and potion formulae. You are dispatched to recover all of these things. (Nice mechanic to gradually gain new potions as you go along.)

Thus, you set out into the world to recover the witchers' Knowledge Too Dangerous for Others. If you happen to wreak revenge for the friend killed during the attack, well, that's just a bonus.

I really, really enjoyed this game. This is a very dark universe. The people in this land are seriously messed up. You aren't much better of course. Incredible stamina, immunity to disease, infertility -- can you say popular with the ladies? One of the touches I enjoyed inappropriately much is the main character's opportunity to bang about half of all the adult female NPC's encountered. (It's a pity it was heteronormative.) When you do, that person's character page in your journal gets a little heart you can click on to see the trading card of her in a state of dishabille. It's so very wrong.

I've been regaling [livejournal.com profile] aelfie with my adventures while playing the game for nearly a month. This morning, I informed her that I'd finished the game. She was thrilled and relieved. "So now I can finally stop hearing all about your manwhore?" I tried to suppress my grin but failed. Her excitement faded. "Or is there another game?"

Tonight I start The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings!
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