The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (2008)

The Witcher, a games released last year, has been enhanced in this new edition that's a free update for people who already have the game, and this game is great. It has a deep story with plenty of side quests, and the graphics look even better in the Enhanced Edition. Itís also dark, with a soundtrack that echoes its gloomy atmosphere, and all the banter
between characters is fully voice acted.

The game is based upon a series of fantasy short stories written by Andrzej Sapkowski, and you play Geralt of Rivia, an undead monster-hunter. The whole thing is built on Biowareís Aurora Engine, and it has a nice tutorial to get you going. You start off in the witcherís castle, fighting off a dark mage and his minions, and the combat is more than just clicking as fast as you can. You have three forms of fighting styles: fast, strong, and group; each working best depending on what type of monster/monsters youíre fighting, along with timing your strikes for maximum damage.

The story is told through five acts, with the player having some control over each act, building alliances and pissing off others. Your decisions affect the plot and ultimately the ending. Thereís even a sort of mini-game going on, where you can see how many women you can seduce, earning you a picture of them thatís been censored in the U.S. release.

Thereís an alchemy system built into the game, where the player has too collect a lot of herbs in order to make potions. The potions can do a number of things from slowing down time during combat to seeing in the dark. Youíll need to find certain books before you can start collecting some of the herbs, but it makes for a great addition to the game.

This game has a dark atmosphere that runs throughout it, with choices that are never black and white. Citizens are corrupt, and the land is full of monsters, while loose women are always looking for a good time. Geralt himself is even a smart ass. Itís really an amazing game that takes RPGs to a new level, and shows a sort of depth that seems to be rarely seen within other games. If your computer can support it, and you like the darker side of things, you should check this one out. I highly recommend it.