Witching time

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You don't often get do-overs in life, and the same is true in game publishing.

But wouldn't it be great if more publishers could go back and set the wrongs right on a product that's just shy of being a classic? While I'm not a fan of repackaged games that include little more than bug fixes, The Witcher Enhanced Edition really is the penultimate version. It offers enough value that I went out and got a second copy just for the extras.

I'm also not usually one to review a game twice. But The Witcher's world grabbed me in so many ways last October, I knew I couldn't pass this latest version by.

This isn't a new game. Players still take the role of Geralt of Rivia, a monster-hunter who typifies Nietzsche's philosophical quandary: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster."

There's still a grand conspiracy afoot, and Geralt is still tasked with uncovering the puppetmasters behind it as well as his own forgotten part in the plot.

The grade-A storytelling of the original, however, has been improved. The dialogue, while quite good, was often plagued by awkward translations from the Polish source script. The creators admitted and apologized for that, and usually that would've been the end of the story.

But they felt so strongly the game could be improved, they went back to create a better, more faithful English translation. They then rerecorded hours of new dialogue, smoothing over some of the game's odd sound problems in the process.

Enhancements and fixes to the game engine greatly reduce the time players spend watching load-screens as they traverse the game world. And the incentives don't stop there. Game-creation tools let burgeoning designers try their hand at making new adventures for Geralt. Two additional scenarios are included, expanding the game's length by an additional 10 or so hours. Fans also get a CD of The Witcher's orchestrated music, another disc full of songs inspired by the game, a map of the world and a game walk-through.

Owners of the original don't even have to purchase the new version at retail. In an unprecedented move, Atari and the developers have created a number of update patches that replace the earlier content with the updates for free.

Fans should consider the purchase not only for the collectible content but to encourage more developers to go back and perfect their games.

"The Witcher Enhanced Edition"

Windows PC



M for Mature

Fans looking for the ultimate Witcher experience