The Witcher(s) -- does it get good?

I just watched the Netflix Witcher show (two seasons, as of this writing) and I rather enjoyed it, so I thought I’d try out the games. Turns out I “own” the first one from some GoG giveaway. Boot it up, watch an absurdly long intro of Geralt besting the striga (much better in the TV show, ha ha), and play through the intro/tutorial part–up to where the bad guy runs off with the potions.

And I gotta say, I’m not really feeling it. I thought I could handle the graphics, but the camera control in the isometric perspective is really annoying, which means I’m doing over-the-shoulder mode, and it’s not quite so good zoomed up. But that’s not nearly as much of a problem as the constant cutscenes. I kinda like the fact that the characters are all recognizable from the show (though of course they have to show more of Triss’ boobs, because videogames, I guess) but the graphics are, well, old, and it’s stopping the action constantly to make me listen to these folks jawing on. (And the voice actor for Geralt doesn’t seem to follow Henry Cavill’s practice of filling his lungs with gravel every day before breakfast.)

The gameplay itself is, so far, fine, though I haven’t really dug into the meat of the character system yet–just switching fighting modes and trying to time the clicks. I was expecting a post-Infinity Engine CRPG and it seems like more of an ARPG, which is a little disappointing, but probably not a dealbreaker.

So my question is–is this a game problem or a me problem? Will they tone down the cutscenes? Will the gameplay pick up? Or am I just too spoiled to handle a game from 15 years ago? (And I should go back to the Thea games, from which I originally learned of all the eastern European fantasy monsters.)

I rather enjoyed the first Witcher, but I ran into a gamebreaking bug about midway through and had to give up. At least, I think it was a gamebreaking bug. Some essential quest item had disappeared or something. Maybe it was player incompetence plus bug.

But I was having fun until then.

I think there’s good to be had in the first Witcher game, but yeah, it’s a little hard to love at this point. I think you’d be fine just skipping ahead to Witcher 3 which I found to be excellent. Long, but excellent. Witcher 2 was my least favorite due to how the Devs didn’t quite know what they wanted to do with the gameplay (IMHO).

I enjoyed it a lot when I finally played it start to finish back in 2010, but it may very well be an artifact of the time at this point.

Best to move on to the 2nd or especially 3rd game

I’d just watch the story summary of the first 2 games on youtube and then play the 3rd. :)

That climbing a two foot ledge / transition sequence in the 2nd game that took forever due to the animation or loading or whatever was happening with the game, any time you moved to a new area was brutal.

I couldn’t endure that ever again.

I don’t think I ever once noticed that. Or if I did, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the game at least.

That artwork says Witcher: SVU to me. Who knew Mariska was in it?!

I am glad to have played all 3 games, even as dated as the first one is now. I still think they second holds up well enough to give it a try - but be sure to do it before playing Witcher 3 because it would be really hard to go back.

For my tastes the first Witcher is the best game in the series, but I acknowledge not everyone will feel the same way. And it definitely wasn’t the best story.

Specifically, I think it’s closest to relying on the character’s stats rather than my own reflexes, and places a very large emphasis on using the alchemy system to make specific preparations, as well as use the right sword and fighting style to address a particular type of opponent, which felt much more engaging and witcherly than the second game’s generic action game dodge and sword swing affair. It seems like maybe 3’s a little less punishing if you suck at action games than 2, but it still doesn’t really seem to care very much if you use potions and it’s still more action than RPG, and I’m not here for either of those things.

If you’ve got 4+ hours to kill, you could always watch this:

I watched in bite sized chunks over a week or so and enjoyed his take.

Witcher 1 crapped out on me with a game-ending bug about 3/4 through. Witcher 2? I can’t remember where I left off. Witcher 3 rocks though.

I recall where the first game crapped out for me, I was teleported or chose to teleport into a town from a swampy area, and I was in some guys basement, but ended up teleporting into the floor, and couldn’t move.

Sadly my previous save game was from hours earlier and I said F-dat. And performed the Tom Chick maneuver.

I would play 3 - 2 - 1. W3 as well as being most ‘modern’ is most conventional. And not in a bad way - it just doesn’t futz with narrative structure while you’re still trying to work out how potions and witcher vision work.

I really enjoyed all 3 games, but played them as they came out. I bounced off the first game once or twice, but I’m glad I finally got into it.

If you can only play one game, I agree that you can watch a bit of the story as a video for background, then go right into 3, which is one of my favorite games EVER, competing for extremely fond memories with the magic of the classics like the Ultima games I played as kid on an apple 2 plus.

Yeah, I get where you’re coming from there.

Wow, what a blast from the past. A “should I play The Witcher 1?” thread. It’s just like old times!

You’re not even at the slog part. Just stop now like everyone else did.

I love the absolute hell out of Witcher 2. Would never advocate skipping it.

I agree, Witcher 2 was the high point for me. I think I played it 3 times, which is pretty darn rare for me. Really helps that it’s not a terribly huge game, no open world, not a lot of loot or levels to grind.

I think a new player would struggle a bit with the W2 opening. The combat is hard, the stealth janky, the plot huh?

Play the game in Polish with English subs. Much better experience.