Sure, the combat system is pretty cool, but it gets better. Perhaps the coolest feature of all in The Witcher is the presence of a time-of-day system. While obviously being based on an accelerated model, The Witcher has authentic nights and days that develop in front of your very eyes. The cool part specifically comes from how the game utilizes the day-night system in its missions and general gameplay - some missions can only be done at certain times of the day, and some areas such
as villages can change dramatically in atmosphere from light to dark. Lets just say, when the moon comes rising, many of the game's baddies come out to play, and the once bustling friendly day time environments turn into deserted spooky landscapes of death. It just adds so much to the gameplay and atmosphere and, thanks to Geralt's ability to meditate around a fire or rent a bed, you can accelerate time as you wish. It is also during the meditation phases in the game where you can spend any experience points,
and create many of the games potions - one of the greatest tools at a Witcher's disposal.
The potion creation system basically epitomizes the depth and detail you can expect to find in The Witcher. Rather than simply picking up ready potions from the slain bodies of your opponents, more often than not what you will find ingredients instead, which you must then take and combine with other ingredients and bases to create particular potions, and the potions in this game are nothing to be ignored, as they can easily be the difference between defeat and victory, giving Geralt enhancements
such as faster life regeneration, slowing down time, special immunities, and things of that nature. There are a fair few ingredients you can acquire, some very rare, and there are multiple ways to go about acquiring ingredients. For instance, if you make an effort to obtain and read books in the game from literature vendors and other sources, you can learn about wild plants and actually go out and pick certain ingredients from the world around you. You have to be careful with potions though, as too
many at a time can hurt Geralt as indicated by the game's toxicity meter, which you can deplete via meditation/sleep.
If you like detail, however, you won't find more in the game's quest system. As touched upon earlier, the game is broken down into primary and secondary quests as you'd expect, but the sheer amount on offer is remarkable - providing you're interested in going out of your way to experience everything the game has to offer anyway. There is still plenty of action and variation if you simply follow the primary quests, but there is hours upon hours of gameplay if you also choose to focus on as many secondary quests
as possible, and despite their non-compulsory status, a lot of effort has gone into making them quite detailed, and not just thrown together time wasters. You can become a dice/poker profession in the game's gambling scenes (often found in taverns), you can try and score with a few of the game's female characters (adding some adult themes to the gameplay), you can take up mercenary contracts posted on bulletin boards - the list goes on. There is just so much to do in this game, at times it was hard imagining
it ever ending.
And this detail isn't just subject to the primary and secondary quests, it's an evident theme across much of the game. The environments and locations you will find yourself, while featuring clear physical boundaries, never feel closed in and 'staged' like you can often see in games like this. They feel like living and breathing villages and communities, filled with different characters and identities every step of the way. While the game does recycle quite a lot of the faces and voices you'll encounter, you
never really get the sense anything in how the locations and environments were constructed in The Witcher was rushed - it all feels very carefully crafted with a lot of attention to detail, ultimately creating a quality gaming experience.
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