There is no doubt that The Witcher has built some fairly impressive anticipation in the hearts of fantasy RPG fans around the world. Sporting a much improved version of BioWare's Aurora game engine (which first debuted with Neverwinter Nights) we've been promised stunning visual effects, dynamic environmental variables, and a deviation from the recycled scenery that seems so prevalent with Medieval-themed games.

You play Geralt, who as a "Witcher" is sort of like a franchised monster exterminator, roaming around removing nasty critters, some often the size of houses, that threaten the local populace. Wielding an impressive array of steel, incendiary devices and magic, you're one of the last remaining of your kind after the Great War reduced your ranks a number of years ago. Your goal appears at the outset to simply protect the people, but it would appear that seducing maidens plays a pivotal role in accomplishing this, which is to be commended.

Possibly the biggest reason why there has been such interest over what appears from the outset to be just another single-player, quest-completing, monster-slaying clone is that, well, it's not. Developer CD Projekt has embarked on their own quest to remove repetition and prevent the typical "save game" decision making you'll find in other titles by bringing those decisions back to haunt you literally hours after you've made them. In a master stroke, this really is the bad curry of the genre, and gamers will be able to use the mistakes made to better understand the character and storyline, making for truly immersive gameplay.

System requirements don't appear to be too demanding - any solid DirectX 9 platform should be able to deal with it - but to really take advantage of the more subtle effects you'll be looking towards a dual-core machine with at least 1GB RAM and 256MB video memory. Either way, the storyline and non-linear game play are well worth a look, and with initial ratings from sales in Europe are anything to go by, this could be the single-player RPG of the year! Find out when it's released this Friday, 16th November.


    * Geralt of Rivia: a one-of-a-kind protagonist.
    * A charismatic and unique character, Geralt is a mutant swordmaster and professional monster slayer.
    * Choose from over 250 special abilities correlated to attributes, combat skills and magical powers to build the character in a way best suited to tactical needs and style of play.
    * Inspired by the writings of renowned Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
    * Featuring adult themes, less fairy-tale than typical fantasy, with mature social issues like racism, political intrigue and genocide.
    * It is a harsh world where nothing is black or white, right or wrong, often forcing players to choose between the lesser of two evils to advance.
    * Full of turns, twists and ambiguous moral decisions which have real impact on the storyline.
    * All quests can be accomplished in several ways and the game has three different endings depending on the player’s actions and choices throughout the adventure.
    * Engage in complex yet intuitive real-time combat based on real medieval sword-fighting techniques.
    * Motion capture performed by medieval fighting experts at Frankfurt’s renowned Metric Minds studio, resulting in 600 spectacular and authentic in-game combat animations.
    * Six combat styles, dozens of potions, complex alchemy system, modifiable weapons and powerful magic add tactical depth to the fluid real-time experience.

The Witcher Collector's Edition will contain:

    * Special packaging
    * Behind the Scenes DVD
    * Artbook
    * Monster book