I had a fight with a witch in a park yesterday afternoon and no one seemed to notice. I also got into a fight with a griffin the size of a bus stop, coincidentally right next to a bus stop. Did the people on the bus care? No, they didn’t. I fought ghouls and wyverns and there was even a horse head on the sidewalk for a while. Funny enough, none of this seemed particularly out of place in Brighton.
I’m playing the brand new Witcher mobile game, The Witcher – Monster Slayer. It’s a game that looks a bit like Pokémon Go and uses real-world map data to populate your area with monsters to fight. You are a witcher after all (I’m actually a trained witcher but that’s a whole different story).
It’s not bad. A lot of effort has clearly been made. The characters are voiced and there are pictorial cutscenes. There are a few dialogue choices, there is limited character creation and customization via skill trees. There are crafts and equipment to improve. The characteristics of a witcher RPG are here. And seeing the monsters of this universe standing right in front of you, using the game’s augmented reality mode, is endlessly cool. You have a real idea of their size.
It’s not the most comfortable way to fight them, however, as you have to hold your phone towards where they would be in real life, and sometimes they’re so big that they hide their own health bar. , which signals when they’re about to attack – something you need to be very careful about in order to parry perfectly and negate their damage. You also seem a little silly to hold your phone when people are passing by.
In non-AR mode, you see the monsters in a Witcher world and can fight with the phone in a more natural tilted position, and – for the record – the game seems to go more smoothly. But it’s not that much fun.
The fight is quite complex. You swipe to strike, either quickly to perform a quick attack (which you can improve via the skill tree) or with a small pause for a powerful attack (which you can also improve). Some enemies are weak for one type, some enemies for another. And the more you hit, the more you build a critical gauge, until it triggers an icon that crosses the screen and you have to tap at the right time to land a powerful critical hit.
You can also throw bombs and throw signs (which you can upgrade as well). Bombs only require tapping a bomb icon, but signs require tapping a sign icon and then drawing the shape of the sign on the screen. The Igni fire spell I have requires a V shape, for example. And these are powerful abilities that you will want to use a lot because the enemies in the game are tough. Without them, you will have a hard time winning.
Don’t do what I’m doing and walk 20 minutes through town stalking a griffin for my main quest – a good idea for a feature film, I have to admit – only to get there and not be able to kill it. I thought that as the first real quest it would be easily doable, but after several tries and a very hot afternoon sun later, I gave up.
Maybe it was because I had already used all of my useful oils, bombs and potions. You use them before a battle to get the upper hand (potions and oils are used automatically when the battle begins). Maybe I needed to level up. (I tried to find more enemies to fight but they were scattered inefficiently. I should have made better use of the initial group of enemies that surrounded my starting area: my apartment.) Maybe I didn’t shouldn’t have tried taking screenshots at the same time as the fights (I’m an idiot.) Maybe I should have a better phone (I’m actually quite surprised that it runs on a Pixel 1).
As it stands, I’m a bit stuck. I am at an impasse. With no many nearby creatures to fight, and no potions, oils, and bombs to use, there’s little I can do. I can make, but only one potion or oil at a time, which takes real time – anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I’ve tried adding a friend in hopes he can help me with the griffin, but all he can do is send me bundles of herbs every now and then. Do I really need to grind this early?
Where should I spend? I remember the store almost every battle which I don’t like, but it’s a free game so what was I expecting? I earn in-game money that I can spend there, but of course it’s never enough.
All of this puzzles me about The Witcher – Monster Slayer. For me, it quickly slowed down. I’m also not sure where the social aspect of the game comes into play. I don’t see things like Pokémon Gyms or reasons for people to come together and meet. I saw a strange tree planted on the map at one point, which apparently attracts creatures, but I had to be level 10 (I’m level three) to interact with it. And no one else was there. Maybe I’ll touch it a bit more then, but I’m not sure.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-07-23-the-witcher-pokemon-go-like-game-is-out-but-is-it-any-good