I'll be the first to admit that I had no idea Poland had such a great literary, gaming, and entertainment industry. I knew that the mind-bending Solaris came from Polish author Stanislaw Lem, but that was pretty much the end of my knowledge of Polish media. However, while visiting Poland last month, President Obama received Poland's latest cultural gem. Prime Minister Donald Tusk presented him a Collector's Edition of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
This summer, CD Projekt (a Polish video game developer and publisher) pleasantly surprised gamers across the globe with the release of The Witcher 2. To put it frankly, this game rules. Across all reviews and all gaming criteria (including combat mechanics, customization, graphics, environments, immersiveness, and storytelling), The Witcher 2 performed above and beyond. The game was so exceptional that I went back and played through the original Witcher, which was also very good. Both stories had vivid environments, great action, and even greater stories.
It is no surprise then that The Witcher is actually a Polish literary series of short stories and novels by author Andrzej Sapkowski. In the series, Witchers are fiend-hunters who undergo special training and modify their bodies to grant them supernatural abilities that allow them to battle extremely menacing creatures and still keep their lives. Sapkowski's literary style is extremely vivid and similar to Tolkien although his main protagonist is much darker. The Witcher series reveal the shades of gray in everyone.
For the most part the entire literary series as well as the video game follows Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining Witchers. Unlike most fantasy plotlines, especially for video game series, Geralt is not a clear-cut "good guy" while also not definitively renegade or dark. For most of the two games, he suffers from amnesia and must learn about himself as the audience learns about him.
Also contrary to most fantasty plotlines, the antagonist of the video game series is also shrouded in mystery and ambiguity for most of the time. I do not want to spoil the series, but I feel like I can safely say that many characters in the Witcher series are not exactly who or what they seem to be.
For anyone possibly interested in this series, I recommend both the video games and the literature. Both are excellent works on their own, but they also support each other well as separate works. This is not your typical fantasy story and is worth every penny and hour of experience. For both gamers and readers, this series is a must.
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.