I just finished The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. What I really like about the series is it’s based on what seems to be a very detailed series of novels. The story is ridiculously detailed sometimes, and I don’t think it was something added in solely for the games.
Conversations that would normally be a few lines end up being paragraphs, pages even. It makes you feel like you’re reading parts of the books, and it really sucks that they aren’t translated into English.
But, a strange thing is what I realized about different parts of it – that is, what they seem to be representing. The Wild Hunt remind me of UFOs, if UFOs were much, much more plausible and came from a parallel universe. Specters riding ghost-horses appear, ride across the sky and abduct children. The parallel universe-thing is another cool aspect of it all.
Monsters’ existence in the world is because they were summoned, or drawn from an alternate world that lives in tandem to their own. An event called “the Conjunction of the Spheres” has all kinds of strange, pseudo-science language about how two or more worlds were merged into one, and therefore gave rise to beings like monsters and wraiths and ghosts and whatnot. It’s more than the standard, “It’s magic because it’s magic” explanations usually in fantasy stories. Magic exists because it is a power used to draw on these alternate worlds, and to manifest energies in the “real” world.
I wish I could find more English (or American, for that matter) fantasy stories that were as detailed and as worth reading as The Witcher’s story was worth viewing and paying attention to. Mature themes, a very realistic political world, and more than the tired tropes of what fantasy books are all about 99% of the time.