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Netflix's The Witcher is finally out today. With Henry Cavill starring as the gruff monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, it's clear that the streaming giant wants this latest fantasy series to be regarded as the next Game of Thrones... but can it live up to that hype? That absolutely depends on who you're asking.
Yep, The Witcher seems to have split critics straight down the middle. Some are calling it a kick-ass fantasy adventure, while others have blasted it as a tonally inconsistent mess. You'll be glad to know, however, that Cavill's turn as Geralt seems to be the one thing everyone can agree on as a positive point in the eight-episode series.
Let's start with what we here at GAMINGbible HQ thought of the show. Our very own Mike Diver had a lot of love for the first five episodes of the series, describing it as a "worthy rival to Game of Thrones". He did, however, admit that the show can get a little hard to follow at times. Especially if you're not already familiar with the source material.
"Aside from a little confusion regarding the positions of the chess pieces in play on its board, though, The Witcher is a fantastic slice of escapism that marries low-fantasy blood and dirt with a sparkling magic that's more volatile than most," he wrote. You can read his full impressions here.
The Verge was also happy with the adaptation, claiming that it "captures the enigmatic hero perfectly". PC Gamer, meanwhile, hails The Witcher not only a great adaptation, but one of the best shows of the year. High praise indeed.
Empire also had a lot of good things to say about the show in a four-star review, but like us noted that it could be a touch impenetrable for those who don't head into the show with at least an entry-level knowledge of Witcher lore. Gizmodo was slightly less enthusiastic, claiming that the show takes too long to get going. It did acknowledge that when it finds its feet, it's pretty damn good though.
Other outlets were less kind to Geralt's live-action escapades. In a three-star review, The Guardian seemed to be put off by the show's particular brand of fantasy. Variety was similarly unsure of the show's tone and who exactly it's supposed to be for, suggesting that The Witcher will likely not have the same mainstream appeal as Game of Thrones.
The Independent didn't mess about. They described The Witcher as a "painfully transparent attempt to fill the Game of Thrones void with more blood and boobs" in a two-star review. GameSpot wasn't impressed either. In a 4/10 review, they called The Witcher straight-up "broken".
"Game fans who haven't read the books will be totally befuddled, " they wrote. "And book readers will be scratching their heads just as frequently."
A mixed bag, all in all then. The general consensus seems to be that Cavill puts in a solid performance, but that those unfamiliar with the books and/or games will be left feeling confused for most of the series. Luckily, we have a guide detailingeverything you need to know about The Witcher if you want to school yourself before diving in.
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