The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Reviews

  • Matt RemasteredMatt Remastered587,006
    27 May 2015 28 May 2015
    24 4 4
    The Witcher 3 Review
    By Matthew Cheetham

    The Witcher 3 is a special game, in this dark and desperate world you will be sent on an adventure with rich characters, diverse and surprising quests, political intrigue and feel consequences large and small. Not to forget that whilst in the middle of all that, you will be absorbed by tracking and hunting monsters, finding loot and exploring this vast, deep and detailed world on the back of your trusty companion Roach. The Witcher 3 is not just a huge game with little substance, nor is it a detailed game that leaves you wanting for more. Remarkably, it is a game that manages both, providing its players with a vast beautiful open world, as well as an engaging and complex narrative with intertwining motives that you will have the chance to influence. After 65 hours with the Witcher 3, I still feel part of its world, and I still haven’t seen anywhere near the full amount of content, and that is testament to the work of CD Projekt Red.

    At the core of the Witcher 3 you will be rolling, dodging and parrying against foes both human and non-human alike. The combat system here is classic 3rd person action RPG but what makes it stand out are the multiple options you will have before battles, on easier difficulties you will be able to flail Geralts swords without a care in the world, but on the harder difficulties, use of potions, oils, bombs and signs are all required, with all the enemies in the game having an Achilles heel that you can exploit. It is when all of the elements of combat are in unison that the Witchers combat becomes something more, as a 3rd person action game it is perhaps average, but when you add in the various battle techniques it elevates itself to something close to great.

    When you aren’t fighting you will of course be exploring, and in the case of the Witcher 3 there is certainly lots of exploring to do. This is a huge game, not only filled with space but with diversity and various activities to perform. The map itself is split into segments, the main segment links Novigrad and Velen, whereas the smaller segments give you access to story specific areas which I will try not to spoil. The main segment of the map linking Novigrad and Velen is as big as most RPGs that I have played, it is only when you travel to the Skellige Isles, and meet its diverse and completely different citizens to that on the continent, that you begin to comprehend how big the game actually is. It really is a sight to behold.

    What makes this game unique is not just the scope, but the detail that resides in these areas. This is a mature and desperate fantasy world with not only an engaging 50 plus hour main story, but secondary quests and Witcher hunting contracts that feel as though just as much attention has been paid to them. It really is a joy to behold, and even during traditional fetch quests, you never really feel like what you are doing has no meaning. Over the course of your adventure you will find hidden treasures, hunt brilliantly detailed monsters, get caught up in the political struggles of Temeria, help villagers with tasks both big and small, take part in a play, explore elven ruins, travel to new worlds and so much more. Not to mention that whilst performing all these tasks, Geralt will put his own spin on events with multiple paths and dialogue options that have a profound effect on the outcome of quests.

    It is at this point that one would perhaps expect a compromise, after all we are used to having to compromise in one area to accommodate another with RPG’s. But again when you look to the visuals and sound this is not the case. The game looks gorgeous regardless of whether you are playing on the Xbox One, PC or PS4, and after a day one patch has managed to run at a relatively steady frame rate for the entirety of my journey. This is a game that you will stop for a second to admire, and although it doesn’t look perhaps as good as we were led to believe, it is certainly one of the best looking Xbox One games, with the lighting being a particular highlight. Character models are well voiced and animated, monster models are detailed and unique and forests both glisten as the sun rises from the horizon and blow in the wind during storms. The Witcher 3 proves that visuals can go hand in hand with depth if enough time is given to the developers, and gamers certainly won’t be disappointed on the visual front.

    There are a few gripes that I do have with the game, some objective and some subjective that I have to go in to. The first of these is the movement, CD Projekt has gone for a realistic movement style similar to past entries that yet again will leave you frustrated, you simply don’t have enough control over the movement of your character, and it ends up feeling slower and more clunky than it should, both on foot and on horseback alike. The amount of times I ran into an invisible block on horseback was not only frustrating, but really served to pull me out of the world. Another problem I have is with the loading times, given the size of the world as a whole, a long loading screen when fast travelling between areas is acceptable. What is less acceptable is the long load time after death to get back into the game, this will be especially frustrating to those attempting a play through on Death March difficulty.

    It is when you step back and look at the Witcher 3 as the sum of its parts, that you realize that this is a watershed moment for the RPG. In a similar way that Rockstar managed to marry open world action with supreme attention to detail, CD Projekt Red has managed to craft a huge open world with unparalleled attention to detail, to list all of the things that make this game so special I can find no other way than to just list all of the things I have done, spoiler free of course, during my 60 plus hours with the game;

    - Explored hundreds of question mark locations in a huge open world.
    - Found treasure both on land, and under the fully mapped out seabed.
    - Set sail on a boat and explored the open waters.
    - Hunted various monsters both large and small.
    - Played the fully featured card game Gwent, at multiple inns and taverns.
    - Took part in hundreds of quests, political, personal and surprising.
    - Raced on horseback for coin and glory.
    - Crafted an array of bombs, potions, oils, weapons and armor.
    - Explored various elven ruins and monster caves
    - Participated in various hand to hand fighting tournaments throughout the land.
    - Completed a 50 hour main quest that was diverse, emotional and entertaining throughout.
    - Genuinely felt like going back through it all over again to do things differently.

    It is at this point that I wish to give the game a perfect score and tell everyone that loves RPG’s to go out and buy it, but alas it is not that simple. The Witcher 3 shares many traits with the later Grand Theft Auto games, but misses out an all important element, being bug free. During my time with the Witcher I unfortunately encountered numerous bugs that were fortunately only ever annoyances. However if you go onto the Witcher 3 forums you can unfortunately see many people were not so lucky with quest breaking and save corrupting bugs aplenty. My own personal experience of the bugs were clipping issues, sound cutting out, villagers disappearing, quests not giving me experience and other minor problems.

    The bugs, especially in a game this size, do not change the fact that the Witcher 3 is a phenomenal game, and any RPG fan should go out and buy it as soon as possible. The question for a reviewer is the following, do the positives of the game outweigh the negatives brought upon it by some quite serious bugs, and after much deliberation I can say that they do. The Witcher 3 is a stunning game that brings so much to the table it is easy to forget the bugs that I encountered, for some this may not be the case, but regardless of your stance on bugs and perfect scores one cannot deny the brilliance of the Witcher 3. This game sets a new standard for role playing games and the staff at CD Projekt Red really should be proud of their accomplishments, this game is brilliant in equal parts size as it is detail and despite my small grievances this is a game that every RPG fan should experience. Why are you still reading?
    Play. This. Game.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    NeumansGreat review, been waiting for this game for awhile now, need to get this, but still trying to work through all the assassin's creed series. too many good games, not enough time.
    Posted by Neumans on 28 May 15 at 10:11
    Sud 923Great Review, the game really is something.
    Posted by Sud 923 on 30 May 15 at 21:46
    nickbadlandSpot on
    Posted by nickbadland on 25 Aug 15 at 12:23
  • Lil Miss CherryLil Miss Cherry928,498
    29 May 2015 29 May 2015
    23 14 6
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    Winter is coming in the form of The Wild Hunt and it’s bringing sheer destruction in it’s wake and pursuit of Ciri, Geralt’s ward and daughter by choice.

    The Witcher 3 Wild hunt, developed by CD Projekt Red and published by Bandai Namco, is a game where beauty and brutality go hand in hand. Lush landscapes, gorgeous and glamorous women and a side of dead rotting corpses, people being burnt at the stake and the notion that all your problems, big or small can be handled with a simple swing of your sword.

    A massive open world RPG, my first impression of the game was surprise at how different the graphics looked from all the shiny screenshots I spent months scouring over while waiting for the return of Geralt. After playing the most interactive porn game I’ve ever experienced and watching Geralt slaughter his way through every obstacle he came across, I was hooked.

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    The graphics looking slightly different didn’t bother me as much as you’d think, having played many RPG’s some of the best haven’t looked all that great but the quality of the content always stands out, not that the Witcher looked bad at all just different from what I expected. Some of the scenery encountered in the game is nothing short of magnificent with some of the most interesting, thought out enemies I’ve ever had the pleasure of chopping to bits.

    The story starts with Geralt dreaming about Ciri back at Kaer Morhen, a school for Witcher’s. Witchers are mutants, devoid of humanity after being subjected to rituals and vigorous training when they are young, giving them cat eyes and a desire to hunt monsters. They carry two swords, one silver for slaying monsters and a steel one for everything else. The beginning sequence re-introduces some of the characters while at the same time providing a short tutorial on running and combat. Not to be outshone by it’s predecessor, The Witcher 3 also starts with something that’s very frequent in the Witcher series, a beautiful half naked woman in the form of Yennefer.

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    The dream doesn’t last long and you are back with Vesemir, the oldest Witcher alive and a friend and mentor to Geralt. Geralt and Vesemir attempt to track down Yennefer while stumbling into your first challenge and contract in the game, the Griffin.

    A man is screaming by the side of the road, while the Griffin devours his horse, the Witcher’s scare it away and continue with their journey to an inn where you are taught the game of Gwent. A strategic card game that consists of two rounds. The goal of the game is to have the highest force on the table. This is done by playing your unit cards that are separated into three categories. Close combat, Ranged and Siege. Cards are placed down and have a number, obviously the higher the cards you are dealt the more chance you have of winning but with low cards all is not lost, special weather cards that sets all cards to one, scorch cards which burn the strongest card on the table and spies which add to the other players total but grant you two more cards from your deck can be played.

    Gwent is definitely an addictive card game, I haven’t wanted to catch them all this much since Pokemon and spent a huge chunk of my Witcher playing time building up my deck and watching in amazement the strategy of some of my opponents. A card is gained every time you beat a unique opponent be it a merchant, friend or in a tournament. By the end your deck and strategy can be nearly unbeatable and you never know what fate is going to deal you.

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    Back to the Griffin, a little into the story you are given a contract to kill it, one of many contracts on unique and tough enemies in the game that will require some preparation to defeat depending on difficulty. Witcher’s are skilled in alchemy and can make a plethora of potions and oils that help them fight the good fight, swim under water and heal their many wounds. They are also capable of crafting deadly bombs which do devastating damage and for the first time will wield a crossbow to deal damage from afar.

    Geralt uses his Witcher senses to track enemies, akin to the likes of Eagle vision in the Assassin Creed series. The screen dims and highlights objects of interest, be it chests to plunder or a mutilated body to look over. You’ll spend a lot of time in the game investigating areas using this ability and it can come in handy. Your contract has a few stages first you can haggle to up your reward although ask for too much and you’ll annoy people, next is talking to witnesses or survivors or checking out the scene of the last attack and following its scent. Once you have gathered all the information you can, you can check out your bestiary to see what your prey is vulnerable to and use it to claim victory, brutally cut off it’s head as a trophy and claim your reward.

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    The land around Geralt is war-torn, with the much hated Nilfgaardian Empire conquering and invading the North. Geralt meets with the Emperor, voiced by Charles Dance. Ciri is his daughter by birth and has Elder Blood running through her veins. She is extremely powerful and this is why the Wild Hunt chase her down so relentlessly. The emperor tells Geralt that Ciri has returned and he makes it his mission to track her down with the help of a few familiar faces from the series. Not playing the other Witcher games won’t hinder your experience massively but having played the other ones will make it feel all the more extraordinary.

    Seeing old friends and old loves (there are a lot of them) will bring a smile to your face as you prepare to save Ciri and butcher your way through quest after quest. The Witcher 3 is nothing short of epic, and I don’t use that word lightly. A lot of RPGs are massive but few maintain such a captivating intriguing story while keeping the side quests just as good. It’s normally world/side quests first and story second but everything about the Witcher 3 is outstanding.

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    Your journey will take you through snow covered mountains, serene lakes and thick forests laden with mighty foes for you to defeat. Curiosity early in the game can get you killed with hard to defeat enemies being just an unlucky encounter away, some will annihilate you with one hit before you have a chance to flee others fly above you with a skull above their head, a warning that attacking them may not be the smartest thing to do…yet.

    Completing quests earns you experience which levels you up. These points can be put in trees but abilities have to be activated in a small number of slots available to you so choosing your strategy and abilities is not something to be taken lightly. Mutagens can be acquired from monsters for each colour of the tree and be applied to make you even stronger. The trees are split into three categories, combat, signs and alchemy, with an extra category that has misc abilities such as extending your health bar or making you more efficient in different types of armour.

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    Choosing which style you like will help in applying your skill points. The many Signs that Geralt is equipped with help in combat and can be upgraded. Igni deals fire damage, Yrden is a magic trap which stops enemies in their tracks (helpful for wraiths and other enemies that look to disappear and move around quickly) Quen prevents the next hit you receive from hurting you and gets rid of any poison/fire effects.

    Aard is a telekinetic blast which pushes enemies back and knocks some down allowing you to pull a gruesome finishing move on them and Axii can control the minds of enemies and turn them into your puppet, killing all their allies.

    This way of doing things does make the game a little hard as you’ll only become proficient after a lot of leveling up, all depending on what difficulty you play on. If story is your thing, playing on the easiest will make your experience an enjoyable one. You’ll feel like a god smashing puny foes with your big sword and although running into higher level enemies will still be a challenge and certain death the game doesn’t punish you and making potions and oils won’t be required as much. It’s a great difficulty for gamers who don’t really venture into RPG’s but see the Witcher as a game just too good to miss, and it is.

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    Harder difficulties will require a lot of preparation and potion making, meditating no longer regenerates your health and for a game which takes hours upon hours to complete, it will take a lot of dedication, skill and patience to defeat the game.

    The enemies in the game were a joy to confront with Drowner’s attacking you in groups, diving under the water and emerging to viciously attack you. Seeing a Leshen for the first time skulking through the woods with crows around it was intimating and I thought twice before venturing over to get a closer look. Water hags, Vampires, Beautiful and yet ugly Sirens circle above and below you wanting nothing more than your grisly demise. Trolls, Gargoyles, Nekkers, White wolves and humans will all at one point have to face the Witcher’s Blade.

    Such variety is a huge reason why RPG’s have always been more of a joy to me than following a soldier with a name over his head in a straight line. The hours will fly by as you explore your surroundings on your not so trusty steed Roach. I had a few problems with this horse, especially during races where he would just stop every five seconds which caused a lot of frustration. I want to win damn it. Roach can be called to you whenever you need to get somewhere fast but has a fear meter when surrounded by enemies, if he gets too scared he will kick you off and leave you to fend for yourself.

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    During the game and your hunt for Ciri, you will witness memories and take control of her. Unlike Geralt, potions, signs and bombs will not be at your disposal. Instead holding down RT will make Ciri dash through dimensions and slash at all the enemies surrounding her dealing massive damage. She can also dodge quite quickly due to her powers. Her scenes are short but sweet and really help build her character and let you take a break from controlling Geralt.

    Although the Witcher has many outstanding qualities, I experienced a lot of problems on my epic adventure. Flickering on the screen, floating enemies and Dwarves. Slow loading screens and the game crashing on me on several occasions. The environment slowly loading in on me as I walked around and my quest waypoint changing it’s mind every five seconds so I’d have to keep turning around. One of the most frequent and frustrating issues of them all which probably took up a lot of my time, was quest givers very slowly loading into where they should be.

    I’d see the yellow circle where they should be but nothing was there. I would painfully run back and forth to get them to appear and then it wouldn’t let me talk to them so it was another minute of running in circles until I could talk to them. This was an issue that bugged me a great deal and happened all too frequently during the hundred hours I poured into the game.

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    Overall the Witcher 3 is up there as one of the best games I’ve ever played. Problems aside and there are a lot of them it still captivated me in every way possible. Epic quests, epic enemies and battles against the Wild Hunt with allies in tow set amongst exquisite landscapes and an exceptional soundtrack that set the mood for the game. I’ve heard it compared to Red Dead Redemption but in my experience the only time that comparison is made is when riding your horse around, helping strangers and picking flowers.

    It is an RPG at it’s core with side quests aplenty, fights and races to participate in, love affairs, graphic sex scenes that will make you blush and hours will fly by building up your gwent deck. If you aren’t an RPG lover, try it and you may be surprised at just how good it is. Other games this year have a massive standard to live up to and despite the delays, was definitely worth the wait.


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  • Raptures LostRaptures Lost1,444,007
    09 Jun 2015 31 Jul 2015
    4 4 3
    Xbox One Game Review - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the most highly anticipated releases in recent years, garnering a passionate following since footage of the game debuted at E3. It promised a huge, diverse open world more than 30 times the size of previous Witcher games. It guaranteed an array of activities and detailed quests full of interesting characters and fantastical stories in which your choices as Geralt Of Rivia would decide the fates of others and help shape the world around you. It pledged to deliver exciting, tactical combat in which you could unleash Geralt’s two swords and magic spells upon various enemy types but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m a huge fan of open-world RPGs, this meant that I was very excited for the release of the game; an excitement that doesn’t come along that often. Based on the aspects of the game that I just mentioned as well as it boasting to contain over 200 hours of gameplay, in theory The Witcher 3 sounded like my perfect game but does it deliver on those promises?

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt concludes the story of the Witcher Geralt of Rivia, the series’ protagonist, whose story to date has been covered in the previous games. Geralt seeks to move on with his own life, embarking on a new and personal mission while the world order itself is coming to a change. Geralt’s new mission comes in dark times as the mysterious and otherworldly army known as the Wild Hunt invades the Northern Kingdoms, leaving only blood soaked earth and fiery ruin in its wake; and it seems the Witcher is the key to stopping their cataclysmic rampage.

    The game begins with Geralt’s dream about Kaer Morhen, a demolished Witcher school. Yennefer, a sorceress and his love interest, contacts him because she is afraid that Ciri, their adopted daughter, is training without permission. Geralt finds Ciri and brings her back to Vesemir, her teacher. However, the Wild Hunt, a phantom army whose appearance is the beginning of the end of the world, kidnaps Ciri. While Geralt wakes up, he realizes that was a bad dream and he is still in a journey to find Yennefer. Geralt sets out on an epic journey to finally find his beloved Yennefer and do whatever he can to keep Ciri safe from the Wild Hunt who are fully aware of her extraordinary powers to cross time and space.

    It is not necessary to have played the previous Witcher games to fully enjoy Wild Hunt. While similar to the previous Witcher games, Wild Hunt has improved on several aspects from past games. Combat revolves around an action role-playing game system combined with the use of magic. The fighting system has been completely revamped. Wild Hunt introduces some new mechanics, such as Geralt’s Witcher-sense, combat on horseback and at sea, swimming underwater, and using a crossbow. Additionally, Geralt can now jump, climb, and vault over smaller obstacles. Item creation and potion brewing still remain as in previous games, but have been modified from The Witcher 2.

    The game features advanced AI and responsive and dynamic environments. The day and night cycle influences some monsters and their powers, similar to how a werewolf would gain powers during the night of a full moon. The game also features a dynamic beard growth system, in which the beard of the playable character Geralt grows as he travels between regions.

    That’s the basics, where do I begin when attempting to give my opinion on this game….

    One of my absolute favourite things about this game is the commendable love and care that has gone into crafting the world; this is a world that really feels alive and lived in. Villagers seamlessly wander around doing their daily chores while having, interesting and elaborate conversations along the way.

    This leads me on to one of the games strongest aspects and that’s its writing and spoken dialogue, the amount of time it must have taken to record all of the lines spoken in the game is pretty crazy to imagine. Characters express emotion through their voices and facial expressions in ways that I’ve never seen before in a game this huge. Basically, the voice-acting is exceptional; even for random NPC’s and minor characters. This is very important in game that contains so many dramatic, emotively charged scenes, a few of which that are guaranteed to make you tear up. That being said, The Witcher 3 can be very funny and has some very well placed scenes to lighten up the darker tones of the game. Protagonist Geralt is void of emotion but don’t let that fool you into thinking that the guy isn’t witty as hell, his dry sense of humour can lead to some hilarious conversation options.

    The combat is fluid, tense and very rewarding. You won’t have to venture very far before you encounter something trying to end your life. It’s a huge world out there and you’ll be tempted to explore, just be careful where you venture because it’s very easy to die in this game but it makes it that much of a delightful challenge.

    The fantasy world that CD Projekt RED has created is really quite amazing. It’s undoubtedly huge and highly detailed; it’s not hard to see the love and care that has gone into designing it.

    I already have fond memories which involved me simply sailing a boat as a fiery sun set in the distance as wind whistled past the sail and the shimmering water splashed against the side. It’s wonderful to experience these quieter moments to sit back and really appreciate the undeniable beauty of the world. Everything seamlessly moves through the excellent day/night cycle as well as the dynamic weather system.

    It’s abundantly clear that great effort has been put into the many side quests, Witcher contracts and treasure hunts. It’s very easy to get completely sucked into side quests that have little to do with the main quest, many of which are so huge that they end up feeling like main quests themselves. I highly recommend experiencing as many as you can as a number of them lead to some of the strongest moments/scenes in the entire journey. The events that take place in a lot of the quests in the game will lead to some kind of future event taking place, these will likely alter the ways in which characters react to you and how the story ultimately unfolds.

    Your decisions really do feel important to the world and how it’s shaped around you in a way that no other open world RPG has ever come close to accomplishing. I genuinely think that going forward players are going to expect this level of importance which really puts a lot of pressure on games like The Elder Scrolls and the up and coming Fallout 4 to deliver the same.

    What would a game like this be without love interests? I’m not talking about the quick flings you can have at the local brothels but of course the almost impossible choice between Triss and Yennefer. The relationships you form with these two ladies and many others in the game leads to some tough choices so pick your dialogue options wisely if you want any chance of, you know. However, to say that Triss and Yennefer are simply love interests for Geralt would be doing them a disservice. Both play a hugely important role in the story as do a host of other memorable characters.

    Accompanying you along your journey is your faithful horse roach of course but along with that is a memorable, truly beautiful soundtrack that suits the game perfectly. It hits heights at exactly the right moments, creating tense battles and plays more sombre songs at others. Whether you’re riding Roach through the vast landscapes of Novigrad or sailing a boat through the rough seas of Skellige, you’ll be guaranteed to see something interesting.

    If all that wasn’t enough, The Witcher 3 has it’s very own card game called Gwent. It’s seriously fun and addictive, you’ll struggle at first but once your deck begins to grow stronger its genuinely satisfying. I can’t remember another mini game/card game that I had this much fun with, I ended up playing against as many people as I could.

    With a world as huge as the one in The Witcher, you might think it would be riddled with bugs much like the way Skyrim or even Fallout New Vegas was when released but you’d be wrong. Not entirely wrong as there was a single treasure hunting quest of mine that became “broken” after a bug but I’ll give it a break on that one. I experienced a large amount of texture pop in and quite a few, easily fixable visual glitches. Check out this video, a pretty weird glitch that I encountered while playing -

    Overall: 10/10 – After over 120 hours with The Witcher 3, I still had a map riddled with question marks and things to discover. Even after all that time I was saddened to see Geralt’s journey come to an end but I knew I had experienced something that I will look back on nostalgically for many years to come. In my opinion a 10/10 doesn’t necessarily mean that a game is “perfect” but instead means that it sets the benchmark for other games in the genre at the highest level. It changes what you expect of a game of that genre and will be used as a blueprint for future open world RPGS. I applauded the game’s graphics, world design, large amount of content, story, and its overall gameplay. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and feel it lived up to the hype and delivered on its claims even if the superior version of the game is evidently on PC. I look forward to the many DLC’s to come and hopefully someday some kind of continuation. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is not only one of the best games ever made but it’s quite possibly the best RPG ever created.

    I'm aware that this is quite a long read but I just had so much to say, thanks for reading if you made it this far! smile

    (Originally posted on