Published on September 7th, 2011 | by Coyle Permetter, Editor
The Witcher 2 Review
Developer: CD Projekt RED
(This review will be spoiler-free)
The second installment of The Witcher quietly made its way into stores earlier this year. Let me go ahead and get this out of the way now: this game has done everything right as far as what direction the next generation of RPGs should go. I began playing with a little bit of skepticism, as I am an RPG fanatic. I was quickly surprised to find myself immersed in a world that had gorgeous graphics, an extremely challenging yet rewarding combat system, very good voice acting, and environments that were so meticulously detailed I could see insects flying between shrubs.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings follows Geralt of Rivia, one of the last witchers (genetically enhanced humans that are trained to slay monsters). The story can have multiple story lines as well as endings based on the player’s actions. However, to my surprise this is no Mass Effect. The points in the story at which players are presented with decisions to make the transition down a specific story line is much more fluid. The emotion is builds up perfectly till it hits the climax, and then you are given an option, with a timer! This way you feel so much more engrossed in the story, because you literally have seconds to make your decision – one that will echo throughout the rest of your story.
Comparing the combat system of The Witcher 2 is very difficult because it really is its own animal. If I had to, I would say it has the melee combat system of Assassins Creed mixed with the skill/spell selection system of Mass Effect. On my first playthrough I ran into a group of three guards and thought “Sheesh this is gonna be easy”. To my dismay, I was cut down quickly. The combat is sort of unforgiving. You are expected to parry, dodge, block, roll and use every one of your spells to turn the tide of battle in your favor. The result is interesting – every battle can be approached differently by different players. Some may want to drop traps all over the room then provoke a mob of soldiers dancing between the traps as they are all electrocuted or burned alive. Others may head straight into the group rolling kicking and slicing with swords, perfectly parrying and countering every jab or thrust their unskilled opponents make.
The game also features a unique meditation system, in which you take potions to raise different attributes. Are you fighting a group of blood-thirsty mercenaries? Up your damage resistance so you can make those extra slashes at your opponents. If you’re encountering a humongous dragon, take a swift potion to increase your speed so you can dodge all of those fireballs that will be raining down on the battlefield. Or you could take them all, with the possibility of being poisoned … This just adds another depth to an already deep ocean in terms of combat.
And speaking about the content of the game The Witcher 2 definitely earns its “M” rating from the ERSB. Everything from prolific swearing (if you can think of it they say it.) to full frontal nudity, to graphic violence is present throughout the game. Personally it’s my cup of tea, but be warned if you plan on playing this in front of the kids you might want to put them in the other room.
The graphics are incredible
On the downside, the game is for PC only and it requires some pretty hefty requirements to run the game to its full potential. The camera angles can also get a “little” bit annoying but I feel like it’s more of my Walmart keyboard then it is the game configuration.
Every once in a while a game comes out that’s fun to play. Even rarer is when a game comes along and completely sets a new precedent for my expectations in a genre. The Witcher 2 completely surprised me. I am extremely critical of RPGs, but they do so many things right in terms of execution and innovation, that it really left me immersed in a world. A feeling I haven’t had since playing Final Fantasy VII for the first time. The graphics are great, the combat is extremely balanced and fluid and the controls are very tight and tested so that your movements are very crisp. But there’s more to it than that, this game has that X factor that leaves me thinking about the decisions I made in my game long after my PCs been turned off and I’m doing other things. The story is entrancing and the way CD Projekt RED immersed me in it is just short of absolute perfection.
[xrr label=”Rating: 9.75/10″ rating=9.75/10]
+ Awesome graphics
+ Unique Combat system
+ Player driven story line execution
+ Overall story very interesting
– Camera Angles can get annoying
– Godly PC requirements to run on best settings
(The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings releases on Xbox 360 Q1 2012 – Look out for it!)