The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Pleasantly surprised.

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Wall-o-text incoming.

So... The Witcher 2: Awkward Subtitle, an action-RPG game by a Polish studio called CDProject.

Sequel to The Witcher, in case that wasn't obvious.

I actually want to give a positive impression with this post, so I'll get the bad stuff out of the way now:

The story is very average by video game standards. Which means it's garbage by the standards of other media. The voice acting is rather lacklustre, not bad exactly, but decidedly flat. The supporting characters are nothing special.

Then there's the main character... eaarg. Yeah. See, in The Witcher 2 you play a pre-made character, a fellow name Geralt. This is not an inherently bad thing, I have no problem playing as a set character.

Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

Okay, now that's out of my system, the good stuff:

The combat. At it's core you have a third-person hack-and-slasher. Light attack, heavy attack, parry, dodge etc. Behind that you have some robust RPG elements. And around the edges you have five basic spells and a bevy of thrown weapons, traps and bombs. Lastly, you can get high on buff yourself with an almost worrying amount of potions, oils and incense. What I really like about all this is that none of the various elements feel secondary or useless. Instead, they end up complementing each other nicely.

The environments. Oh good God, the environments. They are gorgeous. They are detailed. It would probably be an exaggeration to say they are the best I have ever seen, after all, the Bioshock games and Metro 2033 still exist. But The Witcher 2 is most definitely up there. Suffice to say, an early area features a small forest and I was more than happy to explore said forest purely based on how pretty and detailed it was. Not many games can achieve that.

The setting. Well... it's a sword & sorcery game. Set in medieval Europe. With monsters. And dwarves who like mining. And elves who like forests. So yeah, we're not exactly staring down the barrel of originality here. However, it's all exceptionally well realized. The forests are leafy (and gorgeous, did I mention that?), the swamps are murky and the towns are bustling and alive.

That last point deserves some elaboration. Here, have a promo video:

When I first watched that I was a bit suspicious. After all, it's marketing. And how many developers don't claim that their digital worlds are vibrant and dynamic and all that? Well, turns out these guys aren't kidding. There are numerous examples of the detail that has been put into this game.

The one failure in this department is the NPC conversation. They have that Bethesda problem where you hear them again and again. For example, in the video you saw a guy trying to extort protection fees from a blacksmith. Yeah... I've heard that exchange at least five times while playing.

Lastly, there is, for lack of a better term, the passion. And no, I'm not talking about the sex scenes. Witcher 2 is quite clearly a labour of love. Sure, the people who made it wanted to collect a paycheck, but they wanted to do that by making a really good game. I'm not one to say that passion is all you need, but it certainly helps and in this case, it shows.

...

OH GOD SO MANY WORDS. I CANT BREATH.

TL;DR:

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings isn't perfect. It's not even great. It isn't a game I can unconditionally recommend to absolutely anyone. However, it is good. If anything in the above torrent of text has piqued your interest then I would strongly suggest that you look into it.

The Witcher 2 is probably the best game I am gone play all year. I do however consider the combat a small downgrade from the first but I have a weird taste in that regard. And yes the setting and environments is amasing well made with the only noticeably flaw being the voice acting.

Zhukov:

Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

I do disagree with calling him a Mary Sue there are a lot of times both in the first game and in the part of the second that I have played where he doesn't have complete control over what happens, ad to that that he is seen by big part of the world as a monster and a remnant from the past, and you have more of a more of a tragic hero.

I really couldn't disagree more with this to be honest, but hey, its your opinion.
I think a lot of what you said regarding the main character can't really be blamed on CDPR, they are working with a character that has already been well established in a series of books that are very popular in their country, and they can't really do anything about that.
I actually like Geralt a lot, he's a pretty interesting and flawed character, wouldn't really call him a Mary Sue. Can't understand how you can't like the story though, up to where I've played, the story seems to be far more involved and interesting than the first game.

Woohoo, nice review bro!

Geralt and indeed the entire setting of the game as well as many of the characters are actually from a famous series of Polish novels, so saying that 'the developers were working on a cliche list' is a bit silly. You can say you don't like him, but he's neither a creation of the developers nor a Mary Sue considering how often in the first game as well as the second things spiral out of his control, not to mention the books in which he's almost a subversion of the trope in how helpless, despite his skills and abilities, he is in changing things. It was one of the driving factors throughout the novels and short stories I've read.

As for the amnesia thing, the reason for that is simple. The series of books that The Witcher 1 and 2 are based on ended with Geralt dying. Not a glorious death either, a random peasant during a riot stabbed him with a pitchfork and he bled to death. Very Mary Sue of him. So the developers had to think of a way to bring him back as well as to give a reason for his progression as a character; this is an rpg after all. So amnesia. Why is he still alive? It's a mystery, he's got amnesia. Why does he have to re-learn everything at a steady pace and be re-introduced to characters rpg style? Amnesia.

Bit of a cheap way out, but there you go.

That aside, I'm really glad you enjoyed the game. It's nice to see the series becoming more well known and the games more popular. I've only barely touched The Witcher 2 so far thanks to being busy, but from what I've experienced I more than agree on your points.

There's a save import, right?
I should probably get around to finishing the first game sometime soon.

linwolf:
The Witcher 2 is probably the best game I am gone play all year. I do however consider the combat a small downgrade from the first but I have a weird taste in that regard. And yes the setting and environments is amasing well made with the only noticeably flaw being the voice acting.

Really? You don't like the combat in this one? :/
The only thing that I don't like is that it's a hell of a lot harder and forces me to actually play properly. The first time around I never used spells or traps at all. Now, you HAVE to use spells at least, cause just fighting will result in death almost assured. I was surprised how hard some of the enemies were so early on, especially those huge knights. Even those guys with the shields can be a pain. So yeah, the combat might not be as pleasurable or cruisey, but it certainly makes you pay attention and play better.

The story is very average by video game standards. Which means it's garbage by the standards of other media. The voice acting is rather lacklustre, not bad exactly, but decidedly flat. The supporting characters are nothing special.

Then there's the main character... eaarg. Yeah. See, in The Witcher 2 you play a pre-made character, a fellow name Geralt. This is not an inherently bad thing, I have no problem playing as a set character.

Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

If you haven't played the previous game or read any of the books, very little of the Witcher 2 would have any affect on you. You don't know the history or lore, the characters or kingdoms, what Witchers are or why Geralt is like he is. If you've simply picked up the game and played, then you can be forgiven for thinking everything is fairly mediocre.

For those of us who have read/played the other stuff... holy crap. It's incredible. Seeing all these characters and locations come to life is breath taking. We get all those conversations that the other people wouldn't understand. Though I agree Geralt does seem to suffer a lot more from "tough guy syndrome" then he did in the previous game. The voice acting isn't fantastic cause the developers are Polish. In Witcher 1 the voiceovers were so bad that had to redo like 2000 lines of dialogue for the free Enhanced Edition patch. Witcher 2's VO's aren't that bad, but if they get enough complaints that might do that again.

Frankly I'm enamoured with the game right from the get go. It makes Fable look like a kids toy, and Dragon Age look like a pile of mud. Just wish it didn't try to melt my computer on ultra settings. Damn you, Nvidia! Make a decent DX11 card already!!!

Zhukov:
Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

[sarcasm]
Also on the list of "Mary Sue" characteristics of his:
1) being feared loathed and persecuted for who and what he is (with the sad irony of being made that way to protect people who now fear him)
2) being sterile (result of the mutation) but actually WANTING to settle down and have a family
3) having a shorter lifespan as a result of the mutation
4) monster slaying slowly becoming a 'dying business' with actual monsters being hard to find
5) having half of the local pantheon on his case for not obeying 'laws of the fate' (aka trying to act like a human being instead of watching people and creatures suffer unjustly)
6) seeing majority of the people he gets close to die and than realizing that in some way it was indirectly caused by his previous actions
[/sarcasm]

Thing is, Geralt was not made by the game developers. He is an established character from a series of short novels loosely based on European folklore with a twist of gothic realism. Thers a crap-ton of back story to the character and the world. They have tried to cover as much as possible in the first game and did a pretty good job at that if I remember correctly. Sadly they couldn't fit everything, and you need to do some digging (multiple replays) to find some of those factoids, and even than they can be easily missed (mentioned offhandedly).

Other than that, good review. I enjoyed reading it.

Project_Xii:

linwolf:
The Witcher 2 is probably the best game I am gone play all year. I do however consider the combat a small downgrade from the first but I have a weird taste in that regard. And yes the setting and environments is amasing well made with the only noticeably flaw being the voice acting.

Really? You don't like the combat in this one? :/
The only thing that I don't like is that it's a hell of a lot harder and forces me to actually play properly. The first time around I never used spells or traps at all. Now, you HAVE to use spells at least, cause just fighting will result in death almost assured. I was surprised how hard some of the enemies were so early on, especially those huge knights. Even those guys with the shields can be a pain. So yeah, the combat might not be as pleasurable or cruisey, but it certainly makes you pay attention and play better.

I love the difficulty, the hardness is its saving grace. That is what for me only makes it a small downgrade, I am just not a fan of fast combat. I prefer slow and tactical and while there lot of tactical in it, more than the first have, it doesn't have the slow neatness of the first.

linwolf:
I love the difficulty, the hardness is its saving grace. That is what for me only makes it a small downgrade, I am just not a fan of fast combat. I prefer slow and tactical and while there lot of tactical in it, more than the first have, it doesn't have the slow neatness of the first.

Ah, this is true. They went to so much trouble with the motion capture and everything, researching the way his techniques were described in the books and then getting people to act it out so they could put it in the game. The slower paced combat really let you admire how well crafted and fluid is fighting actions were.

Witcher 2's combat... it's more like he's taken a bottle of No-Doz and then gone to a rave. Seriously, add strobes lights and techno music to some of those fight scenes and it'd be a riot (waits patiently for the inevitable youtube video). Hes doing so much spinning, flipping and break dancing it sort of just becomes a huge mess. You can appreciate it during one on one fights, but during crowd battles it just doesn't have that same fluid grace as the first. I would have loved it if it was more like, say, Batman: Arkham Asylum. I get the feeling that's what they were aiming for, but didn't quite get there.

sorry to be attemptign to hijack the thread but anyone able to download the DLC or anyone know of a solution to get it to download?

I'm glad you enjoyed it, I had a hard time which to buy first: LA Noire or Witcher 2. I ended up deciding LA Noire, for no particular reason, but as soon as I'm finished with that, I'll be sure to pick up Witcher 2.

One question, how is the voice acting in comparison to the first game?

Wuggy:
I'm glad you enjoyed it, I had a hard time which to buy first: LA Noire or Witcher 2. I ended up deciding LA Noire, for no particular reason, but as soon as I'm finished with that, I'll be sure to pick up Witcher 2.

One question, how is the voice acting in comparison to the first game?

Voice acting is much better this time around, so is the general appeal of the cutscenes, the animations are still a little rough in some places, but all in all its a far better outing the second time around..

As for the game, im only a few hours in, but im loving the shit out of it, the combat is far superior, the difficulty is awesome, and the environments are stunning.. I am having serious texture pop in issues in some places, other than that im very happy with it.

Merkavar:
sorry to be attemptign to hijack the thread but anyone able to download the DLC or anyone know of a solution to get it to download?

the account page is down atm as there moving information around, you will be able to get it later.

OT: Game is amazing one of the best this year defiantly, im slightly lost on the story but its told in one of the best ways ive personally seen in a rpg, its also so lovely to look at and ones very well on a rather low mid range machine. overall its just a great experience

What do you mean "Suprised"? The witcher 2 has looked like a total winnar since the first trailer leaked. CD Projekt RED have a real passion for their games, they care about their users like almost no-one else. Im just hoping the more polished sequel to STALKER is able to deliver like this becuase that would be an unfathomably good game.

Hm. Some people are objecting to the Mary Sue remark.

I should make it clear that I do not have all the background. I have not read the books. I did try to play the first game, but, well... oh dear, I wish there was a gentle way to say this... it was a festering pile of crap. I barely made it through the intro.

Sure, Geralt may well be a wonderful, complex and humanly flawed characters in the books and the first game. I wouldn't know. Thing is, he isn't any of those things in Witcher 2. Maybe that changes later on, we'll see. For the moment I can only judge what I see and what I have seen is a classic Mary Sue.

Now, to address your individual points:

linwolf:
I do disagree with calling him a Mary Sue there are a lot of times both in the first game and in the part of the second that I have played where he doesn't have complete control over what happens, ad to that that he is seen by big part of the world as a monster and a remnant from the past, and you have more of a more of a tragic hero.

I don't quite see how not being in control of the situation makes a character any less Mary Sue-ish.

As for being seen as a monster, that's actually a common Mary Sue trait. People despise him in spite of (and indeed because of) him being a totally awesome badass. Thus allowing him to be a tragic victim of hate whithout actually being particularly hate-worthy.

=RedMenace=:
[sarcasm]
Also on the list of "Mary Sue" characteristics of his:
1) being feared loathed and persecuted for who and what he is (with the sad irony of being made that way to protect people who now fear him)
2) being sterile (result of the mutation) but actually WANTING to settle down and have a family
3) having a shorter lifespan as a result of the mutation
4) monster slaying slowly becoming a 'dying business' with actual monsters being hard to find
5) having half of the local pantheon on his case for not obeying 'laws of the fate' (aka trying to act like a human being instead of watching people and creatures suffer unjustly)
6) seeing majority of the people he gets close to die and than realizing that in some way it was indirectly caused by his previous actions
[/sarcasm]

Point #1 is a classic Mary Sue trait. See above response.
Point #4 strikes me as a bit flimsy. Business is booming. There are monsters everywhere. I can't walk twenty metres beyond the town walls without something trying to eat me. So far I've fought little goblin things (Nekkers), big insect things, a giant spider, a kraken (kayan), wraiths, drowned zombies, and necrophages. Not to mention the dragon.

The other points haven't come up yet. If they do then I may revise my opinion. But, as I said, I can only judge what I see.

The Madman:
Geralt and indeed the entire setting of the game as well as many of the characters are actually from a famous series of Polish novels, so saying that 'the developers were working on a cliche list' is a bit silly.

So the cliche list was long enough to fill entire novels? Wow.

(Kidding, please don't hurt me.)

Seriously, I am unsure of how to respond to this. I am tempted to say that the developers should have changed things to make them better. If they were willing to retcon Geralt's death then surely a bit more chrcterization wouldn't be too far fetched.

However, making improvements probably would have earned the everlasting hatred of the fans. And the developers themselves are probably fan of the books. So, um... stalemate I guess.

hazabaza1:
There's a save import, right?

Indeed there is.

However, I didn't use it. So I really can't tell you anything more.

Wuggy:
One question, how is the voice acting in comparison to the first game?

Better. Quite a bit better.

Scrumpmonkey:
What do you mean "Suprised"?

It was surprise because:
a) It's a fairly low-profile game.
b) The first one was terrible.

Just picked this up myself.
Enjoying it so far, but the tutorial level just killed me. Twice.
I'm gonna need to practice. And probably get a drink.

Looking forward to seeing how it measures up to Bioware games, which I'm more familiar with.

Zhukov:

I should make it clear that I do not have all the background. I have not read the books. I did try to play the first game, but, well... oh dear, I wish there was a gentle way to say this... it was a festering pile of crap. I barely made it through the intro.

As someone else who couldn't make it very far into the weak original game, I found your review extremely helpful, thank you. I'll wait until it drops a little further in price before I pick it up, though I have to say your review it reads a lot like you're more wowed by the flashiness of the game rather than the substance of it. Not saying that's a necessarily bad thing but.. in my experience flash tends to wear off pretty quickly :)

Should be in the review part of the forums BUT I found The Witcher 2 to be a GREAT game exept you need a AWEESOME PC to play it unlike mine...it is slow...even on low graphics.....*SIGH* I need a new PC...

+ it looks amazing
+ OP's "passion" thing is dead on
+ It's not afraid to be stupidly difficult
+ It's part of a realised world, I just don't have the background
+ Scottish dwarves are awesome, much better than WoW's pitiful attempt (Keep yer feet, on the ground!)
+ Combat has loads of depth to it

- The main character sucks, he's tropified to the max, you've seen every single element of his character before
- Similarly, the whole mis-accused hero with the ostracisation from race, done before, blah blah. The story looks like something that was fresh when Shakespeare did it (I don't know much shakespeare, but I bet he did a story very like this)
- It explains fuck-all to you regarding story, based on the assumption you played their (shitty to me) first game or read (shitty from translation) the books.
- Facial expressions are worse than Half-Life 2's. HL2's were great, but that was a long time ago and they should really be doing better.
- Fannying about with ores and shit is just frustrating, long and pointless.
- The difficulty curve sucks, it's absurdly hard at the first 5 encounters, then it gets piss easy for an hour or two, then difficult, really difficult, easy then hard again.
- Some GFX must be turned off because they are shit. Bloom is horrid, Ubersampling requires an SLI-system, which is cool but don't forget to turn if off unless you're a serious enthusiast.

Despite the negs, it's worth playing if you are a hardcore gamer that likes RPG's, has a Crysis-level PC (I wouldn't bother if not) and don't mind heavy story. I'm not kidding about the hardcore thing, this game makes no excuses for Fable-pros.

I skipped most of this for fear of spoilers... but... are you telling me you finished the game already? After 2 days? Seriously?

That's obsurd. I wish I had that kind of free time.

I'm not even done the prologue.

Some may hate me for this but, I did not play The Witcher (the first game, for many reasons) and decided to start on The Witcher 2:AoK. So those reading this will get my opinion as somebody who takes TW2 as a standalone game, not knowing what to expect.

As far as my RPG game experience goes, I have played DA:O/2, FO series, FF series, and a number of others.

TW2 by itself is quite a decent game with the main character as an anti-hero, who does despite being a born killer, have a heart and morales. I didn't know exactly what happens in the first game at all but, this is what I could tell from the second. As far as the story goes, its a bearable but not one that I will remember for a long time.

The combat mechanics was good with a nice amount of moves to pull off, however, Geralt is not as swift/nimble as I wouldve liked him to be. The cast time of the spells along with the attack speed is a little annoying at times with me going "why couldnt he cast that a little faster?" All this can be overlooked by the fact that it is definitely one of the better RPG combat systems out there.

The environments were awesome! Just from the prologue I could tell the heavy amount of detail put in, right into where a catapult's rock smashes into a castle wall and the variety of colours used in the forests and towns.

I would reccomend this game to those that enjoy a good RPG game to play whilst waiting for Skyrim/Diablo3/ME3

Zhukov:
Wall-o-text incoming.

So... The Witcher 2: Awkward Subtitle, an action-RPG game by a Polish studio called CDProject.

Sequel to The Witcher, in case that wasn't obvious.

I actually want to give a positive impression with this post, so I'll get the bad stuff out of the way now:

The story is very average by video game standards. Which means it's garbage by the standards of other media. The voice acting is rather lacklustre, not bad exactly, but decidedly flat. The supporting characters are nothing special.

Then there's the main character... eaarg. Yeah. See, in The Witcher 2 you play a pre-made character, a fellow name Geralt. This is not an inherently bad thing, I have no problem playing as a set character.

Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

Okay, now that's out of my system, the good stuff:

The combat. At it's core you have a third-person hack-and-slasher. Light attack, heavy attack, parry, dodge etc. Behind that you have some robust RPG elements. And around the edges you have five basic spells and a bevy of thrown weapons, traps and bombs. Lastly, you can get high on buff yourself with an almost worrying amount of potions, oils and incense. What I really like about all this is that none of the various elements feel secondary or useless. Instead, they end up complementing each other nicely.

The environments. Oh good God, the environments. They are gorgeous. They are detailed. It would probably be an exaggeration to say they are the best I have ever seen, after all, the Bioshock games and Metro 2033 still exist. But The Witcher 2 is most definitely up there. Suffice to say, an early area features a small forest and I was more than happy to explore said forest purely based on how pretty and detailed it was. Not many games can achieve that.

The setting. Well... it's a sword & sorcery game. Set in medieval Europe. With monsters. And dwarves who like mining. And elves who like forests. So yeah, we're not exactly staring down the barrel of originality here. However, it's all exceptionally well realized. The forests are leafy (and gorgeous, did I mention that?), the swamps are murky and the towns are bustling and alive.

That last point deserves some elaboration. Here, have a promo video:

When I first watched that I was a bit suspicious. After all, it's marketing. And how many developers don't claim that their digital worlds are vibrant and dynamic and all that? Well, turns out these guys aren't kidding. There are numerous examples of the detail that has been put into this game.

The one failure in this department is the NPC conversation. They have that Bethesda problem where you hear them again and again. For example, in the video you saw a guy trying to extort protection fees from a blacksmith. Yeah... I've heard that exchange at least five times while playing.

Lastly, there is, for lack of a better term, the passion. And no, I'm not talking about the sex scenes. Witcher 2 is quite clearly a labour of love. Sure, the people who made it wanted to collect a paycheck, but they wanted to do that by making a really good game. I'm not one to say that passion is all you need, but it certainly helps and in this case, it shows.

...

OH GOD SO MANY WORDS. I CANT BREATH.

TL;DR:

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings isn't perfect. It's not even great. It isn't a game I can unconditionally recommend to absolutely anyone. However, it is good. If anything in the above torrent of text has piqued your interest then I would strongly suggest that you look into it.

you know what my main point of critique for this game is?
Visually it's shite for some reason nobody has been able to touch the scale of epicness that was Oblivions graphics in a rpg since then

Nothing is scaling up to that

The characters were way to bland for me .
The combat is shaky at best
And the story is just a big pile of doggy doodoo

Maraveno out!

I respect the shit out of this game and probably way overrate it because of one thing: it's actually mature. Compared to the rest of the games media, anyway, it's the single most mature game I've ever played and by far.

The environments and the visuals overall - top notch. The tutorial of the game is far more impressive and simply better made than the entirety of Dragon Age 2 (which has to be mentioned being an RPG everyone is blindly forgiving almost every fault for just because it's made by a certain company), and this is not even an exaggeration.

I do have a problem with the combat and its in the way it works on the most basic level. You can't hit anything other than what your target is, even if your sword swings go straight through other enemies. That's just annoying.

Also, the lip-syncing is incredibly robotic and the characters are almost always stuck with expressionless faces.

Hammeroj:
I respect the shit out of this game and probably way overrate it because of one thing: it's actually mature. Compared to the rest of the games media, anyway, it's the single most mature game I've ever played and by far.

The environments and the visuals overall - top notch. The tutorial of the game is far more impressive and simply better made than the entirety of Dragon Age 2 (which has to be mentioned being an RPG everyone is blindly forgiving almost every faults for just because it's made by a certain company), and this is not even an exaggeration.

I do have a problem with the combat and its in the way it works on the most basic level. You can't hit anything other than what your target is, even if your sword swings go straight through other enemies. That's just annoying.

Also, the lip-syncing is incredibly robotic and the characters are almost always stuck with expressionless faces.

I think they are using one of those new voice patterrn-sync engines for the lips, which needs work, since that also means the characters faces can't move.

As far as the game, I LOVED the first Witcher. I felt it was a clinic on how to make a good, story-driven rpg.

You're exactly right about the game being mature. It's not a gritty like many American RPGs or angst-ridden like jRPGs, it just feels... *real*. The NPCs act like they SHOULD act, not as they are programmed to act.

Zhukov:
Hm. Some people are objecting to the Mary Sue remark.

I should make it clear that I do not have all the background. I have not read the books. I did try to play the first game, but, well... oh dear, I wish there was a gentle way to say this... it was a festering pile of crap. I barely made it through the intro.

Heh, the intro/tutorial of the Witcher 1 really came off as a really really bad fan fiction. It was sad.

And I totally agree with you on the Mary Sue part... He is walking pill of cliché. All his drama can really be summed up to 'Nobody understands me because of how awesome I am!'. Him being such an uninteresting character was a big part of why I never finished the first Witcher - I simply didn't care about his story.

One of the thing people need to realise is that it's not because it's popular in Poland that it's good :P... There's a serie of fantasy book that's huge here in Canada, especially among the french community - Les Chevalier D'Emerauld/The Knights of Emerald - and it's pure drivel really.

I never played the first Witcher till earlier this week and am still playing it. All I have to say is HOW THE HELL DID I MISS THIS WHEN IT WAS RELEASED?! Seriously, gotta be one of the best rpg's I've played in this generation bugs and minor crashes aside(Though there's not much to compare to since this generation kinda sucked..). I'm working to finish it, I have my copy of 2 sitting on my desk, waiting to be installed.

Scrumpmonkey:
CD Projekt RED have a real passion for their games, they care about their users like almost no-one else.

Considering their game has no DRM, I have to agree.

Maraveno:

Zhukov:
Wall-o-text incoming.

So... The Witcher 2: Awkward Subtitle, an action-RPG game by a Polish studio called CDProject.

Sequel to The Witcher, in case that wasn't obvious.

I actually want to give a positive impression with this post, so I'll get the bad stuff out of the way now:

The story is very average by video game standards. Which means it's garbage by the standards of other media. The voice acting is rather lacklustre, not bad exactly, but decidedly flat. The supporting characters are nothing special.

Then there's the main character... eaarg. Yeah. See, in The Witcher 2 you play a pre-made character, a fellow name Geralt. This is not an inherently bad thing, I have no problem playing as a set character.

Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

Okay, now that's out of my system, the good stuff:

The combat. At it's core you have a third-person hack-and-slasher. Light attack, heavy attack, parry, dodge etc. Behind that you have some robust RPG elements. And around the edges you have five basic spells and a bevy of thrown weapons, traps and bombs. Lastly, you can get high on buff yourself with an almost worrying amount of potions, oils and incense. What I really like about all this is that none of the various elements feel secondary or useless. Instead, they end up complementing each other nicely.

The environments. Oh good God, the environments. They are gorgeous. They are detailed. It would probably be an exaggeration to say they are the best I have ever seen, after all, the Bioshock games and Metro 2033 still exist. But The Witcher 2 is most definitely up there. Suffice to say, an early area features a small forest and I was more than happy to explore said forest purely based on how pretty and detailed it was. Not many games can achieve that.

The setting. Well... it's a sword & sorcery game. Set in medieval Europe. With monsters. And dwarves who like mining. And elves who like forests. So yeah, we're not exactly staring down the barrel of originality here. However, it's all exceptionally well realized. The forests are leafy (and gorgeous, did I mention that?), the swamps are murky and the towns are bustling and alive.

That last point deserves some elaboration. Here, have a promo video:

When I first watched that I was a bit suspicious. After all, it's marketing. And how many developers don't claim that their digital worlds are vibrant and dynamic and all that? Well, turns out these guys aren't kidding. There are numerous examples of the detail that has been put into this game.

The one failure in this department is the NPC conversation. They have that Bethesda problem where you hear them again and again. For example, in the video you saw a guy trying to extort protection fees from a blacksmith. Yeah... I've heard that exchange at least five times while playing.

Lastly, there is, for lack of a better term, the passion. And no, I'm not talking about the sex scenes. Witcher 2 is quite clearly a labour of love. Sure, the people who made it wanted to collect a paycheck, but they wanted to do that by making a really good game. I'm not one to say that passion is all you need, but it certainly helps and in this case, it shows.

...

OH GOD SO MANY WORDS. I CANT BREATH.

TL;DR:

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings isn't perfect. It's not even great. It isn't a game I can unconditionally recommend to absolutely anyone. However, it is good. If anything in the above torrent of text has piqued your interest then I would strongly suggest that you look into it.

you know what my main point of critique for this game is?
Visually it's shite for some reason nobody has been able to touch the scale of epicness that was Oblivions graphics in a rpg since then

Nothing is scaling up to that

The characters were way to bland for me .
The combat is shaky at best
And the story is just a big pile of doggy doodoo

Maraveno out!

Witcher 2's environments are vastly superior to Oblivion's.

For starters, they have character.

Maraveno:
you know what my main point of critique for this game is?
Visually it's shite for some reason nobody has been able to touch the scale of epicness that was Oblivions graphics in a rpg since then

Nothing is scaling up to that

Oh man, that made me laugh. Funniest thing I've heard in a while.

Maraveno:
you know what my main point of critique for this game is?
Visually it's shite for some reason nobody has been able to touch the scale of epicness that was Oblivions graphics in a rpg since then

Nothing is scaling up to that

The characters were way to bland for me .
The combat is shaky at best
And the story is just a big pile of doggy doodoo

Maraveno out!

Oblivion, in particular Tamriel, had boring level design. Yeah sure it looked pretty but there was nothing unique going on.

1. Oblivion had boring characters who had bland design and that Bethesda stare.
2. Oblivion's combat was just slash, slash, block.
3. Oblivion's storyline was evil demon taking over world and now you need to go find a bunch of holy grail's so that someone else can take on the antagonist for you.

You should do comedy, 'cause you're hilarious.

Maraveno:
you know what my main point of critique for this game is?
Visually it's shite for some reason nobody has been able to touch the scale of epicness that was Oblivions graphics in a rpg since then

Nothing is scaling up to that

The characters were way to bland for me .
The combat is shaky at best
And the story is just a big pile of doggy doodoo

Maraveno out!

Hahahahaha, oh wow.

Zhukov:
Thing is, Geralt is the most blatant Mary Sue I have seen in quite some time. He's a tough, cynical badass with platinum hair and exotic eyes (gold with feline pupils in case you were wondering) who travels the world slaying monsters while being constantly pursued by amorous women. Also, he's an amnesiac with a tragic past. Oh yeah, and he has a slash scar across one eye, because apparently the developers were working off some sort of cliche checklist. His one saving grace is that he's generally a fairly nice guy.

***************SPOILER********

He have no tragic past. He died fighting against a "pogrom" against non human, killed by a mere no one. with a fork. He still have this scare on the chest. Tha, a witch stole his dead body and stole gis soul from the dead itself, ressurectin him, but taking away his memory. For I don't remember the reson. Enough deep?

As for the story being shit on other media, it's a reap of from a book. Like harry potter videogame. And the book was good. As any fanboy will tell you.

Man, this game makes me wish I liked PC gaming better.

I think I read they were considering a console port, is that at all likely?

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