Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Hands On

I took a day to play as much of the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, by CD Projekt Red, I could in order to get show you all how the game works and how it looks so far. I've just barely started Chapter 1. The prologue was quite long, possibly 4 hours. It's been mostly linear story so far, but that has been hardly a bad thing. The story is interesting, especially to those who played the Witcher 1, but it does have it's cliches already. For instance, you Geralt of Rivea, have amnesia. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be full blown amnesia and only pertains to his distant past. With that aside the story has drawn me and made me interested so far. The game runs pretty well and looks excellent. I also haven't seen a abundance of people complaining on the forums about bugs or framerate issues, so that bodes well.

If you cannot tell from the video the prologue is quite difficult and the tutorial is a little lacking. You cannot access information, ingame, about what the keys do. The tutorial pops up during certain parts of the beginning to tell you how to do everything, but it is not evenly distributed and you cannot bring back old messages. In specific, I didn't know how to block until the third battle. Fighting without knowing how to block in the beginning is a pain in the ass, still fun though. I am playing the game on normal and I've died a dozen or so times by Chapter 1. That's pretty rare for me because I tend to be a cautious and defensive player, in most games. It does get easier and you level up and get familiar with the layout.I should also say that magic plays a big helping hand in keeping you alive. There are 5 Aards, which are types of magic. One is flame, one makes a trap on the ground, one is sort of like force push (actually very much like force push), one creates a protective barrier on you for 30 seconds, but it saps your power (which you use for blocking and spells), and the last confuses people. All of these are upgradeable and can seemingly can do a lot of different and more powerful effects later on. In the beginning though, it is essential to use the protective Aard often; I would have died many more times without it. It does possible feel a little overpowered, but necessary in some situations.
Music and sound are really well done. There has only been one time so far that I thought someones voice acting could have been better and the music often complements the situation, or area, very well. The UI, Inventory, character management, and menus have all been very well done. They are all easy to use and look great. The conversation system, while being fairly typical to games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, works well and doesn't seem entirely overused. There is even a stealth system, while not great, does it's job well.
This is a long game and I've barely scratched the surface. There is a plethora of things I haven't touched, like crafting, boxing, dice or whatever unforeseen situations may arise. It's been a great five hours. I haven't enjoyed a RPG this much in a very long time. By the way, combat plays out much differently than The Witcher 1. It is more action based, which initially sounds like a negative thing, but it works really well most of the time. It feels smooth, slick and most importantly makes you feel like your kicking ass. If you haven't checked out the video, check it out. Be back with more later once I delve into this promising game some more. Thanks for reading.

Average FPS: 35 on high settings
Specs: GTX 460 Graphics Card
8 Gigabytes of Ram
Phenom II X4 Processor
Windows 7 64 Bit

Video taken with Fraps

Written by Sean Cargle


Derek said...

Awesome review! I love my RPGs. The 4 hour prologue sounds intriguing, I will have to get on this soon. I've always thought Witcher never got the credit it deserved so underrated.

Lokai said...

Glad to see someone else who liked the first one as much as I did. So far its a much smoother, more polished, version of the first one with entirely different combat. Dialogue is pretty great though and it looks to be a huge game with a lot to offer.

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