Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review

I can finally say I have conquered this interesting game and I may bring you all my thoughts and opinions. For anyone who missed my previous posts, The Witcher 2 is a action RPG for PC developed by CD Projekt Red. It is based on old folk stories, polish ones I believe, and it emphasis a world with a dark atmosphere, heavy amounts of violence, nudity, a multitude of monsters, politics and difficult moral choices. It follows in the footsteps of The Witcher 1, released back in 2007. Now with all that said let me say that The Witcher 2 improves on everything from The Witcher; better dialogue, voice acting, combat, skills and rpg elements. The one thing I'm uncertain of whether it is better or not, which is neither good or bad, is the plot and story. I certainly enjoyed the story and plot from The Witcher 2, but I cannot say for certain if it was more satisfying than the first, although it is a matter of opinion. The production values are excellent in The Witcher 2, in comparison to the first and in comparison to all other RPG's on the market.

For this review I'm going to be a like and dislike list for every aspect of the game followed by a summary at the end. Opinions on my style? Let me know.


+Combat: Works pretty well the majority of the time, a step up from The Witcher 1 combat.

+Alchemy: Works well, easy to gather resources and gather recipes. Also potions are not cumbersome on your inventory.

+Plot choices: They are more numerous and often not clearly good or bad.
+Plot ramifications: Plot choices really matter and affects the story throughout the entire game.
+Crafting: Lots of recipes to find and collect. The best armor and weapons are created, not found. Resources are appropriately difficult to find.
+Monsters: Plentiful and numerous, enjoyable to fight and destroy.
+Leveling System: Simple tree system that works well and doesn't allow you to get everything.
+Friendly units: Many battles involves friendlies. Thankfully, friendlies do not get in the way and are useful.
+Conversations: They are improved upon from The Witcher and you can learn skills based on doing specific choices. Like choosing to use magic to sway people, or intimidating them or using persuasion.
+Mini-Games: There is arm-wrestling, fist fighting and dice. All of which are fun, but only arm-wrestling gets progressively difficult throughout the game.
-Inventory: Better than The Witcher 1 Inventory, but could be a lot easier to use.
-Tutorial: Insufficient tutorial explaining leveling mechanics, mutagens, combat and spells. Often comes too late, especially in the prologue.

-Weight System: It is good that you cannot collect everything, but there is no way to save items for future use. You can hold a fairly small amount of weight. (They do plan to fix this later on)


+All voiced, all seemingly professional actors and actresses.

+Voiced in multiple languages
+Subtitles for many languages
+Music is fitting, but not excellent. Doesn't often draw you into the environment as well as I would like.
+Sound Effects are dead on, for the most part, and fit the game really well. Swords sounds great, as do monsters, explosions and spells.
-Repetitive voices for minor characters.
-Repetitive phrases from minor characters. It gets very annoying to be doing a fist fight and continually hear the same phrase every 20 or 30 seconds.

Level Design

+Levels are often large and may be roamed freely. The first chapter is a excellent example of CD Projekt Red's hard work, with its large swamp that takes several hours to become familiar with.
+Smaller area's look great and differentiate from each other. No one cave feels the same.
+The draw distance and scope of some of the large areas are breathtaking. Coming off the mountain in the last chapter and looking over Loc was really impressive.
+Atmosphere is the best I've seen in many years. The swamp in the first chapter feel's exactly like it should. Weather effects, like rain, are superb.
-A map in the smaller area's is sorely needed.
-A select few area's are horribly dark, requiring the use of the nightvision (cat) potion. One of those area's involves friendly units assisting you and it is difficult to differentiate between enemies and allies. Since with that potion everyone becomes bodies of red pulsing organs and veins.

Closing Comments

+Animated cut scenes are really great. Adds a dark style to Geralt's storytelling.

+Production values are high.
+Very few bugs in comparison to other recent games. Many bugs have been dealt with in a timely manner.
+Excellent customer support.
+All DLC's have been released, for free, just because they are kind.
+One of the best RPG's in years
+A Mature RPG in every possible regard.
+A very lengthy game, if you do the sidequests, and short if you want it to be.
+Exploration is rewarded
+Around 12 possible ending
+Can carry over safe/info from The Witcher 1
-Boss fights are fun and graphically impressive, but could be a lot innovative. The first boss fight was really great, but the rest were not.
-A little more user friendly would be nice, mainly tutorial and inventory system. -Better FPS for people without high-end computers.
-Minigames are too easy, except for arm wrestling. You can exploit fist fighting for money.

All in all this is the a great game and a great rpg. If you liked the first one at all, you will like this one. If you tried the first one and thought it needed it improvements then look no further. If you are a fan of action based rpgs that have a lot of options to discover and explore, but you are not forced to do so, then you will like this. I wish some aspects were better but I would gladly pay 40 or 50 dollars for this any day over another Call of Duty.

Violent Score: 9

Written By Sean Cargle


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