on April 26, 2012
After receiving a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition for the Xbox 360, I decided to play the PC version of the game (my 3rd time through) simultaneously with the Xbox 360 version. I played 3 hours per sitting - 90 minutes on the PC version, 90 minutes on the 360. At least that's how I started. 18 hours into this grand experiment (and/or geeky lunacy) and 9 hours into each version of the game, I set the PC version aside and began playing the 360 version exclusively.
Is this to say that the 360 version is better? The 360 version is close enough to make it the better option for those who prefer gaming with a controller over a keyboard and mouse. The PC version of the game and the 360 version use the same 360 controller, but developer CD Projekt Red has done such an excellent job at revamping and streamlining the controller layout for the 360 that going back to the PC version started feeling painful, despite those pretty, pretty PC graphics.
Graphically, the PC version is superior, but the 360 version is more impressive. How? The 360 version somehow took the graphics of the PC version -- which wouldn't even play on "high" settings until I upgraded my PC with a $390 graphics card, last year -- and made them comparable.
Yes, we see more pop-up. No, we don't get as much depth of field. Yes, there are more jaggies. No, the texture quality isn't as detailed. Yes, there is screen-tear (this was the hardest for my eyes to get used to, but my girlfriend couldn't see it, even as I was frantically pointing at the screen screaming, "Right there! Look! It just happened again!"). But the console this is playing on is seven years old and was half the price of the year old video card that is used in my PC.
How did they pull this off?!?
After a beautiful CG intro. created for this version (and, thanks to CD Projekt Red actually rewarding paying customers, instead of punishing them for their loyalty, now available as free DLC for those owning the game on the PC), the graphics may initially underwhelm -- especially if you're coming off the PC version. But just wait.
Wait until you're running from a fire-breathing dragon. Wait until you see the sun begin shining through the trees at dawn in the forest outside of Flotsam (the lighting effects in this game are beautiful -- noticeably better than those in the PC version). The further into the game you get, the better the game looks. By the time you finish, you'll look at your 360 and wonder if someone quietly replaced it with an Xbox 720 while you were away. The Witcher 2 is the best looking game on the console.
The Witcher 2 is no slouch in the gameplay department, either. If you can imagine a Western style RPG (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) merged with a JRPG (Final Fantasy, Persona 3) by way of George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) -- you can get a sense of what The Witcher 2 has in store for you. The game is dark, gritty, absurd in the best possible way, and adult. It is not like any other RPG you've ever played.
There's a choice system in The Witcher 2, but most choices aren't presented as "good," "in-between," or "bad." They're just choices. Like in real life, you can't even be sure if you're making good choices (or "bad" ones, if that's your style) until the choices have been made. Like in real life, you'll kick yourself a few times, knowing you chose poorly a number of times, despite trying to do the right thing. Many times the consequences of your choices won't be revealed until hours later.
No matter the choices you make, the game will send you on a bevy of quests the likes of which you have never seen in a game. In the first 5 hours alone, you can try to help an alcoholic troll get off the sauce, you can seek out the embryo of Endrega (don't ask) to help a witch cast a spell that may take the curse off of a medallion you got from a dead boy who was killed because you gave the boy bad advice at the start of the game (again, choices matter and you don't always know if you've made the right ones), or you can collect some mucous from a gigantic sea monster who has been randomly picking fishermen off the docks and devouring them.
With mucous, embryos and vodka soaked trolls, you may start getting the impression the game is in the slapstick vein of the Fable titles. Get rid of that impression immediately. Despite the unique nature of the quests, this game takes itself seriously. It tells a grown-up story in a grown-up way. If you have any doubt about how serious this game can get, wait until you hit the haunted hospital early on. The quest is like something spit up from Hell -- and it's nerve-racking enough to have you feeling shaken up by the time it's over, if you can make it that long without taking a breather.
The Witcher 2 is an all-around amazing game. I never hooked up my 360 to the Internet while playing, so never downloaded any patches, and the game had but one glitch. And that glitch was funny enough I wondered if it was kept in on purpose. When climbing up a ladder at the very beginning of the game, our "hero," Geralt, literally has his head up the king's butt. It was clearly a collision detection issue, but my girlfriend thought it made for grand humor. After coming off of Skyrim -- which was glitchy to the point where I started wondering if Bethesda Game Studios had a vendetta against its loyal fans -- a gigantic RPG that ran virtually glitch-free without half a dozen patches felt miraculous.
Are there problems with the game? Yes. But what it gets wrong is hardly worth mentioning. Forcing gamers to set up and take potions before -- and making potions off limits during -- a fight is a little sadistic (these are also the only times in the game where you can't save). Despite the tweaks made to the menu for the 360 release, it is still a bear to navigate. An immediate fix I'd recommend is to make sure that after upgrading a sword or armor, the sword or armor you just upgraded remains selected. For some reason, after you upgrade a weapon or a piece of armor, the game sends you back to the top of the item list. If you want to add more than one upgrade, you have to scroll all the way back down to the item you had just scrolled down to a minute earlier. But these are minor nits to pick at in a nearly perfect game.
The Witcher 2 is the whole package. What CD Projekt Red pulled off, in their first console game, is something many developers are still striving for in their fifth or sixth console entry. The music, the graphics, the gameplay, the quests, the story, the voice-acting, the environments, and the art-design are all top-notch. How a company developing for a console could hit it this far out of the park on their very first try is something of a welcome mystery.
In a "battle" between the PC and the 360 version of the game, only PS3 gamers lose (hopefully CD Projekt Red makes that right, soon -- everyone should get a chance at playing this game). The downgraded graphics are a little hard to get used to if you've spent dozens of hours on the PC version of the game, but going back to the less-than-perfect control scheme on the PC version, after playing the 360 version, is even harder. Would I recommend this to those who have already finished it on the PC? Probably not (although it is fun to compare the two). Would I recommend this to those with a 360 who have never played it? Unconditionally.
The Witcher 2 is the best RPG of this console generation, and one of the best games to grace a seventh-generation console. I don't know how they did it, but I'm sure glad they did. Those of you waiting for something better can stop your waiting! The Witcher 2 is likely "Game of the Year 2012" for the 360 (or any console, for that matter). What are you still reading this for, when you could be playing? Go now, Witcher ... there are monsters that need slaying and worlds that need saving!
Specs (both versions played on a 50-inch Panasonic Plasma 1080p HDTV, for comparison purposes):
Settings on the PC version of the game used for this review:
Anisotropic Filtering - 10x
Anti-aliasing - 4x
Lighting Quality - High
Texture Quality - High
Shadow Quality - High
Grass Quality - High
Decals Fade - Medium
Depth of Field - Enabled
Visibility Range - Average
Small Animals Number - Average
Settings on the 360 version of the game used for this review:
Power Button - On
A few gameplay tips I learned throughout my many adventures with The Witcher:
- Avoid playing on "easy," if at all possible. When they say "easy," they mean it. It turns the game into a button-masher, where you can just press "A" and/or "X" from beginning to end. "Normal" is a little more difficult than most games at "Normal" settings, but stick with it.
- Many battles have a "safe spot." This is probably the most important thing to remember when feeling overwhelmed. When you're facing what seems like insurmountable odds, find this safe spot and let your health regenerate. Then go fight some more. Wash, rinse, repeat.
- Don't skip the cutscenes and -- if you have the time -- read the journals. There is a heckuva great story being told in this game. The more you put in, the more you get out.
- If the sword with the silver wolf head on the handle is at your back, the sword you're using is steel (for humans). If the sword with the silver wolf head on the handle is in your hand, the sword you're using is silver (for monsters). If you're using the wrong sword, you're in for a world of hurt.
- The magic sign "Quen" can be your best friend in a difficult battle. When all seems lost, give it a try.
- To level up press the back button. Once there, you'll see your item list. Hit the left or right trigger until you're at the leveling up tree. If you play the tutorial, you know this already.
- Play the tutorial.
- When done, there's an amazing prequel just waiting to be played. Despite being 5 years old, the original Witcher is still a great game. No, you don't need to play that one first. But if you loved the second, there's a lot more waiting for you, should you choose to delve even further into this wonderful gaming universe.
on April 19, 2012
I'm a 40 yr old gamer with about 22 years of gaming under his belt. I've been a D&D table top gamer for almost 18 years. This is the first time those two worlds have come together.
Witcher 2 is THE single best game I've ever played in my life. Period. It ruins every medieval themed game I own or did own. It absolutely defines RPG for computer gaming because it is SO close to a real table top RPG with a real life DM. And best of all- Witcher 2 has the best, most rewarding combat I've ever played. The finesse of Soul Calibur, the severity of Dark/Demon Souls and the beauty of a novel dreamed of in your head. The plot, the acting (voice and animation) the script, the animation and texture work... they're all without peer on consoles. IF you have the ability to play this on high settings on your PC- naturally go for it there. I don't. I don't know anyone who does as a matter of fact. So for me and those like me- this is the only and best way to experience the masterpiece of this genre.
A word to the wary: This is NOT a hack and slash game. This is NOT a casual, pick it up every month or so for a day or two. This game demands skill, tactics and dedication. And for that, you're rewarded with the most satisfying game style and combat mechanics I've ever experienced, and I've played them all.
This game is also- VERY MUCH SO- not for kids. Parents who foolishly buy this for their kids without paying attention to the M rating will have their hair fall out when they see the realistic world of the Witcher.
I could go on and on about the amazing graphics and art direction, but save your time by visiting the official website or any game review page. The game is brilliantly executed and illustrated. I will say that if you can't install the game onto your drive (13.5 gigs) then be prepared for loading. Once you do have it in the HD though, those loads are often less than 2 seconds each. In other words- MAKE ROOM, you won't regret it. I'm only half way through the game- maybe- and I can't stress enough how this is without a doubt, my game of this generation. I can't wait to see how I feel when I'm done for the first time.
For those looking for the ultimate Western RPG- look no farther. You've undoubtedly purchased an Xbox for it's dedication and noted Western RPG reputation and this is the highest form I've seen of that style yet. If you're more into Japanese RPG's (the majority of what the PS3 is known for attracting), this will likely be of NO interest to you as it is a VERY mature plot and cast of characters. No kids looking to discover "love, friendship and true courage". Nor are there any cute talking animals or flying ships. I don't mean to offend anyone- just giving a warning for the system/player types that have created the stereotypes out there.
on May 24, 2012
The Witcher 2 is a massive game. While it only contains 3 chapters to complete, the world is so full of lore that its overwhelming. I went through most of the game not knowing who was who or what the difference was between Redania and Kaedwen. It doesn't help that you never actually visit these places either. For those who hope to get lost in a deep, politically charged journey into the world of a Witcher, I advise you read this review before thinking you're getting the second coming of Mass Effect (in terms of being immersed in a game world of course).
I'll start with the good.
The world is beautifully crafted on the Xbox. While its obviously not running on a powerful rig, it can hold its own against PS3 exclusives almost reaching Uncharted's graphical status (not quite there, but almost). The lighting is some of the best on console and I believe the art direction is probably the best in any game I've ever seen. Visually this game is a remarkable achievement and puts to rest those "graphics don't matter" arguments. I felt like I was actually in a forbidden dungeon or a monster's lair. The ghostly battlefield is one of the best, most immersive sequences I've ever had as a gamer.
The dialogue is extremely believable and characters don't always explicitly state things. This is a game for the thinkers amongst us. The game gives you bits and pieces but you are expected to put everything together. You are involved in figuring things out as much as Geralt, and I really find that to be creative.
I've never seen sorceresses handled in the way that the Witcher 2 does. I can't say anything without spoiling, but CD Projekt Red takes a rather creative spin on what a sorcerer's role is in a fantasy story.
Thats really it for the pros. Other than that I'll tell you why the Witcher was not for me.
The game world was dropped on me like a ton of bricks. I don't know if I was expected to play the Witcher 1 or what, but early on there were references to places, people, and creatures that I'd never heard of, but was expected to care about and know. What puts me off this game the most is the dry story and characters. Including Geralt, there is not one character that I really cared about, besides Iorveth and the Scoiatel. There is characterization and plenty of dialogue, and twists, but it's so dry to me. Everyone else finds it amazing and "mature," but I find it quite dull at times. Most of the time you're talking about the state of the kingdoms and who did this or that. I purchased this game on how "amazing" the story is, and while its amazingly complex and unpredictable, I found it to be a little off-putting because something is always happening around Geralt, not to him. I want HIS story, not the kingdom's. For Geralt I just get cutscenes.
Also, if this is your first ever encounter with the Witcher, be prepared to read A LOT. There was so much to read in order to grasp the story, that I had to pause and read Geralt's journal after every event. As mentioned, Geralt and the other characters bring up tons of wars, races, and other things that I have NEVER heard of so I was lost most of the time. I still am in some aspects.
Unbelievably, while I found the story boring, the gameplay is what brought it down for me. It is not at all what I expected and took away any fun I could have had with the Witcher 2. This game is sluggish and the swordplay is downright awkward. Most of the time I choose the path of the mage, but even when the powers are leveled up to their max, they do little more than stun the challenging enemies. The Quen sign is the only one that felt like it had any real effect. Geralt doesn't feel like a Witcher. He feels like a human who rolls around doing stun attacks swinging a woefully underpowered sword. Can I swing a baton, or a magical whip? How about some electric fist carnage or more diverse special attacks! My point is that the swords get old fast and there isn't a whole lot of variety in the combat because of this. More creative boss fights and less general monster encounters would have negated this, but you're sure to have to slog through the same enemies with the same sword over and over.
Even though I played on normal, it was no easy feat. This game can be TOUGH. It doesn't help that it has a terrible checkpoint system either. Depending on what you're doing, if you don't manually save, you may have to replay up to an hour's worth of gameplay.
In conclusion I didn't have as much fun as I wanted with the Witcher 2. It was quite an impressive journey at times, but playing it was a chore at times and the story didn't pull me in because I had no ideas what was going on until I read afterward. I can't help but feel like Letho, Iorveth, or even a sorceress should have been the main character. Nothing happens to Geralt really. He almost feels out of place. Like I said, something is always happening in the distance somewhere, but never really to Geralt. For this reason, the immersion factor is not quite there story wise. There are WAY too many characters and things seem a little unfocused.
on January 21, 2014
I just completed this game last night and am now afforded the ability to browse the reviews on here (I'm a stickler for no spoilers) and formulate my own opinion.
I got this game for one main reason - it was billed as an RPG that allows you to make choices that either majorly or moderately affect the world you are in and the story of the main game. To a certain degree, this was true - but that fact sinks to a watery grave when diluted with the game's other problems.
Graphically, the game isn't exactly spectacular - but this is being said in the afterglow of next-gen consoles and I do own an XBox One, so.....perhaps my view is muddied somewhat. The cutscene graphics are fairly poor, and funnily enough in-game graphics are quite good (comparatively). But - I can overlook subpar graphics for a great game.
Now, I will start with the good:
If you were looking for an RPG, then you have definitely come to the right shop! I have missed RPG-ishness ever since finishing Skyrim (which is a game with its own issues), and it was really nice to be able to step into a fantasy world again.
You are indeed able to make decisions at key points in the game - mostly through a 'persuasion' system in dialogue options. I like how Geralt casts some witchcraft to 'persuade' people, too - it sets him apart from the other characters.
The world is huge and varied, although I do get the impression that you are only shown a tiny sliver of it.
But now, unfortunately, for the bad:
Player connection to the playable character of Geralt is seriously impeded by the brick wall of lore you are expected to consume, process, understand and form your own feelings about. The game does NOT ease you into the world whatsoever. While ME2 did a great job of introducing the player to the world all over again (as Shepard had been basically resurrected), this game does NOT. In missing the opportunity to enkindle a basic interest in the world at large in its players, The Witcher 2 has one, initial, major fatal flaw: it failed to make me care. In a decision-based RPG, that is VERY bad news. I felt that I was basically a non-sentient floating through the game's books and maps and cities, being TOLD about all these other places, people and wars - but that I had absolutely NO reason to worry about any of it, or care.
The map system. The map system is one of the main technical reasons that I did not achieve a fuller understanding of the game world and story. I literally missed 90% of the side quests (some of which with significant stories and/or characters in them) because I was not able to follow the quest markers effectively. You can only have one quest marker at a time on your map, meaning you have to manually choose which quest to go after. Unfortunately, this in turn means that you may stumble into another quest (or advance the storyline) just by attempting to transition from whatever area you are in to the marked quest area. This is very unfortunate. Not only that, but the quest markers seemed to me to be HIGHLY unreliable, unpredictable and - at times - completely incomprehensible. I spent literally HOURS attempting to find two guys to armwrestle in the dwarven city (Vergen, was it?). The quest marker showed their location, at which I was standing, but they weren't there. I went under ground, scoured the city, looked for secret doors, stumbled through catacombs (all the time initiating and completing other missions by accident), did EVERYTHING I could think of to find these guys to armwrestle - to no avail. I can only assume that it was some kind of glitch - but unfortunately it ensured that after that point in the game, I paid almost no attention to *ANY* side quests and did not go after any of them, because I knew I could not rely on my map or the quest markers. Major flaw and one that makes the player feel like they are bashing their head against a brick wall.
Adult material inclusion. I welcome adult language, situations and sex/love in a game. It makes me care, and it makes me want to succeed in a game. I wholeheartedly encourage the use of them in all games. However, even I was left with a bad taste in my mouth after my pummeling by The Witcher 2's profanity, sex and unbridled objectification of women. To make matters worse (and I don't know if this is just the way I played the game or not), but I was totally unable to actually form a romantic relationship with anyone in the game. I mean - apart from Triss, who is just sort of the cookie-cutter 'girlfriend' - but even then there was no culmination of our relationship, or after Geralt saved her.....nothing. She even features on the front cover of the game! But.......yeah. Nothing.
Profanity is used frequently to the point of sounding like every second person in the game has swearword-diarrhea. A smattering here or there to evoke the strength of emotions at certain plot points is absolutely necessary - but in this game it comes across as purely gratuitous. Dwarves can't even pass the time of day at the market without cussing and referencing "ploughing" (you'll need to know some game lore to fully understand that), and you can't even go forward to attend the end-game conference at Loc Muinne without someone throwing a VERY surprising c-word around the place. Ooookay then.
Women are treated with the maturity you'd expect from a 14-year-old in most of the game, too. They are scantily clad (sorceresses), can't wear anything unless it has such a scoop neck that it only just covers her nipples, and are forced into baked-in storyline scenes of bondage, spanking, etc. etc. Very disappointing. Like I say - I still have no idea why this game has all this in it, because you actually can't romance anyone. Mehhh....maybe my Mass Effect is showing.
Potions. Well wow - here's a game aspect that is under developed and under used. You cannot drink potions in battle - I repeat, you cannot drink potions in battle!! So basically, you have to remember to 'meditate' before you ANTICIPATE there MAY be someone to fight soon, and drink your potions. This is a terribly convoluted way to treat something that is supposed to be one of the Witcher's main methods. Hmmm.
So, yeah. The rest of my review really just sums up how I feel about the plot and game story in general. It's pretty unfollowable and mediocre. It definitely has its shining points, but they are few and far between. I had heard the hype about this game and was really looking forward to playing it and seeing what it was like. In reality - I'm exhausted and very happy that I've finally finished it (well - I say finally....but minus the unfollowable, unfindable side quests it only takes about <20hrs to complete all three Acts). The ending of the game came very suddenly and anticlimactically, and because I was playing on easy difficulty, battling the dragon (Was that Saskia? I have no idea.....) was just a little side thing to do to get you to the credits.
There was an epilogue with lots of troop movements, people I didn't know, and places I didn't recognize with armies moving through them. No idea what that was about.
on April 21, 2012
This is hands-down one of the best RPGs -- no, video games -- I have ever played. I have been playing RPGs of all sorts for over 12 years now.
Anyone delving into RPGs on the Xbox 360 has probably played the recent Mass Effect 3, so you'll notice I will compare this game with ME3 often at times to give you a thorough picture of this game without spoilers. Let's look at several aspects of The Witcher 2.
The graphics of TW2 are excellent, with some textural setbacks. While it's no Mass Effect 3 or LA Noir, the graphics are amazing on their own. The cutscenes are well-done, too.
With so many aspects of gameplay executed so well, where do I start? The combat has a somewhat steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it is SUPER satisfying. Hitting enemies feels real, like in Dark Souls. The game is a bit unforgiving (also like DS), but it's nothing you're going to throw your controller about. Typically in RPGs people tend to go toward a specific class like a mage or warrior or something similar. In this game you are wise to use all elements of magic, swordsmanship, and crafting (making bombs, traps, and potions) in steadying of sticking with just one. This gives you the feeling you are an all-around boss when it comes to taking down opponents.
This game is semi-linear. Certain sections of the world open as the game progresses, and when you reach a section you are free to do as you like. However, you cannot travel to various sections as you can with galaxies/worlds in ME3. In that sense the game is more linear than the space trilogy, but the areas you traverse to are so large to explore I don't think anyone will really complain about it.
The voice acting is excellent. I like how not everyone has an English accent, something very apparent in fantasy movies/video games. If you liked the voice acting in ME3 it's almost a guarantee you'll like what's in TW2.
Have I mentioned the atmosphere? The dark world of TW2 feels alive, something games like Dead Space 2 and Skyrim have done well. Too many games have tried to simply rely on great graphics to make a setting, but that just doesn't work. Fortunately, this game does not suffer such problems.
Choices play an extremely interesting role in TW2. The consequences are much more severe, and by severe I mean they really alter your story. In ME3 you can choose what Shepard will say/do, and it may affect a character or change a few cutscenes without changing the overall plot at all. However, in TW2, your plot will largely shift as a result of some of the things you have Geralt (the protagonist) do. Though, I do want to point out that while the story can change dramatically the personalities of the characters remain perfectly intact no matter your journey, which from a writing perspective I find very impressive. A friend and I started up TW2 at the same time, and already we had a couple different quest and scene options presented within the first few hours. To give you an even bigger idea, the game has sixteen different endings. Also, this game is ultra-realistic in the character department. This means you get to see how every character you must make choices about are either severely flawed or have selfish agendas they are hiding. There were very few characters that I had no deep disappointments with along the way of the plot.
This leads to another interesting trait about the choices in TW2: the overall morality of the world. In ME3 it is clear which choices are right and wrong. You are given points and praises depending on how you control Shepard. In TW2, the world is dark, and morals are extremely ambiguous. You will not be rewarded or punished for what you choose. Your choices are yours and nobody in the game really gives a crap either way. This propels an interesting psychology in the role-playing experience in that it causes you to reflect on how you would actually conduct yourself if the situation were real. No judgment, right? I believe ME3 does a good job of getting you to experience the emotions of Shepard caught in a war with massive loss and sacrifice, but Mass Effect does not get the player to think about their own psyche quite like TW2. Sadly, I feel that players under a certain age won't be able to grasp and appreciate this attribute while playing TW2.
The dark fantasy tale of TW2 gives much different vibes than the space opera of ME3 beyond the obvious. With ME3, I felt like I was watching a movie unfold as I was on the edge of my seat while the game progressed. With TW2, I felt like I was deeply engrossed in a book. Of course, TW2's story is heavily political like a George Martin novel. In short, if you hate anything to do with politics, you may want to steer clear of this game.
In terms of character development, I noticed some stark contrasts to ME3. I feel Geralt is much better developed than Shepard, but this is probably due to the fact that Geralt's character is easy to keep consistent in a morally-ambiguous world, whereas Shepard can have quite different bits of dialogue depending on whether you choose him to be either a Paragon or Renegade. While I feel the hero is more developed in TW2, I am much more attached to the other characters in ME3 than I am in TW2. Some people may feel different, but I feel a significant attachment to Geralt that is not nearly as strong as with the other characters in this game. However, while I do love me some Commander Shepard I also can't get enough of Garrus, Ashley, or Wrex, to name a few.
As I said before, TW2 is very realistic. The dialogue feels more down-to-earth than ME3, which helps make many of the characters. including Geralt, relatable and believable. Don't get me wrong, I felt the writing in all the ME games have been top-notch. All I'm saying is you'll be hard-pressed to not like the dialogue here
I like the soundtrack of TW2, but it's nothing like an Uematsu album or Clint Mansell's work. The music here is still great, though. It really complements the medieval environment.
Looking at single-player alone, TW2 blows ME3 away here. I did every quest you can possibly do in ME3 on my first play through, and I beat the game in 33 hours. When I put in just over 20 hours into TW2, I was a little over halfway through the plot. Couple that with the fact that sixteen different endings will warrant at least a second playthrough, and you've got plenty of reassurance your money is well-spent.
A word of caution: this game is NOT for kids. This game is extremely realistic, so imagine what a conversation among a group of fraternity brothers looks like or remember the violence in a standard Mel Gibson movie to get a mental picture. Even without those things, the story is too complex for younger gamers to understand and appreciate.
So there you have it. You are at a serious loss if you don't pick this up, especially if you like RPGs. I know this review was long, so I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
So after beating TW2 in 33 hours (oddly enough just like ME3) on my first play through, it seems I overestimated the game's timeline. The game follows three chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 will take 10-15+ hours each to complete depending on your play style, and chapter three, even if all side quests there are done, typically takes only about 3 hours to complete.
As far as the ending, I was satisfied with what I got. I felt the events leading up to the ending were very abrupt, but considering I need to play through again and make some different choices to access parts of the world I didn't before (because of my choices on my first play through), I am more than eager to throw in another 30 or so hours into this deeply satisfying RPG.
on October 29, 2012
I have played roughly 30 hours of this game so far, and there are some highlights. Tremendous animation, complex/interesting story, lots of places to go, lots of quests, amazing fight scenes, interesting and unique potions and powers, great x-rated visuals and banter, great characters, realistic voice acting, some creative additions like arm wresting and dice, very quick loading...but I am a veteran gamer (closing in on 30 years of gaming) and this one smells of lessons unlearned:
- Inability to save whenever you want. This is a colossal failure in this game particularly, because many cut scenes propel you into combat after combat, with no opportunity to save. You just keep watching, praying for either victory or a save button.
- And while on the subject of cutscenes, there are just too many and they are just too complex. It is nice that you can skip them, but it at times feels like I am playing a movie, with limited participation.
- Entering buildings and areas tells you nothing of where you are going. The door goes to the Inn or Brothel? Or to just some guy's house?
- The banter is repetitive. If a character near you is saying the same thing over and over again, the reality is lost.
- Many quests leave you with no idea where to go or what to do. You have to "find someone", but no way to know where she is. Talk to everyone in the city? Search every corner? Is this fun? She is hiding in the forest in some ruins, but I only know this because I looked it up.
- The fighting encourages button mashing. In fact my thumb hurts just thinking about this game. And often, the fighting is just too easy or too hard. I realize this is a difficult balance to strike, but some realism is missing here.
- No ability to jump or fall. The action plays like it is on rails. I can't go over a tiny rock, I have to go around. The paths are painfully predetermined.
- On screen mapping is poor. It is almost impossible to tell where you are going. The offscreen map is nice, so I found myself bouncing back and forth to get anywhere.
This game has a lot to offer, but the interface issues make me not want to play as much. I have a feeling that this could be an interesting series, that could be taken to the level of Skyrim in a Witcher 4 or 5 (just as Skyrim is an Elder Scrolls 5) but for my time and thumb muscles, Witcher 2 is a 2012 game with 1 foot caught in the past for some reason.
on April 28, 2012
CD Projekt has gone above and beyond, way beyond the requirements of modern rpgs and all video games for that matter. Your decisions ACTUALLY have impact on the story, and the world feels truly alive. This completely blows anything Bioware has done in the past 5 years out of the water. Easy rival to skyrim and better in terms of storytelling, combat, and maturity.
In terms of content, while EA is scraping everything they possibly can out of their customers while giving the least possible content, such as the complete removal of manuals, This game spans 2 discs, they give a free copy of the OST, full color manual plus a strategy guide for the standard 60 bucks.
BUY THIS GAME
on April 17, 2012
So just off the bat, the pre-order copy of this game was well worth it. I have always been a fan of great storytelling in a non-linear or, semi-linear fashion, to tell you the truth as long as there is an amazing story behind the game with graphics and function-ability to match, I love the game; that may be raising the bar but what the hell, why not? So when I first received my copy I installed it onto my Xbox 360 hard drive (makes the game play a little better), after waiting a few minutes I started it up. The opening cinematic to the game (before you press start) is the trailer of the assassin killing the king that many people have seen, seeing that to start me off was just awesome (tends to have more of an effect when it's not on a laptop), so by this point I am already sucked in, I believe it had something to do with relating with an earlier amazement, I then choose the hard drive and start the game. It starts with a linear story-line, which is kind of nice for entering a newcomer into the world of The Witcher, and for developing a little of the plot. The characters are somewhat developed and are well rounded at the beginning! On a side note, I have grown very tired of starting a game and having to guess at what the story will unfold into.
So far I have gotten to the first 'free-roam' area of the game. Took about four hours to get through the prologue (mind, if playing on an easier difficulty it will not take that long, probably two or three)-
Now for the pro's and con's:
- Very well integrated story-line where your choices matter
- Control's make for very intense and awesome swordplay and archery, also magic
- Rounded and very deeply developed characters
- Addictive and interesting
- A perfect blend of strategy and action
- Graphics are stunning and beautiful and dark
- The graphics noticeably load at times (but I believe that is because I have a six year old arcade Xbox console)
on April 17, 2012
The Witcher 2 is a beautiful masterpiece that I am happy to finally be able to experience on the 360, as I do not game on PC. With a mature setting and beautiful graphics combined with engaging gameplay, this is one exclusive you don't want to ignore. I won't include any spoilers in this review. Here goes-
Setting/Presentation- You are the The Witcher, which is a mutation of sorts of a human. If you haven't played the previous game, which was exclusively on PC, the game does a good job of letting you know what is going on. The voice acting and writing is top notch. Inflections in voices sound natural, drawing you into the conversation and never feeling like someone is reading from a script. Menus are layed out pretty well, although you may find the inventory system to be a bit annoying if you become over-encumbered; You'll only be able to walk, and unless you discard items, you may find yourself walking for a very long time to get to someone who will buy your items.
Graphics- It's not as good as PC, but the Witcher 2 is definitely one of the best looking games on 360. You want to install the game on the drive though, trust me. Texture pop in and load times are dramatically reduced when installed. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but very few would be able to say the Witcher 2 doesn't look amazing.
Story- I won't go into the details of the story. It's engrossing, mature, and almost never feels like it's dragging along. You want to know what happens to The Witcher and the supporting characters.
Gameplay- The Witcher can be difficult at times, but it's not a cheap difficult. Battles rely more on your skill than on stats, so button mashing in hopes of just over powering enemies will often time lead to death. You have to maneuver around in battle and choose when to strike, as the enemies do not just revolve around waiting for you to hit them. Remember to save often, as save checkpoints are a little far apart; You might find yourself fighting only to die and have to replay a large chunk of the game over if you forget. Great gameplay overall.
The Witcher 2 should be in the hands of every 360 owner. I don't usually buy games at retail $60 but after playing through some of this game, I can honestly say this is worth a 60 dollar purchase. Enjoy every moment of the Witcher 2, games this mature, this engrossing, and this polished don't come around often.
on April 18, 2012
I really enjoyed The Witcher, but it had some rough edges that were sometimes a bit of a nuisance, but The Witcher II does away with the first game's issues, expands upon nearly everything, and delivers what is easily one of the best role-playing experiences of recent times. Every other RPG developer should take note of the successes by CD Projekt Red with The Witcher II.
- Excellent Story, Well Realized Characters - While other role-playing games can often suffer due to being developed on lower budgets, The Witcher II is a grand title with stellar production values. The story is well-told and keeps the player involved. The characters are well voiced, interesting, and just well done all around. This is a story for more mature players. CD Projekt Red didn't pull any punches with this one.
- Gorgeous Art Direction, Stunning Technical Graphics - The Witcher II is no doubt a showpiece for the Xbox 360. Not only is the the art among the best, but it's technically a masterful experience in terms of graphics. The graphics are detailed, including nicely rendered characters and environments, well done texture detail, stunning lighting, and it goes on and on. And like I said earlier, the art is absolutely wonderful and only lends to the beauty of this title. The world of The Witcher II feels like a living and breathing place packed with detail. Just make sure to install both discs to the Xbox 360's hard drive to get the best performance.
- Hardly Any Recycled Assets - The Witcher II doesn't use many recycled assets in the game world. There is a lot of variety to the texture work, NPC models, environments, etc. This world must've taken a long time to fully realize, as it's a thing of beauty and doesn't wear out its welcome.
- Wonderful Gameplay - Different from The Witcher, The Witcher II goes for more simplistic gameplay, which it definitely succeeds at. Gone are the mouse-clicks in favor of a more 1:1 combat system that keeps you in the fight in a more natural way. You have weak attacks, strong attacks, and you also have an evasive roll mechanic that allows you to dodge out of harm's way. In addition to the melee combat, you have Signs, which is also known as the magic attacks. The combat menu is slick and works well. The overall UI is just so well done in The Witcher II. Leveling up has been made simpler with 3 areas for upgrades: Signs, Alchemy and Swordplay.
- Top Notch Packaging - Within every copy of The Witcher II: Enhanced Edition, you'll receive the game (2 discs), the official soundtrack via disc, a double-sided map, an in-depth manual, and a quest guide all together in a cardboard slipcover.
- The Witcher II still has some rough edges, but the edges are getting closer and closer to straight as an arrow. This feels like a top notch production from a AAA studio, so even its flaws are very minor.
The Witcher II is a compelling and rewarding role-playing adventure that'll immerse you in a grand world, with delightful characters and an overarching story. If you're searching for a role-playing game that is of high quality, you need not look any further, The Witcher II is for you.