I just finished my first play-through of TW2:AOK. When the credits rolled I couldn't believe that it was actually the end of the game. The loot was minimal and uninteresting. The characters were one-dimensional and mostly unlikable. There were three chapters to the game and really only three locations, all of which were similar. Most frustrating of all was that combat is either incredibly difficult or incredibly easy based on the game's settings. If you play on the "Normal" setting prepare to have enemies swing their swords directly through your defenses because the target reticle is still on the guy next to him. If you dare switch to "Easy" you can button mash through every encounter. Magic is underwhelming, far too simple, and often useless. Finally, the story is complex yet the only way to begin to understand it is to read a booklet that comes with the game. There are so many periphery characters that I couldn't keep track of them from one play session to the next a few days later. Some characters are even referred to by their first names on some occasions and their last names on others.
My end verdict is that the game is pretty and challenging but ultimately flawed. There's a lot of potential for an RPG that is specifically geared for an adult market, yet I felt I was playing a prettier but less interesting version of Baldur's Gate most of the time. I'm not a big fan of third-person games, and this game reminded me why every time I needed to climb a ladder or jump down and had to find the specific sweet spot to do so. From beginning to end it took me about 16 hours to finish this game, and the majority of that time was spent either traversing maps (no fast travel) to get Item A to give to Character B or watching extended cutscenes. Compare that to Skyrim where I had 100 hours logged before even attempting the main quest and Witcher 2 simply doesn't measure up. Skyrim was full of "wow" moments and interesting quests that seemed to pop up unexpectedly; Witcher 2 was painfully linear and chock full of uninteresting characters and locations with little upside. I honestly don't understand the five-star reviews that the game is receiving on Amazon and elsewhere.
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