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Customer Review

90 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deep, intricate story that isn't for me., May 24, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition (Video Game)
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 2, 2012 10:22:14 PM PDT
Though I mostly disagree with your review, I find the mature manner in which you handled your criticism refreshing. Good job.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 11:05:22 PM PDT
Gordon says:
@ Capn Thanks. Its not a bad game. I just wasn't pulled in by the story and the fact that the swords were the only weapons (expected maces, two handed swords, etc) and the magic wasn't as strong or visceral as I'd hoped, left me disappointed. Maybe Roche's path and a better grasp of whats going on in the story will change my mind a bit.

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 7:36:55 PM PDT
I agree with you on pretty much every point. The gameplay almost ruins the game for me. I'm on chapter 2 on Dark difficulty and its been a pretty frustrating experience. every once in a while i'll feel like "yea, know thats some cool combat", but those moments are few and far in between the cheap deaths. Why can't i block anyone other than the person im locked onto?!!! magic sucks, sword upgrades dont seem to help. luckily, playing on dark you get to craft special weapons and armor.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 3:42:20 PM PDT
The Witcher had such insane amounts of hype in the post Dragon Age 2 internet that it's not surprising that many gamers are playing W2 and wondering what the hype was about.

I personally laughed a lot in the DA2 message boards when people would go on and on about The Witcher being a much better game than DA2 and listing why. While I agree with them, the Witcher fans tend to ignore how rigid the game is and it's basically not even the same genre as the Dragon Age games.

Using the same 2 weapons, relying on campfires and potions, story that's based on specific characters from a book series etc... It's really a very specific type of RPG that can blindside people expecting a different type of game.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 10:39:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 10:40:48 AM PDT
Excellent point Sven. I originally played the game on PC and didn't run the gauntlet of hype set up by fans, so I approached the game without SPECIFIC expectations, and came out pleased. I can certainly see why people with lots of hype-born expectations could be left disappointed, hence why I do not bash or criticize people's negative views of the game, even though I often disagree.

Posted on Jun 19, 2012 1:01:58 PM PDT
Peter Schaub says:
This is great review. I ran into a lot of the same issues you did. In fact I took the Swordsman path and still felt like sometimes my weapons were underpowered. Most of the time in combat I just rolled around like Sonic and used light attacks, since they were so fast. Some aspects of the game really were good, and that made it a fun (?) experience over all. But some boss fights (Letho?) were just ridiculously hard. When the guy you're fighting can basically spam magic attacks, grenades, and also has an impervious shield spell, well...it makes things not so much fun. But other parts of the game were great. Overall I think you did a solid review.

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 3:56:44 PM PDT
A customer says:
I'm sorry to hear that....about your disappointment with the sword, and swordplay, in the game. Just thoutght I should let you know that you can buy new swords with tons more power and enhance them and bewitch them with spells, there is a ton of depth in the swordplay in this game if you beast out your sword, seriously.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 12:21:54 AM PDT
Even though I disagree, I liked your review. As someone who played through most of the original Witcher, even I had a tough time following all of the characters and situations (the glossary helped though, and I personally had fun reading it). That being said, upon my second playthrough, while making different decisions, I came to see the bigger picture, and certain holes were filled in nicely. It really does help to play through twice while choosing a different allegiance.

Posted on Aug 31, 2012 2:13:17 PM PDT
Gabriel King says:
I too really liked the way you handled the review. this really is a game geared towards a certain audience. it is true that Geralt is out of place in this game, but it was designed to be like that. Witchers are suppose to be uninvolved in politics, but since Triss is kidnapped and Geralt is accused of regicide, his hand is forced. I really enjoyed this aspect of the game. I find it getting old that in most RPG's, you are always playing the guy that everything depends on you. Games like Mass Effect and Dragons age: Origins. I really enjoyed the passerby POV. Another thing you have remember is that unlike most RPG's, the Witcher 2 had a mythos and pre-made universe it had to adapt to. Reading the books helps put a lot of stuff into perspective. Two of the books have been released in the US, but the rest you can find good fan-made translations for free. it helps explain the reason the reason Geralt uses only swords, and why he isn't an all powerful mage. Again, thank you for handling yourself very professional and i hope that my response clears up things and that you get a chance to read the books.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 9:22:49 AM PDT
B. D. James says:
Thanks for actually writing a good review with good negative points about the game. Instead of just bashing the game for what it is, a brilliant masterpiece that not everyone will enjoy, and not everyone will be able to play because they are used to playing garbage all the time.

While I don't really agree with anything you have written here, I do see some of the points you are trying to make and I do notice the time that you have put into trying to review the game from a really critical point of view.

Sorry that you wasted your money, but this game will grow on you. 'Witcher' you like it or not. ;)
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