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More Previews for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Preview - posted by Jaesun on Fri 22 April 2011, 18:33:15Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
PCGamer has played ten glorious Witchering hours and writes:
The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings is more than just a sequel. It’s CD Projekt’s chance to turn a cult RPG success into a huge mainstream hit, with all that hard-won experience joining forces with a brand new engine, and riding a wave of warm sentiment via the Enhanced Edition of the first game, and Good Old Games. I just finished playing through the Prologue and the whole first Act – ten glorious Witchering hours, give or take – but is it really the epic RPG we’ve all been hoping for? Hint: Yes.
Unlike the first game, which used the tiresome old amnesia gimmick to explain why Geralt couldn’t witch his way out of a paper bag without much levelling, you start this one as a capable badass. You have access to all of the standard magical signs right from the beginning, and are immediately thrust into action alongside one King Foltest, as seen at the end of the last game. If you didn’t play that, don’t worry. Witcher 2 doesn’t do a great job of establishing the story so far, but it doesn’t take long for things to be explained. If you did, you can import your savegame and a few of the decisions will carry over. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one to hand, so any plot bits here are based on the default settings.
For all this visual improvement, it’s the writing that most impresses. As with the first game, The Witcher was written by Polish writers, which immediately gives it a slightly different feel to most American made RPGs. This time though, the translation is excellent, and the character work is miles ahead. King Foltest for instance, who you start the game protecting, actually feels like a guy an army would follow. He takes time to acknowledge individual soldiers. He’s savvy about the weapons being used against him (not least because they used to be his own), and has a compassionate side to go along with his hot-headedness. He immediately snaps at anyone who calls his illegitimate children ‘bastards’, and when the tide of battle turns, his orders are “Fall back, gods dammit! I forbid you to die like imbeciles!”
(Admittedly, he also says ‘They’ve taken a good position, the bastards! They’ll pick us off like ducks, and I’m no duck!’. Not everything that falls out of his mouth is a nugget of word-gold…)
Some of the best touches are on a smaller scale though, like the moments where Geralt gets together with his friends to just talk politics, his deadpan responses, or cute details like the way the kids in town start following him around asking “White Wolf, are you the one who ate Red Riding Hood?” or asking if he carries two swords because he keeps losing one. Market traders shout things out, characters note your approach (although always with the same line, unfortunately) and there are more than enough people to fill out the scene. There’s no great technical feat to this, unlike some of Bethesda’s Skyrim plans, but that doesn’t matter. After the ghost-town of Kirkwall, The Witcher 2 feels positively bustling.
Onto the more ‘mature’ mature content. The Witcher’s handling of sex was one of its more divisive design decisions, and that’s likely to be the case here too. The main difference is that this time, the sexist elements feel more like the background of the world itself than the game being childish, from the notable way one female spy is introduced in her biography as one of the toughest under the local spymaster’s command, yet still spends the entire prologue doing nothing but fetching drinks, to the nature of the more misogynistic characters. The first big example for instance involves a group of soldiers who apparently captured Geralt at some point during his missing memories, now greeting him like an old friend. “We’d have set you free, the sorceress too,” says one. “Boholt was just fooling about the raping and all.”
The article is a fairly long read, so be sure to read the entire article here.
RPGSite also have a hand's on Preview:
Geralt of Rivia once again finds himself in a sticky situation, chained up in a dungeon in the basement of the Vizima castle following the events of a siege, accused of a crime he says he didn't commit. He looks to be all torn up as he hangs from a wooden beam that he is chained to, suffering constant abuse by the hands of the guards.
His body is scarred from battle - deep cuts and whip lashings are evident. Soon, a man who was there during the siege arrives to discuss the unknown crime with Geralt. What ensues is a flashback sequence where players can decide whether to play through the experience fully, or only during key events (you're either lazy or n your second play through if you would dare to choose the latter).
Waking up next to the very sexy and very naked sorceress Triss Merigold, Geralt's lover that was introduced in the first game, a soldier crashes the sex party to tell the witcher that the king wishes to see him. As soon as you exit the tent, you are quickly greeted by one he'll of a breathtaking view of the battlefield.
When you are not listening to the soldiers tell tales of raping and pillaging, you can hear the bellowing sounds of ballista launching attacks off in the distance or watch trebuchets being carefully loaded. I was only minutes into the game, and already I was completely captivated by this incredibly impressive world full of surrealistic appeal that in my opinion has no equal. The environment is also far more immersive, allowing players to interact with ladders, jump up and down ledges, hide behind objects while in stealth mode, and much more.
Character Progression is now laid out in a uniquely designed template in a thread formation. You start off by putting "talents" into the top quadrant, Training, which covers the basics of combat and stat enhancements. Once you are done filling that up, players can then branch off towards one of the other quadrants that lets you become either a Swordmaster, an Alchemist, or a Mage (or all three if you’re into being a jack-of-all-trades character).
Thankfully, you only have to rely on individual points instead of the use of bronze, silver, and gold medals, which not only streamlines the process but makes it far more intuitive in that you aren't bogged by different choices - it's all straightforward. You can also see your current Attributes on a separate screen in order to figure out what you should be focusing on to build your character, such as your armor or vitality.
The full article can be found here.
And lastly, The Gamer Buzz ponders the question of RPG's:
It’s important to keep in mind that The Witcher was known for its extremely non-linear gameplay, and this title will be no different. The game is diverse and adaptable—it seeks to create a path that the player will enjoy based off of his or her personal preferences, whether it involves a focus on plot elements, the combat, or the exploration of magic. Naturally, based off of this, The Witcher 2 incorporates decision-based plot progression which affects your relationships, the outcomes of political decisions, and so on. While one would think that this is already a sufficient level of depth to any well-drafted RPG, this depth has been richly embossed with more and more options. There are sixteen different endings, three difficulties (one of which requires the player to start the game over from scratch if Geralt dies), and over two hours of cut scenes.
It just raises the question: if you like RPGs, why wouldn’t you buy this game?
Spotted at: GameBanshee