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Epic The Witcher 2 Review Extravaganza

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Epic The Witcher 2 Review Extravaganza

Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Wed 25 May 2011, 11:59:41

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The Witcher 2 continues to score favorable reviews.

 

G4TV found out that unlike many games that claim your choices have consequences, The Witcher 2 actually makes good on the promise. 5/5

It’s not often I feel like applauding when the credits roll on a videogame, but this time, I may have put my hands together for the folks at CD Projekt RED Studio. Seemingly out of nowhere, they have produced a game that can easily hang with the multi-million dollar triple-A crowd. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is clearly a labor of love, with tremendous thought put into the story, presentation, and writing. If you have a PC capable of running it, do not hesitate to play it. If you don’t…well, this is one of the best arguments in favor of high-end PC gaming to come along in quite some time. You might want to start pricing video cards.

Gamesfront score it 92/100, saying that no self-respecting RPG fan can afford to miss this game.

All in all, The Witcher 2 is a huge step forward for CD Projekt. They’ve taken the series from the first chapter, which was the nearest thing to an indie game, to the second, which is a AAA title that still stays true to its indie roots. It’s the best RPG I’ve played in a long time. Its 25-30 hours may not make it the longest game around, but I haven’t seen anything that comes close to it in terms of giving the player control of what’s happening in the world around him. It’s loaded with great moments, and the passion CD Projekt has for the subject matter is plain to see. In short, it’s a game that no self-respecting RPG fan can afford to miss. I will be very surprised if there’s a better RPG in 2011.

AusGamers dish out 9/10, being impressed with the character system.

So yes, the first few enemy encounters in the game are ludicrously difficult, and you’ll quickly realise that when faced with a group of enemies they’ll quickly work together to surround you and try and hit you from all angles, including the time-old classic of a sword to the back. Being an RPG, getting hit in the back means that the damage taken is amplified as is the time taken to recover from being stunned and be able to retaliate. Combat-wise you’re definitely thrown into the deep end with no real tutorial or even strategy clearly presented, meaning that the early parts of the game can get frustratingly difficult, and at times feel more than a little ridiculous. But eventually (with the time depending on your natural gaming ability) you’ll come to the realisation that being a Witcher means that you’ll have no choice but to use a combination of magic, bombs, traps, ranged weaponry, in the addition to standard sword-play to better your foes. This is when the role-playing nature of the game truly becomes apparent.

Metro mourn the dire absence or bugginess of questmarkers, 6/10, also they seem to have an irrational fear of nipples.

The laughably coy sex scenes (Geralt is sterile so can afford to put himself about a bit) of the first game have thankfully been de-emphasised this time, and the ridiculous 'sex cards' have been given the boot. This at least counts as an improvement on last time, but relatively little else does.

As attractive as the graphics are the animation is still terrible and the game world full of minor glitches. Some of the worst concern the quest information, with map markers and descriptions regularly not showing up.

TechWorld don't score but like it, being happy with the difficulty.

Another touch that makes The Witcher 2 so enjoyable, at least for an old school CRPG player like me, is its difficulty. The game does offer some rudimentary tutorials, but it doesn't explain a number of its aspects. Some may criticise the game for not doing a better job of explaining its mechanics.

You can add mutagens to your skills to boost a number of your stats and abilities. The game explains that when a skill has a circle next to it, you can enhance it with a mutagen. But you won't know a skill has a mutagen slot until you pick it. I didn't begin finding mutagen slots until my Geralt, who reached level 33 by the end of my playthrough, was in the 20s. And it can be a bit difficult to figure out how to take on some bosses (pro tip: the first boss is especially hard).

Honest Gamers are honestly a bit confused with all the storytelling and whatnot, 7/10.

The setting is generic, but there’s a whole load of complexity to the storytelling. Perhaps too much at times, as it can get confusing, but the narrative scope on offer is impressive. The writing is decent, characters are well-rounded, and despite working on a skill-tree system rather than more traditional experience points, there’s a real sense of progression as you fight through the many hours of your journey. There’s even a well-managed sex scene, which certainly makes the original game’s ridiculous porn cards look like the sexist drivel that they were. It feels natural, and human, and never gratuitous despite being fairly explicit.

Globe and Mail have no score either but like it too, recommending *easy* difficulty.

And then there’s the unforgiving level of difficulty, especially at the start of the game before you begin the long and rewarding process of snaking a path through the enormous abilities tree that allows players to customize the sort of fighter their Geralt will become. Enemies are relentless, eager to swarm, and deliver attacks that can be devastating. Don't get me wrong; combat is action-packed, strategic, and loads of fun, but death can be quick and unexpected. I’ve tried both keyboard and gamepad control configurations looking for some sort of combat advantage, but neither are perfect solutions. My advice is to save often. And set the difficulty level to “easy.” There’s no shame.

Here's another 9/10, given by Neoseeker.

Despite these flaws, The Witcher 2 has proved one of my greatest gaming affairs in all respects, and represents some of the finest the genre has to offer. It's been my experience some of the best works (whether games, music, or whatever else) are the ones you want to dive into again immediately after experiencing fully, and The Witcher 2 is exactly that.

GameSpot rate it 9/10, saying that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a gift, gilded with moments that stay with you even after the curtains close on its dark tale of uncertain pasts and uncertain futures. *sob*

The Witcher 2 is not an open-world game in the way of The Elder Scrolls games; each area is relatively contained though expansive enough to encourage exploration. The rewards for doing so aren't just pretty vistas. You might uncover a chest that can be opened only by interpreting the clues on a nearby scroll or stumble upon a giant arachnid guarding treasure. However, the game's flexibility isn't a result of wide-open journeys; it is the extraordinary ways you can influence the story and fundamentally change the direction of your future travels. For example, choices you make at the end of Act 1 not only determine how immediate story events play out, but also have a dramatic impact on the entire game. The characters at your side, the enemies you face, the dialogue--they all differ based on a series of decisions that the game never forgets. And these aren't "good" or "bad" choices: these are ambiguous circumstances with ambiguous results, which is just as well. Geralt is not interested in heroism or villainy. He navigates turbulent waters seeking neither justice nor injustice, only answers.

Shacknews like it too, saying that The Witcher 2 outdoes everything in its class.

The moment I completed the campaign, I started a new game. The excellent core of The Witcher 2’s combat and conversation remained the same, naturally, but what followed was an entirely different, equally absorbing game. So it goes when developers leave players to their own devices instead of spelling out all the answers. I adored stumbling into tucked-away corners of the country, meeting (quarreling with, helping, killing) interesting new characters, and chopping my way through The Witcher 2’s dense quest line. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings outweighs anything that tries to bring it down, and it outdoes everything in its class.

And last but not least, here's StrategyInformer with 9.1/10.

It will be the story that keeps you going as much as the quests, taking in some truly epic encounters and some exceptionally tough choices. It’s almost a Choose Your Own Adventure story come to proper life. Despite me loving every minute though, it has to be said that Act 3 and the finale are really short and don’t wrap up the storyline at all. The much vaunted “sixteen endings” don’t mean that much when they only last a minute each and don’t end anything. Still, this isn’t KOTOR2, we’ll definitely get a sequel that finishes these threads.

You may have seen the score already. It’s a 9.0, which puts The Witcher 2 in classic must-buy territory, but I’ll admit that it’s slightly grudgingly so. I’ve never come across a game that I wanted to berate as much as sing its praises. I felt like I was grumbling to myself or my friends every few minutes, like about the map being useless or a boss fight being tedious, but would I consider stopping playing? Never. The Witcher 2 can be frustrating, but it’s also a game that will suck you in and keep you talking about it for years to come.

If you're not into reading, there's a video review available on Gametrailers.

 

Now, there's been a lot of whining because of the steep difficulty. Tomek Gop answered the complaints to Eurogamer.

While The Witcher 2 landed in stores last week to almost universal acclaim a number of users, and reviewers, raised concerns about the RPG's brutal learning curve.

Developer CD Projekt's response? Deal with it.

In Eurogamer's 9/10 review of the game last week, Quintin Smith complained that the game was "ungodly tough" at the start before becoming more manageable later on.

"Obviously we have been inspired by hardcore games, by difficult games, and maybe that might be the reason why it was not that obvious to us," answered senior producer Tomasz Gop.

"But we didn't want the game to be a piece of cake at the beginning like, you know, an interactive movie. That wasn't what we were aiming for. We definitely wanted to introduce at least some level of difficulty.

"I think the most common misunderstanding is that most people compare our 'normal difficulty' to other games' 'normal difficulty'," he continued.

"Since we are a hardcore game, we do require a hardcore approach on the 'normal' skill. The 'easy' skill is basically for the guys who want to take it light.

You might need some time to get used to the control scheme and the different abilities, but once you got used to it combat gets much easier. Isn't this the purpose of any combat system anyway? Being hard to master?

 

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