The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings PC Review


In anticipation for The Witcher 2, I replayed the original to get acquainted with the little quirks that make up the game, that and I wanted to import my save file. So I replayed it and god did it feel good playing a game that didn’t follow the beaten path too much and once I beat it, I went straight into the sequel. The first few hours were like a splash of ice cold water in the morning, eye-opening and damn invigorating.

If you went into the sequel with the notion of a dramatic story of a more personal nature instead of a grand escapade to save the world,myou got it. The narrative is as engrossing as ever thanks to the solid framework it has. Going back to Temeria is still dark and deeply fleshed out but if you went into the battle system the same way you did in the original, god did they give you a middle finger. The Witcher 2, at its heart, has totally re-imagined game mechanics compared to the original giving you a more action-oriented game.

The Witcher 2 ScreenshotThe story still deals with Geralt of Rivia who is an amnesiac monster slayer and, like the original, the story does not drive the characters but the interactions between characters drives the story. Taking place right after the original you are thrust into a huge battle at the offset and political strife is soon evident. As you travel, you get reacquainted with old faces and meet some new memorable faces. The story itself doesn’t seem all too grandiose as with the original, but as you delve into the narrative you get sucked into a mire of political intrigue and conspiracy. Gerlat of Rivia has been charged with regicide, the killing of king Foltest, and he must find out the truth. As you go from location to location you get to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

To say CD Projekt made a big game would be an understatement. Everything about the world seems to be bigger and better than the original and nothing feels tacked on. The game itself makes everything you do seem to have some weight, the usual kill X number of monsters to get rewards is changed by giving steps to quell certain monster populace making traversing a forest safer or a small decision in a fight could determine who you side with in a major conflict down the road. This game loves consequences and not your usual good versus bad choices but those that make you think and are morally ambiguous.

The game is beautiful. Everything seemed to be carefully created to fit a certain mood, from war-torn battlements to eerie woods full of monsters. Given you have a rig that can run the game on highest setting you would be treated to a visual masterpiece with nothing cut and pasted.  The graphics are impressive but what really stood out was the aesthetics of the game where everything seems to come together giving life and detail to even the most run-down slums.

Here is where playing the original before sitting down with the sequel made me realize this wasn’t going to be the same game. In the first game, you would be stance dancing between strong, fast and group styles depending on the moment and timing you clicked perfectly to pull off combos, and it worked and felt new and refreshing. The Witcher 2 took a whole different approach. It’s a more action-oriented game where every move could get you killed if you’re not too careful. Instead of wading into a group of enemies and using a group style to mow them down, you have to keep moving and split up the forces. This works for the most part except the targeting system seems off a bit especially when fighting a group of enemies(though a certain skill does help later on). This game makes you feel smarter instead of stronger as you play. With each battle, experiences tell you which spells works well to counter a guarding opponent or stay alive during a fire storm. Every maneuver you make has to be the right one or the game will tell you by taking out most of your life; however, after you learn and implement it you get a sense of accomplishment.The Witcher 2 Screenshot

The menus can kill an RPG due to the balancing of simplicity and functionality. The Witcher 2 had issues with its menu system. Gone is the tabbed menu where one screen can easily be navigated to the next screen; from item to skill screen or stats to quests. Instead of that, The Witcher 2 makes you memorize a key for every menu screen. Want to get to your item screen? Then press “I”. Wait, did you forget to level up first? Well, escape from the item screen and press “C”. It gets annoying, but is bearable and a very small complaint compared to the sheer scale of the game.

CD Projekt created a game that not only does justice to the original, but out-does it both in mechanics and graphics. This game doesn’t hold your hand and will drill-in how best to take on challenges until you get it into your head. Beautifully crafted and executed where every piece has some meaning in the game, and every rundown house and gorgeous vista seem to be tailored to the area. Like the original, this game is not for everyone but god dammit is it worth trying out.

GGC Score: 9 out of 10Clcik here to buy The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for the PC from Amazon.com

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