Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Witcher 2 Review

Score: 4.5/5
Platform: PC

The original Witcher game is perhaps one of my favorite RPGs of all time do to its complex, enthralling story and living world. The game is one of the best at pulling you in and making you feel connected to each choice and action. The game was not without flaws however. The combat system was a bit clunky (although still fun) and the engine was a bit sluggish. Despite its flaws, it was still one of the bust cRPG experiences I’ve ever played.

The Witcher 2 improves upon the first game in just about every single way. Graphics, combat, interface, minigames, etc. have all been changed for the better.

The graphics engine in the Witcher 2 is simply breathtaking. This game is hands down the best looking RPG out there currently. With a powerful computer, you will absolutely be blown away by the detail in the environment. The forests look real, the landscapes look real, every ray of light, every shadow blends together to create a seamless beautiful world. Graphics aren’t the most important part of a game, but they can help bring a feeling of immersion and this game does just that.

Swamp in The Witcher 2
Combat in the Witcher 2 has been overhauled so you no longer just click every time your sword glows. Group stance has been removed and your fast attack is your left mouse button and your strong attack is your right button. You must dodge around and time your attacks to avoid getting hit. Your spells and the ability to block both use the same resource, so you must decide if you want to cast a spell or block an attack. All the spells have been reworked to be more useful and they are all accessible with a radial menu system now for easy access. The combat has a little bit of Demon’s Souls feel to it where it’s all about proper timing and avoiding damage.

The Witcher 2 returns with an advanced alchemy system with lots of potions, oils, and bombs. One of the more annoying aspects of the game is the layout of recipes in the inventory since everything is lumped together instead of being sorted by category. Bombs are much more useful in this game as they are your best form of area damage in the early parts of the game. Potions only last for 10 minutes now and can only be used out of combat. This normally wouldn’t be a problem except that some fights are more than 10 minutes long and you can’t refresh your potion because you can’t get out of combat.

The Witcher can level up to 35 and spend talent points in a very large branching skill web system. There are general talents, swordsmanship, potions, and magic. Each talent has 2 ranks, with the second rank being up to 3 times as powerful as the first rank. Some of the talents also allow you to place a mutagen inside that adds more stats to your Witcher without changing the base talent.
 

The story in the Witcher 2 has very little to do with the previous game so anyone should be able to pick it up and play. I do however recommend picking up the first game as it’s a very good RPG and will help you understand some of the characters better. Your choices in this game do affect the story and can drastically alter your gameplay. For example, one choice in chapter one can determine which city the entire section chapter takes place in. Each of the two cities has a different story and unique quests. The story is quite complex and will require attention to details and two playthroughs (one of both sides) to fully understand all the complex winding gears.

There were some annoyances that held this game back from getting a perfect score. All of these things can be fixed and I will update my score if they are hammered out.

  • Getting the game to run smooth was a challenge at first and required uninstalling a 3d vision driver and installing new beta drivers to get the game to stop lagging. AMD users had an even harder time with new drivers just now being released. The inventory system is a mess as items are not sorted alphabetically, value or weight.

  • The inventory at least has tabs to organize by most types of ingredients like potions, armor, weapons, etc. but all the items when sorted are still not in any order. The game needs to patch in an ability to sort items by alphabetically at the very least and preferably by weight and value.

  • It is often hard to precisely target a specific foe in combat and you usually target the wrong enemy. It would be nice if these targeting issues were hammered out a little bit.

Overall, the Witcher 2 is a brilliant sequel to the first game and will thrill lovers of the first game and people who have never heard of the Witcher before. If you have never played the first game, I highly recommend it (it's only $10) and is a great game. I stronger recommend both games game despite their minor flaws.

2 comments:

  1. Really good points, although the one about driver issues is not really a fault with the fine folks at TW2 headquarters. I guess they could have delayed the release a bit to align better with new driver releases, but we all knew the graphics would be top notch and would thus require the latest software ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I agree wholeheartedly with the inventory criticism though. My inventory got cluttered to the point where I would just search painstakingly for what I would use/need and just sell the rest. Anyone with varying degrees of OCD would go nuts.

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  2. I heard this game will be ported to Xbox..lol

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