I just finished the Witcher 2, I will try to keep this review succinct and try to avoid any sort of spoilers. But I may slip and if I do you probably will still get a whole lot out of the game. My plan is more to discuss the fundamentals of the game however. What it has and what it is lacking, assuming I remember this by the time I get to either point.
To put it shortly the Witcher 2 is fantastic. The first game was very good but I found myself unable to complete it, an out of place fetch quest lost the momentum in the first game and I just threw it aside. I never do plan to finish it and I must admit that leaving out even a little bit of the end of the first game left me saying “What the hell?” for much of the beginning of Witcher 2, so this game, at least from a lore perspective, is not something you will easily pickup if you don’t play the original.
Also note the Original is 4.99 at gog.com quite often and 9.99 normally. It’s well worth every penny and I’m sure you’ll be more of a grown up than me and actually finish it. The second game is running between 39.99 and 43.95 in most places right now, I bought it the day it came out and admittedly didn’t start playing until they released the Enhanced Edition (which I got for free for owning the original). I was very happy with this and plan to buy every future CD Projeckt game the day it comes out for as long as they keep up this policy of no DRM and Free and Easy Updates.
The first game had a wonderful collection mechanic to it, you could “bed” many of the important female characters in the story and in doing so you’d get love cards. That was fun and I found myself collecting most of them. The game approached sexuality in the same way it approached all the other facets of life, the Witcher forces the player to confront both the violence and the passion of life and I appreciate that. These scenes were not jarring in the original and they were equally well fitted in the second. You are Geralt of Rivia, a mutant known as a “Witcher”, you hunt monsters and because of your mutations are sterile. Seeing also that you do not share direct genes with humans anymore you are also immune to most of their diseases, these particular bits of info leave Geralt with a bit of a carefree attitude towards sexuality. Likewise when your own survival is only guaranteed in the past, it is important to live life to the fullest.
Sadly, in the second game you will not be collecting these cards. There was very little in the way of collecting at all. I found that disappointing, also the lack of a New Game + was a bit disappointing but I still plan to play the game again. I would love to see the alternate path (this story contains two stories running side by side) and once again take up my job as matchmaker.
The game is beautiful, I ran it on my gaming PC on High Specs, there were tons of options for ultra powerful PCs but I didn’t touch most of them. The art style is magnificent, the clothing choices make sense in almost every case and the characters are incredibly defined and lively. I found myself actually reading the notice board and actually caring about side quests.
I was teary eyed by the end of the Prologue, they had managed to get me attached to characters in the introduction that I couldn’t care two spits about in the entire first game. The quality of the writing has certainly stepped up a peg and the Witcher already had top notch content.
At times it is easy to get lost, the maps are stylized but fairly terrible, however the quest guides and journal are nice and informative. Combat is fluid and fun, the skill system is interesting and enjoyable, and the alchemy and crafting are designed with efficiency in mind. The game is streamlined positively in many places and I think PC gamers will be exceptionally pleased, console gamers might be overwhelmed by the quality (I’ve had poor experiences with RPGs on the console as of late).
This game most certainly deserves to be played, I could say more but the negatives are far and few between. It looks great, sounds great, plays great, and leaves me wanting to play it again. This is a game I got without achievements, no gimmicks, and the story is as complete as it can be for the second part of an obvious trilogy. The Enhanced Edition will also net you some very powerful additions to the final act that will help set the stage for the final game.
I’m extremely excited, if they can produce a third game that is only as good as the second I suspect this will go down as one of my favorite gaming experiences thus far in my life. Try not to come into it with expectations you might gain from this review, think of it like just another video game, I would like you to experience the game as I did. To load it up expecting a fairly standard romp and to leave floored by a quality that is so rare in modern games that I thought it dead.
You won’t find a critical piece of this story sanctioned off as DLC, either.