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Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review


With the late Spring releases of gaming juggernauts like Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3. And the excitement of the soon to be released Dragon’s Dogma, games like The Witcher 2 can often get lost in the shuffle. This is not a mistake that should be made by any fan of RPG titles. Beautiful environments, engrossing storyline, and extensive ways to upgrade your character make this game shine on many different levels. This game takes full advantage of its M rating. Fellow gamers beware this is not for the young at heart and is a very dark game. Geralt of Rivia is whoever you want him to be, good or bad, making for a very personal and enjoyable experience.

First things first, this game is gorgeous. The first signs of this are shown in the Prologue when you first walk out of your tent and are introduced to a hill side full of tents that the soldiers occupy just before the huge battle that is soon to ensue. A monstrous siege tower looms in the background and is a sight to behold. The developers did a wonderful job on the monsters and dragons. Somehow making creatures of fantasy appear realistic. Lush forests are the setting for the first town you wonder into and very little is left to be desired. As soon as you are finished with the objectives in this town you are given the option to go join ranks with the elves or go with a “friend” to find the love of your life who was recently kidnapped. I decided to go with the elves and soon found myself in a cliff side castle filled with dwarves and humans alike. While this area doesn’t grab your attention like the forest does, it does do a great job of continuing the story and you gain a sense of where the plot will finally go.

This is when the story line starts to become just as important as the graphics. From here on out if feels like everyone you talk to and every decision that you make shape Geralt into the character that you wish him to become. Joining up with different factions changes the entire experience of the game and does so in a way that is gratifying and also makes you want to play through a second time to see what could have been. Personal relationships are forged early on that extend through out the course of the game. Allies and enemies made that might not have been had you responded to questions differently. The experience that I had compared to the experience of almost any other gamer would, almost without a doubt, be different on many levels.

Like most RPGs the Witcher 2 is full of customizable weapons. Which weapons and magic you chose to upgrade is completely up to the player. Picking up seemingly pointless supplies gains importance once you begin to craft weapons and armor. With every level up gained, different “Talents” are given. These can be used towards overall vitality, swordsmanship skills, alchemy, or magic. In essence you can make Geralt a spell caster or a beast of a swordsman it is, again, completely up to you. Runes can be found to permanently boost weapon or armor statistics. Oils can be used to coat your blade to poison, or increase enemy bleed out. And different potions that you create give temporary boosts in which ever area needed in certain battles. Utilizing all of these things proves very important, especially during the more pain staking boss battles. Stay on top of things, upgrade when available and save often. The reward is very much worth the time you take to keep Geralt in tip top shape.

We all as gamers know that no game is perfect (well with the exception of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, that game was perfect) and there are a few things that the Witcher 2 could have worked on to better strive for perfection. First thing that most people will notice is the dreaded ‘invisible’ wall. This complaint always gets under my skin when people bring it up. Every game no matter the size will have invisible walls. The levels cant go on forever so get with it people. The Witcher 2 however, does have them relatively close to places that you feel you should be able to venture. Combat is pretty easy and to be honest a little bit boring. There are two different strikes, one that is a heavy strike and leaves you vulnerable to attack and a quick strike which is light, but can be chained together without taking damage. Magic can be thrown in there too but for the most part I found myself just hitting combinations of the three buttons and waiting for the enemy’s health to drain. Upgrading weapons and skill is what makes the combat fun, not the mechanics.

Aside from those two complaints the Witcher 2 is an absolute beast of a game. The story is compelling and at points you actually ‘feel’ for the people you meet in this world. I always wanted to continue playing to see what happened to the folks I met on my journey and how the decisions I made influenced their inevitable outcomes. The game feels very personal, after almost every question I was asked it seemed as though the designers presented me with a response that I would actually have given. I’m telling you guys, don’t let this one slip into the realm of obscurity. It is worth the money and the time and very rarely am I this gratified after paying $59.99.

 

9.5 – 10

 

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