The Witcher 2: Then and Now

The Witcher 2 is fantastically easy on the eyes. See how far the graphics have come since the original.

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The Witcher has come a long way. Originally released in 2007, the game was powered by BioWare's Aurora engine, the same used in the popular role-playing game Neverwinter Nights. For the sequel, CD Projekt Red opted to build the game with an engine of its own design, Red, and the results are spectacular. For a genre that rarely pushes graphics, The Witcher 2 features numerous options that really crank up the visual fidelity: ambient occlusion, dynamic lighting, depth of field effects, and a little something that’s unique to The Witcher 2, Ubersampling. Ubersampling basically takes antialiasing, the effect that removes jagged edges, to a whole new level.

Geralt

Characters and faces appear much more believable in the sequel. The original game didn't look bad at the time, but The Witcher 2 has quite a bit more technology behind it. Looking at the main character's appearance in The Witcher 2, we noted that his clothing reacts to lighting in a detailed manner, and you can see numerous shadows across it. The buttons shine brightly, and the leather takes on a glossed look when illuminated. By comparison, in the original, his clothing looked just as dull when under full sunlight. His hair also flows much more easily in the sequel, and the movement is far from the wooden animation of the original.

The Witcher The Witcher 2

Indoor Environments

Indoor scenes look similar when still, and that's largely due to the sunlight coming from windows, but in motion, the game behaves very differently. Lighting barely affected environments in the original, and the number of lighting errors you might find was tremendous in certain parts of the game. Looking around a castle, you see point lights emanating from areas that are in different rooms entirely. The Witcher 2 also gets a large boost in the variety and quality of its textures.

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

Outdoor Environments

When we wander outside, the sequel really shines. CD Projekt did a spectacular job giving the landscape a lifelike feel. The original feels almost dead by comparison. Lighting and various postprocessing effects have a great deal to do with this change. When the game is in motion, depth of field and blur effects definitely give the game a much more polished look.

The Witcher The Witcher 2
The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher The Witcher 2
The Witcher The Witcher 2

The Witcher 2 Settings

The Witcher 2 is a demanding game if you crank everything up. Only the most modern and powerful of rigs can run Ultra spec without hiccups. But most users can get close simply by disabling the Ubersampling setting. Ubersampling ups the visuals by applying very high-quality antialiasing to everything on the screen, but the performance hit is tremendous, pulling even a GeForce GTX 480 SLI setup down into the mud at times. Flipping between the various settings, you might want to try to get the game to run on high settings. Dropping down to medium causes you to lose lots of eye candy--light shafts, shadow quality, motion blur, and distant rendering. One thing is for sure, even at the lowest settings, the game never looks bad. The more demanding settings simply make it look better.

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

Low Medium High Ultra w/o Ubersampling Ultra

With The Witcher 2 receiving such rave reviews, we wouldn't be surprised if a sequel were planned. We can't wait to see how CD Projekt ups the ante on the visuals in a few years' time.

Discussion

273 comments
BloodMist
BloodMist

@grim0187 The reason why you got so many thumbs down is because you didn't post a single statement that has any basis in reality whatsoever, so you're either really stupid or really delusional, sorry to break it to ya.

BloodMist
BloodMist

What makes this game so freaking gorgeous isn't really anything technical, as there's plenty of games and engines that stack up no problem in that department when compared to this game.It's all in the art style.Everything in the game was crafted so meticulously to look a certain way, fit a certain style, which of course would be gritty low fantasy, and it is gloriously beautiful for that reason.A big part of it are the textures and shaders, which were made to look gritty, filthy, and very detailed, almost to the micrometer it seems, and most games simply do not have that amount of love put into them.The first Witcher is still quite beautiful for that reason in it's own right, especially when you consider the engine it was running on, which was never all that good of an engine(in fact it's quite horrible in the graphics department).

silent_riku
silent_riku

@soolkiki I don't believe you got the point. The game is great, but it's just something to note that you could hear the dogs but there weren't any roaming the towns. It's not game breaking sure, and it's something that can be ignored but I'm just saying, it's something I noticed and I'm sure you noticed it too.

The_Godfather_
The_Godfather_

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

squidbilly22
squidbilly22

Good story for a change in RPG's, starts out with dude bangin his hot companion and yes full frontal none of that G rated Mass Effect 2 cheese.Fighting is fast like a slasher but requires parrying skill and special abilities.It does look good on ultra with a HD monitor.My PS3 is a dust collector now ,i just use the controller's for my PC instead.

grim0187
grim0187

@HT89488 Most of my comment was a quote taken directly from the article. I also did an experiment and posted what another user said "time to upgrade my computer...again..." Now he got 8 positive thumbs and not one negative, but when I post the EXACT same thing, I get 3 negative and 4 positive, only because of my previous comment. Biased much? Anyways, if you got a gaming rig from 2004 or earlier you WONT be able to play this on max settings. And why would I spend money on a game that I cant play the way the devs intended it to be played? No, I would have to upgrade and spend MORE money on a graphics card that'll only last a year or so until the next new PC exclusive comes out and wants me to shell out MORE cash. Its RIGHT THERE, dude. Ignorance is bliss, PC elitist...

HT89488
HT89488

@grim0187 You couldn't be more wrong about everything you just said. I am not even going to argue with so much ignorance in a entire paragraph.

drokmore
drokmore

NIce to see advancement, but also nice the storyline was quality, graphics can only take you so far.

lindallison
lindallison

Witcher 1 is really an amazing looking game when you consider its pedigree. CDP took Aurora 1 and ended up making a game that looks better than Dragon Age....

DraKKuLL007
DraKKuLL007

I see A LOT of people saying they cannot run this game, I ask WHY? Is not that expensive... I just build a "new" computer with 2 pieces of hardware: processor and graphics cards... See, my MOBO is the same when I played TW 1 in 2008, and I can still play in Ultra ( w/o Super ) with average 40-50 fps. Here's the trick. Mobo: ECS A780GM-A = $60 Processor: Phenon II x4 945 $110 Graphics Card: GTX 460 1gb $ 134... and with HD, Power Supply, memory, you can add more $ 200, well, with $ 600 / 650 you can build a VERY good Rig, and if you need to upgrade you can just change processor and graphic card. Is not that hard. And you'll have a spec that make any console cry... Just remember one thing when you build a Gamer-PC: GPU is the car, CPU is the road...

Tayar
Tayar

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

CornelMosneag
CornelMosneag

For some reason most of the places seem a bit crowded. Probably because fighting is no longer static or I don't know but the first inn in Witcher seems a lot wider than what I in found in Witcher 2. Gerald does seem a bit bigger. Witcher wasn't bad either but Witcher 2 is visually great. Just wish other aspects would have been great also.

Vampire_mahdi
Vampire_mahdi

I played both game , I don't know really but I felt the first one had a darker grimmer tone .

antimat0r
antimat0r

graphically... YAY, but hoping the story is equally awesome!!

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

@anthonycg I feel sorry you mate:( Anyway this game is looking good...

Gojomez
Gojomez

The game is very good. its hard as hell though. If you think youre going to run in swining at every group of enemies, get ready to die alot. Though, as you level and spend your skill points, you get much more powerful against whatever the game throws at you.

4514N_DUD3
4514N_DUD3

Everyones been saying that this is a good game, maybe I'll try it out. If I like it that much, I'll probably try and buy it.

Azohar3307
Azohar3307

I haven't beaten the second one yet, only about 4 hours in so far. But the first game was amazing. Just about everything about it except for the lackluster combat system was great. I personally prefer the dark atmosphere that was in the first game that I haven't quite relived in the second one yet. Maybe I'm just not far enough into the game yet.

Neoboy156
Neoboy156

When is The Witcher 2 coming to 360/PS3 anybody know.

Davo-C
Davo-C

@areszues92 Too Shiny O_O? is that possible? :D But seriously, looks great, waiting to pick this up after exams, so tempted to go buy it now but I know I'd receive multiple F's for my grades. :/

anthonycg
anthonycg

I just had to get Fable 3..... *sigh*

areszues92
areszues92

graphics a bit too shiny for the characters, it's like their plastic

deathguardian08
deathguardian08

@TheRedHunterr What do you mean pretty good graphics for a RPG? I find that RPG games usually have the better end of graphics in general. There will always be an occasional shooter who has extraordinary graphics (Crysis, Killzone 3 anyone?) but when it comes to consistency, I don't see many ugly looking RPG games.

luizferrarezzi
luizferrarezzi

I finished the this game waiting for the start. all the work in the graphics, gameplay, universe and nothing real fun happens. 16 ways to end the game and they dont work the replay value either. hope they do a expansion. to me a game like this should be big like zelda or final fantasy with the option to travel back to places you already finished and replay with more itens like diablo 2 or vagrant story. al the game have a lot of potential but to me the story and storytelling is incomplete.

IMPACT_17
IMPACT_17

Where are the ( . Y . ) comparisons?

grim0187
grim0187

Time to upgrade my computer.....again.....

grim0187
grim0187

@demonkingx5 "The Witcher 2 is demanding game if you crank everything up. Only the most modern and powerful of rigs can run Ultra spec without hiccups. But most users can get close simply by disabling the Ubersampling setting. Ubersampling ups the visuals by applying very high quality antialiasing to everything on the screen, but the performance hit is tremendous, pulling even a GeForce GTX 480 SLI setup down into the mud at times." Thats why consoles already caught up to the PC. Unless you have a very high end PC with the lastest tech, and can run it at max, your lookin at a game that looks like a last gen Xbox title. At least with a console you dont have to worry about if your game can look the best. Unless you keep your rig up to date, you cant run every new PC game at max settings.

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

this is why consoles will never catch up to the PC

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

I hated the game play for Witcher, but Witcher 2 is fun to play and the graphics are awesome. Stance based combat from the first one was booty, they got rid of it and made something far more engaging and truly fun. I only just started but I can't wait until I have more time to play around in Witcher 2. Their textures and lighting got better in the number 2 and I like that they made the rooms more modestly sized, it looks better with the lowered ceilings and less squarefootage.

WelBluVid
WelBluVid

this is my next game to purchase unless something else drops better on the 360...

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

@lewishim666- I started the game with difficult qte's off and I don't use controllers. I will try the alt to see if that does anything though.

Curufenwe
Curufenwe

Mmmm most of the pictures on the witcher 1 is on a cloudy day and witcher 2 is sunny, since you are making a comparison you could atleast make it with the same weather. Unles the witcher 1 always wascloudy in that case ill just stfu and say sry for mi ignorance.

piyush18
piyush18

Witcher 2 ....... My next game to buy........

angelkadaj
angelkadaj

I like the both games. Actually I think the first one has better atmosphere.

HT89488
HT89488

Did you guys know that "epic" is the most overused word? Fact. Anyways, I am still playing The Witcher, looking forward to the Witcher 2. I still think the original looks good graphically. I can't imagine what this looks like yet, it has been reading to be a very interesting game.

TestamentPrime
TestamentPrime

KotOR? Epic, DAO? Epic, DA2? lolz (jk i would give it a "ok"), The Witcher 2? i haven't finished it yet, but it's around Epic-Legendary so far =D.

FireAngel777
FireAngel777

The Witcher 2 filled the empty hole Dragon Age 2 left in my heart... just when i thought the era of epic PC RPGs was closer to death with BioWare not being BioWare anymore, a new jewel starts to shine. (i've heard that The Witcher 1 was good, but never got to play it, so might play after i'm done with TW2)

akumous
akumous

I am gamer, I have no platform preferences nor am I a fan boy by one over the other. However, the Witcher 2 has reinvigorated my love for PC gaming. This is a PC game done right with a lot of polish, minor to zero flaws on the graphical presentation, and one of the best RPGs I have ever played. Bioware's Dragon Age franchise has nothing on this game.

Rat_King
Rat_King

@Courtawulf, could not agree more. I'm sure it'll be the same for The Witcher 2, but this is extremely evident in Dragon Age Origins. I played it first on 360 and was not a fan at all, made me think it was one of the most overrated games of all time. Then I had a chance to play it on PC a few years later and it's now one of my all time best and favorite games. Just goes to show, the experience can be completely different on the PC, 99% of the time for the better. Congrats Witcher 2 on your success, it is well deserved. Got plenty of bugs you still need to work out, but amazingly this game is still pretty incredible even with the minor annoyances.

TheRedHunterr
TheRedHunterr

Huh the graphyc is very good for an rpg .. it beat evan mass effect 2 ...the game desserve more than an 9.I hope they'll make an enchanted edition to tw 2 too ...the game will become the one of the best ...ups is 1 of the best

Courtawulf
Courtawulf

I would just like to thank CDprojekt for making a PC game. There are very VERY few developers that still make PC only games, and it really shows. I own the big name consoles, but I have always preferred PC games, there really is a large limitation to consoles and that REALLY shows in most cross-platform games (controls, graphic engine, content, overall maturity). I understand it is tempting to cross-platform everything (and make everything accessible to all age groups) to make as much money as possible, but playing a game like this really shows that PC games are not the same as console games. I hope other developers see this game as a reason to stay in the PC only market

lewishim666
lewishim666

@Tidal_Abyss You can lock onto enemies by pressing alt or LB if your using the 360 controller. Though you have to wait for the auto targeting to target the enemy you intend to lock onto. The lock-on is still helpful even though it can leave you vulnerable sometimes. I haven't tried it yet but i think if you turn "difficult QTEs" off in the gameplay menu it will allow you to control the QTEs with the mouse instead of the keyboard. I also agree that people who have played the first witcher and then the second will view it different. I am pretty sure that I enjoy the witcher 2 more because I only played the first one alittle bit. But it seems like I will like the first one more when I get a chance to play it since I played the witcher 2 first.

Wall
Wall

I would love to play this game...unfortunately there is cyclic redundany error on install that prevents me from doing so. There is no solution short of bypassing my dvd reader all together. Beware.

tonet666
tonet666

is this a DX11 game?. Just asking. It'll be very cool if they apply this engine to The Witcher 1.

tonet666
tonet666

i will definitely play this game more then 2 times.(sorry for my bad english)