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Review

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition Review

  • Game release: May 17, 2011
  • Reviewed: April 17, 2012
  • X360

A sorrowful world, complex political intrigue, and meaningful choices make The Witcher 2 a must-play.

by

The monster slayer speaks to the soldier with quiet confidence. He signals with his fingers, his yellow eyes shine, and the soldier reveals his secrets without the slayer ever needing to unsheathe his sword. The witcher is gifted for his patience, and now, Xbox 360 owners are similarly rewarded: one of 2011's finest adventures has come to Microsoft's console, and it was well worth the wait. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition is a treat for the mind and a joy for the senses. This superb role-playing game hits hard, drawing you into its dark fantasy world and requiring you to make difficult choices with palpable consequences. As Geralt of Rivia--the titular witcher--you seek answers in lush landscapes and burning battlefields, where great despair casts long shadows on even the sunniest meadows and lakes.

You may have heard about the stupendous visuals of The Witcher 2 on the PC, and probably wonder: how does the Xbox 360 version compare? It should be no surprise that the console release can't match its higher-resolution PC counterpart, which was a standard-setter on that platform. Shadows are less extensive, the draw distance isn't quite as astonishing, and some texture pop-in, jittery transitions, and longer loading times will stand out to anyone who has seen the game running at the highest settings on the PC.

And yet there is no reason to suppose you are getting a halfhearted PC-to-console port here. The Witcher 2 is wonderful to look at, brimming with visual details that refuse to be lost in spite of the hardware's limitations. Inspect the crumbling walls of an ancient city, and you notice how every rock, rune, and fissure is unique. Nothing looks copied and pasted, but either painstakingly crafted by hand or hewn by natural forces. Soldiers genuflect as royalty passes, yet they're not unnaturally synchronized, but instead bow and rise as individuals. A gorgeous waterfall makes for a glistening tapestry, behind which lies darkness and death. A red scar above a defiant elf's upper lip is not just a testament to past conflict--it suggests a permanent scowl.

Welcome to the world of The Witcher 2, which is alive with activity yet tinged with violence and sorrow. The opening moments ready you for the game's brutal overtones, showing a captive Geralt of Rivia whipped and taunted by his jailers. Geralt's defaced flesh is a horrific sight, but thematically relevant: he is scarred by his past. Once thought dead, he is still piecing together memories of a savage battle and a beauty called Yennefer. The story takes its cue from these lost memories, juxtaposing sex and brutailty. It also presents both as inevitable and natural results of the mortal condition. You can bed various women in The Witcher 2; ploughing (that is, sex) is a frequent subject of conversation, and one of Geralt's favorite pastimes.

Even the most attractive sights are tainted by grief and brutality.

Prostitutes and lusty soldiers are commonplace in The Witcher 2, though women are hardly relegated to carnal duties. The game's female characters hold great sway in the political landscape, including Saskia the Dragonslayer. This freedom fighter speaks with such force and confidence that it's no surprise she should command a dedicated following. Her nemesis is King Henselt, whose arrogance and robust brogue make him an equally authoritative presence. They are both voiced with great gusto, and contrast with Geralt's cool, measured delivery. And that's as it should be: Henselt and Saskia must inspire their disciples. Geralt, known as the White Wolf, is also a lone wolf.

They are but a few players in The Witcher 2's tangled political plot, which involves so many characters and so much lore that you might be initially confused. But even when things get twisty, the fearless Geralt is there to ground the story. The witcher searches for clues to his past, as well as the royal assassin that ended the life of King Foltest. If you didn't play The Witcher on PC, don't worry that you'll feel lost: the prologue does an excellent job of catching you up on what you need to know. Nor do you need to wonder about the assassin's identity; it doesn't remain a secret for long, and it's quickly clear that The Witcher 2 is no murder mystery.

Instead, The Witcher 2 is a chronicle of discovery, redemption, and political upheaval. Geralt is blamed for Foltest's murder, but as he gets closer to the true killer, he becomes more and more involved in the region's power struggles. Those assisting Geralt on his quest include the flamboyant bard Dandelion and the earthy Zoltan, a foul-mouthed dwarf who, like most of The Witcher 2's dwarves, loves women and drink. Dwarves are a rich source of humor in most role-playing games, and The Witcher 2's are no exception. Yet, the tone is different here. These are the raunchiest dwarves you've ever encountered, yet the comedy is undercut by underlying anguish.

Lifting curses is hard work.

In fact, a deep undercurrent of pain and suffering flows beneath each character and event. A mother's unspoken agony taints the wonder of childbirth. A father's drive to protect his son may brand him a coward in his own progeny's eyes, but it's a price he's willing to pay, and Geralt isn't one to turn down a bit of coin--or in this case, some pertinent information. Many quests, including those new to this edition, involve the game's signature moral dilemmas. Whom do you believe: a soldier with hygiene problems haunted by a wraith, or the wraith that accuses the soldier of her own murder? Do you absolve a pair of nobles of treason, condemn them, or spare one and sacrifice the other? In this complicated world, there isn't necessarily a right choice. There is no meter to determine whether you are being "good" or "bad," and Geralt is neither hero nor villain.

Not including the prologue and epilogue, The Witcher 2 is split into three acts. The first is primarily concerned with following the killer's trail, while the second greatly expands the plot. The convoluted plot seems poised to explode in the final episode, only to fizzle at the end. The lack of closure intimates a sequel, and the final act is abrupt when compared to the robustness of the first two. Nevertheless, there is no reason to feel slighted, as the journey is entertaining and reasonably lengthy, given several hours of additional gameplay over the PC version's initial release. Yet what makes The Witcher 2 most impressive isn't its length or its vastness; it isn't an open-world, content-stuffed game in the way of the Elder Scrolls series. Instead, its triumph is in how your decisions fundamentally transform your journey.

The Witcher 2 is essentially multiple games gracefully molded into a single experience. The second act, for instance, tells a very different tale depending on choices you make beforehand. You might comb beaches and battlefields or go spelunking with a group of profane dwarves at your side, in each case making a different region your base of operations. By their very flexibility, many RPGs inspire replay, but few offer such differing paths, allowing you to experience a complex narrative from distinct points of view. The characters at your side, the enemies you face, the dialogue--they all differ based on a series of decisions that the game never forgets.

As it turns out, trolls don't pay taxes on the bridge tolls they collect.

Cities and wilderness areas are relatively contained, though just extensive enough to encourage exploration. In doing so, you might uncover a chest that can be opened only by interpreting the clues on a nearby scroll, or stumble upon a giant arachnid guarding treasure. A number of stupendous action moments punctuate your travels. You won't remember just the big story developments, but the sequences in which you clutch your sword and stare down the danger ahead with savage resolve. In one such scenario, you slash away at grotesque representations of hate and violence, the whispers of magical incantations barely rising above the distant noise of steel on steel. Elsewhere, terrifying screams and flurries of feathers make your first encounter with a gaggle of harpies unforgettable, and the squawks and growls of unseen wildlife intensify your showdown with an endrega queen.

While there are a few different kinds of weapons you might wield, you usually choose between your silver and steel swords, depending on whether you are facing monsters or humans. You perform both light and heavy attacks from a third-person view, and can block and cast signs (Geralt's magic spells) as well. Before you leap into the prologue, you might want to check out the tutorial, though it isn't strictly necessary, as the first proper combat encounter isn't nearly as punishing as it was on the PC. It might take you a few tries, but you eventually grasp the rhythm of swordplay. Crowd control is important: you want to avoid getting surrounded at all costs, and bombs and traps can make all the difference when the odds look overwhelming.

The Xbox 360 release benefits from a reasonable difficulty curve, but there are some frustrations here and there. The manual targeting system is fiddly enough that you'll likely let the game's auto-targeting take over for you, unless you face a single enemy, or maybe two. You might inadvertently tumble toward an enemy behind the one you meant to attack and find yourself in the center of a deadly mob. There are also moments when basic actions don't feel as responsive as they should; unsheathing your sword might take a couple of button presses, for instance. Yet the action is largely satisfying and enjoyable. There's a palpable sense of weight in every swing. Geralt might somersault toward his victim and slash him with a steel sword or use a flaming staff pilfered from a succubus to land slower, heavier blows.

Friend, or foe? Your decision has far-reaching consequences on the missions that follow.
Even when you know danger is ahead, the views are too attractive not to press onward. Death is inescapable, but The Witcher 2 allows you to properly prepare before trying to conquer the wilds. You aren't stuck with the same weapons and armor, of course. You loot new ones or buy them from vendors, and these can be upgraded in various ways. You might also purchase equipment schematics and have a vendor craft items for you using the iron ore, timber, and other raw materials you stumble upon as you explore. You can also brew up potions and quaff them, though you can't just down a health drink in the midst of battle. Instead, you must down potions while meditating.

Potions are toxic to Geralt; thus, the number you can drink is limited. It might take you a while to come to terms with this "prepare in advance" approach to potions. Brews act as statistic buffs rather than immediate cure-alls, and unless you know what monsters you might be coming up against, you don't necessarily know which potions are most effective. When the story snatches you up into a series of battles and cutscenes, you may never be allowed to meditate and, thus, never reap the benefits potions may have granted. Thankfully, the long animations depicting Geralt entering and exiting his meditation pose have been removed, making this process less arduous.

It may also take some time to get used to the interface. It isn't complex but there are some minor idiosyncrasies, some of which are rather sensible. You can't hold a button to identify loot and items of interest as you can in other RPGs; instead, you activate Geralt's medallion. It's a neat way of taking a game-y function and making it seem more natural. Other interface quirks are less understandable. In most RPGs, once you exhaust a particular dialogue tree, you are usually allowed to select other options before exiting the interaction. In The Witcher 2, you might get thrown out of the conversation and have to reengage the character to explore other options. It would have been nice to compare equipment at a glance, rather than have to select a particular menu option. There are other quirks too, such as picky contextual prompts (you might disarm a trap instead of swinging at an attacking nekker), but they are small blemishes on this ambitious adventure.

You can run from this spirit--but you can't hide.

Though combat is central to The Witcher 2, it's far from the only thing you do as Geralt. You can earn some coin by trading blows with certain locals, which means performing a relatively easy sequence of quick-time button presses. Timed events show up in boss fights and in other scripted sequences as well, though the game doesn't focus on them, and they make for a fun spectacle: the close camera angles and barbaric punches give brawls a lot of pizzazz. The PC version's arm-wrestling minigame returns as well and controls far better with a controller than it did with a mouse and keyboard. You can even go get a haircut or play some dice when you aren't busy chatting up the local ladies or hearing of Zoltan's latest exploits.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition is an excellent port of a superb game, embracing many of the elements we love about RPGs without skimping on any of them. But it's the way it handles player choice in particular that makes it most notable. There are no contrived right-versus-wrong decisions to exploit. The results of your decision don't just influence minor details: they lead you down wildly disparate paths, each as entertaining as the others. The Witcher 2 is a mature game indeed--not just because of its sexual themes and violent images, but because of its complex portrayal of morally ambiguous individuals struggling in a morally ambiguous world.

The Good
Intricate, politically charged story
Player choice manifests itself in meaningful ways
Gorgeous, fearsome world tinged with death and despair
Entertaining combat with a good sense of impact
A number of powerful, memorable moments
The Bad
Visual and interface quirks
Third act comes to an abrupt conclusion
9
Superb
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Discussion

53 comments
Raven_1981
Raven_1981

This is a really good game, got this game some months ago, started the game and thought "mmmmm well I think its not for me, and I love RPG’s, but I kept the game thinking maybe after I finish some other games, and now I went back to it, and I have to say now I really really like it..... It takes a bit of time to get use to some of the control aspects but once you get them it gets fun.

 It’s a very interesting game, good story and characters, challenging combat, I am actually thinking of playing it again as soon as I finish it to pick a different path and see all this changes people mention regarding the story.

 Looking forward for the witcher 3 :)

icebox98
icebox98

just to ask. is there a patch that makes this game less nude?

lahonda_99
lahonda_99

I would score this game at a 4. It is rarely obvious what you have to do, you have to go into a menu to get to your journal or inventory, combat is incredibly hard, you have to memorize magic symbols because the game won't tell you what your spells are, merchants lag the game, no way to compare equipment unless you memorize the stats of what you currently have equipped, the characters are bland and uninteresting. There is not a single thing about this game that made me want to play it. I felt like I was working instead of relaxing.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

Environments are a bit linear... But overall this is a beautiful game with good presentation, good video/audio and a great story with adult themes.

A 9 is indeed the most suitable score for this. 

(Played this on PC)

lukszu
lukszu

amazing game, completed it on PC, twice on Xbox; currently playing again as I have few days available after finalizing ACIII, just in front of Far Cry 3. The story, visuals and gameplay - everything is on superb level here and the only sad thing is that the next instalment of the WItcher will come in 2014 for next gen consoles.

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

it's a good game 

but after all the bugs i withnessed with this game and the slow,slow leveling up mechanic this game got an 8.0 from me 

 

seriously all the patches were completly useless and 

FFS the checkpoint system in this game is horriable 

 

i just finished 2 quests and made a lot of coin fist fighting and then started another quest 

and it didn't save!

 

i just got swarmed by neakkers and i had to redo all the 2 hours i wasted 

what a shame really 

 

this game had so much potential but lazy producers and nub gametesters 

made this pile of bugs just a chore 

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

I read the reviews and many peoples comments about how great this game is so I Picked it up a few weeks ago.

 

Do not believe the reviews and fans of this product. It is a linear mess with so many cut scenes I wonder if it should even be called a game. You will fall asleep at times it is so slowly paced and if you don't touch your controller, it may shut off!  A Good Role Playing Game (RPG) to me lets you build a character how you want and allows you to explore the world at your own pace, this game is more like a choose your own adventure story ripped off from Game of Thrones or just about any incest bred royal bastard story, there are so many like it. Can't these stupid Kings, Lords, and Ladies keep their hands off their own family members! Someone compared this game to D and D, what a joke! In D and D you choose from different characters of both sexes, different races, and are free to do what ever you want to, more like in Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Skyrim, or even Dragon Age 1. This game is more like Bioshock, Force Unleashed, or Batman in that you play as this one guy alone, and your stuck with just his skills and his look.

 

I will say when you do get to the combat it feels kind of like the Batman Arkham series of games, even if Batman is an action RPG, it is a still a better RPG then this is. It is a shame you get so little combat overall compared to the long cut scenes. I think the Witcher 2 is at the very best a 6, I lean more toward a 5 overall. I only give it a 5 based on the combat alone, the one thing they did do a decent job with. Too bad it can take an hour or more to get to some combat. Even at $20 used this game is truly not worth it to me, it is not very fun at all.  I like to play my games, not watch them and be forced down one path like say The Force Unleashed 2 and this game does. Like the Forced Unleashed 2 was to me, this game is way more of a grind then it is a fun experience to play and enjoy.

 

So you can get an Idea of games I like that have a RPG element of some type, Elder Scrolls Series, The Fallout games, Batman Arkham series, Bioshock, GTA, Red Dead series, Marvel Ultimate Alliances, Knights of the old Republic, Mass Effects, and both Dragon Ages. Yes it is true, Dragon Age 2 is a way better then this game.

 

This games level designs remind me of Dragon Age 2, however the Dragon Age Maps are less restrictive and have more branches to them then this games levels, and if you have played DA2, you know that's not a lot! I can honestly say I had way more fun playing Dragon Age 2 over this game, and this game has a ending that makes the end of Mass Effect 3 look good!

 

I honestly do not understand the love for this game, sorry I wasted my $20 and my time "playing it", when really all you do is watch this game.  I hope if your on the fence with this game you will save your money and buy any other RPG out there over this one, even Two World 2 is a better RPG game then the Witcher 2, and if you have played TW2, you know its not a great RPG single player game at all, but at least I had fun playing that one.

f1elds
f1elds

bought my first ever xbox last week it took witcher 2 to do that.

saffire7
saffire7

I played The first Witcher on the PC and the second on the xbox, after getting the "hang" of playing it on the xbox I really enjoyed the game! Played it twice, wanted to play each path.

Skyrim was good too, but I hated the "lag/drag" between scenes, but most I enjoyed Kingdoms od Amalur (hoping for more like it and/or Dragon Age)

hamebone123
hamebone123

great game but it shouldn't be compared to skyrim...the witcher is more "focused" then skyrim but skyrim has more freedom the the witcher...overall I think that the witcher is the better game.

suplax
suplax

Awesome if you read at least 1 of andrej books.

Subaru1980
Subaru1980

Clearly one of the greatest games ever on the 360. I am not a big fan of RPGs, but here was really impressed. It has everything, a solid storyline, great characters, challenging gameplay. With Deux Ex: Human Revolution and Mass Effect 2, it's the game I enjoyed the most on the console.

1375alireza
1375alireza

why we should play game that dont have any interesting

1375alireza
1375alireza

I think its not good game because its so sexy

pedram-zero
pedram-zero

i don't know how 9.0

the gameplay is sick

the graphic is sick

really i have big problems to find where i have to go for missions(objectives).

the game is a biiiiiiig HEADACHE.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Nothing you've stated is actually true, except maybe the hard combat, it's challenging at best, but never cheap, and it's not the games fault you can't take a real challenge. Also the characters are amazing, and stay true to the fantastic books they were directly taken from. Just because it's not for you, doesn't make it a bad game. More or less, it just makes you terrible at these games. I'd hate to see your take on dark souls.

Vidharr
Vidharr

@lahonda_99 You only point out that you are an incredibly lazy gamer, like everything easy and handed to you on a plate. Further, to say the characters are bland and uninteresting shows that you are also either colossally stupid, or you're in fact some troll who never even played the game, and have no idea what makes a great rpg.  By the way, since my computer doesn't suck, merchants produce no lag for me.

Finally, one phrase you said definitely points to the probability that you've never even played the game.

themc_7
themc_7

@lahonda_99 I wanted to try this out, but this honest review you've just given, has me second guessing.

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

First off there are so many tales of inbred royals, because it's happened all over human history. Some authors like to portray this in their own lore. No one is ripping off anything from anyone, to imply so is just a cheap attempt to discredit the author of this lore. I also happen to enjoy the cut scenes, and story represents here, but I'm also a big fan of the books.

The character Gerald is well established in books, and to make this an open character game would completely defeat the purpose of it. The combat is also nothing like an arkham game, but most of your comparisons are just completely ridiculous, so no surprises there.

I will agree it's more linear then most RPGs, but in this games case that's a good thing. It just couldn't work completely open world like skyrim.

You have a right to not like this game, and give your opinion, but you say this game is no good, or like such and such game like its a fact. Your misguided opinions are far from facts, and you should leave these things to the reviewers, because you are obviously terrible at rating games based on their merits, and value.

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

You gave Skyrim a 10... That lump of flesh that contains nothing but mediocre elements. Combat, the story, everything is mediocre. What exactly does Skyrim do that sets it above the rest of the games as you say? You complain about voice acting -- well, at least CD Projekt bothered to hire more than 5 voice actors out for their game (don't believe me, watch the credits).

 

If I were you, I would check my facts -- check out when the "Last Wish" was published and when the first book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series was published.

 

Well, I prefer my RPGs to actually have choices that matter. No choice in Skyrim carries any weight whatsoever.

 

It's time to take some Adderall, grandpa. It sounds more like you started gaming this generation, or at least, started to play role-playing games since the beginning of this generation.

GymFox
GymFox

 @MinerAvatar To each his own my friend, but (as a hardcore RPG guy) I respectfully disagree with you. Easily one of the best RPG's I have ever played and IMO deserves a 9.5. The characters, story, and scenery is something to behold. Just b/c it is somewhat linear (in the sense of environs), and doesn't hold the deep player customization options of something like Skyrim is no reason to dismiss it as ripped off garbage. It is simply a different experience built on a deep political narrative... As for compare/contrast, how is DA2 all that different in the sense of being linear or not having a deep customization system ( especially compared to DA1)? As a note, I own and have beaten all said games. Furthermore, what fantasy world/story isn't "ripped off"" from Tolkien or the likes? As they have said, there are only two stories that have ever been written... Going somewhere afar or coming home. So, as a contrast, I submit that others that you hastily purchase it and experience this fantastic world.   

needweed
needweed

 @Subaru1980 I loved deus ex, how does this game compare?  it looks cool but im stuck between this and skyrim

icebox98
icebox98

@pedram-zero make a sheety game complex and hard to play and people will vote 9/10. its like everyone wants to look veteran of wtf games......

onlypc
onlypc

@themc_7 @lahonda_99 The combat is not hard at all. Iahonda is just a definition of a casual gamer and wants the game to handhold everything for him.

icebox98
icebox98

@themc_7 @lahonda_99 the game is easy, once you get the hold of it and he is lying about the characters not being intresting. this game is better than skyrim when it comes to the the story and characters. however, i hated the fact that it is soo explicit at times, you dont want to play it in front of anyone. and dont forget to play with headsets..... lots of sexual sounds might get the people you live with think you are playing a pornographic game.....................wait, it is a pornographic game!

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @ristactionjakso I am glad you are enjoying it, I just can not get into the story. If you like the story then then most likely you will enjoy the game. Lets see how you feel when you beat it once and see the end however. Lets see if you want to grind up and play it again after that. I won't be playing it again to see the other outcomes to a story I didn't like in the first place. I would rather play Dragon Age 2 again. A personnel choice as I find that a better game over the Witcher 2.

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Frosal Skyrim has an open world with open choices to play it however you want to. It has better level designs, better crafting, better potion brewing, a much better leveling system, way more types of enemies, and you can play as different sexes and races. What fact are you talking about, I just picked a book people have read to compare this crap story to that has similar elements to it. I don't care who wrote what when, it has nothing to do with how week and rehashed the entire story is.

 

FYI, I played plenty of old school RPG's little one. Classics like Zelda 1, Kings Field, Legacy of Cain, and Final Fantasy 3 was my first one from that series of games. My first RPG was Adventure on the Atari 2600 and it was a more exciting game then the Witcher 2 and all you do is chase dots. Here are a few more great older RPG's, the Phantasy Star games, a ton of great 8 and 16 bit RPG's from the Nintendo and Sega days (far to many to list but like Chrono Trigger), Champions of Norath games, Diablo 1 and 2, and many, many more. Everyone of them is still better then the Witcher is today.

 

So if you noticed I compared this game to Dragon Age 2 for a reason and not Skyrim. It is no contest that the size, scope, and details of Skyrim far exceed those presented in the Witcher. You say the choices matter more in the Witcher, but in Skyrim I can kill or not kill, side with one side over another, just like in the Witcher. The differance is I can do it as a Female Wizard, a Male Fighter, an Elven Archer, an Orcish Two Handed Master, or a Khajiit Thief. So what does the Witcher do that makes it deserve a 9? You really must like the story so much you can not see the flaws in design this game has, or didn't notice how it forces you down one path all the time.

 

So yes I can defend Skyrim as a 8.5 to 10 range for it, hundreds of hours of game play, large world to openly explore, very good level designs, and the freedom to play it how you want to, not how it forces you to play it . So rather then bash Skyrim, how about you try and defend a 9 for the Witcher, can you? I hope you have better then "Skyrim sucks" as a reason for your 9 or above.

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @GymFox I found the story to be boring and to me it felt like, been there done that. I compared DA2 to the game because DA2 is the game that is closest to how this game is built. The problem with this game for me is, it is not very much fun. When it takes you two hours of wandering the same area over and over talking to everyone about some task, that is not always very clear (this is a big flaw at times in the game) rather than adventuring, well I find that boring not innovative.

 

Here was a typical mission. Talk to main mission giver, 10 min. Talk to lackey of main mission giver, 10 min. Find info about item you need for quest for lackey from book guy, 10 min. So far 30 min of talking in one small area. Bring back info about item to Lackey, 10 min. Now got to go to other guy with item and talk about getting item from him, another 10 min. Oh item was sold to so and so, got to find and talk to them now, 10 min. Great so and so need something someone else has, 10 more min. Oh great this person needs something outside this little area, wow only took 70 min to get out side a small camp to try and get a book. Can finally try out that new sword I had to spend 45 min talking to shop keeps and NPC's to get parts that I needed and to make some potions. So around two hours of "gameplay" you can get 1 hour and 55 min of talking and 5 minutes of combat. That is a movie not a game. That might be OK if the story was good, too bad this story was very boring to me. At least you got to the action much quicker in Two Worlds 2 and DA2, even if the stories where lacking overall like this game, at least I had some fun playing them, this game is a grind.

 

A 9.5 says you really think this game is a must have. I really wonder what you and other 9+ givers fell sets this game so far above the rest? I just do not see anything in this game that does that on any level for me and I have been gaming since Pong.

 

Taking the story out, I see a game with DA2 type level design (but worse), Graphics are OK, the level up system just seems kind of off somehow, the potion system is just OK, the crafting is just OK, the voice acting is OK and at times bad, I honestly can not think of anything at all great about this game. Everything is just OK and has been done way better in many other games. That is why I really wonder how people give this game anything over a 7 unless they like it as a movie first and a game second. This game is a 5 for me, I would have given it a 6 however as a reviewer taking my opinion of the story out of it (but making it clear I didn't like it) and give the company props for the decent combat, all the other points off do to the problems listed above and lack of fun I had playing it.

 

To stay positive, At least the game didn't over do quicktime events ;-)

 

Side note Borderlands 2 was the most recent RPG type game released, that I would give at least a 9 and it is a fun game, nothing like a boring political movie about yet another incestuous King. Way better off watching Game of Thrones for that stuff, it is way more exciting and it has Daenerys Targaryen who has a great set of dragons to play with.

Subaru1980
Subaru1980

 @needweed To be fair I am not a Skyrim fan. Yes I know the game is great, epic. However it's too "Open" seems like an endless game. I prefer "focused" stories and plots. That's where the Witcher 2 is so wonderful :)

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

Honestly I don't know why this would be a problem, but I'm not a sexually repressed person. Somehow I don't imagine you'd have this problem with watching game of thrones on HBO. Sexual intimacy can enhance the story between certain characters, or just provide a giddy little thrill. I find sexuality displayed in games like dead or alive far more offensive than that found in the witcher games.

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @lyncer777 Buy your own!, JK - If I still had it I would gladly give it to someone that might have enjoyed it, instead I sold it back to the place I bought it and picked up Bioshock 2 that I missed the first time around when it came out. Happy Holidays (I don't want to offend that Frosal person that worships Odin as per his/her post) :)

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

It means sales does not directly correlate to said product being good. Just because everyone likes COD doesn't mean COD is a good game, by any stretch of the imagination. You have to be trolling. That is the only excuse to you being such an ignorant moron.

Assemblent
Assemblent

@Frosal @MinerAvatar Wow, nice discussion. Now, I have two words for you guys: Dark Souls(Or Demon Souls, whatever floats your boats).

That is all.

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

Yet you and I live in different countries and I still got that Russel Brand "joke", so your point fell flat on its face.

 

"Yeah, if you doubt this try calling a Puerto Rican a Mexican, or a Japanese person a Korean"

 

What exactly does ignorance have to do with this?

 

It's actually Nietzsche...

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Frosal This years Madden 13 does have story lines, so yes it really does have a story now. In fact it has a much better experience point and leveling up system then the Witcher 2 does.  I guess in a way that makes it a better RPG game, and it sold way more, I know you like sales figures. Clearly it didn't annoy you but at least it confused you as to why I did it.

 

Look I wish I could type slow so you can understand this, Country A is different than any Country not called Country A because local customs and an area's regional history give those people in Country A an overall different world point of view. France is different then England, Spain, Germany, and even (gasp) Poland. They are very close together geographically but have very different likes and dislikes. What the French may find funny may offend two or all of the other countries or worse, be like a Russel Brand joke, completely lacking humor.

 

Yeah, if you doubt this try calling a Puerto Rican a Mexican, or a Japanese person a Korean. So to be clear for you Odin worshiper, those in Poland have a different outlook on life and speak a different language then most of the people in the USA and that doesn't always translate well for stories or for comedy. That was my point, if you think that Poland and the US have the same point of view.. wait a minute is that you again Mitt? Wait no, Mitt would have wanted to bomb Poland, your not Mitt.

 

One last thing who the heck are you quoting? Who ever said "The mediocre and bad book is mediocre and bad because it seeks to please, and does please, a great number."? Where did you get that from, Ben Franklin? I didn't know he played Video Games, I thought he just flew kites in the rain and lightning after too many Long Island Ice Tea's. Good old crazy Uncle Ben.

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar

It did not annoy me, thank you for the *attempt*.

 

"The mediocre and bad book is mediocre and bad because it seeks to please, and does please, a great number."

 

Madden has... a story?

 

Obligatory "VG ChartZZZ" remark, though it's no shame for anyone to admit that even though the numbers might be wrong, the fact who sold more isn't. Don't know why you're posting about sales though, I never even touched ground on that issue... It's not really something of an issue for me, as I do not own any part of Bethesda, Bioware or CD Projekt...

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

Poland is industrialized and considered civilized. America is industrialized and considered civilized. See the fallacy in your comparison to Somalia?

 

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

@Frosal

Just because I know this will annoy you, Skyrim has sold 13.2 Million Copies, Dragon Age 2 has 2.6 Million, the Witcher 2 has 1.32 Million in total sales as of today. All Stats from VG Chartz and include all versions of those games (Xbox, PS, and PC) as of this posting.

 

I wonder if it is because you have to like the story for the Witcher 2 to enjoy it where the other games are more action based and the story doesn't matter as much? Could this be why CoD and Madden sell well every year? Could it be that good fun action can overcome a bad story? Does it mean bad or little action can not help out a weak or overly complicated story if that is a games main focus? I do not know but I bet it is because people like to have fun when they play any game they choose.

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Frosal Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2. Did you puke yet? Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2. How about now? Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2, Dragon Age 2, hope you didn't pay much for whatever meal you just lost.

 

Having been to Somalia I know they do not understand many things about the American way of life. Nothing to do with logic, that is a fact. Shocker, the rest of the world seems to only care about their portion of the world 99% of the time since that is what they see everyday and know. Like many other countries that are considered third world by our US Politicians they care more about basic survival and living to see another day. You know over things like who is banging who in Hollywood (or the Pentagon) or who got kicked off American Idol like our "free moving" society cares about more over real problems.

 

They tend to not get comedy about how hard it is to have to stand in line to buy the latest Electronic products like an I Phone. Hard to understand that if your country can barley supply power let alone stable internet or even running water. Now a joke about trying to get some clean water however they will understand. They also understand things Americans do not, like having to deal with warlords trying to kill them, steal their food, raping them, etc. Their Idea of a "free moving" society is living another day untouched by evil, nothing like our day to day lives in the "civilized" world.

 

To quote Tosh.0, Na-Na- Boo-Boo, Dragon Age 2 is better than Witcher 2. Did you lose more food?

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

Doesn't change the fact it's a logical fallacy. The culture, especially today is free-moving, yes, even in Somalia, and what a stupid comparison.

 

Oh look, a similar element that is mentioned once in the game, in the prologue and never again, the story is an obvious rip-off.

 

...and the reasons for "suckage" will remain undisclosed until the end of times.

 

For the love of Odin, please stop mentioning Dragon Age 2, lest you induce the internet to vomit at the mention as it did when it was released.

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Frosal You do know we are on a US Gaming sight that has a sister sight in England where English is the primary form of written word and speech? Most people in the US do not speak or read the Polish language so would not have know about the book here on this website in the USA. As they say in my line of work, know your audience. People in Somalia might not get Comedy movies based on American life in a mall now would they?

 

You can try and spin it however you want because I guess you missed the part about the plays written in 1603, not surprised. A bad story sucks in a timeless way. If it sucked in 1901 it will still suck in 2012. You think the Howard the Duck movie (1986) gets better with age?

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

Point is, you can attack pretty much everyone in Skyrim, you just can't kill everyone, whereas you can't attack every NPC in Witcher 2.

 

You mean, action adventures.

 

Witcher 2 has very good replayability (the difficulty levels, the inclusion of Dark mode, the exploring of numerous choices, the save importing) and it too has "hundreds of hours" of content, not just crawling around dungeons and hiking.

 

You're awfully good at pointing out your fallacies. How exactly are rip-offs not counted unless they are translated in English? English isn't the only language in the world, you know. Bear in mind, I'm following your fallacious logic here. What exactly is your criticism? It's not original, it's been done before, therefore... what? I would urge you to apply the same standards of judgement to Skyrim. Crap story. I can throw adjectives like that too. Compared to Skyrim... Well that wouldn't be a fair comparison at all. You'll note I compared the story, the characters and the development of said characters, the choices and the consequences and how exactly are you not able to compare these between two games just because they have gameplay differences?

 

"not done well"

 

Thanks for you opinion and your oh-so-expansive thoughts behind it.

 

I can sum it up in one sentence.

 

"story crap, elements ok, boring"

 

No need for giant walls of text with pleas of "please believe me, I am an authority over all others!".

 

"no one cares about (the Last Wish)"

 

Petty. It has a pretty large following in Eastern Europe. I guess that part of the world just doesn't matter.

 

"that was not even printed into English until 2007, did you know that?"

 

Stop the presses, if it's not translated into English, it doesn't exist.

 

MinerAvatar
MinerAvatar

 @Frosal I didn't list many CPU RPG's because this review is for the Xbox 360 version of the Witcher 2. I have played most of the games you listed with the Forgotten Realms games standing out as favorites. Yes I did list many console RPG games since this review is for console. Notice at the top it says for Xbox 360? If in your mind only CPU RPG's are playable, your missing out on some great games.

 

That said why are you so focused on what I think of Skyrim over the Witcher 2. I compare it to Dragon Age not Skyrim. You mention Skyrim because I rated it a 10 when I first played it in Nov 2011 way before any DLC. Well for my money, Skyrim gives you hundreds of hours of gameplay and freedom to play it how I want to. I play it on the Xbox 360 and have had no major issues with bugs, I do know there are problems with it on the PS3 but I rate it based on my experience with it on the Xbox in Nov of 2011. As far as DLC, DRM, and Bethesda  programming skills, they have ZERO to do with the Witcher 2 and I never tried to compare the two games, you did.

 

That said you can not go around and kill NPC's in the Witcher 2 so what is your point about Skyrim not being able to kill everyone? I just wish I could do that in both games. There are choices in Skyrim, but Skyrim was never sold as a moral choice game like the Witcher, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect. If you want to kill everyone that bothers you you can play Fallout New Vegas for that, everyone can die in that game.

 

Now about the books, your leaving out a big part of the Last Wish book from 1993 listed below.  Hamlet and Macbeth was written in the 1600's and have many plot lines like Witcher and Game of Thrones to be fair. Now here is why I chose Game of Thrones and where your misleading people to try and discredit my points about Witcher 2.

 

This game was released for CPU in May 2011, the Game of Thrones HBO series was released in Apr 2011. I chose a reference people have heard of over some book no one cares about (the Last Wish) that was not even printed into English until 2007, did you know that?

 

So your argument is total BS and unless you read the Polish edition in 1993 you never head of the Witcher before that printing in 2007. So by the time Last Wish was published in English there where already 4 books in the Game of Thrones series at that time. So yeah nice try but I do follow books as well as games, and a crappy story is still a crap story no matter when it was written. Again Hamlet and Macbeth written in 1600's have story lines about incest loving Royals (Hamlet) and betrayal (Macbeth).

 

Lastly I would no more compare Witcher 2 to Skyrim, then I would compare either game to Demon Souls. There are many different types of RPG games, some action based, some story based, some puzzle based, and all can be good if done well. The Witcher 2 is not done well, it is a story based RPG, like Dragon Age 2 the game I picked to compare it to, but with a very boring plot and with a horrid ending.

Frosal
Frosal

 @MinerAvatar 

Right, you've played 0 cRPGs. Got it.

 

Stuff like Fallout 1 & 2, Wizardry, Might & Magic, Baldur's Gate, Ultima, Lands of Lore, Pool of Radiance, Wasteland, Planescape Torment, Betrayal at Krondor. Most of the games you mentioned have very loose connections to the RPG genre and are in fact action adventures.

 

Fact is, no choice in Skyrim matters as much as having a glaringly different second act in Witcher 2, with completely different, VERY important characters in the front (Iorveth, Philippa Eilhart, Saskia, Stennis, the dwarves as opposed to Roche, Ves, Dethmold, Sile de Tansarville, Henselt, Visionary, Sabrina Glevissig, Zyvik). All choices in Skyrim are largely inconsequential.

 

You mention we shouldn't believe the fans of this game... But we should believe you? Fallacy.

 

"this game is more like a choose your own adventure story ripped off from Game of Thrones or just about any incest bred royal bastard story"

 

Last Wish - published in 1993

Game of Thrones - published in 1996

 

So I guess, going by your fallacious logic, Game of Thrones is actually a rip off of the Last Wish!

 

"but in Skyrim I can kill or not kill"

 

Not really true, is it, considering you cannot kill certain NPCs. Are you really sure you want to go with that line of narrow reasoning?

 

Maybe we should list games with dialogue as RPGs too, since that element could be construed to be "RPG-ish".

 

Your Witcher criticism in a nutshell - "every element OK, except the shitty story, too boring, 5/10"

 

I don't know why you are complaining about walking, because Skyrim is basically a hiking simulator.

 

Witcher 2 features great character development (as opposed to Skyrim character development -wait, there is none- where the characters couldn't be more bland, shallow or uninteresting). Iorveth's character development is especially stand-out.

 

It features great combat (as opposed to clunky in Skyrim) that has a learning curve as opposed to "smash the unresponsive enemies until their health bar is zero all the while chugging potions to make sure you don't die"

 

Bethesda's incompetence also comes to mind - has Dawnguard released on the PS3 yet...? On the other hand, all Witcher 2 DLCs as well as the Enhanced edition were made available to free to whom ever purchased the game on the PC, not to mention it was DRM-free since day 1... You are no doubt aware of Skyrim and it's bugginess. Apparently, it's hard to code for a decade (and more?) old engine.

 

In short, fans of Skyrim can't even be so deluded to think that Skyrim features depth of any kind when the story, combat, characters and their development, choices and consequences are so vastly superior in Witcher 2. The only thing I forgot to mention that was good and superior as opposed to Witcher 2 in Skyrim is dungeon-crawling, but that's alright, it has to be good since basically you spend the whole game... crawling.

 

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

They hardly talked for a few mins to set up the quest line. What is this ten min bull shit you're spewing on about?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

That's fine. Christmas was a tradition ripped off from the Vikings anyway, so it's our holiday no matter what.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings More Info

First Release on May 17, 2011
  • PC
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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is the sequel to developer CD Projekt's mature-themed fantasy role-playing game based on the works of author Andrzej Sapkowski.
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Developed by:
CD Projekt Red Studio
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Atari, Namco Bandai Games, CD Projekt Red Studio, CyberFront, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Spike Chunsoft, CD Projekt RED S.A.
Genres:
Action, Role-Playing
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
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