Painstakingly crafted, conservative and at the same original, TW2 is the best RPG i've played in a very, very long time.
That includes This review, and the previous one was deleted.
This game.... This Game.... you don't know.... You don't know....
This Game is.... is Difficult to Describe.
On Many Aspects, it's very traditional, but on others, it has innovation written all over it.
This is getting Difficult, so instead of writting the Things i like and dislike(like i always do), i'll analize it by pieces and do my best to Describe the Greatness of this game.
Graphics: As a PC exclusive game, it had to look decent.
and it did.
and it Hit it out of the gate.
This game has the Best Technical aspect you can find in an RPG, Period, and one of the Best Out there (i think Only Modded Crysis can compare actually).
Everything has been filled with Detail, from the Highly detailed Faces from every single person you see, to the Breath Taking vistas (though there aren't that many, sadly), all the way to the Goddamn Weapons, even THAT has tons of detail.
And it's not just technical, artistic and general detail as well.
Every single thing that we have equipped is represented in Geralt's Body(with detail. I'm Saying that too much i'm i? lol), and there is a Body Animation for just about everything we can do(minus Dice, Potion Making and Crafting), which is something i'm starting to see lately on many games(like Skyrim), and i'm glad, since this helps with the immersion.
And as for artistic, this game is also great, with a glowing and vibrant Color Palette, and excellent Design for Armors, character looks and cities(and they don't overuse Characters models like they did in the First game, thankfully).
The ONLY complain i have about it, it's the fact that, once again, the Characters are very emotionless on their faces, they certainly have more animations than the previous game(or should i say, they actually Have them), but i still don't think it's enough.
and the lip animation... Oh my god, it's like all they need to do is open their mouths and words will come.
they don't emote with their mouths, they just.... open it, and words come out.
but don't let that drag down something that is Sooooo good.
I'm probably spending too much time with the graphics, so i'll just move and say this: They're Gorgeous.
One of my favorite Aspects about the first game was it's music( Believe FTW!!!), so naturally, i expected a great soundtrack, and while i think that, for the most part, the First game had better music, this one is still great.
The main theme is Awesome, and hell i didn't start the game immediately after i loaded it for the first time, i just stayed there and listened.
When it was done, i knew i was in front of a great game.
And of course, what would be of The Witcher without Inn themes?
There are of course inns and in them, there is a great atmospheric theme, like you're with buddies, it's a feeling not many games have, and the have all Themes, that, for the most part, work very well, though i think The First One's Themes were better.
Now, Voice Acting.
as much as i loved the First game, It had some of the worst VA i have ever heard, with only a handful that i thought were decent.
This one has fixed that, and it has an overall strong VA(though there are a few exceptions here and there *Cough* Foltest*Cough*), and yes, i like Geralt's Voice acting, i know many people think it's boring, but i think it adds to his badass-ness(?), and the rest of new roles are strong, my favorite One being Iorveth("Scoia'Taeeeeeellllllll!!!!!"), and the returning ones being considerably improved(for the most part, i'm not really a fan of Triss' voice acting).
as for Effects, they do their Job, though it's more open ended than the first game(in which you spend a considerable amount underground, Swamps, Dark Dungeons, and overall just Dark Places), so it's considerably Less Atmospheric (or at least, Moody), but it's payed off by the sound of the streets.
Everyone is doing something, and they don't just stop to look at you for no apperant Reason(*Cough*Elder Scrolls*Cough*).
Their on their **** you're on your ****.
You will always hearing the sounds of the streets and their people, and it's highly immersive in itself.
i Must Say, watching them going on their own lives is very entertaining in it, i stopped several times to watch them, and i loved it.
and, even though it's directly Related To Voice acting or sound, this Game is Really Funny!
and in part the voice acting is one of the main reasons for that ("The Cock calls at dawn's Light - Damn, he's Bloody Loud! Suit up! Fall in! attack and get well ploughed " lololol), and the characters themselves are pretty funny when they can.
There is this Mission involving Dandelion and a Succubus...
i Couldn't Stop laughing.
Overall, great Sound.
I know a lot of People didn't liked The combat of the First game(a lot of people say they didn't finished it because of it), but i enjoyed, i didn't "Wuuuvved" it, but i liked it enough, so i was mixed about the Massive overhaul that this game was getting for it's combat.
But now that i've played it, i realize that i was being stupid.
i absolutely Adore the combat of this game, i think it's one of it's stronger aspects.
it looks Dumbed down, certainly, and it was clearly done with the Gameapad in Mind, but despite that, i still think it's a huge improvement over the first one, which, despite looking very deep, it ultimately boiled to A Series of QTEs, with some potions along the way, style change(i disliked The Styles, BTW), and some jumping.
In this one.... Well like i said, it was clearly made with a Gamepad in mind, so it's considerably less "PC-ish" than the previous one, but i think that, at least this time(as a long time PC gamer), was for the better, like i said(even though, although i enjoyed it with a pad, i simply prefer the Mouse and Keyboard, just a personal preference)
If you have played games like Demons's/Dark Souls, Assassin's Creed or even Prince of Persia, you'll probably be able to familiarize with the combat system of this game, it's very akin to them(though in no way a carbon copy), Very Hack n slash-y.
You no longer have styles, instead you have 2 types of attack(one on each different button of the mouse), Strong and Fast, and like the previous game, you have to change between Steel Sword(for humanoids), and Silver Sword(for Monsters), and you can no longer carry more than that(you didn't needed it anymore than that anyway)
The Signs return.
Aard(a Telekinetic Push, that will knock down or at least stagger enemies), Igni(Fire attack), Quen(Magical Barrier that has an upgradable Damage threshold), Yrden(a Magical Trapt, that can be expanded for up to 3), Axii(basically, Jedi Mind Tricks) and Heliotrop(the last one has to be unlocked, and it has to ability to create a field, where time is slowed down, except for yourself)
And unlike the previous game, you have them available right off the bat(make sense, since loosing them would have felt cheap), And Now, you really need to use them a lot, unlike in the Previous Game were i only used Aard and Igni, everything else was pretty much useless(to me anyway).
i said early that the combat was Hack n slash-y, and if you have played games like Demon's/Dark souls, you'll be in familiar territory.
Unlike the previous game, Geralt can't "Stick" with an objective, his attacks are aimless, therefore you have to guide him and his attacks with the camera, though you can lock an objective to make it easier to him them.
The combat is fluid (akin to Prince of Persia), and it has a very good pace and design, i never felt that the game was being cheap, it was just making me play a difficult game.
i Remember people complaining about the Tutorial, well, now that the patch 2.0 is out, the game gives an indept tutorial of everything you SHOULD know, in order to prepare, and that's good cause the original tutorial was awful, it was just a bunch of text that i didn't had time to read because i was IN THE MIDDLE of a fight.
Kudos to CDPR for caring so much.
Anyway, like i was saying, the combat is fluid, but it requires thought, most enemies will have some sort of weakness that you need to exploit, and you need to use the Right attacks, but you need to mix things up, use your signs(SPECIALLY use the signs), and the game uses a fairly simple with nonetheless useful bomb and trap making system.
Personally, i never used them too much, unless i had to, which makes me sad, because it will make look the system less deep than it is, since another mechanic is relegated to completely optional, that's just not right, imo.
oh, and you can no longer drink potions in of the fight, you have to do through mediation.
i didn't like that, because even though you can prepare, you would have to know when you will be attacked, and most of the time you won't know, which makes it sorta pointless.
Now you might say that if you get badly wounded during a fight, you have to drink potions to recover afterwards, right?
well yes.... but you have regenerating health, and with all the time it takes to drink a f***ing potion, you might as well just wait.
So overall, i thought the Potion system was really wasted here.
as for the rest of the gameplay, the game takes it's time, and it expects you to be fairly intelligent(that's why it's a PC exclusive, >_^).
It is fairly big,not as big as the First one though, but with that, comes CONSIDERABLY less backtracking, and like before, there is no Fast Travel here, you have to walk(something you'll be doing a lot, so you better like Geralt's pony Tail, cause you'll be waving it a lot), and i LOVE that, i just love seeing these amazing enviroments, i just love watching animals go about their lives, and i just LOVE watching people go about their lives.
Their is a Meditation system, like i said before, and unlike the Previous game, you no longer have to look for Bonfires or Smoketacks, you can do it anywhere.
it's mostly the same as the previous one.
You rest for a certain amount of time, you create potions, oils and bombs(and it's the only way to drink Potions), and you can arrange your talents and mutagens(think of Runes, but for Skills rather than weapons and Armor), although you can arrange your abilities outside of it(except on Hard and there on).
And you no longer have to read to know where an enemie's brain is or to harvest a Plant.
There are Physics but you can't jump and there are a lot of Invisible walls, so no, it's not a sandbox(neither was the previous game).
The Potions have been modified.
Now, they have a Secondary Effect.
for example, the Cat potion, which allows to see in the dark, will now make luminic objects blinding, unlike the Previous game, in which it would only do any effect in dark places.
You also have to find Diagrams.
Meteors are back but unlike the previous game you don't have to recollect many, now, weapons and armor require other types of ingredients, like Leather for Armor.
you can enhance them both by using Runes, which have all kinds of effects.
Finally, it's Side Quest, there are a lot less than there were in the Previous game, but they're are much better.
there are Contracts, of course, but there are also side missions from the people, from haunted Houses to Dealing with Demons, All of which have a type of consecuence that may or may not affect you at some point.
They're overall well developed and have tons of backstory and care put to them, and their characters are easier to appreciate. it's an overall improvement over the first one.
Overall, i loved the gameplay in The Witcher 2, it's one of the best of the Year, for sure.
Story, Story, Story.
one of the strongest aspects of TW1, was it's story, so how could i not be expecting something good this time?
and the story more than delivers.
it's one of the best of the year.
First off, it's starts slow, but not as slow as the first game, and it uses frame narrative for the two Hour or so. but it does so Well, unlike... another game that shall not be named.
It creates for some great Story telling, and there is an scene at the End of the Frame narrative, Goddamn.... you want something powerful, THAT'S powerful.
Afterwards, the story takes up a slower pace.
The First Act is relatively Slow, and there is a main quest that seems to be more of an exposition than an actual Plot Mover(that's a word, right?), but it works.
The Thing that amazed me the most, is the fact that, based on your decisions, the Second act can be COMPLETELY different.
The overall plot is the same, but the setting, side quest and of course characters can change Completely(even though you will cross paths with the other way, the one in which you would be if you had taken another decision).
The Overall story is about Geralt and his struggle to find the Kingslayer, after he has been wrongly accused of the murderer of a certain king.
It sets itself with that, and it evolves into an ever growing Political battle between The Northern Kingdoms, With the Involving of Several other factions, The Kingslayers and Scoia'tael.
More of that i shouldn't give away, other than it's an Personal, Political and overall Epic, Chase Story, with a good pace, great characters, good development and some of the best Storytelling i've seen in years.
It is a Bit Convoluted(same with Witcher 1) however, but it's storytelling and exposition is so good that you'll be able to follow just fine.
This Games BEGS for a Second Playthrough, because like i said, act 2 can be completely Different.
Not just that, but the only way to get the full picture is playing it twice.
At many points during my second playthrough, i realized that had i not played it like i did the first time, i would have had no idea who this person was or how this came about.
I'm not really sure how i feel about that, because yes, it encourages the Player to replay, but at the same time, i don't think making a played put 40 more hours or so just so they can understand something that required more exposition on the other act is a good idea.
That's just the way i see it.
In addition to that, the game has 4 skill trees, and you can fully depend on them without really worrying about the rest, so it encourages you to try some combinations.
And, the game took about 40 hours to complete the first, and i had every side quest i could find, plus another 30 for the second time, with a completely different.
So, yeah, you're not allowed to say the game has no bang-for the buck.
i have made this long as wall text to try to explain to you why this game is so great, and i still think i could go on for hours, but i think it have made my point.
The Witcher 2 is one of the best games i've played in the last few years, and easily my GOTY and RPGOTY
i don't believe in scores ,but Since i can't really put this review up without it, i'll rated it, but all i want you to do, is go out, and buy This Game.