RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition

It has been a long time since I've touched the Witcher. I always thought it was a lacking finish, with clunky mechanics. However, that does not change the fact that it was a brilliant game. Spend five minutes on it, and you can tell almost immediately that it is a rich environment with plenty of lore. The combat is smooth and requires a satisfying amount of finesse to master. To start you may have to push yourself to get invested into the Witcher 2, just like in the first game. Eventually it will just pull you in (here is my initial review).

The graphics are really something special.

Genre: RPG, Action
Release Date: May 17th 2011
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Score: 8/10
Similar Titles: Dragon Age, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect

The Witcher 2 follows the adventures of the genetically enhanced Geralt, from the first game.  Geralt has a traumatic and amnesiac past, often making the present a little difficult to navigate. As a Witcher, he has an extensive advantage over other humans, with expertise in battling monsters, brewing potions, and magic. This time around, Geralt is framed for the murder of a king. With his companion Triss Merigold and interrogator Vernon Roche, they set out to find the real Kingslayer.

Geralt likes to stab things.

Without a doubt the Witcher is a brilliant RPG, even if overwhelming at first. One look at the talent tree will probably do more harm than good. The combat is very addictive, and the story makes you feel like a small piece of the puzzle. It's more than enough to keep you playing until you figure the rest out.

Many of the prevalent issues in the first game that plagued every player have been adjusted or entirely eradicated. The awful inventory management is much easier to get a handle on. There's no more picking up a bunch of spoons and having to spend most of your time cleaning your bags. The menus and user interface looks fantastic and is less cumbersome to work with. Brewing potions is still troublesome but it's much easier to make something useful out of the ingredients that you have.

The beginning of the game pits you in the middle of a royal family dispute, obviously that involes burning towns.

Combat is very fast paced. To start off you can string together light and heavy blows to wear down your opponents. You can block and roll to escape a lot of damage or prevent yourself from being surrounded, but these alternatives are limited.  Most of the time epic swordsmanship and blocking is just not enough to dispatch more than a couple of enemies. Luckily, you have plenty of other options available via the radial menu. Magic can be used to ignite people on fire, or stun opponents in place. Potions will enhance your abilities in various ways for a brief period, and can actually be very potent in turning a difficult situation into a manageable one. You can also create explosives and traps to help you in a sticky situation, along with some throwable weapons. My preference for the first part of the game was a rather large two handed stick.

The radial menu slows down time for you to choose spells.

My time on the Witcher 2 was mostly orientated towards battle. The story was captivating enough, and there was plenty of wandering around looking for loot. The dialogue uses the circle system adopted in games like Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect. It's not bad, but I prefer being able to choose from more options. As for the graphics, they are certainly another plus. If you can manage to run it on full, everything looks amazing. I was very surprised at how intensive they were. It's probably the prettiest game I've ever played, and my computer couldn't play everything at the highest setting.

There are lots of people to talk to in town.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a consistent game. It's solid all the way through, and should leave you satisfied; if not a little desperate for the next one. Geralt is a fine main character, especially for those who like to play as someone with their own personality and backstory already established. I do highly recommend the enhanced edition, not because it has awesome content; but because it fixes a lot of frustrating things like the loot system. But if you're looking for a good RPG to play, the Witcher franchise should be at the front of your list.

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