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Review RPS - Wot I Think of The Witcher II

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Jaesun, May 19, 2011.

  1. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Tags: CD Projekt; Witcher 2, The

    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Rock, Paper Shotgun's Jim Rossignol finished <a href="http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/the_witcher_2/?pp=cb4e5208b4cd87268b208e49452ed6e89a68e0b8">The Witcher II: Assassin of Kings</a> and shares his thoughts on it in his <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/05/18/pc-review-the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings/">review-esq Wot I Think Feature</a>:</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>So. Finished. I even had a little time to play through some of the alternate storyline stuff. What do I think? Well, I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ll be putting any spoilers in this review, so you can read my thoughts on the subject with some degree of safety. If something else needs go above the jump here, it should probably be this: The Witcher 2 is going end up being talked about for a very long time to come.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;This is one of the most significant games of 2011. Right now it looks like most significant PC-only game of 2011.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings is the sequel to 2007&prime;s wonky fantasy RPG, The Witcher, and it improves on that precarious foundation in almost every conceivable way. I suppose the ambition of the developers for their work should have been clear after they relaunched their original game with the voice acting and character animation redone in 2008, to give us an Enhanced Edition, but even that was a pale creature when compared to the muscular effort of their most recent work. The Witcher 2 is a collossal beast in terms of vision and complexity, and it has engrossed me for the past few days. It&rsquo;s shorter than the original by some measure, but it is burning half as long to be twice as bright.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>It&rsquo;s a third-person fantasy RPG. There&rsquo;s level-based progression, which allows you to unlock skills via a large talent tree. There&rsquo;s a sizeable, linear story with dozens of quests, set across two distinct, large areas, and two other smaller intro and outro locales. The story is told mostly via dialogue scenes and cutscenes, of which there are many. Your choices have genuine impact in the game world, to the point where the tale told actually wholly diverges after the first chapter. It&rsquo;s a huge bifurcation of plot, and means that pretty much everyone who enjoys this game through the first time is going to want to play it through a second time.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>To be honest, though, I tend to loathe standard modes of exposition in games, and I find the labyrinthine plotting of this game refreshing. Although there are villains, there&rsquo;s no Chosen One, no Ultimate Evil, just a lot of petty, powerful people squabbling under the shadow of magical weirdness, and all underwritten by the machinations of sorcerers, adventurers, assassins and other complicated, interested &ndash; and interesting &ndash; parties. It&rsquo;s quite a world, but it definitely doesn&rsquo;t welcome you in.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>While there&rsquo;s a lot of wandering about and chatting, and even a bit of shopping, The Witcher 2 is action-heavy, not least when it comes to fighting. Combat is real-time, and is reliant on you being nifty with your positioning and timing. You perform fast blows with left-click, heavier, slower blows with right-click, and blocking with E. There are also some spells, but I&rsquo;ll come to that in a moment. What&rsquo;s weird about The Witcher 2 is that the prologue is about the hardest bit in terms of how this combat system handles you. There&rsquo;s a lot fighting and a lot of getting flanked by groups of enemies. Because you don&rsquo;t unlock skills to cope with being flanked until later in the game, the prologue (which lasts a couple of hours) and chapter one (many hours more) are significantly tougher than the chapters that follow.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>It&rsquo;s a peculiarly ill-judged baptism of fire (literally at some points). Where you&rsquo;re expecting a game to teach you how it works and lead you by the hand, The Witcher 2 offers nothing but a few text-based tips boxes. If you don&rsquo;t take time to figure out that you have to constantly dodge away with the spacebar, or use magic to buff your combat, you are going to struggle. And the game does not tell beginners this. The spells are barely mentioned, and you&rsquo;ll need to stop and figure it out for yourself if you want to know what they do. While there are situations in which they /are/ introduced to you, at no point are you explicitly taught that it is a lot easier if you use the shield power to protect yourself in combat, for example.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>I want you to leave this piece of writing with some thoughts about how beautiful The Witcher 2 is. It&rsquo;s the kind of beautiful where you find yourself gazing over particular details, a stoned smile on your face. There was a moment where I stumbled across a shallow lake, with forest glades all around. A moment of serene wilderness. I marvelled at the fact that I could make out a shallow path through the milky water that allowed me to cross the lake. It was exquisite: naturalistic, perfect. The Witcher 2 is filled with details like this. The details are rich, and glorious.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>It [The Witcher 2] creates a sinister, cogent, violent, colourful world that is routinely affected by your actions within it. The game comes to life as it is merged with your decisions and articulates a story that is at once overwhelming and engrossing. I&rsquo;ve enjoyed this collision of combat and story more than I have with any RPG since Vampire Bloodlines. It dissolves my lack of interest in fantasy games with its intensity.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>The Witcher 2 is flawed in some ways, and a paragon in others. I cannot recommend everyone play it, because it simply won&rsquo;t satisfy everyone in the same way, and will frustrate and off-put many with its bizarre little quirks of difficulty and moments of poor design. But I will recommend everyone buy it, because I want to play another one. And another one. And many more after that.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Well done, CD Projekt, you&rsquo;ve just brought the fantasy RPG back to life. It&rsquo;s still twitching from the electricity, but it&rsquo;s a beautiful thing.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>You can <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/05/18/pc-review-the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings/">read the entire article here</a>.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><em>Thanks Cthulhugoat!</em></p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/05/18/pc-review-the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings/">Rock Paper Shotgun</a></p>
     
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  2. Kenneybounces Novice

    Kenneybounces
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    Yeah the learning is going to be steep. Especially since they changed most of the controls from witcher 1.

    IE: Press control to access the menu, press meditation from that menu, then press drink potion.

    The learning curve definitely needs to be ironed out. Not drop the player off a cliff and have him reload 10x in the FIRST FIGHT.

    Make a tutorial or something.. RTFM? You must be joking. I can't even get most of my PAID software developers to RTFM.
     
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  3. Canus Savant

    Canus
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    Of course the day before this comes out my fucking hard drive died. Balls to it.
     
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  4. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    You used up one of your 2 posts per year to make this comment?
     
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  5. Krraloth Prophet Patron

    Krraloth
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    Wasteland 2
    Oh boy, what did you do in your life before this?
     
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  6. jiujitsu Cipher

    jiujitsu
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    Project: Eternity
    0/10?
     
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  7. kazgar Arcane

    kazgar
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    I like this review because it feels/reads like a person reviewing it and not some reviewbot 2.0 lets get page hits and give it a score out of 10 type thing.
     
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  8. misha Educated

    misha
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    well maybe it's 10/10 but... in comparison to DA2 there is no significant difference between metacritics judges -both reviewers and gamers,

    but what i found promising on gamesradar:
    Much to CD Projekt’s credit, it’s not the new graphics engine that’s truly worthy of praise. The triumph is in the details. Whether you’re walking through a sun-dappled grove watching the trees sway lazily in the wind or haggling in a market square as children watch you from a safe distance giggling and discussing your strange appearance, the level of immersion is so staggering that you’ll simply forget you’re playing a game. Recent RPGs like Dragon Age II are entirely eclipsed by this level of quality. I make no joke when I say that the smallest ghetto in The Witcher 2 is more memorable than the whole city of Kirkwall.
     
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  9. Trash Pointing and laughing.

    Trash
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    Very good review. Like I said, this was probably the last chance for a triple-A blockbuster rpg that was also this detailed and hardcore. Glad to see they succeeded.
     
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  10. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    The last chance, why is that ? Have you lost all hope ?

    Yes a nice review and I am glad to see some objectivity to it. Will start playing TW1 soon, and when done, upgrade PC to play this :).
     
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  11. misha Educated

    misha
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    the worst thing about that is I really don't know when I will be able to upgrade my personal playing device to handle this badass, CDPR is relatively small studio so optimalisation is not their strongest ace...
     
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  12. Trash Pointing and laughing.

    Trash
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    Yup. Hardcore rpg's as a viable blockbuster genre has been death for nearly a decade. You got your Mass Effects and Dragon Age 2's but not much else with good production value and sales. Kinda like the last pathetic dying throes of a genre.
     
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  13. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    Maybe Drakensang ? But if you want to see good sales as well, then I must say you are mainly correct.

    I like to see TW2 sell good, maybe it will give a bit of a boost to the genre or at least show that enough gamers are interested in these sort of games.
     
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  14. Phelot Arcane

    Phelot
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    Would you really describe this as a hardcore RPG, though? Honest question.
     
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  15. Excidium P. banal

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    It's hardcore as in challenging combat, not RPG mechanics.
     
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  16. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

    Havoc
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Yes. I feel that I'm in control of the character. That I decide how the story goes, how he develops, how he handles the situation. I can train some "conversation skills", which later can be used to help me. The story is big, the intrigues and politics are deep, characters feel alive. It's not turn-based. It's not a spreadsheet of stats and skills, but it's a RPG.
     
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  17. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    I just hope that when they port this onto consoles (and they will, right? I mean, many parts of the game were made with a console in mind, weren't they?) it utterly bombs and biotards go back to their DA2 or some shit like that. I know there's really no chance of that happening, but I can't help feeling a little betrayed by the traces of consolitis I detect in TW2.
     
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  18. janjetina Arcane Patron

    janjetina
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Just like Counter strike.
     
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  19. RPGMaster Savant

    RPGMaster
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    Someone should write letters to Laidlaw and Gaider consisting of just this line.
     
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  20. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Do you think it would be ethical of me to tell my academic funders that (instead of writing a book on the ethics of advance directives and authority of passive euthanaisa requests) they've basically funded me to play Witcher 2? I suppose the least I could do is write up a guide or something:)

    After all, my PhD scholarship, back in the day, was basically a Planescape: Torment scholarship with a minor in Deus Ex. Sadly the lack of publishers interested in that area meant I had to spiel out a bunch of stuff I had far less knowledge of.
     
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  21. Frau Bishop Erudite

    Frau Bishop
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  22. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

    Havoc
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Aren't there only two such fights in the ENTIRE GAME? Yes? Then it's a skyway argument.
     
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  23. Frau Bishop Erudite

    Frau Bishop
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    Probably there are more than two such fights. :smug:
    But how could I know, I stopped playing after the bossfight shown in the video. Notice the flashing X and the videoincluded hint "Press A or Space now!!!" during the action scene most people would prefer playing with a console controller? Yea, that's pure console shit and most Codexians usually laugh about stuff like this, or condemn it if found anywhere near potential RPGs. And now the local fanboy mob even starts calling it hardcore RPG... oh wow, that's awkward.
     
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  24. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I liked outside Flotsam, the first time in the evening watching people gather around the campfire eagerly looking at a guy that stands up and tells a story about how Geralt lifted the Striga curse, flickering fire reflected from the faces of the people, the darkness beyond...



    More proof that women should stick to The Sims, HOG's and Farmville as they know FA about games.
     
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  25. OldSkoolKamikaze Arcane Patron

    OldSkoolKamikaze
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    This site has tons of Polaks. The Witcher is the most significant thing their country has that wasn't given to them by the Nazis.
     
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