- Developer: CD Projekt Red
- Game: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- Price: £14.99 on Steam (at time of review)
Mead! Lutes! A big ass dragon! Dwarves! Elves! And… well… prostitutes… This is the setting you will spend your time with in The Witcher 2 and 3! Why have I started with 2 after 3’s release you may ask? Well I started with The Witcher 2 simply because I didn’t enjoy the first so I couldn’t get through it, but this one turned out to be a revelation; think of the Game of Thrones RPG, but with a much better story. Granted, at times it had some janky gameplay, but I found that it still made for a great game.
You begin this game playing as Geralt of Rivia, a badass Witcher whose job at the beginning of this game is to be the royal advisor to King Foltest. The sole job of a Witcher is to usually kill monsters for a bounty, but it must be under special circumstances. Geralt landed himself quite a comfortable little job, with an awesome hot sorceress to boot! Before you it even crosses your dirty minds, yeah you see her boobs, and very, VERY early into the game. Whoa, just keep your money in your wallets until the end of this review okay, kids? To avoid spoilers, I will simply say the story picks up and gets exciting very suddenly. None of this ‘royal advisor’ business: you’ve got more important matters at hand! Coming from someone who never completed the first game, you don’t need to have played the first to get immediately sucked into the story of this great RPG.
In this game though, it isn’t like a normal RPG where you can simply defeat any foe easily with a swing of a sword or two. Damn near any enemy can kill you quite easily. We’re not talking Dark Souls kind of difficulty, but it’s definitely not difficult to wind up very dead, which caused me much frustration at the start. So if you consider playing this game, it’s probably best not to go in gung-ho. My advice is to use your signs and tactically take out your foes. A quick list of enemies in this game would be Endrega, Drowners, Arachas, Kayran (boss), Nekker, Rotfiend, Troll, Wraith, Harpy, Dragon, and trust me there are more!
The movement controls in this is of course WASD, but you will find a lot more buttons need to be used than you might expect, so when you go through the introduction to using everything, it’s best to pay attention. Otherwise you can get lost in button mashing to find what you want. Geralt has two swords in this game: one of steel, and one of silver. The steel sword is for fighting against what seems to be strictly humans only. The silver sword is for fighting monsters of all kinds, and some are downright frustrating as hell to fight.
A perfect example of an infuriating boss battle is the Endrega queen, if you don’t really learn about the different swords and the signs you will use, then she will destroy you easily. A quick summary of me fighting the Endrega queen was about a week of consistently getting my ass handed to me, before I decided “screw this, I’m looking up the guide”. When I decided to look at the guide, my eyes widened and I realised how stupid I’ve been the entire game…
The very beginning of this game gameplay wise is you having to escape a big badass dragon! Excitement ensues! Sadly however you don’t get to actually have an all out battle against a dragon until way later in the game, but I do promise that it is both fun and frustrating! If you fancy yourself a Dark Souls fan who is rubbish at the game like me but still wants that challenge, get to the bloody dragon boss battle and your challenge is right there.
An important part to this game is your signs, of which there are:
- Aard: A telekinetic thrust to get enemies away from you (basically a Hadoken).
- Igni: A burst of fire!
- Yrden: A magic trap for enemies.
- Quen: A witcher shield, good for one hit (an important sign!).
- Axii: Makes an enemy fight WITH you.
These signs are extremely helpful in the game, and every single one can be used in the right situation to get you out of a difficult fight. Perfect example is when fighting the dragon, your best sign to use is the Quen sign, because you get a shield that will take a hit from the dragon without draining your health, which can go down by half in one hit from the dragon!
AUDIO AND GRAPHICS
The audio in this game is nothing short of superb, especially for a company that were on their second game at this point! Doug Cockle, who voices Geralt in all three games, does a great job in this game too, and sounds like a fantasy version of Solid Snake. Other well voiced characters are Vernon Roche Zoltan Chivay, Dandelion and Triss Merigold. Now I don’t say this is a perfectly voiced game, some other characters sound a tad… meh at certain stages. Occasionally you’ll hear a funny little line from NPCs which adds to the game, but they soon begin repeating and it does get annoying. The music for this game is great, though, and it really adds to the atmosphere.
The graphics in this game, for one that is over 4 years old at this stage is pretty damn good! When it was first released, it really was a game to test your rig, and while it is four years down the line now, it still looks mighty fine on ultra. Some things are noticeable the more you play the game however. Mostly silly things like enemies getting stuck in a pattern, or in a rock, or even how those bloody kids repeat the same thing over, and over, and over… If you want a pretty looking fantasy game for over half the price of The Witcher 3, then The Witcher 2 is right on Steam, Origin, and every bloody thing else it seems…
I would honestly rate this game as one of the best games of its genre. The story is a little slow to begin with, it’s true, but if you get around half way through the story at Flotsam, you’ll find yourself a little addicted. While this game is quite linear, it isn’t TOO noticeable. You can wander around the areas you are in, and they aren’t that small either. You will find yourself too engaged in doing side quests along with the main story to worry too much about how linear the game is anyway, and it truly sets up The Witcher 3 perfectly. It is definitely a game worth taking your time to look at. It’s probably the best in its genre, and definitely the best linear RPG in my opinion. Well worth playing if you are stuck waiting to upgrade your rig for The Witcher 3!
P.S. Iorveth is a badass…
- This is a straight up adult RPG with a badass story that still looks beautiful on ultra, even after four years. And it will likely run on ultra on an older rig, too!
- There are times, however, when the game's linear aspect becomes glaring, even with the side missions.