Review: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC) – Giving Away a Digital Copy!


Holy crapping crap, crapping some bricks!  This pretty much sums up my experiences playing The Witcher 2 thus far.  This game is absolutely downright amazing all across the board.  Frankly I haven’t been this excited about playing an RPG since Lost Odyssey a very long time ago, and I can say that I like it a lot more.  From character growth and storyline to sounds and graphics, this game has everything to make a wonderful experience for any mature gamer.  Yes, I did say a ‘mature’ gamer.  For once I can really agree with the rating for a game, as  this is defiantly not a game for the younger audience. The developers held nothing back in making the storyline and gameplay feel as realistic as possible in this fantasy RPG.  Something, that in all honesty I really wish there was more of.  Due to the very (emphasize very on this) graphic content, it really feels like you are put into a medieval world, and in a sense  it feels like more of a literary art than just a game, with a story that is like being engulfed in an exceptional ‘choose your own adventure’ novel, with a multitude of choices and endings.  You as the player really take control as being Geralt (White Wolf) of Rivia.

At first though I was rather worried when starting the game.  When it all starts out you’re in a prison and you really don’t know how you got there.  Initially I thought that maybe not having played the first Witcher was going to hinder the feel for the story and put me at a disadvantage.  Luckily as the story progresses, back story was filled in by a prologue that the developers added that gives you a grasp of the events in the first game.  Thankfully for those who haven’t played, it does so without giving away too much so the first game would not be ultimately ruined (which is great because I am defiantly going to be playing that as soon as time frees up).  After finishing up the prologue the true beginning of the game takes place, with your goal being to find out who assassinated King Foltest and sullied Geralt’s name by framing him.  While the prologue finishes and the first act begins, records are placed in your journal which greatly helps in filling the gaps a new player may have.  Organized and in depth about the places and characters, this journal becomes invaluable to understanding and appreciating the time put into making this wonderfully complex story, one that really engages the gamer and sucks them into the world.  Emphasizing the realism in situations that could be found in medieval history, including incestuous on-goings of the monarchy and the creation of “bastard children” for example, it almost feels as though you are looking at some of earth’s historic records.  Add that with the realistic conversations that, believe me, do not hold anything back what-so-ever, you have a mix that really keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next as the adventure continues.

With that stated, the story wouldn’t fulfill itself without the addition of a wonderful cast of characters that are well developed as the game progresses and events unfold.  All the characters seem to have different, and often hidden agendas within their larger goals.  When looking at the hero, and his case of amnesia, presented in the first story, his development is non-stop throughout the game.  As recollections of events from his past unfold, he becomes deeper and starts acquiring a great richness to his personality.  Plus because of the characteristic of the gameplay, being that of choose you own path, as the revelations occur the player and Geralt begin to understand the motives of certain main characters and the histories they share from a mysterious past.  Although the amnesia bit has been employed in many games in the past, it seems to me that the execution in this one is very well played.  Additionally, since it is a remnant of the first game and it’s happenings were not completely divulged in it, it enables a very nice transition in his development between the two games, making the game seem like it actually is a continuation rather than just a forced sequel to make some extra money; sadly seen way too much in today’s gaming industry.  Add dialogue between characters that moves smoothly, and voice overs (in the English version) that are actually performed by quality voice actors, the characters’ personas are greatly accented throughout your gameplay.

With such great story and characters, it is no wonder that there was obviously just as much time dedicated to the environments that the hero roams.  As shown by an environment reel presented by the developers at CD Projekt, anyone can see that world is nothing less than spectacular visual eye candy:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfyuyYUoP6k

Looking at the smallest details within the world tended to leave me awestruck as I explored the different areas while taking on different side quests.  Not to mention the love that I had encountering the different types of creatures within the areas I was in.  Monsters were disgusting and vile like monsters should be, the darkness in there creation was amazing.  At times it reminded me of styles found in Diablo and Diablo 2, but of course much more detailed.  Additionally quite a bit of my time was spent looking at the full splendor of the forests as you walked through them.  All of their components seemed so natural and really brought out the beauty of what a real forest would look like in the day, and the frightful ambiance of one at the witching hour. Combined with the sound effects, it totally felt that if you closed your eyes and just listened you could imagine yourself right there in this great forest, surrounded by its wildlife and rivers, or in the dampness of the caves underneath.  If you find a spot where you are absent the threat of danger, I would actually recommend turning the music low and sound effects up and sitting down to meditate (maybe on what your next choice should be in the story).  Or maybe vice versa, as the musical score in this game is a wondrous engagement to the ears as it truly sets the situational mood.

In all off the greatness that this game has to offer, my only gripe with it was a couple aspects in the gameplay that I feel could have been tweaked to make it a bit more user friendly. Although it really wasn’t too much of an issue once I started getting use to the gameplay mechanics.  I will say that the combat is very dynamic, and very artistically done when Geralt is fighting; leaping around masterfully, swinging whatever weapon he is using.  My issue was more that of key (control) placement and the switching of usable items during combat along with time in which the gamer can use healing potions.  While under attack by an enemy you have three types of attacks that can be used.  The first are your melee weapons, with which there really was no issue, basically keys 1 and 2 are the defaults in switching between the two.  Second is your arsenal of witcher spells that are used by the Q key, and third are raged weapons or traps held in your pocket used by the R key.  My issue was that to switch between the types of spells you have either two choices, one by cycling through them using keys 3 and 4 or by using the Ctrl key to manually select them.  Although like I previously mentioned you do get use to cycling through them, at first I did find it a little uncomfortable, making me think it would be nice for each to have its own separate key.  Now as you play, like in any game, new hand positions take some time to master, but it would have been nice to have the presets.  And while you can select through Ctrl, which does slow down time, sometimes it seems the mouse gets lost on the screen which is a bit of a minor nuisance.  Ultimately it doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, and there may be a way to change the settings, but again I was under some time restraints for the review (If I find a way I will make an amendment to the review, or if anyone can point me in the direction please comment).  My other issue was the lack of being able to use healing potions of some type while actually in combat.  While you are allowed to use potions while in a meditation status in safe areas you can’t in combat, which would have been nice while fighting harder enemies like bosses or when you get surrounded.  Although the developers made up for this by making potions last for certain amounts of time designated by a timer, like in the Elder Scrolls games, you don’t have the option whilst in combat.  It does add to the complexity of the game, but maybe they could have cut back on time duration if used in battle.  Yet, even though this problem is there, I really don’t feel that it takes too much from the gamer’s enjoyment, and although I did die quite a bit at first and at some bosses I did not find myself going into a nerd rage and quitting the game in frustration.  If anything, these challenges made me more addicted to the game and kept me trying harder.

Finally its more non-linear storyline than most RPGs was a breath of fresh air compared to games like Final Fantasy XIII, being far too linear for its own good, and Elder Scrolls, being so massive and having an open ended-ness that always made me feel somewhat lost, The Witcher 2 snugly placed itself in the middle.  Leaving a quasi-linear storyline if you choose to just follow the main narrative, with of course the non-linear aspect being how your decisions drastically change the storyline as you progress, while also giving a multitude of side-quests and mini-games that many RPG players have come to love.  I will also say that some of these mini-games can make you quite a bit of coin if you are in a pinch, especially if you do a common save and reload trick.  I would have to say my favorite is the Dice Poker mini-game that I could see myself playing with friends or possibly turning into a drinking game.  Furthermore, I find some of the side quests to be extremely humorous and can really help to add additional fun character dialogue to the adventure, along with some nice rewards and some very provocative cut scenes.

In the end, I can easily say that this has to be one of my favorite RPGs that I have played in a very long time.  So much that I would gladly put it within my top 5 favorites, and offer major congratulations to the developers at CD Projekt and a loud thank you to Atari for publishing it.  Although I have some minor issues with some of the gameplay mechanics, overall they seem to be miniscule in the grand scheme of the game.  With such an in-depth and amazing storyline and such compelling characters, along with a graphical and realistically rich environment that has a no-holds barred style of gaming design and storytelling, I will blissfully place this at 9.9 out of 10 on my scale.  Furthermore, I would readily encourage any major RPG gamer or gamer in general (assuming they’re old enough) to buy this game and play it!  I really look forward to what this group of individuals is making next and when it will be released; an absolutely amazing game leaving others high standards to follow.  Since I feel trailers really helps to bring the point home I decided that it would be a great final part to this review.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otRU79Rdh_0&feature=related

Final Rating: 9.9/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: PC
Approximate Time to Completion: Unable to complete within review time.  Approx. 40+ hours depending.
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Review copy furnished by Atari
Current Price: $49.99 (PC Download Copy at Atari.com)
Recommend Purchase Price: Agree with the price, worth every penny.

Contest!

Guess what, we have a code for a digital copy of The Witcher 2 to give away!  Atari was kind enough to give us a code to be redeemed in their online store, what’s more is that currently all purchases of The Witcher 2 also get a copy of the original Witcher along with it! (We cannot guarantee how long this promotion will last though, so officially just consider this a possible bonus) End result? You may be getting two full length PC games this time around; this is by far CBR’s biggest contest ever!

Do to a lack of responses I’ve decided to alter the contest. You can gain up to 4 total entries!

First and second entry: We want to know why you love gaming!  Simply tell, or even show us in the comments below. Do that and you will get 2 entries into the contest!

Third entry: Follow us on twitter and send the following tweet for one entry:

@ClearanceBinRev is having a #contest for a digital copy of The Witcher 2 on #PC! More Details: http://bit.ly/k5xWYW

Remember that you have to follow us; any winner (via Twitter) we attempt to DM via Twitter who isn’t, automatically forfeits their win. If you enter via Twitter include your twitter name in your post below, winners who have their twitter listed will receive their codes immediately after winning.

 

 

Fourth entry: Like our Facebook page and then simply like the post on our wall for this article.  Simple as that. (Keep in mind the article may be lower on the Facebook page towards the end of the contest and it may take a minute or two to post on FB) Do that and you will gain one entry.

Start snapping photos, writing your reasons, or whatever, and posting them below! Don’t waste any time, this contest will only go until Sunday (the 5th) at 8pm CST!

Contest will go until Sunday at 8pm CST.  Due to the value of the prize we will require a minimum of ten entries into the contest. A winner will be randomly selected and  will be notified shortly after the contest ends. CBR reserves the right to disqualify any entry we feel either violated the rules or spirit of the contest, including attempts at duplicate entries. Winner selected with no twitter name provided will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond.  We do not always announce the names of contest winners, but do encourage them to post about their win. By submitting your entry you are agreeing to let CBR use any information, original content, etc., submitted for promotion or otherwise.

  • For you CBR newbies, if your comment doesn’t appear right away don’t freak! All first time commentators must be approved before they will show up on the site.

  • i love RPG games (ME,Fallout3)
    i wanna this game because triss so sexy 😛

  • I play video games for the challenge and the competition.

  • Why isn’t this review on metacritic? I don’t know how reviews get put onto metacritic, but this one seems well-written enough. I urge the author to contact metacritic and try to submit this review.

  • PC gaming is a superb way to pass time on those lazy Summer days. 🙂
    Any other activity pales in comparison to how much fun gaming is.

  • I have always been a PC gamer. I love gaming because allows to experience things that I won’t normally experience in real life.

    @jdf335

  • PC Gaming is great because you meet plenty of interesting people and have fun while doing it.

    @ropes

  • I love games especially xbox as you can see in the picture i have included….Always have since i was really really young that was a long time ago but i still love them its a great way to occupy time and also hang with your friends either online or off. Awesome Contest <3<3<3

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/707/gamecastle.jpg/

    @Nikibaby219

  • i love playing games because it makes me happy.. while playing multiplayer games i can compete with others around the world to know where i stand ….and particularly rpg games where your skills are tested a lot..
    my twitter name : vishalnair1

  • I play most on my 360. I enjoy gaming because it is the best past time. You get to experience other worlds and do things you can only do in dreams. Good games will tell a good story or challenge you and those are the ones I enjoy most ^^

    Thanks as always for your contests!

    tweeted @genxsis83 and facebooked ^^

  • I love gaming! There is nothing like playing games with your friends or taking on th role of a great hero and trying to save the world!

  • Gaming is one of my favourite hobbies due to the variety of games available. Sure people often level complaints at all the COD clones but even a cursory glance at the Indie scene shows great diversity, with Frozen Synapse being a recent gem and Spy Party promising to be a unique experience once it arrives there truely is a wealth of great indie title. This is also becoming, increasingly so I feel, reflected in AAA titles such as the Witcher 2, it isn’t a simple rehash of the flawed but great first game it brings new ideas to the table and isn’t constrained to the usual trap of linearity within in the story (according to your review of course). So in summary it is this diversity that is the main reason that I love gaming and the immersion that comes with a compelling and well told story.

    Have tweeted as well under the guise of @IDFinners

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway and I hope I am lucky enough to win, it would be a most excellent post-exam treat.

  • I love gaming because it gives me a chance to experience, in a way, things that I couldn’t do in real life.

    @alee67

  • I love pc gaming , since the first game i played (pacman FTW), also now i have a high-end gaming pc which can play all the newest games , so i would love to try out new games :D.

    I also made my own clan so i can play with my friends/clanmates together :D.

    @TheAnthonyNL

    I also liked/posted on Facebook.

  • I enjoy gaming for many different reasons. The one that comes right at the top of my mind is the fact that you get to experience entire worlds and universes of fiction that one could only imagine in books or novels, or merely have a glimpse in movies.

    Great games combine the best of both worlds, but also add interactivity to the player.

    Story driven RPGs like The Witcher, Mass Effect, the Fable series or KotOR are all great examples of this.

    They’re also a great to spend time with friends, on multiplayer games, or casually. They’re also so varied that anyone can find a game that they’re sure to enjoy.

    I’m a PC gamer at heart. Mainly because games like Oblivion or Morrowind have a very good modding community which is not restricted by consoles. I like that.

    @Gamingftw92

  • Ever since I erased my dad’s Zelda save & made him quit playing the Nes,I’ve been gaming ever since (mickey mousecapde & zelda were my first 2 games ever!).I love gaming because no matter how good or bad a day your having,you can just turn on a game and get sucked in for as little as 20 mins or hours to where your asking yourself “where did the time go!!!”.

    I have loved watching over the years gaming evolve from the 8-bit nes era to the graphics of crysis, and how even though some of my friends are off in another state for college/work,we can still enjoy playing games together and shoot the breeze.

    I just got back into PC gaming a few months ago after many years and would love to play the witcher series :)..Thanks for the chance to win and here’s some pics of my game collection 🙂

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/801/060411144400.jpg/

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/060411144301.jpg/

    Twitter:@Hestar69

  • I love gaming because I get to pretend to not be the slob I am and be an awesome studly action hero. Or a plumber. Or slowly falling brick. Sometimes I also end up playing other lazy slobs. It’s kind of weird.

    @Corpekata is twitter.

  • I love gaming because I love the experience you go through when you are playing a game. From distant alien worlds to the ordinary modern settings you see all around you, each provide its own experience. This is experience is best in gaming since it is more interactive, and sometimes you can get so immersed, that you almost feel like you are the character.

    Also playing games is a pretty fun thing to do.

    Twitter: s8man888

  • Why I love gaming? Well, it’s a way to compete with people around the world. I always want to see how good I am in against the world. And another thing, they are fun. Oh, I forgot my twitter account:@Nvsareval

  • Why do I love gaming? Where do I begin? It all started for me when my dad brought home a Magnavox Odyssey when I was a kid (I know I’m aging myself here – just turned 44 yesterday). So basically, my whole life, I’ve played videogames and watched gaming grow up with me, from Pong through the incredible multimedia masterpieces that we experience today. I am very lucky to have 2 great sons, aged 10 and 4, with whom I get to share my love for gaming, and I try to imagine, based on how far gaming has moved forward in my lifetime, what will it be like for them when they pass this love down to their sons? What advances in technology will come in the future to make the experience even more incredible?
    Twitter: @staulcub

  • I love gaming since it get me through childhood giving me memories of wonder and adventure I wouldn’t find in reality. Playing Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda A link to the Past, Super Metroid, Megaman and more gave me a chance to see aliens, monsters, princesses, robots, in the comfort of my own room. Growing up it also helped me find people who also has the same love of videogames as I do and now it is an integral part with which helps to entertain and immerse me more than ever. 😛

    @Chronorayven
    RT http://twitter.com/Chronorayven/status/77259089327042560
    FB Ray Del Pilar

  • I love gaming because it is fun and challenging. Besides, most shows on TV are lame 😉

  • i love gaming this |________________________________________| much! because it gives me something to do after work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.