The Witcher 2 is Ploughing Awesome!

I will plough your face with my ploughing sword!

I didn’t expect anything grand from The Witcher. But when it was released in 2007, the game blew my mind away with its storytelling and grim atmosphere, instantly becoming one of my favorite games for the PC. Now, four years after its release, developer CD Project Red is back with its sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and proves us that the first game wasn’t a fluke.

In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings players will step into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, an amnesiac and a mutant monster-hunter –also known as a witcher– who delivers all manners of kick-assery. He has a bad-ass demeanor, a plethora of skills, ranging from magic to alchemy, and a wide range of arsenal, including traps and bombs, all of which are essential to successfully track down the man who framed him for killing a king.

While Geralt’s main quest seems like a simple chase adventure, I promise you that it is not. The deeper you get into this game, the thicker the plot will get. You will find yourself embroiled in a political drama that is rife with deception and betrayal, which really showcases the gritty universe of The Witcher. As a sub story (presented in a form of a motion comics), you’ll also learn about Geralt’s past as fragments of his memories starts rushing back in.

Like with its predecessor, the story in The Witcher 2 doesn’t flow in a linear fashion. Instead, it twists, turns and branches into different directions, depending on your allegiances and the choices you make. The choices in this game are quite difficult too. Since, unlike most RPGs, they don’t just steer you to a path of good or evil. But they’re real choices with palpable consequences.

The most difficult choice I have to make in the game, or in any game at all, was to choose who to save: a young princess or my lover. The most logical and humane choice was to save the princess. Not only will you save a girl from a terrible fate, but you’ll also secure the independence of her nation. But I couldn’t stand the thought of my lover being raped in my enemy’s prison. So, I rescued my lover instead and spared myself from a broken heart.

Speaking of love, NPCs in this game have a side that you’ll love and another that you’ll hate. When I started out, I wanted to support the nonhuman rebels, or the Scoia’tael, like I did in the first game. But after I spent time with the Blue Stripes –archenemy of the Scoia’tael– and heard their side of the story, they weren’t as bad as I thought they were and the rebels weren’t as good either. So, I ended up taking their side and fought the Scoia’tael with them.

Unfortunately, combat in the Assassins of Kings can be a little bit unforgiving. The controls are a bit sluggish and the targeting is quite fussy. Both a problem when you’re pressed by enemies at all sides, which often happens. Drinking potions isn’t instant like it was in the first game. You have to meditate in order to use them, and you can’t meditate in the middle of combat. So, you might want start on easy mode first.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is the best game I’ve played since, well, The Witcher. Almost every facet of this game is sublime. The environments are beautiful. Its story is intricate and intriguing. The voice acting is masterfully done. Even its dialogue is grand in all its vulgarity. It has its flaws, however. In my case, I suffered multiple crashes during my first play through. But I’ll gladly suffer the same bugs again for another play through.

Score: A-
Game #05 of 15

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2 Responses to The Witcher 2 is Ploughing Awesome!

  1. James says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this review. It’s a well made, thoroughly polished and superbly written game. I don’t think I’ve seen such detail within a game before as the Witcher 2. It’s simply fantastic, and it’s the first game EVER that I’ve started a second playthrough within minutes of finishing my first. And I’ve played 126 games. Im playing the Xbox version, by the way.

  2. guywithaheadache says:

    Today I finished my first playthrough and I also immediately started a dark campaign (very satisfying). I googled “the witcher 2 is awesome” and here I am. I agree on all points.

    The first time I loaded the game up I arrogantly chose dark difficulty and also skipped the tutorial. Obviously, that was a mistake. I got fed up with the tutorial and quit. I had to come back a day later when I was bored enough to really devote some attention to learning the combat- there is a very steep learning curve. It turned out to be well worth it, though. On my second playthrough, now, I’m glad that I didn’t have to play two neutered hours of tutorial-esque campaign: most of the core combat is there immediately (minus some talents).

    It was really refreshing to play the role of an already fleshed-out badass instead of “creating my own identity” like so many other modern RPGs insist on (mass effect, elder scrolls, etc). I didn’t miss playing with sliders to create a visage that doesn’t look like an adult with fetal alcohol syndrome. Geralt already looks badass. Finally, this is the first game ever to actually have me sit and ponder dialogue decisions. The dialogue decisions aren’t angel vs devil; they are tough decisions with real consequences (such as being able to continue a quest line- I failed one by gallantly slaying someone I was fed up with).

    Anyway, again, good review. It looks like it may be as long as ’13 or ’14 til we see a sequel :(

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