The only problems that aren’t up for speculation about CD Projekt Red’s latest outing is that in dialogue scenes the overly dramatic back turn gesture is overused, and that movement controls seem to take priority over other essential actions like life saving spells. The latter example may be a result of my computer which barely surpasses the minimum requirements, but the frustrations that resulted from this imperfection are too scorching to ignore.
Now that the cons are out of the way, I’d like to explain why The Witcher 2 is the best RPG to date.
It’s more ambitious than Mass Effect 2 in terms of actions and consequences. What the Mass Effect franchise accomplished with its two sequels, The Witcher 2 manages to execute in it’s single sequel to a greater magnitude. Whereas your decisions in Mass Effect decided which characters would die, or live on in the sequel, The Witcher 2 poses you with problems that can change the entire plot, environment, and alliances by assuming different perspectives of critical events. It’s also presented in a way where I wasn’t left out because I didn’t finish the first Witcher, yet it alludes to events that previously happened (such as Thaler). There’s even an import save function, which I’ve yet to use.
My only problem with the storytelling is that most of the quests lacked ambiguity in their endings. Upon finishing a quest, I’d sometimes be scolded for bad decision making. My perfectionist mentality wouldn’t tolerate the negative reinforcement, so I’d load a previous save and finish it differently. It could also be argued that I hurt the experience for myself, because I abused the loading function, thus I shall state that it’s something to be discussed, not judged.
I’d also like to talk about the gameplay, which seamlessly blends cold calculating RPG rolls in fast, fluid combat. What really enforces this illusion is the chance that Geralt can miss with his sword just by whiffing, whereas in the first Witcher combat was almost completely automated, made interactive only with the combo system. It’s gone now, replaced by a fast paced, strategic duel where dividing and conquering is the prime strategy. No longer can one simply click their mouse to victory.
The path to salvation is an arduous one, Geralt–even though a mutant, still has a fairly human constitution. To aid him in battle, Geralt can perform dives and ripostes should he become a master swordsman, or create powerful bombs and tonics with the alchemy mastery. If Geralt selects the magic branch, he can cast more powerful spells and unlock a new “sign”, a synonym for spell. They’ve each got their advantages and disadvantages in each situation, the different variety of enemies and scenarios kept me on my feet, but the only thing that I was disappointed by was the smaller variation in monsters. It’s a welcome concession, in midst of what CD Projeckt Red did with everything else.
Regarding of course, the multi-pronged storyline which jabs at racism and social class issues, visceral combat experience, a unique and livable world, lovable characters, conspiracies, and entertainment. It’s the equivalent of an interactive epic, made modern through the use of vernacular, flavorful language.Pros :
- Multi-pronged story
- Engaging gameplay
- Dynamic, deep universe
- Frustrating controls
- Dramatic, overused poses