The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Introduction

The first Witcher released in 2007 captured the attention of many RPG players with it’s maturity and new approach to the genre. The Witcher 2 aims to top the first and has pushed both the graphics and gameplay. Aiming even more so for the mature audience The Witcher 2 pulls no punches, it has vulgarity, violence, explicit love scenes, and an incredibly dark atmosphere. So what does The Witcher 2 really offer? Read on to find out!

The Plot

You are Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher obsessed with The Wild Hunt and one of King Foltest’s main men. A moment between you and your “companion” Triss Merigold is interrupted when one of Foltest’s troops rushes into your tent to tell you that you’re needed. The game opens up with a castle siege in which Geralt participates despite seeing the battle as ignorant and selfish. Once the castle has fallen, Foltest reunites with his “bastard” children, but is briefly after assassinated. Geralt tries to pursue the culprit but fails due to the assassin’s wild antics. Foltest’s troops run into the room that the two entered together and find Geralt standing there with the dead king, Geralt is accused of the murder and is thrown into the dungeons. With aid, Geralt escapes and intends to clear his name. 

The Gameplay

This game is possibly the hardest game I’ve had to master, jumping into this game’s tutorial on medium will probably result in your death countless times. The gameplay’s learning curve is steep, don’t go in with the hack n’ slash mindset the real trick is making good use of the “signs”, The Witcher’s magic. Using your powers in combination with your melee attacks is key, spells like Quen will allow you to take a FEW hits without taking damage, and believe me you’ll use it seeing as how you can die quick if you don’t watch it. Rolling away from and blocking hits is just as important, hit and run tactics are vital as the game throws enemies at you that are powerhouses and must be dealt with using strategy. Almost every encounter can be fatal, but each victory is rewarding. Geralt has a a long sword meant for fighting humans, and a silver sword meant for the monsters. Switching up swords will be necessary if want to have the edge in a fight.

Leveling up and getting better gear will make this game much easier as well, depending on your style of play you can level Geralt the way that best fits it. As you progress Geralt becomes more capable, like for example if you have trouble in melee combat you can level Swordsmanship and allow Geralt to hit multiple enemies and be able to take and dish damage out. Gear can be acquired through various means, questing, searching corpses, merchants, and exploring. You’ll want to take your time with this as you want Geralt to build up as much as possible, there’s fights you can get into where you can be heavily outnumbered and you’ll find yourself reloading your saved game because you weren’t prepared and keep dying! As for questing there’s plenty of side quests you can do involving all sorts of shady individuals, and an expansive main quest that gets even deeper as it continues.

The Witcher 2 does have the “moral” choice system. It is more complex thought wise than what can be found in games like Mass Effect, where those choices are black and white, these are gray. You’ll choose sides and that will effect the story board, relations with characters, and outcome of the game BIG time so choose wisely. There is also a crafting system allowing the player to create armor, weapons or potions using certain items, metals, or fabrics. Finding the required items to craft gear is a good investment as it is usually better than what you can loot.  If you just want to buy some of the crafting items but don’t have the Oren (gold) it’s usually pretty easy to come by playing the mini-games and side questing. The mini-games include arm wrestling, fight (I shouldn’t be talking about this) clubs, and so on. The games help change the pacing but usually will only be played for the money rather than enjoyment.

The Atmosphere

The Witcher 2’s art style is a combination of Gothic, Slavic, and Romanian themes. The game looks amazing and is one of the best I’ve ever seen, in particular because of the lighting. The characters’ design and personality are unique and have depth, each plays their role and have some meaning.  The explicit content gives it a sense of realism/familiarity and keeps the Witcher 2 from being too fantastical, keeping you grounded in the setting it’s going for. It’s original and rich, it is guaranteed to be refreshing as the humanity vs evil horde/orcs theme has been played out too many times.

The Verdict

I absolutely loved The Witcher 2, it’s settings, gameplay and story were incredibly captivating for me. This is one game I would recommend without hesitation, it’s challenging and probably not meant for everyone but the people who dig this type of game should not be let down. Aside from sometimes hiccups in combat and not being able to start the game over again after you’ve finished it, I have no complaints, and I fully believe The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings reaches it’s goal and sets out what it wants to do almost perfectly. There’s plenty of replay value here, the game RULES.

Note: Be sure to save often!

[starreview tpl=46 size=’30’]

Kyle Erwin

Hello, I'm Kyle Erwin, I'm 18 years old and have been gaming since I was 4. The systems I've gamed on are the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Playstation 1, 2 and 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Wii.

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