Friday, 19 December 2014

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

I only recently finished this game after getting it for free from the GoG site. Initially I was thinking of doing a playthrough for it but since one of this games strongest strengths is it's story (and because Astalnar already did one), I decided against it. Instead I thought I'd do a review! This game follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a "witcher" (monster hunter) of some repute, during a time of crisis for the land of Temeria as someone is going about killing all the kings in the region.

Suffering from magical amnesia might seem a little convoluted but it actually works well here as you slowly uncover more of Geralt's past as you play through the game. As a fan of the TV series (I haven't read the books, nor played the first game) Geralt and everyone in the world around him are portrayed wonderfully. The locations and environments are well detailed and fun and at times scary to explore.

Michal Zebrowski's Geralt is still the best version for me. :P

At the end of chapter 1 you are given a choice between two ways to continue. I've played through both and while you still go through the same maps as the alternate path, the story and plot points are quite different, barely coming together again at the end of the "tree". 

As expected of an RPG, there are many side quests to help gain XP, gold and other resources for crafting and there are three mini-games to break up any tedium from the main plot in the form of QTE brawling, arm wrestling, and my favourite: dice poker. I also quite like the potion system in place, which I'll bring up again in a later MMO Design post.

What I don't like? Well, for starters there is no epic or memorable music. It's just... ok? Even Neverwinter Online, which isn't really known for good music, has my wife humming the main tune every now and then - and she doesn't even play the game! The combat in Witcher 2 can also be quite challenging until you get used to Geralt's hit and run design, and all the abilities he has at his disposal. Perhaps most annoyingly, it suffers from Save Game Glut - where your saves are always put in a new slot. Each game session of mine would therefore begin with a few minutes of clearing some of the old ones out.

It's a pity that those things slightly ruin an otherwise good game. I still recommend it though, and give it four out of five silver swords. If you are only planning on playing one "path" (or are the type to only play through once) then consider it a three and a half silver swords instead.

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