You play Geralt of Rivia, a well known Witcher wanted for regicide, as he embarks on yet another journey: Searching for the real King Slayer to clear his own name. The quest isn’t as straight forward as one would expect, tracking down the man responsible for killing off the kings, and framing you for it, will lead you through towns and cities chalked full of “colorful” characters and enough side quests that the Witcher could retire a rich man. These range from vanquishing colossal sea monsters to uncovering political conspiracies, you’ll have plenty to do throughout this epic 40+ hour adventure.
Combat in the Witcher 2 is fast pace and satisfying, mixing fantastic sword play and just a bit of magic. Leveling up allows you to customize your combat style by placing points in the skill trees of Swordsmanship, Alchemy and Signs(magic). The game is difficult in the beginning but becomes much easier with practice and new moves, such as a 15% chance to instantly kill a target in the Swordsmanship tree. Alchemy played a small role in my time within the game, but drinking a few potions before combat can make an impossible fight much easier and with enough patience and knowledge one can become an unstoppable apothecary of death! If you feel you’d like to practice your combat prowess there is an arena option in the game where you simply fight increasingly more difficult battles, you also level up at an increased rate so you can try out skill tree progression separate from you main campaign.
This game is by far the most mature of all the M rated games I’ve ever played, within the first 10 minutes you are treated with the sight of a fully nude woman, and i mean fully nude. But seeing the occasional naked brothel girl isn’t the only reason kids shouldn’t play this game, the plot revolves around the racism between humans and non-humans and often times you will have to work with some loathsome individuals because they can help you in some way. This game is all about choice, offering multiple solutions to quests, and of course different endings for each play style. A branch in the storyline happens only a few hours in that changes most of the game, so multiple play throughs will yield entirely new experiences. I played through the game helping the weak and downtrodden but still more often than not I was simply only siding with the lesser evil, a dark realism in a game I haven’t seen much of before.
While I’ve heard The Witcher 2 requires no prior knowledge to the series to understand the plot, I found myself lost by things going on. The main story is a standalone entry that is easy enough to follow, but trying to figure out the bigger picture like who Geralt really is and who should be trusted is a bit overwhelming at first, but the more you play the easier things are to understand. That in mind, reading a quick summary of the first game online is what I’d recommend.
I can’t sing enough praises about this game, and I am anticipating the next in the series with bated breath, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Infrequent auto saves will require you to replay quite a bit of a quest, so make sure to save often. Some quest related fights are just down right frustrating, not simply that they are hard, but that they are just plain unfair, but these are few and far between. The amount of available weapons was disappointing, but most armor pieces were varied and exquisitely detailed. I would liked to have seen a New Game+ option, considering how bloody hard Dark Difficulty is, but I suppose that was CDProjekt’s intentions.
Bottom line is, The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings, is a must have game for anyone that enjoys fantasy RPGs. PC gamers have been hogging this fantastic game, but now that it has finally reached the Xbox 360 with it’s Enhanced Edition, it can finally be enjoyed by the rest of us.