The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Enhanced Edition) review
What makes a RPG a great RPG? Many things. Some RPGs have memorable cast of characters, excellent writing and plot twists, but most of those games either have average gameplay or average graphics. Other RPGs have enjoyable gameplay and good graphics, but at the same time, most of those games lacks great characterization and an engaging story. Finally, there are RPGs like The Witcher 2 where every component of the game is wonderfully crafted.
You are Geralt of Rivia, a legendary witcher who for some reason suffer from amnesia. The game begins with Geralt being interrogated in a prison for the assassination of the king of Temeria, King Foltest. In the prologue, you will play and witness the events that leads up to the assassination of King Foltest. Also, You will know who killed the king and why Geralt is being accused of assassinating the king of Temeria.
But who is the mysterious assassin? Why is he slaying and going after kings? Why Geralt doesn't remember all of his past? As you delve deeper into the game, more and more questions will accumulate and it's up to you to direct Geralt in his journey to clear his name and most importantly, finding the truth.
The Witcher 2 has one of the most mature stories ever told in the videogames medium. The game's story discusses mature themes such as racism, sex and political intrigue. Also, the moral choices you make throughout the game won't be either black or white; Geralt only seeks the truth and he will do whatever it takes to discover it. Furthermore, the choices you make have real consequences. For example, and without spoiling the story for you, at the end of chapter 1, you will have to choose between two sides, if you choose to side with option A, the second chapter in the game will be vastly different from siding with option B. The game encourages multiple playthroughs as you won't experience all the things the game has to offer in one playthrough. It's really hard to talk about the story and how CD Projekt impressively handled moral choices in the game without spoiling some parts of the story, so I will not discuss the story any further. But I want you to know that CD Projekt has created one of the most engaging and mature stories ever told in a role playing game and the moral choices really do have real consequences.
The combat system in The Witcher 2 is easy to grasp, but you will need some time to truly master it. It's similar to the combat system found in the Fable series, but it's more strategic and more challenging. Geralt can strike his enemies with light and heavy attacks, perform magic (signs), block and counter his enemies attacks, perform a quick roll to avoid enemies blows and many more. You can unlock new abilities and improve Geralt's attributes by spending talent points that you get from completing quests. You can spend talent points on one of the four skill trees: Training (Witcher training path), swordsmanship, alchemy and magic. At the beginning of the game, you only can spend points on the training skill tree, but it won't take you long before you start spreading points on the other skill trees.
In the Witcher 2, you can't drink potions during combat to replenish your health or to make you stronger, instead, you have to prepare yourself for battles by drinking potions before getting yourself into battles. For example, there is a potion called swallow which accelerates Geralt's vitality regeneration during combat. Other potions increase Geralt's resistance efficiency and improve his damage output. This system keeps the combat in the game exciting and challenging.
Throughout the game, you will find/buy formulas and diagrams to create various items such as potions, bombs, traps, swords, armors and many more. Creating potions in the Witcher 2 is an easy and uncomplicated process; you need to have the formula and the right ingredients to create the potion. However, Geralt can't craft weapons and armor, you have to go to a craftsman with a diagram and the required components and then pay him some orens (the game's currency) if you want to craft a weapon or a piece of armor.
The Witcher 2 is easily one of the best looking RPGs on Xbox360. The game's environments are filled with detail; towns feel alive and other locations such as forests and dungeons looks amazing. Character models are highly detailed. It's unfortunate that the game suffer from texture pop in and screen tearing, especially during cut scenes. Despite these visual blemishes, the game looks gorgeous that due to the impressive tech that powers the game and the exceptional art direction. The game is polished and I didn't encounter any game breaking glitches, but It should be mentioned that the game froze on me three times during my first playthrough.
The presentation in this game is superb, from the excellent voice acting to the beautiful music to the stylish comic book inspired cut scenes that tells short stories about Gerlat's past, this game has it all. The Witcher 2 is a highly repayable game; when you finish the game for the first time, you will most likely start your next playthrough immediately just to see how the game will react to different choices. Also, the game has a mode called Arena where you can fight horde after horde of enemies. This mode is a game in itself. You can post your score and see how it stack up against other player's scores on the leaderboards if you are connected to the internet.
The Witcher 2 has everything you could ever hope for in a RPG; it has amazing story and a cast of characters that will be certainly remembered as some of the most memorable characters in the genre, it has great combat system, beautiful visuals, powerful music and a world that you don't want to ever leave even after watching the credits roll. CD Projekt has created one of the best RPGs of this generation. RPG gamers shouldn't hesitate to buy this masterpiece, if you aren't a fan of the RPG genre, this game may change your mind, it's that good.