The Witcher 2: A Ploughing Good Time!

"Moral ambiguity has never been so sexy; unfortunately, the softcore didn't stop there."

It's been quite a few years since I've played a strong RPG, and the first installment of this series left me longing for more. Now that I have finally experienced the sequel, I can safely say that although The Witcher 2 was not the perfect continuation that I'd hyped myself for, it was still the best game I've played in years, and certainly worth the wait.

The Witcher 2 feels decisively shorter than the first one; however, it does indeed pack a bigger punch than its predecessor. Disappointingly, the game feels more like an adventure hack-and-slash than the action RPG that it was. This is primarily due to the FPS-style controls instead of the old point-and-click system. I personally do not mind the FPS controls; however, I can't help but notice that having your mouse locked away only to appear sometimes in a redundant manner (you can still navigate the screens using just the keyboard) really makes the game feel like a console port. Being a multi-platform release does not excuse this. The one thing that PC gamers hate running into is another console port.

The combat system in the first Witcher required precise timing to pull off the most rewarding results, which did not make it to The Witcher 2. The result is hollow and unsatisfying combat, as button-mashing prevails over timing and preparation. I'm not entirely sure what to blame this change on; it's not like you can't progress through the game clicking like a madman either way. The only difference is that the better player may be rewarded for being better.

My biggest complaint is the partial removing of the pre-battle planning phase. In the first game, the majority of my money went into buying books, because knowledge is fucking power. Only by reading about the plant could you now which part of it can be harvested. Only by reading about the monster could you know its weaknesses and what to carve off.

Unfortunately, in The Witcher 2, right off the bat you pretty much know everything; the books only consist of some lore and common sense. It tells you which style is marginally more effective and some random info about susceptibilities. Plainly put, not having the books hinders you very little, as there are no crippling disadvantages for not knowing the enemy, unless your sole battle strategy revolves around casting fire and rolling away (in which case, this is not the game for you; go buy yourself a Wii).

The potions no longer require alcohol, the oils no longer require wax, you can't drink for fun anymore (you added full-on softcore porn, but removed the drinking? Senseless), and you can't pick up random stuff to eat. Some people call this streamlining; I call this appealing to the North American retardation.

"Oh, but Rho, what if our NA players get frustrated that they're filling up their meagre weight limit with quasi-useless items?"

If John Doerknob wants to carry around a gallon of goat piss, three bushels of hay, and the entire dead corpse of the Kayan - well, shit, I think Johnny should be given the opportunity to experience the consequences of his actions. Perhaps one could hope that a few brain cells may even switch on in the process.

The reduction of difficulty was so overdone that I completed The Witcher 2 on Hard Mode by rolling towards my opponents on a slight angle (you'll end up facing their back) and ripping them apart with right clicks. The boss that many people complained about (Letho), I defeated without raising my sword. Any opponent that flinches can be stun-locked to death by daggers; truly pathetic. Yes, it costs me money to buy, but it's not like I need to save up for books.

I think that is the extent of my dislikes. Despite my negativity, The Witcher 2 is still a game worthy of its price tag,

I'm sure many people noticed the jab at Assassin's Creed during the prologue. You should have been given the opportunity to light the corpse on fire; a just dessert that would have been. On this note, I would venture to say that CD Projekt performed some of the best trolling I've seen all year.

It was also good to see that Geralt obtained a sense of humour, delivering the kind of sarcastically hilarious dialogue that put the snarky Champion of Kirkwall to shame. (This is the one and only reference to Dragon Age 2 that I will make. My favourite character in that game was the Arishok; I think that about sums it up.)

A lot of people dislike interactive action sequences, but I see it as just another one of the Witcher 2's mini-games (of which it has so many); it also allows the battle sequences to be much more cinematic and dramatic.

The moral ambiguity is, thankfully, as good as ever. Few games will let you save peasants from bandits just to rob them yourself (and without consequence I might add). As much of a bitch that I am, even I could not let myself stoop to some of the depths the game offered me. Many a time, I found myself stuck, staring at the options presented to me, and truly not knowing which one to go with. Then, on top of it, sometimes the decisions were on a timer, so it introduced another layer of stress for an already stressful decision.

The sex scenes, I must say, blows all of its competition out of the water. These were fully-animated and uncensored cutscenes displaying Geralt and his diverse selection of partners fornicating in a variety of positions and locations. I must say that I had my doubts when the developers said the sex in The Witcher 2 would be like nothing I've ever seen in these kind of games; I happily take back my doubts. My only complaint is not being given the pleasure of seeing Geralt's cock; I was hopeful, since they had no reservations in showing you everything that the girls had to offer. Unfortunately, I doubt that many share my complaint.

The Witcher 2 is graphically stunning; running it on 1080p with maxed-out settings really brings out the detail the developers put in. Sometimes, I hesitated to drink the Cat Potion purely because I did not wish to sap the colour from my surroundings.

The voice acting was choppy at first but, as the actors got into their roles, the quality improved greatly. Overall, I found that they managed to weave me a very convincing tale.

The Witcher 2 sits steadily on an 8/10 in my books. Major issues due to multi-platforming and comformation to the North Americna market bogged it down. The Witcher 2 introduced only good things to the series - sadly, it took out a lot of good things, too.