lil review: The Witcher 2

  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360
  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Publisher: Warner Bros.
  • Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Price: $29.99
  • Official: Witcher 

“Dive into this incredible world”

The Witcher is based on a popular Polish book series from author Andrzej Sapkowski. The books follow the story of Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, or rather, a monster slayer, as he travels the land taking bounties for various creatures. The games take place after the book series, and developers CD Projekt Red take great care with Sapkowski’s work, showing a tremendous level of detail and love for the world.

The original Witcher was a cult hit on PC, and was also CD Projekt’s first game. I don’t know how this small Polish studio has done it, but they have put out games that compete directly with triple A releases, and are now one of my favorite studio’s. This small group came out of nowhere and delivered The Witcher, they then released a free massive update for the game that fixed tons of issues with it. They then started work on The Witcher 2, one of my favorite games of all time.

The Witcher 2 is a true experience. It is made for people who love old school difficult RPG’s but has the approachability that newcomers can enjoy it as well. Witcher 2 has some of the best graphics seen so far, on PC or Xbox 360. The gameplay has a depth most RPG’s lack today, and the voice acting and story are among the best available.

The Witcher 2 starts off with a fantastic prologue that see’s Geralt locked away in prison being interrogated by the commander of Temeria’s Special Forces, Vernon Roche. In this interrogation the player is allowed to choose the order in which Geralt will recount the events of the previous day, showing the lead up to his imprisonment. The Witcher 2 has a great story that is highly governed by player choice, with the later parts of the game being completely different depending on how you choose to play.

The focus on player choice is mirrored in the gameplay as well, with players able to mold Geralt into their own interpretation of a Witcher. Will you focus on sword play, magic or gadgets? Each skill tree has a number of abilities and perks that will change the way you handle encounters. Melee focused players will easily slice their way through hordes with ease, while magic tuned players will hurl fireballs and freeze targets in their place. The gadget inclined will have stronger bombs and traps that will allow them to manage the fight with precision. All of these techniques are bolstered with an in-depth crafting system, allowing Geralt the option to make his own potions and bombs that are invaluable.

The world that Geralt finds himself in is one of the most well realized fantasy settings ever brought into a videogame. The realism and violence on display within the cities the player will visit is harshly relatable. This world is bitter and cold and each character can be both kind and treacherous. Racism, murder, thievery, rape, betrayal, sex, war; this world has it all. This isn’t J.R.R Tolkien’s mostly fantastical Middle-Earth. This world is corrupt, and the story itself leads you through a tale of political intrigue and personal demons.

I said before that CD Projekt Red are now among my favorite developers, it’s not only because they have released real hardcore games that I love; it’s also because they have shown true love for their fans. As mentioned before they released a massive directors cut update for the original Witcher for free for fans, and they did the same for The Witcher 2. The Witcher 2 came out on PC in May of 2011 to much critical acclaim. But that wasn’t enough for CD Projekt, they announced an Xbox 360 version shortly after. This edition of the game would have many improvements as well as fully added features over the original.

This iteration would be dubbed “The Enhanced Edition” and would be a totally free download for owners of the PC original. Most developers wouldn’t do that, or would charge consumers for such a thing. CD Projekt Red consistently gives out perks to fans and has on numerous occasions even spoken about illegal downloads of their titles, stating simply that they hope people who have obtained their games in more shady manners just find enjoyment out of them. This is a small but extremely talented studio that is putting out work that puts every other developers games to shame.

The Witcher 2 is a must play for RPG fans of any kind, and CD Projekt deserves to be noticed by more gamers. This is a game for gamers by gamers, do yourself a favor and pick up this older title new now and support the developers who’s passion and creativity you can clearly see oozing from the games they make. -Chuck

lil Rundown

  •  + Very deep and fun combat
  •  + Graphics and voice acting are amazing
  •  + Story and player choice are vast and engrossing
  •  + Retail comes with cloth map and strategy guide, showing CD Projekts thanks

Final Score

9.5 / 10

“Incredible”

7 thoughts on “lil review: The Witcher 2

  1. Hey there, thanks for stopping by my blog! Great review here. This is one game that I *really* want to play, yet I’m *really* on the fence about. Could be my lack of success with Skyrim bit into my confidence some, though that and this game are two totally separate entities. Or maybe I worry about not completing it? Or maybe I should just should just shut up and play!

  2. Thanks for stopping by here as well! Not everyone is going to like it of course, but I think it should definitely be given a chance by most. Playing till shortly after the prologue most will have a decent understanding if its for them or not by then. There was a streaming demo through Gaikai but unfortunately it seems it was taken down.
    What happened with Skyrim?

    1. Skyrim started out fine, but I eventually found myself getting frustrated with the quests, in part because I didn’t have enough time to play it regularly. I lost interest and often forgot where I was or what I was doing. I stopped playing for a few months and tried to pick it up again, but the magic just wasn’t there. I plan to give it another go here soon though. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

      1. Its easy to get lost in those games, just so much to do and see it can be overwhelming. Especially when you move on to other games then try to come back, completely oblivious to what you had been doing or how you got into the cave that you now cannot find your way out of; like what may have happened to me a few times. I spent lots and lots of time in Skyrim, and plan to get back into when all the DLC is available on Steam, but not every game is meant for every person. Hopefully you may enjoy it more a third time, just don’t let yourself get overburdened with all the quests.
        The Witcher is a much more story focused title and the world is not nearly as open. Each area is a medium sized zone with quests, then when done you move onto the next zone.

  3. Sounds like I really need to check this out. It’s been on my must-play list for a while now but I have been waiting for a good deal. Is it a good idea to play the original Witcher first?

    1. That’s a hard one, but I think I lean more towards no. In terms of if you need to play the original to follow the story, no you don’t have to. The events of The Witcher 2 do not really connect to the first in any crucial ways, besides returning characters, so it can easily be played and enjoyed on its own.
      The reason this is alittle harder on me is simply because I really like the world that Sapkowski has made in his books, and CDProjekt bring it to life so well. After I had beaten the first game in 2007 I went out and obtained the only book that had been translated into English at the time, and then the second when that finally became available.
      So for most people, the first is inconsequential, but if you do want a better idea of who these characters are that are popping in and out of the story, perhaps pick up “The Last Wish” which is the first Witcher novel, and its an easy read since it is just several short stories collected together. It can be found here http://www.amazon.com/Last-Wish-Introducing-Witcher/dp/0316029181

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