First up, my initial and lasting impression of the game is this: “Its not all that its made out to be”. I mean everyone out there is praising how it is not a dumbed down R.P.G., which I quite frankly don’t think is such a good idea. The last R.P.G. that I played was Kingdoms Of Amalur, and Witcher 2 is in no way like it (you will see a lot of comparison below). Yes the game has skill trees, yes the game has resources, and crafting and potions, and magic and trolls and golems, but somewhere in the process of being old-fashioned (if that was what they were aiming for) they lost a bit of what I was looking for in the game.
Witcher 2 is relentless, even its tutorial isn’t really a tutorial. Its more of a test, after which you will be told, what difficulty you should be playing on (I am told the PC version didn’t even have that, I feel sorry for them). The game on face value, is simple enough, there isn’t much to confuse yourself, and you know everything you need to know to survive out there by the end of the first quest. Mastering and learning how to use them effectively however, is a completely different matter.
The game does not allow you to play to your own style (Kingdom of Amalur thrived on that). The best (read only) way to fight is hit one, move around a lot, don’t let yourself be surrounded (you get whacked so fast, you can’t even say Witcher), and keep looking for an opportunity. Preparation is vital in Witcher, if you think you are getting into a fight, you better oil your sword, drink your potion and keep your skill of choice riled up, cause once you get into the fight, you won’t be able to do any of this once the fight starts. Actually you won’t be able to do this in most areas, as you need to “Meditate” to drink potion and for that you need to be in a safe area. Add to this the fact, that there is no real concept of Health or mana potion, and your health doesn’t regenerate when you are in combat (at least I haven’t come across it my game-play as of yet). I know a lot of people put a positive bling to this, but for me it was a simple fallacy (I mean that’s like making Diablo without Diablo). There are something that you shouldn’t touch in a R.P.G. and I believe Health potions is one of them.
Further, this emphasis on preparation and not winging it mostly lands you up into the following 3 situations:
1) You exit town well prepared and by the time you enter a fight, all your status effects, are almost over.
2) You are not prepared, and you end up in a boss battle, with the auto save not in a safe area and your own save, days before the battle.
3) You save often, and you learn where to prepare, by first dying.
None of the above is as you may know is ideal. But I am a gamer, and I move on. The games is adult/mature material and it makes no bones about it (nude women, and vodka-loving trolls, if you still didn’t get the drift). The decisions are difficult to make (some choices may make you skip complete chapters) and have a long range effect. Gerarlt is not a knight in shining armor, and this is where the game shines the most: the storyline. Its intriguing, multi-path, choice oriented, and there is no high or low road. Unlike other R.P.G. the other N.P.C. (non playable characters) are much more fleshed out, your interaction with them is often more fun than earning glory in the battlefield (another contrast to K.O.A.) especially when there is an opportunity to end up in someone’s pants (of which there is plenty).
A final word before we end up with a judgement. There are a lot of glitches and bugs that I noticed while playing the game, especially in combat. Your moves seem out of place sometimes and the movements are not in sync with others around him (you would end up doing an elaborate counter-attack with you jumping around while the other guy just kind of slide back and then dies at the end of it). This I believe is because it was initially made for the PC, and while most of it is ironed out, there are a lot of bugs and glitches that I came across.
All in all Witcher-2 isn’t a game that you can switch on when you come back from 8 hours of office. It requires your undivided attention for you to make any progress in it. Its like a frustrating challenge, that you really want on your trophy case. I really wanted to fall in love with Witcher and I tried, but I end up playing Red Dead Redemption (more on that here) instead everyday. I will get through it eventually, and it is by no means a bad game, but it wasn’t the addictive gaming experience that I was expecting from it. Its like that movie that everyone praises so much, but you have a hard time understanding.
Kabelled Score- 6/10
Ayush ‘Kabel’ Chauhan