A couple observations about The Witcher 2

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I picked up a copy of the game for Xbox 360. Despite being an early adopter, though not quite first wave pc gamer, I fell off the Pc Gaming wagon years ago. My top of the line pc, when I built it, might as well say Fisher Price on the side these days, so it is strictly console gaming for me until things like my mortgage are paid off.

The game vacillates between fun and frustrating the same way someone's perception of temperature would vary if they were alternately being thrown into a hot tub and kicked into a walk in freezer.

The game tries to fold action elements in, but lacks the precision in both input and execution to make the experience feel truly rewarding, let alone completely functional. There is very little feedback on when Geralt takes damage, or, for that matter, deals it out. I've had fights that were going well, mainly because I was throwing out a fast/fast/heavy combo or two and then rolling around like a fat kid trying to run down a steep incline, only to suddenly die. The camera angle/camera system is a little strange (at least on 360), so in some cases I'm clearly getting vivisected by attacks that don't even look like they're in my area code.

As an action game, it is mediocre at best.

The role playing elements are strong, and the minimal (at best) hand holding harkens back to the early days when computer games first crept from the primordial ooze, but I'm not really playing a role - I'm playing an established character whose skills I can tailor and tinker with a bit. I actually find myself ignoring the ability to level up for an hour or so at a time, until I have 3 or 4 skill points stacked up.

Leveling doesn't generally make combat any easier, outside of a couple added techniques. If I'm fighting something that kills me repeatedly, after the second time, I forgo trying to spend my level ups to dig myself out and just try to action game my way through. Eventually, I end up spending the points anyway, just to try out a tweaked play style and then forget to reload my save, if I didn't like the change, and end up stuck with it.

I really like the story, so far. The "maturity" is forced. It reminds me of a line in a review of Space Adventure - "Its about as mature as your average frat party."

The game throws curse words and nudity at you pretty much straight out of the gate, as if shouting "look how edgy I am". It is something of a shame, because there have been times I'm starting to get into a section of the story, and the whole game artifice falls away and I'm just enjoying being part of the world, and then someone starts swearing like a drunken sailor with a severe case of tourettes syndrome, and it just knocks me right back into my chair, whereupon I look down and see a controller in my hand and realize I'd rather be cooking dinner at the moment.

I think the closet relative I can conjure up from memory would be the Hero's Quest series from Sierra. Replace the coarse language and blatant sexual material with campy humor and spot on vocal impressions of notable actors/comedians, and you've got it. Deep mechanics with respect to certain paths (mage & thief), and just pure action-y fighting for the guy who wants to swing the sword around.

Hero's Quest games were never great for their combat, but for their puzzle, story and humor.

The Witcher 2 feels like an outgrowth of that. The part about collecting items to dispel a curse (will keep it vague in case I'm not actually the last person on earth to play the damn thing) was great. The story kept me moving forward through sloppy gameplay and skill decisions that often felt arbitrary.

At times it just feels like I'm playing an HBO-ized (or Cinemaxed) version of some hybrid of Hero's Quest and Golden Axe. Button mashing combat grafted onto an interesting story with a number of ways to approach certain aspects. It feels like the game competes with itself like a pair of attention starved siblings, and all that results are a lot of curse words, bruises, and some flailing about that could be described as 'combat' by the casual observer.

I had kind of a like experience with it myself. I found the swearing and such made the game feel immature. I didn't find the action that bad, but I tend to be rather forgiving with that. The spells in particular managed to be kind of flat. It had some really neat stuff though. I liked the monster hunting parts were you investigated and planed ahead for the battle. It had a nice feel to it, I kind of would have liked to see an entire game just like that. Imagine a fantasy deer hunter game.

Echopunk:
The "maturity" is forced. It reminds me of a line in a review of Space Adventure - "Its about as mature as your average frat party."

The game throws curse words and nudity at you pretty much straight out of the gate, as if shouting "look how edgy I am". It is something of a shame, because there have been times I'm starting to get into a section of the story, and the whole game artifice falls away and I'm just enjoying being part of the world, and then someone starts swearing like a drunken sailor with a severe case of tourettes syndrome, and it just knocks me right back into my chair, whereupon I look down and see a controller in my hand and realize I'd rather be cooking dinner at the moment.

Oh yeah, I remember that.

I thought it started off quite well on that front actually. Geralt and Triss waking up in the camp made for a nice natural beginning to things and it didn't feel out of place. They're a couple after all, waking up nude in the same bed is to be expected.

Then come the various implied rapes. But hey, that makes sense given the setting. It's a siege after all, we have the phrase "rape and pillage" for a reason.

Then comes more implied rape, and distraction blowjobs. Okay, whatever you say game.

Then comes the prostitutes making out in their off hours and Phillipa's "lesbomancy" and I think it can safely be said that maturity has been unceremoniously kicked out the door.

Just a tip: I found that reading books on monsters gives damage bonuses. This doesn't work so well when dealing with soldiers and bandits, but if you're having trouble with things like Endregas, then it should help a lot.

With that out of the way: Honestly, I was a little annoyed at The Witcher 2's attempts at being dark and edgy, which really just came across as juvenile. Yeah, the first game had juvenile moments as well, but at least it had a level of self-awareness:

Not to mention, the original game seemed more concerned with hiding its darker elements in the lore and ideas being presented by the world and story, which added a sense of subtlety to it all. Sure, the first game had its own dark moments, but it had its fair share of peaceful fields and countrysides as well, which the second game just lacked. To me, The Witcher 2 seemed to lack any of that self awareness and came across as trying too hard by throwing everything in the player's face while seeing just how far it could take everything. Even the humor tends to feel forced in for the sake of it.

And then it was just a mediocre game overall. Ignoring many of the little problems that show complete incompetence on the developer's part in designing the interface, linear sections, boss fights, mini games, stealth sections, potion system, etc. (oddly, a lot of these things were done right in the first game), it just constantly reminded me of how much better other games did everything it did. The combat just made me want to play Dark Souls or The Legend of Zelda. The levels seemed far less impressive than the worlds in a vast majority of at least decent RPGs I've played. The writing and world building paled in comparison to the first game as well as other games like Mass Effect or BioShock. And its choices, which is really the only thing that sets it apart from most of the competition, failed to have much weight considering how mediocre everything else was. I felt much more connected to my choices in Mass Effect, The Walking Dead, and The Witcher because I actually cared about everything. The only people I cared about at all in The Witcher 2, however, were Triss, Zoltan, and Dandelion. You know, the people I had an attachment to from the first game.

Yeah, the game had its moments where it really shined through and showed what it was capable of, and those moments generally came at just the right time to reinvigorate my interest enough to keep playing through all the dull sections. However, for all of its great moments, I just couldn't look past all the flaws it kept proudly throwing in my face as if they were marks of genius. If anything, it just reminded me that I'd much rather experience the world as it was presented in the first game.

At least you enjoyed some of it.

I haven't gotten too far in the game, but I find the plot so sloppily thrown at me, and the characters so boring that i've no interest in getting past... wherever i'm at. Part three or four or two of whatever some guy asking me questions and some of the dullest gameplay i've had in a long time.

Maybe i'm not being fair, but hell Two Worlds Two gave me a better beginning then this. That was so bad it's funny and I had to see how worse the trainwreck got. But this, eh.

Chaos Isaac:
At least you enjoyed some of it.

I haven't gotten too far in the game, but I find the plot so sloppily thrown at me, and the characters so boring that i've no interest in getting past... wherever i'm at. Part three or four or two of whatever some guy asking me questions and some of the dullest gameplay i've had in a long time.

Maybe i'm not being fair, but hell Two Worlds Two gave me a better beginning then this. That was so bad it's funny and I had to see how worse the trainwreck got. But this, eh.

Really?

I thought the beginning was pretty effective at letting you know what was going down without overloading on the exposition and still managing to get some action into the mix.

The later chapters, sure, they failed to provide as much context as I'd have liked and dragged the pacing out behind the woodshed and shot it, but I never had cause to complain about the beginning.

The combat was terrible and tedious. Everything (except for the first boss fight) could be resolved by rolling around, applying a shield, going hit for hit, then repeating ad nauseam. I spent so much time on the god damned floor rolling around like a baffoon. I don't even remember if I upgraded my swords more than a few times because I didn't really need to, all I had to do was roll around forever and ever.

I also had a problem with the way the potions work. I get it that drinking before battle makes more sense than drinking during battle, but you had no idea when you were going to get into battle, or if even your potion would last that long, or even work (it didn't work for boss of second act...) which makes alchemy skill tree pretty pointless...

And then comes the fetch questing of the second act... My god. I have only played through this game one and a third times because I was sick and tired of collecting nonsense.

What is good about the game is the story and the characters. Even with the ending, I thought the story was damned good. Very ASoIaF-esque. And there were enough good characters in it so that everyone would have a connection with at least one character. I found Roche to be one of the coolest cats ever (#teamRoche). I was honestly more engrossed in this world than say the sterile world of Mass Effect. The world actually felt lived in and it made you feel as if you could do alot more with it than you actually could. Also, fantastic side quests.

As long as you don't pay attention to the combat it will indeed be button mashy and imprecise, because the game does allow you to just flail and as a result you never do notice attacks have a certain duration to them and they don't cancel, so it feels like the game didn't get your next input.
But if you take the time to figure out your moves and their timing you notice there is a precise system going on, and once you also use the magic stuff properly the fights are far more tactical. That being said they do incorporate very odd controls without explaining them properly.

And I don't know what to really say on the nudity and cursing... actual adults don't get spazzy when those things come up, but the gaming community always does as if are still talking about a children's medium.

I disagree completely. The game is one of the best RPGS I've ever played.

The combat in this game is really awesome, almost like a faster paced dark souls minus the stamina bar. The combat has weight behind it, I mean you click once, Geralt attacks, your sword hits the bandit, the bandit reacts. So your point on there's very little feedback when Geralt deals out damage is wrong, Your enemies react to your blade, they stagger and and move back. You know just like in dark souls.

The problem however is the BALANCING. You say you spent most of your time rolling around them and attacking right? Well you know what.... it's true. There's some abilities that you can unlock that should have been available from the start. I had the same problem with the combat when I first played but then I downloaded a trainer that gave me a lot of skillpoints and I used it to unlock all the abilities and holy shit, did the game become fun after that. Blocking becomes infinitely more viable because you have so much more vigor and vigor also regenerates much faster. Thus it ends the roll fest that plagues the combat. Magic also becomes so much more viable, Aard actually pushes a group of enemies away rather than yous one guy. Igni becomes a nice area of effect spell that's really handy in groups of enemies and generally Geralt deals out much more damage with his swords. All of this combined gave the combat a much better feeling than most action-RPGs out there with the exception of the souls series. BUT it does make the game a lot easier.

But you're playing it on a console so that's out of the question for you, so just put the game on easy and plough through the combat It will be better trust me.

As for the the nudity and swearing, Look maturity is kind of subjective. I did found this game much more mature than most other games out there, why? Because they don't make a big deal out the nudity. Most of the nudity in the game you can entirely skip the only part where you are really forced to endure nudity is at there very beginning, and it's like there for only a few seconds, and it's not like the game throws it at you for no reason.

As for the swearing, well You're kinda right but not entirely. The swearing is a bit much sometimes but other times I feel it's appropriate. So no the maturity in this game isn't forced at all in my honest opinion.

Really this game isn't mediocre it's awesome, but to get the most out of the gameplay you are going to have to cheat a little to make it more enjoyable.

Echopunk:
I really like the story, so far. The "maturity" is forced. It reminds me of a line in a review of Space Adventure - "Its about as mature as your average frat party."

The game throws curse words and nudity at you pretty much straight out of the gate, as if shouting "look how edgy I am". It is something of a shame, because there have been times I'm starting to get into a section of the story, and the whole game artifice falls away and I'm just enjoying being part of the world, and then someone starts swearing like a drunken sailor with a severe case of tourettes syndrome, and it just knocks me right back into my chair, whereupon I look down and see a controller in my hand and realize I'd rather be cooking dinner at the moment.

You know, I'm getting tired of this. What I hear all the time is "HURR HURR GAMES THINK TITS AND PROFANITY = MATURE", and then we get folks focusing on the tits and profanity and using it as the barometer for "maturity". Guess what? Tits and profanity don't make something NOT mature, either. Do they feel occasionally shoe-horned in? Sure. Is that the entire scope of the game? No.

Witcher 2 got lauded for its "maturity" because of an established world without the traditional black/white highly polarized morality that typifies the genre, and a hero who is central to the narrative without being the focal point of everything or the savior of the world. The game also delivers heavy doses of world building and political mumbo-jumbo without a lot of hand-holding, expecting the player to keep up and understand the context for events. Is it gaming's answer to "The Wire"? of course not. Is it a hell of a lot more "mature" than most of it's fellow? Yes.

Smooth Operator:
As long as you don't pay attention to the combat it will indeed be button mashy and imprecise, because the game does allow you to just flail and as a result you never do notice attacks have a certain duration to them and they don't cancel, so it feels like the game didn't get your next input.
But if you take the time to figure out your moves and their timing you notice there is a precise system going on, and once you also use the magic stuff properly the fights are far more tactical. That being said they do incorporate very odd controls without explaining them properly.

And I don't know what to really say on the nudity and cursing... actual adults don't get spazzy when those things come up, but the gaming community always does as if are still talking about a children's medium.

I don't like that the combat seems to boil down to the same strategy for most difficult fights. Aard to stunlock + attack like hell until the stun lock breaks, repeat. I would try to approach fights I had difficulty with (bosses/mini-bosses?) mainly in different ways. I'd try two or three things I thought would be a solid strategy, then said "fuck it, Aard lock ad nauseam" and the "epic" fight was over in around 10 seconds.

I can't just single the Witcher 2 out about this though. I want games where you can approach your combat organically and excel through your playstyle without having to either abuse the game system/programming issues or get abused by them.

XSTALKERX:
I disagree completely. The game is one of the best RPGS I've ever played.

The combat in this game is really awesome, almost like a faster paced dark souls minus the stamina bar. The combat has weight behind it, I mean you click once, Geralt attacks, your sword hits the bandit, the bandit reacts. So your point on there's very little feedback when Geralt deals out damage is wrong, Your enemies react to your blade, they stagger and and move back. You know just like in dark souls.

The problem however is the BALANCING. You say you spent most of your time rolling around them and attacking right? Well you know what.... it's true. There's some abilities that you can unlock that should have been available from the start. I had the same problem with the combat when I first played but then I downloaded a trainer that gave me a lot of skillpoints and I used it to unlock all the abilities and holy shit, did the game become fun after that. Blocking becomes infinitely more viable because you have so much more vigor and vigor also regenerates much faster. Thus it ends the roll fest that plagues the combat. Magic also becomes so much more viable, Aard actually pushes a group of enemies away rather than yous one guy. Igni becomes a nice area of effect spell that's really handy in groups of enemies and generally Geralt deals out much more damage with his swords. All of this combined gave the combat a much better feeling than most action-RPGs out there with the exception of the souls series. BUT it does make the game a lot easier.

But you're playing it on a console so that's out of the question for you, so just put the game on easy and plough through the combat It will be better trust me.

As for the the nudity and swearing, Look maturity is kind of subjective. I did found this game much more mature than most other games out there, why? Because they don't make a big deal out the nudity. Most of the nudity in the game you can entirely skip the only part where you are really forced to endure nudity is at there very beginning, and it's like there for only a few seconds, and it's not like the game throws it at you for no reason.

As for the swearing, well You're kinda right but not entirely. The swearing is a bit much sometimes but other times I feel it's appropriate. So no the maturity in this game isn't forced at all in my honest opinion.

Really this game isn't mediocre it's awesome, but to get the most out of the gameplay you are going to have to cheat a little to make it more enjoyable.

I'm not a big fan of "enemy auto-blocks because this enemy type auto blocks", when I'm coming in from an angle that should be unprotected. If I'm playing a pure role playing game, and my to-hit roll gets trumped by the target's defense or evasion, that is one thing - but if the target just automatically blocks everything JUST BECAUSE, that isn't fun to me.

I partially misspoke earlier. The biggest problem is the lack of feedback on when Geralt is taking damage. I've had fights where I'm spending more time on the ground than a gymnast with an inner ear disorder, cutting a swath through enemies and THINKING that I'm dodging away from every swinging piece of steel in the vicinity only to chance a quick look up and see that I'm holding on by a sliver of health.

I think if the user base has to modify a game to make it more fun/playable, the game has failed at one of its intrinsic functions straight out of the gate.

I don't think I've ever played a game on easy mode. I appreciate a challenge, I just want the challenge to be of a variety that tests my ability (either to play the damn thing, or to build a character, depending on game type) instead of my ability to memorize one strategy that conquers all. There is no point making new and more spectacular enemies if they all boil down to the same ai/mechanic exploit.

Perhaps part of my issue is that this is my first foray into the series. Aside from the basic "Okay, this guy is pretty much a riff on Guts from Berserk, with substantially less melanin, twice the hand eye coordination, some magic powers and a severe potion dependency", the characters didn't have any context for me. I think each part of a series should also work as a stand alone. Instead of the part with Geralt and Triss in the tent at the beginning telling me, "These two are a couple, so they have sex." it told me "These two have sex, so they might be a couple." Really, game? Is that the most important first impression you want me to have of a character I'm going to be traipsing through a rather lengthy game with? That he likes to dry hump (because he is always wearing pants) sorceresses?

I don't have a problem with nudity and coarse language. I think both work as a form of italics or punctuation. In small doses, and in the right places, they provide clarity or emphasis - but if overused, they lose all value and make things a headache to parse.

LA Noire's approach to nudity seemed a lot more mature to me. There weren't many (any?) camera pans to cleavage or bare asses. You had a dead body that happened to, as a quirk of the murderer's method/paraphillia, end up naked.

I'm sure someone will take that in the direction of "Oh, so you have no problem with naked dead people, but when they're live and frolicking it isn't mature anymore", but to do so would bypass the point entirely.

I don't want to see video games do what movies did in the 80's. Every action movie (it seemed) had a strip club scene. Hell, it seemed like detectives couldn't investigate a damn thing without visiting a strip club or a hooker at least once.

Everything should have a purpose. It just feels, to me, that the game kneecaps itself a couple times just to wear the mature arm band.

Echopunk:

Smooth Operator:
As long as you don't pay attention to the combat it will indeed be button mashy and imprecise, because the game does allow you to just flail and as a result you never do notice attacks have a certain duration to them and they don't cancel, so it feels like the game didn't get your next input.
But if you take the time to figure out your moves and their timing you notice there is a precise system going on, and once you also use the magic stuff properly the fights are far more tactical. That being said they do incorporate very odd controls without explaining them properly.

And I don't know what to really say on the nudity and cursing... actual adults don't get spazzy when those things come up, but the gaming community always does as if are still talking about a children's medium.

I don't like that the combat seems to boil down to the same strategy for most difficult fights. Aard to stunlock + attack like hell until the stun lock breaks, repeat. I would try to approach fights I had difficulty with (bosses/mini-bosses?) mainly in different ways. I'd try two or three things I thought would be a solid strategy, then said "fuck it, Aard lock ad nauseam" and the "epic" fight was over in around 10 seconds.

I can't just single the Witcher 2 out about this though. I want games where you can approach your combat organically and excel through your playstyle without having to either abuse the game system/programming issues or get abused by them.

XSTALKERX:
I disagree completely. The game is one of the best RPGS I've ever played.

The combat in this game is really awesome, almost like a faster paced dark souls minus the stamina bar. The combat has weight behind it, I mean you click once, Geralt attacks, your sword hits the bandit, the bandit reacts. So your point on there's very little feedback when Geralt deals out damage is wrong, Your enemies react to your blade, they stagger and and move back. You know just like in dark souls.

The problem however is the BALANCING. You say you spent most of your time rolling around them and attacking right? Well you know what.... it's true. There's some abilities that you can unlock that should have been available from the start. I had the same problem with the combat when I first played but then I downloaded a trainer that gave me a lot of skillpoints and I used it to unlock all the abilities and holy shit, did the game become fun after that. Blocking becomes infinitely more viable because you have so much more vigor and vigor also regenerates much faster. Thus it ends the roll fest that plagues the combat. Magic also becomes so much more viable, Aard actually pushes a group of enemies away rather than yous one guy. Igni becomes a nice area of effect spell that's really handy in groups of enemies and generally Geralt deals out much more damage with his swords. All of this combined gave the combat a much better feeling than most action-RPGs out there with the exception of the souls series. BUT it does make the game a lot easier.

But you're playing it on a console so that's out of the question for you, so just put the game on easy and plough through the combat It will be better trust me.

As for the the nudity and swearing, Look maturity is kind of subjective. I did found this game much more mature than most other games out there, why? Because they don't make a big deal out the nudity. Most of the nudity in the game you can entirely skip the only part where you are really forced to endure nudity is at there very beginning, and it's like there for only a few seconds, and it's not like the game throws it at you for no reason.

As for the swearing, well You're kinda right but not entirely. The swearing is a bit much sometimes but other times I feel it's appropriate. So no the maturity in this game isn't forced at all in my honest opinion.

Really this game isn't mediocre it's awesome, but to get the most out of the gameplay you are going to have to cheat a little to make it more enjoyable.

I'm not a big fan of "enemy auto-blocks because this enemy type auto blocks", when I'm coming in from an angle that should be unprotected. If I'm playing a pure role playing game, and my to-hit roll gets trumped by the target's defense or evasion, that is one thing - but if the target just automatically blocks everything JUST BECAUSE, that isn't fun to me.

I partially misspoke earlier. The biggest problem is the lack of feedback on when Geralt is taking damage. I've had fights where I'm spending more time on the ground than a gymnast with an inner ear disorder, cutting a swath through enemies and THINKING that I'm dodging away from every swinging piece of steel in the vicinity only to chance a quick look up and see that I'm holding on by a sliver of health.

I think if the user base has to modify a game to make it more fun/playable, the game has failed at one of its intrinsic functions straight out of the gate.

I don't think I've ever played a game on easy mode. I appreciate a challenge, I just want the challenge to be of a variety that tests my ability (either to play the damn thing, or to build a character, depending on game type) instead of my ability to memorize one strategy that conquers all. There is no point making new and more spectacular enemies if they all boil down to the same ai/mechanic exploit.

Perhaps part of my issue is that this is my first foray into the series. Aside from the basic "Okay, this guy is pretty much a riff on Guts from Berserk, with substantially less melanin, twice the hand eye coordination, some magic powers and a severe potion dependency", the characters didn't have any context for me. I think each part of a series should also work as a stand alone. Instead of the part with Geralt and Triss in the tent at the beginning telling me, "These two are a couple, so they have sex." it told me "These two have sex, so they might be a couple." Really, game? Is that the most important first impression you want me to have of a character I'm going to be traipsing through a rather lengthy game with? That he likes to dry hump (because he is always wearing pants) sorceresses?

I don't have a problem with nudity and coarse language. I think both work as a form of italics or punctuation. In small doses, and in the right places, they provide clarity or emphasis - but if overused, they lose all value and make things a headache to parse.

LA Noire's approach to nudity seemed a lot more mature to me. There weren't many (any?) camera pans to cleavage or bare asses. You had a dead body that happened to, as a quirk of the murderer's method/paraphillia, end up naked.

I'm sure someone will take that in the direction of "Oh, so you have no problem with naked dead people, but when they're live and frolicking it isn't mature anymore", but to do so would bypass the point entirely.

I don't want to see video games do what movies did in the 80's. Every action movie (it seemed) had a strip club scene. Hell, it seemed like detectives couldn't investigate a damn thing without visiting a strip club or a hooker at least once.

Everything should have a purpose. It just feels, to me, that the game kneecaps itself a couple times just to wear the mature arm band.

As I said the maturity in this game is rather subjective and you're right about LA Noire, that game did also feel a lot more mature. Look that beginning scene for me just worked I really don't know what you have against it but regardless this was also my first foray into the series and the first time I played I also felt that the characters lacked context. As for your point on the combat you're right the game does fail because you have to cheat a little but again once you do cheat a little the combat really does become fun. As I said the combat is awesome but the Balancing is fucked. Oh and you're completely right about the game not giving enough damage feedback but I also do believe that's because the dodge doesn't have any invincibility frames.

Just for curiosity how far are you into the game?

Disc 2/Loc Muinne, but only through the introductory narration and Geralt's brief chat with (on this run) Roche. Hopefully, I'll have some more time to play it this weekend.

One thing i'd like to mention about the Witcher series' maturity (which gets brought up a lot) read the books. They read like they're written by a teenager who has watched a lot of action movies and hasn't figured out how to talk to girls. So the games actually tone that down, believe it or not. The setting and lore is interesting but the books are pretty awful.

Though speaking of game play, I think I hated the stealth parts the most. Press move to stick to cover, now move in any direction to "sneak" into the path of a guard, now sit there "sneaking" while the guard attacks you. It made me cringe every time a quest giver would say "now you need to sneak..." NOPE!

I really want to like the series but there's just too much for me to hate about it. Geralt is so over the top grizzled anti-hero that I want him to die whenever he opens his mouth. The world is cool though and I'd love to play "a" Witcher, just not "the" Witcher.

I unfortunately hear all of you. I really wanted to like this game but over time it was the combat that wore me down, among a lack of caring for the story. I thought the story was cool for a while, but they killed the king simply because he was friendly and no other characters brought any real interest, so he had to go. They never replaced him except maybe with your elf buddy who narrates the adventure. The combat, as much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, really is just rolling and putting up shields. No other strategy even starts to make sense (not to mention the constant need of new armor and swords).

I think the first major act of the game is actually it's strongest, in the forest town (I don't count the scripted prologue). The forest was really fun, had cool hunting missions and legitimately interesting side quests to find. Once you get to the next area and have to start that completely over, I just lost interest.

Here's hoping The Witcher 3 can fix everything I complain about in 2, because I know I'm never going to finish The Witcher 1.

Then clearly you didn't pay attention to the plot.
The king was killed to upset balance within the entire continent and leave the natives without a leader capable of truly uniting them under one banner to resist the incoming invasion of the elven kingdoms. The sorceress lodge would then, in the meantime, use deceit and tricks to advance themselves individually and, when the time was right, strike and gain rule over not just the human kingdoms but the elven kingdom as well.

What they didn't plan on was their assassin being part of the elven kings entourage alongside geralt, who, while he may speak gruffly and so, isn't really an anti-hero. He doesn't kill anything that has a conscious and can be reason with, like the troll in the first act.

As for the maturity of the work, you have to realize that in such a bleak world based around one of our darker times in history, they didn't have tv or radio to distract them from war, violence, racism, etc. alongside that, while the people curse a good bit, it honestly isn't more than you'd usually find in towns in reality. Not every village in a rpg needs to have melodramatic citizens who speak like a guidepost.

Bonk4licious:
I thought the story was cool for a while, but they killed the king simply because he was friendly and no other characters brought any real interest, so he had to go. They never replaced him except maybe with your elf buddy who narrates the adventure.

Despite my dislike of the story, I do have to point out that the assassination of Foltest was hardly them just killing off an interesting character before he became too well-loved by fans. His assassination was foreshadowed in the original game both from his character and from the fact that he was nearly killed by another assassin in the post-credits scene. It was very clear that they planned his death even before making the second game, and given how it was the driving force behind most of the narrative of the second game and will likely have at least some influence over events of the third, I really can't see this as just killing a character for some emotional response. It's easily one of the most important plot points in the story up until this point.

Also, just to clear something up, Dandelion is a human, not an elf.

Echopunk:
I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I picked up a copy of the game for Xbox 360.
At times it just feels like I'm playing an HBO-ized (or Cinemaxed) version of some hybrid of Hero's Quest and Golden Axe. Button mashing combat grafted onto an interesting story with a number of ways to approach certain aspects. It feels like the game competes with itself like a pair of attention starved siblings, and all that results are a lot of curse words, bruises, and some flailing about that could be described as 'combat' by the casual observer.

First things first - have you played the Witcher 1? Because if you think II is clunky, try the first one.

Secondly, you have the causality - the Witcher series started out as novels. You know how Song of Fire and Ice got HBOified into Game of Thrones? Well, the Witcher novels got games instead.

The books are even the same basic genre as Song of Fire and Ice - Low Fantasy. Low Fantasy is typified by low or costly magic, crapsack worlds, and lots of sex and violence. The old Conan novels/movies are Low Fantasy.

The Witcher games are moderately fun to play (I Let's Played them both) but the Witcher novels are much better - for one thing, they are far less over-the-top with the sex and violence but are just as rich on story. Actually, the novels, being novels, are far MORE focused on story and character - and the Witcher has some great story and characters.

FYI - the Witcher games are literally fan-fiction. They were created by fans of the novels, not the author of the novels (who hates them and has threatened to write a new novel to render the games non-canon). The first game literally lifts scenarios and lines of dialogue directly from the books and drops them in out of context.

Also FYI - the plot of the Witcher games, particularly the second game, make a LOT more sense if you read the novels first.

 

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