Did anyone else buy this game yet? I didn't play the first part and so far I am pleasantly surprised.
First the package: the standard version of the game is equal to what most other companies would sell as collector's edition: you get a map, the soundtrack and a making-off dvd, a guide and some other goodies.
The game itself offers (so far) an intruiging story with interesting characters. The game is much more complex than Dragon Age 2 - even on normal difficulty you have to combine traps, potions, magic and sword-fighting skills to defeat the more difficult enemies.
The best thing is the atmosphere though, it doesn't feel as stereotypical and artifical as in most fantasy games do, maybe because the game seems to be designed for an adult audience.
On the downside the hardware requirements are steep, but for that the graphics quality is very good. There is also a performance problem caused by securom for the retail version, this will supposedly be fixed in an upcoming patch though.
I finished a first playthrough yesterday (story splits up at some points, so it is worth playing several times). This is definitely one of the best RPGs of the last couple of years.
Here are some screenshots:
17th June 2002
I would love to play The Witcher 2, but there's no way in the sphincter of hell that my PC could run it. Fortunately they've announced a port for the Xbox 360 - which means I have to wait until later this year (they're releasing in November, which seems daft considering what else is being released then) to have a crack at it. I just hope the port is well-done.
Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
I played it well enough on my roughly four year old comp. Single Geforce 9800. Chugs in a few areas but it scales very well. Perfectly playable.
What did Nem think of it? ... It is better than most games in the past few years. Though that's not saying a whole lot.
There are two main paths through the game which come with their own selection of exclusive quests... a very clever ploy. It gives a far better illusion of choice than Dragon Age 2 - for instance - did. Do you really get more choice? At the end of the game certain events occur regardless of what you do - your close characters respond to you in pretty much the same way regardless of what you do.
The names change around but the broad strokes themes remain the same. Certain characters will stay alive regardless of what you do simply because they're critical parts of the story. You will lose certain fights because you are scripted to lose them. There are people I would have killed shortly after meeting them, given the choice, that go on to screw you over later in the game.
The story - singular. At the end of the game a certain major event happens to which other events are - incidental - at best. The countries you're in will be united under a single banner, largely regardless of which side you pick. The Big Bad, the shadow behind the shadow, will do certain things completely off screen.
Mass Effect syndrome really.
But then again, in broad terms, did not the same hold true for Baldur's Gate. I believe it did. I can think of very few games where choices and consequences carried the sort of plot changing effects that this one does, even if you do pass through check points that are rather obvious. It seems to be a problem of the genre more than a problem of the game. If you change the plot that far you have to create asset sets that no-one who doesn't play through more than once is going to see.
Unless you - god forbid - have an asset pipeline that will let you collate a fairly wide pool of assets in different ways. -shrug-
Combat? Combat is so-so. It doesn't require a lot of thought. You have the reflexes to dodge? Then you can play through the game with your initial set of skills. The magic does not scale as well as the sword tree - due mainly to the fact that a lot of it depends on equipment and the best equipment is not available until the, relatively short, last act.
Characters? These come across much better in the books. I believe there are English translations available now. The only one really worth reading is, in my opinion, The Last Wish. Which is one of the best pieces of literature I have read in quite some while. The others do not live up to it.
It's hard to get invested in characters that feel certain ways towards you regardless of your actions. At least so I find. Why would you
The response boils down to essentially 'That's nice.'
They're believable enough and not the usual clichéd nonsense but the best portrayed characters are the ones you have little to do with. I didn't feel like I had a band of people I cared about. There came a point in the plot where I essentially questioned what any of this was to me.
And to be fair that's roughly what Geralt has said in the books before - he is fundamentally a misanthrope.
[INDENT]"People," Geralt turned his head, "like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live."
— Andrzej Sapkowski The Last Wish
"There were times when I said, 'What was that to me?' I was a Witcher."
This is not helped by his emotionless voice acting.
In a sense this would have been a far better game had they not made it about Geralt. Had they picked another Witcher and another cast of companions and simply played in that world with the resultant creative freedom.
It's still worth looking in on however. As I've said it's one of the better games of the last few years. It's an illusion of choice but it's a very good illusion - at least in the short term - the world hangs together well.
It's not like Mass Effect 2 where you were going 'Why don't we use the anti-reaper guns I just purchased to shoot the disabled ship's engines off? Why don't we blow up the Omega 4 relay if that's where they're coming from? Why don't the enemy all fall back on a central point rather than rushing me in waves? Why don't.... '
Sure, there is more of an illusion of freedom than actual freedom, but considering that they are already working on a third part that is unavoidable. They'll needa few starting points for the third game and that is easier if the end result of all plots in the second part are similar. I'm curious to what degree the choices made in 2 will affect the story of 3.
I haven't read the books yet, but as I understood Witchers are an odd bunch of outsiders that mostly kill monsters, so I didn't find Geralt's acting out of place. It always gives a reasonable explanation of why he'd choose one path or another though. Although (spoilers ahead) siding with the elf after the first act doesn't seem logical at that point.
I like the humour of the game, for example the elven ruins scene or the second troll quest. What bugged me was the lack of permanent item storage. In retrospect crafting wasn't very important, so you don't really have to carry all those things with you, but there is no good reason not to be able to store all those monster parts in a chest somewhere.
[Insert User Title Here]
15th March 2005
I get the feeling that something like a storage chest may be something that CD Project adds in the future. It's something Witcher 1 had -- only makes sense that when they take care of the important game-breaking issues it be something they work on adding to Witcher 2.
17th June 2002
Nemmerle;5520299I played it well enough on my roughly four year old comp. Single Geforce 9800. Chugs in a few areas but it scales very well. Perfectly playable.
Got you beat here - a 6800 Ultra, AMD FX-55... 7 year old technology for the win!
I didn't make it!
Probably one of the greatest and most impressive fantasy games i've ever played. Doesn't give you a silly "kill the dragon, save the land" or "stop the evil demon" quest, it gives you a real political struggle that's happening on a down-to-earth (somewhat), human level.
Zelda, eat your heart out.
So a while ago a 2.0 version with additional content was released which fixed most of the problems the original game had (such as not being able to store items anywhere).
The X-Box version of the game will add another 4 hours of content, which will also be available for free for those who bought the game for the PC.
To get people excited about the X-Box release CD Projekt has made a kick-ass render trailer, watch it in HD: The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition - CG Trailer and 360 Release Date - YouTube