Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Review

      Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  A few months back I picked up The Witcher from a friend and started diving into its lush world.  One of biggest things I can appreciate about retro gaming is how far we've come visually in the graphical and animation department.  As I gaze back behind me while riding the hype train that is the Witcher 3, I can take a moment to see how far the series has come.  There are two games in the franchise with the Witcher 3 coming out this month on the 19th, I am a big fan of the series (both the books and the games) and was so excited when the Witcher 3 was announced that I preorderd the collector's edition before I even owned a Xbox One. However, being a critic and a gamer in general, I am always skeptical about any game that I have an interest in and especially games hyped until their trousers burst (i.e. WatchDogs, Destiny, Assassin's Creed Unity). The difference is The Witcher 3 is flying along in a small passenger jet built by the finest American craftsmen while something like the next Call of Duty game is flying in an AC-130 made of Styrofoam built by Chinese sweat shop workers, although we won't know whats in them until they land, we can make an educated guess.  Its nice to see a game series have an arc, learning the ropes and starting with facial animations that looks like a second grader drew a face on cereal box, making a sequel that was better in every way (this game) and rapping it all up with a finale that looks like it won't disappoint instead of making one of the things every year with minimal effort until the end of time like every franchise EA owns.  There also going to be releasing some free DLC that will be dished out over a few months and the DLC that comes with the season pass will add over thirty hours more to the game.  Thats how the industry should be conducting business, certainly not something EA would do.  If you mentioned free DLC and season passes below sixty dollars, they'd shoot you in the face with a flintlock and throw your corpse outside with the rest of their creative department.  So its nice to see a series that puts effort into gameplay, story, world, and graphical design all while knowing when to end.  Thats the sign of a good developer, knowing to quit before they run out of ideas or get bought by a parent company that will take their ideas and ruin them.  I mean, most game series usually start off good, I used to play Call of Duty all the way until World at War came out, after that Activision basically became EA and started spewing out the same shooter every year.  Sorry, (whew) rant over, lets take a look at the Witcher 2.  The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is direct sequel to The Witcher and follows the plot that wrapped itself up in the first game.  At the end of The Witcher, Geralt (protagonist)  kills an
Geralt overlooking a King's camp
assassin that tried to murder King Foltest of Temeria and is appointed temporary bodyguard by Foltest.  Fast forward a month and Geralt is with Triss Merigold at a battlefield outside a fortress (his lover and mage to King Foltest) he asks Foltest if he can leave with Triss; Foltest says he may leave after the battle ends, what could go wrong?  Geralt fights through the rebels with Foltest with the goal of retaking Foltest's bastard children, after more soldiers and a dragon encounter they make it to Foltest's children who are with a blind priest.  He comforts them, tells them to wash while he gives thanks with the priest then surprise surprise, the priest removes his blindfold and slits Foltest's throat, turns out hes an assassin and a witcher, read the title.  This assassin Peter Pan dives off this castle into the water below, while Geralt checks to see if Foltest is still alive.  Then while standing over him, some soldiers run around the corner and see Geralt with dead Foltest, they assume the obvious.  The whole rest of the game could have been averted if this moment had been approached differently, if Geralt had just said "Don't be stupid, why would I kill the guy I was protecting?" instead of remaining quiet and just throwing his sword down.  Anyway, Termian Special Forces commander Roache springs Geralt to help him track down the killer and so our tale begins.  Geralt's combat hasn't changed too much from the first game, other than hes dropped those useless mini weapons, using his steel sword for humans and his silver sword for monsters along with throwing knifes and bombs crafted from various materials.scattered around the world. The game now emphasizes on gameplay involving parrying blows and dodging more frequently instead of the MMORG like game play of the first one.  Herbs are also found in the wild that can be combined with other substances to make potions that have varying
Geralt fist fighting an opponent in a brawl battle 
effects from damage modifiers to poison resistance.  Geralt also makes use of his signs that can project kinetic waves, fireballs and lightning shields. each with their own use.  Geralt can also pick up monster bounties while in towns, the game is not open world instead guiding the player along three open ended areas that are generated according to the player's choices. These levels are however are strung together in order by the game, each with their own quests and characters dependent on the path you choose.  There are also a multitude of activities present in the Witcher 2 that are good for making money like fist fight or arm wrestling and dice (more luck than not).  Armor and swords can also be crafted by a blacksmith at a forge if you have the blueprint, the materials and the coin to pay for the assembly, you will depend on your gear to keep you alive and your swords to stab things more efficiently.  The Witcher 2 also has a moral choice mechanic that affects the story and the overall end of the game, so choose wisely.  Dialogue can also be exchanged between Geralt and other charters to learn more about the world, his mission, that character and more.  Overall, The Witcher 2 is a bold successor to predecessor and I would recommend it for it's rich world, enjoyable cast of characters and fun gameplay,  I did get a little sick of the fetch quests, but its a fantasy game, so whatever.  I hope you have all enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with another post.  Until then, have fun.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
cool trailer