The Witcher 2 is an, M rated, dark fantasy role playing game, based on the novels of the same name by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. Developed by the Polish company CD Projekt, The Witcher 2 is the second installment of what most likely will be a trilogy.
Much like the Mass Effect games, players will have to make choices throughout the game that will drastically change the outcome of the story. There are four beginnings to the story, and sixteen different endings to choose from through the players actions. Some of the choices made can affect the game in subtle ways, whereas other choices can have a huge impact on the game, causing the player to be on opposite sides of a battle line fighting for completely different ideals.
One of the selling points of the Witcher 2 was its mature and non-linear storyline. The prologue, where the player learns the controls of the game, is told in a non-linear fashion in which the player can choose what order they want to play it in. After that however, the story becomes as non-linear as a railroad track. The player progresses from place to place, from plot point to plot point in a very linear way. A leads to B leads to C.
There are places in the storyline where the main character, Geralt, who has amnesia, has flashbacks that reveal part of his past. Unfortunately, these flashbacks feel more like the story is tripping over itself in order to be “non-linear”. The flashbacks may have significance to Geralt, but they don’t advance the story of the Witcher 2. The two story lines feel like two different games that never come together into one cohesive story. The Witcher 2 also seems to play heavily off of the first game, so much so that if the player didn’t play the first game they will feel a little lost throughout the game.
The game play in the Witcher 2 can take some getting used to. The inventory system suffers from some of the bloated feelings that affect many role playing games. It can take some time to figure out what items to keep and which it’s okay to sell or throw away. It also can be a little difficult to remember all that was in the player’s inventory.
The combat system used in the game can be enjoyable, but it is incredibly unforgiving. In fact, combat is downright masochistic. On normal difficulty, the monsters the player will face will punish the slightest mistake by rending the player to pieces. The game also regularly pits the player against groups of monsters that will simply overwhelm the player. Death occurs far too often on the normal difficulty to be enjoyable. The player’s best course of action is to turn the difficulty down to easy; the game becomes so much more fun after that.
All in all, the Witcher 2 is a decent rpg that will satisfy the player if they don’t go in expecting too much. Fans of the first Witcher game, or of the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, will undoubtedly find more enjoyment with the Witcher 2. For those who like role playing games, they should be satisfied as well. Everyone else may find renting the Witcher 2 a better option.