Reviews: The Witcher 2 Assassins Of Kings
Masterwork of fantasy role-plays.
Small disclaimer at first: I am a huge fan of the book series upon which the game is based, and so there were numerous mythology gags in the game that literally made me squee, and so I am more than slightly biased. I am charmed to no limit by The Witcher 2. It is, at least for me, the definitive fantasy story, told brilliantly and interestingly, using common elements of stock fantasy worlds but only rarely falling into clichés. It is the first game that really gave me troubles in the field of choices, and this really surprised me, because I am used to finding choices in computer games mostly shallow. I can sing endless words of praise for the characterization of the titular Assassin Of Kings. Sufficient to say that the final meeting with him after the main plot is more or less resolved is just brilliant. Moving, touching, so unlike the usual epic showdowns of the western cRPGs (Meredith from DAII springs to mind, maybe only because I have played it just before TW 2 and still have it clearly in my memory). The fact that I actually felt bad for choosing to fight with him in the end, and yet thought that there was no other way it could be resolved (yet I have had the choice!) speaks of itself. I felt that combat perfectly captured the feel of the books, with vicious, dangerous swordfights that can go terribly awry even for the most experienced swordsman if he allows himself to be outmanoeuvred. The writing was as excellent as the characterization, though I am unsure on how well it was translated - thankfully, I had the possibility of playing it in Polish. It avoids usual pathos most of the time, is often profane but in oddly mature fashion - the slurs never feel out of place - and very often immensely funny (trolls! Yarpen! Dandelion!). And when it wanted to get serious and awesome, boy it did (Third Act!). The technicals matter little to me, I have played the game on medium/high setting and the framerate tended to drop sharply at times, but it was always playble, so I can't complain. Visuals, even on lowered settings were still striking at times... so well. So, for me, The Witcher 2 is perfect, just very perfect, even superior to Bio Ware games (and don't take me wrong, I am Bio Ware's fanboy) and almost on par with Planescape: Torment. In a word: brilliant.