Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review

Words alone cannot describe what I just experienced... but I'll try my best.

Story: 10/10

The story is deep, engrossing, dark, and mature. It's not afraid to test your moral and ethical decisions by putting you on the spot between two very unfavorable choices and forcing you to choose. Every choice you make in the game has severe consequences, whether it be choosing to save one character over another, doing a certain quest and ignoring another one, or just flat out agreeing with one character and disagreeing with the other. The story spans across five lengthy chapters total, including the prologue and epilogue. You are Geralt, a witcher, otherwise known as a professional monster slayer. Your job was to protect King Foltest during his internal war with his wife's side of the family, however he was murdered and his blood was found on your sword. Framed for this regicide, you must escape the kingdom and pursue the real king slayer to clear your name. As you chase the murderer, you become engrossed in this fantasy world that deals with warring races with elves and dwarves trying to fight for their freedom from humans. As a witcher, you do not take sides in politics, but it is amusing how your decisions to help a certain side will lead to drastic results. I dare say this is the most epic western RPG that I've ever played in my life. Dragon Age Origins comes close at second place.

Gameplay: 10/10

This is not your average hack 'n slash. This game requires skill, tactics, and reflex in order to win battles. Just simply targeting enemies and clicking the mouse buttons will land you with a game over screen. Gameplay is simple enough for anyone to play and understand how to maneuver and control the tide of the battle, but demands strategy in order to master it. Truth be told, this game is hard, even punishing at some points. Because it is so unforgiving, you have to really pay attention to what you're doing, not just hack away at enemies like you would in most hack 'n slash games. There are wide variety of monsters and warriors to fight, along with an extensive skill tree that you can allocate points to gain the upper hand on the battlefield. This makes for fun and satisfying battles in which you feel like you've really accomplished something when you stab your sword into that last drowner.

Like in most character driven games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, The Witcher 2's story plays out according to the decisions that you make in the game. However, unlike said games, your decisions are vital. It could either lead to a betrayal of a close friend, or the death of a prince and has major consequences that will greatly shift the flow of the story. Because of this, there is great incentive to replay the game again and again to experience different consequences and turn of events.

Presentation/Performance: 10/10

This game is absolutely beautiful. So beautiful in fact, my computer can barely run it on the lowest settings. This was the first game that my beast couldn't handle. On low, I was getting between 20-50 fps at best. The voice acting is superb and the soundtrack is absolutely epic. The world is huge, and the details are amazing. Even on low, the game still looks great. To truly experience and appreciate the game's visuals, you're going to need a beast of a machine.

The Good:

- Amazing Story
- Satisfying gameplay
- Choices = Real consequences
- Beautiful graphics and soundtrack
- Great replay value

The Bad:

- It ends...

FluffyBunnyPwn gives it 10/10 overall.

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