Note: Due to a New Year’s resolution, I am restricting myself to one game purchase per month. This article is part of a series describing my choices.
Perhaps I was intoxicated with hype, but only one game on the April release schedule caught my eye. Sure, Skullgirls was generating some buzz, but I had just purchased a fighting game and wanted something different. Likewise, Phantom Breaker would have been excluded from consideration if it wasn’t delayed again. Seeing no opposition, here is my choice:
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings
Platform: Xbox 360, Windows, Macintosh (Steam)
Developer: CD Projekt RED
US Publisher: Warner Bros.
Description: A role-playing game featuring a real-time combat system with a great deal of technique and which boasts a mature storyline that is heavily affected by the player’s actions.
+ 40 hour game length. Long enough to feel invested, short enough that I might actually finish it.
+ Descriptions of the combat system sounded fun.
+ CD Projekt RED is a small and honest developer fighting against the oppression of DRM!
+ It’s a story like Game of Thrones combined with gameplay similar to Dark Souls!
+ Lots of boobies and sex scenes featuring some mega hot Polish model playing as the main love interest.
+ I’m a total Microsoft fanboy and wanted a game that wasn’t on PS3. Am I being sarcastic? I have no idea!
– PC to Console port. Concerns about downgrades and interface changes.
– I was still really into Dark Souls, a somewhat similar RPG.
Conclusion: I bought the hype; I bought the game. An RPG with a mature story reminiscent of A Game of Thrones in a product that, unlike the actual Game of Thrones RPG, does not look like rubbish. Add in amazing combat like Dark Souls and a branching plot, and it was too much for me to resist.
After spending a couple hours with the tutorial, I was both intrigued and frustrated. The main character Geralt could do everything. The tutorial had me sword fighting, casting spells, setting traps, throwing bombs and daggers, parrying and rolling to avoid attacks, collecting herbs, and making potions. Unfortunately, the interface for switching between all of these options was somewhat awkward on a gamepad, and the controls never began to feel comfortable in this time.
The game itself began with Geralt sharing an intimate moment with main love interest Triss who was rolling around on a bed naked in such a way that nothing was left to the imagination. This may have been pleasing to watch if not for the stiff animations, blurry textures, and obvious polygon edges. Instead, it looked awkward and I felt like a teenage boy watching something naughty.
The botched eye candy led to a bit of humor when a messenger entered the tent to deliver a plot. Geralt reported to the king who was clearly trying to fill me in on some backstory as he told his advisors a bunch of stuff they likely already knew. When the king finished showing me what kind of person he was, I went to eat lunch, and swapped the game out for Dark Souls when I returned.
Despite anticipating the game for several months, I couldn’t get into it just then. Hopefully, I will revisit The Witcher 2 someday and find it to be as fascinating as so many claim.
I am disappointed with my purchase. I was trying to avoid buying games I do not play, and I was having too much fun with Dark Souls to be bothered with something similar. Furthermore, The Witcher 2 has been significantly discounted since release; I could buy it for less now if I was just going to stick it on a shelf. Finally, an April game I initially overlooked, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, turned out to be a lot of fun when I bought it several months later. Maybe I’ll do better research in the future.