Good Old Geralt: The Witcher 2 Preview 2

By Alec Meer on April 27th, 2011 at 4:12 pm.

It's not a Kraken, it's a Kayran. Apparently.

Not here, I’m afraid – although Jim and I will be pairing up for further discussion about CD Projekt’s new roleplaying opus very soon – but over on Eurogamer, where I’ve dashed out a goodly few words about the first two sections of The Witcher 2. Now, I’m known in some parts (by people who don’t entirely grasp that there are medium-sized numbers in between high numbers and low numbers) as one of the guys who didn’t dig the original Witcher all that much. You’ll find over here that I certainly don’t feel the same way about the second game. E.g. on EG:

A huge step upwards in terms of presentation, writing and roleplaying complexity, The Witcher 2 takes the RPG fight right to the big boys. Assassins of Kings? If the kings are BioWare and Bethesda, that sounds about right.

I really, really, really hope review code’s landing soon. In fact, I just spied a press release claiming the game’s gone gold, so that May 17 release date is in no doubt.

, .

67 Comments »

  1. Wizlah says:

    I look forward to a thread of lashback. This positive attitude of the press evidenced in these previews must be opposed.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      How shall this positiveness be countered in the most effective and prudent way? I think a good round of “OMG THE GAME’S NOT TURN BASED AND HAS ACTION IT’S NOT A REAL RPG TAKE YOUR CONSOLE CRAP TO THE CONSOLE CRAP LOLOL” is in order.

      What say you?

    • Wizlah says:

      don’t forget that the original also sucked and frankly you don’t understand what all the fuss was about in either case.

    • Jad says:

      Also it has bewbs in it and sex game and why always with generic fantasy and grimdark grrr and another round of consoles ruin everything! Anything else?

    • Wizardry says:

      Yeah. Can’t create your own character.

    • Wizlah says:

      Pretty sure that wraps it up. so long as posters keep to these informative headings, we should ensure that the damn thing drowns in bile, regardless of its actual commercial success.

    • Wizardry says:

      Voice acted protagonist.

    • Outsider says:

      Not turn-based!

    • Tuor says:

      It has no multiplayer! What kind of game doesn’t have multiplayer?? -9000 points for no multiplayer!

    • Urthman says:

      I don’t understand why this game isn’t the same as Wizardry! They both start with ‘W’!

    • Wizardry says:

      The game isn’t the same as Wizardry because Wizardry is a better game. If the quality is different then the products are different!

    • Arglebargle says:

      It got the numbers all wrong!

    • Wizlah says:

      “The game isn’t the same as Wizardry because Wizardry is a different game. If the game is different then the games are different!”

      Fixed.

    • woodsey says:

      No hardcore statistics number-crunching to let you influence Geralt’s exact state of arousal during sex scenes.

    • Deano2099 says:

      OMG this has bewbs in, and while I do like them I have to pretend that I don’t want them in my games so the feminist I fancy will shag me.

  2. KauhuK says:

    If for some reason I dont find Witcher 2 as good as ppl here say then I’m blaming RPS for it. They are building such a hype for it.

  3. Ricc says:

    I haven’t been this excited about an unreleased game since Left 4 Dead 1. Mentioning The Witcher 2 as often as possible doesn’t make that any better, so please continue. :) Being able to get myself roped into a bit of good old hype is actually quite nice from time to time, for a (usually) seen-it-all kind of person like myself. Fairly enjoying the pre-release media from CD Projekt as well.

  4. Wizardry says:

    If the kings are BioWare and Bethesda, that sounds about right.

    :(

    • Jad says:

      Well the old kings of Black Isle and Troika and Sir-Tech were slain long ago, so these are the only kings we have left.

    • ZIGS says:

      You forgot Square Enix… damn, couldn’t keep a straight face :(

    • Outsider says:

      In my opinion, Bioware is grossly overrated, so I would be pleased enough with this outcome.

    • Wizlah says:

      It’s the way of dynasties.
      Although I hear stories of a black prince, dark and shiny as a slick blacktop at night, a once and future king who will return from its sleep to take the world of rpgs.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I’d agree with Black Isle being the real kings, but as much as I love Troika’s games I’d take anything by Obsidian over the 3 games Troika managed to sort of finish.

    • Outsider says:

      My like of Obsidian is severely tempered by the terrible state in which they release their games.

    • Nick says:

      What, unlike Bethesda you mean, Outsider?

    • Wizlah says:

      Of Obisidian’s output I’ve only played alpha protocol, although I have NWN2 and Mask of the Betrayer on my shelf for a future date. Still, Troika’s half-finished VtM:Bloodlines has most things beat into a cocked hat, so I don’t know that I’d necessarily say Obsidian have them definitively beat.

    • Lilliput King says:

      re: Troika, Sir-Tech, Black Isle

      The Kings have to actually be alive, otherwise you aren’t much of an assassin.

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      Rinox says:

      @ Wizlah, yeah, Bloodlines definitely stands up to that statement, even with its bugs. While I love Arcanum (the music, the atmosphere) it may be just a little too flawed to have an equal title.

    • Outsider says:

      Not entirely unlike Bethesda, no, Nick. But to a much greater degree.

    • woodsey says:

      Bethesda’s are buggy, Obsidian’s often feel incomplete (and MOAR buggy).

    • Wizardry says:

      Didn’t much like Bloodlines. Way too action-packed for me. Both Arcanum and Temple of Elemental Evil were better games, for two very different reasons (obviously).

      Still, my original post was made to indicate that BioWare and Bethesda are actually the kings of the CRPG. However, it was also made to express how unfortunate it is, as neither company make good games these days and neither company make pure CRPGs.

      The likes of Origin Systems, SSI, New World Computing, Sir-Tech, Attic and Interplay/Black Isle are all gone.

    • Wizlah says:

      I think most folk gathered the thrust of your comment.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Wizardry, I’m actually dumbfounded that there aren’t really any medium-sized indie devs tackling the RPG problem. I think a lot of us would be perfectly fine with a 2D isometric RPG if it had great characters, tons of choice, and a deep story. Yeah, we have tiny devs making solid games (like Vogel) but that stuff isn’t really scratching my itch.

      It’s not like the market for games like Baldur’s Gate and Avernum ever went away. It’s just that the video game exploded so much that 100,000 — 300,000 sales aren’t sustainable on a AA budget. So I say fuck the budget and make something with 1999 graphics and tons of content.

      Any takers?

      EDIT: I said Avernum. I meant Arcanum.

      Not that I don’t love Avernum, too. :)

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I’ve not met anything that comes even *close* to fallout 2

    • Berzee says:

      I would *love* a game like that. =) Avernum is nice, but I get bored of having no characterful personalities among my companions (you can design them very carefully, but I like it when a game lets your design *yourself* carefully and then gives you companions who are interesting *people* — like the Kotor games or NWN2+MotB)…so I would especially love a turn-based game as of olde, but largely based on solo play or putting together the right fellowship…with perhaps only 50% of the game being combat (and the other 50% *not* being running back and forth to combat =). Yes…

    • Vinraith says:

      What Berzee said. Why is no one doing this?

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    drewski says:

    Heh. Schlongs.

  6. jealouspirate says:

    Any tips for getting into the combat of the first game? I bought it on Steam the other day on a whim because Witcher 2 looks so good, but for some reason the combat really confused me, or at least was a big turn-off. I didn’t even finish the first battle before quitting the game.

    • Outsider says:

      It’s just timing your button clicks. By the end of the first game I came to really like the combat system, actually.

    • Paul says:

      There are tutorial tips displaying explaining everything. If you cannot follow them…well, sigh.
      Anyway, yes you have to time your button clicks so that combos flow into each other. You need to have correct style for any given enemy to be able to beat them too. For agile ones, fast style, for slower strong style, etc.Then you have to combine it with signs, use alchemy, oils, runes etc. On hard at least all that is necessary.

    • Thule says:

      The combat isn’t like most RPG’s. They’re using a highly modified version of the Aurora engine, which was used for the Neverwinter Nights games. If you know those games, you know that those are party-based RPG’s in which the combat usually plays out on a group vs other group basis.

      The Witcher’s combat kinda works like you’re zoomed in on a single character in a party-based combat game. however you have a ton more control over the actions of that single character.
      That’s how it felt to me. It was weird at first, but you just get used to it after a while.

      To make combo’s you just need to time your sword attacks with the icon on screen or the “sword swishing” sound you’ll come to recognize. Strong style versus big/tough enemies, Fast style versus quick/nimble ones and group style speaks for itself. Generally the in-game monster manual gives you tips on how to fight certain monsters though, so read those if you’re having trouble.

      Personally I’d recommend you play the game on Hard, even if you’re a total newbie. If you don’t you’ll be so powerful by the last few chapters that combat will be totally boring and you won’t even have to use potions anymore. Just remember to level up your Aard sign before the Chapter 1 endgame and keep a Swallow and Blizzard potion on you once the end of the Chapter approaches.

    • Chris D says:

      @jealous pirate

      Also don’t give up to quickly. Your first fights are going to be really basic because you don’t have any abilities yet. Hang in there and it gets better pretty quickly.

    • Dominic White says:

      There’s a rather popular mod for The Witcher which completely reworks the combat engine into something closer to what we’re seeing in TW2.

      http://www.moddb.com/mods/full-combat-rebalance1

      For the love of gord, just play it on the easiest setting offered, though. It’s BRUTAL otherwise.

    • Deano2099 says:

      The combat is hugely counter intuitive to anything you’re used to. The thing to remember is that however tempting it might be, don’t hit the mouse button.

      This isn’t a game where you can only swing so often (like Oblivion), it’s a game where if you try and swing too soon, you screw up and have to start the combo again. It took me most of the first chapter to get a handle on it, as pretty much every game ever teaches you to click that button as quick as possible.

      It almost helps to think of the fights as a rhythm action game. Note the combat isn’t bad, nor is it particularly brilliant and amazing. It’s just hugely different to everything else.

  7. Kent says:

    Witcher 1 is the best RPG to the latest date in my opinion. Witcher’s combat was solid, it’s storytelling fantastic, it’s voice acting superb, it’s graphics excellent, it’s music exquisite, it’s sidequests great, it’s character memorable, it’s difficulty spot on, it’s narrative top-notch, ect, ect, ect.

    If Witcher 2 is even half as good it’s going to be at least be on par with the latest Bioware and Bethesda releases (Fallout: New Vegas not counted).

    • Stevostin says:

      I, sir, have to disagree. I didn’t enjoy the fights, half because of the horribly ridiculous animation of Geralt, half because their gameplay didn’t catch my attention. I found the graphic very kitsch, trying to look beautiful with a heap of color and clumsy serious art ; IMO in the end they either lacked either good taste, either a common cultural ground between polish culture and mine so I can enjoy them (but I love STALKER’s art so I guess it’s just lack of taste and overcompensation for it). I don’t remember the music. I hated being force to play hardcore (as I am for nearly every game now) and hence forced to learn the specific rules of Alchemy from start (while I hate the idea of winning because I am on drug and farmed enough flowers). I couldn’t stand Geralt, and I can’t remember the other characters. I uninstalled the game after playing 2 hours into it, knowing for sure I couldn’t enjoy the game even a little, despite the known fact that it was cult to other.

      Checked out Witcher 2 preview above. It’s still look visually wrong (… to me ! don’t flame…). It’s still Geralt, and it’s still look like a game that want to tell me a story rather than let me write mine. The only thing remotely exciting is the good appreciation of writing. Good writing can do a lot, so if it’s confirmed, I may give it a try.

    • Wizardry says:

      It’s not the best CRPG to date because I can name over 100 CRPGs that are better.

    • Chris D says:

      It’s ok, he’s talking about RPGs not CRPGs. They’re totally different.

    • Wizardry says:

      It’s alright, Chris. Some people just aren’t born funny. Perhaps you should focus on things that you are good at.

    • Chris D says:

      I guess that’s the risk you take trying something new. You’re right, it probably is better just to repeat the same thing over and over again.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Hehe

    • Outsider says:

      Stevostin,

      I didn’t enjoy the fights, half because of the horribly ridiculous animation of Geralt,

      That surprises me because it was all motion capture and I liked them very much. It is in fact what I liked most about the combat system.

      Interesting.

    • Stevostin says:

      To be very specific I hated the fact that Geralt is always running with his sword high in the air. It looked comic in a bad way – and very unrealistic (try to do that for real, you’ll feel your pain !). Maybe the move was well recorded, maybe some attack moves locked nice, but half of the time it just felt like playing a retard waving a sword and running to me :P

    • Lukasz says:

      so why did you run then?
      you don’t have to. there is an option to turn off constant running.

      and if you didn’t like the graphic style then I fear what I hear from you if i ask:

      what recent fantasythemed games had good graphics (and not talking here about 20xAA super HD textures and other nonsense stuff like that)

    • Martha Stuart says:

      @ Stevostin

      “To be very specific I hated the fact that Geralt is always running with his sword high in the air. It looked comic in a bad way – and very unrealistic (try to do that for real, you’ll feel your pain !).”

      Umm just to let you know, holding your sword above your head allows your swing to take advantage of gravity. This syle of fighting was used extensively during the Crusades. Its Called the “High Guard” or “Hawk Guard” and is very very “realistic”, its actually a credit to the Devs for doing so much indepth research. Also just because you get tired swinging a sword doesn’t mean others do. If your entire life you have practiced sword styles and used them in combat then they would not be as tireing to them as they are to you.

  8. Berzee says:

    I’m just going to speak a collective OH SNAP over this whole sub-discussion.

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    sonofsanta says:

    want want want want want want want want want want want want want want

    want

  10. chickdigger802 says:

    Yo Alec. How’s the potion system of this game for health? As much as I understand why it worked out the way it did in witcher 1, I hated how there just weren’t instant hp pots. Food barely helped and it takes a good few min or so to recover all your hp by idling. You’d think the genetic enhancements maybe grant ya some Wolverine type regeneration.

    Is witcher 2 still about grinding away near campfires?

    • Paul says:

      I am playing on hard and there is no grinding. Swallow regenerates pretty quickly, plus with the right potions/oils/runes enemies do not really hurt all that much. Plus there is a potion called White Raffard which immediately restores vitality. I have 10 of them and still haven’t needed to use one (being in chapter 4). So what are you on about?

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s confirmed that you can only drink potions while meditating, but you don’t need a campfire to do that anymore. No more chugging potions mid-fight, that’s for sure.

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    thesundaybest says:

    Bought 2 on the weekend during the Direct 2 Drive sale. Am only playing through the first one now. Bugs, crashes, and boobs aside, it’s just a thoroughly charming game.