Let me just start with a fact.
I am a huge fan of Witcher universe ever since i discovered it trough the first game.
I love the story , i love the character , i love the universe. I have read every piece translated to english. Even watched translated polish TV series.
Witcher is my Star Wars
Naturally I was more than excited about the sequel to the first game.
But not only because of the Witcher story, but also because of CDR.
As a huge RPG fan. I have felt what could be only be described as fall of RPGs.
"Dumbing-down" and "Consolisation"
CDR has set them selves to right the wrongs and bring back the honor to RPGs
So , now that I played the whole game on hardest difficulty and emerged victorious - let me tell you (imho) what did CDR accomplish….
First thing first. And without no question the main accomplishment of Witcher 2
is its graphic. And I am not talking about the engine and number of polygons. Although it can easily rival Crysis 2.
I am talking about art direction. Whatever fault can be found in Witcher 2 , there is none in astounding work the graphic artists of CDR done on Witcher 2.
The game is visual masterpiece.
In a way that will rarely be matched.
The amount of detail. Design of every wall, house , stone , tree. Wherever you look. Armor , clothes , interiors exteriors. I am artist myself , and could only gasp in awe and think "How did they invest so much into it"
No mater what games come in future. And what rendering engine. Someone will need to design the meshes and textures. And if they surpass artists of CDR. They will surely get my hat off.
Voice acting and animation are both following closely. And are perfect. I wont sing big praises for them except that you can not find any fault to them. And they are both extremely high quality.
But graphic, animation and sound does not make the game.
Gameplay. Or at least combat gameplay. Was a source of critic in Witcher 1.
I personally enjoyed it. But CDR decided to change it.
They often stated their love for playstation game "Demon Souls". The game that was regarded as back to hardcore roots , but sadly will never see PC version.
People that played it claim Witcher 2 combat is close and similar.
Well I am RPG gamer but I also consider my self a gamer. And love the good action gameplay. I played Witcher 2 on hard difficulty. And enjoyed every single moment. Combat was mildly difficult at beginning and became perhaps too easy towards the end. But it was fun. And I was thirsty for more.
Some people (ah the gamers today) complained the game is to hard.
I found it not much harder than any other RPG. I might say, even too easy.
For example I expected , on hard difficulty I will need to relay on potions. Yet I rarely ever need to use them.But all in all i did find combat system much fun.
But lets go on to the bread and butter of RPG : The Ruleset - mechanics
In the beginning the mechanics gave impression of beautiful complexity.
But as the combat I found it a bit too forgiving. I managed to delve in all 3 threes and take best out of them.
Alchemy had a promise of complexity but it turned to be much more simplified version of W1 alchemy. With sadly broken interface.
Traps an afterthought. Crafting interesting but underdeveloped.
Next the gameplay world , and interface.
When I just started the game I was amazed how you can talk with everyone. How every NPC had unique name. And how you never knew who will give you a quest or interact.
But this grew less and less. Rarely any NPC talks to you or gives you quests. Certainly much less than in Witcher 2. World is full of empty houses and NPCs that not react to you stealing their inventories.
Drinking is gone, alcohol, many romances, storage, NPCs that get insulted and dont want to have nothing to do with you. Even great new gameplay addition stealth. Is barely used in the game.
Its clear to me that CDR simply omitted lot as they wanted to launch the game.
Nobody can blame them. They worked on W1 for such long time. And on W2 much shorter.
As for interface. There is no doubt it was made for consoles.
Again. No blame in that. It is where the money is. And they are no charity organization.
Finally lets delve on story and quests…
Story reaches heights of brilliance. Rear seen in RPGs.
Its like Alpha Protocol met Mass Effect 2 and had a baby. When it works it works brilliantly.
But there is just not to much of it.
Side quests are rare. I can understand CDR decided against "kill 10 rats" and fetch quests. But the world is too beautiful , and combat too fun. So why not have more meat to it ?
Sadly the whole game feels like it could be much more.
And - perhaps this is the key impression of Witcher 2
It will leave you thirsting for more
My hope is that CDR will get back to Witcher 2 and make enhanced version.
Add more quests. Fill all the empty places that were probably meant to be filled , and surely have been written in some design document.
I would not mind to pay again for this game.
And more. DLC expansion.
And finally Witcher 3 , I cannot wait !
In summary Witcher 2 has amazing engine. A rock solid foundation for a game.
Art , gameplay , mechanics , story is simply top notch.
But its taken down by obvious rush to finish the game before it was filled.
It doesn't take nothing from game quality but it does make you think of what it could have been. And thirsting for more !
Lets hope it comes soon !!!