The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
By CD Projekt RED
Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs
Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s series of books about the professional monster hunter, Geralt of Rivia, have yielded two games for the PC thus far. The first was a sprawling epic tale with near-open-world exploration, and the second doesn’t go too far from that formula. Though with (according to the developers) a shorter playtime overall but with (as I’ve observed) a much denser storyline in that time, you’ll be drawn into the world of Temeria and the Witcher regardless of which game you start with.
To be honest, the story is a little confusing at first, but after the prologue, it starts to come together. You play the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, just saved King Foltest from being slain at the end of the first game. You accompany the king in an extended flashback/prologue as he oversees the occupation of a holdout to his rule, or so I understand. Here, as always in the games, your choices come into play, as you may choose to spare or slay the upstart Baron, Aryan la Valette, and this decision does come into play later on.
Unfortunately, Death always finds his mark, and a giant of a man, who has killed kings before, manages the deed right under Geralt’s nose, and manages to pin the blame on Geralt himself! Now, wanted by the Temerian guard and shunned by the people, he must go through back channels to try to clear his name and take down the eponymous Assassin of Kings, and the Elf who is financially backing him.
Gameplay is tuned up to be much harder than in the first game; at least you have much more streamlined control over Geralt than in the first; you can even use an Xbox 360 Controller! Still, that might not save you from the onslaught of guards, monsters and more that face you. But judicious use of your Signs, or magic, as well as your potions, bombs and traps, will hopefully see you win the day.
Graphics are much improved over the first game, with incredible-looking forests, dank dungeons and sprawling landscapes, to name a few. The acting is all-around much better as well, even more than in the Enhanced Edition of the first Witcher. And, just like in the first, Geralt is somewhat of a ladies’ man, despite his deep and heavy scarring, and you can romance several of them throughout your travels.
It’s a pretty hard game, and you do have to think about how to prepare for your battles, but the game gives you a lot of assistance on just how to do that. I’m still giving the game five out of five. Also, check out the first game, as well as the short stories and novels if you can; they give a lot of background to the mysterious Witcher and his ilk.