The Witcher 2 straddles the fine line between hardcore RPG and an action adventure romp. The combat is much deeper than games like Skyrim or Dragon Age. The A button is used for a swift attack and the X button executes a strong attack with either a standard or silver Witcher weapon that has bonuses against monsters. Geralt has the ability to dodge as well as block and eventually parry direct and missile attacks. Of course, he wouldn’t be a witcher without witchy ways. He has a set of signs to use in combat that include, of course a fireball and force push type spell.
All of that would be formidable enough but Geralt has even more up his sleeve. He can aim and throw various daggers and bombs as well as bias the battlefield by setting traps. Nearly the entirety of your arsenal can be crafted with resources plundered and found almost everywhere. Potions, while required in some instances otherwise offer statistical combat bonuses. Using these tools successfully can climax with some spectacular finishes. Dead at your feet, the short-lived corpses of your foes will offer plenty of loot and the exercise nets experience to fill out a massive skill tree.
For a game with so much under the hood, the combat is surprisingly satisfying. So much so, that in addition to the additional four or so hours added to the original game, the developers included an arena mode that plays something like Horde mode in Gears of War. It’s not the furious combat however, that earned The Witcher 2 an M rating. The dialogue, while not likely award winning is less stuffy than that of Skyrim and can get a bit coarse and raunchy and like the adult only programming on HBO, doesn’t shy away from full frontal nudity. As adult as the game is, it’s not gratuitous and the grittiness is really refreshing in a fantasy game.
If you’re hesitant to buy into an Eastern European developer being able to pull off the coup of making the best action RPG to date, you’re right. As great looking as CdProjekt’s port is, there are some major graphical problems. The Witcher 2 can best be described as brilliant but a little rough around the edges. The clipping and framerate issues can be awful and edge detection is inconsistent. All of these technical issues are unlikely to be patched for the Xbox 360 but, adult fantasy RPG fans shouldn’t use them as reason to pass on an otherwise amazing game.
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