Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Witcher 2 (PC) Review

I played the GOG version. I would recommend this over the Steam version because it has no DRM. I purchased it for $5.99. I think it is well worth the price.

The Witcher 2 has done a lot of things better than the original. It is an overall polished game. This also meant that it is much more mainstream, and some elements are made with the consoles in mind.

Combat received a much needed overhaul. It is more free flowing, and it an overall better experience. It has some quirks, such as the target locking system, which can be unwieldy at times, especially when multiple enemies attack in a very narrow corridor. Combat styles are gone, and there is much reliance on dodging and using signs. I enjoyed this system a lot more compared to the first game.

Story picks up where the first game left off. It has a lot of very interesting side quests, and the main quest sets itself up for the next game. I am looking forward to playing The Witcher 3.

I imported a save from the first game. I am not quite sure how this has changed the game compared to starting without importing a save file. I took a backup of the savegames, so if Witcher 3 allows me to import them, I intend to do so.

Beautiful underground pool

The choices in the game have a much larger impact than in the previous game. I discovered that depending on some key decisions made in the first act, the second act will branch into different story lines and then both converge for the 3rd act. This offers a lot of replay value.

Visuals got a huge upgrade compared to the first game. I installed the Better Texture Environment Mod. The game looks fantastic on my GeForce 1080 on Windows 10. I played it at 2560x1440 on ultra settings with Uber Sampling disabled, and it rarely ever dropped below 100FPS. Enabling Uber Sampling would drop the FPS to around 50. I did not see any improvement with it enabled.

Game settings panel

The game is fairly stable on Windows 10. It did crash to the desktop a few times, but other than these one off crashes, I did not experience any stability issues.

For all the freedom the game offers, the boss battles are terrible. There is no room for improvisation here. This is by far the worst thing about the game for me.

Mountain village

Skills is another aspect that could have been a lot better. I went through the entire game without allocating a single point to alchemy. There was no reason to use it. Just make sure you upgrade Quen, and upgrade your swordsmanship, and you are good to go.

There were only a few instances where I found potions to be useful. Certain sections of the game require you to drink a potion, but otherwise, Cat was the only potion I found useful.

Cat potion

The inventory system is a mess. It is very poorly designed. The developers announced at the time that they were targeting consoles as the primary platform. The inventory system in the first game was far superior compared to this.

All in all, it is a fantastic game. I thoroughly recommend it.

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