2.0 strengthens ‘Witcher’

by Cody Franklin

MCT Campus
MCT Campus

In a world full of monsters, spirits and the twisted ambitions of mankind, who can the innocent turn to for protection? Why, a group of half-man, half-mutant warrior-alchemists devoted to the slaughter of evil, of course.

Yes, slaughter is definitely one of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” strong points, along with a fantastic story, incredible player freedom and punishing difficulty. The recent release of the game’s 2.0 patch is providing gamers with even more reasons to pick up the title.

The sequel to the critically acclaimed “The Witcher” continues where the last game left off. Someone is running around lopping off the heads of noblemen throughout the world, someone who shares “witcherness” with the main character, Geralt of Rivia. Geralt must discover the identity of the assassin, fighting multitudes of monsters and mad men along the way. Players, however, will quickly realize everything is not as it seems.

Combat in “Witcher 2” is brilliantly designed. Few games can even come close to matching the fluidity and fun of the swordplay in this game. When coupled with a plethora of alchemical potions that grant players powers ranging from increased damage to night vision, it becomes a thing of beauty. Add a host of different craftable traps, bombs and throwing weapons and things get interesting. Finally, throwing in five different types of magical abilities, from shields to fireballs, takes players into a realm of perfection.

Don’t be fooled into thinking all these different tools will make the game easy. “Witcher 2” can at times be one of the most difficult games out there. The opening sequence proved to be almost impossibly difficult when the game came out, and that was just the beginning.

Graphically, “Witcher 2” is awesome. When first entering the forests of Act 1, take note of the fog that floats realistically across the forest floor. The game’s lighting is a frontrunner for best in the industry. Characters are incredibly well-textured, so much so that they almost bypass the “uncanny valley” of computer graphics completely. Gamers will be hard-pressed to find a better looking game, even in upcoming releases.

The game’s story is brilliantly crafted, made only stronger by the incredible freedom of choice gamers are given as to how they should proceed. Act 2 takes place in two entirely different areas, depending upon the player’s choices in Act 1. This leads the way to two entirely distinct “main” story lines, with a plethora of different nuances that can change depending on the player’s decisions. The game also has 16 possible endings. How’s that for choice?

However, the story does have one major issue which has driven down rating scores across the Internet: The ending arrives with almost no warning, at a point when it feels like players should be playing for several more hours. Whether this was because of a rush for release or simply to leave material for the third game remains to be seen, but the jarring effect has left many gamers angered and confused.

The game was patched into the new “2.0” version in late September. Following the footsteps of the previous Witcher game, 2.0 brought in many new elements. Most notably a new Arena mode where players take on waves of increasingly difficult adversaries in order to win gold and powerful items as well as personal glory. Scores are posted on the Internet for all to see. For players who enjoy the combat of “Witcher 2,” the Arena has proven to be a fantastic addition. Likewise, a new “Dark” difficulty was introduced, further increasing the already incredible difficulty, while awarding players with new gear stronger than anything previously unlockable.

For fans looking for an exceptional role-playing experience, punishing yet exciting combat and more player freedom than ever before, “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” is worth every penny gamers can throw at it. That is, if players can handle everything it will throw back.