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The Witcher 2 – Story, Graphics and Gameplay

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, is one of the more eagerly anticipated roleplaying games of 2011, and has created quite a buzz. CD Projekt has promised addition of new gameplay elements in the game not seen in any other RPG game. The game is to have a mature storyline and new non-linear gameplay, with a revised and improved combat system than its predecessor.

The Witcher made quite an impression on both new and regular RPG gamers. However most players and reviewers, despite admitting that they truly enjoyed the game, agreed that there was little or no ‘wow’ factor in it. The Witcher 2 is supposedly the enhancement of its prequel based on constructive criticisms, and attempts to add dynamism, un-predictability (in a good sense), appeal, and a much more enjoyable storyline.

Here is a thing or two (or three) that we bet you’d like to know regarding The Witcher 2.

Graphics

The first thing you’ll notice about The Witcher 2 is not its gameplay, or its story, but its graphics. If there is one word that could explain its graphics, it would be ‘sexy’. The most noticeable and brilliant change from its predecessor are the graphics. The game will provide an insane amount of eye-candy. It shouldn’t surprise you to see yourself say ‘wow’ now and then. They’ve taken the old and rusted (or so they would call it) Bioware’s Aurora Engine, polished it up nice and good, added some perfume and glittery-shiny nice things to it to make one of the most impressive graphic engines out there.

Geralt himself has had twinkly little amendments made to him; he looks shiny and heavenly (not so much by nature though) and his cat-slit eyes glow a deadly hollow-green. The cherry on the Sunday is when you see him bouncing around, climbing up and down and going over obstacles, laid in the delightfully well-crafted world..

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The game looks good, and CD Projekt promises that it will run good too, with no lagging issues or undesirably long loading times. Obviously, with such great graphics comes a demand of a slightly better-than-average PC rig, so for those who want to know what they require to play this game, here is what we’ve learnt of the recommended requirements:

OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or equivalent AMD
RAM: 1 GB (XP), 2 GB (Vista or 7)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800 512 VR or equivalent ATI/AMD
HDD: 8 GB for game and an additional 8GB for bonus contents

The Story

Inspired by the Polish writer Andrejz Sapkowski, the world of The Witcher 2 is set in the same place as that of the original game and the story is a continuation of where Geralt’s adventures finished. After saving the Foltest king, Geralt is requested by the king to help restore piece in the kingdom, starting with Baroness La Valette, the only fort still showing opposition. Geralt accepts the request, but his interest lies more on who the assassins were who tried to assassinate the king. The king requests Geralt to explore up the river Pontar, a dangerous zone where Temeria, Kaedwan and Aedrin sharing borders.

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The attempt to find the hidden identity of the assassins is Geralt’s main quest and concern, and may reveal the truth and logic behind many of the unexplained scenarios that occurred in the original game.

Most players and reviewers came to the common agreement that the weakest and most concerning part of The Witcher was its story. Developers have promised a more interesting and revealing storyline in The Witcher 2 in which Geralt himself will play as a central part of the gaming world. In fact, they have termed the storyline as the ‘most important’ part of the game.

Gameplay

The Witcher 2 has a slightly evolved gameplay and combat system than its predecessor. Moral ambiguity is still present in the game, along with a much enhanced combat system that looks to eliminate the shortcomings of the previous game’s combat system. We also talked about the graphics and world design being brilliant; we’d also like to add that the world is much more open and less claustrophobic, the way a fantasy RPG should be.

The moral decisions in the game shall have a greater influence on the non-linear plot, encouraging multiple playthroughs and a non-repetitive gameplay effect every time. Sources claim that there might be up to 16 possible endings depending on the choices the player makes during key scenarios. Unlike in The Witcher, most of the time you’ll have someone on your side, and deciding how you use the companion will have a good bearing on the plot and Geralt’s own fate. Sexuality is still a big option in the game, but the erotic encounters won’t random, instead they will be more story-oriented (thank God for that!).

Combat style and system has taken a different shape in the sequel. Players will be able to change Geralt’s style of fighting during combat and the feel will be much more fluid. The amount of damage Geralt sustains will depend on this statistics rather than depending on the player’s skills. Alchemy, like in the first one, is still an essential part of the combat system.

Geralt will have three main specializations which he can develop in: Sword Master, Alchemist and Sorcerer. The one chosen will decide about the bonus and extra abilities. Each ability will allow the unlocking of some new strike or signs, and passive abilities have been eliminated. In short the combat system will be more enjoyable, less frustrating and more fluid.

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Summarizing everything written above, CD Projekt says that it has taken The Witcher, put foundation, blush-on and all the other blings on it, added a continued story that is much more interesting and intriguing, and has drastically changed the combat system to make the game more engaging and fun.

For those who don’t know, or need to be reminded, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will be released on May 17th, 2011 for PC only.