The Witcher was a fantastic RPG. It was one of the best I've ever played. It really held true to a classic and basic RPG format, where you earn experience for completing tasks and storyline quests, and slaying monsters of every stripe. You can loot gear, buy gear from shops, craft certain items and collect the ingredients with which to craft. The storyline was just fun, and moved at a steady pace but it felt lengthy enough to satisfy. Leveling was simple yet it let the player define his own style of play, and mutagens, earned by beating the biggest baddest of the beasties, were so rare that it felt like a triumph when you finally got another one, even if it wasn't quite what you wanted. Even the combat, watching Geralt's blade dance around was a real pleasure. Being allowed to select from a heavy style, light style, and group style gave the combat system depth, and gave you a means to use strategy.
However, i bought The Witcher 2 last weak after a long wait, and i beat it a few minutes ago. And i have to say it falls just short of a disappointment. It's really is sad because i was a such a fan of the first game. My anticipation for the The Witcher 2 release was painful.
The biggest problem i have with it is the combat. It was simplified so much so that it became frustrating and mae the game unnecessarily difficult, even on Normal difficulty. The Wtcher's combat system featured 3 styles for all possible situations you might encounter and it was used well in the game, but here, those awesome animations were cut down to just one style, hardly a style at all. Instead you get two buttons with which to strike fast and weak or heavy and slow. This kind of gameplay might work for games like God of War or Dante's Inferno, but here, in a game that begs a more strategic approach to fighting, all it gets you is mobbed time and again and cut down without even a hope. To make matters worse, the potions that are such a staple for Geralt become almost useless since many of the fights occur so suddenly that you don't have the time to drink them. I believe in the first game you could them at any time, but in The Witcher, you can only drink a potion... during meditation? Really? And since you cannot meditate during a fight, of course, that leaves you vulnerable, with very little regeneration properties and a simple rule "Whatever HP you have is what you get, no healing, no buffs, deal with it". It doesn't seem very fair considering how often you will become mobbed in the game. And this is the other problem with the combat. There's no real usefulness for other combat styles in this game. The group style would have been useful but you don't even get to unlock that, in the skill tree, until late in the game as it's near the end of the combat branch. Only then can you begin dealing damage to other foes around you. It's minute at best and hardly works since most of the time you'll still be getting attacked mid-swing by a number of foes. Routing enemies to fight them one at a time is an arduous task, at best, and is almost never possible. And you always take at least 100% extra damage from behind. Good luck guarding your ass, because you cannot win a fight just by defending. You WILL take those hits.
Another problem is the new crafting system. There is a crafting diagram for almost everything in this game, and i mean everything. You don't just craft items, you can also craft the ingredients to craft items. You can even craft ingredients to then craft MORE ingredients (better ingredients. And this all costs money). And many of these ingredients that you pick up from monsters and enemies go widely unused because you can buy them anyway from stores, or buy the items. It costs money to buy the diagrams and it costs more money to craft than the item is even worth, so there's absolutely no monetary gain from crafting gear, only potions as those are free to make in Meditation. And THOSE i found to be a little less interesting than the first game. I recall in The Witcher, an abundance of of various very interesting potion ingredients whereas in The Witcher 2 it's just a few common plants and you 're finished. It's too simplified. Also i seem to remember meteorite was a little more rare and use to buff your weapons from a blacksmith (as well as whetstones being more commonplace for a quicker but temporary buff). Now meteorite is very commonplace and highly useless since, on the whole you will find better weapons than Meteorite Silver Witcher blades. They aren't worth the money even as temporary weapon until you get the next better one. In my opinion they ought to have stuck with the old style where you could pay a blacksmith to buff your current weapon with a piece of meteorite and be done with it. Armour and weapon upgrades were far too common and i wasted way too much money buying nice pieces of armour that i didn't even need. Because i only ended up equipping about 5 or 6 armors in the game. And a much of the armor i found to be weaker than what i already had with less upgrade spaces. Same with weapons, to be honest.
The storyline for the game was interesting, if nothing else, and truthfully it was nothing else but that. Except fast. It progressed much to quickly, giving you only a few real quests that took much too much time to complete, mostly due to the fact that there was a lot of back and forth, and searching around with no quest markers to guide you through the maze like wilderness. The side-quests were just as unsatisfying, only offering a few monster contracts which came with poor instructions on what to do, leading to at least an hour of confusion and frustrated to-and-fro. My preorder copy came with a quest guide and I'm ashamed that i truly needed a bit of help to figure out a few locations. But even the quest guide was terribly written with very vague instructions telling me things i already knew, leading me to look for the answer online. despite how swiftly the plot was paced, it only became worse in act three when i beat the entired act in 2 hours and most of that was fighting a dragon and some other choice enemies (also i spent the first hour walking around, over encumbered from all the loot from the battle at the end of Act 2, and it took over an hour before i was able to get to another shop. One of only two shops in the entire city and Act, and the last in the game.
The graphics felt... well... they were okay. But even after installing the game, i was experiencing slow "ressing" and some odd color saturation that seemed... wrong. Like after you mess with your TV saturation the wrong way and colors start to take on this gritty effect mixed with other colors. Thing is, it only happened on certain textures. The environments were not quite as stunning as i was lead to believe though there were some impressive views, here and there. On the whole the visuals weren't that great, just average... possibly a bit below average compared to something like Skyrim. (I do not approve of Skyrim on most topics but the visuals are beautiful)
Well that is my review of The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. I've pointed out many flaws in the game, some very bad, and some slight annoyances that don't matter but still disappoint. There isn't much good to say about the game that are so impressive as to mention. In the end i think it's playable and a good edition to the series with a mildly confusing plot which unfolds poorly and is too fast for it's short span. However it's was interesting, with good voice acting, maybe a little too much vulgarity (almost as if they were trying to be controversial, and it was a poor attempt). I give the game a 6 out of 10. it's above average for its decent gameplay, were it to stand alone, but as it is part of a series and preceded by something much more grand, it was just disappointing.
No one will read this due to it's length an any who comment will have next to nothing to say about the review itself, you just watch >_>