Let me summarized what Nair had to say:
1. Non-informative tutorial, leading to unnecessary deaths and leaving a bad first impression
- I agree with this, the tips in the prologue are sometimes given at the worst timing and some might miss out on the J for Journal tip which leads to major confusion.
- Although to be fair, if you have reviewed the keyboard control (I always do for every game I play, just to see what's out there you know) or read the manual (I don't do that often, since most of the other games have done a pretty good job with their in-game tutorials / help section), this is less of an issue.
2. Bad/shaky camera
- It can be pretty frustrating especially when you are engage in combat within tight quarters.
- But for the most part, I didn't feel it was a major issue.
- Shaky camera messes up your orientation, true, but it is a reasonable part of the challenge - not necessarily means that the camera is "bad" per se.
3. Hack 'n slash
- When you turn down the difficulty (to easy), enemies don't block anymore, hence it actually aggravates the hack 'n slash aspect.
4. Battle preparation
- Hey, Richard, you did use the word "preparation", so are you expecting to do all those things during a battle.
- Given that he recognizes the "try and die" aspect as well as the availability of bombs, I'm surprised he didn't try to stock up on bombs before battle.
- Also given that alchemy ingredients are weightless and available in large amounts, you can theoretically keep potion running all the time - although it can be a pain in the ass watching the 10-second animation again and again.
5. Sluggish action
- Kind of agree with this. I have documented (non-rigorously) some input lag, especially when you're trying to move (WASD) after every action (except after dodging).
6. Difficulty spikes and kiting
- Agree that when you are faced with a group of enemies things get messy pretty quick.
- There are a few ways around this though: bombs (he mentioned this), LMB to attack someone far away, using obstacles to split up larger groups, Axii, upgraded signs, etc.
- Admittedly, there is some kind of dodging around, but given that the reviewer enjoys "challenge", I'm surprised that he finds Geralt being unable to face multiple enemies straight on to be "nasty" and a failure of combat mechanics.
7. Problematic auto-targetting
- There's no defending this alright. Half the time I died because the target changed in a split second as I was about to LMB click on an enemy, leading Geralt to leap into the midst of a merry company of monsters.
8. Shades of gray and unique handling of player's choice
- Full agree with this. In other games, I feel like an asshole choosing an obviously "evil" path, but I don't feel so when making choices in TW2.
9. Bad narrative
- "Tolkien-esque fantasy slog": this is a very vague description. Does the reviewer mean:
a) You are flooded with so much details that can be overwhelming?
b) There are dwarves and elves like in LoTR?
c) The plot is similar to the plot of LoTR? First of all, there are so many things happening in LoTR (journeying through wastelands, defending against castle siege, fighting against an overwhelming powerful evil presence, turn of tides) it's hard to even say something is Tolkien-esque. Plus, TW2 focuses more on political intrigue than LoTR and has a different approach to the plots.
- "Assume... familiarity... regarding its details" - this is true in the beginning but as the game progresses most of the plot is self-contained, the part about Wild Hunt / Yen is supposed to be a cliffhanger - a hint of more to come, although one can also accuse it as being a "gap in exposition".
In conclusion, I disagree with the reviewers main negative criticisms. He seems to be unable to appreciate the challenge in the combat system as well as "the player doesn't know all" narrative approach of the game. Or, he understands those but are blowing the issues out of proportion.