What's New in the Enhanced Edition:
Professional mod tool - REDkit beta: The REDkit is the best way to craft vast, living worlds – shape environments using intuitive tools and adapt them to your needs! Create your own RPG adventures and do it CD Projekt RED style!
Additional hours of gameplay: New major adventures set in previously unseen locations, expanding the story and introducing new characters, mysteries and monsters.
New Game Introduction and Cinematics: All new animations and cut scenes, including a new, three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic depicting the assassination of King Demavend of Aedirn. BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski brings this key historical event to life, setting the stage for the story told in The Witcher 2.
The Witcher 2, in its most definitive Enhanced Edition, is available through automatic update for free, for all existing and new users.
The second installment in the RPG saga about the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. A new, modern game engine, responsible both for beautiful visuals and sophisticated game mechanics puts players in the most lively and believable world ever created in an RPG game. A captivating story, dynamic combat system, beautiful graphics, and everything else that made the original Witcher such a great game are now executed in a much more advanced and sophisticated way.
The Witcher 2 was acclaimed one of the best RPGs by the biggest worldwide media outlets:
- “Redefines expectations for an entire genre” – New York Times
- “One of the best role-playing games in years” – IGN – 9/10
- “You can't afford to miss it” – Gametrailers – 9.4/10
- “One of the most memorable and best written fantasy video games you'll ever play” – 1up
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs PEGI Rating: 18 with Violence, Bad Language USK Rating: 16+ BBFC Rating: 18 Contains very strong language, strong sex and bloody violence. OFLC: R16 Contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs. PEGI Rating: 18+ with Bad Language, Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7, processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or similar AMD 1 GB RAM for Windows XP, 2 GB RAM for Windows Vista and 7, Nvidia GF 8800 512 VR or ATI Radeon HD 3850 512 MB, 23 GB HDD space
Recommended system requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7, processor: Quad Core Intel or similar AMD, 3 GB RAM for Windows XP, 4 GB RAM for Windows Vista and 7, Nvidia GF 260 1GB or ATI HD4850 1GB, 23 GB HDD space
Minimum system requirements (Mac): OS: OS X 10.7.5 or higher. OS X 10.8.0 or higher Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Memory: 4 GB RAM Graphics: GeForce GT 650M 512MB (on 1440x900, low), Radeon HD 5770 1GB (on 1440x900, low) Hard Drive: 25 GB HD space, Please note: Nvidia is constantly perfecting the graphics drivers for Mac Book Pro with the Nvidia 650M Graphics Card. Until they provide an update the performance in the game on Macs with 600 Series nVidias may not measure up to usual levels.
Recommended system requirements (Mac): OS: OS X 10.7.5 or higher. OS X 10.8.0 or higher Processor: Quad Core Intel Memory: 8 GB RAM Graphics: GeForce GT 650M 1GB (on 1440x900, low), Radeon HD 6970M 1 GB (on 1920x1080, medium) Hard Drive: 25 GB HD space, Please note: Nvidia is constantly perfecting the graphics drivers for Mac Book Pro with the Nvidia 650M Graphics Card. Until they provide an update the performance in the game on Macs with 600 Series nVidias may not measure up to usual levels.
Posted on 2011-05-19 23:16:54 byTigerLord:
The Witcher 2 provides immersive RPG gameplay, an authentic and gritty atmosphere as well as some unforgettable moments, but certain questionable design choices make you wonder: “what were they thinking?”
Let me preface this by saying I adored the first Witcher. I first bought it in retail in 2008, then again on Steam (this time the Enhanced Edition) in 2009, and again,read more recently on GOG.com, CDProjekt’s sister company. Why three times? Simply put, I wanted to support an independent studio that catered to their players’ needs in an era where publishers dictate terms to please investors instead. I completed The Witcher four times in its entirety. I was seduced by its engrossing storytelling qualities, the mature feel of the game and its unusual take on combat mechanics and gameplay (such as the role of alchemy). The Witcher was an imperfect game at release, but in my opinion, very near perfection in its EE state. It lacked the polish of certain AAA titles, but because it remained so close to old style RPG roots, any superficial dents could not deter my appreciation of this great game. Suffice to say, I pre-ordered The Witcher 2 in November 2010, and it became one of my most anticipated game release of all time.
After completing the Witcher 2 once on “normal” mode, I must admit my experience has been both enthralling and unforgettable, but questionable design changes compared to the first game, a lack of interface polish and the clear signs of consolitis symptoms have made dents into what could have been a perfect (10/10) game.
The Witcher 2’s storyline picks up a month after the shocking finale of the first game. I wish to keep this review spoiler-free (for those who haven’t played either games), so I will simply say the storytelling is as polished as it was in TW1. The influence of prominent and talented writer Andrzej Sapkowski is clearly felt, and is what sets the Witcher series apart from other RPG. Characters are fully fleshed out, each have their interesting backstory, and thanks to improved voice acting, TW2 could not feel more authentic. As Michael Yavish said in his excellent review on Gameradar, the mature elements used in the game do not feel gimmicky or immature simply because they are entrenched in the general atmosphere and level design. The Witcher 2 doesn’t try to look or feel mature by adding senseless gore or nudity, it simply IS. From the visuals to the sharp dialogs, it all comes together to create an authentic mature setting that you can totally believe. It does so unapologetically, without restraint or shame, and I am thankful for it.
Graphically, the game is simply astonishing. Again, it lacks certain features that AAA titles might have (no doubt due to the sub 10M budget), such as proper optimization for SLI or Crossfire configurations and the lack of 16:10 aspect ratio support. There are numerous advanced settings users can tweak to get the best appearance/performance ratio. From antialiasing (specifically MLAA), SSAO, motion blur, depth of fields, bloom (no HDR), shadows and textures quality, light shafts, Ubersampling (a proprietary function of the RED engine, designed in house by CPR, that enhances graphics but at a very steep performance price), vignetting, decals to texture memory size, it’s all there. It looks gorgeous, textures feel organic and from lush forests to burning battlefields, your eyes will be feasting on the sceneries. I rate the graphics with a solid 10/10.
On the audio front, I was once again seduced by the soundtrack. Wonderfully composed, it suits the atmosphere perfectly. I must admit disappointment in a voice actress change for Triss, which now sounds a bit younger and softer, whereas the Triss in the original game sounded somewhat more mature. Generally, and I mean 99% of the time, the voice overs are exceptional, both in English and Polish. TW1 suffered from blend voice overs at times, but a lot more care was put in this installment. Character will scream, cry, laugh or call for help in terror, and you’ll believe it each time. It helps a great deal with immersion, and the quality of the voice and music work ascends CPR to the same playfield as Bioware and Bethesda. It’s too bad their audio engine suffers from several, but minor bugs. If it weren’t for these, this category would also deserve a perfect score. Alas, a 9/10 it is.
Several changes in gameplay mechanics makes TW2 not only very different, but for fans of the first, said changes feel like a hit or miss. Starting with combat mechanics, gone are the quick, strong and group stances. The first two were replaced by something that could be called equivalent, but I for one greatly missed the group stance. Whereas a left click would activate your sword and a right click cast a sign in TW1, the LMB now unleashes a quick/light sword slash, and the RMB is used to deliver a stronger blow, better suited for armored opponents. You now cast signs using the Q button. Those changes are easy to adapt to, and even feel more intuitive. However, the dynamics of combat have greatly changed. Whereas in TW1 you could approach a group of drowners with near mockery, any cavalier attitude will probably mean the death of you in TW2. Opponents deal significantly more damage, your vitality (HP points) is much more easily depleted and vigor points have replaced the endurance bar. Simply put, each sign you cast costs a point. You can now block opponents using the E key, but each block uses a vigor point as well. You are therefore faced with choosing either signs, blocks or both, but since the first are usually much more useful and powerful, I very rarely used block, especially since rolling away doesn’t cost you anything and is just as effective defense-wise. It is an odd mechanic and design choice, and would be curious to hear what rationale the devs had in mind when they decided this system was appropriate. Oils, bombs and potions are back, but with a twist. You can now only drink potions while meditating (which in TW2, can be done anywhere that isn’t hostile. Finished are the constant searches for fireplaces or beds! Yay!). The toxicity system remained intact, which is both logical and needed, as it forces players to make a choice. I am however puzzled at the drinking mechanic. Objectively speaking, it is impossible to know ahead of time which foes or enemies you might encounter in the specific dungeon or part of the world you are preparing to enter. When you are in combat, it is already too late. You cannot meditate unless you run away and lose your opponents. Therefore, you are forced to approach potion drinking as a guessing game. You might drink the right ones, you might not. Most of the time, you won’t even know if you’re about to meet creatures or foes, so you might either waste your potions, drink the wrong ones (or at least, not the most appropriate ones) or due to their short timers, lose their effect at a critical moment. This change has been discussed ad-nauseum in many forum threads, and most have stipulated that the devs wanted to make alchemy a more inclusive plot device that would further the immersive quality of the game. In my opinion, their attempt has failed completely. The appeal of RPG games is the power of choice given to the player. TW2 was marketed as a game that will force you to make impactful decisions throughout the game that will affect your experience. Guessing work is not choice, and is neither satisfying nor fulfilling. I can see from a storytelling point of view how it might seem like a good idea, but practically, it isn’t. Coupled with the long drinking animation that isn’t skippable, potion drinking is much more of a hassle than an immersive aspect of the game. I did everything I could to avoid it, and leveled a character that could be as powerful as it can WITHOUT potions (which now has its own leveling tree), whereas in TW1, I welcomed potions and was thankful for them. There is something to be said about the quests, which are varied and interesting. Gone are the fedex missions, which I’m sure will be welcomed by many. Sidequests are fun and do not feel like useless material meant to artificially boost the length of a game. It’s unfortunate that the game’s climax is underwhelming, especially if compared to the first game’s ending, but that is of minor concern compared to the epic storytelling the game subjects you to for over forty hours.
The most notable change in general game mechanics concerns boss fights, whose designs were clearly influenced by the God of War series. They are now epic in nature, require a fair bit of planning, and it is that planning and stratagem elaboration that makes these fights feel so fulfilling. To the dismay of many, myself included, TW2 makes heavy use of Quick Time Events (QTE), not only for boss fights, but mini games as well (such as fist fighting). In my humble opinion, QTEs are console gimmicks that have no place in PC games, and I was appalled to find them used so often. It doesn’t deter from the sheer fun of fighting those bosses, and I have never felt cheated by cheap boss mechanics. I simply wish CDProjekt had forgone the inclusion of these QTEs, and their presence in the game only helps to promote the idea that CPR developed TW2 with a potential expansion into the console market in mind, which brings me to my next point: the interface.
The interface feels unpolished, clunky and frankly, a huge step backward compared to TW1. The first game made use of the traditional grid-like inventory system that most RPG players are used to. It was intuitive and everything was easily accounted for at a quick glance. The auto-sorting feature sorted all the items by type automatically, the Enhanced Edition provided a separate alchemy bag for the ingredients, and it overall felt very RPG-like. Rather than criticize the aspects that bug me in an incomprehensible wall of text, I have devised a list of features that I think would merit further elaboration.
1. Lack of storage
TW1 provided storage options. One simply needed to visit an Inn to access it. I do not know of ANY RPG game out there that doesn’t offer some kind of storage in one form or another. The inclusion of a crafting system in TW2 means you will encounter a LOT of material that take a lot of space. The inventory system is now nearly identical to Fallout 3: you are no longer limited by SPACE like in TW1, but by WEIGHT. I don’t care which limiting factor you impose on a player (space or weight), but not offering any storage option is a serious design oversight to me. If Triss is able to conjure up some raw steaks at a party for a princess, there should be a way to bring storage in TW2 in a way that satisfies the immersive quality required for the storytelling.
2. Drinking potions in meditation
This was brought up in my review in more detailed, but simply put, the current mechanic seems to favor plot device over gameplay quality. There is simply no way, other than guessing or dying and reloading, to plan ahead. This is another serious oversight that seems contradictory with Geralt’s abilities. Some fans have hypothesized that the devs wanted to make the game feel more like the introductory cinematic of the first game, when we see Geralt preparing for the Striga encounter. In this context, Geralt knew which foe he would be facing in advance, so it made sense to picture his potion drinking habits as a stratagem rather than an on-the-fly resource. In reality, and practically speaking, it’s a poor implementation.
3. Lack of highlighting key
This is, by far, my biggest gripe. In TW1 and indeed, in almost every RPG I can think of,
I used a highlighting key to make the names of containers or NPC “pop up”. It was useful to take my bearings and make sure I didn’t miss on loot. It was an optional button that wasn’t forced on you for those who preferred a most authentic gaming experience. In TW2, we now have a medallion that can be activated with a Z key. It unleashes a wave of orange light at a very limited range, and serves to “highlight” loot containers/bodies by applying a distinct red glow to them. Unfortunately, the glow is insufficient in swampy areas, and it doesn’t highly NPC names. Furthermore, the medallion is on a timer, which is even more annoying.
A better system would have been to keep the medallion system to highlight loot, but remove the timer and STILL make a highlight button available to identity buildings and NPC. That way, players who wish to stick to more limited highlighting abilities to favor immersion can only use the medallion, and the rest of us could make use of an alternate button that would identify buildings and NPC as in the first game.
The situation as it is leaves the game lacking. The mini-map is unbelievably uninformative and unhelpful, and this lack of feature of greatly missed.
4. Inability to see ingredient types at a quick glance
In TW2, you need to select each ingredient in your list one by one to see their type, whereas in the first game, a color system was used. A colored dot appeared in the bottom right corner of the ingredient's icon, which made it easy to glance at the inventory and see what was worth harvesting and what you had plenty of already. This, I believe, is a symptom of consolitis. I am NOT advocating the game is a console port, but it's clear they wanted to keep the menus console-friendly for potential future expansion in the console scene.
5. Inability to see what diagrams we already have
TW1 provided a clear method to know which book or formula you already possessed. "You've already read this" would appear in the prompt that popped-up when you moused over an item in your inventory. There is no such system in TW2, which forces you to go through your list one by one. It is a huge waste of time, and becomes frustrating very quickly.
6. The inventory in general
It is very, very clunky. You cannot sort your items in any fashion and the interface is not streamlined at all. This is another clue that brings me to believe that the world “console” dictated certain design decisions. I believe CPR 100% when they claimed PC would always be their priority, but the deviation from the more RPG-like inventory of the first game suggests CPR had a console version in mind when they did this. A sorting feature is URGENTLY needed to alleviate the bloated feel of the interface design.
7. Complete absence of control remapping
Not sure what else to say except "what were they thinking?"
None of these problems are game breaking, but they seriously make a dent in the overall quality and polish of the game. I can live with the combat just fine, I even find it interesting and revivifying. But these seven issues could have EASILY been avoided with Q&A and thorough playtesting. I feel they all represent a step backward, and I cannot imagine how any gamers out there, especially TW1 fans, would feel they are an improvement as far as gameplay mechanics are concerned.
Overall, The Witcher 2 is a great and satisfying game. Unfortunately, there are too many controversial mechanics to make it a contender for GOTY in its current state. But just like TW1, which was far from perfect at release, one can hope for an Enhanced Edition, or at the very least, fan-made modifications that might rectify these. Though I cannot give The Witcher 2 the perfect score the fanboy in me so deeply wanted the game to have, there is no doubt TW2 is an engrossing RPG that any fans of the genre will enjoy in spite of its minor imperfections.
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Posted on 2011-05-12 23:38:52 byjulianomg:
Even in Brazil where piracy is much the vast, majority are buying the game, and this to show that all the effort that was deposited in the game bring to artists the reward deserved.Thank you very much CD Projekt RED ,for believing in the pc players.
The Witcher 2 are GoTY.
Ps:Sry for my English.! :)
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Posted on 2011-05-19 02:59:39 byfrilled:
I've lost count on how many times I have been let down by games during the last decade. Overhyping games has become the norm, and usually, it leads to horrible disappointment. I think Oblivion really broke the dam, as from there on everything went downhill in free fall.
Dragon Age 2, anyone?
Not so with this one. Though the development of the Witcher 2 wasn't exactly hype-free,read more most of it seemed to focus on GOG's bold move to release the game without DRM. I love GOG, and so I got it from here, although I'd rather put the physical box beside the first one (easily one of the best packages ever). There's the minor annoyance of only getting patches when registered, but really - you DID buy the game, right?
But being DRM-free isn't the Witcher's main selling point, it's the game itself. It's the Witcher all over, but heavily improved. It's brutal, it's beatiful, and it's immersive to a scary point. There are some mild annoyances, too, but I'll come to that in a minute. Now, in more detail:
Setting and story
This is where this game really shines. It's not about finding "The Uber Amulet of Problemsolving" while having to deal with moron's problems along the way. It starts with a problem - YOUR problem. You're accused of slaying the king you were to protect. Now that he's dead, you want to clear your name. There are those that believe you, and there are those who want to collect the bounty for your head. And there's a struggle for power brewing in the kingdom. Who's to be the next king will be the question that's going to split a lot of heads. Literally. The game puts you in this world, and you'll believe that you're in there. Which is probably an achievement that has become so rare in video games lately that this alone should reward it a medal of honor.
After completing the witcher training the ability tree splits up in three main branches: Sword, Magic and Alchemy. You can pursue any combination of these, but the best skills are at the end of each tree, of course, so you can't be anything at the same time. Standard RPG fare, and just as it should be. Being a god (Oblivion?) may sound fun, but you'll be bored to death after the initial ten minutes. Many of the abilities are (or sound, for I have not seen many of them on action, as I didn't finish the game yet) interesting. Can't say much about balance until the second or third playthrough, so I'll leave at this.
Combat has changed. I can't really say which system I like better. The old witcher combat system could get a little tedious with the chaining of attacks, especially without the indicator lighting up. The new system takes a while to get used to, but after the initial dozen of beatings I began to like it. You can now lock on (and off ;-) a target, which really helps in some situations. On the other hand, the three fighting styles (per sword type) have been replaced by "fast & light" and "slow & strong" attacks. I don't feel any loss here (actually I found switching styles in W1 easy enough, but not really intuitive and fun), it makes for a more fluid combat experience in that you can attack swiftly, try to stun or topple your opponent and then quickly use a strong attack when you see a window of opportunity. You can also block and counterattack, so there's really more going on in combat that in the first witcher.
There's a new addition I personally don't like at all: quicktime events. I found them horrible the first time I saw them, and that never changed. I like to have control over my character, and quicktime events take that away. Nevertheless, I don't find them too difficult, but a little overused. Fist fighting, for example, now uses Quicktime events. You'll be introduced to them quite early in the game. There are some similar mechanics like arm wrestling (basically a momentum-based game with the mouse) and "click-something-to-success" where you need to mash the mouse button quickly. In my opinion, these impair the immersion a little. Still, it's not grieving me much, it's just a little superfluous.
Potions have changed substantially, or more precisely, the mechanics have. You now have to drink potions before battle, since you can only do so in meditation mode. I personally think it's for the better, as it's more in league with the lore, and it makes potions a tactical instrument instead of a last resort in fights.
From what I have tested so far there's a lot of different outcomes to your actions. Since I don't want to spoil myself for the second playthrough I only tried this a couple of times, but things actually change ;) The best about this is that it feels entirely natural. I rarely saw a definite "good" or "evil" way, which is absolutely great. I kind of bored by RPGs that claim to have freedom of choice, but then present you with "evil" choices that are so downright awful that they alienate me from my character. The Witcher 2 usually manages to make me feel ok with whatever I choose. You can simply decide with your gut (and you should, as some of the decisions are limited by time). Most of what you do will come help (or haunt ;-) you later, of course.
The game starts out quite linear, but once you get to the first town it's open world again. Geralt still can't jump, but he can now climb up and down, but those are automated actions initiated by a mouse click. What's annoying is that you have to watch Geralt correctly positioning himself an the obstacle before the climb/jump animation starts. This has been done much better in other games.
Crafting and alchemy
There's so much to craft, I still don't know where to begin. I'm sure I'll miss out a lot of interesting or downright helpful stuff in the first playthrough. It's just too much :) You don't craft your stuff by yourself (you do the potion brewing, though), but have a crafter do that - you have to provide the schematics and the resources, though. And there's lots of both ...
Despite one minor annoyance, the graphics are truly amazing. This is still DX9, which you won't believe when you see it. The graphics really help with the immersion, and it's not just "fancy for fancy's sake". The game shows a world that looks like a world. The minor annoyance is that some shadows are done by dithering. You won't see that when in action, but when you're standing still with a shadow on your face, chances are you'll see the dithering grid. No deal breaker, but not too pretty either.
I can't say much about the lower detail settings, as my box can actually handle anything on Ultra, even Ubersampling. I actually turned that off after a while as it lets my GPU run mostly silent, and when not standing still I don't see the difference either. It runs silken smooth on a GTX580.
I have a cheap surround rig, and usually it doesn't do much for me. Notable recent exceptions are Metro 2033 and - Witcher 2. The ambient sound is thick layered and is in my eyes accountable for half of the immersion. Play this game loud enough, it's amazing with all the little details in the background!
Unfortunately, you can't tune the ratio of voices, ambient, and effects, so sometimes the voices (especially Geralt himself) seem a little to muted. I could still understand anything, though (playing with English dubbing). Still, room for improvement.
Controls are configured outside the main game, which is a little disappointing, since you have to exit the whole game just to change a keybinding you just realized doesn't quite cut it. What's worse is that they keys are not fully configurable. You simply can't bind some keys. Manual editing of configuration files works around this, but it's simply awkward and definitely not up to par, and it had not been ten years ago. No clue what the devs were thinking here. Reading the forums I saw that CD Project RED have acknowledged this and plan to provide some improvement with a patch - yes, PLEASE.
Okay, no *final* verdict since I have to finish the game first, probably at least twice. Still, I think it's fair to say The Witcher 2 is more than I had hoped it would be. It's a great game with a believable, interesting setting, incredible immersion, great sound and graphics. I don't really know what more to wish for :) There are some quirks, but they clearly are so minor that they can be forgiven (or even patched).
I doubt there will be anything on this level for quite a while.
Definitely a must-have if you like this genre at all.
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