Five months on from its legendary 11-11-11 release, I’m still slogging through Skyrim
. And why shouldn’t I? Sure it’s an enormous, brilliant, ambitious juggernaut of interactive artistry.
Funny then, that it’s also an ugly unplayable mess of a game.
Ghastly glitches souring my every session, I for one welcome the approach of Geralt of Rivia
, the Witcher and this darkly scripted tale from polish developers CD Projekt RED
. Chronicling the escapades of the titular monster hunter, a conspiracy of political upheaval and gruesome regicide awaits RPG enthusiasts.
With only ten days to go, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition
for Xbox 360
promises a more focused, more polished, more mature experience than Bethesda’s open world leviathan.And this point deserves repeated emphasis folks
... Geralt carries two
swords. TWO.Honed Narrative
Without giving too much away, those of you whose eyeballs have feasted upon the glorious opening cinematic will understand Assassins of Kings
concerns just that. A rogue Witcher
is literally hacking his way through the monarchy’s neck and it’s up to gruff, gravely toned Geralt
to suss the who and the why.
, by virtue of its colossal breath, sacrifices focused storytelling, The Witcher 2
stays on point, mercilessly driving players forward with events and revelations pertinent to the arching narrative.
That’s not to say the occasionally side job to relieve a beastie or twelve of their scalp doesn’t arise from time to time... A Witcher
gotta get paid!Conversational Profanity
If, like me, you live in the real world, with real people who feel real emotions and make real fuck-ups on a regular basis, you may house a cuss of twelve in your vocabulary.
Play any Fantasy RPG for more than ten minutes and the opportunity to profane presents itself on a near constant basis. However vulgarity is not something regularly heard in FRPGs. Certainly, most will have their own lame inventions and blasphemies, but the reluctance to drop the F-bomb can spoil the immersion.
Evidently, CD Projekt RED
echo this sentiment.Razor Sharp Presentation
Lauded as one of the finest looking PC games of 2011, despite claims to the contrary, it’s only prudent to expect a dip in graphical fidelity when porting to the aging Xbox360. But while the 360 doesn’t boast a NVIDIA GeForce
GTX 260 1 GB or ATi Radeon
HD 4850 HD 1 GD, these screens don’t look to shabby...
I’d certainly have no objection to spending 40-50 hours lost within the lush forestry or shimmering masonry of Flotsam and Vergen, especially following five straight months of popping textures and jagged edges in Skyrim’s
frozen north.Knife-edge Choices
Choice is currently flavour of the month in games. And though it often boils down to forgettable upgrade paths, binary moral quandaries or locking yourself into a specific ending sequence, the frequency and subtlety of The Witcher 2
’s narrative forks not only predetermine the ending, but also the location, nature and even access to assorted objectives and tasks throughout the campaign.
Chances are it’ll be a more nuanced impasse than the Nationalistic Rebels vs Imperial Junta of Skyrim’s civil war.
Arrow all their knees, I say, and let Sovngarde
sort ‘em out!Brutal Combat
Though it features an impressive array of halberds, hammers and blades, nothing beats Skyrim
when it comes to the sheer quantity of weaponry available. And though the latter’s clunky combat won it few commendations, January’s Kingdoms of Amalur
raked in praise for its flashy, arcadey combat.
Opting instead for substance, Geralt
operates under an evolution of Zelda’s
famed “Z-targeting system”, allowing him to tumble, parry, block, counter, riposte and finish his opponents with a style and flair largely absent and poorly implemented in Bethesda’s
With alchemy, magic, traps, projectiles, an assortment of swordplay stances and combat manoeuvres, The Witcher 2
’s melee (constituting the bulk of play in the vast majority of games, let alone RPGs) promises a challenging, rewarding dance of rolls, ripostes and ruthless kills.Geralt
is a stabby dude who loves stabbing.
Seriously readers, he has one sword for killing beasts and a whole other one for killing people.Sexy Time
I’m uh.... I’m going to leave this one up to your own imaginations.... All I’ll say is... the Daily Mail
will have a field day...
To be perfectly honest, I know next to nothing about the bugs and hiccups which assail the final release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition
. Ports from PC to Console can be tricky endeavours, trying to optimise where possible, implement changes, add content all while scaling down to a less powerful machine.
But, to be fair, Namco Bandai
and CD Projekt RED
would have to try DAMN hard to make a product as riddled with game breaking bugs as November’s Notorious Nordic Nonsense.
I love you Skyrim
, I really do.
But after 5 months, I’m ready for a few dozen hours of rapier wit, exciting pace, thrilling swordfights and tirades of offensive cussing. And if it could manage all that without randomly freezing and forcing me to hard reboot my machine once every 90 minutes all the better!