Sequel to the critically-acclaimed PC RPG of 2007, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings promises to be bigger, better, and more beautiful than its predecessor. Based on fantasy novels written by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher 2 has players once again taking control of bad-ass "witcher" Geralt of Rivia. For those unfamiliar with Sapkowski's fiction, witchers are monster-hunters who have received special training and have had their bodies modified at an early age to receive supernatural powers.
Whereas the first game used a modified version of BioWare's Aurora engine (originally used in 2002's Neverwinter Nights), developer CD Projekt RED has designed a new game engine (called the "RED Engine") specifically for The Witcher 2. With this new custom-built modern engine, the game now features high-resolution textures, increased polygon count for character models, and lush, detailed landscapes. Taking place across a wide variety of environments, players will traverse through beautiful countryside forests, rural villages, and grandiose castles. For GeForce gamers, 3D Vision adds an extra level of immersion while SLI provides enhanced performance with scaling often above 90%.
Tying the rest of the presentation together are the mature storyline, stellar voice acting, and epic narrative. Featuring non-linear dialogue trees and branching options, The Witcher 2 offers many morally ambiguous choices which empowers gamers to play the game through several times for vastly different experiences. Taking place shortly after the events of the first game, The Witcher 2 strikes a fine balance of rewarding gamers who played the original while being engaging and comprehensible enough to be a standalone title.
Making the storyline more enjoyable is the vastly improved combat system. Gone are the numerous cumbersome attack stances. What has replaced the more static "wait-and-click" fighting system of the first game is a more streamlined console-like control system. The left mouse button initiates light attacks, the middle scroll mouse button enables players to use a wide variety of spells, and the right mouse button allows players to swing for the fences with fierce combos. In conjunction with the myriad offensive tactics that players can use are defensive maneuvers like blocking and rolling. And you'll need to use your entire bag of tricks if you're going to survive as the enemies in The Witcher 2 are challenging and attack in hordes. All around, combat is now much more fun, balanced, and satisfying. The Witcher 2 really puts the "action" in action RPG.
While the game features greatly improved combat, The Witcher 2 is still a role-playing game at heart. This means that gaining experience and leveling up is important as it ever was; as a matter of fact, the RPG mechanics have also received an overhaul. One thing that was lacking in the original game pertained to loot drops. That problem is no longer an issue as The Witcher 2 features numerous items to pick up and allows players to greatly customize weapon, gear, and armor. Allowing you to earn new equipment in fun and engaging ways are the numerous side quests sprinkled throughout the massive RPG. Furthermore, the cumbersome item inventory screen of the original game has been streamlined to be much more simple and easy to understand.
With addictive gameplay, an engaging story, and a new graphics engine that takes advantage of high-end GPUs, it's easy to see why PC gamers are ecstatic for the Witcher 2.