by Mariana Morales, reviewed on
What’s a Witcher Anyway?
Remember CD Projekt RED's The Witcher that came out about three years ago for the PC and shadowed the story of Geralt of Rivia in a medieval fictional world? Based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, Witchers are mutants with superhuman abilities and powers. You were this Witcher, Geralt, who is a trained warrior. Killing monsters and protecting the people from monsters was what he did for hire. Well, the sequel The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is coming for your PC, and is confirmed also for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The Witcher 2 is said to have three unique plot lines that can lead to several endings. It is set after the events of the first, when there was an attempt to assassinate King Foltest. Geralt unmasked the assassin after battling him, and found out that it had similar eye mutations to his own. In the sequel, he continues to protect the kingdom and goes on a quest to find the people who assassinated rulers of the Northern Kingdoms. At the same time, Geralt searches for his own identity.
In With the New, Out With the Old
If you have played the first game, you’ll recognize some characters in The Witcher 2. Zoltan, Dandelion, and Triss will be back. Vernon Roche is a new character and became the king’s right-hand man. He is in the Temerian military and supports Geralt. He is known as a very capable man who once pulled arrows out of his own body, located commando units during a war and hung the leaders on a tree; all by himself.
In the original game, mutagens were something you acquired from the bodies of mutants and used in mutagenic potions. In Witcher 2, they will allow the player to alter the effects on certain skills. For example, you can enhance your spells to deal out more damage or deal damage across multiple enemies.
Other features to look forward to include the ability to upgrade each part of the armor separately, such as gloves, jackets, belts, etc. Everything will more flexible as well as Geralt will now be able to carry around an unlimited number of items. It is also possible to create your own items with the improved crafting mechanics.
One thing worth mentioning is that there is a new engine being used. It is said that it should feel different compared to the first engine which was an altered version of Bioware’s Aurora Engine. The new engine was made completely from scratch. Certainly the faces of the character models have improved in quality and texture compared to the first one. Everything should also run smoother since the game uses background loading to make sure that environments are loaded in before you arrive to a new “area” or a cut scene is triggered.
Connect with your Feelings
Sex cards are removed this time around. In the first Witcher, Sex cards were collectibles that you would find over the course of the game whenever you decided to have Geralt sleep with a female character. This time around these encounters will be more realistic and will relate to the story. The senior Producer Tomasz Gop noted how in Heavy Rain the sex scene was perfectly filled with story and emotion. The developers want you to feel connected with the characters.
The characters in the game are said to be believable as each one of them has their own personality. How Geralt interacts with them will affect his relationships with them. Depending on your decisions, the characters' lives could be in your hands and more quests may become available. The developers have promised that these quests will be more imaginative than having you run around collecting mushrooms or some such for locals.
Played the first Witcher?
If you haven’t played the first Witcher for the PC, you won’t be completely lost. Right in the beginning, the story will be explained to you. For those of you who still have a saved file, keep it. You will be able to transfer your file into the second game. You will be reminded of the choices you made in the first game through the characters and places in Witcher 2. And if you have a sword that you can’t part with, you can bring that over to the second game as well.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is looking very unique and is certainly upgraded compared to the first one. And while we wait for the sequel to arrive, there is a movie and TV show called The Hexer that is based on the same short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski. Check it out.