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DaedHead8 avatar 2:55 PM on 04.25.2012  (server time)
First Impressions: The Witcher 2 Xbox 360 - Why am I enjoying this so much?

The Witcher 2 strikes me as a very odd game: It has a large cult following, beautiful graphics, a deep back story, loads of items to find and quests to go on. Basically it has everything an RPG needs to be successful on the Xbox 360, and I don't doubt that it will be successful. However, I find it perplexing that so many basically gameplay mechanics are outright broken.

First of all, if you missed my last blog, then you should know that I have never played either of The Witcher games on PC, so I have no idea if the following complaints are true of those games. And given that I am actually quite enjoying the game, I will try to keep my complaining to a minimum, but I really feel there are some things I need to point out. Right off the bat, I noticed that the controls are way to sensitive. It is possible to get Geralt to walk by gently nudging the joystick forward, but more often than not he breaks into a full sprint when you didn't want him too. Picking up items is similarly sensitive, with the prompt appearing and disappearing seemingly at will.

The AI also needs a bit of work, early on in the prologue one of my NPC allies was "helping me" in a fight by continually setting me on fire. Granted we were in small hallway and I separated her from the enemies, but I think she should be smart enough to realize this and stop throwing fireballs. Unfortunately she did not realize this and she killed me.

I also have a bit of a problem with some of the quests in the game. I found myself reloading my save occasionally because I would fail certain quests without any warning at all. In a game like Xenoblade Chronicles, quests that need to be completed within a certain time frame or before leaving a certain area are clearly marked. There is no such indication for quests like that in The Witcher 2 and the completionist inside me is highly annoyed by that.

In addition, and I recognize this is not a fault of the game itself, I was told The Witcher 2's combat was comparable to Demon's Souls and Dark souls. Regrettably, I cannot agree with this statement. It feels more like a brutal version of Fable than like something from the Souls series. That's not to say combat is bad, not at all. I find it quite fun and fast paced, with many strategic options to choose from going into any fight. I was just disappointed to find it wasn't like the Souls games, which have my favorite 3rd person sword combat by far.

All of these faults combined would kill an average game, I would have played it once and never again. So how does The Witcher 2 keep me coming back for more? Well it's simple, the story telling is among the best examples in gaming, standing tall amongst the likes of Bioshock, Half-Life and Metal Gear Solid in my own mind. The cinematic that plays before the main menu is one of the coolest fight scenes I've seen since 300 and although the story was a bit dense at first (having never played the first Witcher game) I quickly became attached to the characters and found myself engrossed in the ongoing events of the game.

The reason the story telling is so good in The Witcher 2 is that it really makes you feel like you are apart of the story. Many quests and events in the game have multiple resolutions, some of which drastically affect the outcome of the story. It really feels like you have control over your destiny in this world. At first I worried that having such a well defined character as Geralt of Rivia would make it hard for me to role play in this world, but my fears were unfounded. As far as I am concerned, when I'm playing The Witcher 2, I am Geralt of Rivia, and that is simply the greatest achievement a RPG can accomplish.

So I look forward to finishing the game in the coming weeks, and bringing you my full review as well. In the meantime, I urge anyone with a strong love for role-playing to seek this game out immediately if you haven't already. You won't regret it.

WARNING: I'm merely half way through the first chapter of the game, so please do not spoil anything for me in the comments bellow. Thank you.

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