The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings starts off after the first Witcher game ends. The player also gets to play again in the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, this time he starts out under the hire of King Foltest of Temeria. While CD Project maintained their works with keeping the decision making up to the player as far as how to story progresses with the choice/consequence style of gameplay and the world has stayed the same, that’s as far as the similarities go if you compare The Witcher 2 to its predecessor.
CD Project did a total revamp of gameplay and mechanics and even graphics got an overhaul. The inventory system became much more fluid and gave much more space to work with than the annoying limited space that was available in the first Witcher’s inventory system. Controls got much smoother and instead of clicking on the enemy to attack it with timed combos, the combat system got more intelligent. The graphics moved from being OK for its time to pretty fantastic for its time as the world became more colorful and detailed than before.
The leveling system gives you three different paths to follow: Swordsmanship, Alchemy, and Signs. Each path has its own branches and bonuses that come with its branches. Swordsmanship means you’re not afraid to come out swinging and are often a fearsome opponent in close quarters combat. With Alchemy it means you are a patient hunter that prepares traps for the various monsters you have to deal with throughout the game. Signs gives you the power of magic to play with and the more you train with it the more powerful your Signs become.
The storyline follows a prologue and three acts with defining moments in each act that could change the outcome of the entire game. Much like with BioWare’s Mass Effect series you may import the save file from your previous games into the new one’s and continue your Geralt’s story, I did not do this because somehow by some amazing occurrence my first play through of the Witcher 1 I played cannon exactly.
The Witcher 2 is very replayable as there are multiple endings you may have with several variations based on choices made earlier in the game.
Some issues people may have with the game are the fact that CD Project changed the gameplay style enough that getting used to the different controls from the first Witcher is a little awkard. Another problem I noticed people had was that when it cam to drinking potions, you could not do it on the fly, but the only argument I have against that statement, and it’s weak, is if you’ve seen the videos for the Witcher you see Geralt drinking his potions before he enters combat because a Witcher is always prepared with everything he needs for combat before it happens.
Overall, I highly recommend the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings to any person who finds great enjoyment in dark fantasy worlds, role playing, fantasy-style combat, or just a plain good story.