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Default The Witcher 2 - Review @ GameBanshee

June 24th, 2011, 03:46
GameBanshee's Brother None has penned down a lengthy review of The Witcher 2 listing the good and bad parts of the game. As usual there is no score but the overall result is positive.
Considering where mainstream RPGs have been trending towards lately, the Witcher 2 is a great step in the right direction. I don't feel the combat segment of RPGs has to be action-based, quite the opposite, nor do I understand the need to add gimmicks like QTEs to the RPG genre. Yet, if someone wants to craft an “evolved” RPG with action-based combat, this is what it should be. It is about gaining complexity and becoming more mature, instead of simplifying and schlock stories. Leaving aside the debate on combat and camera angles, the core mistake of where the RPG genre is thundering to is that developers do not respect players. The Witcher 2 isn't unremittingly hard, nor will it win awards for complexity in its combat or RPG systems, but what sets it apart from the Dragon Age IIs of the world is both the enormous amount of work put into its every detail, and in not being afraid to challenge the player and offer him or her real and mature choices. It is for those reasons that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is easily our early frontrunner for "RPG of the Year", with no title released so far this year even coming close.
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June 24th, 2011, 03:46
Great read, thanks for the link!

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June 24th, 2011, 06:20
I would definitely consider six pages lengthy

Great review. I wonder how many notes he took and how long it took him to write that.

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June 24th, 2011, 08:10
Good review - I agree - you have to play through the Witcher 2 a least twice.

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June 24th, 2011, 09:22
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I would definitely consider six pages lengthy
Yeah, uh, this one kinda got away from me. It's not even the longest review I've ever done for GameBanshee (I think that's Drakensang: The Dark Eye), but my reviews recently have been shorter since I know people aren't waiting to read pages of me ranting.

But Wotcha 2…I dunno, I just felt that since it's been a while since release and it's a noteworthy title, I'd go full bore and talk about *everything*.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I wonder how many notes he took and how long it took him to write that.
I'm a pretty fast writer once I get started. A few hours for a review like this. Of course, I don't write a review before I've given the game enough playtime, so (like Alpha Protocol), I gave it two full playthroughs before putting the pen to paper, 50 or so hours.

It's funny that you mention notes. I wasn't originally scheduled to review this game, Buck was going to do it, but he's been working 60 hours per week on various subsites so it wasn't exactly easily to schedule in. So the assignment shifted to me (by my request), but I hadn't take any notes, where I usually have a page or so of them :/ Instead, I just debated the game in chat with Buck and others to make sure I covered every significant note. Still worried I missed some things. I hate working without notes.
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June 24th, 2011, 13:53
Thanks. I thought the review was perfect. It detailed everything I would want to know about if I hadn't already bought the game

I'm seriously impressed you wrote that in a few hours.

I was curious about the notes because I've been dabbling with the idea of reviewing more games so I've been taking a few notes for a game I've been playing recently. It started getting a little out of hand. I have something around three and a half pages worth of notes detailing every little aspect this game. Maybe that's a little too much.

Ehhh you don't want to hear about that though. I just wanted to say thanks for the info. It never occurred to me that it might be a good idea to play through a game twice, but I can see how that would give you different perspectives each time and a major advantage when writing about it.

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June 24th, 2011, 14:15
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Thanks. I thought the review was perfect. It detailed everything I would want to know about if I hadn't already bought the game
Cheers. I didn't clock my writing but do note that by "a few hours" I mean for the first draft. The editing post-first draft is almost as hellish and dragged out as the writing process, and in this case I had multiple people read it or bits of it and comment.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Maybe that's a little too much.

Ehhh you don't want to hear about that though.
I don't mind, though other readers here might not be too interested in the ins and outs of the writing process.

As for notes: I'm a relatively brief note-taker. For The River of Time I had literally only six short notes but it turned into a four-page review, and it's just stuff like "easier to get engaged in this story, its scale is smaller" and "dig the puzzles". For me, notes are only a tool while I write a lot off the cuff. If I want to go more indepth I need more notes though, for the Witcher 2 I ended up with a full page of sentence fragments and notes from conversations. But it's just what you're used to and your style. I don't think you can take too many notes, though for most reviews (and this is what I usually fail at), you kind of have to consider what your audience is interested in hearing, and not dig too deep into details. It's easy to lose the narrative flow of your review or a good solid overview of it to too many details.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
It never occurred to me that it might be a good idea to play through a game twice, but I can see how that would give you different perspectives each time and a major advantage when writing about it.
Depends on the game. My rule of thumb for RPGs is this: if there's no character creation and little flexibility in character build and game path, one playthrough will do (like Rise of the Argonauts), for most RPGs, one playthrough and a few hours into a second playthrough will do (The River of Time, Avadon). I never review a game without having finished it.

The exception to the rule are RPGs like Alpha Protocol, The Witcher 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, heavy on the C&C and open in paths. I don't think you can fairly review Alpha Protocol or the Witcher 2 without having played it twice or at least far into a second playthrough. I think I put 50 hours into TW2 (didn't log as accurately as I normally do, but I'm guesstimating 30 hours into the first playthrough and 20 into the second, might be more), and Steam tells me I put 39 hours in Alpha Protocol and 82 hours in New Vegas.

It's the advantage of working for GameBanshee. The pay's not great, but it's freelance anyway, and I get all the time to prep and detail a review as much as I like. Most professional reviewers aren't that fortunate sadly.
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June 24th, 2011, 14:39
Thanks again for the pointers. You and Dhruin make it look so simple, but it's a wee bit more complicated than that.

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June 24th, 2011, 15:05
The "next" button is a bit … unimpressive. Easy to overlook, becaue it just blends in so nicely with(in) the background …

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June 24th, 2011, 19:17
Everything I read about this tells me I should play it on the Xbox. Even if the graphics are a little less perfect, who cares? It sounds like it was made for consoles.
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June 24th, 2011, 20:35
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Yeah, uh, this one kinda got away from me. It's not even the longest review I've ever done for GameBanshee (I think that's Drakensang: The Dark Eye), but my reviews recently have been shorter since I know people aren't waiting to read pages of me ranting.

But Wotcha 2…I dunno, I just felt that since it's been a while since release and it's a noteworthy title, I'd go full bore and talk about *everything*.



I'm a pretty fast writer once I get started. A few hours for a review like this. Of course, I don't write a review before I've given the game enough playtime, so (like Alpha Protocol), I gave it two full playthroughs before putting the pen to paper, 50 or so hours.

It's funny that you mention notes. I wasn't originally scheduled to review this game, Buck was going to do it, but he's been working 60 hours per week on various subsites so it wasn't exactly easily to schedule in. So the assignment shifted to me (by my request), but I hadn't take any notes, where I usually have a page or so of them :/ Instead, I just debated the game in chat with Buck and others to make sure I covered every significant note. Still worried I missed some things. I hate working without notes.
Yes, your reviews are lenghty but I like that. I read them whether I've played the game or not. You touch pretty much every pluses and minuses about the game you review in a role player perspective. Also I find them unbiased (some reviewers have some heavy biases about modern RPGs). Actually, I convert them to Word format and print them on paper to read. Don't try to "dumb down" your reviews by shorting them. Keep up the good work. I'm also waiting a Dungeon Siege 3 review from you.

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June 24th, 2011, 21:57
A very, very good review, imho.
I found it very informative.

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June 25th, 2011, 00:02
Originally Posted by Ovenall View Post
Everything I read about this tells me I should play it on the Xbox. Even if the graphics are a little less perfect, who cares? It sounds like it was made for consoles.
Does it. Well tell you what let me know how it plays on the consoles when it comes out. I on the other hand have finished it twice on the pc already.

Played it on three different computers of different configurations and had no problem. The only problem was the ubersampling setting.

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June 25th, 2011, 00:57
Personally I don't find lengthy reviews very useful as a means to decide whether I want to buy a game or not.

If I'm interested in the game I become restless and I prefer to play the game instead of reading about it, if I'm not interested I don't want to spend the time doing either and if I'm undecided I just jump to the conclusion straight away so I can get an answer as soon as possible.

I find myself enjoying such reviews after I have actually started playing and I want to take a break without actually being 'away' from the game.

Then again that might just be me but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

It also seems to me that reviews, especially on the internet, very often are used by people to corroborate their own pre-established opinions… which doesn't seem right to me. I get that from comments I read on reviews by people who often mention whether they agree or not with the reviewer's assessments (which points to a familiarity with the game) instead of expressing appreciation or disappointment for being helped to take the right or wrong decision. I somehow feel that lengthy reviews tend to reinforce that tendency because they go on greater detail instead of just providing the big picture.

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June 25th, 2011, 01:22
Don't forget there is mods which probably won't be available for the console version.
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June 25th, 2011, 19:17
Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Also I find them unbiased (some reviewers have some heavy biases about modern RPGs).
I'll agree some outlets and writers just seem to dislike the genre, but I don't know that I'm unbiased. Hell, as a game journalist in general I'm very biased, since I really only play RPGs and open-world TPSs, never play on consoles and skip a ton of mainstream releases and genres. My biases just happen to fit GameBanshee and its readerbase well.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Actually, I convert them to Word format and print them on paper to read.
Wow.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Keep up the good work. I'm also waiting a Dungeon Siege 3 review from you.
Flattered. Not doing DS3 though. I never got into the Dungeon Siege franchise so I'm not particularly well-suited for reviewing DS3, and I'm a bit swamped anyway.
Last edited by Brother None; June 25th, 2011 at 20:30.
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June 27th, 2011, 00:31
What I was trying to say is there're generally two types of RPG reviewers out there. First the reviewers in mainstream media who don't know what RPG is (and they're the majority), and only look at the game in an action perspective, almost mention nothing about the roleplaying mechanics. They also have some heavy biases about low budgeted RPGs, hardcore RPG mechanics. Later ones are the reviewers in RPG sites (minority). They're generally pretty much mention every role playing aspect of the game, but somewhat biased about modern RPGs. Your reviews (and the reviews in general in gamebanshee) falls between them, make a balance.

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