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RPGWatch Forums » Games » The Witcher Games » The Witcher 2 » Witcher 2: Not really enjoying it so far…

Default Witcher 2: Not really enjoying it so far…

November 26th, 2011, 15:29
Greetings Gentlemen

At the moment I'm finding myself really struggling to get into the Wicher 2.
Therefore, Witcher 2 fans please be wary of this post. No offense, but I just need to vent a little here.

Although I have noted how the game is a little hit and miss in places in threads here, I didn't really expect to be having such an ambiguous time with it.

I'm up to the "Where is Triss Merigold?" quest after the combat with Letho and just aren't experiencing the immersion or joy that I had with the first game to the point that it's not really motivating me to want to play more, something I very rarely experience with a game. So please, someone reassure me that it gets better from here!

Some of my issues have been:

- Beyond irritating action based combat system. Often Geralt moves too slowly and the controls feel sporadically unresponsive. This sensation has been more exaggerated in the two boss fights I've experienced. However, I haven't let the patch2 update in order to get a raw feeling of the game when it was released, so maybe that might be something to try to improve it. The changes to the combat system in 2.0 sound rather radical though, so not sure I want to try that yet.

- The slightly unpredictable nature of the targetting system can also be quite frustrating. The first game often got perjoratively and quite unfairly labelled "The Twitcher", but in this game I can see that term being slightly more justified. I don't think I've cursed so much aloud at a game in a long time especially during the fight with the Kayran!
I'll adjust and get used to it as I usually do in games, but at the moment I can't say that I particularly like it much.

- Utterly rigid environments that don't feel rewarding or that interesting to explore. The graphics are all very lovely and yada yada, no argument there, but they feel betrayed a little by the lack of things to do, encounter, or find. Plus the invisible barriers. Gameplay wise it feels limited (I was over the mini-games within minutes) and it's certainly not in the same league as the Gothic games.
To be honest, with the nature of the environments and visuals and even at times in the melee combat - I'm reminded of my short and forgettable time with Arcania. This might be a purely superficial comparison, and irritate some people, but I do think there are elements which are perceptibly similar; especially graphic wise and the nature of melee combat and environments.

- The story seemingly lacking in the 'neutral' role-playing choices as in the first game and being generally not as interesting or intricate.

- Unsatisfying or uninteresting quests. The jobs on the notice board for instance don't carry the curiousity that the first game's had for me, at least so far…

- Interface issues. The way alchemy has been stripped back and the stock standard lack of detail and effort gone into the journal. I'm not that interested in reading the bestiary books or what it has to say about monsters anymore…

- Strange split skill tree. Definitely not a fan of this. I didn't even bother to invest in any talents until the fight with the Kayran (when I was level 9 or so)

- The decision to focus on a more epic setting in the beginning versus the more sedate folk oriented, remote and almost rugged mystical feeling of first exploring Vizima in the first game. This is a major contrast in ambience and feeling and an area I think the first game is far more enjoyable for me. The beauty of that folk feeling is almost absent for me so far.

- Little details not carrying over from the first game. Such as having fought Zdenek once before (and the game not recognising it) or more importantly the relationship I had Geralt forge with Shani. This has not even rated a mention yet and instead the Triss Merigold relationship has been given the full (and decidedly unwelcome) focus. Given that these stories are based on novels and established lore, this all kind of makes sense and is easily explained and rationalised but the lack of acknowledgement seems to distance the player from the ability to shape/customise Geralt from a role-playing perspective.

I don't feel as interested in Geralt this time around or drawn to the wonder of what he might do in a given situation. This is logical I suppose given that it is a pre-defined character (and not really the players) but as it stands, I care less about the choices and consequences in this game than I did in the original. Hopefully this changes though!

Perhaps it's also just my tastes and expectations in the light of the wonderful time I had with the first game that's causing me to have some existential grief here. I'll persist though and get something out of it, I'm sure. The Troll quest was good fun and amusing albeit rather short…

I'll update my progress as it occurs to me and keep on adventurin'.

Cheers

Edit: The launcher has also stopped working, so I've had to just cut a new shortcut on to my desktop. Not sure what's up with that…

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; November 26th, 2011 at 16:45.
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November 26th, 2011, 21:19
First off update to 2.0 it will greatly improve combat.

Secondly, in my opinion TW2 is a 5 start game while I consider TW 1 a two star at best.

The gameplay in TW2 is so superior, the combats are actually fun and you don't have to run back and fourth a million times. There are so many choices and consequenses, and different outcome for your actions, and there is finally useful loot unlike the first game. The crafting and alchemy is also greatly improved + hard is not super easy.

There are not that little things to do around floatsam either, and the boring fetch quests are gone too. Not sure why you'd be unhappy with that if you liked the original.
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November 27th, 2011, 03:47
I'm not sure why you would want to play the game unpatched, especially knowing beforehand that it had issues.

Completely disagree about the combat. There's nothing wrong with the system, it's just the actual controls that are buggy. I haven't played it patched because I finished it before any patches were released, so I'm not sure how different it is now.

Don't know why you would feel the split skill tree is "strange". They simply divided very different skill sets into categories, like most RPGs do.

Overall, I feel that TW1>TW2, but I still think TW2 is a very good game.
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November 27th, 2011, 07:27
you need to patch up, trust us on this one. The blocking was vastly improved w/ the patch, the combat in general is better post-patch. In the Witcher vs Witcher2 combat opinions, I tend to like them both. I like the blocking in part 2, and i like the fluidity and acrobatics of the original. Part 2 does have the tendency to launch me headfirst into a group of enemies when I least expect it, as the cursor can be dodgy at times.

Alchemy is dead, which is a shame because it was pretty cool in the original game. Do yourself a favor and dont sink anything into it, give it a peek and keep on walking…

Overall, I think the original is the better game. I dislike the setting and theme of Witcher 2. The focus on more of the "political intrigue" thing is pretty much the way it is the entire game, youre a small part of a bigger war, and to me it's just… meh. In the original, Geralt was the focus, killing monsters was the focus, local quests were the focus, crazy/awesome characters were the focus. Lady of the Lake freakin' knighting me like the boss I am - now that's more my style. Not navel gazing about who's gonna have control of the kingdom next, I really dont give a fuck, personally. Now show me the way to the nearest monster infested tomb plz.

Witcher 2 gets more and more boring as the game progresses, I couldnt get to the end quick enough after the first couple chapters. I think the best character in the game was the Succubus!
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November 27th, 2011, 08:25
Have to agree that I was underwhelmed myself from #2.

I did not have any particular problem with the actiony console oriented combat and even enjoyed it for most of the game (bar the instances that they force you in dumb repeatable
qte sequences until you got it right, as the Kayran fight you mentioned). I just did not think it was such a highlight to the game, and an area that I would really need to see improved.

I believe the writing and CnC implementation were indeed improved and presented better overall and the Iorveth path was well realized and had a feeling of being with the good guys (haven't played the Roche path yet). These (and yeah the pretty graphics) were indeed the highlights of the game.

I had no particular problem with Alchemy. After I invested in catalysis and Potion specialization, I was constantly going with a virga+tawny owl+swallow or Raffards+Gadwall and with little planning ahead the game left me high and dry (not being able to drink potions) only a couple of times. But yeah, definetely not an improvent and I agree the simplification of the ingredient system was also unwelcome.

The character system. Yeah, there is streamlined (Like I was saying for Skyrim) and then there is evaporated. I am sure it makes for a couple of diversified builds but I am not a fan of these ultra slim skill trees. Not that the one in #1 was particularly brilliant, but this one is definetely cutting it a bit thin…


- The story seemingly lacking in the 'neutral' role-playing choices as in the first game and being generally not as interesting or intricate.

- The decision to focus on a more epic setting in the beginning versus the more sedate folk oriented, remote and almost rugged mystical feeling of first exploring Vizima in the first game. This is a major contrast in ambience and feeling and an area I think the first game is far more enjoyable for me. The beauty of that folk feeling is almost absent for me so far.
I think the above represent some of my biggest problems with the game. Those and the more "stale" static and restricted feeling world (no hub like Vizima i.e). Not having the ability to play a neutral path feels restricted and takes away from the roleplaying experience and replay value imo (it is also the more in character choise imo).

The atmosphere, pacing and feel of the World also took a big hit as you note. It was what I absolutely loved in the first game and they largely took that (moody atmospheric gothic experience) away in exchange for a high powered action fueled (and generic AAA polished) "Epic RPGing" experience. I think this is the kind of game Bioware wants to make but fails these last few years…

All in all the Witcher 2, while a very good game in its own right, represents a significant step down from #1 for me.

If you told me a few months back that I would be massively enjoying Skyrim more (warts and scaling and all) I would have laughed. Guess the laugh is on me
Last edited by JonNik; November 27th, 2011 at 08:44.
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November 27th, 2011, 09:22
Action oriented and console oriented are not the same thing. Except for the QTEs, which were infrequent, I don't see how anyone can claim the combat in TW2 is "console oriented".

Totally agree about the atmosphere though. In TW1, it was simply…better. I think the soundtrack had a lot to do with that.
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November 27th, 2011, 11:17
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Action oriented and console oriented are not the same thing. Except for the QTEs, which were infrequent, I don't see how anyone can claim the combat in TW2 is "console oriented".
That was the general vibe it gave off to me (a sort of what I got from watching the Arkham asylum videos a bit back too). It was probably the control scheme (seeming to fit an Xbox controller much better than a keyboard) the flashy hectic pace and the qtes (I thought those that were there more than enough). It felt like I was playing one of those console RPGs I sometimes look at a video from when I am bored/curious…

Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Totally agree about the atmosphere though. In TW1, it was simply…better. I think the soundtrack had a lot to do with that.
Definetely a significant aspect too. I didn't think the music was bad though, just a bit generic and not helping in that regard…
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November 27th, 2011, 11:20
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Don't know why you would feel the split skill tree is "strange". They simply divided very different skill sets into categories, like most RPGs do.
You're right of course and it is very familiar to the point of almost being generic.
I just thought it was a little odd that Alchemy was given its own tree seperate from everything else when it was so integral to the first game; especially when playing on harder difficulties. I was also not given the option to invest in any of the trees from the outset - think I had to use at least six talents in the Witcher training first before the rest would all open up.

There's no strength, intelligence or dexterity options to speak of either…

So yeah, I didn't really feel the need to use any talents for quite some time because of how initially odd I found the skill tree. I also liked the layout and structure of skills better in the first game.
But ahh well, I'll focus on swordsmanship in my first playthrough and see how it goes from there.

I still can't get the launcher to function for some reason, so I haven't updated my game yet. I've since put two talents into dodge whilst in combat which has assisted my movement issues a little.

I don't mind the political intrigue actually - it was still a central facet to the first game, especially in the second chapter when you're first finding your feet, searching for more clues about Salamandra and discovering the power players in Vizima. I agree that focusing on monster hunting is definitely a central joy of the game though.

Anyway, thanks everyone for all of the thoughts and feedback so far. A variety of opinions and perspectives are always interesting to read and consider. I'm just about to start chapter 2 and have chosen the Iorveth path. Seems like the lesser of the evils.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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November 27th, 2011, 11:28
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I still can't get the launcher to function for some reason, so I haven't updated my game yet.
I am not sure they ever got this to work correctly (or at least it never did for me).
Just download the patches from the Witcher site (Read the instructions first. I think you need to intall 1.3.1 and then 2.0 first iirc), and you should be good to go.
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November 27th, 2011, 11:59
I'm quite shocked to learn I'm not the only one enjoyed the first Witcher game more than the sequel.

I agree wholeheartedly with many of the comments posted above.

There were some transcendental moments in the first game that set a very high bar. For example, the scene where you get hammered with Zoltan and Dandelion and are unceremoniously deposited on the doorstep of either Triss or Shani (who promptly tears you a new one). That was perhaps my favorite part of the entire game.
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November 27th, 2011, 12:44
Why would you even think of playing a game unpatched? You know what patches are right?
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November 27th, 2011, 17:38
while the patch certainly brings improvements from a technical standpoint, it also reportedly changed the gameplay itself in the beginning of the game, making it far easier for the newcomer. One of the biggest complaints when the game launched was the initial difficulty, no tutorial, and basically threw you to the wolves immediately. Many (such as myself) found this challenging and fun, many others did not, prompting a mini backlash that led to patching.

I can respect that point of view if that's why he's doing it. Ive held off on patches in RTS games because of the nerfing that's gone on w/ certain factions due to the crying of the multiplayer community that somethings "overpowered". I like to play a game as the developers originally envisioned it. But when youre talking about the gameplay overall improved (such as better blocking), stability issues, etc it can be a tough decision.

I think once youre well into chapter 2, the changes to the difficulty are minimal, most of the alterations as I understand it was in the initial game.
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November 27th, 2011, 18:26
Sure there was re-balancing, but his first complaint is exactly what the patch was meant to address.

The 2.0 patch helps fix the speed and the unresponsive controls. I seriously never understand avoiding a patch. I don't think there's any single situation where that's a worthwhile endeavor. You know the patches are made by the developers right? If you want their "vision" (wtf), you patch the game. Otherwise when shit is broke, you have no right to complain. The first complaint the OP has is that the game is sluggish. They fixed that. There is absolutely no need to experience a broken game when a patch is available. Hate to sound like a douche, but that's just dumb.
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November 27th, 2011, 20:51
A mini-update. I've since completed the Where is Triss? quest and obtained her bandanna. Have also had a jolly good time wandering around the mines with three dwarves hacking up necrophages in order to find a dwarven immortalles herb.
The next quest will be for some Royal Blood. I think I'm about level 19 or something - just sold my Raven's Armour from the first game finally for a fresh new suit of dragon scale. So cruising along nicely you might say. Vergen so far has been entertaining.

@ Darkling - the troll-ish tone of your assumptions aren't exactly doing much for my thread.

I'm playing the game as it was first released with maybe the first minor patches installed. It runs just fine and I've experienced no crashes, bugs or instability problems; the things that patches generally are for.

My initial issue was with Geralt's movement in combat (if you read correctly) and as I've already reported, this problem has eased somewhat after I put two points into the dodge talent.

Thus technically, I don't feel or see the need to install any more patches. I also wanted to experience the game closer to what it was like out of the box rather than go for the 2.0 update which apparently makes Geralt's attacks contiguous and unstoppable by other blows. This doesn't actually appeal to me if I understand it correctly and I seldom baulk from a challenge. I'll just have to live with the targeting system being a bit clumsy.
In fact, the 2.0 experience may even be worth a second playthrough to feel the differences between the two.

Just a final point - Not everyone has uncapped internet speeds and can just download 900 meg patches willy nilly. Might want to consider that next time, or risk sounding a tad presumptuous.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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November 27th, 2011, 21:19
Originally Posted by JonNik View Post
Not having the ability to play a neutral path feels restricted and takes away from the roleplaying experience and replay value imo (it is also the more in character choise imo).
Agreed, mate. This is still very much a sore tooth for me with this game so far.

I've been thinking about the concept of Witcher neutrality as portrayed in the first game and have wondered whether it was a philosophy literally taken from Sapkowski or more just adapted to the game? Maybe someone that has read more of the novels can elaborate on this idea? I've only read the one short story which comes with the Enhanced Edition.

Perhaps one could argue that with the growth of Geralt's character and seperation from the other Witchers at Kaer Morhen, through everything that has embroiled his life, neutrality has gradually become a much more impossible position for him to maintain? It's interesting to think about it in that way.

But even so, the fact that you can complete the first game from this standpoint would give reason for it to continue into the sequel. Perhaps creating another path was dismissed in the early design phase of the game, not assuming there aren't any hints of neutralism that I haven't got up to yet of course…

I might read some more on the topic after finishing the game unless someone else can provide some more information.

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You've a goodly way to go.
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November 28th, 2011, 17:14
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I've been thinking about the concept of Witcher neutrality as portrayed in the first game and have wondered whether it was a philosophy literally taken from Sapkowski or more just adapted to the game? Maybe someone that has read more of the novels can elaborate on this idea? I've only read the one short story which comes with the Enhanced Edition.
Having read only the Last Wish and Blood of elves, I believe that the first game is pretty faithful to both the tone of Sapkowski's world and the character of Geralt.

But when the game gives you a synopsis of the Saga (the Innkeeper in Murky Waters) its obvious that Geralt had failed to retain his apathy and traditional "just a Monster slayer" role in the past too.
Last edited by JonNik; November 28th, 2011 at 17:26.
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November 29th, 2011, 00:33
I had no problem with being made to choose between Iorveth and Roche. I thought TW2 did just fine in keeping many things in shades of gray, and I was never given the impression that one path was "good" or "bad".

Considering how different the paths are from each other, I can understand why there are only two. I think asking for a third would have been a little much.
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November 29th, 2011, 07:36
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I had no problem with being made to choose between Iorveth and Roche. I thought TW2 did just fine in keeping many things in shades of gray, and I was never given the impression that one path was "good" or "bad".
No arguments there, I think they did a very good job on both writing the characters and portraying the morally gray areas that they moved in. The circumstances and events unfolding afterwards though can prove more rewarding some times if you make what initially seems like the more difficult choice (remember escorting and protecting the refugees when falling in with the Scoiatel and something similar in the context of moral rewards can be felt in the Iorveth path). I love that btw.

There is no doubt that it would be a lot of extra work and complexity to include the neutral path. I think that the game would benefit significantly from it though. It could also be the most dramatic choice, being shown the world collapsing around you and the body count rising because you once again decided to sit on the fence as is the Witcher's way and not take a stance (there was some of that in #1 but it could be made more poignant here due to the higher stakes). It would also possibly make you a target and a pariah for both factions again, also a dramatically compelling scenario…

Anyway, my true hope for #3 is that they take a step back and look at the general tone and mood of the game. I would hate to see them deviate too much from what made the original what it is imo and lose the uniqueness of the series. The Witcher is not a franchise I am prepared to let go with a light heart..
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November 29th, 2011, 11:33
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Considering how different the paths are from each other, I can understand why there are only two. I think asking for a third would have been a little much.
Perhaps I'll only be able to really appreciate this point after checking out how divergent the two paths via all of the various causes and consequences are; then seeing the branching in the story.

But to be honest, I don't think asking for one or two more neutral options at least in key quests is asking for that much given that the first game certainly catered for this position.

I don't underestimate the complexity and cost involved in doing so (additional development time etc) I just think that it would have been more true to the original game's vision and perhaps as JonNik has stated, Geralt's character.

Having said all that, I still haven't completed the game, so I won't be too hasty in making any overall judgements about the role-playing options. My impressions of the game have also brightened a little now that I've hit Vergen.

Diddledy high,
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Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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November 29th, 2011, 11:50
Can't say I really agree with a lot here - but each to his own. I'm not really sure which is the better game overall but…

- the diverging paths are far more diverging than almost any other game. I realise you can't appreciate that yet but I think you're chasing shadows to ask for more.

- the skill tree? Are we honestly saying the pathetic, non-existent character differentiation in the first game is better?

- I don't understand the desire to run an "out of the box" condition at all - they improved things for a reason.

- Political machinations - this is a definite plus for me, but I understand it's a matter of taste. I haven't read Sapkowski's original work but I imagine he set up these complex state interactions for exactly this reason.

-= RPGWatch =-
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