First, a recommendation I have yet to see(sorry if I missed it):
Divinity II: Dragon Knight Saga
Second, some words on The Witcher 2(played w/o patches):
—Combat is a huge part of the game, and thus weighs heavily when rating the overall experience.
One of the biggest issues with combat which is more of an issue in early game play(before one unlocks upgraded quen sign, group finishers or heliotrope sign - all OP IMO) is the inability to jump/flip out of an enemy gang bang -> insta death if surrounded. For me it is more of an issue since the first game implemented a flip/jump/cartwheel mechanic. An evasive skill set of that nature, in addition to a roll, is both needed and justified(witchers are mutant freaks with cat eyes, back-flips should be second nature).
Another issue with combat isn't so much the learning curve or difficulty, it is the rapidly diminishing enjoyment as Geralt becomes massively OP as the game progresses. Which can simply be a matter of spamming signs and attacks until your adrenaline/finisher and/or heliotrope(SP?) ability is charged, then taking out those pesky shield wielding opponents is as simple as pressing an awesome button. I know I know, I don't have to press the awesome button… But I don't have to get better gear, use potions or assign skill points either. Heck, I could fight the bosses with a shovel or club too. It shouldn't be my job to balance difficulty… Long story short, they could have done a better job of balancing the difficulty(FWIW I played on hard).
The QTEs were merely annoying but, at least in my experience, the combat cutscenes(EG finishing off a stunned opponent) broke the flow of combat.
The targeting system needs some tweaking. Kind of annoying when jumping between targets despite holding the button down to lock onto a target…
Alchemy is also hit or miss. You cannot drink potions in combat... Which means you have to guess, already know what is in store, forgo using alchemy(beyond using cat in dark dungeons I skipped alchemy altogether) or simply stay hopped up on your favorite potions. The potion timer does not stop during conversation. So you potions, oils or places of power will continue to count down when talking with someone. Alchemy needs some fixing to make it more meaningful/relevant.
Boss fights, while not all bad, were overdone(IMO). To me, a boss fight should be more than a bloated HP monster but require some tactics(Kayran was a mediocre boss fight - though the Kayran trap was a little bit of a let down, I had hoped it would have done something different than insta kill one tentacle). The queen endregas(SP?) were really tough when attempted early in chpt. 1. I'm not proud to admit it, but before I became fluent with the game's combat mechanics I placed traps all over the area where the queen would spawn… Something like 30+ traps, I didn't even have to land one hit ><.
—Loot, I thought it was overdone. Also, there are no repercussions for stealing/taking everything and anything - even if done in plain sight.
The excess loot isn't a deal breaker, but it does detract somewhat from finding or earning a new shiny… This is more of an issue in chpt. 2 and chpt. 3. Especially after splurging to buy the draugir armor design in chpt 2 only to have it become obsolete before even finding someone to fashion the damn thing!
Although it didn't bother me much or really have a perceptible negative impact on the game… Having to buy the designs/schematics/formulas for all materials, swords or armors did not make any sense to me… Now I can understanding stumbling across some rare or obscure design/schematic/formula then finding a crafter to make use of it. But that was not the case 99% of the time. If the crafter already has the knowledge he should make whatever item it may be(for a price). His ability to make the item or the price of the item should only be a function of whether the crafter or player has the necessary components.
—UI suffer from a case of consolitis… But we live in a console-centric gaming era, so I won't hold it against CDP.
—Narrative is where the game really shines(IMO)... Let me just preface this by saying that I enjoyed the Witcher 2, early on it was incredibly engaging and kept me glued to my PC. Unfortunately(IMO), it steadily lost it's sense of openness as the game progressed and became a tighter experience
around the time you had to pick sides
. Though I can understand why they railroaded the PC into choosing a side, versus allowing for a more witcher like/neutral path… (I can only comment as a person who has played both TW1 and TW2, I have no experience with the any of the books the game is based off of.) Witchers are a dying breed, both literally and figuratively… It's a major theme in both games - they're infertile as a result of the their transformation, most(all?) of the witcher schools/those who possess the knowledge to create witchers are gone/dead and monster hunters are fast becoming obsolete. The few that remain must survive, which means adapting.
TW2 has an interconnected storyline(s), that of the Witcher(s) and that of the hegemonic monarchies/ruling elite(mages included) and conversely the peasants + lands they claim as theirs(I won't say more so as not to spoil things)… I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like the political intrigue and that they attempted to link/contrast the two sides(ruling class vs common man) and the ramifications of Geralt's decisions. It really gives an interesting spin on C&C, though it is somewhat linear towards the end and some choices are classical false dilemmas(IE excluding other viable options, but that's a necessary evil in a game with a branching story/plot).
All in all a good game, definitely a highly recommended aRPG.Edited by MasterKromm - 6/9/11 at 1:15pm