I had heard of The Witcher series in passing a few times, but, being a console gamer until just recently, the series wasn’t really on my radar. All I knew (mostly thanks to Yahtzee’s Zero Punctuation reviews) was that they were supposedly complex to an unnecessary degree and that their developer, CD Projekt Red, was extremely generous with DLC and patches.
About a month ago, I finally took the plunge and built my own gaming PC. After indulging in a myriad of indie titles that I missed on console, my birthday rolled around and a friend bought me my first AAA hardcore PC title: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
At first, I was a little torn. The world was fantastic: a perfect mix between Tolkien-esque fantasy, and the maturity and political maneuverings of Game of Thrones. The characters all had rich personalities and motivations, and the story left enough mystery and intrigue to compel me to keep playing, but initially the gameplay looked too complex and too difficult to get through without a Witchering for Dummies book.
The gamepad controls felt like there weren’t enough buttons on the controller to properly do everything and the mouse and keyboard seemed to use every single key possible. On top of that it felt like there were a dozen different management screens I had to learn about, and a billion more items, systems, and mechanics that I had to perfect in order to succeed.
But then as I continued to play I slowly began to master the different elements. After settling on using the mouse and keyboard, the combat, at first difficult and frustrating because of my unfamiliarity with the controls, started to flow more naturally, rewarding skill, timing, and preparation. The management screens became less daunting as I slowly explored each one and realized their functions. I learned how to brew potions, craft items, apply mutagens, and activate Places of Power. All of these elements that at first seemed disparate and complex slowly revealed themselves as I played until they felt as natural as .
By the time I began working my way through the side missions in the first act, the game had taught me what I needed to know without making me feel like an idiot for not understanding all of its mechanics immediately.
Now I’m approaching the end of the first act and I can’t stop playing. Late at night I fight to stay awake so I can hunt down just a few more endregas and craft a new sword. I wake up and immediately I want to jump back into the world and keep playing.
To put it plainly: I’m in love.
Check back every week for new thoughts, opinions, reviews, and whatever else pops into my head.