Friday, 27 May 2011
Well after an absolutely massive amount of hours I have to say I like this game. The last RPG that I ground out every single little quest was the original Neverwinter Nights, so it is a rare thing indeed.
However lets get a few gripes out of the way. This game has one of the worst introductions/tutorial stage that I have ever seen. As I play most games on the hardest difficulty from the get go I would like something that gives me a quick rundown of what button to mash to save myself before I die, rather then as I try and find the key and get cut down.
Secondly the side quests need to have markers where to find objectives. Often you find yourself looking for things to blowup/kill and you waste a very large amount of time just wandering around, this was one of the games biggest failings as I got quite pissed at one point and just got guides on where to find the damn things.
Lastly, unresponsiveness. What tends to happen in combat is that you mash the attack buttons and then realise, 'Oh, crap, have to dodge/block', but this game had a tendency to queue up 3ish attacks so it wouldn't dodge until it had finished the list of attacks that you had just mashed in.
With that out of the way lets get on to the meat.
This game is gorgeous. The environments are continually stunning and the lighting effects are spectacular. Surroundings are varied and nicely detailed and some of the places just provide a real sense of awe, especially with the shafts of a dusk light passing through trees etc. Weapons and armour also look as if a lot of attention went into them, and the vast majority of the character modelling is superb. Unfortunately there are some aspects of character models that look a little wooden in the close up cut scenes, but aside from that this game is one of the best I've seen.
If you didn't play the original Witcher you are going to be a bit lost when you come into this game, but not to worry, the story in this game holds up very well on its own. Excellent character development and the little snippets that you hear as you go around the towns collecting and completing quests gives a wonderful sense of immersion. The ability to do little things like gambling or bar brawling also adds to the atmosphere without feeling too forced or out of place. Again this game does a pretty great job.
For the most part the voice acting in this game is decent, but nothing to write home about. Occasionally there is a really good voice over and occasionally there is a poor one, they seem to balance out. The sounds in battle hold up a bit better with clangs of steal, squeals of pain and the sounds of punching someone giving a very real feeling. The ambient sounds also help with the sense of immersion.
With a nice looking interface and easy commands (once you finally figure them out) allow you to smoothly control you character through combat with a mixture of casting spells and bashing things to death with a sword. The biggest draw back of the system is that it takes a while to get used to the little things like timing and how things actually operate (things like parry were never explained). However once you get them sorted the experience is very good.
The level up system is nicely balanced as well, with the abilities giving you a noticeable improvement in combat while at the same time not allowing you to just walk through your opponents with ease. The biggest limitation with the RPG element in this game is there is not as much choice as in other RPG games.
This game is a great game. The amount of time you put into it is well worth the price tag attached to the game. Just note that the hardest difficulty is damn hard.