The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - What We Want From The Sequel
Written Wednesday, April 25, 2012 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is ace. Killer dialogue, memorable characters, a courageous splintering storyline and some wonderful incidental details ensure that it’s an RPG unlike anything you’ve ever played. But it’s not perfect.
Despite our eternal love for what developers CD Projekt RED have created, we reckon there’s a few areas that could be improved. So strap on your double sword holder, slip into a meditative state and read on for what X360A wants from the next Witcher game. Y’know, if there is one.
TELL IT TO ME STRAIGHT
The Witcher 2 struggles to tell a meaningful story. It’s chuffing great in parts, don’t get us wrong, but it’s also a little unfocused. The next Witcher game needs to address this.
Part of the issue is that CD Projekt RED chuck you into the middle of a story that’s already underway. It is a sequel after all, so there’s not much they can do about that. But some of the basics are overlooked. The next Witcher game needs to let the conflict play out to a conclusion. It needs a proper structure, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And Geralt needs to be at the centre of it.
If you take Shepard away from Mass Effect, then the whole galaxy dies. If you take The Prisoner away from Skyrim, then the world will be destroyed. Take Geralt away from The Witcher 2 and Temeria’s little game of thrones would continue without him. The stakes need to be higher.
In the next Witcher game everything should revolve around Geralt. He needs to be the hero and the saviour, the villain and the betrayer. Success or failure should hinge on his every fight and conversation. He needs to be the story. Andrzej Sapkowski wrote two short story collections and five novels about Geralt. CD Projekt RED should use that to their advantage.
In the author’s homeland of Poland, Sapkowski is a big deal, outselling the likes of Michael Crichton and Steven King. Thanks to this The Witcher is pretty much a household name. So in the next Witcher game, we’d like to spend more time being a witcher.
A quick recap: Witchers are mutated monster hunters with supernatural reflexes and skills, capable of magic and skilled with a sword. It is their role in life to roam from town to town, slaying magical beasts and giant nasties. Yet in The Witcher 2 there are only a few occasions for you to execute your professional badassery. And that’s a shame.
Now, we’re not suggesting that CD Projekt RED turn The Witcher 3 into Monster Hunter, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hunt monsters. Geralt’s profession is tailor made for videogames. It’s perfect! So while we don’t mind getting wrapped up in Temeria’s various squabbles, lets also remember that sticking a silver sword in big ugly brutes is what Geralt does best.
And we mean BIG ugly brutes too. Less of those piddly little Endrega things and more of the gargantuan bosses; Temeria’s Kayrans, Draugs and Dragons. Bring them on and let them taste our wrath! Or something.
LIKE A BOSS
Right. If there’s going to be more monster killing in the next Witcher game, then the boss battles are going to have to improve. Because, let’s be honest, in The Witcher 2 they’re pretty mediocre.
We’re trying not to spoil anything, but The Witcher 2‘s big bosses fall into two familiar camps. Most just involve twatting a monster over the head for longer than usual while using your shield spell thingy, while another involves hitting weak points, watching an “ouch” animation, then doing it all over again. Snore.
We’d like to see the next Witcher game take some tips from Dark Souls and Demon's Souls. Have big, nasty, fearsome bosses lurking in the shadows of each area. Make them huge and scary and genuinely dangerous. Hell, even make some of them out of bounds until you have the strength or abilities to tackle them. Let us build up to the fights, learn battle tactics from the harassed locals, then go plunging in...
If CD Projekt RED can pull off monster hunting properly, then when we strut away from a battle with some massive ugly thing’s eyeball as a trophy, we’ll truly feel like a witcher. And it doesn’t get much more badass than that.
The Witcher 2 is a big game with plenty of content. But it’s also deceptively small. Each of the key areas are not linked in any way, they’re essentially hubs with environmentally varied surrounding areas. And that’s fine. But we want CD Projekt RED to make it bigger.
Now, we don’t want the next Witcher game to tackle Skyrim in terms of scale. That would be insane. Neither do we want the size of the environment to necessitate tile-based level design. The Witcher 2’s handcrafted caves and towns are part of its appeal. But if we’re roaming around as a lone wolf witcher, then let the world have some scope and let us feel like we’re exploring within it.
As a result of this we’re going to need transport. Namely: a horse. In the Witcher stories Geralt always travels with a horse called Roach (not to be confused with Vernon Roche, the commander of the Blue Stripes). They're not always the same horse, but they always have the same name. Don’t ask why. In the next game we reckon CD Projekt RED should bring Roach along for the ride.
Oh, and a better map please. The Witcher 2’s map stunk the place up like warm Kayran dung.
So there you have it, just a few things we would like to see addressed in the next Witcher game. It’s already pretty amazing, but with a few tweaks it could be insanely awesomely amazing! Which is better, obviously. All we need to do now is cross our fingers and hope that CD Projekt RED actually make one.
But what do you think? Would these changes ruin The Witcher completely? Are we giant idiots that should never be let near a keyboard again? What changes would you bring to the threequel? Let us know in the comments.