UPDATE: The full preview and exclusive screenshots can be found here.
Note: I’ll be doing a full preview for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for Strategy Informer, so as not to tread on their toes I’ll just be doing a few bullet-points of my short time in our most anticipated game of the year. I’ll link to the full preview when it’s up.
- The preview build I’m playing from is almost complete, but certainly not perfect and missing a few things – like most of the Options. It’s about 10 hours of the game – I don’t know if it’s from the start or not.
- The preview build already supports Witcher 1 saves, and it found all of my multiple ones already. I simply chose from a short list which one I wanted.
- First thing’s first: it’s great. In case there was any doubt.
- And now for the important stuff: there’s a naked woman in the first two minutes of the game. Absolutely full-on nudity that in games you would only usually see in crap German “erotic” titles. Earning your Mature rating there, CD Projekt!
- The opening sections are surprisingly linear. I know full well it’ll open out later though.
- Combat’s certainly taken some cues from Batman: Arkham Asylum, just with a sword and some magic. Finishing moves are particularly entertaining, if you can pull them off.
- It’s absolutely never boring. Just when you think something’s simple… it won’t be.
- It looks utterly gorgeous. See below (click to see the picture in full).
- While there is the occasional Quick-Time Event (mostly in fist-fights), you can turn them down to ‘easy’ on the Gameplay Options menu.
- You can turn the already unobtrusive HUD on or off by pressing ‘H’.
- The opening battle is incredible. It really feels like there’s a war on… but a puny war’s not enough for CD Projekt. No spoilers.
- Geralt is voiced by the same actor as in The Witcher. A few other characters from the first game appear, but I’m not sure if they have the same actors (I think so though).
- Either way, they’re all fine. The writing and the acting is even more believable than Bioware’s – and this has proper swearing in it.
- Speaking of voice acting, the characters in this early video have been recast. The cinematic’s the same, but the voices sound much better.
- There are animated comic-style cutscenes! These are used sparingly, and are pretty cool. Remind me of Thief in a way.
- There are a few minigames to play, such as fist-fighting and arm-wrestling.
- Choices, no matter how small, can either help you or bite you in the arse. A seemingly random throwaway chat actually rewarded me a few hours later. The Witcher 1 took the ball and now Witcher 2‘s running with it.
- It’s vastly vastly vastly better than Dragon Age 2 already, and I’ve only played a few hours of it. Your choices and the story affect the entire world. This is how you do epic fantasy. Is it better than Dragon Age: Origins or Baldur’s Gate? We’ll have to see…
That’s it for now, but the full preview should be up Monday (I’ll link it when it does) along with some in-depth details on the combat, Quick Menu and just how generally bloody cool it all is. All this is only from the first few hours, so I can’t wait to see what lies ahead… is it May yet?