One of my favorite holiday traditions has always been to curl up with a good RPG and really dig in. Winters in the American Midwest are a cold, gloomy affair, and like a big hot dish of your favorite comfort food, RPGs seem to compliment the winter like no other genre of video games can. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of spending my holidays in the dark, tumultuous and fascinating world of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, a game originally released for the PC in 2011, and later ported to the Xbox 360 in early 2012.
Having just finished the game, I can say with confidence that The Witcher 2 is deserving of every bit of lavish praise that has been bestowed on it. Released in 2011, a year that was stacked with some of the best RPG’s we’ve seen in quite some time, such as Dark Souls, Skyrim, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, The Witcher 2 still managed to stand out, and it is easy to see why. The game manages to be very dark, yet quite beautiful at the same time, delivering an incredibly mature and engrossing story that will hook you and keep you invested until the very end. Together with the challenging combat and the high replay value due to branching story lines that change the game content dramatically depending on what choices you make, The Witcher 2 was a very satisfying treat for a gamer such as myself, who lives to play RPGs like this that exhibit these levels of quality and depth.
Something I noticed while I was playing The Witcher 2 was how often I found myself thinking about the game’s predecessor. Released 4 years earlier in 2007, The Witcher was not only the first game in the series, but was also the debut project from Polish game developer/publisher, CD Projekt RED. I first played through The Witcher in mid-2012, and as I eagerly turned to cyberspace to discuss the game with my friends in the gaming community (a habit of mine upon completing a game that I really enjoyed), I began to notice something that intrigued me. It seemed to me that not too many people had played The Witcher. Sure, it’s a slightly older game that has never been made available on consoles, nor did it receive nearly the amount of media attention that the second game did. But what really surprised me was how many people had played the second game, but had never played the first.
Now let me clarify that I take no issue with this whatsoever. The Witcher 2 does a fine job of filling in the key narrative events of the first game, working perfectly well as an entry point into this world. What did affect me, however, was the fact that so few people have played the first game, regardless of whether they have played the second game or not. This is because the first game is a masterpiece. It is one of the finest RPG’s to be released during the PS360 generation, actually. And here are five reasons why you should play it.
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This article was first posted on January 7, 2013