- awful, terrible cursor lag, I'm assuming a consequence of a cross-platform hack (it'll work on PC fine, said some lazy programmer)
- dreadful engine, dreadful optimization. Doesn't handle system events like losing window focus well. Fault tolerance and graceful degradation was left buried in the TODO list. There is significant stutter (exceptionally high render times for certain frames) due to suboptimal asset streaming.
- shopkeeper UI convoluted and not intuitive. It's hard to discern which stuff belongs to you and which is the shopkeeper's stuff. For some reason the gold you have is displayed above the shopkeeper's list of items
- the in-game map viewer is an abyss of awfulness. UI elements get clipped and it's possible for the player marker to get clipped. The small overworld map gets replaced with the big overworld flavor map - adds nothing gameplay-wise and gets in the player's way.
- Upon selling an item, once the list gets updated, the player may not sell the item that has moved up under the cursor until the cursor has been moved.
- In-game map is mostly accurate in terms of defining passable areas, but for a game with a maze-like level structure the quality of maps as tools for navigating that must be much higher.
- dice poker gets a redesign from W1 in all the wrong directions. It makes it all too easy to throw dice off the board, making the player just drop the dice instead. The UI is clunky and doesn't explain the rules of the game in any way. Not even why the player won or lost.
- The brawling minigame was mechanically trivial and extremely easy. Proper testing was not done, timings did not adjust dynamically (as in dynamic difficulty) neither did they scale with player-selected difficulty.
- The arm-wrestling minigame was OK, but again no (perceptible) difficulty scaling.
-Effective map size and freedom of movement has been DECREASED compared to W1. One step forward, one roll backwards.
- Maps form a maze-like network with narrow chokepoints separating sections of the map. Maze-like levels are a valid design choice for areas where confusing mazes are appropriate - eg. dungeons. In W2's case the maze-like nature of hub areas is confusing, hard to traverse and disruptive to the overall experience.
I understand technical limitations and lack of engineering expertise to go and pull a Skyrim on last-gen consoles - the game has suffered tremendously due to this.
Animations and combat
- Geralt attacks enemies using random animations, the player has little control over which move gets executed
- Target selector is semi-broken. I do not change my targets with confidence. The system is so buggy and clunky that I rarely use it at all.
- The combat system is schizophrenic in what it's trying to achieve. On one hand it goes for the skill/timing/action-based approach (reminds me of a bad version of ONI), on the other it doesn't give the player control. Animations are lenghty, Geralt is extremely unresponsive compared to games that do this right. This is on top of poor performance - the quicker a player must respond, the more responsive the game must be.
- Enemies are damage-spongy, unlike Geralt. My latest experiment involved FCR2. A guard can be hit by 26 wizard fireballs before dying. Geralt takes two before he croaks.
- Erratic difficulty. There are several encounters that are effectively very hard when they shouldn't be. How difficult a fight is is primarily dictated by whether the player has the space to manouver and kite the enemy
- Whenever the player experiences death by cutscene. Especially when it would be technically possible to win such an encounter. This is terrible, terrible design. NEVER TAKE THE WHEEL AWAY FROM THE PLAYER, EVEN IF HE'S DRIVING STRAIGHT INTO A TREE.
This is ironic as the game certainly allows the player to make mistakes and fail quests. However it does take away control at certain crucial points. This smells of bad design.
- Internal inconsistency in mechanics. While sneaking through the camp in part 2 the witcher has to charm a cook in order to avoid detection. This can only be done if the player is very close - much closer than the actual range of the axii sign. In addition the player has to spam the LMB instead of using the button the player normally uses.
And I liked W1. Hell, I think that mechanically and technically it's a much more competent game than W2. W2 is a hard game due to all the wrong reasons. It tries ambitious ideas, which is awesome, but also breaks a lot of stuff that worked from W1 and introduced it's own issues.
It's wall-punchingly frustrating.