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Why I hate Witcher 2

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  • Why I hate Witcher 2

    Technical:
    - 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.

    UI:
    - 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.

    Minigames:
    - 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.

    Level design:
    -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.

    General gripes:
    - 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.

  • #2
    Hello there fizzbizz,

    Welcome to the forums I guess? At first I expected a lot of bashing without valid points to back it up, however almost all the points I do agree on. However it did not degrade my overall experience with the game and I really enjoyed it. The story is great and to me the story > gameplay, but of course without gameplay you have more fun watching a movie or reading a book. Constructive critism is good. I'm sorry your experience has been a bad one.

    Comment


    • #3
      You make some valid points, but I still liked W2 more than W1. The combat may have a learning curve but I really learned to love it, which is something I can't say about many other RPGs.

      Comment


      • #4
        I also thought this was just going to be baseless ranting, but your points are clearly valid and supported with logical reasoning so I cannot do anything but concur on some level. Most of us here on the forums were disappointed with these changes but still enjoyed the hell out of the game due to its improvement of many other features.

        I made a thread not to long ago that listed a few things that were unfortunately missing from TW2 for little reason.

        CDPR cannot simply remove features from TW1 (especially ones that pertain to the polish of the general mechanics of the game like UI, optimization, and inventory!) and expect that no one will notice.

        Thankfully from what we have heard so far TW3 will aim to correct some of these flaws.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Senteria
          Hello there fizzbizz,

          Welcome to the forums I guess? At first I expected a lot of bashing without valid points to back it up, however almost all the points I do agree on. However it did not degrade my overall experience with the game and I really enjoyed it. The story is great and to me the story > gameplay, but of course without gameplay you have more fun watching a movie or reading a book. Constructive critism is good. I'm sorry your experience has been a bad one.
          There's no need for pointless bashing when there's so many things genuinely wrong about the game.

          I enjoy a good story as well. Planescape Torment is an excellent example of game storytelling done right. W2 teases players with lore that doesn't make sense without reading Sapkowski's novels. The audiobooks are sitting on my phone but so far I haven't had the time to listen to them.


          There are elements which translate into games easily - monsters, scenery, weapons - stuff you can show.
          Lore like politics and past events do not. Those are complex events that took hundreds of pages of prose to describe in a satisfactory manner. Because of obvious limitations CDPR couldn't show them - instead they decided to deliver this exposition through dialogue.

          Generally you want to avoid this. Show, don't tell. Books do a better job of telling, games are best for showing.

          Just because an experience is frustrating doesn't mean it's bad. I'll borrow a phrase I read somewhere on the internet. W2 is like snorting coke mixed with powdered glass. The bad doesn't cancel out the good and if you've got the pain tolerance, you'll be grinning like an idiot even while coughing blood.

          Comment


          • #6
            I loved TW2 when it was difficult... when I could lose easily if i button mashed. Combat required serious effort & strategy. When I recently played the FCR mod and this aspect was removed, I found it tedious because button mashing now worked, and the bosses were terribly nerfed.

            Each to their own. I love both games, but for the risks taken by CDPR to produce something different for us gamers in TW2, I rate it higher, even with its problems.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by fizzbizz
              There's no need for pointless bashing when there's so many things genuinely wrong about the game.

              I enjoy a good story as well. Planescape Torment is an excellent example of game storytelling done right. W2 teases players with lore that doesn't make sense without reading Sapkowski's novels. The audiobooks are sitting on my phone but so far I haven't had the time to listen to them.


              There are elements which translate into games easily - monsters, scenery, weapons - stuff you can show.
              Lore like politics and past events do not. Those are complex events that took hundreds of pages of prose to describe in a satisfactory manner. Because of obvious limitations CDPR couldn't show them - instead they decided to deliver this exposition through dialogue.

              Generally you want to avoid this. Show, don't tell. Books do a better job of telling, games are best for showing.
              Lots of books do this. Through dialog. You've brought up common complaints that are so old, many have been addressed or minimized in the EE. I'm sorry but you aren't going to convince me that TW2 didn't do a good job with politics. And not all of it was told, the player has to infer to piece things together. At any rate, TW3 seems to be the best of both games.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by slimgrin
                Lots of books do this. Through dialog. You've brought up common complaints that are so old, many have been addressed or minimized in the EE. I'm sorry but you aren't going to convince me that TW2 didn't do a good job with politics. And not all of it was told, the player has to infer to piece things together. At any rate, TW3 seems to be the best of both games.
                First, did you read the original novels?

                Second, how many times have you completed W2?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I see it as constructive criticism. But word Hate is a bit inappropriate,

                  There's no reason to deny that TW2 had problems, and still has, there is always someone on Steam community that says something wrong about the game. Combat issues are mostly fixed with recent mod tho.

                  Nevertheless for how much money they had and time, they did very well. But not all of us experienced problems like our new friend.

                  Oh well you can't make everyone happy, I hate Bioshock.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fizzbizz
                    First, did you read the original novels?

                    Second, how many times have you completed W2?
                    Read three of the novels, played the game 5 times. I've seen your complaints dozens of times on the forums. A few of them are valid, like the UI woes. Some of them are subjective, like the combat. Others might be technical, like the optimization. That I could run such a graphically intensive game on an ATI 4670 attests to it being optimized considerably.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some good points.
                      When I first played Witcher 2 (I remember it like it was yesterday) I was drooling with joy, I took off work next day and played throughout the whole day. The only negative things I immediately saw were the disappearing dead bodies, the doors, oooh the doors, having to wait a few seconds after the battle to collect items as well as the confusing inventory. That's pretty much it. I was happily oblivious to any and all negative aspects of the game.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        True they are negative points. But the positive points outweigh them by a huge margin.

                        At least you dont have a crap story, crap combat, constant CTD, boring npcs, repetitive quests, meaningless world like Skyrim.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fizzbizz
                          Technical:
                          - 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.

                          UI:
                          - 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.

                          Minigames:
                          - 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.

                          Level design:
                          -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.

                          General gripes:
                          - 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.
                          You HATE TW2 because of this??? Personally I did not have any problems with lags, and even though some things could have been better (UI, maps), it is rather easy to get used to them. Location design is serviceable, and visuals are quite beautiful. Given that how much better TW2 is in terms of its plot and its characters comparative to Skyrim (sorry, but given its budget, Skyrim is an abomination in terms of story-telling), and that TW2 on Dark provides quite a few very exciting battles (Dark Souls fan speaking here), I wouldn't even be able to put "hate" and "TW2" in the same sentence.

                          Originally posted by fizzbizz
                          There's no need for pointless bashing when there's so many things genuinely wrong about the game.

                          I enjoy a good story as well. Planescape Torment is an excellent example of game storytelling done right. W2 teases players with lore that doesn't make sense without reading Sapkowski's novels. The audiobooks are sitting on my phone but so far I haven't had the time to listen to them.


                          There are elements which translate into games easily - monsters, scenery, weapons - stuff you can show.
                          Lore like politics and past events do not. Those are complex events that took hundreds of pages of prose to describe in a satisfactory manner. Because of obvious limitations CDPR couldn't show them - instead they decided to deliver this exposition through dialogue.

                          Generally you want to avoid this. Show, don't tell. Books do a better job of telling, games are best for showing.

                          Just because an experience is frustrating doesn't mean it's bad. I'll borrow a phrase I read somewhere on the internet. W2 is like snorting coke mixed with powdered glass. The bad doesn't cancel out the good and if you've got the pain tolerance, you'll be grinning like an idiot even while coughing blood.
                          As I wrote in another thread, why a hell people demand a story in TW2 to be crystal-clear to the new-comers? Nobody in a sane mind demanded that the last season of Lost, for example, would be crystal-clear for people who did not watch previous seasons. For fuck's sake, just stop bringing it up as some design mistake, and go read the books!

                          If you have no time to listen to them, or incapable of reading for prolonged periods of time, it sounds like your personal problem, isn't it? I don't think games should cater to people with reading disabilities, or with lack of time.

                          What exactly do you find wrong with TW2, what didn't it show? This sentence ("Lore like politics and past events do not. Those are complex events that took hundreds of pages of prose to describe in a satisfactory manner. Because of obvious limitations CDPR couldn't show them - instead they decided to deliver this exposition through dialogue." ) is so vague and general, that it simply does not make any frigging sense until you give examples. What events are you talking about that took hundreds of pages to describe, and that it couldn't have been done in lesser amount? How these events are important for a story in TW2? What CDPR didn't show us? If you want a meaningful discussion, be rigorous, man, otherwise it is just a smart-sounding b.s.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the maps in TW2 need a lot of improvement and the mini map on top left is almost completely uselessly.

                            So hopefully maps will be easy to use and navigate in TW3.

                            Hit detection could feel more weighty but that wasn't a major issue. Picking up items was fairly frustrating at times.

                            UI I got completely used to.Didn't encounter problems there.

                            For me it was just the maps and item pickup that were frustrating.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              @op try setting "maximum prerendered frames" to 1 in your driver 3d options and the stutter is gone.

                              Also if you hate tw2 so much then why play it? And why wasting your time posting on game's forum how you hate it?

                              Comment

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