After about 15 hours of playtime, I can already tell you that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is bloody awesome. And I’ve just started Chapter 2 -- I have no idea how many chapters there are, but it appears the game is divided into chunks that way, kind of like how Dragon Age II was separated into acts. I say that because beginning the final primary quest for the first chapter caused me to fail a side mission that I didn’t do, which tells me that I won’t be going back to that area of the game. Anyhow, I figured I’d write about some of my experiences so far, since this isn’t a game you just plow through in a few days.
If you’ve seen any of the developer diaries or other pre-release trailers for The Witcher 2, you already know this game’s a looker. It runs pretty well, too, at least on dual GeForce GTX 460 1GBs using the 275.27 drivers. There is one setting called “Ubersampling,” though, which actually renders the game multiple times per frame in order to provide the highest-possible quality of texture and object details, as well as smoothing of edges. CD Projekt RED recommends that only those with top-of-the-line graphics cards enable this feature, and for good reason: it will majorly cut down your FPS in exchange for a relatively small increase in visual fidelity. Other than that one feature, plenty of people are reporting that the game runs smoothly on the highest settings, so that’s good.
One thing that does annoy me with the graphics, however, is that the global lighting is adjusted whenever you transition between areas. For example, outside the city walls will be a really foggy forest with low levels of bluish light, then when you go inside the gate it abruptly changes to moderate yellow sunshine, shadows from giant trees popping up out of nowhere. Go into the tavern or other above-ground interior and it adjusts again, this time looking like there are halogen floodlights attached to the windows… Each area looks good on its own, but they could’ve done a better job masking the mood changes, especially considering how often you will be moving between them. I suppose the alternative would be to insert loading screens, but it that sense, I’m glad they left it this way instead.