The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Game Poster Image
Mature fantasy RPG is full of sex, violence, profanity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are forced to do more than simply fight. Relationships are forged via lengthy dialogue sequences, and consequences good and bad are associated with the decisions the player makes through the game. That said, it’s still a dark game that sensationalizes violence, sexuality, profanity, substance abuse, and gambling.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our hero is a monster hunter framed for the murder of his king. He clearly leans toward righteousness and helping others, and he often solves problems through dialogue rather than with his sword. However, it’s largely up to the player to shape his character via in-game choices that let them select whether to help or condemn innocents, mete out justice, or turn a blind eye to offenders and engage in gambling and romantic trysts.

Ease of Play

Strangely, the game is very difficult to start, even on the “easy” difficulty setting, but gradually becomes a bit easier as the player’s character becomes more powerful. Menus are difficult to understand and navigate with a gamepad. Playing with a keyboard improves menu interactions, but imposes limitations on subtle movement by replacing an analog joystick with WASD keys.

Violence

Players engage in combat using a variety of bladed weapons (swords, axes, shovels) and magical spells. Blood gushes from enemy wounds, splatters the environment, and can sometimes be seen glistening on the protagonist’s back. Limbs are occasionally severed and heads decapitated. Narrative sequences show extreme acts of violence, including torture and a throat being slit.  

Sex

Several scenes show women topless, in acts of passion, and being kissed and caressed. Sex is implied by participants’ gyrating, grinding movements, and moans. No genitals are shown. Characters engage in frank sexual discussions, and side characters are frequently overheard letting loose insults involving sexual acts with family relations.

Language

Profanity is an unavoidable facet of the game’s voice and text dialogue, which includes frequent instances of just about every English curse word imaginable, including “c--k,” “c--t,” “s--t,” “f--k,” and several creative derivations. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many characters can be seen smoking cigarettes and drinking ale and wine, with some appearing to be drunk. One scene depicts a powdery substance being snorted.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a dark fantasy role-playing game clearly intended for adult consumption. It contains frequent scenes of bloody carnage, frank sexuality, extreme profanity, substance abuse, and virtual gambling. While the politically-charged story tends to push players in the directions of virtuous behavior that includes helping others, opportunity exists for players to ally themselves with clearly villainous characters and play the roles of judge, jury, and executioner in some scenes. These largely open-ended subplots allow players to make their hero as honorable or as conniving as they choose.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySorrow October 7, 2011

One great game if your over 18+

This is probably one of the best games I've played in years, but it is absolutely not safe for children. It's a M rated game for all the reasons M sho... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 and 14 year old Written byDavidBlack222 October 15, 2014

Good for mature teens

This game is not nearly as violent as many people say it is, heads may at some points be chopped off but the level golf gore is about as bad as games that are r... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymrjoe94 June 26, 2011

Great game if you give this game a chance, you can forgive it's content.

One thing i must address " Players engage in combat using a variety of bladed weapons (swords, axes, shovels)" What? When did a shovel become a blade... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpartan2004 October 27, 2013

They left out that the sex is optional.

I don't actually have this game yet, but I noticed in the ESRB review that it says: "Players can initiate brief cutscene sequences that depict varying... Continue reading

What's it about?

The follow-up to a cult hit role-playing game released in 2007, THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS is an epic dark fantasy game that follows the story of Geralt, a renowned monster hunter who, at the start of the game, is framed for the assassination of a king. As a witcher, Geralt is in possession of advanced combat skills, including acrobatic maneuvers and magical abilities. He uses these valuable skills not only in his quest to find and apprehend the real murderer, but also to carry out a wide variety of side quests that often provide players the option of choosing whether Geralt acts selflessly or greedily, on the side of good or on that of evil. Of particular note is the game’s vibrant world. It’s a staggeringly detailed and realistic fantasy realm that amplifies the authenticity of events that occur within it.

Is it any good?

The Witcher 2 stands out for its gorgeous graphics and superlative storytelling. The world you explore is enormous, stunningly rendered (assuming you have a PC powerful enough to handle it), and filled with secrets that players must seek out. Among these secrets are countless side quests that introduce you to memorable personalities and shocking events that help shape Geralt’s personality. Playing the game feels like seeing an adult-oriented fantasy novel spring to life and then stepping into it.

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly accessible. Combat can be exceptionally challenging, especially at first, and menu design and inventory management is clunky at best, confusing at worst. These are issues that diehard fans of dark, Western-style RPGs will gladly endure for the grander experience, but will almost certainly turn off genre rookies. Regardless, they ought not to take away from the game’s significant achievements in world design and narrative.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. How do you feel when you fight fantastical creatures in games? Do you feel differently if your opponents are humans?

  • Families can also discuss sexuality in games. Should we guide children playing games the same way we do when physical romance is depicted in live action entertainment?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atari
  • Release date: May 17, 2011
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs

For kids who love role-playing

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