A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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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?
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