The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Common Sense Media says

Mature fantasy RPG is full of sex, violence, profanity.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
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.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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 (Windows)

This review of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymrjoe94 June 26, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

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 bladed weapon, does that mean that my kitchen spoon is as deadly as a sword? Now onto the comment. The Witcher 2 is surprisingly mature. The 1st scene of gameplay you're seen in bed with a girl. But as i tend to believe there's nothing wrong with nudity in the slightest. Violence is standard Fantasy affair, blood spurts when hit, brutal counter attacks etc. Language is what you would expect in an M-rated game. The actual game itself is pretty awesome actually, it's a shame because if you remove a bit of cursing and cover up the women it could easily be rated Teen. I think a wider audience should experience this wonderful game. If you can take the content that is. Your "kid", (likely a 10 year old wouldn't be interested, unless he's seen Lord of the Rings. Which is about as bad as this game.). It could just be the fact that i'm 16 and under rate how "awful" Nudity and Cursing is.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byLowix August 15, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Very frustrating and just vulgar

Very frustrating and just vulgar. The gameplay is very frustrating, there are many boss fights that kill you with one hit, and you will be watching the loading screen more than you will be playing. Also, everything seemed over the top gratuitous. I don't think a char in this Witcher world can form a sentence without using the F word.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bySorrow October 7, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

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 should be put on a game. Despite what the tags say, it shows full body nudity. cocaine use swearing like the language is harsh. But it's surprisingly well written, the thing that got me about the game is that after 20 years of playing videogames I've gotten used to people in games acting like videogame avatars.. But the people in these games act surprisingly 'human'... Edit: A P.S: And if your P.C. can handle it... You need high end specs for this game...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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