The Witcher 2, Boxed Games and PC Gaming

I didn’t think that my copy of The Witcher 2 would be delivered by a courier rather than regular mail. After seeing how large the box was, I immediately understood why. Upon opening my package, I thought that GameStop had sent me the wrong edition; I was certain that there was a mix up. It was impossible that the regular edition came with the game, soundtrack, game guide and some collectables. But after some research, this huge, stuffed to the brim box was indeed the regular edition, and it is something I am not at all used to seeing.

After being trained for years to accept flimsy game cases with single sheet manuals, developer CD Projekt RED really surpassed expectations of what the boxed game should include – thinking about the players rather than the profits. Although my Witcher 2 experience began on a surprising and unexpected introduction, it would unfortunately worsen from there, not at all the fault of the game either.

The amount of money I spent on a new gaming PC is something I won’t disclose, though I will say I spent enough that, similar to my console experiences, I could just pop in the game and play. I didn’t want to worry about hardware specifications or driver updates; I just wanted to play games. But before I could play The Witcher 2, I had to install it and download the necessary updates. Four frustrating hours later, the game was installed, all 10.5 GB of the free Enhanced Edition was downloaded and a controller plugged in.

I was pleased to find extensive controller support and the graphical power, though I was not completely satisfied. Even when I try to avoid all of the advanced settings of PC games, I always end up (not by choice) downloading a file or changing a value of a certain variable. Even on the lowest of settings the environment would stutter by while walking. I did’t know what to do, leaving me with no other choice but to reach out to the community. They would eventually help fix the issue (which I am grateful for) recommending a fix that required me to download a file and drop it into a folder where the executable was located. I don’t want to alter files within the game. All I want to do is play the game, not spend hours installing or waiting for responses on forums; it’s something I rarely have to do with consoles.

Although The Witcher 2 is no slack in rendering colourful and highly detailed environments, it didn’t feel worth the money I spent to achieve this performance, or worth the time I lost trying to make it run well. To be completely honest, playing the Xbox 360 version with not so smooth edges and not as vibrant colours, would be sufficient. I always understood the importance of gameplay over actual graphical horse power, though after finally playing a highly touted PC version of a game over the console re-release, I realized that practicality and gameplay will always trump graphical performance.

This full realization did not eliminate the fact that I still had an entire game of The Witcher 2 to play, and I have full intentions of doing that. I can recognize the quality The Witcher 2 has achieved, yet I can only tolerate about an hour at a time. This is not the game’s fault or my relatively new experience with powerful PC hardware; I just picked the wrong time to buy a large, narrative game. Having just come off of games like Mass Effect 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico and even Skyrim, I’m a little burnt out at the moment. So before I progress any further in the story, I’ve decided to stop now before it’s too late. I feel like playing something mindless, involving enough that doesn’t require complete attentiveness to dialogue, which The Witcher 2 requires.