Video Game Reviews – November 2012

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Is it weird that the burnt heretic smells like bacon?

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
CD Projekt/Warner Bros. Interactive
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PC
Street: 04.17
Every time I venture into the vast expanse of a fantasy RPG, I entertain the fool’s hope that this will be the game that redefines the genre instead of being yet another Tolkien rip-off. The Witcher 2 was not that game. In fact, calling it a Tolkien rip-off is a bit of an undeserved compliment, since Middle Earth was populated by well developed characters and an engaging storyline. In The Witcher series, the player takes control of Geralt of Wherever-The-Hell, a monster hunter who has undergone a series of unsavory experiments to become a superhuman warrior. In the second installment, Geralt’s primary quest is to clear his name after being falsely accused of murdering the king to whom he swore his allegiance. Along the way, Geralt can wander through the wilderness gathering herbs and completing mundane side quests that help increase his abilities. As far as supporting characters, all the regular fantasy tropes and clichés are present: dwarves with husky Scottish brogues, elves who are mystically close with nature and wizards who can shoot fireballs by wiggling their fingers. Though I find these fixtures of the fantasy genre to be grossly overused, the main flaw of The Witcher 2 is the aggravating combat system. Instead of being able to hack and slash your way through a horde of enemies, Geralt is limited to attacking them one at a time in an absurdly slow, duel-like fashion. Despite the mediocre storyline and the frustrating combat system, The Witcher series has a steady fanbase, which would be surprising if not for the inclusion of a trump card that few nerds can resist: lots of pixelated boobies. –Alex Springer

Reviewed on: PC (Exclusive)
Street: 09.05
Resurrecting a genre almost forgotten in gaming, Inquisitor provides a take on action role-playing games that hasn’t been seen in over a decade. If you’ve played the original Baldur’s Gate or Diablo games, you’re going to have a fairly good idea of what you’re getting into. Taking place in an alternate-history version of the Middle Ages where monsters and demons of legend walk the planet, you play a representative of the Inquisition on a holy mission to conquer evil wherever you go. A major part of the game consists of text-heavy questioning of town denizens, each sprawling conversation giving clues to cases of heresy and general wrong-doing to build a case for arresting the accused, occasionally providing opportunities to torture suspects for information. Despite the promise of sophisticated investigation, however, most quests end up being solved by old-fashioned dungeon crawling. To this end, the click-based action is a bit clunky, but still satisfying. The worst of it is the inclusion of a stamina meter that drains with every attack or defense, and stamina regenerates too slowly on its own to be more than a hindrance without potions. Items don’t stack, so larger dungeons are impossible without a backpack literally filled with healing and stamina potions. If you’re craving old-school gaming and you’ve already played everything else that the gaming world offers, give Inquisitor a try. It takes a while to figure out its obtuse systems, but once you do, there is plenty of loot-hoarding and demon-clicking joy to find. –Matt Brunk