2011 Game of the Year - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
by Shack Staff, shacknews.com, Jan 20, 2012 12:00PM PST
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings may be draped in the cloak of a brutal fantasy world filled with monsters and magic, but it offers an interesting reflection of real-world problems. It's a political drama where those in command are governed by fear and uncertainty. It shines light on racism and sexism in ways that shows developer CD Projekt RED is unafraid to push narrative boundaries beyond most games in its class.
Based on the book series from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher 2 goes worlds beyond the 2007 original title in almost every conceivable way (though there is some contention with the game's ending). Combat is completely overhauled--and after a few balance tweaks soon after release, it's satisfying to the point of perfection. The game can be unapologetic in its command for your attention and skill, pushing aside a generation of games marketed to the era of players raised by handholding execution.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was perhaps a game many have missed due to its demanding requirements, but it was (and remains) an adventure of epic scale and scope. It is one of the few games that genuinely offers players a choice. What you do matters, offering players a diverging path that shelves an entire section of the game reserved for choosing another path.
Beyond the joy of slaying monsters and uncovering a major conspiracy as Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher 2 is gorgeous. If your machine can handle it, The Witcher 2 may be the most breathtaking adventure we've ever experienced.
Much like any game--even those we regard as classics--The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has a few missteps; though many of its "bugs" have long since been squashed by the game's developer.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings isn't vast in the same way that Skyrim is. It is often linear in its overall story, though choices made along the way are important to the tale. Linearity is only troublesome if a game's vision is as confined as its environments are and The Witcher 2 suffers from no such flaw. It is focused. It's a wonderful game that you must play (either now on PC or this upcoming May when it arrives on Xbox 360). For these reasons and more, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has proudly been voted as the Shacknews.com 2011 Game of the Year.
The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors [here's how it works!]. Last week we revealed our "Honorable Mentions," which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' Today is our final award, the 'Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year' award.