The time has almost come.  The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings is nearly upon us.  As a horde of PC gamers cling tightly to their pre-order receipts, there are many of you who are still undecided.  You call out to me, “Dave, give us more you son of a whore!”  I tweet relentlessly, post hundreds upon hundreds of screens, discuss GPU optimization with you… but yet you want more!!  You want information, you want gameplay, you want to know all that I know about the new adventures of Geralt of Rivia… and then some.  You refuse to spend a fucking dime unless I spill all the details upon this page like so much barghest blood upon the blade of a Witcher’s silver sword.

Fair enough, here goes:

There will be no spoilers in this preview.  Furthermore, any videos contained within this preview are optional, so don’t blame me if you can’t help but to watch them and wind up seeing something so mind blowing you’d wish I’d withheld it from you.  Although the game is only a day away, CDProjekt has asked me to keep certain things from you, and I shall, because they’ve earned my respect, and I their trust.  But enough of that.  What do you wish to know?  Where do I begin?  How about at the beginning…

The prologue of the original Witcher was, for lack of better words, boring as all fucking hell.  If I had to spend one more minute running back and forth amidst the Outskirts of Vizima, I’d likely not have made it any further than that.  Luckily the game picked up wonderfully after that, but that’s of no consequence.  A question I get asked a lot is, “Dave, do I have to have played the first game in order to enjoy or understand the sequel?”  Luckily, the answer is noAssassin’s of Kings does a wonderful job of catching you up on the details of the original game and then some.  Better yet, for those of you who did play the original game, you will be able to import your final save (if you can find it) and the choices you made will carry over into your new adventures.  Someone over at CDProjekt has clearly been playing some Mass Effect.  They’ve also apparently been playing Alpha Protocol because many of the conversations in The Witcher 2 will force you to make quick, timed responses just as they did in Obsidian‘s flawed yet lovable creation.

It’s in conversations such as these that you will spend much of your time with during Assassin’s of Kings.  If you’re not one for story and substance, turn away now, I’m sure there’s a BlOps server somewhere with your name on it.  For those of you who like your story as rich as the finest chocolate in the Northern Kingdoms and your narrative as deep and wide as the birth canal of the most putrid wench in all of Flotsam… you’ve come to the right place.

Choose wisely during these conversations, for The Witcher 2 is a game about choice and consequence.  The story and narrative will branch as you choose sides and turn tides, so be warned: there is no going back in The Witcher’s world, only forward toward an inevitable end.  The translation and voice acting are first rate as well this time around, and it only helps to add polish to this Polish game.  While the game is linear, Geralt’s path through it is anything but.  I myself had to play through these few chapters multiple times to experience all of the available story options, and trust me when I say that based on your decisions in-game, the world around you will be radically different.  If I had to compare the way the choice and consequence in the Witcher 2 works to any game that’s come before it, the only one that comes to mind is Deus Ex.  In fact, it feels a lot like Deus Ex the more you take sides… and turn tides.

Maturity abounds in Assassin’s of Kings.  The game world is bloody, violent, racist, sexist and vulgar.  If that’s not your thing, I’d think you’d have run along by now.  I assume it is your thing however since you’re still here and if a truly mature role playing game for a truly mature gamer is what you’re after, then once again look no further.  I may as well start with… the love scenes.  They’re marvelous.  It’s not that they’re explicit, in fact they’re quite tasteful.  It’s that someone over at CDP understands human emotion and has somehow, for once, managed to translate that into a video game properly.  I could go on and on about this, but if you’re willing, I’d rather show you what I mean.  In this love scene between Geralt and the magnificent sorceress Triss Merigold, you can learn everything about their relationship, even if you’d never known a thing about them before.  That, my friends, is good storytelling.  It’s also damn sexy (and NSFW)

What did I tell you?  A love scene done right.  After you’ve caught your breath, let’s continue on as we talk about the gameplay in Assassin’s of Kings.