I’m Bailing On The Witcher 2

I’m Bailing On The Witcher 2

Quitting, I was raised to believe, is a moral failing. You should stay on the Little League team through the end of the summer, even if you’re not having any fun. You should stick it out as an altar server at church until the end of the eighth grade, whether you like it or not. You should never go home in the middle of a sporting event, until the last out is recorded or the final buzzer sounds.

But the best advice for children does not always apply to the life of an adult, as I learned after graduating from college. Almost 18 years ago, I was living in my parents’ house — I almost said “basement” because clichéd college graduates are always living in their parents’ basements, but it was upstairs, if you must know — and working a miserable job at a now-defunct alt-weekly in Kansas City. On my lunch break one day, I called my dad (from a pay phone!) and told him I hated my job. His response was swift, brief and certain: “Quit it. It’s a dead-end job.”

This is the kind of thing my father is too circumspect to volunteer without a direct inquiry. It changed my life. I could quit my job! The possibility had never occurred to me before. I’ve since quit three jobs, and not always when I had another one in hand. (Note to Kotaku editors: We can make this post invisible to recruiters and HR departments, right?)

Yet I still find it hard to quit video games. I’m a completist and a historian by temperament, so I always like to start things at the beginning. In that spirit, I began playing The Witcher 2 for the first time earlier this year, as preparation for the release of The Witcher 3. I’m about 20 hours in. As much as I hate to say it, it’s time for me to tell the game that I’d like to spend more time with my family.

It’s not you, The Witcher 2. It’s me. I like you, I really do. But I just can’t stop thinking about The Witcher 3. I haven’t played a minute of it yet, but I just know I’m going to love the way I feel when I’m around it.

It really is my fault, by the way. I walked away from the game for a month — I had to travel for a magazine assignment; I had to lose 13 hours of my life to Hatred — and now I’m totally lost. I barely remember how to fight. It took me a couple minutes today just to remember how to make Geralt meditate. So it’s time to move on. The Witcher 2 has become, through no fault of its own, a dead-end game. Yet the game and I will still always have the way Geralt pronounces the “Triss” in “Triss Merigold” in the Polish-language dialogue, so that it rhymes with the last name of John Cleese.

I’m a video game critic, and a video game critic must play games, just as a movie critic must go to the movies. But sometimes, as the prophet Joshua taught us in the Old Testament, the only winning move is not to play.

Chris Suellentrop is the critic at large for Kotaku. Contact him by writing [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @suellentrop.


  • Huh.

    I bailed on the Witcher 2 kind of accidentally during the tutorial level. I think that the combat was so painful on the 360 version that I just started playing a Civ game and never got back to it.

  • It took me about three try’s to finish witcher 2. Nothing to do with the game it was just stupid real life interrupting me…….I’m glad I finished it even though that night I stayed up til 2am like some sort of young person…….I was just determined to finish the game that night.

  • You played hatred for 13 hours? Ive done 3 maximum and we’re parting with each other as bitter enemies. Hatred wants to be controversial and evil and all I see it as is a watered down, weak GTA V rampage mode.

    That aside, get back to Witcher 2! PRONTO!

    • Yeah hatred seemed quite tame from the gameplay I saw, the way they hyped it up I was expecting something like manhunt.

      That game was brutal.

  • Witcher 2 was the one I put on Easy because I just didn’t want to deal with anything besides the story. Wasn’t a fan with the combat in TW2.

    • You and me both buddy.
      Great story, unbearably slow combat on any significant difficult (ie not easy).

      The way the game requires you to prep and equip your potions BEFORE combat means it’s way too easy to be caught out and killed during a first-time encounter. It was a while ago but I think after being killed by my 3rd set of weird imp looking things (which weren’t supposed to be “hard” enemies) in the space of 100m I decided to turn the difficulty down and just enjoy the game.

      Walk 10 meters, get attacked by basic enemies, realise you don’t have potions all set up, die, walk 7 meters, meditate, brew and equip potions, walk 3 meters, fight, win, walk 10 meters, get attacked by basic enemies………….. repeat for 60 hours.

      I’m starting the Wither 3 (TONIGHT!) and will be starting on normal difficulty. I fully expect to lower it if the game starts to drag though.

      • I went with the Dark difficulty ages ago in my ‘I like a challenge’ phase. I keep coming back to it, now especially for Witcher 3. Its so damn punishing but if I change difficulty now I lose all the stupid dark level only gear I crafted.

      • The whole getting ready before fights thing is MUCH better TW3 as well as the combat.

      • My best tip for playing on normal difficulty is magic trap (leveled up Yrden). OP as hell I think.

  • The prologue was excruciating slow with every other step you take a cutscene triggers.

  • I’m kinda the same. I have already finished W2, and it’s up there with one of my fav games – but I wanted to go through again and select the 2nd path, but it’s taken me a few goes to get started, because I’d start, leave it, start again. I haven’t started W3 yet, mainly because I’ve been having dramas with Sli and surround, but I kinda fixed that – so no I have to decide.

  • I don’t remember Witcher 2 actually being that long.

    I mean sure if you wanted to play through it multiple times to see all of the endings or the different outcomes of your decisions I can see you spending a lot of time on it, but the base game underneath all of that wasn’t overly large.

    • It seems like a lot happens in Witcher 2 because of all the interactions you have with things and people, but in the end, it all ends up feeling just like… context. Context for what was really a very simple chain of events.

  • Loved every minute of W2 (except that bugged out Operator boss). Barred myself from W3 until I had finished it, IMO feels better playing through the story rather than just “saying” you did something in the next game without experiencing it or “being there”.. so to speak. Maybe that’s just me though.

  • I started Witcher 2 last week. Everyone talking about #3 reminded me of it sitting there on my pile of shame. The combat did, and still does challenges me to wonder how this almighty Geralt can survive an encounter with more than one opponent (or worse still, a company of invincible dwarves that don’t understand the meaning of “personal space” and refuse to let me roll)…. but the story has me looking past the combat failings and wanting me to see what happens next.

    I’m 37 and there have already been a couple of moments where I’d sit down to it and all of a sudden its 3am, kids waking me up at 6am the next morning. Do I learn my lesson? Hell no, need to get Triss back!

  • I have to admit that the combat in Witcher 2 was harder. It actually made me think on normal mode. But I’m loving Witcher3! They’ve streamlined things that make it all the more enjoyable!

  • I’m actually in the reverse. As well written as it is, as gritty as the world is, W3 is simply too big and too unfocused for my liking. I don’t have time for a second life.

    So I’ve gone back to the Witcher 2. On Dark mode. It’s become surprisingly easy.

    Easy because I had to focus on what I was doing rather than just spamming X and Y hoping to get a takedown. With that elf-lady who killed the two soldiers in a cave, I lied to the guards for her and she invited me for a bit of rumpy-pumpy in the nearby woods. Turns out, it was a trap.

    Fortunately, I didn’t trust her a bit so I’d prepped with Rook and Swallow, had cast Quen and used a blade-oil. Sure enough, I got attacked by I think 6 elves, all of whom moved quite fast and struck me in concert. Took me probably 6 reloads to finally sort it all out. Slash, roll away, slash, roll away, roll, roll, slash.. throw a Samus bomb, insta-kill anyone who was dazed by it. Also, timing my slashes was everything, if you get stuck mid-animation you gonna die, so careful slashing would leave me the time to roll away if someone else closed the distance.

    I also liked the tighter narrative and clearer pathways afford by its design.

  • I bailed on Witcher 1 part-way through the tutorial. I’m having a hard time motivating myself to play any sequels that came from that experience.

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