The Witcher 2 does away with the simplified good versus evil, angelic heroes that have never made a mistake in their perfect lives and enemy bad guys that are portrayed as extremely evil, two dimensional characters that want to destroy the world for no reason and eat kittens… Nope, You will not find that sort of black and white, good versus evil here. What is good and what is evil? Did I just choose an evil Satan styled action when I slapped that priest across his bald, shiny head? Was the priest withholding important information that could save lives and did he deserve a slap across his baldilocks?

No Mass Effect styled Paragon or Renegade meter’s here, just your own decisions on what you believe to be a good or evil action. Your decisions are ones you must live with and mull over their consequences yourself. This omission of any actual meters or bars telling me if I am being a good or bad guy is a refreshing change for the RPG morality system. Life is not as simple as people made up of pure goodness and those that are made of unholy evil. Mass Effect did allow for a mixture of both good and evil but it, in no way encouraged you to play as mixture of both. You locked yourself out of further paragon and renegade options as well as conversation options later on in the game if you played sitting on the morality fence.

The Witcher 2 attempts to blur the lines between good and evil and it tells an adult themed story that is not as cut and dry as your regular RPG’s. Violence, gore, sex and boobs (hehe! I said Boobs!) are all present in the game and this mix of the adult themes with the mix of tainted perspectives of what is good and what is evil all come together to bring the RPG genre into adulthood. The children and teenagers that played RPG’s in their originality heyday (See: Final Fantasy 7, Morrowind) have grown up and are now adults and the RPG’s they play should grow up with them. The Witcher 2 has grown up and there are no floppy haired teenagers, white knights of the purest pureness of heart and no awkward dancing sections or laughing section oddities.

The Witcher 2 is a lot more than a simple port from the pc version of the game. The Witcher 2 has been crafted beautifully in this conversion to work better than many other previously ported games. There is still some screen tearing but this is a minor problem and this has all but vanished since installing the game to the consoles hard drive.

The protaganist; Geralt, himself is witness to a conversation whereby one character says: “Witchers do not have feelings.” This sums up the attitude of Geralt and other Witchers we come in contact with during the game. Witcher’s are monster hunters whom show no mercy and no remorse as they slice a Nekker’s head off or beat a an Elf to death with a club.

Mass Effect games attempt to push us towards being evil or good but ultimately the universe will be saved by our Shepherd even if we do go around slapping reporters and sacrificing puppies (May not actually be in game). This contradiction of the choice of the player’s game play decisions clashing with the overall narrative framing of the story is a prime example of Clint Hocking penned term; The ‘Ludonarrative Of Dissonance.

Fable games approach the morality system with a few more ticks up it’s sleeve than Mass Effect but your character is still either a ‘Perfect Peter‘ or an ‘Evil Elvis’. There is little in the terms of middle ground between the two polar opposite sides of morality. The morality system is a collection of the players choices, so are ALL players solely good or all-evil? What about those of us that would shoot the hell out of one village filled with villagers but then later help an orphan and rescue a tramp?
I played Fable as a Robin Hood styled character, I stole from the rich villagers, I even killed a few of them but I always gave money to the poor people in the poverty-ridden areas of the game world. I helped orphans and I stole from the rich to give to the poor. Am I a good guy or a bad guy? Depends if your rich or poor, as to which answer you would give to that rhetorical question.

The decisions and events in The Witcher 2 can change depending on the decisions you make but not solely on how evil or good you are. You can choose to magically persuade someone with the AXII spell into telling the truth and in turn extract the relevant information from them or you could try intimidating or paying someone to get what you want, or you could play the good guy and help them out with a favour and in return they will help you. Are you a good guy or a bad guy? Who cares? You do what you have to do for the job to get done. This non-judgement of my actions by the game (and in particular the games developers) has been a refreshing change that has allowed me to simply approach each person, decisions and event with a clear mindset. This allowed me to approach situations with completely different actions. If I were playing a Paragon in Mass Effect, no matter how much I needed some information In keeping in line with my characters holy morality, I would play Mr.Nice Guy, where slapping them around the head would probably get me the information quicker. In The Witcher 2 an a Sorceress may be lying to be I should attempt to gain her trust and help her out in order to get the information I need. This kind act towards the Sorceress would be a Paragon styled approach but then if I come across one of her helpers who is annoying or unhelpful, I could smack him right on top of his stupid head and these two conflicting actions would not matter at all.

The Witcher 2 does not judge, Whatever We Will Be, Will Be, Que Sera Sera.