The Witcher 3 is set to be one of the year's biggest role-playing games when it arrives on Xbox One, Windows, and Playstation 4 this May. The third game in the Witcher series differentiates itself from other open-world action-RPGs with its dark and mature storyline filled with meaningful player choices and memorable sidequests.
To help prepare our readers for The Witcher 3, Windows Central has begun a new weekly Twitch series focused on The Witcher 2. Every Tuesday night at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific), we play through another section of the game while you guys watch the stream at Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch. Tonight we also gave out four copies of The Witcher 2 for Windows, and we'll have more prizes next week!
Did you miss the first episode of our Witcher Twos-day series? Don't worry; we've got a full write-up that will get you up to speed – complete with screenshots from the stream. Plus, catch the full video of tonight's episode!
Beginning the game
Read our previous story for a quick look at Geralt of Rivia and a recap of the first Witcher game.
The Witcher 2 opens with a dramatic full-motion video introduction, which we have embedded above. We see a king and his party traveling on a ship, celebrating. Suddenly a burly bald man throws a vial at the ship's mast. It explodes, causing a wave of ice to freeze everyone in its path. Fortunately for the king and a few guards, the king's mage quickly reacts shields the small group from icy death. But their reprieve is short-lived, as the assassin emerges from hiding and slaughters everyone.
Next we transition to another place, a forest cloaked in dense fog. Series protagonist Geralt – the Witcher (a monster hunter) is running, weakened and confused. Suddenly he awakens, revealing the chase was only a nightmare.
Geralt now finds himself in the dungeon of La Valette Castle, hanging by his wrists. A trip of guards insults and assaults him. Soon Vernon Roche, commander of the Temerian military special forces, commands them to take Geralt to the interrogation room. We see that Geralt recognizes Vernon. "I thought you died," he remarks.
In the interrogation room, Roche unlocks Geralt's cuffs and orders him to relay everything that happened leading up to the assassination of King Foltest. Geralt tells the story in three stages:
That morning, the King summoned me
Geralt awakens in a tent next to the nude Triss Merigold, a sorceress and his sometimes lover. He is soon summoned by King Foltest, but not before we learn that the King has gone to war over a disagreement with the mother of his bastard twins, Baroness La Valette.
We step outside and explore the picturesque war camp. This is the first time the player has control of Geralt. We engage in conversation with a trio of mercenaries and win an arm wrestling minigame with a soldier.
Eventually Geralt meets up with Foltest, who explains his side of the conflict with the Baroness. Nobles in her court swayed her to keep Foltest's children from him, but only so that they could gain more power for themselves.
The la Valettes, led by the Baroness' adult son Aryan, have taken up a strong position atop a castle tower. Geralt volunteers to capture a ballista in the courtyard below, though he has to fight off several enemies to do it. Next he breaches the tower under cover from Foltest's archers.
Finally, Geralt meets up with Aryan La Valette. Here players have the choice to slay him and his men, duel only him, or attempt to talk him into surrendering. We chose the peaceful option, convincing Aryan that continued resistance would be hopeless for all in his charge. Aryan drops his sword and calls upon King Foltest's mercy. (Note that his option prevents us from encountering Aryan's mother in a state of distress within the dungeon later on.)
Although Aryan has given up the fight, the rest of the Baroness' forces have not. Geralt, Foltest and crew gain entrance to the main gate after Vernon Roche himself sneaks in and assassinates the gatekeeper. Foltest's forces have already secured the Baroness herself, but not her children.
Just as our team prepares to enter the castle, a dragon swoops in and attacks. They flee the dragon while fighting through La Valette troops along the way. Having been separated from Triss, the trio of Geralt, Foltest, and Roche cross a burning bridge. \
The dragon catches up with them though, and they nearly fall prey to its attack. Thankfully some troops distract the beast with arbalest shots, enabling our heroes' escape.
We split up at the monastery.
Foltest's two children are being kept within the castle monastery. The building is heavily fortified, so it falls on Geralt to discover a rumored hidden passage that will allow entry. To do this, he'll have to explore the village below.
Geralt encounters a group of soldiers intent on robbing a handful of peasants. He can choose to threaten the soldiers in a couple of ways, convince them that the dragon will be returning soon, or leave them alone. We choose the dragon bluff and the soldiers leave.
It takes a lot of searching, but we eventually discover a well that leads to the hidden passage. Geralt downs a cat potion, giving him the ability to see his way through the dark sewers. After fighting his way through some sewer monsters, our hero emerges inside of the monastery and opens the gate for Foltest and his men.
After dealing with some belligerent nobles within the monastery, Geralt and Foltest finally reach the Solar in which the two children are being kept. Foltest orders Geralt to wait at the doors that he doesn't scare the skittish children, who barely know their father.
While the two children step out of the room to wash up and prepare to meet Foltest's men, the unthinkable happens. The priest who had been guarding the children was actually the bald assassin we first witnessed during the game's introduction! He slashes poor Foltest's throat before Geralt can reach him and escapes out a window. Geralt spies the assassin leaving in a boat with members of the Scoi'atel, a terrorist group.
Now that Geralt's three-part story has concluded, Vernon Roche realizes his innocence. Roche slips Geralt a key that he can use to escape his bindings after the guards collect him.
We do just that, killing our would-be tormentors. On our way out of the dungeon, we happen across Aryan La Valette, who suffered torture because Foltest was no longer alive to offer him amnesty. Geralt and Aryan escape the dungeon.
After parting with Aryan, our reunited trio of Geralt, Triss, and Vernon Roche board a boat and set off in search of the Assassin of Kings. The Assassin and his Scoi'atel allies are planning something more…
And with that, the game's prologue had concluded! Now you're ready for tonight's episode of our stream.
- The Witcher – Windows – $9.99 – Steam Link – GOG Link
- The Witcher 2 – Xbox 360 – $29.99 – Xbox.com Link
- The Witcher 2 – Windows – $19.99 – Steam Link – GOG Link
We'll be streaming The Witcher 2 for 90 minutes tonight, starting at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific). During that time, we'll be giving out a total of 4 game codes:
4 copies of The Witcher 2 for Windows and Mac via GOG.com
To enter, just follow me at Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch and tune in during the stream. You can watch the stream right here in this post, but you need to actually participate in the stream chat to have a chance at winning. We'll deliver codes to the winners via Twitch message (PM) during the stream. No code begging!
What's the best way to experience Twitch? If you don't have a PC, you can get the Xbox One or Xbox 360 Twitch app and watch from the comfort of your couch. Or grab the unofficial app Livegaming for Windows Phone. It has plenty of great features, including the ability to chat along with your fellow viewers. Unfortunately you'll have to add our channel to your favorites from the Twitch website, outside of the app.
I'll be available for a few minutes before and after the stream if you have any questions or just want to say hi.
Want to know what's next for Windows Central's weekly Twitch streaming contests? Here's our upcoming schedule:
- Saturday, February 14 : Guacamelee from Drinkbox Studios
- Saturday, February 21 : Chariot from Frima Studio
In addition to our Saturday contest streams, we also livestream a variety of different games throughout the week. These streams don't have contests, but they still offer a great chance to see more exciting games while enjoying our live commentary and stream chat.
- Mondays: Playstation Vita games! See what the other side gets to play.
- Tuesdays: The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360. Catch up on The Witcher saga before The Witcher 3 launches in May!
- Wednesdays: Xbox One games. This week we're playing Dragon Age: Inquisition multiplayer!
- Thursdays: Dragon Age: Inquisition! Game selected and funded by our excellent stream viewers.
We hope you'll tune in as often as you can! Set a recurring alarm on your phone so you'll always know when it's time for the stream to start.
Congratulations to these lucky dudes and dudettes!
Thanks to CD Projekt RED for providing tonight's prizes. Thanks also to tonight's cohost Xero and our Twitch stream moderators for keeping the stream friendly and giving away the prizes!