I hope you have a very beefy system, otherwise – you aren’t enjoying this game on ultra graphics. (Just a note from the future here – I reinstalled this in 2017 with a GTX1080, running the game with ubersampling and everything on ultra, sometimes it still drops below 60 fps, even Witcher 3 doesn’t do that.)
But, if you’re willing to turn the graphics down a tad. The Witcher 2 improves upon the original in almost every conceivable way. Immensely better graphics, way better combat system, way friendlier user interface both for mouse/keyboard and controller, better animations, and a more engaging story. As old as it is, the game still looks extremely impressive. There are a great deal of natural landscapes and vista scenes that just make for great eye candy, for example. The castle siege at the beginning is quite a sight, too.
Unfortunately, like the first game, that beauty is somewhat skin deep. Just like so many areas in The Witcher were cordoned off with invisible walls and fences or unopenable doors, so too are areas in the sequel. The game makes a point of showing you that you can use your medallion to find alchemy/other ingredients, but the perceived ability to run around the map and find things fades pretty quickly when you realize all of the lootable objects are blatantly obvious and never in the middle of nowhere. As much as I’d like to call it open world, it isnt, not any more than the first game.
Most important of all the improvements in Witcher 2 is the combat system. Good lord, the combat system is so, so much better than the original unengaging, frustrating, and primitive click-timing based system that so many games like Tera and Neverwinter capitalized on. It’s an MMO game style and it has no place in a single player game, so thankfully it was changed. W2 combat plays much more like an action RPG where left and right click or the equivalent gamepad controls determine strong or regular attacks. The timing of your button presses still affects your combos and the animations, and you still get the combo bonuses from the first game but they are a little less goals this time around, and more like rewards.
I do have negative things to say. People worship this game and Witcher 1, this game especially, for being so much different. Having played it now, I can conclusively say they are wrong. The game does have DLC. It does have QTE’s – extremely stupid ones for that matter. It has plenty of cutscenes, a bad save system that scares you in to manually saving whenever possible, and it does one of those awesome things like God of War 2 and 3 both did where you start out – in the tutorial – having skills, then dumps you with a crappy Geralt who has to relearn everything he learned in the first game, as if the first time he lost his memory wasn’t enough. They don’t even try to cover it up with a story excuse. How about just being super powerful for a moment, then facing equal or tougher enemies immediately once all game mechanics are introduced? Nah? Also, you have to meditate to use potions, and the entire quick menu section is convoluted, but at least you don’t need a campfire this time around.
Overall though, Witcher 2 is a very good RPG – beautiful, fun combat, entertaining story (That bears a lot of similarity to Game of Thrones at times. Kingslayer, Vallettes always pay their debts, king with ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ children blah blah, etc.) Definitely buy this game if you liked the first one or were interested. It’s worth the price it’s at.