Monday, May 23

Hot under the collar (or how Witcher 2 slayed my "gaming" laptop)

More than any other, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a PC-exclusive release that needs to find its way onto a console. Why? Because the PC as a platform has too many variables. Take me for example: my laptop is apparently - at least according to the launcher's auto-detect option - capable of rendering the game with medium settings at the highest possible resolution. At first I couldn't believe it: Triss Merigold's flawless, female form writhing naked next to Geralt of Rivia. No stuttering, no wrinkles. Visuals of the highest calibre appearing on screen. My machine wasn't even making that much noise.

The protagonist conversed with his captivating, scarlet-haired companion. Each face animated with a painstaking level of attention to detail. I could hardly believe my eyes. I had to go and ruin it by leaving the tent where the opening love-in was staged.

The frame rate slowed to a crawl. What I can only imagine to be the processor started screaming in a high-pitched tenor. My coffee table - where the laptop resides - was hot to the touch. I wasn't mad; I was just disappointed.

 NSFW at its very best

How to remedy this situation? At first I picked the most extreme solution. I lowered the resolution and changed the settings to the lowest possible configuration. It wasn't immediately noticeable, but I couldn't play the game like this. Geralt was washed out. So were the pursuing figures in the nightmare of the Wild Hunt. It mattered not, until I saw Triss again. She was pale, plain. She looked unhealthy. This would not stand, so I immediately closed the game. For the first chapter I thought I had found a work-around. Using medium settings and a reasonably-high resolution, Triss was returned to an immaculate state.   

So now that I finally got to play the game, I engaged in a series of well-directed conversations. I witnessed a siege which almost challenged my improvised hardware solution. Thankfully, the game still looked a cut above most console releases and I was happy to delude myself with thoughts of more acquisitions for the substantially-cheaper PC platform. Even the epic battle against the Kayran was able to be portrayed with an acceptable frame rate and no shortage of effects.

As the story progressed though, my faith in the makeshift configuration waned. Firstly there were issues with a sex scene in an Elven bath and then, the unforgivable end to the first chapter; the stuttering mess that was the battle to the barge with character models disappearing or stammering about in an unnatural fashion. Still I persisted, until the battle at Aedirn. So much heat and noise; none of which was created by the game itself. Sacrifices had to be made.

Sacrifices it would seem, are hard to suffer. Saskia's blank, textureless face. Geralt was once again blank and colourless. Someone needs to optimize this for a console; I don't care which one, it just has to happen. I need to know that what I'm seeing on screen is the best that it can be. I need to know that I don't need to spend upwards of a thousand dollars for the game to be as beautiful as it should be.

 How could you ruin a love so beautiful? Try setting the configuration to low.

Has anyone else picked up Witcher 2? Would any console gamers like to see it ported?


  1. Getting me a pimped out PC after I get my tax return baby! Guy that Matt and Mitchie know is building it for. Will end up costing about $2000, but will have 2 top end graphics card and be the top end of gaming PCs.

    Now the real question here is should I get BF3 for PC or PS3, or both?

    Will you be playing it much? Cause that will probably have an effect on my decision.

    On the topic of PC games moving to consoles, now days there aren't many PC games that don't make there way onto consoles outside of MMOs and RTS. And honestly, these are hard to do on consoles.

  2. I'd say get BF3 on PC because I hardly play anything online for a sustained period of time anymore. That and you'll be able to have 64 player matches on PC. No contest in my opinion.

    Witcher 2 would be easy to port from a control point of view as there already prompts for the Xbox360 controller. Plays really well with it too.

  3. yeah I was thinking of getting PC. I was talking more in general for PC games. Surprised Witcher 2 was ported already.