As I've mentioned before, my video card can not currently run The Witcher 2 properly. That does not mean though that I haven't been keeping tabs on the game post-release. Most of the people I know, myself included, found out about The Witcher 1 via word of mouth after it had already been on the market for a while. TW2, however, has received far more press and build up in the United States than its predecessor. As a result it is quite interesting to see how people receive such an unapologetically intense PC exclusive game that makes you work for everything you get. Yes I'm aware that TW2 will likely receive a console port in the future, but CD Projekt RED constantly reminds the public that their focus is the PC market. They feel that it is unacceptable to "streamline" or "dumb down" a PC release just so it will be easier to port over to consoles. That combined with the fact that it, and TW1, is currently only available on PC makes it a PC exclusive in my eyes.
From reviews I've read over the past week or so, it seems like everyone agrees on a couple of things.
1) The initial combat is very difficult, even on normal setting, and requires you to actually strategize. You cannot go in swords a-swinging and expect to rule the day. You will die. A lot.
2) The game is short by current RPG standards. People generally quote a time between twenty and thirty hours. CDPRed made every minute count, however, by not including all the padding and Fed-Ex quests that contemporary titles often indulge in. Your decisions in this game have a great deal of impact on the game's ending. With sixteen ways it can finish, some of which require a Witcher 1 save game to access, replay value is high and you will want to play it multiple times.
3) While my video card is too old to run the game smoothly, I was still able to install the game and at least get it to boot up. From what I did manage to see in game, amidst my atrocious FPS, was pretty beautiful even for the lowest all around visual settings. The camp I found myself in was humming with activity and natural animations. It also looked and sounded like what I think a king's military camp should look and sound like. Fantasy elements could not be denied, but there was a certain realism about the whole scene that made me embrace it as real. The camp did not use fantastical architecture and impractical props as a way of pointing to itself and saying "Look at me! I'm a war camp in a fantasy game!" The game honestly tried to mimic an alternate reality and from what I saw it did so very successfully. Most everything I have read has reinforced my impressions.
If you are still uncertain about whether this game is for you, Elder Geek has a spectacular video review that seems to hit on all the major points.
Image: Available as a wallpaper from GOG.com with purchase of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings