The Witcher 2, the best RPG available on a Mac
Odds are you have already played ‘The Witcher 2: Enhance Edition’, the title has been available on PCs since May of 2011 and Xbox 360 users got an edition in April 2012. Those two platforms combined make up a large portion of the gaming community. There are two main groups that haven’t had a chance to play the game however, PS3 users and Mac users.
Although the game still shows no signs of coming to the PS3, gamers that own a Mac can finally get their hands on one of the best RPG series still on the market. There are probably hundreds of reviews on ‘The Witcher 2’ and listing off all of the game’s features and incredible story-line would just be redundant now, since it has been two-years since the game first hit store’s shelves.
The game recently released on the official Mac ‘App Store’ and is available via STEAM, and many interested players have written-in asking if the game suffered any losses in the move to the OS X platform. I started playing ‘The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition’ a few days after it was released, I had already played the PC version of the game two years ago. I was interested myself to see if the developers (CD Projekt RED) had to make any sacrifices when porting the game.
At first I ran the game on a Macbook Pro 2011 (Late Edition) with the following specs (2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 16GB Ram and an Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB). I wanted to try the game in a general setting, with a laptop that I felt most resembled the larger Mac-base. There were a few problems going into the game with a Macbook Pro, some that might just catch users off guard, others that were unexpected. CD Project RED writes at the top of the game’s description ‘FOR HIGH END MACS ONLY’ in giant capitalized letters, so they aren’t trying to dupe anyone at the store. I think most people just don’t understand how ‘High-End’ they mean.
On my slightly “old” Macbook Pro I wasn’t able to max-out the graphic settings without running into a lot of frame-rate problems and lag. Even with a toned-down version of the game my Macbook Pro still struggled with the title, and lag and frame-rate issues were still apparent. The game requires a ton of hardware to run on the OS X system. Even some of the most recent Macbook Pros are going to have an issue with this game. In a way it’s reassuring that CD Projekt RED didn’t “water down the game” for Mac users but it’s a double-edged sword. The incredible graphics, gameplay mechanics and immense world of ‘The Witcher 2’ requires an elite Mac in order to fully enjoy it.
Macbook Pro’s “heat-up” isn’t as apparent as their PC counterparts. This isn’t to say that Macs run cooler than PCs (that of course has countless variables to consider), but the customer doesn’t ‘feel’ the heat from a Macbook Pro as easily as a PC laptop user might. Macbook Pros generally do a terrific job at displacing the heat away from where the user would normally have contact with the Macbook Pro. This makes it seem ‘cooler’ than a PC laptop. I can assure you, that if you are maxing out your Macbook Pro and put your hand on the back towards where the screen connects, you will feel the heat that PC users are accustomed to. I say this because I have read a lot of reviews from users complaining about the heat generated from the game. I don’t think ‘The Witcher 2’ causes any significant heat problems, I do think that most Mac users just aren’t adjusted to playing titles of this caliber on their device and it could seem exaggerated by comparison.
After it became almost impossible to play on my Macbook Pro, I decided to give it a try on my latest iMac, which is also Apple’s latest iMac. I ran it on the following specs (3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB Ram, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB). With this system, running the game was a breeze, there were no lag problems and even running the game at full-specs was extremely enjoyable. I think this is the large disconnect and mixed reviews that players are giving the game on forums and on the Apple App store.
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition on the Mac is equally impressive as it was for the PC. That is, when you are playing with a Mac that can handle it. Nothing was lost in the port and CD Projekt RED did an amazing job at bringing the game to the OS X platform. The only problem is the compatibility with slightly older Macs. The system requirements on the App Store aren’t exactly accurate and it will take a patch (that isn’t out yet) to get the game running on older models.
[quote_right]If you can get it running on your Mac then I would argue it’s the best RPG experience you can buy on the Mac App Store at this time. There really isn’t anything else that compares to it.[/quote_right]You can argue both sides of the port, the game’s incredible graphics engine and gameplay mechanics running on a new Mac make it one of the best games that has ever come out for the platform. That same achievement, makes it not available for older Mac users, which shuts a lot of people out of being able to play the game. If you can get it running on your Mac then I would argue it’s the best RPG experience you can buy on the Mac App Store at this time. There really isn’t anything else that compares to it. The Witcher 2 was one of the most highly anticipated titles at launch, and since then it has repeatedly been hailed as one of the genre’s greats.
You can buy the ‘The Witcher 2: Elite Edition’ for only $19.99 for a limited time, making it one of the best deals on the Mac App store as well. What it comes to do mainly (in my opinion) is your graphics card. You need to carefully match up those numbers when comparing your specs. If you have a card that meets the requirements, then the CPU and RAM shouldn’t be an issue on your end.