I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of huge fantasy RPGS like the witcher, skyrim, kingdoms of Amalure, and the like. They have huge towns and even bigger maps where tons of people offer you tons of quests and tracking everything is a pain. You have a bunch of items that you pickup everywhere, some you could sell (but hold on to), some that might be used to craft something sometime in the future, you get a couple of skills and powers, some of which help you, some of which aren't enough to have you manage to defeat very strong enemies (that you can go fight right away because the world is so big and some foes are bound to be stronger than you) and you learn through trial and quick-saving what you can and can't do.
The Witcher 2 does a bunch of right things
I love skill trees, even when some of the skills you NEED to take aren't really interesting, W2 has four skill trees (one you need to invest in until you're level 7) and then three main trees, swordsmanship, magic and alchemy. Most of the upgrades are passive bonuses to your existing stats and spells and some of them are stronger attacks or basic mechanics (such as being able to parry in all directions) that you need to spend some points on. Even more interesting are the mutagens that you can allow to certain skills, granting you passive bonuses to whatever they boost (increasing spell range, maximum hit points, etc.) so you have skills and items to upgrade your character in a passive way. That being said, the mutagens are dropped randomly and can be used as crafting materials, so you might want to hang on to some of them.
The game is also very good at telling you what effects are on your character at all times. The character sheet tells you everything there is to know about all your stat changes so it's easy to see how you've built your Witcher. You also see the passive skills you've unlocked through the way you play (if you use fire magic a bunch, you'll get bonuses, if you intimidate people in conversations, you'll get better at it) and passive bonuses you get against certain enemy types that you're learned enough about. I wasn't able to find any books related to that but killing a bunch of enemies will also grant you some knowledge.
The game flow is also pretty good, you run around swinging your sword at things, dodging around, casting magic and dodging around some more, I liked the combat in W2 even if sometimes I felt like my spells didn't connect even tho they would've.
The interface and loot system is kinda bad
Not being able to switch between your different interfaces while you're in them is a pain, you have to quit out of the inventory to open the character sheet and all. The inventory is cluttered with a huge amount of sub-categories for your items, traps, bombs, throwing weapons, armor, junk, quest items, recipes, crafting materials, enhancement items, the list goes on. You also find items in every container, felt, thread, cloth, ores, dusts. All of this can be used for something, but you're not sure what, and picking everything is what people do so this is no exception. You also find money and equipment sometimes (but you start with some neat epic armor that will be good for a chunk of the first chapters) and the amount of flowers and mushrooms and herbs you can pick to craft potions is also pretty large, they're everywhere.
You can't drag poisons in your quick-use bar and you can't even drink potions from your inventory and the quick menu you can get in-game is mostly useless. I know that Geralt needs to meditate before you can drink potions, but that means I'm never going to use them. You can't meditate in combat and you can't know what kind of enemies you're going to face beforehand.
Facing ghosts, I wanted to apply ghost oil to my blade and had to do that in a menu, why not leave the oils in a quick-access wheel, available when you pause the game? The fight when horribly wrong and I wished that I could have more life regeneration, but it was too late, you can't drink potions in combat, and so I died, having to reload a save made half an hour ago. I never used the quick pause menu because I mostly used the fire spell and everything else wasn't useful in life-or-death situations.
How I would fix this
The whole meditation aspect is really neat setting-wise but on a matter of gameplay, I'm not a fan of it. I think it would be more fun if you could coal your weapon with poisons on the fly, it would be more fun if you could quaff potions whenever you need to (and maybe some potions should have more instantaneous effects instead of slowly regenerating your health but that's another story entirely). The inventory should be easier to navigate, some items could be in the same category and they should've calmed down with the crafting/alchemy/loot system.
No need to be able to get a thousand different items (some enemies will drop their fangs, claws, hides, brains, blood, etc.) that you can break down to alchemical components or sell when it's unclear if you're going to use them. They should've lessened the number of components and added more junk loot (only usable to get money) and the components could've broke down automatically (or maybe after a trip to some store, but that adds some hassle). So if you loot a monster that dropped its legs, beak and wings, maybe the wings are worth some money and nothing else, maybe the legs and beak break down into whatever alchemical components they're usually going to be. You'd then carry 'components' instead of 'a billion of different items with no apparent value'. That would streamline this and make it easier to understand.
I'm always overwhelmed by the quest systems in this kind of game but I really like how flavor text for the quest (or directions) get updated as you progress through them. They should've gone a bit further with some of it tho, I was doing a very simple quest to destroy monster nests and nowhere did it tell me that I actually needed a specific kind of bomb to do it. My character refused to do anything to the nests before I read online what I needed to do.
Some quests are also very vague about where you need to go to complete them. No manner of arrows nor directions (I would've loved at least a zone where I could've completed my objective in) for a quest requesting me to kill two spider queens. If the items I needed were static and didn't move, why not show me where they were? Finding them in that forest was more annoying than fun. One last thing about quests; I find it annoying when games switch the active quest because a new one appears, if I'm tracking a quest that I want to do, don't switch it up.
How I would fix this
Be more straightforward with the quests explanations, don't just shrug off and say "I have to destroy these nests" if bombs are the missing element. Show general directions of things to do if you don't want to pinpoint them exactly for the player because while exploration is fun, it should grow naturally out of player choice, not because you need to find one spider egg and have no clue of where it could be.
This game is interesting, but too difficult for me
Even on easy, I couldn't defeat some ghosts without dying and losing a bunch of progress. Frustrations related to being unable to heal at all during that fight and uncertainty as to why I was overwhelmed such by these opponents made me not want to play this anymore. It got charm and content for hours, I'm sure, but being terrible at the hack-and-slash-dodge made progress really difficult.