Character Level: 4
My Score: 75 (Paused)
Metacritic Score: 92 (no change)
Player Score: 90 (no change)
Based on my (limited) experience, the game features a lot of QTEs (quick time events) and tightly scripted scenarios that amount to mingames. A lot of people have compared the gameplay to Assassin's Creed. I can't say whether that's accurate or not, because I've never played Assassin's Creed. Which - come to think of it - might actually be the crux of the problem. I'm an RPG-only player, and the tricks and conventions of other genres are alien to me. Hell, not being able to pause is alien to me. This is one of the few games I've played in the last, oh, 15 years that tests my reflexes.
My minimum spec computer probably exacerbates this. Other people have complained about the game's lack of responsiveness - especially in combat - so it's hard to know how much of my own struggles to attribute to my puny rig. What I do know is that if I have to play a twitchy game, I don't need the additional handicap of a sluggish system.
But, I hasten to add, it's not just me. The game has some seriously opaque game mechanics, with a very basic in-game tutorial doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what you need to know. It also seems pretty buggy, even for a day one release. In one case, I encountered what seemed to be an impossible QTE that was blocking my progress. After some online research, I learned that I had to turn up the Difficulty from Easy to Normal in order to get the on-screen cues I needed to get past it. (By the way, I didn't find that out from the official forums, as they've been suspiciously "down" since the game launched.)
It's a shame, because I can see why so many people are gushing about the story and game world. The Prologue features a number of set pieces that are astonishing in their level of detail and sophistication. In a way, it's like playing through one of those premium period dramas like The Tudors or The Borgias (I've seen every episode of both, so that's a big compliment coming from me). Unfortunately, as with Gothic 2, I feel the frequent reloading mars the narrative.
Of course, I could leave the game set on Easy, disable Difficult QTEs, and probably make it through (though it didn't seem to help me in my last pitiful foray into the game). But then I might as well be watching one of the shows mentioned above. There wouldn't be much of a game left - at least not one I would enjoy. I'll probably give the game another try when the patch comes out next week, but I don't expect it will fix everything that's "wrong" with the game from my perspective.
So, this Playthrough series is suspended for now. I'll pick it up where I left off if and when I start making notable progress on TW2 again. I wouldn't even rule out the possibility of being converted to a fan at some point. A number of people whose opinions I respect seem to love the game, so I'll give it a few more chances to win me over.