The Witcher is one of my all-time favorite RPGs. When I played it in 2007, I was immediately engrossed by its incredibly complex quest design and was particularly impressed by how it handled moral choices. It felt a lot like an old-school RPG dressed up in a modern skin -- it was sort of the best of both worlds. So I had pretty high hopes and expectations for The Witcher 2, but it didn't wow me as much as the original did. There are some things about The Witcher 2 that are technically superior to the original, but the two are ultimately beasts of a slightly different nature.
Whereas The Witcher is predominantly an RPG designed for enthusiasts of classic, old-school RPGs, The Witcher 2 is more of a cinematic action-RPG designed to interest a more mainstream audience. There are things I like about each game, and they're each very fine games in their own right, but I definitely prefer the greater complexity of the first game. In this article I'll compare and contrast the two games on specific points like quests, story, exploration, combat, atmosphere, and so on, in an attempt to determine which game's execution works better.