The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition
Reviewed by
James Wright
on
The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition 360 Review. It's definitely up there with Skyrim and Dragon Age, however in my personal opinion, this game tops them both thanks to the adult orientated story and enjoyable gameplay that will probably have you coming back again to this wonderful universe. Wow... what a time!
Rating:
4.75

Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 9.5
Sound 9.5
Value 9.5
Distributor: Namco Bandai
Review Date:
April 2012
Reviewer:
James Wright

9.5


The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition

XBox 360 owners can now experience the ultimate Witcher experience in The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition that transforms gamers into the mighty Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher who becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy that is linked to a chain of royal deaths. For Geralt, this conspiracy begins with King Foltest, Geralt's current employer and when he is unable to prevent the murder of the king, he is labelled as a king slayer which forces him to hunt down one of his own, a rogue Witcher.

Best of all, those gamers who have not played the previous game can still enjoy this title because Geralt has lost his memory and as you progress, you soon get fragments of it back through some very stylised animations. In the game, Witchers are described as both monster hunters and problem solvers and Geralt does these both nicely in this land where humans, elves, dwarves and dragons live as he attempts to solve the variety of missions that are given to him. Like other RPG titles, additional missions can also be found through talking with other individuals or checking message boards. Sometimes these can be just as fun as the main story and generally you find more loot when you go off the beating path.

Unlike the previous incarnation of the game, this new Enhanced Edition for the 360 includes new adventures, locations, characters and improved gaming mechanics specifically for this console plus longer gameplay than the PC version. It's a win-win situation for 360 owners. The Witcher is also based on the Polish books of the same name by author Andrzej Sapkowski who created this rich and diverse universe based on magic and steel. This universe is probably one of the best RPG worlds due to the detailed world that Sapkowski designed and more importantly, the realistic and quite human characters.

Unlike other RPG titles,  this series features strong mature content that include debauchery, over the top swearing, violence plus nudity... it's definitely not a kid's game. I must admit that I was a little shocked at seeing the first sex scene in the game which revolved Geralt and Triss under an ancient Elven ruin. Later on in the game, I walked into a Sorceress and her student practising other "arts". It's definitely more provocative than other video game I've played which once again proves that games are not just for children. Idiots!

The protagonist of the series is of course Geralt of Rivia, one of the last few Witchers left in the world who has been genetically enhanced to use both magic, alchemy and weapons to become this powerful medieval superhero archetype. Geralt not only knows how to kick ass but is positively one of the best RPG characters created who men want to be and women want to be with. Having played this on the PC, I must admit that the designers have done a brilliant job at porting this game to the XBox 360 as the controls works quite well. Personally I found this edition far superior as everything feels considerably more sturdy and more importantly... enjoyable.

The first part of the game serves as a tutorial which teaches you how to use the 360 controller to navigate the world of the Kingdom of Temeria. This includes walking, using the menu system, making potions, using special abilities, fighting and how to use magic. It's very a useful tutorial, especially the arena which assists in teaching you the control system and how you can use your quick attacks. With that said, the controls of the 360 are flawless and whether I was collecting herbs to make potions or fighting a variety of enemies as I unleashed magic, laid bombs or swung my sword, everything came together well and was quite fluidic. Even the menu system has been laid out well, especially when you go through your inventory or select your upgrade path for Geralt in terms of skills. The three paths of training include magic, alchemy and fighting. I concentrated on magic and fighting.

From there, the prologue of the game begins which commences with our hero being interrogated by Vernon Roche, a commander of the Temerian Special Forces. As you discuss your imprisonment with Roche, you are taken through a variety of flashbacks in order to determine your innocence or whether you were involved in the assassination of King Foltest of Temeria. Without spoiling the story, Roche agrees to help Geralt escape in order to find the King Slayer that will force you to become involved in something even bigger than the death of Foltest. You will visit different lands, come across huge beasts, have some very amusing conversations with a pair of married trolls and basically have one of the best darn RPG experiences on the XBox 360.

Joining Geralt is Triss Merigold, a beautiful sorceress and his lover (if you choose) who will assist you along the way. Triss become such a hit in Europe that she is even graced the cover of Playboy (see last screen on this review).  Other friends include Dandelion, the outspoken bard and narrator of the game plus the little bundle of joy, Zoltan, a powerful dwarf who doesn't take flack from anyone. Although the game does fall into the traditional RPG storyline where you need to complete a set number of quests, the game actually gives you some choice in how these will unfold. With that said, every conversation you have with an NPC and decision you make ultimately effects the story with this consequence system, just like Mass Effect 1 and 2. We won't walk about Mass Effect 3!

Combat is quite sturdy in this game and whether you are using magic, swords or planting bombs, the combat is quite smooth and everything flows well. I still enjoy the pause aspect of the game when you access menus in combat and although the game still plays, it has been considerably slowed so if you do take your time moving through the menus, you will get attacked. When you do fight your enemies with swords or hammers, you need to ensure that you don't get surrounded as this is a sure way to die. Melee combat is sturdy with fast or hard attacks with parrying plus rolls to assist in your overall strategy.

Levelling up Geralt is thankfully an easy process, although there are a large amount of abilities to choose from that does become a little daunting at the start but when you start to become a powerhouse, you will appreciate the choice given to the player. The difficulty level works on a sliding scale and although the game suggested easy after completing the tutorial (yes I did mess up), I soon changed this to a medium setting once I found my feet. Melee combat works great on the XBox 360.

There are a heap of spells in the game available to Geralt and these can be upgraded to a maximum of level 2. Add in weapon modifications, shops, quest items and lots of potions most of which you can make and The Witcher 2 is a very engaging RPG that will have you experimenting with all these items and mixing them up to see what works the best. Opposed from your spells such as fire to incinerate foes or magic signs to trap foul beasts, Geralt has a Witcher amulet that when used (pushing down on the left analog stick), it briefly gives your character Witcher vision that assists in finding herbs or other valuable items. It's a great little feature when you do become stuck or cannot find a particular item. The Witcher amulet can also be used in places of power that boosts certain statistics for Geralt.

In terms of items, there are thousands in this game and although most of it is junk, it did become a little repetitive pressing "A" to loot a corpse or a chest, then getting overburdened with weight. That is probably my only gripe in the game, the inventory system as I wish it was a little more streamlined then forcing me to drop 10 short swords or 15 pieces of iron ore that weighed me down too much. You can store these items in inns for later use but there is way too much crap to be found. Even so, it does assist in the overall RPG experience and more importantly, realism of the game. But hey... why do I need to collect timbre!

I also enjoyed the streamlined camera in the game that although can be controlled by the player, the game done a decent job at managing this functionality of the title. If you do want to reset the camera, a simple press of the right analog stick will return the camera. By pressing LB, this accesses the mediation area for Geralt where he can access his potions, weapons and spells. A is for a fast attack and X is for a hard attack but is quite slow. A mixture of both attacks is needed.

There are some quick time events in the game and some areas where the camera pans out. I loved the boxing elements of the title that used the d-pad buttons to fight and flashed different combinations of the screen for you to press. Geralt can even bet on his own fights, play dice and engage in other money making activities. Then you have the downtime for Geralt and whether that's perusing the relationship with the beautiful Triss or being a true bastard by doing some whoring, choice once again plays a roll in this good looking game.

Graphically, The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition is a lush looking game on the XBox 360 that looks quite detailed in FULL HD. The first thing that you will notice about the game are the environments from realistic forests to majestic castles. This is how an RPG game should look, especially the characters with their realistic textures and movements. The main characters such as Geralt and Triss have some great facial movements, not to mention to their bodies... which look pretty darn sexy. Add in some great special effects from spells like fire or realistic weather effects and everything comes together perfectly in this console RPG. The game also runs at around 30 frames per second which provides silky smooth graphics and flawless integration with CGI and in-game graphics. Although I must admit that the game does run better if you load it into your XBox 360 hard drive.

The musical score of The Witcher 2 is quite majestic and would not look out of place in a Lord of the Rings film with its orchestral sounds and smooth choir voices. Voice acting is equally professional with the highlights being Geralt and Triss. The actors that lend their voices to these character portray a sense of emotion and authenticity. Once again, just be warned that this game is not the for the feint hearted when it comes for language.

Final Thoughts

The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced Edition is not a perfect game as the title does contain some graphical clipping, a few bugs and some truly frustrating moments such as over the top boss battles (depending on difficulty) and of course the horrible inventory system. However, thankfully the pros more than outweigh the cons in this title which creates one of the best RPG experiences on the XBox 360. It's definitely up there with Skyrim and Dragon Age, however in my personal opinion, this game tops them both thanks to the adult orientated story and enjoyable gameplay that will probably have you coming back again to this wonderful universe. Wow... what a time!

XBox 360 Features

  • Additional hours of gameplay for the Xbox 360

  • The Xbox 360 version will include new major adventures set in new locations. These consist of an underground system of chambers beneath Loc Muine and a temperate coniferous forest in the Loc Muine mountains, and a secret cave passage.

  • The gameplay will introduce new major characters to the Witcher story. One of them is Brigida Papebrock Dame. This noble woman comes from the Temerian family Papebrock and is a 30 year old lady-in-waiting of the Temerian court.

  • Upgraded interface, designed specifically for the Xbox 360

  • Game camera and targeting have been redesigned for the Xbox, and with upgraded pad controls, players will now be able to experience fully The Witcher 2ís spectacular and thrilling combat.

  • Now the camera automatically will follow the player character movement and avoid obstacles, adjust focus based on the currently locked target. Now players can but will not be required to use the right stick to control camera in the game. This should make the game much more enjoyable for casual players.

  • The new target locking system al lows the player to easily cycle through locked targets on the visible screen. It streamlines the targeting system for Xbox360, making it much easier to change targets.






 
 



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