The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings Enhanced
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
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
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,
warned that this game is not the for the feint hearted when it comes for
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
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.