Review: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition (X360)
The Witcher 2 has finally arrived on the Xbox 360, meaning that now console gamers can experience the epic RPG that released last year for the PC. For the first time, Xbox 360 owners can walk the lands as Geralt of Rivia. Has the wait for the popular franchise been worth it? Find out in this review.
It’s hard to say that The Witcher 2 doesn’t look amazing, and you’d not be far wrong if you said it was the best looking game on the console, an impressive feat despite its age. The beautiful landscapes and gorgeous forests look fantastic on the Xbox 360, even if the PC version still beats it out. The transition to the console hasn’t changed the core gameplay or the story, and instead just the visuals and controls. There has however been a few alterations to some of the player inputs but nothing significant to stand out from the PC version.
The way in which they have taken the in-depth gameplay experience from the PC to the console is certainly impressive, given the scope and scale of the title. Thankfully, CD Projekt have done an outstanding job making the game easy to play with the Xbox 360 controller. Because of the more confined nature of the controller, it has lead to some changes in terms of the camera, with it now positioning itself dynamically with no need for input, though you can of course tweak it if necessary. The other change comes in the combat, which has seen some refinement and feels a lot more fluid when using a controller. CD Projeckt set out to ‘adapt’ the game to the Xbox 360 and not ‘port’ it from the PC, and this really shows as it feels like game designed for the console. Playing the game feels very natural and combos comes at ease due to the layout of the buttons. You can still cast spells, meditate, and create potions along with combat comands with the use of the X button for strong attacks, the A buttons for faster attacks, with Y being the button for your spells, and B for rolling and avoiding attacks. All of the attacks feel natural and with the ability to quickly drop in and out from menus, the entire gameplay experience is very smooth when in the larger combat scenarios.
Throughout my experience with the game, it’s hard to say there were many faults with title. I did encounter some random lag and frame-rate issues, but nothing serious for the most part. I did run into one instance of a freeze, requiring a reboot, but the auto-save system meant I didn’t have to reply too much. The camera sometimes lost its tracking on my character, but it’s easily solved with the manual override.
Since this is the ‘Enhanced Edition’, the story this time around includes new characters and quests along with the new locations. The Witcher 2 also provides new-cinematic cutscenes that weren’t present in the PC version of the game in order to help new players get to the story. For those who haven’t played The Witcher 2 before, the story is less linear than the first title, though picks up directly after the events of the original. The game provides three independent plot lines which lead to multiple endings, with the main plot revolving around finding an assassin known as the Kingslayer. The story proves to be very interesting, if a little straightforward, and I’d say that the narrative is much more interesting than Skyrim or Dragon Age. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both of the titles, but I just feel the The Witcher 2 delivers a much more interesting experience.
The new additional cutscenes have been introduced to represent your choices in-game, and depending on the choices you make during your quests, the outcome can vary to a wide degree. In the PC version, it was sometimes hard to see how the story was adapting due to the lack of cut-scenes to fill the gaps, but thankfully the new version adds a lot of cohesion to the experience and you can see with a clear understanding the overall story and how significant your actions can be.
The Witcher 2 should defiantly be experiences on the PC if possible, but the Xbox 360 version still stands tall. The controller clearly differs hugely from the keyboard and mouse, but the adaptations that have been made make it feel right at home for both new comers and fans of the series. This is also helped by the fact that CD Projekt decided to re-boot the game from scratch and design it around the Xbox 360′s capability, meaning that some of the in-game mechanics have changed to suit the Xbox 360 controller better. The new radial menu system makes selecting items and equipment smooth and seamless, and by hitting the left bumper you can see all your equipment at a glance. Spells, traps, bombs, daggers and more can be selected this way, and by using the right bumper you can drop traps and bombs.
For those of you new to the series, you may be unfamiliar with the overall gameplay. Its styling are similar to that of Fable or Kingdoms Of Amalus, providing a third person open world RPG, though incorporated the significant choices that the Mass Effect games are known for, as well as how the multiple endings are determined by the choices the player makes throughout The Witcher 2. As well as the base forty for experience in this in-depth RPG, the addition four hours gives console gamers something extra for their wait, and there’s even the possibility of future DLC
The Witcher 2 is one of the most interesting RPG’S to hit the Xbox 360. The game provides fans of the series a lot of additional content and cutscenes, as well showcasing an impressive comparison to the PC original. The controls are solid and easy to master and gameplay feels smooth. This is a must have for any RPG fan or Witcher fan.