In the highly competitive and immersive RPG market, developers are constantly reinventing the wheel on what defines a game within this genre. While notable titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age are praised for their signature style of storytelling, popular series like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout have gained recognition for their ambitious and engaging environments. In the case of a rising studio like CD Projekt Red, their end goal was to create games that offer the best of both worlds. The Witcher 2 is not only a successful pairing of both concepts, but it’s also a phenomenal title and a certified must have for every diehard RPG fan. Here are a few reasons why this game is worth both your time and your money.
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings could best be described as an epic action RPG title set in a mature fantasy-filled world where issues of political unrest, war, and death take center stage. The player assumes the role of Geralt of Rivia, a skilled witcher who uses alchemy, magic, and sword fighting to defend himself against both creatures and humans alike. After being framed for the murder of King Foltest, Geralt embarks on a journey to track down the killer and effectively clear his name.
While the story may sound too generic for some, the overall plot contains several key areas throughout where choice matters and ultimately shapes your surroundings. While some of the dialogue options aren’t as detailed or varied as the ones showcased in previous Mass Effect games, the decisions still have a unique feel to them and are therefore more meaningful and believable within the context of the story.
In addition to having an engaging narrative, the game has a vast array of memorable characters to interact with. CD Projekt RED does a great job at crafting a world where people’s behaviors and motives coincide perfectly with the harshness of reality.
While Geralt’s personality remains one of a puzzled war-torn warrior, through uncovering the truth to his past you gain a deeper sense of all the dynamics that make him such a pivotal part of the experience. Likewise, players who aren’t familiar with any of the previous Witcher novels will be caught up to speed fairly quickly on current events and may find themselves addictively drawn to the complete game as a whole.
The Enhanced Edition of this game is not only tweaked to perform well on the Xbox 360 console, but it also adds a wealth of new content in the form of additional quests, cutscenes, characters, and environments. While these sentiments are great overall, some areas of the execution appear slightly stronger than others.
Graphically, this version of the game is a masterful recreation of the original but occasionally falls short from texture pop-ins and random gameplay glitches. These problems are specific to the Xbox 360 and appear less bothersome on the PC version. Still, the creative team should be applauded for taking the time to go above and beyond the idea of making a port and instead giving the game a whole new perspective.
When it comes to gameplay and controls, the developers did a phenomenal job on converting over key features. Combat animations are as smooth and responsive as the game’s PC counterpart. A new camera system has been added to aid the player in targeting their enemies with more precision and accuracy then ever before. Also, brief fistfights appear as short mini-games where you rely on button prompts to complete the task at hand.
As you engage in more rigorous battles throughout the game, your character is given the ability to level up and unlock new powers. For the most part, this process is pretty straightforward and provides enough information to get you started. When it comes to creating potions however, you’ll be required to put in some extra time familiarizing yourself with various ingredient lists.
One of the dangers of the game is that you’re able to collect various types of items and monitor your inventory space closely. While there is a set weight limit to the amount of items you can physically carry, it would at least have been convenient if the creators found a better way to emphasize the items most essential to your survival. You always have the option to sell your goods for currency but it’s hard to determine whether or not you needed something until long after it’s gone.
After navigating through a lengthy campaign, players can participate in the Arena mode option. This is similar to Gears Of War’s Horde mode in the sense that you’re battling through waves of enemies within the confines of a crowded arena. In an interesting twist, Geralt can encounter both foes and allies in these battles.
The main objective of this mode is to win gold and gain points with each victory. The point totals can then be posted online so that you can compare and contrast your score with other players. Overall, the mode is fun and offers a small bonus to an already superb game.
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition is a wickedly good RPG that delivers a compelling story and deeply intuitive combat system. The use of adult themes such as sex and violence further reinforce the theory that this is very much an adult world full of consequences and repercussions. While minor flaws may exist on the Xbox 360 version, never once does this take away from the excitement you’ll get from the core gameplay experience. If you’re a fan of these types of games, do yourself a favor and pick this up ASAP.
This review was based on a physical retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Warner Bros. Interactive.