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Review: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

by on April 26, 2012
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Since the arrival of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings last year, role-playing games have taken a big blow to the face. No one expected that Warsaw-based CD Projekt Red’s title would appeal to a broad audience, extending out of Eastern Europe. Soon after its release, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings took over Europe and the United States in a blitzkrieg-styled conquest, bringing the stories of Geralt of Rivia to everyone. But that was on PC, and now thanks to Namco Bandai, the Witcher has been ported to the Xbox 360 with The Wicher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition.

Taking their inspiration from a book series with the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapowski, CD Projekt Red created a beautiful fantasy world with a mature scenario worthy of a TV series like Game of Thrones, nuanced characters and a coherent universe from the beginning to the end, and a marvelous dynamic combat, which we will talk more about further in this review.

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Despite undeniable excellence, the title needed a few corrections, with known bugs from the PC edition requiring attention. The Polish developers harnessed their flaws, and the Enhanced Edition was polished quite well. It includes all previously released patches, and the entire list of additional content that came out on the PC version, with four hours’ worth of extra gameplay, quests and new cutscenes. An Enhanced Edition indeed!

On the technical side, the Xbox 360 version can’t really compare to the mighty PC version. In visual terms, it shows. Obviously, we cannot expect the same level of detail that you can accomplish with an overclocked computer with high end graphic cards. Nevertheless the textures are fine, but they sometimes load with small delay, and various filters, blur effects, and viewing distance were restricted. Despite that, human characters and monsters crossed with this fantastic diverse scenery are still gorgeous. If I may even say so, this is a feast for the eyes, a wickedly immersive universe that makes you crave more discoveries.

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Let’s talk about the core game now, shall we? The richness and variety of the quests, which always offering multiple options with an intense quality of writing (It is based on a series of books, as we mentioned), a character that grows with effort through both fighting and the path you choose in his destiny, and allies ready to take an arrow for you – all these come together to form the most vigorous experience in an RPG.

The combat, once reduced to the click of a mouse and keyboard keys, has been mapped to the Xbox 360 controller in a very smart way. Not a lot of PC ports have accomplished this feat, especially in the RPG niche. Geralt responds quickly to the press of a button, quickly attacking, dodging, guarding, and performing his magic without a hitch. The scroll wheel menu is smart, acting as quick access to various potions, weapons and modes of the game.

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Other elements have changed too, further proving the Enhanced Edition tagline. For example, between chapters, there are cinematic storyboards, a narrative recap or an introduction from an abandoned travel companion of Geralt, the bard Dandelion. And do not forget the introduction cinematic. I’ve wasted a good 3 minutes of my review every time I booted the game, watching the intro! Brutal, epic, and you should watch it too (above).

In the end, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is not ashamed of its new host, the Xbox 360. The graphics, while being less detailed and refined, are still pretty damn flattering to our eyes, and they rival those of the Medium settings on the PC version. This is a mature RPG, something that needs a lot of commitment and effort to fulfill its purpose, proving that The Witcher will always be Poland’s best and a new reference for Western RPGs. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have many ghouls to hunt down.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was reviewed using an Xbox 360 copy of the game provided by CD Projekt Red. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online store releases. This review was originally published by the writer on At7addak.com. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

• Great graphic engine
• The dark and mature universe
• The decisions that have a real influence to the rest of the story
• The quality of writing
• One of my favorite game soundtrack
• Insane lifespan
• A very dynamic combat

What is not fun

• Can be overwhelmingly difficult
• Bugs and other faults that came from the PC version
• The compartmentalized zones
• The interface could use a makeover

Editor Rating
 
Concept
9.0

 
Graphics
8.5

 
Sound
9.0

 
Playability
8.0

 
Entertainment
8.5

 
Replay Value
9.0

Final Score
8.7


Our final verdict
 

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is not ashamed of its new host, the Xbox 360. The graphics, while being less detailed and refined, are still pretty damn flattering to our eyes, and they rival those of the Medium settings on the PC version. This is a mature RPG, something that needs a lot of commitment and effort to fulfill its purpose, proving that The Witcher will always be Poland’s best and a new reference for Western RPGs. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have many ghouls to hunt down.

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