Geeky Game Review: the Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition (Xbox360)
Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 11:14 Written by LoganDX Tuesday, 1 May 2012 11:00
As a non-PC\pro-console gamer, I’ve never had a chance to explore the world that Geralt of Rivia occupies. The engrossing story, mature content and sword slashing action has been appealing to me for longer than I can remember. When CD Projekt RED announced they would be bringing over the The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings to my beloved Xbox 360, I became a tad excited.
For those not familiar with the premise behind The Witcher, it follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a unique brand of monster hunter. Possessed with innate magical skills, Geralt hires himself out to anybody with a scary problem and sacks full of coin. Not quite human, not quite mage, Geralt lives within and outside many worlds. His life is full of moral choices, beautiful lasses and big shiny swords. Its been a well received game for the mouse and keyboard set but how does it translate to the land of controllers?
No way can I get into this review without first diving into the graphics. CDPR busted their collective humps to make The Witcher’s visuals pop for its Xbox outing. The world is alive during all hours of the day and it shows. Everything is crisp and clear, once the engine catches up with it all. There were times the game looked more like a first gen game than the powerhouse it is. I’m not knocking the game for it because plenty of AAA titles have the same problem, even when installed to the hard drive. But once they do kick in, prepare to be wowed. If you liked the look of Skyrim, you will love what you see in the Witcher.
Winning the numerous battles in Geralt’s adventures comes down to slashing monstrosities with reckless abandon. Our protagonist has a handful of death-dealing weapons at his disposal although you more than likely will stick to either of his big, flesh slicing swords. The normal, steel variety is best suited for lopping body parts off of the human species and the silver series will achieve maximum killing on monsters, goblins and everything else that goes bump in the night. There’s also daggers, bombs and traps, you however won’t use them that much. Sliding your swords into the neck of a nearby enemy is such a visceral thrill that those options are easily forgotten.
The storyline ends up being one of my top five of the current gen. It hits you with the right amount of moral choices, not just black and white ones but those that have several tinges of grey. There were times that I had to really weigh the perceived consequences of my decisions. It wasn’t always a clear-cut “good guy\bad guy” route to finding the truth. And once you made that decision, you had to live with it. Just like in real life…except the sex. Unlike real life, Geralt can bed down quite a few ladies with no repercussions. Maybe he’ll be light a few Orens and in need of refreshment but other than that, he can traipse on like nothing happened. Don’t we all wish we could be that lucky?
Maybe the main problem with the narrative flow is an assumption players will be familiar with events from the first game. I found myself scratching my head more than once, my face making that uncomfortable “HUH?” look more often than I liked. The way CDPR crafted the tale was at times like they expected anyone playing to have intimate knowledge of Geralt’s life before the game started up. I spent plenty of time looking up references just to get a better handle on just exactly what in the world was being talked about. Maybe the full retail version’s handbooks explained more things in depth. Don’t let it deter you though, you will love the story.
What issues could I have with the game? Sadly, I spent too much time comparing it to Skyrim. Certain things I got used to in Bethesda’s epic tale were noticeably absent from The Witcher 2. Objective markers for one. Main missions always had a mark to guide you where you needed to go but a portion of the side missions were beyond vague in execution. “Go do this” doesn’t cut it in this day and age. I, and I’m sure plenty of others, don’t need hand holding to accomplish goals but if I can’t find some guy out of the tons of NPCs wandering around to claim my reward, I’m going to become less than enthused. That’s something that happened a few times unfortunately.
Until very late in the game, the amount of swag Geralt can haul around is very limited and can’t be increased – save for one lone perk some players will miss. Might not seem like a big deal until you realize you have 200 pounds of crafting crap that you don’t know what to do with. Which brings me to the crafting system. The crafting in the game felt lazy. Geralt can pick up diagrams and he can hoard the necessary items to build said projects but he has to first pay a craftsman to do it for him. Which meant waiting for one to be available since they have business hours and all. I ended up sticking with basic armaments for most of the quest except for some late game frustratingly track down to build a wicked set of armor. Personally, I could have done without the needlessness of it and dealt more with knocking off baddies to find better loot.
With branching storylines, a large amount of endings, 16 I believe, 4 difficulties, and the arena mode, there is plenty to keep any gamer going back for more once they’ve completed their first trip in Geralt’s blood soaked boots. You owe it to yourselves to try it out, the story alone is worth the price of admission. Just beware, there’s plenty of sex and nudity if you’re bothered by things like that.
- The Witcher 2 Xbox 360 intro video hits a million views.(donthatethegeek.com)
- Hey Witcher fans, plenty of cool info is here. Comics, contests and more!(donthatethegeek.com)
- New Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition teaser knifes your eyes!(donthatethegeek.com)