Review: 'The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition' for Xbox 360
"The Witcher 2? is arguably one of the best, most mature, dark, bloody, and game changing RPGs (Role Playing Games) to come along so far. PC owners have had the chance to enjoy this adventure for almost a year now, but the time has finally come for Xbox 360 owners to rejoice. "The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition" has finally made its way to the home console, and even with its flaws, it's still a solid experience.
Taking its rich plot from "The Witcher" novels, the game follows the gifted witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Geralt finds himself in a world of chaos, with warring kingdoms and bloody conspiracies. Swearing to remain out of the corrupt Kings' wars, Geralt seemingly finds himself constantly in the middle of battle, fighting for his name, his freedom and his life.
This isn't your granddaddy's RPG. Young kids shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere near this bad boy. Between the sex and the violence, the game has been classified as a mature RPG, and that's exactly what it is. The storylines are pretty intense, pulling players in at every corner. I've played my fair share of RPGs, but "The Witcher" really makes the player pay attention to every detail. It's so rich and engrossing. Players will get sucked into the world around them pretty quickly. There isn't a lot of hand-holding in this game. Either you figure things out, or you die trying.
Let's be honest: if I had a choice between playing the game on a supercomputer or the 360, I would choose the computer. It's like asking someone if playing "StarCraft" would be better on a console. It's not. I say this for two reasons: control and overall graphics power.
I'll start with the look of the game and then move on to the controls. As hard as it may be to believe, the Xbox is a six-year-old system, with six-year-old hardware stuffed into it. An ultra PC nowadays can handle what "The Witcher 2? brings to the table a smidge better then the hardware of the Xbox. It doesn't make the game any less enjoyable, but it's clear if I had a choice, I'd go with the PC version. Since I haven't owned a PC in ten years though, I am very happy to play this excellent Xbox port. Developer CD Projekt RED has done a great job porting this game over. You will notice texture pop-ins and occasional twitchiness at times, but overall, it looks very nice. Additionally, by installing the game to the 360's hard drive, you can actually alleviate some of that.
Control, control, control! There are certain types of games that are simply easier to play on a keyboard and mouse system. First person shooters, real time strategy, and role playing games are just a few genres that don't always port over well to home consoles. "The Witcher 2? on the other hand has great control, but navigating the menu systems might take a little time to get used to. I would say players will feel a little awkward when they first pick up the controller, but after a couple of hours, it comes to be like second nature.
I have to mention again that this game is truly an engrossing experience. There are countless other RPGs with open worlds to explore, but most of them still feel like you're on rails. Yes you get to choose where to go, but it's all rather linear. "Witcher 2? gives the player a broader sense of freedom and exploration. You do what you do because that's what matters the most, altering the story on as little as a whim.
Let it be known that this isn't "Fable." You're not out to save the world and be a shining light to society. Most of the decisions the player makes will see your character murdering for profit, enjoying the bed of a working girl, or tripping around drunk and belligerent. The game's direction can change so radically from decision to decision that the replay value is exceptionally high. Play it through once and get one kind of experience, while playing it through again will be as if you're playing a totally different game.
At the end of the day, "The Witcher 2? holds its own against its PC counterpart. There are some minor graphical issues and control headaches, but overall, it's a very enjoyable experience. The story and character development are some of the best I have seen in a long time. Rated M, "Witcher 2? is violent and racy, but also smart and witty. Between the cinematic score and great voice acting, players will be engrossed in this unique adventure. After all, when you open up a game that comes with an 89-page quest handbook, you know fun times are to be had.