The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition Xbox 360 Review

Article first published as Xbox 360 Review: The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition on Blogcritics.

Warner Bros Interactive had quite a ways to travel, nearly halfway around the world from the gates of their Burbank, CA offices to pick up their latest RPG release, The Witcher 2.  Though, The Witcher 2 is its console debut, the collection of short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski was first brought to Western gamers on PC in the first Witcher game, in 2007.  The Xbox 360 release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition coincides with a free patch for the resource intensive PC version and on the heels of Bethesda’s blockbuster, Skyrim.

Though glancing at some screen shots might indicate otherwise, Witcher 2 and Skyrim have very little in common.  Sure, they are both Western-styled fantasy RPGs, which makes them more action oriented than their Japanese counterparts but, The Witcher 2 has a much tighter narrative and a combat system that shares more with Mass Effect than Skyrim.  Speaking of Mass Effect, those that were disappointed with Mass Effect’s finale will be happy to hear that decisions made The Witcher 2 do change the game.  Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, without multiple playthroughs, you will miss out on a good portion of what the story has to offer.

The title, The Witcher 2 may put off some gamers that may be afraid of starting the story of Geralt of Rivia in the middle and not being able to keep up with the deep narrative.  Most fantasy enthusiasts should have no trouble getting up to speed, thanks to the new opening cinematic by Oscar nominee, Tomasz Baginski.  If you know who’s who in the Game of Thrones series and know the difference between Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister, without Mr. Garrison from South Park’s chart in this season’s finale, you should have no trouble with The Witcher 2.  Some characters won’t have the same weight for newcomers they have for veterans but the in-game cutscenes and conversations adequately introduce everyone of importance.

Besides the system requirements, one of the knocks on the PC versions of The Witcher games is the lack of an adequate explanation the deep combat system.  The Enhanced Edition has remedied this with an extensive tutorial to gradually introduce new players to the gameplay.  A good bit of the exploration and combat framework of Assassins of Kings is Zelda-esqe.  Players can run around large areas at will and interact with characters or play mini-games.  The combat, like the exploration is third person with the ability to lock on to enemies.

Pages: 1 2