Game Guys review - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enchanced Edition

2:17 PM, Jun 25, 2012   |    comments
  • 'The Witcher 2' is a PC and Xbox 360 game from CD Project RED.
  • 'The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings' for Xbox 360.
  • 'The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings' for Xbox 360.
  • 'The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings' for Xbox 360.
    
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When developer CDProject Red released the Xbox 360 version of its The Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings PC game, they added the suffix "Enchanced Edition".  While the game may be enhanced in that it comes with all of the DLC that owners of the PC version had to get for themselves, this "Enchanced Edition" isn't necessarily any better than it had been before.

The PC version, which came out in May of 2011, is considered by many to be a rather good game.  The action RPG on the Xbox 360 is almost exactly like the PC version (with all DLC) in every way, except that the PC version is much better despite the "Enchanced Edition" coming out roughly a year later.

At their core, both version share the same in-depth gameplay and story that make the game good.  The innovative and tricky crafting system, unorthodox potions mechanic, and action gameplay found in last year's PC version all make a successful transition onto the Xbox 360.  Sinking 40 to 60 hours of one's life into this game is still largely as appealing now as it was in 2011 (though sitting on the sofa playing is probably more comfortable than a chair at a computer desk).  What the Xbox 360 version lacks, however, is one of the things that most critics found as the high point for the PC edition:  the visuals.

CDProject Red had a graphical gem with the PC verion of The Witcher 2, and the game was lauded as having graphics that were simply amazing.  Unfortunately, these visuals could not be replicated on the over-the-hill Xbox 360 gaming console.  The "Enchanced Edition" provides 360 gamers with underwhelming textures that seem blurry in comparison to the PC version and character animations that are not nearly as fluid as either the PC version or other "Triple-A" caliber games currently available on the console.  While these issues don't destroy the game's playability, they do serve to bring down its overall appeal.

CD Project Red did a very good job adapting the game for play with a gamepad from the PC standard keyboard/mouse setup.  In fact, the game's action-based gameplay work very well on the Xbox 360 controller -- though the computer experience is far superior and overall more enjoyable.  What doesn't work so well, however, is menu navigation -- especially when any sort of an item or specific piece of equipment is needed.  Whereas computer users can get whatever they need in just a few click, console users will be dancing around various menu screens to accomplish roughtly the same goal.

A tutorial mode has been added to the "Enchanced Edition" that was previously not found in the standard PC version.  Designed to guide newcomers into the nuances and gameplay mechanics found within The Witcher 2, the tutorial would seem out of place for anything but that purpose.  While it starts out easy enough for new players, it quickly gets difficult and all but the fastest of learners will find themselves achieving a game over before the game even technically begins.  While it's true that the game is very unforgiving in its overall difficulty (though not nearly to the level of Demons' and Dark Souls), there is no reason for its tutorial to be proportionally the same difficulty to novices.

Even with all of those critiques of the Xbox 360 "Enhanced Edition" of CDProject Red's The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, the game really is fine regardless of which platform on which it is played.  Those who want to give the game a go really should do so, though the PC is really where this game shines -- even if the PC version is more than a year old.  The Xbox 360 "Enchanced Edition" hardly holds a candle to the quality found off console, but if your PC can't handle the original (it requires at least an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 1GB RAM, and a 512MB GPU), then you'll have to settle for the inferior Xbox 360 version and be happy with that.

Final Game Guys grade: C+

(WBIE provided a copy of this game for review.)

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