Review - The Witcher 2 - Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition

Review

Review - The Witcher 2 - Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition
White Wolf? Silver Fox!
Publisher:
Namco Bandai
Developer:
CD Projekt RED
Release Date:
20-Apr-2012
Platform(s):
XBox 360
Genre:
None
Age Rating:
TW2AoKEE, henceforth known simply as Witcher 2, is most assuredly adult.

Yes, it’s a tricky, sexy, sweary, gory beast of a title. That’s why it’s 18s. But Witcher 2 was crafted for a mature audience. Not simply any gamer whose years exceeds eighteen in number.

Research is key for Geralt of Rivia’s first console outing. Otherwise you won’t know what the ploughing hell is transpiring in the gloriously dour world CD Projekt RED have crafted. The Polish developers obviously appreciate you’ve invested fifty bills into their tale. Thus you can probably stretch to an additional ten minutes educating yourself as to the Pontar Valley’s political unrest.
Study hard and then you can go out and play...
Study hard and then you can go out and play...Enlarge Enlarge


In truth, the only beast Witcher 2 doesn’t hurl your way is instant gratification. Early on, there is the slightest temptation to walk.

Don’t!

Witcher 2 is the very definition of quality.
Both Literally. And Hyperbolely. (Which is now a word.)


Atmospherically, recent memory’s most apt comparison comes in the form of From Software’s celebrated Dark Souls. Just without the crippling sense of isolation and gameplay that won’t make you weep bitter tears thrice a session!

Tactical swordplay is a joy. A punishing, masochistic joy.

Once Geralt escapes his meditative trance, having doped himself with improving buffs and laced his blades with poisonous oils, combat becomes an elegant dance. Light and heavy swipes marry counters and dodges, supplementing an array of game changing ‘signs’ (traps, freeze time, hypnotize, instant kill, cook fool etc ) and augmented with an arsenal of throwing knives, psychoactive gas and phosphoric light.
Naturally, Swordplay CAN devolve into leaping at foes with pointy sticks!
Naturally, Swordplay CAN devolve into leaping at foes with pointy sticks!Enlarge Enlarge


When not felling man or beast, Geralt enjoys the noble pursuits of brawling, gambling, arm-wrestling and whoring. He also talks a lot of smack.

The White Wolf is a memorable, fully voiced character and players are tasked with navigating him through the subtle art of conversation. Choose your responses wisely (bargain, intimidate, hypnotize, pay for sex etc) and lore will expound, profanity will reign and Quests will unlock.

And, as it happens, lock.

Choice is woven into the grubby, tattered fabric of Witcher 2. Players choose everything from their magic pantaloons to their travelling partners. Seemingly mundane decisions, often arbitrarily made, boast ramifications up to and including entirely different second and third acts, with divergent storylines, quests, loot and characters.

Replaying Witcher 2 can yield up to 50% new content. Evidently CD Projekt RED took the notion of New Game + and shoved it.


Life’s not always easy for a mutant monster slayer. Nor is it the case playing him. Local and world maps are worse than useless, often confusing direction and destination. Goal markers are minimalist while Quest Fail States are not clearly defined. Too often you’ll trigger one seemingly innocuous sidey only to decapitate a slew of others.

Perhaps it’s a metaphor for adulthood... Perhaps it’s a jerk.
Geralt takes out his mini-map frustrations out on a poor unfortunate
Geralt takes out his mini-map frustrations out on a poor unfortunateEnlarge Enlarge


Additionally, this Enhanced Edition can’t compete with the presentation rendered last summer by High-End rigs. But to the developer’s credit, Witcher 2 remains one of the 360’s prettiest games!

Ultimately, Witcher 2’s sweeping narrative draws gamers back to explore fresh quests, augment different skill-trees and chat-up/ sex-up new characters. While an absurd majority of Fantasy RPGS treat protagonists as Jesus Mc Superman (Skyrim/Dragon’s Dogma/ Mass Effect/ Dragon Age/ Kingdoms of Amalur) Geralt never seems more than a cog in the greater socio-political machine.

A monster-gutting, wench-bedding, peasant-slapping, blood-letting cog. But a cog nonetheless.

Offering players a focused narrative yet sandbox environs, uncomplicated mechanics but staggering depth and an intimate, rewritable journey with astonishing replay value, Witcher 2 stands as a victory for the adult gamer.

And a sexy victory, at that!


9 Stars: Recommended
Review - The Witcher 2 - Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition on ClickOnline.com
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jack@clickonline.com
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