The Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings review
Unless you own a game-ready PC, The Witcher series is one of the best kept secrets in gaming. This is all about to change as CD Projeckt and Namco/Bandai are about to bring this highly acclaimed fantasy RPG series to consoles this April with The Witcher 2: Assassin Of Kings.
The Witcher 2: Characters
Based on the award-winning fantasy novels of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the game tells the story of Geralt, a soldier serving a King who is engaged in a war that’s ravaging the land of Temeria.
Geralt is a Witcher, who are essentially a race of superpowered fighters that were trained to slay monsters. Witchers are also generally distrusted and disliked, due to the fact they can mix sorcery and swordplay together in combat.
The Witcher 2: Plot
While all this sounds like the set-up for a rather straight-forward hack ‘n slash, the story of the Witcher 2 is actually rather layered and very well written. Without going into too much detail, Foltest’s death doesn’t just cause Geralt to set off in search of his murderer, it sparks off high-level intrigue as rivals for the throne of Temeria start setting their plans in motion.
The player may feel like they’re a hero on a quest, but at the same time, the game’s plot makes it plain that Geralt is just a pawn on a very large political chessboard.
It never feels gratuitous, but it’s worth mentioning that this is the first time T3 has experienced a game that made us feel we should be contributing to a swear jar. If you had sum The Witcher 2’s aesthetic up in a snappy pitch, you could describe it as Game Of Thrones by way of Deadwood.
The Witcher 2: Menus and Gameplay
The mechanics that surround the game’s plot and characters are impeccable. CD Projeckt has mapped a combat system to the console’s control pad that feels intuitive and easy right out of the gate. Face buttons deliver melee and magic attacks and also gift the player with a dodge roll.
The D-pad allows them to select weapons quickly while the bumpers bring up a spell wheel, allowing players to toss magical attacks and weapon projectiles quickly and smoothly.
The Witcher 2: Verdict
PC gamers who played The Witcher 2 will point to the fact that graphically, the game suffers a little in its transition to consoles, but that shouldn’t stop console gamers from giving it a go.
The Witcher 2 looks set to be one of the better RPGs released all year and anyone tempted by its cocktail of sword, sorcery and layered plotting should pre-order a copy and set aside at least a week to play it next month.
Preview by Nick Cowen
The Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings review
The Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings reviewT3
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings comes courtesy of Namco, and Polish developers CD Projekt, and is sneaking into the RPG fray via the back door
The Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings review
- Beautiful graphics
- Atmospheric world
- Pushes your morality
- A little linear at times
- not ground-breaking
The Witcher was a cult hit back in 2007, a hugely underrated RPG with its fair share of dodgy dialogue and equally dodgy adult scenes. Nonetheless, it played very nicely and went under the radar whilst The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion distracted all but the most dedicated of RPG gamers.
It looks as though The Witcher 2 may well find itself in the same position. Bethesda has no intention of stopping the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim bandwagon and other hits like Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 have captivated significant portions of the gaming community.
CD Projekt has stepped up to the competition and delivered an RPG experience that is sufficiently different, yet in many ways equal to the quality of Skyrim.
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Features
This RPG is all about the single player campaign, and things immediately start off in promising fashion with an excellent tutorial. We firmly believe that there’s nothing more frustrating in a game, particularly in an RPG, than being thrown in without any sort of help. The Witcher 2 doesn’t make this mistake and as a result you don’t feel out of your depth at any point.
What you’ll notice immediately after the tutorial is that the graphics are fantastic. This game is a console update to the PC version of the game; released last year and questions were asked about how much better this game could look on Xbox 360. Those questions have been answer emphatically: The Witcher 2 looks stunning.
Atmosphere is key to an RPG world, and CD Projekt has created managed to pull all the factors together to create a genuine sense of atmosphere. Some scenes are incredibly beautiful but the soundtrack, the visceral combat and the graphical style always come together to create a gritty world that always has you feeling a little threatened.
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Characters
The main protagonist is Geralt of Rivia, a witcher who controls supernatural power and uses it mainly as a bodyguard. Post-tutorial, you find yourself captured, and accused of murdering the king you were sworn to protect.
Obviously, Geralt escapes with your help and embarks on an eventful journey with more plot twists than the entirety of Lost and Prison Break combined (we counted).
Along the way Geralt encounters a wide spectrum of characters, most of whom range from entirely despicable criminals to slightly less despicable criminals.
Video games seem determined to challenge your morality these days, and though Mass Effect is arguably the only series that has done so effectively, we could be ready to add The Witcher 2 to that list. Many of your decisions will be enacted with brutal efficiency and sometimes, you’re given situations where there is no way to win.
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Gameplay
The Witcher 2 isn’t particularly combat heavy, but as you’d expect for a bodyguard with supernatural powers, you’re required to do your fair share of fighting.
Combat takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of attacking, parrying and countering (called a ‘riposte’ in the game) then you’re all set. You’re given a quick menu to select your magical powers and other combat items such as traps, potions and bombs and the whole thing feels very fluid and manageable.
If we had one criticism, it would be that as Geralt levels up and gains access to more powerful combat options, the game starts to become much easier than it is at the beginning. For example, upgrading your parry to a point where you automatically guard a hit from any angle makes the combat rather easy, and very similar to that of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
The advantage with this game being based on the earlier PC version is that it means the Xbox 360 edition includes all the patches from the previous game. This doesn’t mean the game is bug-free but we’re talking mere cockroaches, annoyances at best compared to Skyrim’s ‘Starship Troopers’ bugs.
To carry on the Skyrim comparison, The Witcher 2 is perhaps a little more linear, and more story-driven. But that said, it’s still very open ended and there’s nothing forcing you to move forward in the story most of the time.
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Verdict
This game is not a classic, but it is still fantastic fun and what CD Projekt and Namco have achieved is to be applauded. More than any other genre, bringing a fresh perspective to an RPG is a tough task and The Witcher 2 manages to do that.
In doing so, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has made itself a worthy addition to a very strong stable of RPGs on Xbox 360. It is a tad unfair to compare it directly to games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Though it does take influences from other classic RPGs, The Witcher 2 is excellent in it's own right, and a worthy alternative to the other fantastic RPGs out there.
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings availability: Available now
The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings price: £39.99
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings serves up an epic fantasy adventure complete with brutal combat, political intrigue and colourful language
The Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings
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