Fantasy games have always been my thing. I was pining for Skyrim for almost half a year before its release, while Dragon Age 2 was also the object of my desire. The aforementioned games didn’t disappoint, however my thirst for fantasy games is not yet quenched.
Looking into the distance it’d be easy to cast a disappointing look, not many Fantasy RPG titles lie in wait, although there is one which could very well fill this void, The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. Having only briefly played this game on the Mac (using Windows) before hearing of the console version, I have to admit to being fairly excited as to how this one would pan out. I certainly had my concerns on how the Xbox 360 would handle the game and if it could possibly live up to PC fans expectations, especially those running the game on a more powerful machine.
Having went hands on with The Witcher 2 recently, any concerns I had are now firmly in the past, while my excitement levels have reached new heights. CD Projekt have done a fantastic job in bringing The Witcher 2 to Xbox 360. The presentation is fantastic, with highly polished graphics and incredible sound, all of which are complimented by the extremely smooth action. It’s a fantastic accomplishment to see the game on Microsoft’s hardware and from my limited time with the game, one that CD Projekt should be proud of.
It’s known by now that the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2 will bring a load of new content, all of which will also be available to PC owners at the same time. So what is new? Well, one of the main enhancements to the game is the inclusion of a tutorial mode. This large section allows you to get used to the many aspects of the combat and magic. It’s certainly a well implemented system, with a pop-up box giving you an overview of the important aspects of the controls. This includes the use of quick access menus; your inventory; combat; defensive moves and magic. Although PC owners have previously coped without a tutorial mode, it seems to me that this new section will certainly be a useful asset to many.
In addition to the Tutorial mode, the Enhanced Edition will also bring some other changes to The Witcher 2. These changes include over 200 new animations, additional NPC models, the recolouring of NPC models (something I noticed myself as the guards in the prologue seemed to be wearing a different colour tunic from the PC version), improved and expanded dialogues, improved stability, a redesigned inventory system and faster load times. There are also two new adventures available to play through, although I was not able to test these out for myself.
As well as the changes above, CD Projekt has also introduced some rather impressive cinematic sequences. Hiring the award winning Tomasz Baginski to provide cinematics and all new animations throughout the game has certainly had the desired affect. The animations are both colourful and impressive, complimenting the narration perfectly. These moments help add to the story even more, resulting in your eyes being glued to the screen when they are taking place.
My time spent with The Witcher 2 was confined to playing both the tutorial and prologue. Playing through these alone took around two hours, although we’ve been told that it’ll probably take you a good 40 hours to get through the whole game, which will no doubt please fantasy fans.
Everything you’d expect from a fantasy title is here, be it the searching and pillaging of fallen enemies, the epic battles or the levelling up and improvement of your character. The Witcher 2 is a Fantasy RPG in every sense and one that Xbox 360 owners should be very pleased is coming to their system.
You can pre-order The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360 here.