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on 7 February 2013
I initially picked up the Witcher 2 on the recommendation of quite a few game critics, hailing its excellent plot, adult (no, not in that way, although it does have its moments!) themes and intelligent crafting system. I'm not generally a huge fan of Western RPGs, but having enjoyed the excellent Skyrim, I wondered if maybe I needed to give the genre another chance.

Now, truth be told, the Witcher 2 is not a bad game. The reviewers were right, the plot and storyline are excellent, and characters act in (mostly) believable manners. However, all that doesn't mean a lot if the gameplay struggles, and that's where I found the game wanting. Quests are for the most part your garden-variety RPG fare - go here, see this person, kill four of those, come back. I can't criticise the game too harshly for this, as just about every other game in the genre follows that formula too. The problem is, that only really leaves the combat and controls for the Witcher 2 to pick up points on, and neither are particularly endearing.
They're not out-and-out broken or bad, but they definitely fall under the category of 'sub-optimal' - there's a lot happening in fights, and the last thing you want to be doing in that situation is grappling with the camera or trying to remember how the hell you're supposed to parry.
The other issue I found troubling was pacing - the game starts with a flashback, and for those who didn't play the first game, it's quite a few hours into the game before you even have the faintest idea of what's going on and why people are doing what they're doing - it also takes quite a while before the game lets you go do what you came here to do - wander round the beautifully-realised world, picking your quests and fighting some monsters.

The overwhelming impression I got from playing the Witcher 2 was that it's an 'ugly duckling' of a game. At first, you'll be railroaded through uninteresting missions with characters you don't know for reasons you likely don't understand, but if you stick with it, spend some time learning the black magic of the control system and get to know the sprawling, intelligent game underneath it all, there's a lot of time to be spent in the game. It's just a shame that you have to work so hard for it, and for more casual gamers who maybe aren't huge fans of the genre, there are games out there that offer the same soft, fun centre, but in easier to unwrap packaging.

NB - also worth noting is that this is one of those games that you'll really need to consider installing on your Xbox hard drive if you want to get the best experience. Whilst it's not mandatory, I'd certainly recommend it, as I found it drastically reduced texture pop-in and loading times, both of which were noticeable before the install.
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on 21 April 2012
The Witcher 2 is a gorgeous package made up of stunning visuals like that of Skyrim, narrative with substantial consequences like Mass Effect, story telling cut scenes bettering Dragon Age 2 and the gruelling and challenging combat of Dark Souls.

Set in a dark fantasy relme of corruption and political drama, you take the role as Geralt, a mutated monster hunter better known as a Witcher. Accused of killing king Foltest whom he was sworn to protect, he is on a mission to clear his name and capture the real culprit, with one major predicament standing in his way, amnesia (and a slight glitch in the scrolling system).

Placing the game into the Xbox with much excitement and anticipation I couldn't wait to see if everything was all its been hyped up to be. The first cinematic kicks in and so far I am not disappointed, instantly making my jaw drop and mouth water, the graphics are outstanding with heroic and adventure felt music fitting the fantasy epic perfectly. Immediately this sets your expectations at an all time high, especially since being compared to the hugely successful Skyrim ( and one of my all time beloved RPG's).

Once the cut scene has ended and you have adjusted your screen settings accordingly to fit your game play, you are presented with an opportunity of a tutorial, in my opinion TAKE IT! Honestly you will regret it if you don't, its most definitely a vital way of enhancing your skills in all aspects of the game. The tutorial touches on magic spells, sword fighting, bombs, traps and combat targeting, also some basic potion creation via meditation mode.
Whilst playing the tutorial I have to say the targeting system was often hit and miss and at times a tad frustrating, I could only hope that the mechanics (or my skills) would improve in the main section of the game, with that in mind you have to remember that the array of actions were originally designed for pc users and have been crammed cleverly onto the Xbox controller via assigned buttons and skill wheels.

Continuing on into the main game and with my much needed know how iv picked up from the earlier tutorial, I am ready to take on all manner of evil monstrosities, and some malevolent humans along the way! Game play graphics are sublime and the narrative is beautifully scripted and voiced, I would most certainly say that Cd Project Red are deservingly worthy of top marks for that! Its all about the story in Witcher 2 so make sure you listen to everything being said in cut scenes etc, as not to miss vital information. Everything you do and say will unleash a chain of reactions and events within the game. Iv acknowledged that although being heavily compared to the RPG giant, skyrim, on its open world play and fantasy environment, they are two very different games and have their own individual stamp on the rpg market. Other than the graphics and vast landscape the two are incomparable with different outlooks and stories to enrich your mind. The Witcher 2 however is not as open world as skyrim and once on certain quests you are restricted to the quest area, so I would say be prepared with all manor of potions, bombs and traps before embarking further. With all that aside it is still as inviting and as exciting to explore with immense side quests to keep you busy for many weeks.

Taking a look on the inventory side of things there is a weight limit so be sure to keep a watchful eye through out if you don't want to unexpectedly be lumbered down with unwanted items, which can happen more often than you might think as you cant select what you want and don't want to pick up.

Back to the combat system I mentioned earlier, it is still very much the same but not as controlled as in the tutorial. It is all about preparation, with no real way of healing through epic fights with monsters or bandits you must adequately ready yourself before engaging in battle. Tactics are all key, with magic spells accessible via the skill wheel, light/heavy weaponry slashing and the occasional roll out of harms way the Witcher 2 will keep you on the edge of your seat and mind racing though out combat modes.

Stealth is only available on defined missions, which is a shame as there is no real option of silently assassinating unknowing victims. With that said there is no real loss to the game as a whole and you will still enjoy tactically slaughtering the enemy.

With all considered, the minor glitches and complicated targeting system shouldn't over shadow nor cloud your judgment on this game. The story is astonishing and inviting and, may I add, addictive; it will keep you coming back for more and more. Its on par with all the other popular RPG's out there at the moment and, if your looking for a more thought provoking and mature adventure, then The Witcher 2 will have you spellbound.
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on 17 April 2012
An excellent game here.

It's been quite a year for fantasy fans with titles like Skyrim and Dark Souls, and now we have another classic game to add to the list! and what a wonderful game it is.

This is what would happen should you put George R Martin's Game Of Thrones and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim into a blender. Add a touch of norse mythology for good measure. Dark and intriguing plot filled with many characters that are masterfully developed (especially for a game), simply jaw dropping graphics and presentation to boot..

- Story, Spoiler Free

The game is set in a norse mythology rich medieval world. Geralt of Rivia, our protagonist, is a Witcher. A professional monster slayer for hire, and an intelligent character with a good sense of black humour. The game is set in a beautifully realized fantasy world where an unknown assasin is slaying royals with a great degree of skill. The game begins with Geralt in a dungeon, being taunted by guards. Soon he is taken from his cell by a knight, who attempts to get to the bottom of why Geralt is imprisonned. During this prologue of the game, Geralt recalls several memories of the events leading to his imprisonment. He recalls a political battle from beside the king he is a hand to, lending his powerful magic and swordsmanship to the throne. The story is so in depth and of a grand scale that to write it down here would take a long time, so to cut things short, Geralt is wrongly accused of assasinating the king, and with the help of his lover and a band of unlikely individuals must set out to find the real killer and clear his name. There is an absolute myriad of sub plots, twists and political intrigue going on with a variety of characters of various races and realms. Dwarfs, Elves, Humans, etc. This is one of the best stories I have ever seen in a game and I couldn't stop playing. Even the side quests have multiple outcomes depending on choices you make, and what you chose to say (or manipulate) to characters.

- Atmosphere and presentation

Immense. Dark, grotty, rich and thoroughly immersive. The art style is magnificent. I would say it just about trumps even the greatest of the greats (skyrim included). I can not express how believable this world is, it felt so perfect in every way. Lush forrests, dank medieval towns filled with colorful and interesting people, ancient ruins, underground caves... just about every possible location you would expect from this genre but with a certain degree of detail that is rarely found in games. I often find large RPG games to be a bit lacking in the details, favouring the grand scheme of things and copy pasting scenery endlessly. This game comes on 2 disks and I highly recommend an install to your hard drive for the breathtaking environments, inside which every nook and cranny has been crafted with love. There are tons of hidden areas to find, lore enhancing perfection. The towns feel alive and bustle with some really great scripted events. The game is certainly adults only, with many themes that you wouldn't want your mum to see. The graphics are completely BEAUTIFUL. I couldn't believe how nice some of the areas looked on a console game (having played the latest PC games on a high end gaming PC) I was thoroughly impressed. The world is just gorgeous. The soundtrack is very epic and the games sound effects are solid and realistic. Top marks here.

- Gameplay

It is somewhat linear when compared to games like Fallout or Skyrim, as there is not as much open map exploring so this may dissappoint some players. But there is a ton of exploration within the areas you are presented with, so this made up for it for me. If you prefer a little more direction than a fully open world, you will love it. Even if you do like open sandbox style RPG you will still love it. It feels more to the style of Final Fantasy games than Elder Scrolls. That aside, the game is very similar to the original. We have Geralt leading the way 3rd person camera style with dialogue trees and a really excellent set of dialogue at that. Combat has a really unique system going on. It's real time, blocking and swinging your weapon and casting your spells. You have whats called 'Signs' which are in effect magic spells that Geralt can cast during battle, they are somewhat limited in use but offer various perks such as knocking foes down, traps, fire blasts... and many more. The combat is deepenned by a strong upgrade system and customisable potions that change your performance in battle. You can also craft your own potions from ingredients found on your travels, and also coat your weapons with various oils for desired effects. Of course you can craft armor, weapons and even change your hair style at the barbers. The game is filled with all kinds of enemies from monsters to knights, and each has a weakness that can be discovered in a variety of ways such as reading books, overhearing conversations and general trial and error. The combat is seriously challenging though and you cannot simply run in swinging your sword, you must plan ahead by chosing the correct potions, weapons and oils. You can't use potions during fights either which makes your pre-battle decissions important. I highly recommend you dont play Hard mode or Dark mode on your first playthrough as you will quite simply get trounced. It took me more than 15 hours to truely get to grips with the combat system, and start slaying enemies properly. The game rewards you for clever strategy and punishes you for running in like an idiot. Quests are also really greatly done, and you never feel like a messenger boy or errand runner for generic NPC's that will give you coin. Sometimes a simple quest will branch of into a subplot that you never expected, offering an even deeper look into the story.

Negatives -

So after all that gushing, time to get to the problems. There are very few in my opinnion but I will mention them to be fair. The worst of the problems for me are the graphical glithces. While they are minor, it does become annoying at times when textures don't load properly, or pop in and out during character discussions. It's nothing major by a long shot but after a lenghty play session you do notice it. Another gripe I have is the difficulty, right from the get go. This is a thinking mans game and I have to admit I was a little bit perplexed at the start. After clocking several playthroughs of games like Demons Souls I'm no stranger to difficult games, but even so I fouhd it hard to get used to the combat at first. Once you do get the hang of it though, it is incredibly fun. So be warned, it will seem brutal at the start!

Some of the plot can get a little hairy, but granted there is so much going on you have to accept that not every single line of dialogue will be delivered coheerantly with all the choices you have made up until that point. On VERY rare occasions, characters will seem oblivious to your previous actions. Another thing that I am certain will be fixed with a patch, is sometimes quests will break and you have to reload a save. Honestly though after the stormcloak of bugs in Skyrim I was crying tears with joy by the end of this game. These are somewhat minor blemishes on what is a perfect porcelain statue. I found so very few things that I dislike about the game which for me, makes it a masterpiece. (It's just so damn close to perfect). One thing I will mention is the length of the game, as I know you RPG lovers will want to know how long your life will be on hold. After completeing just about every single on of the sidequests along with the main story, I clocked in at 59 hours my first play through. But bare in mind the game has multiple endings and just about every quest and mission has a different outcome depending on your choices. So replay value is super high!

Overall -

Just great. Absolutely great. Don't miss it.
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on 26 February 2013
Bought it a good while ago but wasn't really able to get into it due to having a number of other games to finish.

A little bit tricky to start with in terms of gameplay, but things eventually get smoother as you spend more time with the game learning about the mechanics.

The story has to be the main selling point here, with extraordinarily deep well acted characters and a very interesting world to explore. There are some choice mechanics as well that work in a mostly different way from other rpg's where your choices don't necessarily contribute to how good or bad you are, but only shape the game and leave you to decide on the decisions yourself. This sets it apart from a lot of other western rpg's that usually have fairly decent story lines with very weak characterization. The music is also great and the soundtrack is included in the pack and is a worthwhile addition particularly for the price.

The graphics aren't its strongest suit though, as it looks much better on pc, but it must be said that so far I have not encountered any major glitches or massive frame rate drops.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone that is a fan of deep story driven rpg's.
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on 20 May 2013
I discovered this game long after it had been released. I never played the first one as I don't have a Desktop so I didn't even know about this. I came across it one day and decided to investigate more and more, The screenshots & trailers I saw didn't do the actual gameplay any justice. This world that CD Projekt Red have created is just astonishingly beautiful. From the rich, vibrant colours in the forests to the grim, moody shades in the poor districts of the villages. The combat mechanics do take some time to get used to but once you're past that minor speed bump its smooth sailing from there on. The cinematic sequences are top notch and the lip syncing is in prefect order. (I'm picky when it comes to the small details.)
Last but not least the choices that you can make that influence later stages throughout the game are on par with the Mass Effect franchise.
I would recommend anyone that's into RPG's or even casual gamers to give this a try. You won't be disappointed!
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on 10 June 2012
Really don't get how anyone can review this game with less than 5 stars! Obviously they did not invest the time into this game that it deserves and requires to experience true RPG greatness. Once you engage with the story it truly immerses you into the game and you cannot stop playing it! Combat is fluent and responsive and the quests are simply fantastic. Currently on my third playthrough of the 30+ hour game as there are so many choices that dramaticly alter the main story line and the events that take place. To get to the point, stop reading this review and go buy this game. If you invest your time into it you will experience the masterpiece that is The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings!
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on 15 November 2014
The Witcher 2 is superb. It is an action/fantasy RPG set in a lush, diverse and beautiful world where the player will fight, explore, craft and discover their way through the game's impressive and deeply varied story (this is a very story driven game as it is based on a very good series of short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski). Graphically the game is excellent and pushes the 360 to its limits. Obviously, if you've played or seen the PC version of this, the graphics might not impress you too much, but that goes for any PC game which is ported onto a console. The gameplay is rich and varied and, as you may have read already, extremely punishing with a steep learning curve.

As Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher (monster hunter), you are thrust into a world of turmoil, regicide and conflict where your every choice pushes and pulls the story in different ways (there are 16 possible endings to the game based on your choices throughout). What I like the most here, is that your choices are not based on a linear morality system like a lot of RPGs. For example, in some RPGs you get a choce: a) help the person, or b) kill the person. OK, a little oversimplified but you get the point. A lot of games force you into choosing good or bad, nice or mean. Geralt is a Witcher however, and Witchers hold no political alliances, have no agenda other than their own and are impervious to the petty bickerings of us Dhoine (humans), therefore all the decisions you make are neither good nor bad, they're just decisions. You never feel like one decision or the other is an obvious one to make, making them all the more impactful when you finally choose. This keeps the storyline interesting, pacey and interactive and you always feel as though you are helping tell it.

In the same way as Dark Souls (if you haven't played DS yet, check it out!) the combat in the Witcher 2 is what puts most people off. For a beginner, it can be very unrewarding and seemingly impossible to get the hang of. Even as a long time gamer, a veritable expert (if I do say so myself) at the Souls games and conquerer of many a difficult game, I got my arse handed to me the first time I played this game. However, if you stick with it and practice and level up you will discover a rich and rewarding combat system, one that I have become very fond of indeed. The trick is to take your time, practice and pay close attention the the tutorial. Go gung-ho and try to hack your way to victory and you'll be seeing that 'Game Over' screen all too often.

A quick summary of the positives (+) and negatives (-) then for anyone thinking of giving this game a try:

+ Graphics and sounds are beautiful, the world really comes alive
+ Rewarding and deep combat system
+ Great story
+ Long game with lots to do, great value for money

- Steep learning curve may put some off, especially if you're a more casual gamer looking to pick up and play
- Target locking system is a little finicky

*WARNING TO PARENTS* - if you're thinking of buying this as a gift, the game is an 18!! It has swearing, blood, guts, prostitutes, nudity etc. Totally unsuitable for anyone underrage, this is an adult title through and through.

A great game, well worth it if you have the mettle and patience to get good at it. If you do, a fantastical world awaits. 9/10 from me!
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on 17 April 2012
I played the Witcher 2 on PC and it looked incredible, it's funny how a small Polish developer managed
to produce a fantastic PC exclusive (at the time) which put most big budget western games to shame.

The developer CD Projekt has hand-signed all launch copies of the game sold by Amazon, plus this Enhanced
Edition has all the DLC & new content included for free - this should tell you something about CD Projekt.

The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition for 360 has a more joypad friendly control scheme (more so than even the PC version
which already fully supported controllers). That's not all, the Enhanced Edition also brings several graphical
improvements, with much better lighting being the most visible improvement - even on the 360 it's very obvious.

There is a short 4 minute CGI intro sequence which is quite spectacular actually, and sets things in motion nicely,
you can watch it on Youtube right now. Amazon's current price of £31.99 is a great deal especially for a launch price.

The game itself is a top notch RPG and looks amazing. You play as Geralt of Rivia who is a Witcher (professional
monster slayer) who is bang in the middle of the political battles that have engulfed the land of Temeria. With
the help of the CGI intro, and a bit of reading you should be able to get the gist of the story pretty quickly.

The gameplay is fun and varied and lasts about 20-30hrs or more depending on how you approach it. It's a complete
RPG experience and can end in a variety of ways (the number and variety of endings available for this game put
Mass Effect 3's three colour coded attempts to shame).

There is a bit of a game drought until May - The Witcher 2 is perfect for filling that gap. Also, if you own the
Witcher 2 on PC there is a free Enhanced Edition update out today which brings all the new content for free!
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on 4 June 2012
'The Witcher 2' has finally arrived on consoles, and what great game!

I have played both witchers on the pc and I loved every bit of it.
So, basicly, as a witcher fan, I gave it a try on the xbox 360... and god, they actually pulled it off.

People who love RPG's should realy try this game, because 'CD Project RED' nailed it!
This is how an RPG should be!
Be warned though, the combat isn't just hack&slash.
You need to prepare for combat, make tactical decisions and strike when the enemy shows his/her weakness.

POSITIVES:
- Fluent but challenging combat.
- Potion-system (prepare for battle in different ways)
- Great story and characters.
- Crafting system.
- Lore and locations.
- Different ways to finish quests and the main story.
- New tutorial system!

NEGATIVES:
- A few graphical hickups.
- Not many customisations character-wise (the look)

CONCLUSION:
- The Witcher 2 on the xbox 360 is a great game.
From combat that's entertaining and rewarding, to the complexity but interesting world that shapes according to the choices you make.
Superb.
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on 4 October 2014
I have only played this game for a few hours and I am definitely in love. It's interesting, engaging (who doesn't love a bit of nudity in the first five minutes - DRAAAMA), the graphics and surroundings are superb for it's time, and so far it seems to be devoid of any cliché'd RPG elements. The battle system is a little bit difficult to master at first (after I took part in the tutorial, it was recommended that I play on easy difficulty) but with time I am sure it will be mastered and used to great efficiency. Also, if you are an enjoy and hoarder of loot, then this is the game for you. There are plants, coins and junk to collect EVERYWHERE and from the get go there is plenty of exploring to do (in and out of people's houses which I love cos I am nosy) without it being too intimidating and making you feel like you want to just run through an area. That being said, some people who REALLY REALLY love exploring open expanses might be disappointed.

After all the gushing I guess I should point out some flaws. There has only been several tiny things that irritate me. 1: when you want to stop moving a couple more steps are taken meaning that if you want to stop to collect something chances are you'll have to gently backtrack a few paces. It will just take some getting used to is all though. 2: Just in case there is any confusion/rage, the tutorial glitched on me a couple of times and I could not move after I had finished reading a piece of advice. It was annoying to have to go out and start over but believe me the tutorial is worth it for first timers. Other than that, I feel like the menu system is just a bit clunky in comparison with other games. It just needs a small bit of a tidying up.

Overall, despite the couple of complaints above, I think this is a well polished and well made game that has definitely gotten me very excited for the Witcher 3 and has made me wish I had played it sooner. If I was to compare this other games, I would say that it has better graphics and more appealing to the eye than Skyrim, like a grown up Fable, and the writing and dialogue is similar to the Dragon Age franchise. So if you like those game, this one is for you!
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