The acclaimed PC port of 'The Witcher 2' has finally made its way over to console land. Boasting the same stand-up gameplay and feature-set, it seems like console gamers are about to be spoiled.

Gearing up for the release of 'The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings' I explored the origin of this PC port. Although I never played the "Witcher" series previously, once I started into my adventure, I clearly understood its history of high praise. From the opening cinematic (which is outstanding, by the way) and into the tutorial assisted dockside intro; it is clear, 'The Witcher 2' is going to be one mega-sized adventure. Initially feeling like a side-stepped 'Two Worlds' (don’t panic just yet) it didn’t take long to see that 'The Witcher 2' is much more than a rag-tag action-rpg fantasy game. Falling just shy of the grand 'Elder Scrolls,' 'The Witcher 2' is a highlight in the rpg genre and the Xbox 360 library.

The thing with this tale; this massive endeavour, are the amount of options and the overall enrapture into CD Projekts' creation. Skipping the tutorial (a short one is provided if needed) the baiting serves its purpose; to get you on your way. Playing an amnesia (surprise) “warrior-monk” named Geralt of Rivia, who has a "Kratos-like" amplitude for killing. Introduced via a typical prison/torture scenario, through flashback sequences you relive the legend of this warrior. True, the delivery feels triflingly overdone and the flow is marginally sidetracked every time you skip around. However its content shines through any sparks of monotony, and this sequence is short lived. Things do pick up after you finish the prologue, making the first few hours seem more like a chore.

Loose in translation, 'The Witcher 2' has a natural transitions among its dialogue choices. It is not a slick as something like 'Mass Effect,' but as for as content goes, it works. A better comparison would be something more like the 'Dragon Age' series, with a tilt towards the original; and for all those who played and loved 'Dragon Age,' this is a good thing. The voice work isn't bad either, predicable it has its weak moments, but it is total serviceable. Surprisingly, the “role-playing” aspect of storytelling and choice is quite frequent making the world feel more in-depth than its action-based counterparts.

Grounded in this solid foundation, the written narrative and excellent characterization is the glue that keeps you engaged. Slow to start, the story eventually picks up speed, however the linear progression is restricting. Similar, or even less than 'Dragon Age 2,' there is a little room for exploration. Freedom really comes in the way of customization and dialogue choices. This basically means you are pulled through the adventure like string to a ball. This might be a detrimental factor for those looking for an “open-world esq” styled game. However, if you accept the lack of "freedom," you will find a worthy adventure. Sure, it's can feel like you're a simple pawn, but luckily this pawns' tale is a lot of fun.

Transitioning past follow-the-leader, 'The Witcher 2' is filled with lots of barbaric combat. The combat is very satisfying, and more-so when you climb up in the difficulty levels. I'm not going to reference 'Dark Souls,' but it does have a slight feel towards the technical aspect of swordplay. The action has a good pace to it and you'll always be involved in each conflict. Weighty weapons and a good spell-set help increase this. The biggest complaint (oh and it's a biggie) is the lack of an auto-targeting system. Obviously this brings up more problems like confusion while in large skirmishes and disorientation due to wild camera movement. It's all very “old school” and odd for a game released in 2012 to have this “issue.”

Additionally, the “circle running” combat philosophy peaks out in battles. Somewhat to blame the shoddy A.I. you can simply run around each fight while you heal and pick away at your enemies. Yes it is a cheap tactic, but one that is totally exploitable during combat. Nerveless and aside from the “exploits” the combat is fun, which is a main component that is fulfilled. Still its workable and you'll likely enjoy the combat so much that it will be forgettable once you get rolling. So 'The Witcher 2' might have some issues, but that’s OK, we still love how it feels to see the Witchers' blade slice through his opponents.

Another element added to the combat is quick hand-to-hand QTE (quick-time-events) that break up the pace of sword swinging. These short, yet effective segments usually come in during a heated conversation. If words don't settle a discussion, a few body blows and grapple moves sure will. Smart, 'The Witcher 2' paces itself nicely with these inclusions, so you never seem to get tired of them. It's a nice switch up and one more touch of innovation provided.

Compared to other modern games, 'The Witcher 2' isn't a knockout (graphically,) but given the size-and-scope of the project, it's understandable. The facial animation takes the biggest hit, however it is totally passable. Skeletal movement also feels overly “wooden” at times. This continues with the texture work... and here we go again, we are feeling a little behind the times. Keep in mind everything is forgivable once you're immersed in the adventure. From an onlookers' perspective they will be more wowed by an action game or anything with more of an action tilt. Obvious to any geek-gamer that the PC edition boasts a higher resolution count, so there is no graphical reason to own both versions. Overall I wasn't disappointed with the visual content of the game. Sure, I expected a little more, but its nothing that will have you powering down your controller in disgust.

Pulling you through its tale with passionate vigour, 'The Witcher 2' gives us one grand styled gambit. While it's not everything you might want out of a “role-playing” game, (mainly freedom) its puppetering ways are acceptable. Combat, dialogue, choice, substance all out weigh the spirit of adventure, making 'The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings' a definite “must have” for any fan of role-playing or action-adventure games.

  • Solid combat that feels “weighty”
  • Interesting story with some memorable moments
  • Interesting game world rich with detail
  • Great voice acting (for the most part)
  • Lots of customizable options
  • Feels like an RPG should, and that's saying something
  • Graphics fall a little behind the times
  • No auto-target hurts the combat
  • Lack of freedom is disheartening
  • Burdened with too many options
  • Mature title alienates younger gamers
Quote: "Pulling you through its tale with passionate vigour, 'The Witcher 2' gives us one grand styled gambit."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 05.01.12

Similar Games: Two Worlds II (5.9) | Risen (6.0) | Dragon Age II (8.6) | Dragon Age: Origins (9.5)


The Witcher 2
Assassins of Kings
Enhanced Edition

WB Games

CD Projekt RED


US Release
April '12



Players 1
Dolby 5.1
HD 720-1080p