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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition

Preview: The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition on the Xbox 360

11:00 AM on 03.12.2012 // Becca Roberts

So it's finally almost here. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition was released exclusively for the PC last year and, despite a few anomalies, received high review scores from both critics and users, as well as receiving an abundance of awards. The Enhanced Edition is now being released for Xbox 360 with a whole bunch of extra stuff added in just in case you needed another reason to give it a try. 

As an RPG that really pushes the limits in terms of story, gameplay, customization and strategic decision-making, The Witcher 2 looks back to a more hardcore RPG gameplay style, whilst still managing to keep an intense storyline that Western RPGs have become more accustomed to. Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's bestselling saga, the game is a mixture of dark fantasy themes, betrayal, seduction and good old ancient battle-style fighting. 

 

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition (Xbox 360 [previewed], PC)
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Released: April 17, 2012 

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is almost exactly the same as the gritty and immersive release for the PC, with a few new additions to make the game even more exciting. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, you once again play as the fiercely handsome Geralt of Rivia. He is a Witcher and a badass assassin. After a case of mistaken identity, he starts the game by re-telling the story to an interrogator.

He begins telling his tale by, quite conveniently, waking up next to Triss Merigold and yes, her boobs still look great in the Xbox 360 version! After the initial action storytelling segment, you wake up in a dark and dingy prison cell. Your task from there is to escape past the guards and crazy, swearing prisoners (seriously the voice acting in this part alone is amazing). It is then your task to clear your name and restore order within the kingdom.

The main thing with the Enhanced Edition of course is the difference between the PC one. From release, the Xbox 360 version will include all previous updates of The Witcher 2 including the 2.0 patch. The interface has been upgraded to fit the console, so this will affect things like the camera, targeting system, and controls, making it more fluid and feeling less like a straight PC game port.

When it comes to content, lead artist Mark Ziemak made it clear that they did not want to sacrifice or remove anything from the PC version, so they took their time to ensure the Xbox 360 version was as polished as it could be. The only sacrifices they had to make fell to the lower resolution and textures required to make this game work on the lesser powerful console. Despite this, they really have made the game look great, and took full advantage of the wide range of colourful and stunning scenery the game has to offer. 

As with all good console RPGs, there is usually an impressive opening cinematic sequence to mesmerize the player and CD Projekt Red have gone all out on the new cinematics for the start of the game. They hired BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski to provide the all-new three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic. It's a nice new addition to the game and gives it a definite finishing touch. Baginski has also worked to provide new animations and cut-scenes throughout the course of the game to add an extra sense of background to the story. 

In addition to the sparkly new cutscenes and pre-rendered cinematics, there are also four extra hours of gameplay to sink your teeth into including two major adventures, new characters and new locations. They're a combination of ideas from the studio after the final development of the PC version and ideas from fans.

One new quest in particular features the new character Dame Brigida Papebrock, who is a bit of a saucy lady. After seducing some of the most powerful men in Temeria, she has learned some dark secrets, making her a prime target in the whole mess of things. This quest in particular is set within the third act of the story, and provides some interesting backstory to certain events within the complex narrative. And don't worry PC players, all this new content will be made accessible to the PC version for free in an upcoming patch. 

Bringing the hardcore element back to RPGs, CD Projekt Red has worked hard to bridge the gap between PC and console with The Witcher 2 by manipulating the controls and gameplay to have a more natural fit with the Xbox 360. They hope to entice even the most casual gamer into giving this tactical, pure-blooded RPG a try. Its mature content and deeply intricate, fantasy-driven storyline make it the perfect RPG to sink into.

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