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Witcher

Batman Arkham Knight 40% off discount storms onto the scene

May 30 // Dealzon
Top Weekend Deals 40% Off Batman: Arkham Knight Premium Edition (Steam) — $53.99Use code: 40OFFB-ATAKVC-GMGRB9 Batman: Arkham Knight (Steam) — $36  <- Use super secret code above. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DRM-Free) — $36  <- Login required to see deal. 25% Off Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward - Collectors Edition — $45 <- Login required. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward — $30  (list price $40) <- Login required. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) — $44.97  (list price $60) Noteworthy Bloodborne (PS4) — $39.99  (list price $60) Xbox One Assassin's Creed: Unity Bundle — $299.99  <- nice price Humble Nindie Bundle + Humble Relic Bundle Recent Releases 05/27: Dying Light: The Bozak Horde (Steam) — $8  (list price $10) 05/26: Magicka 2 (Steam) — $12  (list price $15) <- Deluxe too at $20 05/26: The Evil Within: The Executioner (Steam) — $4  (list price $5) Upcoming Releases 06/12: LEGO Jurassic World (Steam) — $28  (list price $35) <- of course there's a game 08/25: Madden NFL 16 (PS4, Xbox One) — $52.99  (list price $60) 09/01: Mad Max (Steam) — $40  (list price $50) 11/06: CoD: Black Ops 3 (PS4, PC, XOne) — $59.99 + $10 Rewards + Beta Access PC Game Deals Capcom Sale Use Code: GET20P-ERCENT-OFFNOW Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition (Steam) — $20  (list price $50) Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition (Steam) — $16.80  (list price $30) Ultra Street Fighter IV (Steam) — $12  (list price $30) Resident Evil HD Remaster (Steam) — $12  (list price $20) Resident Evil: Revelations (Steam) — $8.16  (list price $30) Resident Evil 6 (Steam) — $8  (list price $40) DMC: Devil May Cry (Steam) — $7.92  (list price $30) Lost Planet 3 (Steam) — $6.80  (list price $25) Strider (Steam) — $6  (list price $15) Ultra Street Fighter IV Upgrade (Steam) — $6  (list price $15) DuckTales: Remastered (Steam) — $6  (list price $15) Remember Me (Steam) — $4.80  (list price $30) GMG VIP Sale Far Cry 4 (Uplay) — $24.99  (list price $60) The Crew (Uplay) — $24.99  (list price $60) <- anyone online? Assassin's Creed Unity (Uplay) — $24.99  (list price $60) More Dying Light (Steam) — $35.99  (list price $60) Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (Steam) — $26.99  (list price $30) Starcraft II: Battle Chest (PC/Mac) — $23.99  (list price $40) Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series (DRM-Free) — $17.99  (list price $30) Flockers (Steam) — $5.44  (list price $20) 8-Bit Adventures: The Forgotten Journey Remastered (Steam) — $5.36  (list $10) Rise of Venice - Gold Edition (Steam) — $4.50  (list price $30) The Last Remnant (Steam) — $4.24  (list price $10) Worms Reloaded Game of the Year Edition (Steam) — $4  (list price $25) Alien Breed 3: Descent (Steam) — $1.60  (list price $10) <- 1 & 2 also on sale Console Game Deals Saints Row IV + Gat Out Of Hell (PS4, Xbox One) — $19.99  (list price $40) LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS4, Xbox One) — $19.99  (list price $60) Destiny (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3) — $19.99  (list price $60) FIFA 15 (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3) — $19.99  (list price $60) <- fund Blatter's yacht edition  Murdered: Soul Suspect (PS4, Xbox One) — $14.99  (list price $30) Fuse (Xbox 360) — $8.99  (list price $30) PS3 Deals Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix (PS3) — $19.99  (list price $30) Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3) — $17.99  (list price $30) 3DS Deals Nintendo 2DS + Yoshi's New Island (Crimson Red) — $89.99  (list price $130) Pokemon X (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Pokemon Y (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Pokemon Omega Ruby (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) The Legend of Korra A New Era Begins (Nintendo 3DS) — $9.99  (list price $30) Target: Buy 2 3DS Games Get 1 Free Laptop Deals 17.3" MAINGEAR Pulse, i7-4700HQ, GTX 870M, 16GB — $1,799  (list $2,399) 13.3" Alienware, i7-5500U, QHD+ 1800p, GTX 860M, 16GB — $1,499  (list 1,799) 15.6" Asus i7-4700HQ, 8GB, GTX 850M, 1080p Touch — $799  (list $1,099) 14" Lenovo Y40-80 i7-5500U, R9 M275, 16GB — $779  (list $1,350) HDTV Deals 55" LG 1080p 3D Curved OLED Smart HDTV — $1,799.99  (list price $3,500) 60" Samsung 1080p 240Hz 3D Smart LED HDTV — $1,099.99  (list price $1,998) 55" Samsung 1080p 120Hz Smart LED HDTV — $899.99  (list price $1,800) 40" Samsung 4K Ultra HD Smart LED HDTV — $649.99  (list price $1,000) Game deals from Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers help support Destructoid.
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Its raining deals!
As June creeps around the corner, we're now less than a month away from the release of Batman: Arkham Knight. This weekend the PC pre-order became very enticing at GMG where a both Arkham Knight edition is at 40% off - d...

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RPG Deals: Witcher 3 and Shadow of Mordor up to 60% off


Dark fantasy time.
May 22
// Dealzon
Need some RPG love this Memorial Day weekend? On PC, both Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have some impressive discounts at GMG. In the case of Mordor, the game is instantly 50% off, dropping from ...
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The day is finally here!
The moment you've all been waiting for that has been months in the making, Newstoid is finally officially here! We have all the hot scoops, hot hosts, and side-splitting laughter you could ask for. Not to mention the hot bea...


Weekend Deals: Witcher 3, Galactic Civilizations III up to 28% off

May 16 // Dealzon
Top Deals Witchin' Deals The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — $35.99 - login required The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — $39.99 at DLGamer  (list price $60) The Witcher 3 + $10 Rewards (PS4, Xbox One) — $59.99 The Witcher 3 + $10 Xbox Gift Card (Xbox One) — $59.99 More Top Deals Galactic Civilizations III (Steam) — $39  (list price $50) Xbox One Master Chief Bundle + 2 Games + $100 eGift Card — $379.99  (list $450) Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate (3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Tomb Raider GOTY Edition (Steam) — $4.68  (list price $30) Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition (Steam) — $4.68  (list price $30) Thief (Steam) — $4.68  (list price $30) Recent Releases 05/12: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (Steam) — $12.48  (list price $16) 05/06: Project Cars (Steam) — $36.99  (list price $50) 05/05: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Steam) — $15.60  (list price $20) 04/30: Block N Load (Steam) — $9.94  (list price $15) 04/21: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China (Uplay) — $7.95  (list price $11) Upcoming Releases 05/26: Magicka 2 (Steam) — $11.70  (list price $15) 06/23: Batman: Arkham Knight Premium Edition — $70.19  (list price $100) 06/23: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward — $31.20  (list price $40) 06/23: Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition (Steam) — $19.50  (list price $25) PC Game Deals Just Cause 3 (Steam) — $42.12  (list price $60) Ultra Street Fighter IV (Steam) — $14.44  (list price $30) World of Diving (Steam) — $13.29  (list price $20) Spintires (Steam) — $12.95  (list price $30) DMC: Devil May Cry (Steam) — $10.62  (list price $50) Red Faction Collection (Steam) — $10.19  (list price $60) Darksiders Franchise Pack (Steam) — $9.34  (list price $60) Remember Me (Steam) — $6.37  (list price $30) Enemy Front (Steam) — $5.85  (list price $30) Thief: Master Thief Edition (Steam) — $5.15  (list price $33) Demonicon: The Dark Eye (Steam) — $4.68  (list price $40) Killing Floor (Steam) — $3.90  (list price $20) XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Steam) — $3.51  (list price $30) Console Game Deals Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (PS4, Xbox One) — $47.99  (list price $60) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4, Xbox One) — $47.99  (list price $60) Dying Light (PS4, Xbox One) — $39.99  (list price $60) Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360, PS3) — $29.99  (list price $60) The Crew (PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360) — $29.99  (list price $40) Skyrim Legendary Edition (Xbox 360, PS3) — $19.99  (list price $30) PS4 Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (PS4) — $47.99  (list price $60) Destiny (PS4) — $28.49  (list price $50) Xbox One Mortal Kombat X (Xbox One) — $44.99  (list price $60) Xbox Live 12 Month Gold (Digital Code) — $40.95  (list price $60) Xbox Live Gold 3 Month (Digital Code) — $16.95  (list price $25) Minecraft (Xbox One) — $14.99  (list price $20) Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Xbox One) — $9.99  (list price $20) Misc Console Deals Borderlands 2 (PS Vita) — $19.99  (list price $40) Freedom Wars (PS Vita) — $19.99  (list price $30) The Walking Dead: Season 2 (PS Vita) — $14.99  (list price $30) The Wolf Among Us (PS Vita) — $9.99  (list price $30) Laptop Deals 15.6" HP Omen 15t, i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M, 256GB — $1,049.99  (list $1,600) 14" Lenovo Yoga 3, i7-5500U, 8GB, 256GB SSD — $949  (list $1,250) 15.6" Lenovo Z51-70, i7-5500U, 8GB, Radeon R9 M375 — $829  (list $1,080) 11.6" MacBook Air, i5-5250U, 128GB SSD — $749.99  (list $900) HDTV Deals 49" LG 4K 3D LED TV with webOS + $200 eGift Card — $999  (list price $1,699) 60" Sony 1080p 120hz Smart LED HDTV — $889.99  (list price $1,799) 55" Vizio 1080p Smart LED HDTV — $597.99  (list price $798) 48" Sony 1080p Smart TV + $150 eGift Card — $498  (list price $528) Hardware Deals PlayStation 4 + Last of Us Remastered + PlayStation TV — $399.99  (list $400) Nintendo 3DS XL + Case (Blue, Red, Black) — $149.99  (list $175) Samsung 850 EVO SSD 2.5" 1TB MZ-75E1T0B/AM — $336.34  (list $450) Crucial M500 Series SSD 2.5" 960GB — $279.99  (list $520) AMD Radeon R7 Series SSD 2.5" 240GB — $99.99  (list $165)
Weekend deals photo
Now where's my $500 GPU...
Update 6/1: A new 40% off discount has sprung up on The Witcher 3. Login or create an account on this page and drop the price to $35.99. The The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is finally releasing next week May 19th. It's sto...

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The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt keeps looking better and better


One man returns to kill everything... well mostly everything
Dec 08
// Wesley Ruscher
CD Projekt RED's open-world expedition, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is easily at the top of my most anticipated games of 2014 list (sorry Titan Fall) and the latest trailer shown off during last night's VGX show only has me ev...

Seven of the toughest games to run on PC

Feb 21 // Brett Makedonski
Battlefield 3 (2011) The Frostbite 2 engine sure is visually pleasing as it showcases some of the best-looking environment destruction in games. However, if your PC isn't in tip-top shape, it's more likely that Battlefield 3 will look like a janky game of Jenga gone awry. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996) Back in a time when videogames didn't look all that great, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire boasted a "universe so detailed you [could] see the tow cable around an Imperial AT-AT." Fascinating stuff. The only problem is that it required 3D Acceleration, a feature that was very new to graphics card manufacturers. Ultima IX: Ascension (1999) How difficult was Ultima IX: Ascension to run? It took a few years for most players to be able to finally play it. A need for advanced hardware, coupled with poor optimization, made for a game that most people couldn't play. Not that it really matters -- Ultima IX: Ascension is sort of the black sheep of the series, and most fans refuse to accept it as canon. Far Cry 2 (2008) Far Cry 2 featured some of the most dynamic scenery ever witnessed in games. Between the vast expanses of African wilderness, the realistic and ever-changing wildfire mechanics, and the detailed storm effects, Far Cry 2 was one of the most compelling games of 2008. Unfortunately, it also wasn't one that many people could play on max settings. Myst (1993) Myst is a bit different from the other entries on this list in that it didn't necessarily require a computer with high specs to run. No, its main barrier to entry was just a CD-ROM drive -- something that not many people had in 1993. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Grand Theft Auto IV was hailed as one of the grittiest and most realistic open-world sandboxes ever. While this might be the case, many PC players had a tough time immersing themselves in the game, as deficient performance acted as a constant detractor. The consensus seems to chalk it up to a poor port from console versions. Regardless of whatever the real issue was, it took quite the machine to efficiently run this title. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011) The Witcher 2 is one of the prettiest RPGs in years, and garnered many near-perfect and perfect review scores. However, it's also one of the most resource-demanding titles, and many are hard-pressed to actually see it in its full glory. But for those that can, it's a sight to behold. These seven titles were/are some of the most difficult games for PCs to run. That being said, there are certainly plenty out there that didn't make the list. Which games have frustrated you due to inability to play them at full-capacity?
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Obviously Crysis-inspired
The Crysis series is well-known in the PC community as being the benchmark of sorts for games that require a high-end computer to run. It began in 2007 with the release of the first Crysis. It's undeniable that the game ...

What I want from The Witcher 3

Feb 06 // Patrick Hancock
What should stay the same: Moral Grey Area This is what the series is known for. The Witcher was one of the first games that had me sitting in my chair, head down, seriously contemplating which decision to make. This is a series that doesn't force you to choose between black and white but enters that oh-so-terrifying grey area that puts you between a rock and a hard place. Imagine the possibilities of decision consequences on such a large scale! It could be like when Megaton blew up in Fallout 3, except with way less binary actions leading up to it. Love of the Lore The Witcher games are based off of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, and CD Projekt Red actually does a great job of referencing the source material. Perhaps best of all, reading the books isn't required (though I recommend it) to enjoy the deep lore in the videogames themselves.  Speaking with townsfolk and reading beastiaries are an absolute delight in the Witcher games, and I would expect The Witcher 3 to continue this trend. Save Game Transfers Simple, yet never guaranteed. I made some pretty heavy decisions in the past games and would expect them to have at least some influence in the finale. Even if it's something small, a couple lines of dialogue here and there, there should be some sort of benefit to bringing in a save from the past games. Modding I'm not sure many people realize how moddable the Witcher games actually are. I've only briefly dabbled in mods, like removing the weight limit from the second game, but there are a ton of options out there. Modding is what elevates a PC game over its console counterparts. Making a game moddable on PC is playing to the platform's strengths and it would be silly for CD Projekt Red to stop now. Ladies Though the Sex Cards from the first game are confirmed not to return (damn), the intimate encounters should stay. For one, it wouldn't really fit Geralt's character to suddenly stop being promiscuous. Two, it affirms the already adult theme and never seems out of place or tacky. Third, awww yeah sexy ladies. No DRM This is pretty much guaranteed, but it still needs to be said. CD Projekt Red launched GOG.com and sells their products DRM free through the site. I bought The Witcher 2 from there simply because I knew exactly where my money was going: straight to one of the best developers of this generation. What needs to change Include a Tutorial This Time, Okay? I know they patched a tutorial into The Witcher 2, but it still wasn't all that great. There are undoubtedly going to be many complex systems in The Witcher 3, so how about we introduce them this time.  It doesn't make sense to introduce gameplay elements one at a time as the player progresses, since Geralt should already know all the basics. Like The Witcher 2, having a tutorial that serves as a one-time venture and is separate from the main game makes the most sense. Don't try to introduce the concepts to player as they are fighting, it's distracting, obtrusive, and isn't as effective. Give the player plenty of time in an isolated tutorial to learn the mechanics. This way, they can jump straight into the real game afterwards with no interruptions. Boss Fights Hey, I don't know if you knew this, but the boss fights in the second game suuuuuuucked. Some were pretty epic in scale, but each one felt like a trial and error test in precognition. I have some bad memories of almost every boss fight in that game. We do know that there are no scripted boss encounters, but I'm not entirely sure what that means. Maybe throwing away the idea of boss fights for a their monster hunting quests is the best approach to this. In fact, that would be perfect for a game about a witcher. After all, their one job is to hunt monsters. Less dumb boss fights, more witching, please! Minigames You may not know this, but I am the World Champ of fist fighting and dice poker in The Witcher. The first game had simple yet entertaining minigames that served as an occasional nice distraction from all the death and politics. The second game, however, turned the fist fighting into a controller-inspired QTE battle and even somehow made dice poker boring. There will be new minigames at each area this time, but I don't think fist fighting and dice should disappear. They were something that unified the world; no matter where I went, people wanted to challenge me to dice poker and fisticuffs, and I loved it. I also kicked their butts! Difficulty The second game's difficulty was stupid. They've "recognized" the backwards difficulty curve, so let's hope they reverse it. Part of this was also thanks to the lack of a tutorial for a bit, so these two work in tandem. A perfect difficulty curve is incredibly hard to do, and an open world does not make it any easier. I am glad to hear that the enemies will not scale to the player's level, since that's a silly game mechanic in the first place. I can appreciate difficult games, but there is a fine line between difficult and unfair, especially in the early goings of a game. The Perspective/Controls Ahem, allow me for a moment to complain about what bugged me most about The Witcher 2. Don't make this game for controllers. Make it for a mouse and keyboard and functional with a controller. From the over-the-shoulder perspective to the fighting minigames, it was painfully obvious that The Witcher 2 was made for consoles. I want the top down perspective back. Even if it isn't a default -- make it an option. Allow me to click to move and even click to attack. I miss the gameplay of The Witcher and other old RPGs and I know I'm not the only one. Be a hero in the genre, CD Projeckt Red, be a hero. Bonus picture:
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My personal wishlist for the sequel
What we already know about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt makes it sound really great. If the folks over at CD Projekt Red can pull off this and Cyberpunk 2077, they will seriously be a contender for the best development ...

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Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projeckt reveals new tech engine for Cyberpunk 2077


New REDEngine 3 to be used for Cyberpunk 2077
Feb 01
// Alasdair Duncan
Whilst we get all excited about the upcoming consoles from Microsoft and Sony, Witcher developers CD Projekt Red are all ready working on the next edition of their own REDEngine. Unveiling details about the engine's upcoming ...
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GOG.com reduces 125 games in case of the world ending


Stock up on classics for the end of the world
Dec 19
// Alasdair Duncan
GOG.com has been running its holiday sale for a few days now with a great selection of price cuts and daily deals. Now it's gone all Roland Emmerich on us with an apocalyptic sale of extraordinary magnitude. Just over 125 tit...

Witcher 2's REDKit might make a modder out of me

Oct 25 // Steven Hansen
Did you watch the time-lapse video in the header? I was shown a similar creation produced by the suite, in real time, and I can confirm that making that fully functioning, albeit simplistic, quest took no longer than 30 minutes. I think that the ease of use is REDKit’s biggest draw and a lot that came from community input. Earlier in the year, CD Projekt sought applications from modders who wanted to try out the beta version of the kit, selecting 100 of the applicants to provide early access. Not only are these modders working on their own mods to have ready in concert with the kit’s 2013 launch, thereby providing another breath of life for the game, but CD Projekt is working closely with them to produce high-quality content. But it’s a two way street. The modders are also providing invaluable feedback to the team, which knows how to use the tools inside and out through years of working with them, with respect to enhancing general usability. It’s wonderful to see such open, practical collaboration. CD Projekt will also be filling wikis with guides on how to use REDKit and providing video guides with developer commentary, similar to the one shown above. As you saw in the time-lapse video, creation is wonderfully accessible. Starting with blank terrain, you can set brush values and easily “paint” on -- or, better still, painlessly undo – terrain, raising hills and the like, for variety and then quickly apply the desired textures to the entire expanse. From there, you can just as easily paint a different desired texture straight onto the raised, rock hillsides. The level of control coupled with automation appears to have found a glorious happy medium. You have control over the skybox, allowing you full use of the day/night cycle, and you can even change the trajectory of the sun and moon if, perhaps, you want the sun to set behind a particular hillside. You can set parameters and have various vegetation automatically populate the area, rather than having to place tree after tree and then individual clusters of lush fauna. What’s more, it’s a snap to remove any of the automatically generated wildlife that intrudes on other elements of your environment, like a village, or to add more in desired places. Not only do features like this remove some of the rote grunt work, but they also offer wanted assistance to those who maybe want to focus more on quest building and storytelling. Plus, the ease of doing and undoing affords so much more time for experimentation. Speaking of experimentation, one of the best things about REDKit is how easy it is to jump in and test out what you’re building. You can jump right in to a fully playable version of your creation at whatever state of completion or disrepair in a matter of seconds. The actual quest building is just as intuitive. There is a page of modular nodes, between which you manually drag links, building logical connections between the order of occurrence of the things you’re producing. After you’ve placed an NPC into your world, that NPC will have a node and you can give them a quest to deliver, which you can write entirely or merely edit from existing Witcher 2 dialog interactions. All of the assets in the game are at your control, which also allows burgeoning modders to take working bits of the game and tweak them to their liking, even altering something as simple as who Geralt has a particular conversation with in the prologue sequence. The conversation scripting also has a director’s view that allows you to change things like camera angles while dialogue is being delivered. On top of that, you can even import your own voice over -- lip-synching is currently being worked on. In the creation I was shown, the NPC needed some monsters dispatched, so I saw a monster spawn point quickly defined in his little next door shanty. Again, there’s a bevy of customizable options. You can change the size of the area that the monsters spawn in, the area in which their spawning is triggered, whether or not they’re aggressive (that is, if they’ll follow Geralt should he turn tail and run), how many monsters spawn, what kinds, how quickly, how far apart from each other, and so on. With a playable, professional-looking quest delivered to me in a matter of minutes, I’m incredibly excited to see what the modding community -- the 100 working on content presently and all those folks who will have access down the line -- is going to be able to produce with REDKit. Having never modded anything in my life, I felt confident even I could tool around and produce something cool with the kit. I also recognize that it affords enough flexibility and control that particularly skilled individuals are going to be able to do some amazing things with it.
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Get some RED on you
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has been out for a while now, but it isn’t a dead document. Earlier this year we saw The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition released for Xbox 360. This version also included all of the free DL...

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GOG.com: Cyberpunk 2077, Witcher 2 for Mac, modding


65 years to go
Oct 18
// Alasdair Duncan
Couple of bits of information coming out of today's CD Projeckt/GOG.com Fall Conference about The Witcher 2 and the studio's upcoming Cyberpunk title. Firstly, Cyberpunk 2077 is the official name for the new RPG with CD Proje...
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Big news from GOG.com and CD Projekt on October 18


Sep 25
// Jason Cabral
In the past few years, there have been a few truths that I have come to realize in the realm of PC gaming: Valve will always treat its fans like gold, there will always be way too many indie bundles to buy, and CD Projekt RED...

Raven's Cry has pirates that don't act like bilge rats

Jun 11 // Ryan Perez
The great thing about Mr. Raven is that he doesn't take any crap from anyone, but dishes it out nonstop. Raven's Cry features a dialog system not unlike those we've seen in the games of late (Mass Effect, The Witcher 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution), although those games either provided a choice between morally ambiguous decisions, or between being a saint or a complete dickhead. RC is very aware that a vindictive pirate has little need for politeness or cordiality, so virtually every interaction Christopher has with an NPC is unsavory. Don't worry, you still get to choose what to say and how to react, but, in the end, you're still going to be a jerk. For instance, one scene had Christopher strutting into a tavern and speaking to an unfriendly sot for information on someone. When the patron balked, two choices were presented: Either point your gun at the guy's face, or staple his hand to the table with your knife. Too bad they left out a third option: pluck out one of his eyes with your finger, then piss in the hole. Part of me wonders if the consistent dickheadery will get a bit old (and funny) after a while, but it's still nice to see a genuine antihero in this age of plucky, upstanding protagonists ... who kill men by the dozens. Though the majority of the game looks pretty dated, the locales are at least somewhat pretty to behold, and are indicative of the period and areas where piracy was the most prevalent. I was shown two settings, one of which was the infamous Port Royal. It was night, so not a lot was going on while Christopher walked through town. When certain things did happen, though -- like a pirate dragging a screaming wench back into her whorehouse -- the developers pointed out that such moments will mostly be uninterrupted by Chris, due to his "character." While that makes sense, part of me wonders if this also a way for the team to cut some corners and save some development time on side quests. Not that I'm complaining, I rather enjoy the thought of a game that doesn't require my character to retrieve an apple, a bottle of milk, ten paperclips, and the ass feather of a cancerous chicken to some old woman baking a pastry. The rest of the game, however, is a bit lacking. While the minimal HUD is a fantastic idea that I never really tire of (especially in story-driven games), the combat and gameplay seem a bit static and, for lack of a better word, constipated. The motions of each character have a fluidity that can best be compared to action games from two generations ago. I was even shown some "stealth" gameplay -- where Christopher is able to hide behind crates and boxes -- but when it came time to kill a guard, he simply stood up, walked up behind the enemy, and then did his killing. Hiding behind things seems a bit redundant, in this case. I will admit, though, seeing the main character rip the guard's throat out with his hook hand was kind of cool. In the words of Jim Sterling, "We need more damned pirate games." And while he happened to be talking about a different game entirely, I couldn't agree more. Buccaneers are cool, if murder and theft are your thing (which they are absolutely mine). Even though I had some concerns about the gameplay in Raven's Cry, I'm still going to keep a watchful eye on it, for the very reason that pirates > zombies. Get your pillagin' on when Raven's Cry hits the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sometime next year.
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As a fan of 17th-century pirate history, it has always been kind of a bummer to watch the romanticization of the sea dogs into that of chipper, lenient, morally moderate sailors who merely look grizzled. Edward Teach's Jolly ...

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CD Projekt Red announces next project based on Cyberpunk


May 30
// Alasdair Duncan
Developers CD Projekt RED have announced their new title at their Summer conference, based on the classic pen and paper Cyberpunk 2020. The original game was developed back in 1988 and the creator, Mike Pondsmith is working w...
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Make some ch-ch-changes in Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition


May 26
// Raz Rauf
Though The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition came out over a month ago, full of tweaks and additional content,  the guys at Warner Bros. and CD Projekt are still trying to keep the PR train going. As le...
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The Witcher 2 contest results and gallery!


Apr 24
// mrandydixon
Last week we held a contest to give away two copies of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and a pile of awesome swag provided by our friends over at Namco Bandai, and your submissions were so badass we decided to compile ...
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[Update: Contest closed! Winners are CAPTAIN N and Scani! Thanks to everyone who participated!] In celebration of the game's Xbox 360 launch, our friends over at Namco Bandai have sent us two copies of the Dark Edition of The...

Guide: Choice and consequence in The Witcher 2

Apr 17 // Maurice Tan
Warning: there is a big decision at the end of Chapter 1 which impacts how the entirety of Chapter 2 and some aspects of Chapter 3 will play out. There isn't any good way to effectively get around mentioning the names that have been associated with these paths for a year now, so if you really don't want to know anything about these decisions whatsoever, only read this guide Chapter by Chapter as you complete the game. Images are for general illustrative purposes only, and are not necessarily indicative of the described parts of the guide. Prologue After you gain control of Geralt in a conversation, you can choose where to start recounting what happened. It doesn't really matter where you start and you won't miss out on anything whatever you choose, but for the sake of chronology just start with the top option and make your way down from there. Quest: Melitele's HeartContinues in: Chapter 1 When offered a choice at the very start of the game, start by going through the events of the morning, before the assault and the monastery. After exiting your tent, run straight down and talk to the group of soldiers on the right hand side. One of these groups will start a conversation, giving you the option to tell the soldiers what to do with a magical amulet. Agree to help them, then tell the soldiers it won't offer any protection and to give it to you. This will start a quest line that will take you a fair amount of time to complete in Chapter 1. The amulet also gives you -10% armor until you complete the quest, but it's probably not going to kill you. Not too often. If the quest seems complete at some point, don't worry since you can continue it regardless in Chapter 1. Quest: At the Fore! During the assault, you'll make your way up a tower to reason with a guy. You can choose to fight him and his men (hard), just fight him (not so hard), or talk him into surrendering. Depending on whether you kill him or not, you will either encounter a man or a half-naked woman in the dungeons at some point. It's up to you which you want to meet. Kill him for boobs. Quest: Woe to the Vanquished This quest can be easy to miss if you're rushing forward in the third event of the Prologue. Once you enter a town area, some civilians can be rescued from pillaging soldiers. You need to complete two instances of civ-saving, and one of these includes a conversation you can fail. Save before you start exploring the town and don't jump down the well until you've finished the quest, and you should have no problems. When given the choice to demand a reward for your services, you can refuse payment. This will lead to a delayed bonus reward in the form of an ok armor jacket in Chapter 1. Quest: The Dungeons of the La Valettes There are two paths you can take and two people you can meet, depending on whether you killed someone during "At the Fore!" or not. If you take the stealthy and direct approach, you can take a pretty straight path through the dungeons without killing any guards. Another option is to get to the point where a prisoner will call for a guard, dispatch the guard, go back the way you came and to look for a set of stairs you didn't climb yet. One of the guards upstairs will have a key on him, which unlocks a locked door downstairs that leads to a trapdoor. Progress from there and you'll get to see either a man or a woman being tortured. If you take the shorter route, you'll encounter either of these characters after their torture. Chapter 1 Chapter 1 is very long, and this is really the first test of your skills. Save often, experiment with your magic (remember that casting Quen will stop all Vigor regeneration), and run away from groups of enemies if you find yourself dying too often. Start out by doing a few quests that are mostly centered on town life if you need to earn some easy early XP. If you end up in a dangerous situation and you haven't saved in a while, you can always run circles around the enemies to slowly regenerate some health, cast Quen to protect yourself from accidental damage, jump in for a few quick strikes, and repeat the process. From Chapter 1 onwards, each town will have opportunities to play poker dice or arm wrestling mini-games. There are always dice and arm wrestling quests associated with these mini-games, so keep an eye out for opportunities to ask NPCs who you should play against. Quest: The Kayran There are different quests attached to this, and until you have completed the main "The Kayran" quest, there is no way to progress the story. The related sidequests are not necessary to slay the beast, but they will make the boss fight a lot easier. Ideally, you'll want to complete all of Chapter 1's sidequests you can complete before saying you are ready to start the fight. Quest: The Nekker Contract (Heads up: there is an achievement for destroying all monster nests in the game. Choosing a side at the end of Chapter 1 means you can miss out on the chance to destroy some nests in Chapter 2. Missing these nests from "the other side" in Chapter 2 will still give you the achievement as long as you finish all monster nest quests in one playthrough) Accept this quest as early as possible from the notice board outside the inn. You need to have at least 4 Grapeshot Bombs to destroy the nests. Either buy these bombs or buy the recipe from Cedric in Lobinden. Knowledge about Nekkers can be gained by buying a book from a dwarf (in the house opposite the dwarf blacksmith), or by simply killing Nekkers. You'll kill plenty of Nekkers in this chapter before you find all the nests which you need to destroy with the bombs, so the book is not a necessary expense.  If you get annoyed with trying to find the nests, focus on the area around the stream that leads to the waterfall, south of Flotsam's eastern entrance on the map. Quest: In the Claws of Madness You'll encounter wraiths in a haunted asylum during this quest, which can be troublesome until you've gotten the hang of combat. At the end of the quest, you'll be offered a choice. If you choose to just kill some civilians who were basically asking for it, one of the corpses will give you a crafting diagram for a Robust Witcher's Silver Sword. Since Chapter 1 makes you fight a lot of monsters, this will help you a lot in combat. Quest: Hung Over This quest is easily missed if you don't explore every building in Flotsam. Go to the Blue Stripes temporary headquarters, the building with the small set of stairs attached to it, to the left of the inn. The quest becomes inaccessible later in the Chapter, so just do it before you finish the Kayran quest. Quest: The Scent of Incense & Little Shop of Dreams The "Little Shop of Dreams" quest allows you to close down a shop. Before you do that, make sure you bought what you needed from the merchant. You can also make him give you a false recipe, which can be used in "The Scent of Incense." There are multiple paths in "The Scent of Incense" to experiment with, but playing along with the shady person you meet, and agreeing when it seems like an unwise choice, may result in the quest's rather unsatisfactory completion. Don't play along, and you'll end up with a fight at some point and some more information on what was going on. Quest: Malena You'll find this quest by approaching a group of arguing people in Lobinden (the group of crappy houses just outside Flotsam). It will take you through some tough combat encounters with groups of Nekkers, so don't jump into this quest unless you have leveled Geralt a bit. Being honest in conversations will net you a fair bit more XP than when you lie. Quest: Mystic River & Indecent ProposalContinues in: Chapter 2, Chapter 3 "Mystic River" leads to one of the best armors in the entire game, and it's very easy to miss a part of this quest if you're not careful. In Chapter 1, make sure to pick up everything in the shipwreck near where you are told to go find the Kayran's mucus sample. Go to your inventory and read all the documents. Take the documents to Louis Merse in Flotsam, who will have a mail box on a table right up the stairs in his home. If you can't find his home, it's the big building to the right of the eastern entrance to the forest, with a door somewhat hidden away behind two shop stalls in the central marketplace. If you drop a document in the mail box, then persuade Louis Merse to let you peek inside of it, a troublesome situation can occur. I dropped off the mail and took a peek inside the box, and only later read through the documents I had picked up. This made the Mystic River quest tell me to find a Royal Mail box again. The box on Merse's table can become inaccessible this way, meaning you have to find another Royal Mail box. If this happens, there is another Royal Mail box in Loredo's mansion. To this end, save the quest "Indecent Proposal" for later, which will put you inside Loredo's mansion where you can interact with his mailbox. The reason for this is that depending on your decision near the end of Chapter 1, you may not have access to Loredo's Royal Mail box ever again. If the quest description tells you that you should keep an eye out for other shipwrecks, the quest is completed for the time being. Quest: Melitele's Heart & Troll Trouble Continued from: Prologue Go to one of the northern huts in Lobinden. Talk to the herbalist woman there, and the rest of the quest should be straightforward. You can buy three of the four items you need from Cedric, but they are expensive. If you want to play as the good guy, get the Troll Tongue by doing the "Troll Trouble" quest and winning a game of poker dice against a craftsman in one of the houses in Lobinden. You should have found the other ingredients by the time you fight the Arachas. Make sure to save before the final event in the quest, as the fight is quite hard. If the quest bugs when you're done with the fight, return to the NPC you were with after some hours of meditation -- it will be back in its house regardless of the quest marker. For the "Troll Trouble" quest, it's worth knowing that there is an achievement for killing or sparing all trolls in the game. You can still complete "Troll Trouble" as a good guy and give the troll the head for an extra reward (note that you will always need to "defeat" the troll in combat after the first conversation). Once the quest is indicated as complete, go to the troll in question and kill him. Loot him for the tongue ingredient for good measure. Then go to Louis Merse to collect a reward for killing the troll. This will maximize your rewards without any penalty! You will be a bit of a dick for doing this, though. C'est la vie. Quest: At the Crossroads & The Assassins of KingsContinues in: the rest of the game After finishing the Kayran quest, you end up going with Zoltan to a place where you fight an Arachas -- a big spider. When given the choice to proceed or stay and join later, choose to stay and loot everything in the area. You'll find the useful Sword of Kaer Morhen among the loot. Also go back to Lobinden and use the Arachas eyes ingredients you looted to complete "Melitele's Heart." Once you decide to join up again and continue the quest, you have to start making decisions. Before you continue, make up your mind about whether you think humans or non-humans will be more fun to be around in the future. Decide accordingly until the Chapter is over, and you will end up on one of two possible sides of a conflict in Chapter 2. Warning: choosing "humans" will lead to a choice near the very end of the game, which unlocks an achievement and associated description. This achievement description significantly spoils the true nature behind something that you do not learn anything about unless you pick the "non-humans" path. Whichever path you choose, some events in the final chapter won't make a lot of sense when characters appear out of thin air as if you were supposed to know them. If you want to find out everything about the story for yourself, you may want to pick the "non-humans" path first so the achievement description won't spoil things for you. Or, you know, just don't look at the unlocked achievement description. You can also use a savegame before the "At the Crossroads" quest to continue on a different path in a second playthrough, without having to play through the first 10 hours again. Chapter 2 By now you have been warned, and you've chosen either Roche's Path or Iorveth's Path. Iorveth's Path Quest: With Flickering Heart Before you embark on this quest, make sure you buy Surgical Tools at the Vergen vendor in the main square, because you'll need them. There will be a choice between having sex and killing what you could have sex with. The kill option rewards you with some loot, but this is nothing you can't live without. Quest: Mystic RiverContinued from: Chapter 1Continues in: Chapter 3 You'll find a shipwreck next to a troll. It's impossible to miss but make sure you search it. Quest: Hunting Magic, The Harpy Contract & The Queen Harpy Contract Accept the "Harpy Contract" and "Queen Harpy Contract" quests from the notice board. You'll need to craft at least seven Harpy Traps, preferably a bit more (10 will do the trick). Harpy nests can be found in the quarry area, and placing a Harpy Trap will make a Harpy pick up the explosive and fly it over to their nest. Don't place multiple traps near a nest, because it will only be a waste of traps. Three of these nests are in a locked-off area that you will access during the "Hunting Magic" quest. The Queen Harpy is hard to miss once you get to a place with crystals. Use all of these crystals to unlock and progress quests. Quest: From A Bygone EraContinues in: Chapter 3At one point you'll have the chance to cross the mist for a quest. Once you reach the other side, you can explore some of the surrounding area you would normally only have access to if you sided with Roche at the end of Chapter 1. Go west, follow the stream from the camp, and enter the labyrinthine ravines. Find a beach with a hut on top of a small cliff. This area is part of the "Little Sisters" quest for Roche's path, but you can still access it this way. Go to the hut, find the makeshift graveyard behind the hut, and read the markers on Malget's grave. Write them down or commit them to memory. Go back to the hut, blow away the barrels with Aard, and enter the hidden trapdoor. Use the markers to solve the puzzle, and pick up the item you find.  [Note: On a Dark playthrough on Xbox 360, this trapdoor was locked for some reason. Not sure if it's a bug or a change in the Enhanced Edition] Now you can sell this item to a sorcerer but don't do that. Keep the item, and save it for Chapter 3 where it will lead you the hardest boss in the game, or an option to respec your entire skill tree. You can still take the item to a sorcerer to ask about what it is; the option to sell it appears after that conversation.Quest: Baltimore's Nightmare, The Walls Have Ears, Suspect: [CHARACTER] & Royal Blood There's a way to gain a maximum amount of XP by completing all these quests in the right order, since some quest resolutions will impact the other quests. The only effect is XP, so don't worry if you messed it up at some point. This will be convoluted without using spoilers, so bear with me. Progress the "Baltimore's Nightmare" quest until the point where you can open a locked door. You have to choose whether to spare or kill a character if you enter, so leave that decision for later. This will allow you to talk to that character during "Royal Blood." Before starting "Royal Blood" at the indicated area on the map, save your game in case you mess up. During this quest, talk to the peasants and a dwarf for the "The Walls Have Ears" subquest. Proceed with your investigation to receive the "Suspect: [CHARACTER]" quest (you'll know who this character in the quest name is by that point). Go back to "Baltimore's Nightmare" where you left off, enter the locked lair, kill this character when you encounter him, then make sure to loot his body. Now leave that quest again. Use the key you find to open the character's locked chest in his house, and you'll complete both "Suspect: [CHARACTER]" and "The Walls have Ears." Now complete "Baltimore's Nightmare" and finally go back to "Royal Blood" to wrap up that quest. Choosing between the mob or royal options at the very end will lead to a narrative change later in the game, but it's nothing that will impact Geralt's story or future quest lines in any dramatic fashion. Go with what feels right to you. Pfew! Quest: The Eternal Battle Before starting the last phase of this quest (you'll know when), make sure to save and wrap up anything you need to do in Vergen. You won't have a chance to go to shops after completing this quest. Roche's Path Quest: Little Sisters & From a Bygone Era Continues in: Chapter 3 One of the soldiers who gets picked on in the camp will give you the "Little Sisters" quest. This quest is pretty straightforward, but you can find an item in the process that will lead to further events in Chapter 3. Do not talk to Dethmold about the item you find until you complete the quest! It might bug the "Little Sisters" quest. I didn't try and see if this is still the case in the Enhanced Edition, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Follow "Little Sisters" until you reach the beach. Go to the makeshift graveyard behind hut first, and look at the graves. Malget's grave (to the side) has some markers on it you have to write down or remember. Go back to the hut and Aard on the barrels to the side of the hut to unveil a trapdoor. Go down, use the markers from the grave to solve the puzzle, and pick up the item. Talk to the NPC at the beach, and decide what you want to do. Either kill the NPC and end "Little Sisters" with a measly amount of XP, or play along and decide later. Going back to the soldier gives you more choices: either accuse him or believe him. Accusing him and going back to the beach will start a fight with a large monster, leading to a schematic for a decent sword. Believe him, go to the beach to meet him, and side with him again to gain a 300 XP reward but no schematic. If you have trouble completing this quest if you decide to help the soldier, go to the path that leads to the beach, meditate until 23:00, and meet the NPC along the path. The quest marker will point at the beach, but the NPC won't be on top of the quest marker so ignore it. If you can't find him, try to run back and forth a bit, meditate to 22:00 or 23:00 again, and see if that works. If it doesn't, fulfill another quest and try again. Now that you've completed "Little Sisters" you can talk to Dethmold about the item you found. He'll tell you about it and offer to buy it off you. Don't sell it. You can save it for Chapter 3 and a chance to fight the hardest boss in the game, or to respec Geralt's skills. Quest: In Cervisia Veritas, The Butcher of Cidaris & Conspiracy Theory The two quests "In Cervisia Veritas" and "The Butcher of Cidaris" both let you progress "Conspiracy Theory" regardless of which one you finish. Provided you don't talk to Dethmold after finishing either quest, you can do both of them before progressing "Conspiracy Theory" for more XP. I highly recommend you do "In Cervisia Veritas" because it's a funny quest. Find the drunkard Odrin outside the western exit of the camp and bribe the guard to let you in. Hilarity ensues. Quest: Ave Henselt! Another notice board quest. Enter the arena and don't lose a fight. Eventually you get to fight Ves, and you should completely obliterate her (Yrden does the trick). After the fight, talk to her in the Blue Stripes camp outside of the main camp, and you can choose to sex her. Objectively proven to be even better than virtual sex is the achievement you'll unlock for doing this. It is known. Having sex with Ves will not affect your relationship with Triss. In fact, you can pay whores to have sex with you before and after getting it on with Ves and it won't matter one bit. Sometimes, Geralt's life is fairly uncomplicated. Quest: The Spear of Destiny & A Sackful of Fluff "The Spear of Destiny" lets you cross the mist to enter Vergen for a bit. While you are on the other side, there are two things you can easily miss. Continue "The Spear of Destiny" until you receive the spear, then keep playing dice against a certain dwarf to win two special items. One of these, the Dun Banner Cloak, will help you in the "Death Symbolized" quest. Before you go back through the mist to the Kaedweni camp, find the Harpy infested quarry outside Vergen and enter the hut along the path. A rather odd fellow will give you the "A Sackful of Fluff" quest -- a DLC quest for The Witcher 2 that is hard to miss on Iorveth's Path -- which involves giving him a lot of feathers. Keep in mind that more harpies appear around midnight, and try not to die as they swarm you and drop delicious feathers. The end result of the quest is worth the effort. Quest: Death Symbolized There is a conversation which can lead to a peaceful solution and a fight, both of which give you the required quest item. If you talked to Zyvik in the Kaedweni camp about the Battle of Brenna, he'll give you a Beaver Cap. If you won the extra items in a game of dice against a dwarf in Vergen, you'll have the Dun Banner Cloak. The peaceful solution makes you answer a bunch of questions, which are hard to answer if you've been spreeing through the dialogue and haven't paid attention. The items you've collected allow you to give an incorrect answer before a fight ensues. If you can manage to complete the conversation without starting a fight, you'll receive a bonus sword for your trouble. Fighting the NPC means you won't get the sword. Quest: The Path to Vision Another quest that is hard to miss, but make sure you start it so you don't miss out. First, talk to the relic peddler in the big food tent close to the armorers of the Kaedweni camp. Follow the quest, play along with the Visionary and agree with his spiritual demands, and you'll get a fun scene with a ridiculous journal entry. Quest: Mystic River Continued from: Chapter 1Continues in: Chapter 3 You'll find a shipwreck next to a troll very late in the Chapter. It's nearly impossible to miss, but make sure you search it. Roche's path will mean you won't gain access to this area until later, but you will inevitably reach it. Chapter 3 This is the last chapter of The Witcher 2, and many choices can affect the outcome in different ways. While these big choices pop up at various times, their effects are narrative in nature. You do not unlock new quests depending on the choices in the main quest lines (although you may have to choose between quests), nor do you receive any special loot that will severely affect your performance. However, there's a pretty good chance that your choices will affect the world of The Witcher 3, so make a lot of saves if you have room for them. A few quests are worth pursuing before diving head-first into the finale. Quest: From a Bygone Era & Mystic RiverContinued from: Chapter 2, Chapter 1 Take the magical item you found under the hut near the beach in Chapter 2 to Bras of Ban Ard, located opposite the inn with the notice board. He looks a bit like Dandelion. He will translate the item for you and tell you what to do. The sewer entrance you are looking for is not the one down the path in the marketplace, where a guard and a locked gate will obstruct your process. Instead, go to the big arm wrestling guy -- the Mighty Numa -- and enter a house through a nearby door. Before you enter the sewers, craft a whole bunch of traps -- specifically Freeze Traps. Follow the sewers, solve the puzzles (good luck!) and after the brazier puzzle save the game before you head down. The Operator awaits, and he will break you. Going down and talking to the Operator can allow you to respec Geralt's skills. (If you care about the skill tree achievements, choose the "how does it work" option and tell the Operator to go ahead. Respec to unlock the second-to-last skill in any tree, back out of the menu, and run around a bit if the achievement doesn't pop instantly. Load the game and repeat the process if you want. If you never used Riposte but want the associated achievement, you can also respec to purchase the skill, attack guards in town, and use Riposte 3 times in a row.) Ask what the machine does and then refuse the Operator, and you will be kicked out with no way to get back. Don't do that. A bigger challenge is to either say you are not the Chosen One, or to ask about the machine and then tell the Operator you can handle it yourself. A fight ensues, and it will very likely kick your ass over and over again. If you have trouble with the fight, a good thing to keep in mind is that the Operator only summons gargoyles after you damage him a bit. If you can survive and kill the gargoyles he summons, just run around to regenerate your health and Vigor while dodging fireballs. If you went for a magic tree build, you can cast Quen and let yourself be hit by the fireballs in order to build up adrenaline, then cast your Heliotrope sign the next time gargoyles appear to slow everyone down. This can be a very tough fight if you are ill-prepared for it. If you win, you receive the Operator's staff and some other loot. The staff can randomly set enemies on fire or freeze them, and it's fun to use for a bit. However, it's not the best regular weapon in the game so if you are having a really hard time beating him, you can survive without the loot. If you can beat him, however, it is very satisfying. Quest: An Encrypted Manuscript  During the "The Gargoyle Contract" quest, you'll find an encrypted manuscript. Take it to Bras of Ban Ard (located opposite the inn with the noticeboard) and fulfill his requirements. He will give you a diagram for an epic steel sword, which you will want. Roche & Iorveth's paths and the Enhanced Edition quests Many story-related choices await in both Iorveth and Roche's paths. Without spoiling events, let's say you will get the choice to go after an important figure or save an important character. This choice affects who joins you later on, but if you are on your first playthrough, you may want to ignore playing the hero in favor of dealing with problems of a grander nature. Some aspects of the story may make less sense if you don't fight for the greater cause, and you can always go back and do things differently. For that matter, make sure you create a dedicated save after you enter the fortress for the first time in Chapter 3. Depending on who you sided with in Chapter 1, you'll also get to play one of the two new Enhanced Edition quest lines here. These should be relatively straight-forward. Roche's Path has a rather nasty puzzle involving a scribe which may give you a headache, but listen to the scribe and he will provide you with hints to solve the puzzle. In case you don't know what the poison is, try burnt lime. You should be able to figure it out from there. During this quest line, you can also choose to accuse two different people. Make sure you do all related sidequests before you make your choice in order to get to the "best" quest ending. On Iorveth's Path, accept the proposal in the Enhanced Edition quest line to proceed. Declining will lead to a fight and failing the quest. Later on when the quest is nearly over, you can decide to leave, fight both people you met, or try to get a woman to let you try out an artifact. The latter option is more interesting, but also leads to a fight. Make sure to grab all loot and documents in the lab before you leave, read them, and find that woman again in the city square or at the inn. Play your cards right, and it's business time. Poor Triss and Yennefer... The end-game Before embarking on what is pretty clearly indicated as the final part of the Chapter, make another save. There's another opportunity for achievement hunters to unlock a total of four secret achievements in this finale, two each for the two choices you'll be able to make. After that, you should know what to do by the time you reach that point in the game. Provided you killed enough enemies and completed all the quests that you could've missed, you should also be level 35 for that achievement. Good luck with getting that 1000/1000!
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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings releases to a new audience this week, and Xbox 360 owners have a lot to look forward to. It's a role-playing game full of decisions that can impact the story's development throughout the game...

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The DTOID Show: Crysis 3, Enhanced Witcher, & Skyrim DLC?


Apr 16
// Max Scoville
Hello darlings. Today, we've got some delightfully juicy news -- For starters, a rundown of the recent enhancements being made to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, which Maurice was cool enough to go in...

How enhanced is the Xbox 360 edition of The Witcher 2?

Apr 15 // Maurice Tan
Enhancing the White Wolf A few changes and content additions aside, at face value the Enhanced Edition is largely identical to the original version, provided you include a year's worth of the kind of updates you would expect from a well-supported Western PC role-playing title. While some of these changes are more obvious than others, they all serve to make The Witcher 2 a better game. The main draw of the Enhanced Edition for existing fans is the new content; extra quest lines in the third, and final chapter. Depending on your decisions earlier in the game, you gain access to two different and unique sidequests. One of these quest lines focuses on characters and events that had previously only been slightly touched upon, and while it's not the most amazing or original series of quests, it offers a fun and varied bunch of small adventures that easily can last you up to two hours. Without getting into spoiler territory, the best thing about this specific quest line is that it expands the story and background of aspects that could really use expanding. The other quest line focuses on a dungeon crawl of sorts. Since the big decision that defines which of these new quests you can start has to be made around 10 hours prior to when you can embark on them, I did not play through this alternate quest. Gauging from the way the handy game guide -- included in the retail edition -- describes regular quests, this alternate quest will probably give you an extra hour or so of dungeon crawling, puzzling, and fighting. Another new addition to the Enhanced Edition is the revamped tutorial and hint system, intended to make The Witcher 2 somewhat easier to get into for new players. A new and separate tutorial level, set in the Arena environment that was added to the core game late last year, explains most of what you need to know in order to equip Geralt with gear and make him slay his enemies. It's not the greatest tutorial ever made and it doesn't explain some of the more advanced features, but it is a serviceable addition to get you started with the basics, without completely having to redesign the existing Prologue chapter in order to steadily guide players through all combat features. Combat and general controls After playing The Witcher 2 with a mouse and keyboard on PC, playing it with an Xbox 360 controller feels surprisingly adequate. In fact, combat is perhaps even better when playing it with a controller. The button layout gives you access to any combat and inventory options you require, with a few obvious downsides for those who are used to using a mouse to simply point and click at menus and objects. Targeting an enemy is now somewhat easier than it used to be on PC. Holding down the left trigger lets you lock onto an enemy, leaving the right stick as a way to move between targets. This new targeting system is heralded as a way to make it easier for casual players to get into what is undeniably a challenging game at times, and even though it works as advertised and allows you to leave direct camera control out of the equation, there is little reason to use it in many cases. A problem that can arise is that while locking on is that you can lose battlefield awareness. Since it's pretty easy for Geralt to die in group fights if you are not careful, meaning you have to dodge-roll out of the way and block incoming blows if necessary, a preferable mode of play is to simply aim in the direction of the target you want to hit with the left analog stick, and use the other analog stick for full camera control. Having said that, one of the three main skill trees allows you to purchase a skill which lets you counter incoming attacks with a riposte, and to perform this counter move effectively you really need to use the lock-on system. When playing on Dark difficulty, you'll also want to use the new lock-on system to dodge around some of the more powerful enemies more efficiently. Whichever method of camera control you prefer, having the option to choose what works best for you at any time is only a good thing. A bit more annoying is the way Geralt tends to run instead of walk when you slightly nudge him forward. Some areas are littered with traps you can spot with keen eyes, or by using a magical medallion to highlight important objects, and nothing is more frustrating than trying to slowly inch close enough to disarm and collect such a trap and ending up running right into it. As an added bonus, the button for re-arming these traps is the same as the button for disarming them, leading to the fun act of accidentally triggering a trap, then accidentally re-arming it as you were already pressing the disarm button in anticipation. Since you need to disarm a trap before you can collect it for future use, you can end up fighting the controls until you just stop caring about collecting traps altogether. On the upside, these traps are relatively worthless and often only deal a small amount of damage, so you can easily just run straight through them. Just like in last year's PC version, some objects can still be hard or even impossible to target. These problems range from running into a door and having to take a few steps back, just to receive the prompt that allows you to open that door, to the inability to target out-of-reach crates that are highlighted as loot containers if you use your Witcher medallion, yet which cannot be looted no matter how hard you try. However, the ability to swing the camera over a general direction and mash the A button to loot all nearby items within seconds is incredibly useful. The downside is that you cannot loot individual items, which can lead to some micro-managing headaches when you are nearing the weight capacity for your inventory, and end up grabbing three extra items you never wanted to pick up. Geralt cannot run or roll when he is overburdened, but he can still walk, making it an option to carry loot well over your weight capacity and simply stroll over to a nearby vendor. When you are miles away from the nearest vendor, though, this is only optional for profoundly patient players. Thankfully, Geralt's personal stash from update 1.3 lets you store all crafting items which would ordinarily take up the majority of your weight limit. Console menus all around The different pages for the inventory, character sheet, quest journal, and map have been grouped together in an easily accessible menu to fit a controller. Of these four menus, the inventory -- the one you will access the most -- can be a bit awkward to navigate at times. You can't simply click on one of the seventeen categories your inventory contains, leading to a lot of bumper presses to navigate between them, but the inability to hover the mouse over an item to see its specifics is more jarring. The extra button presses required to Inspect or Compare an item in your inventory quickly become second nature, but enhancing a piece of equipment with various runes, oils, and armor enhancements is implemented in a rather odd way. There are two ways to upgrade a piece of equipment: select the enhancement and apply it to a weapon or piece of armor, or select the weapon or armor and then select an enhancement to upgrade it with. In the latter case, the inventory menu gives you no option to see the specifics of the enhancements; it will only display the percentage of increased damage output it provides, alongside the enhancement's weight and sell value. Because many of these enhancements carry very specific bonuses to stats and damage output to certain types of enemies, and some enhancements cannot be "unsocketed" after applying them, it renders this specific method of enhancing equipment rather useless. For some obscure reason, there is also a split-second but very noticeable black screen between menu pages. This makes going from your inventory to your quest journal a bit of a pain in the ass, since it's all just simple text and static images which one wouldn't expect to require much loading. Over time, you start to notice it less and less, and then occasionally you'll start noticing it again. Compare it to the PC version, however, and you'll notice that the inventory page doesn't exactly pop up instantly in that version either. The skill tree menu, which features skill nodes in four separate areas of expertise -- basic training, swordsmanship, magic, and alchemy -- could have benefited from a slight redesign to make it easier to navigate to nodes that need to be accessed by moving diagonally. There are two of these nodes in the swordsmanship tree that are very hard to reach, as only a very specific diagonal movement will let you highlight them. If you don't choose this skill tree, though, you'll never run into any selection problems. Graphics The big question for the visual fetishists might be: "How does it look compared to amazing-looking PC version?" With the Xbox 360's hardware in mind, it looks fantastic. The engine runs smoothly, even during intense and spell-heavy combat encounters involving many characters, and the lands of Temeria and Aedirn look beautiful and atmospheric with striking effectiveness. Pay too close attention, though, and the differences with the graphical prowess displayed on the higher settings of the PC version are certainly noticeable. This should come as no surprise since the 360's hardware specs would never allow the game to run in a 1920x1200 resolution with all the bells and whistles turned on (save for the Ubersampling setting), and the fact that it requires scrutiny at close range to spot the differences is worthy of praise. Of course, you can forget about motion blur and in-game depth-of-field wizardry, but play either version at a normal range from your display and only some slightly lower resolution textures will betray the hardware it's running on. Trained eyes may also spot the subtle differences in lighting and shadowing, especially if they have spent 25 hours with the PC version before, but even these will have a hard time distinguishing the graphics between the two platforms when Geralt is running around in daytime under a clear and sunny sky. During in-game cutscenes and dialogue, the RED Engine truly shines and outperforms engines like Unreal Engine 3 and CryEngine 3. It's clear that CD Projekt RED has tried to make The Witcher 2 look as good as they could on a console, and they have done so admirably without letting the framerate suffer. Installing the two discs (there is only one disc swap throughout the entire playthrough) is highly recommended, and one could even go as far as to say it's absolutely necessary. Not only does it decrease load times -- which are very manageable even when playing it from the disc -- but the amount of in-game texture loading is shockingly awful when not installing The Witcher 2. After installing, there is still the occasional and noticeable texture loading for character models, but playing it from the discs is like having a déjà vu of the first Mass Effect's approach to texture pop-in. Not installing it to your hard drive even impacts how fast you can skip through a conversation, so if you are the type that prefers to read the subtitles rather than listen to dialogue, you'll be forced to wait seconds at a time for each sequence of dialogue as the textures for character models slowly load. For those among you who like to look at videogame tits, rest assured; the breast and nipple textures are of a quality resolution on Xbox 360. And that's really all I have to say about that. Glitches and bugs Like the original The Witcher 2, a glitch or bug will pop up here and there, but nothing encountered in the Xbox 360 edition broke the game or completely obstructed progression. At worst, these instances are mildly annoying or plain mind-boggling. For instance, one quest in Chapter 1 can make you deliver some mail to a Royal Mail box twice, but if you had already used that mail box before, it's no longer something you can interact with. There is another mail box in a nearby location, which might only become accessible one more time depending on your choices and progression through the chapter. This demands a lot from the player when it involves a quest spanning all three chapters of the game, finally resulting in access to one of the best pieces of armor you can craft. A few times throughout the game, a quest marker just gives you the plain wrong location to start the next segment of a quest, but persistence and revisiting a location after completing a few other quests should allow you to progress regardless. Sometimes an enemy will no longer receive damage when you push and corner it into a wall. At other times an enemy will just stand in place, motionless and invincible. One time I died trying to save a peasant from monsters, and because the peasant NPC killed off the last enemy to progress the quest to the next phase, I ended up with a close-up of the peasant's foot going right through Geralt's dead body. This also made the game glitch and unable to register button presses to continue after death, leading to a forced move back to the dashboard. These issues are few and far between in a game that can easily take you over 25 hours to complete once, and often offer comedic value to counter any grumbling. If you keep CD Projekt RED's history of PC Witcher titles in mind, it's nothing short of a miracle that the Enhanced Edition is as bug-free as it is. My kingdom for a dedicated quick save button! Alas, there is none. The Witcher 2 only autosaves at certain key events and quest progression triggers, often in a way that makes it very hard to anticipate when it will do so, and it features many open areas to traverse in search of quest completion. Suffice it to say that something PC players had already learned the hard way has become more of a hassle on the console. Inevitably, you'll forget to save after becoming engrossed in a quest, find yourself fulfilling a few quest requirements on your way to a bigger story revelation, and die at an unfortunate encounter. Then you find out the last save was 30 minutes ago. To CD Projekt RED's credit, most locations outside of towns and fortresses are seamlessly and progressively loaded on Xbox 360 like they were on PC, meaning autosaves at location changes would not have been a very good solution to the problem. Still, a few more checkpoints along the main routes of the open environments, or inside some of the more linear and constricted sidequest areas, would have been very welcome. Alternatively, mapping the quick save feature to the Back button -- which provides access to your inventory, map, character sheet and journal -- would have been an even better solution. You never use the Start button for anything but saving and loading, and you only do that because there is no quick save feature. Every menu option under both the Back and Start buttons could've easily been sorted inside one menu system under one button, similar to the way other console RPGs like Mass Effect 2 and 3 approached their menus, making the omission that much more glaring anno 2012. Of course, you could also try not to be a fool and simply remember to save regularly. Just keep in mind that there are only 12 save slots, barely enough to save before every big decision which could impact how the story progresses later on. The true enhancements of the Enhanced Edition The fact of the matter is that while there are some minor issues that unmistakably exist, and you deserve to know about them, they do not make The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 any less fun to play. The Enhanced Edition's real strength lies not in the content additions, but in the subtle changes to make Geralt feel less underpowered early in the game. Originally, enemy encounters were severely punishing to the point where it felt like you were only getting to a "regular Witcher" version of Geralt after 10 hours or more. Enemies can still punish you if you aren't careful, particularly in group encounters, but instances of unfair deaths on Normal difficulty are far less common than before, and character progression feels better paced. At the core of the combat mechanics, not that much has changed. The shield spell Quen which protects you from a hit is still invaluable, and during tough encounters you'll still run circles around enemies to slowly recover health and Vigor -- units of mana -- followed by casting Quen again. When meditating to skip hours in a day, brew potions, or drink potions, Geralt no longer goes through an animation to sit down, and neither does he go through an animation when he drinks potions. It speeds up things and encourages less patient players to use this option more often, although it always looked kind of cool to see him sit down and gulp down toxic potions like a trooper. The addition of new pre-rendered cutscenes also helps to give you a general idea of just what the hell is going on in the world of The Witcher 2. Narrated by Geralt's old friend Dandelion in a rather unfittingly cheery and comedic fashion, these added scenes between chapters help you connect to the world you are supposed to care about. This was always a bit hard to do before, since Geralt's neutral role as a Witcher is dissimilar to your typical RPG protagonist, and the focus was always on Geralt's personal story rather than the intricate schemes and politics of the world he inhabits. The White Wolf revisited Playing through it a second time and choosing a different path leads to a completely new setting and a full day worth of questing in the second chapter. Doing exactly that also showed me how much I had missed in my first playthrough a year ago. If you only play through it once, you are simply doing yourself a disservice. Not only is it easy to miss out on a lot of story exposition regardless of the path you choose halfway through the game, but the two paths complement each other to tell one focused and complete story. In the process, it leads to a much higher level of engagement to the world of The Witcher 2, and important characters that normally appear out of the blue in one playthrough can reveal layers of depth in another playthrough. The Witcher 2 was one of the more engrossing RPGs of recent years, one that had that distinct quality that keeps you playing for hours without breaks, and it remains a quality title on Xbox 360. Let's face it: if you have a beast of a PC and you like Western RPGs, odds are you've already played it. If you are PC-handicapped, this long-awaited console version will give you an updated and slightly expanded edition which is similar enough to its PC brother to be an almost identical twin. Connoisseurs may spot the 360 version to be the slightly more clumsy and less good-looking of the twins, but in the end they share a similar aptitude for badassery and that's what matters. It's still not a perfect version of The Witcher 2 and sometimes it requires a bit of patience. Yet whenever any small issue is encountered, you can't help but look at it like a parent whose child has just been caught with its hand in the cookie jar; at the same time unapologetically naughty and impossible to get mad at. Whenever it does something wrong, it's minor in nature and easily forgiven in the face of overwhelming quality. The biggest crime CD Projekt RED commits by releasing the Enhanced Edition for Xbox 360 is that it means we have that much longer to wait for the next multiplatform chapter of Geralt's story -- one that cannot come fast enough for PC and console owners alike.
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