Released way back in 2007, The Witcher was arguably the breakout PC title of the year.
Based on the Polish series of novels and built with Bioware's Aurora engine, The Witcher bought a great storyline and challenging difficulty curve to the mix.
The game was so successful that it warranted a sequel, with CD Projekt doing everything in their power to make sure it bested the first game. The Witcher 2 was the result, besting the original title in almost every way thanks to a new cutting-edge engine.
Now, console gamers get to see what all the fuss is about thanks to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition for Xbox 360.
What's it all about?
Arguably the best way to describe The Witcher 2 is a darker, tougher version of Lionhead's Fable series. In other words, it's an action-RPG with players using magic, swordplay and ranged combat.
Upon starting a new game, the first thing you'll notice about The Witcher 2 is how beautiful it looks. Character models feature dirt and blemishes on their skin, environments are diverse and busy, while special effects (fire, water etc) all look the part.
While it doesn't quite exceed the level of quality set by the PC version, it's pretty close, proving that CD Projekt can deliver PC-level gaming to consoles.
The Witcher 2's voice-acting is pretty admirable as well, with tons of dialogue and believable acting. Combined with the excellent visuals, and it all makes for a very epic experience.
The game has you play with Geralt the Witcher, and sees you on the hunt for your king's assassin while also attempting to clear your name.
A tough nut to crack
However, the one polarising aspect of The Witcher 2 is the difficulty level, as I found out upon playing the tutorial.
After learning the basics, the game throws down a gauntlet, with the recommended difficulty level being determined by the number of enemies you defeat. Now, I'm not sure whether I suck at the game or what, but I died before defeating any. Needless to say, I chose the easy option.
Yes, The Witcher 2 is one tough cookie, with emphasis on blocking, parrying attacks and windows of opportunity. Storyline quests aren't too difficult for the most part, but the side-quests tend to be frustratingly tough. Nevertheless, you'll soon learn to pace yourself during combat, making for a more enjoyable experience.
You'll face a variety of enemies during your playthrough, drawn from the fantasy genre, as expected. So for instance, you'll do battle against guardsmen, swamp monsters, gigantic trolls and more.
Aside from the main storyline, there are quite a few other activities available. Players can tackle the aforementioned side-quests, arm-wrestle or gamble, ticking all the action-RPG boxes in the process. While the random quests of Skyrim aren't present, these activities will keep you busy anyway.
The PC version gave you dozens of hours of gameplay and the Enhanced Edition (available as a free add-on for PC users) ups the ante as well. The extra content features about four hours of gameplay, new cinematics and plenty of fixes.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is a worthwhile purchase if your PC can't handle the game, making the transition to consoles pretty much intact.
Score: 8.5 out of 10