THE WITCHER 2 : ASSASSINS OF KINGS

The Witcher 2 : Assassins of Kings
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THE WITCHER 2 : ASSASSINS OF KINGS



Written by Chris Price
15 Sunday 15th April 2012
So, it seems the middle ages are ‘in vogue’. Game of Thrones has done more for the middle ages than a battalion of leather elbow patched history teachers ever could. It’s only a few short weeks before we start seeing bodkins in I-D, off the shoulder chainmail vests in Urban Outfitters and moustached lotharios in XOYO offering a quick ‘swyve’. Shit, maybe even The Old Blue Last will bust out a weekly Dungeons and Dragons night.
 
It’s been a good time for British (well, Northern or Cockney) voice actors, with the European-flavoured RPG riding triumphantly at the top of charts. Bethesda’s Skyrim, the most recent chapter in the Elder Scrolls series saw a monolithic expanse of open world adventure, standing as a totemic obelisk of middle aged swords and sorcery. Amalur: Kingdoms of Reckoning brought us a slightly softer, more comic variant, in no small part thanks to the pairing of Todd McFarlane and Robert Anthony Salvatore. Meanwhile PC users have been experiencing a hardier breed of fantasy role player, in the form of The Witcher games. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has been adorned with critical praise for its accomplished world and rough ‘n ready adult storytelling. And it is now available for Xbox 360.
 
 
But let’s rewind a touch. Based on a series of short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski (collected into novels such as The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny), he tells the story of Geralt of Rivia – a white haired monster slayer from the wrong side of the tracks, who travels renegade style from town to town across the continent, as a catalyst for change. Geralt is both feared and revered, bound by a code of honour to his lineage and imbued with combat skills as well as magic. The Witcher 2 sees Geralt wrongly accused of a spot of regicide, and follows his subsequent hunt for the real assassin in an effort to clear his name.
 
Sapkowski’s books were originally serialized and thus provide the perfect adventure structure, as each chapter is studded into an open world adventure. The grounding of the whole premise of the story is very much in the ‘real world’, with myth, magic and fantasy adopted by the characters in the story with the same skepticism as they would be in the real world. This familiarity adds a powerful modern twist to the experience. Geralt is not a wholesome gung-ho superhero - rather a skilled remnant of a dying breed of old-world protectors.
 
 
Geralt’s prime role as a monster hunter drives the progression, as you are required to complete tasks to learn from locals and acquire key weaponry to defeat some huge beasts from the denizens of fantasy fiction. Geralt's armoury - a combination of magical signs, traps, potions and swordskills - can all be leveled up in a familiar manner, with skill trees for each that can be concentrated depending on your preferred form of offense. Navigation between each location is open world, with feral beasts and opportunities in every clearing and crevice.
 
This is coupled with an emphasis on a mature story, with sex and dry humor added as asides of human requirement rather than sensationalism. Whereas Mass Effect 3 used its adult content as cinematic pivots, The Witcher 2 uses them as building blocks. Conscientious choices during cut-scenes are rarely ones of good and evil. Each choice will result in a series of repercussions, often extending far beyond the moment in which they are made. As a result, 16 different endings are possible with several parallel paths across the Northern Kingdoms; Geralt remains a surly, embittered key protagonist, faithful to the original text and ultimately a believable and powerful lead in a game shrouded in the rich tapestry of magic, myth, alliance and treachery.
 
 
CD Projekt RED have taken to rebuilding the PC original for the Xbox 360 rather than porting, delivering the most complete experience subtitled the ‘Enhanced Edition’. The Polish studio have taken to sourcing fan reaction during re-development, and the results are evident. Interface tweaks for joypad control, a following camera and a target locking system during combat, along with an extra four hours of gameplay in its final chapter and 30 mins of extra cutscenes and CGI. All this comes with a map, soundtrack and guide in the basic retail release.
 
The execution isn’t seamless, with blips of tearing and texture issues yet the overall sensory delivery is excellent. CD Projekt RED display impressive command of their in-house Red game engine, eeking everything from grotty sewers to lush forests out of the code. The voice acting is choppy, but bearable with a faithful line in middle-ages swearing. Combat is tough yet controls are swift and responsive, with a palpable strike, parry and evade mechanic. The use of various Signs (stun, push, burn etc) and traps which can be swapped in and out as required mid-combat adds a layer of tactical depth to each battle, where preparation is equally important as activation.
 
 
The Witcher 2 has already had critical success on the PC, and with a steady and relaxed approach, the transition to Xbox has been made effortlessly with the game feeling every inch the native on thre new console. It’s an immense, complicated RPG experience, mature in both its content and its narrative. The crafting that has gone into it is palpable. Its level of depth might not be to everybody's taste, but to those willing to commit, there’s 55 hours plus of game time to immerse yourself in. Geralt might not be a lead that everyone will warm to, but he’s resourceful, calculating, cynical – and human. And just like Game of Thrones there’s enough sex, violence, might and magic to keep just about everyone willing to commit to it till the end.
 
8/10
 
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition is out on 17th April for Xbox 360. PC version is available now, and a free upgrade to the Enhanced Edition will be available on 17th
April.So, it seems the middle ages are ‘in vogue’. Game of Thrones has done more
for the middle ages than a battalion of leather elbow patched history teachers
ever could. It’s only a few short weeks before we start seeing bodkins in I-D, off
the shoulder chainmail vests in Urban Outfitters and moustached lothario’s in
XOYO offering a quick ‘swyve’. Shit, maybe even The Old Blue last will bust out a
weekly Dungeons and Dragons night.
 
It’s been a good time for British (Cockney) voice actors, with the European-
flavoured RPG riding triumphantly at the top of charts. Bethesda’s Skyrim, the
most recent chapter in the Elder Scrolls series saw a monolithic expanse of
open world adventure, standing as a totemic obelisk of middle aged swords
and sorcery. Amalur : Kingdoms of Reckoning saw a slightly softer more
(intentionally) comical variant, in no small part thanks to the pairing of Todd
McFarlane and Robert Anthony Salvatore. But PC users have been experiencing
a hardier breed of fantasy role player, in the form of The Witcher games. The
Witcher 2 : Assassins of Kings has been adorned with critical praise for its
accomplished world and rough ‘n ready adult storytelling. And now it’s available
for Xbox 360.
 
http://youtu.be/WwCXw8m0PHI
 
But let’s rewind a touch. Based on a series of short stories by Polish author
Andrzej Sapkowski (collected into novels such as The Last Wish and The Sword
of Destiny), he tells the story of Geralt of Rivia – a white haired monster slayer
from the wrong side of the tracks, who travels Renegade style from town to town
across The Continent as a catalyst for change. Both feared and revered, bound by
a code of honour of his lineage, imbued with combat skills as well as magic. The
Witcher 2 see’s Geralt wrongly accused of a spot of regicide, and his subsequent
hunt for the real assassin in an effort to clear his name.
 
Sapkowski’s books were originally serialized are provide the perfect adventure
structure, as each chapter is studded into an open world adventure. The
grounding of the whole premise of the story is very much in the ‘real world’
with myth, magic and fantasy adopted by the characters in the story with the
same skepticism as they would be in the real world, and this familiarity adds
a powerful modern twist to the experience; Geralt is not a wholesome gung-ho
superhero; rather an skilled remnant of a dying breed of old-world protectors.
 
Geralt’s prime role as a monster hunter drives the progression, as you are
required to complete tasks to learn from locals and acquire key weaponry to
defeat some huge beasts from the denizens of fantasy fiction. Geralts armoury –a
combination of magical signs, traps, potions and swordskills - can all be leveled
up in a familiar manner, with skill trees for each that can be concentrated on
depending on your preferred form of offence. Navigation between each location
is open world, with feral beasts and opportunities in every clearing and crevice.
 
This is coupled with an emphasis on a mature story, with sex and dry humor
added as asides of human requirement rather than sensationalism. Whereas
Mass Effect 3 used its adult content as cinematic pivots, The Witcher 2 uses
them as building blocks. Conscientious choice during cut-scenes is rarely one
of good and evil. Each choice will result in a series of repercussions, often far
beyond the moment they are made. As a result, 16 different endings are possible
with several parallel paths across the Northern Kingdoms; but all the while,
Geralt remains a surly, embittered key protagonist, faithful to the original text
– and ultimately, a believable and powerful lead in a game shrouded in the rich
tapestry of magic, myth, alliance and treachery.
 
http://youtu.be/ehIsMvIdwfs
 
CD Projekt RED have taken to rebuilding the PC original for the Xbox 360 rather
than porting, delivering the most complete experience subtitled the ‘Enhanced
Edition’. The Polish studio have taken to sourcing fan reaction during re-
development, and the results are copious. Interface tweaks for joypad control, a
following camera and a target locking system during combat, along with an extra
4 hours of gameplay in its final chapter and 30 mins of extra cutscenes and CGI.
Plus a map, soundtrack and guide in the basic retail release.
 
The execution isn’t seamless, with blips of tearing, texture issues yet the overall
sensory delivery is excellent. CD Projekt RED display impressive command
of their in-house Red game engine, eeking everything from grotty sewers to
lush forests out of the code. The voice acting is choppy, but bearable with a
faithful line in middle-ages swearing. Combat is tough – yet controls are swift
and responsive, with a palpable strike, parry and evade mechanic. The use of
various Signs (stun, push, burn etc.) and traps which can be swapped in and
out as required mid combat add a layer of tactical depth to each battle, where
preparation is equally important as activation.
 
The Witcher 2 has already had critical success on the PC, and with a steady and
relaxed approach, the transition to Xbox has been made effortlessly with the
game feeling every inch the native on console. It’s an immense, complicated RPG
experience, mature in both its content and its narrative, and the crafting that has
gone into it is palpable. It’s level of depth might not be to everybodys taste, but to
those willing to commit, there’s 55 hours plus of game time to immerse yourself
in. Geralt might not be a lead that everyone will warm to, but he’s resourceful,
calculating, cynical – and human. And just like Game of Thrones, there’s enough
sex, violence, might and magic to keep just about everyone willing to commit in
it till the end.
 
8/10
 
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition is out on 17th April for Xbox 360. PC version is
available now, and a free upgrade to the Enhanced Edition will be available on 17 th
April.So, it seems the middle ages are ‘in vogue’. Game of Thrones has done more
for the middle ages than a battalion of leather elbow patched history teachers
ever could. It’s only a few short weeks before we start seeing bodkins in I-D, off
the shoulder chainmail vests in Urban Outfitters and moustached lothario’s in
XOYO offering a quick ‘swyve’. Shit, maybe even The Old Blue last will bust out a
weekly Dungeons and Dragons night.
 
It’s been a good time for British (Cockney) voice actors, with the European-
flavoured RPG riding triumphantly at the top of charts. Bethesda’s Skyrim, the
most recent chapter in the Elder Scrolls series saw a monolithic expanse of
open world adventure, standing as a totemic obelisk of middle aged swords
and sorcery. Amalur : Kingdoms of Reckoning saw a slightly softer more
(intentionally) comical variant, in no small part thanks to the pairing of Todd
McFarlane and Robert Anthony Salvatore. But PC users have been experiencing
a hardier breed of fantasy role player, in the form of The Witcher games. The
Witcher 2 : Assassins of Kings has been adorned with critical praise for its
accomplished world and rough ‘n ready adult storytelling. And now it’s available
for Xbox 360.
 
http://youtu.be/WwCXw8m0PHI
 
But let’s rewind a touch. Based on a series of short stories by Polish author
Andrzej Sapkowski (collected into novels such as The Last Wish and The Sword
of Destiny), he tells the story of Geralt of Rivia – a white haired monster slayer
from the wrong side of the tracks, who travels Renegade style from town to town
across The Continent as a catalyst for change. Both feared and revered, bound by
a code of honour of his lineage, imbued with combat skills as well as magic. The
Witcher 2 see’s Geralt wrongly accused of a spot of regicide, and his subsequent
hunt for the real assassin in an effort to clear his name.
 
Sapkowski’s books were originally serialized are provide the perfect adventure
structure, as each chapter is studded into an open world adventure. The
grounding of the whole premise of the story is very much in the ‘real world’
with myth, magic and fantasy adopted by the characters in the story with the
same skepticism as they would be in the real world, and this familiarity adds
a powerful modern twist to the experience; Geralt is not a wholesome gung-ho
superhero; rather an skilled remnant of a dying breed of old-world protectors.
 
Geralt’s prime role as a monster hunter drives the progression, as you are
required to complete tasks to learn from locals and acquire key weaponry to
defeat some huge beasts from the denizens of fantasy fiction. Geralts armoury –a
combination of magical signs, traps, potions and swordskills - can all be leveled
up in a familiar manner, with skill trees for each that can be concentrated on
depending on your preferred form of offence. Navigation between each location
is open world, with feral beasts and opportunities in every clearing and crevice.
 
This is coupled with an emphasis on a mature story, with sex and dry humor
added as asides of human requirement rather than sensationalism. Whereas
Mass Effect 3 used its adult content as cinematic pivots, The Witcher 2 uses
them as building blocks. Conscientious choice during cut-scenes is rarely one
of good and evil. Each choice will result in a series of repercussions, often far
beyond the moment they are made. As a result, 16 different endings are possible
with several parallel paths across the Northern Kingdoms; but all the while,
Geralt remains a surly, embittered key protagonist, faithful to the original text
– and ultimately, a believable and powerful lead in a game shrouded in the rich
tapestry of magic, myth, alliance and treachery.
 
http://youtu.be/ehIsMvIdwfs
 
CD Projekt RED have taken to rebuilding the PC original for the Xbox 360 rather
than porting, delivering the most complete experience subtitled the ‘Enhanced
Edition’. The Polish studio have taken to sourcing fan reaction during re-
development, and the results are copious. Interface tweaks for joypad control, a
following camera and a target locking system during combat, along with an extra
4 hours of gameplay in its final chapter and 30 mins of extra cutscenes and CGI.
Plus a map, soundtrack and guide in the basic retail release.
 
The execution isn’t seamless, with blips of tearing, texture issues yet the overall
sensory delivery is excellent. CD Projekt RED display impressive command
of their in-house Red game engine, eeking everything from grotty sewers to
lush forests out of the code. The voice acting is choppy, but bearable with a
faithful line in middle-ages swearing. Combat is tough – yet controls are swift
and responsive, with a palpable strike, parry and evade mechanic. The use of
various Signs (stun, push, burn etc.) and traps which can be swapped in and
out as required mid combat add a layer of tactical depth to each battle, where
preparation is equally important as activation.
 
The Witcher 2 has already had critical success on the PC, and with a steady and
relaxed approach, the transition to Xbox has been made effortlessly with the
game feeling every inch the native on console. It’s an immense, complicated RPG
experience, mature in both its content and its narrative, and the crafting that has
gone into it is palpable. It’s level of depth might not be to everybodys taste, but to
those willing to commit, there’s 55 hours plus of game time to immerse yourself
in. Geralt might not be a lead that everyone will warm to, but he’s resourceful,
calculating, cynical – and human. And just like Game of Thrones, there’s enough
sex, violence, might and magic to keep just about everyone willing to commit in
it till the end.
 
8/10
 
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition is out on 17th April for Xbox 360. PC version is
available now, and a free upgrade to the Enhanced Edition will be available on 17 th
April.So, it seems the middle ages are ‘in vogue’. Game of Thrones has done more
for the middle ages than a battalion of leather elbow patched history teachers
ever could. It’s only a few short weeks before we start seeing bodkins in I-D, off
the shoulder chainmail vests in Urban Outfitters and moustached lothario’s in
XOYO offering a quick ‘swyve’. Shit, maybe even The Old Blue last will bust out a
weekly Dungeons and Dragons night.
 
It’s been a good time for British (Cockney) voice actors, with the European-
flavoured RPG riding triumphantly at the top of charts. Bethesda’s Skyrim, the
most recent chapter in the Elder Scrolls series saw a monolithic expanse of
open world adventure, standing as a totemic obelisk of middle aged swords
and sorcery. Amalur : Kingdoms of Reckoning saw a slightly softer more
(intentionally) comical variant, in no small part thanks to the pairing of Todd
McFarlane and Robert Anthony Salvatore. But PC users have been experiencing
a hardier breed of fantasy role player, in the form of The Witcher games. The
Witcher 2 : Assassins of Kings has been adorned with critical praise for its
accomplished world and rough ‘n ready adult storytelling. And now it’s available
for Xbox 360.
 
http://youtu.be/WwCXw8m0PHI
 
But let’s rewind a touch. Based on a series of short stories by Polish author
Andrzej Sapkowski (collected into novels such as The Last Wish and The Sword
of Destiny), he tells the story of Geralt of Rivia – a white haired monster slayer
from the wrong side of the tracks, who travels Renegade style from town to town
across The Continent as a catalyst for change. Both feared and revered, bound by
a code of honour of his lineage, imbued with combat skills as well as magic. The
Witcher 2 see’s Geralt wrongly accused of a spot of regicide, and his subsequent
hunt for the real assassin in an effort to clear his name.
 
Sapkowski’s books were originally serialized are provide the perfect adventure
structure, as each chapter is studded into an open world adventure. The
grounding of the whole premise of the story is very much in the ‘real world’
with myth, magic and fantasy adopted by the characters in the story with the
same skepticism as they would be in the real world, and this familiarity adds
a powerful modern twist to the experience; Geralt is not a wholesome gung-ho
superhero; rather an skilled remnant of a dying breed of old-world protectors.
 
Geralt’s prime role as a monster hunter drives the progression, as you are
required to complete tasks to learn from locals and acquire key weaponry to
defeat some huge beasts from the denizens of fantasy fiction. Geralts armoury –a
combination of magical signs, traps, potions and swordskills - can all be leveled
up in a familiar manner, with skill trees for each that can be concen

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