The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition Previews

This week's Game Developers Conference has given us several more previews of CD Projekt's upcoming The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition to read through this weekend, and we'll kick things off with IGN's piece:
A couple of months ago, our very own Peter Eykemans checked the game out, and mentioned how it would take every button on the controller to properly control Geralt, and this is true. You'll have plenty of moves to pull off as the monster-slaying mercenary, as you deftly switch between steel and silver weapons (to combat human and beast creatures, respectively), utilize magic attacks and beat down assassins and beasts like a boss.

In our recent time with the game, we were given a look at the quest structure ran one of the new missions available to the Xbox 360 version. We escorted Dame Brigida Papebrock through the woods, an informant for Vernon Roche who discovers the reasoning behind a noble's disappearance. Along the way we fended off assassins, giant poisonous spider creatures, and goblin-like monsters. Choice factored into our mission at various times; there were paths that would lead to a lot of enemies and thick resistance, as well as those that would be a lot longer and without as many foes.

Then we'll move to Eurogamer:
The controls for this console version are as predictably slick as they were intriguing when I saw the control pad layout on display at a preview of the original PC version last April - back before a console port had been confirmed. On the 360 controller there's a place for everything - just - and while it's a snug fit for all of the parries, blocks, and spell-casting so critical to Geralt's flowing combat, it's also a highly intuitive one, drawing on established standards to maintain familiarity.

A distinctly mouse-friendly interface on the PC has also undergone significant revision to sit well with the cruder controls of the gamepad. '¨'¨And this of course is the first console outing for a notoriously perfectionist developer who revisited the original Witcher game a year after release in order to deliver the version they'd always envisaged.

Before stopping at VideoGamer:
Back in 2011 The Witcher 2 had been designed with both mouse and controller compatibility in its PC release, however one of the most significant differences between platforms for most users will likely be how much object interaction has been made easier. Earlier problems with interaction hotspots on items which were too small in the game, forcing users to awkwardly mouse over doors and loot until the item was recognised, are now simply non-issues. Items can be picked up all at once when dropped from enemy corpses, with the old awkwardness replaced by the wondrously mind-numbing simplicity of hitting a face button.

Now in 2012, the console version is up against a very different set of foes. Witcher 2 on PC had initially come out at a time before Skyrim or even Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, stone giants of the RPG genre that have reared their heads throughout the months that have passed since the release of the Geralt saga. However, even with these games fresh in our minds, The Witcher 2 clearly has what is necessary for a game to stand out in the genre. It's darker, grittier, and bloodier than any fantasy fare that has come out since the beginning of the year, and beyond that is one of the most exciting RPGs of this decade.

A quick visit to Digital Spy nets us more information:
One of the more difficult processes when converting any PC game to consoles is how best to implement the controls. While it's hard to say at this stage whether or not there will be extensive controller options, one thing is perfectly clear, the magic menu is a little cack-handed. It works like your average skills wheel, the kind of which you'd see in Mass Effect. Players hold the bumper button to open it, moving around with the right analogue stick and selecting a sign with a face button.

Selecting a sign is a lot more difficult than it sounds, however, with players having to highlight and select spells simultaneously - all on one hand. The pause menu, while more straightforward and easier to navigate, does feel a little content heavy and clunky, especially when compared to the streamlined menus found in most console role-playing games. This will probably please fans of the PC release, worried that a console port will dumb things down, but it might prove hard to swallow with the casual crowd.

T3 shares their thoughts, as well:
The dialogue in the game is note-perfect, even if it is also punctuated with language that would make a sailor blanche. In aiming for a tone that mixes political doublespeak with the rustic sentiment one would expect from characters who are used to cleaving their enemies in two, the writers have peppered the game's script with swear-words.

It never feels gratuitous, but it's worth mentioning that this is the first time T3 has experienced a game that made us feel we should be contributing to a swear jar. If you had sum The Witcher 2's aesthetic up in a snappy pitch, you could describe it as Game Of Thrones by way of Deadwood.

There's more to consume at
Dominated by an arena battle, the tutorial is a little frustrating thanks to a seemingly endless stream of interruptive messages popping up on screen, stopping you from just getting on with playing the game. You have you hand held through every step, yet it's a completely necessary exercise. The Witcher 2's combat isn't necessarily complicated, but there's a hell of a lot going on.

By the time you emerge victorious from the arena tournament, you'll have a decent grasp of the dodging, parrying, countering, plus the alchemy and magic system. You'll also be aware that you can only mix your potions and treat your blades (one sword for monsters, one sword for humans), before you enter into a fight. In this way The Witcher 2 prioritises preparation for battle above all else. You must be prepared.

And, finally, GameReactor does the video preview thing.