The Witcher 2 is a rare kind of game. In a sea of friendly, focus-tested titles from big publishers, it operates without much compromise. While that lack of compromise or looking back causes a fair amount of frustration and hassle throughout The Witcher 2's 30 hours-or-so campaign, it's impossible not to respect what CD Projekt Red has achieved: an adult action-RPG that doesn't talk down to its players – even when they're tripping over the scenery.
If there’s a complaint about “Assassins of Kings,” it’s that it sometimes falls victim to the repetitive travel problem of many RPGs. I can’t tell you how many side missions and even story ones are variations on “go here and be told to go there where you find out you have to go back here.” There’s a LOT of travel. Sure, you’ll sometimes encounter enemies on your journey, but when I spent 15 minutes just figuring out how to get around a mountain to get from where I was to the quest point marked on the map, I felt more annoyed than engaged. I know that people love their RPGs massive in terms of gaming hours but I feel like some of “The Witcher 2” could have been streamlined.
It’s a minor complaint for a major game. I know that the PC crowd will always be loyal to their original but if you’re one of those people who couldn’t get to this world last year, you owe it to yourself to take the trip in 2012. This is a great game, no matter how you play it.
CD Projekt RED has always been about serving their fans, and it shows in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition. There were minor gripes about the length of Chapter 3 on the game’s original release, so they expanded it by four hours at no additional cost. They added new characters, new quests, new cut scenes, and improved graphics, all while transitioning into the console market. You don’t need to meet the developers to know they’re passionate about this game; you’ll know when you play it. Mature themes, tight combat, and a finely crafted world make this a must-see title on any platform.
That’s the main thing that makes this whole package so attractive, really. The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition is a port that respects its platform and audience, and was clearly crafted as carefully as possible. We’ve seen ports of PC games that insult everyone involved - they often create a shadow of the original product that’s no fun to play and strips the original difficulty down to appeal to “the masses”, as if nobody appreciated challenge anymore. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition assumes nothing, except that you own an Xbox 360 and like to have fun - and with a massive story mode that includes every piece of DLC the PC version has, there’s plenty to be had. This is how ports should be done.
Outside of slow menus and frequent texture pop-in, The Witcher 2 makes an adequate transition from PC to the Xbox 360, offering a rich world with brilliant story-telling, not seen in other fantasy RPGs. It however requires an investment of time and dedication to push through its first act – and for players to get over the steep learning curve. The Witcher 2 is not the most accessible of games for casual players but that works to its charm as a deeper, more complex experience. Its gameplay and interface however, do not quite match up to its story-telling but that does not prevent it from being a must-play title for RPG enthusiasts – as The Witcher franchise is rightfully here to stay. Just remember that this game isn’t for kids.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition does an absolutely incredible job of bringing one of last year’s marquee PC titles to an entirely new breed of gamers. Yes, there are some issues regarding graphics and controls, but they are easily overlooked when you consider the many positives that The Witcher 2 brings to the table. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is one of the best RPGs for the Xbox 360 and despite being a title that has been out for over a year (for PCs) could make waves when critics name their Game of the Year later in 2012.