The Witcher 2 Patch 2.0 Review

29 Sep 2011

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Namco Bandai
Developer:CD Projekt RED
Release Date:2011-05-17
Genre:
  • Role-Playing,Action
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
The Witcher 2 released earlier this year to rave reviews and the accolades of RPG fans all over, praised both for its strong choice and consequence-driven narrative as well as the sheer quality of its presentation. While the game didn't have many clear weak points, CD Projekt weren't content to sit on their laurels, and have taken it upon themselves to offer up another substantial update to The Witcher 2, adding in a good deal of new gameplay and some fairly large changes to the existing game's mechanics. Although it's rare for us at GameBanshee to cover specific game updates, we felt that The Witcher 2's "2.0" upgrade was weighty enough to make an exception. Additionally, as the game's Xbox 360 release continues to approach, we thought this would also serve as a good opportunity to preview some of the changes and additions made that will carry over to the console. So, consider this article two things – a short review of the update and its new content, and a preview into what players can expect from the upcoming Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2.

CD Projekt are no strangers to providing extensive updates to their products. The Witcher, although well-received, was ultimately considered quite flawed, with a poor English translation, extensive reuse of the same few character models, extremely long load times, and, of course, bugs. It was a bit of a flawed gem, and CD Projekt weren't happy with the original release. The result was the Enhanced Edition, an extensive update to the core game which saw much of the game re-translated and re-acted (across nearly a dozen languages), NPC and enemy models improved to reduce repetition, additional animation during dialogue sequences, balance changes to the overall gameplay, significant reduction of load times, interfance improvements, two new bonus campaigns, and many of the game's persistent bugs fixed up. It was such an extensive update that the game was re-released in a new boxed set, complete with premium packaging, two soundtrack CDs, a map, game guide, and short story all included. Finally, the game was re-released once more earlier this year in the form of the "Director's Cut" version, which added in nudity and other cut content back into certain versions of the game.

The Witcher 2 was, granted, far more polished upon launch than the first game ever was, as mentioned above. Even so, a steady trickle of fan feedback on the game's official forums, as well as the upcoming Xbox 360 release, has inspired CD Projekt to continue to build upon the game. The Witcher 2 "2.0" is a substantial update, with some fairly large additions, extensive bug fixes, and some core changes to the gameplay. Although not quite as extensive as the Enhanced Edition, it is still a much bigger patch than is customary these days, and gives us a sense of CD Projekt’s direction for the future.

Although The Witcher 2 Patch 2.0 can be looked upon as a standard post-release update, it can more accurately be described as an extensive DLC pack. The first and most noticeable content addition comes in the form of an added tutorial, which is, rather than a series of videos or still screens, actually a brief mini-quest that the player undertakes to familiarize him or herself with the game's mechanics. The story in this quest is a little bit on the thin side - Geralt's arrived via boat at a town housing a combat arena, and wishes to compete there. On the way, he'll replace his soggy boots, hunt down ingredients for a potion to save an injured knight, be accused of vampirism by the locals as he waits until dawn to enter their village, and eventually fight in the arena. It's all very tongue-in-cheek, but the new environments are as beautiful as anything in the main game, and the tutorials do a good job of teaching the mechanics without getting in the way of gameplay. Even if you're not new to The Witcher 2, the tutorial is still worth the 20-30 minutes it takes to finish.