Geralt of Rivia makes his way on to the Xbox 360 in the Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. Bringing the hit action-RPG to the consoles with some tweaks to help out the console gamers.
The Enhanced Edition adds several new hours of gameplay to the game. There are some new areas introduced as well as new characters. Both of these add more depth and background to the already detailed Witcher storyline. There is a new underground chamber beneath Loc Muine as well as a new forest to explore in the Loc Muine Mountains.
The gameplay itself has been reworked for better functionality with a controller. The action is fast paced and easy to handle. The combat is as simple or deep as you want it to be. You can drink down potions to give yourself valuable buffs before and during battles, equip bombs and traps for quick use in a fight and prepare your spells for devastating combos. Combat itself has changed from the rhythm-based system that the original used to a more standard quick and strong attack system that has a more classic action game feel. Dodging and counterattacking is a skill that will take some practice, but once mastered will allow you to get through any battle unscathed. The target lock system allows you to keep an eye on specific enemies and help land those hits.
Outside of combat you can’t let your twitch skills rust however. There are many quick time events scattered around, from gambling for some extra money to cranking a ballista to fire at the enemy. They pop up from time to time and break up the exploration and questing.
The exploration is well done. The game has gone from the multiple viewpoint style of the original into a wholly over the shoulder view. This fits well with the action-RPG style of the game but the camera can be problematic at times. Finding specific items to click on can be frustrating; though you have an ability in game that allows you to highlight all items you can interact with in your immediate area. This is especially useful, as you need to look at things in just the right way to be able to interact with them, so clicking on that box next to the door can be a challenge.
The camera issues are also evident during stealth sections. When you are up against a wall the game unfortunately focuses on random areas and it can impossible to see around corners as the game expects you to. To fix the camera you have to move off the wall but unfortunately this tends to break your stealth and result in you just slaughtering your way through the section regardless.
New cut scenes have been added to the base game, including a beautiful new opening. However the in game graphics are showing the age of this generation of consoles and their limitations. There are many places where you will see texture pop in especially during story sections. Geralt should be in cuffs for a section but there will be part during scenes where the cuffs will take a while to appear on screen. Other parts of the game suffer from low-res clothing textures that snap into proper resolution as the RED engine struggles to cope with its new, more cramped, non-PC home.
Overall the game is a great action-RPG experience. The 360 version works well and gives console players a way to enjoy this epic adventure. If you have a PC powerful enough I would recommend you grab the PC version, which benefits from a more solid control system, better graphical performance and customization options. CD Projekt Red will deliver the Enhanced Edition of the Witcher 2 free to all PC owners of the basic game. This is a great thing to see and a huge boost to the company’s popularity.