The Witcher 2 On Xbox 360 Is, Thankfully, Still Very Much The Witcher 2

This week, I had a chance to sit down and play through a few hours of the upcoming Xbox 360 version of the 2011 PC-exclusive game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The Xbox 360 version will launch on April 17.

I'm happy to report that the port meets expectations in every way — close your eyes and picture "The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360". Are you imagining that? Good, because that's what you're getting. As far as I'm concerned, that is a good thing.

If you'd like to know what The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is all about, I recommend reading our own Mike Fahey's fabulous review of the game. It's a role-playing game in which you really play a role, where choice and consequence make themselves known in occasionally earth-shattering (and game-experience-changing) ways.

So, on to the Xbox 360 version. I've "confessed" this before (as if it's some shameful crime!), but I actually found that the best way for me to experience The Witcher 2 was by plugging my PC into my TV and playing with a controller. Oh, how glorious it looked in full HD! Furthermore, the controls lent themselves to the Xbox 360 controller very well. In fact, the game seemed to have been designed with the controller in mind; menus featured button-specific prompts, and the entire game, including the menus, could be navigated with a controller.

The new version is much the same, with some slight but noticeable tweaks to the control layout. The button-mapping is somewhat different; face-buttons are more in line with a typical console game (A replaces X as the interact button, Y replaces B to cast signs), and targeting is now tied to the left trigger. The interface, too, has changed, with a page-based pause interface that lets you flip through your map, journal, and inventory just like in any other console RPG. It all feels and works better, though doesn't change things too much in practice. The guys from CD Projekt Red weren't sure whether the remapped controls would come to the PC version, but I hope that they do.

I'll get this out of the way — despite the good-looking screenshots you'll see in this post, The Witcher 2 for 360 does not look as good as its PC counterpart. No huge surprise there, since no feat of programming on earth could get an Xbox 360 game looking as good as The Witcher 2 running on Ultra or High on a current PC. But that's not to say it looks bad — while the lighting effects, and high-res textures did serve to make the PC version look jaw-droppingly good, much of The Witcher 2 PC's look derived from a lush, well-realised art style. That art style carries over to the new game. If you hadn't payed The Witcher 2 on PC, you'd probably never notice that it doesn't look as good as it could. The only thing that sorta bummed me out was that Geralt himself looks a bit... gaunt? Drawn? At times, he looks looks younger and just... different than he did in the PC version, like some of the character has been leeched from his face. But really, don't let that bum you out — Xbox players won't even notice.

What's great is that everything else is essentially unchanged. You'll get the same twisty, shades-of-grey story, all of the quests, all of the big descisions, all of the lusty, sexful exploits. You'll also get all of the post-release DLC, including several additional quests, the new, smoother tutorial, the fighting arena and a brand-new chunk of DLC that adds four hours of content to the game's comparatively thin-feeling third act.

I played through a good amount of the new content, and it feels appropriately Witchery, revolving mostly around exposing the plot to kidnap King Foltest's children from the first act. I checked to be sure, and yes, PC players will receive this DLC for free just as they have all other DLC, presumably when the Xbox version launches.

The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 is very much the same excellent game that PC players got to play last year, lightened a bit in the graphics department but in most every other respect identical. I'll note that while I was at the event, I had a good time listening to the gentlemen behind me, writers for a to-remain-nameless Xbox-centric magazine, who were playing The Witcher 2 for the first time. I recalled my own first encounter with the game as I listened to them wrestle with its unforgiving difficulty and rough combat edges.

"How do you replenish your health in combat?" asked one.

"You don't," said the PR rep.

Yep, that's The Witcher 2 alright.

Lustful silver fox two swords, two ladies; one heart cursed neck-tattoo!


Comments

    I must replay this on PC this year with the 2.0 release out!... haven't played since patch 1.1 I think.

      2.0 is so five minutes ago.. they announced an Enhanced Edition of Witcher 2 will be released on PC in April.

    Tempted to buy witcher 2 for xbox...... despite having a pc that can run it on ultra.......and despite having finished the game.

    Pile of shame is begging me not to add this game, but it looks so gooooooood

    I thought there were pros and cons to both mouse and keyboard, and controller, ultimately I found myself sticking with mouse/kb, and would reccommend that to anyone who wants to specialise in primarily signs, while swordplay works well with a controller.

    So, how are they going to introduce characters and the story in general to an audience who've never played the original?

    A) I freakin' loved this game.
    B) While the environments/graphics are break taking, the game doesn't look THAT good (even on a high end PC)—those are renders. Therefore the port will look nothing near as good as that.
    C) I shudder to think about the clumsiness of controlling Geralt with a controller.
    D) It's a good thing it's coming to a console though, so more people can play this awesome game. I just hope if there's a sequel it gets made PC first again.

    Been waiting patiently for the console port... and that Dark edition looks amazing... I'm also curious if they'll add anything extra to introduce the characters, as most console gamers won't have played the original.

    So what if you played it in full HD so did i on my 24 inch 1920 x 1080 aka FULL HD. I can imagine controller being a little easier to control in a basic sense bur 12345678 etc so helpful once you know which one does which

    wtf?

    This is one of the best looking games ive played!
    sex scenes in this is better looking that pornos

    Does the xbox360 version get more content? I don't remember either of the scenes with Radovid in them on the PC

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