I've played many role playing games in my time, but not many match the game I've currently been playing. I'm talking about The Witcher 2. It was received very well when it released on PC in 2011. I've always been intrigued in playing it, but not having a powerful PC has stopped me being part of the experience. Thankfully, The Witcher 2 has been ported to next-gen consoles, giving console owners the chance to experience one of the best RPG's around.
Exclusively to console, The Witcher 2 comes with many hours of extra dialog and gameplay. One of the new features is it's tutorial mode. It can take a while before you fully master the controls, but they have been mapped to the console extremely well. The menu is also easy to navigate. The game runs very smooth, and it's suspiring that it's actually a ported version.
If your not familiar with the series, The Witcher 2 is a third person RPG, but it's not a colourful and magical adventure like you might expect. The Witcher 2 is a very dark, deep and engrocing game. You take the role of Geralt of Rivia who is, yes, a witcher. He is a professional monster slayer who was abandoned very young. As you reach further into the world of The Witcher 2, it's obvious that it holds a deep story. There's lots of politic complications, and it's certainly an adults game with all the sex, language and violence it holds. The story-telling is very well written, and it holds some of the best dialog in a RPG to date.
At heart, The Witcher 2 is an RPG, so there's plenty of looting, exploration and levelling up. When your not in combat you are able to meditate. This is one of the core elements to the RPG system. Here you can create mixtures from ingredients that you find within the world. Mixing different formulas allows you create certain potions. These can give you extra damage against foes, or a health increase for example. The biggest feature from meditation though is the skills tree. Split into four categories, Training, Swordsmanship, Alchemy, and Magic, here you can improve Geralt's strength and abilities. You can upgrade Geralt's combat skills with new attacks, gain new spells, and more.
The combat runs very smoothly. Simply pressing the A and X button, you can slash away at your foes, but there's more to the combat than just button mashing. You can also combined magic by simply holding LB. This allows you to choose from a range of spells. There's spells that lets you stun enemies, a defence shield that blocks attacks, a spell that turns enemies against each other, and more. There's a nice selection to keep you busy, and it keeps the combat fresh and engaging.
The Witcher 2 isn't really a full sandbox game, but it still feels very deep and rewarding. All the environments are large and filled with plenty to see and do. There's countless hours of side-quests, plenty of loot to find, and people to talk to.
The visuals on console look stunning. All the environments are eye-catching, sharp and inviting. It's said that the console version is at a medium setting. That might not be the best resolution, but it still looks fantastic. It's certainly one of the best looking RPG's I've ever seen on console.
Overall, The Witcher 2 is a very satisfying port. If you enjoy role playing games, The Witcher 2 is one not to be missed. There's a reason why it became an award winning game, and you'll just have to play it to find out why.
Review by Gareth Smith