Xbox 360 Preview: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The Witcher 2 hits Xbox later this month, but how is it looking?

I never got to play The Witcher 2 for PC, so I was unsure what to expect when I got my hands-on the Xbox 360 version last week, I had heard so many good things about it and yet my anticipation for it was somewhere in the middle. So after playing the Prologue, what were my thoughts?

The Witcher 2 begins with an option for a tutorial, which gives you the basics on quests and combat. It was added into the PC version but not originally, it doesn’t actually tie into any of the story but it does a good job in giving you the low-down of what to expect. The way in which you fight in The Witcher 2 is upto you, you can play it as a hack-n-slash, you can lay traps and cast spells which can turn enemies against each other, or set them on fire and a few more inbetween.

I only got to play the Prologue, but it was more than impressive. You play as Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining Witchers and he tells his back-story to Vernon Roche in a prison cell. Why he’s there becomes clear over the few levels that you play, which sees Geralt help with King Foltest’s war against rebels. You can choose your responses and decisions will impact later events, for example in one play through I chose to make the rebel leader surrender, but in turn he ends up being imprisoned and his mother is killed and he chooses to help you escape by blowing himself up, while if you kill him then his mother is spared.

The beginning stages handle like your standard action RPG, you can talk to soldiers and villagers along the way, but Geralt can choose to help villagers being mistreated by the soldiers, or walk away. It does feel reminiscent of the Mass Effect Renegade/Paragon system, which is always nice to see in some form. It did take a while to get used to the controls, since mapping the PC layout onto a controller is demanding. This version of The Witcher 2 isn’t a port either, it’s been built from the ground up, which is why it’s taken so long to arrive.

The Prologue does take quite a while to do, which suggests that the main game is enormous in scope and I can’t wait to see where the journey takes me. Geralt is a bit of a clichéd badass, but he’s a badass nonetheless. It’s not a bad looking game either, it also comes with new content that will also come across to PC owners for free to download, so no-one is missing out. I could talk all day about just the Prologue, but I don’t really want to spoil why Geralt is incarcerated in prison. Just be sure to keep an eye out for the full review in the next few weeks!