It's been almost a year since the launch of the incredible The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on PC, and yet every couple months the game gets bigger and better. CD Projekt's continued support of the game has finally culminated into enough releases that the game bears a new title, which coincides with its introduction onto a new platform. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is coming soon on Xbox 360 (and updated for free for PC buyers), and while another pretty amazing RPG just launched on the platform, don't write off that "RPG of the year" award just yet.
CD Projekt took us through the new intro sequence by BAFTA winner Tomek Bagiński. It's astonishingly well-directed, and possibly the best CGI game trailer I've ever seen. If you haven't seen it yet, check out the video here. The trailer also does a great job of setting the tone and style of the game.
After that CD Projekt dove right in to the introduction section of the game, which I previously paid on the PC version. The graphics were noticeably improved since the game's introduction at E3 last year, and I couldn't help but be impressed. For the Xbox 360, they are almost un-equaled, and The Witcher 2 is handily among the most gorgeous games on the platform.
In practice the gameplay in a similar fashion to its elder brother on PC. You'll primarily fight with your twin swords, steel for humans and silver for monsters, with an emphasis on careful evasion and blocking. Geralt is (nearly) human, and can be cut down quickly if surrounded (especially since rear attacks do double damage). You'll have some assistance from signs (spells), using witcher staples like Aard to blow people back and Igni to light them on fire. The game plays extremely well with a controller, and features one of the most enjoyable melee combat systems of any RPG to date.
After this quick introduction we were given the chance to play one of two all-new quests. These new quests are post-game, and last about two hours apiece, with each quest mutually exclusive to the two factions in the game. There are branching paths to complete the quests, and they provide some great expansion to the main plot of the game. The one I played included a healthy mix of combat and dialog, giving you the chance to investigate the mysterious circumstances of the kidnapping of two noble children.
Our demo wrapped up just as I was nearing the end of the first part of the quest string, and I left incredibly satisfied with the fruits of CD Projekt's labors. They've always emphasized that this is a conversion, not a port, and they're making the best game they can for Xbox 360 rather than just trying to slap the PC version on the platform full of downgrades. I'd say they've succeeded in that, and while it's not as pretty as the PC version maxed out on a beefy rig, it's absolutely gorgeous for the Xbox 360, and plays exceptionally well. A certain huge RPG may have just released on Xbox 360, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you decide on your favorite RPG of the year without picking this one up as well. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition releases on April 17th on Xbox 360, and the content will be updated for free in all PC versions.