The Witcher 2: A very different kind of RPG

As the acclaimed PC fantasy comes to 360 - we think it's time you got to know Geralt of Rivia

After the all-conquering success of Skyrim and surprise hit Kingdoms of Amalur, RPG's currency has probably never stood higher.

Now one of the PC's most successful cult titles, the Witcher 2, is set to debut on Xbox 360 this April, with Polish developers CD Projeckt also delivering a new enhanced version completely free of charge for existing PC fans (how's that for service?).

We recently joined them to take an extended hands-on session with near final code for the Xbox version of the game. Here's what we think...

For those new to the series, The Witcher is definitely not your run-of-the-mill fantasy fare. Based on Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski's novels, you play Geralt of Rivia, a mutated human trained to hunt supernatural creatures and beasties for cold hard cash.


Temeria, where The Witcher is set, is a dark, fantasy world; here elves are not high minded semi-supernatural beings but desperate refugees. Dwarves are filthy and sweary, wizards devious and manipulative and humans are often portrayed as a disease spreading across the land.

Acclaimed for its mature themes, adult content and dry humour, The Witcher 2's world feels like Game of Thrones meets Wars of the Roses, with a healthy dose of blood, sex, drugs and magic thrown in. Exactly the kind of place we suspect discerning CVG readers will feel right at home.

So what's new for the Xbox 360 version? Well for starters there's a much greater emphasis on storytelling, and one area which has been really stepped up is the in game cinematics and cut scenes. You've probably already seen BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski's enormously impressive CGI intro movie.

Although it's unrealistic to expect that level of polish to be sustained throughout the game, reams of new cut-scenes and cinematics mean there's much more dialogue and explanation, more interaction between characters, a greater sense of the deep political machinations going on in the world, plus lashings of sauce which help bring the complex and intriguing storyline to life.

Perhaps most interesting of all is that this is an RPG where there are true consequences to every decision you make, it's good to see a developer brave enough to really embrace non-linear narrative.

CD Proejeckt really feel that your choices should have a deep and lasting impact on your game and are quite prepared to offer you very different paths based on your decisions. Although this can result in missing out on areas of content if you choose a particular path, it also means that your choices are far more loaded with meaning and actually matter. Doesn't hurt the replay value either you would suspect.


That's not to say that this enhanced version also doesn't have new things to offer. With up to four hours of new missions, quests, characters and locations, there's plenty more of The Witcher 2 to explore. Veterans will find an underground system of chambers beneath Loc Muinne, the elvish town in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. There's also the bonus of Loc Muinne's temperate forest, which has an extensive labyrinth of caves to explore.

New characters for the saga include the grizzled Baron Kimbolt, a member of the Temerian court who hates the Nilfgaardians, plus Dame Brigida Papebrock, a devious femme fatale. Also thrown into the mix is a secret third character which CD Projekt are keeping under wraps for now.

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