The Witcher 2 is without a doubt one of the best games to come out last year for the PC. So how does the console version, released almost a year later, fare? Very well I'm happy to report. The Witcher 2 is a gripping RPG set in a very gritty and dark world. There are only shades of grey and the choices you have to make never have a clear right or wrong answer. You play Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster hunter. Witchers are kind of like mutants from Xmen in that they posses unnatural abilities and are feared and hated across the land. Gearalt is framed for the murder of a king and must track down the real killer, who is a witcher like himself. In doing so you are embroiled in several political conflicts, wars, and the occasional romp with a fare wench. This game is clearly for adults, not just because there is a lot of blood and nudity, though that's more than present. I wouldn't buy this game for anybody under the age of 17. It is very deserving of the M rating it has. The game's story is complex and not something easily understood. It expects you to pay attention. The characters are interesting, well written and have realistic motivations. The world is great too, it really feels like a fantasy world while retaining sense of realism. This place feels real, it's not just some random fantasy world somebody created. As such the choices you make have serious implications. The game can play out very differently and you will not get every quest based on those choices. It's a game you simply have to play multiple times, no question. So needless to say this game is worth checking out for the story alone. My only problem is the third act of the game feels very short, even with the added content I didn't really feel like I could just explore and do random quests like I could in the first two. Kind of felt like they were just ready to wrap the story up. It's not that bad, but it was kind of disappointing. Also, the difficult to know what's going on at first if you haven't played the first game, and with it not being available on the Xbox 360 that can be problematic. That said the game still concludes in a good way and after a little bit you kind of get caught up to speed. I still loved every minute of it this story and you should too, provided you like stories that are intelligent and complex in their design.

This game plays great, but be prepared, it's somewhat difficult. The Witcher 2 takes you seriously, and as such won't pull punches. These enemies want you dead, and you can be damn sure they'll try and kill you. You have to really use your head to defeat them. You can do this by using the right spells, potions and weapons. For example, you have two swords, one steel and one silver. Steel is best used for regular opponents like humans whereas the silver sword is best for monsters and other unnatural beats. A Silver sword will not be effective against a human wearing steel plated armor or chain mail. The means of selecting spells, weapons or other offensive items is similar to the power wheel from Mass Effect, you hold the left bumper and select your preferred tactic. It can sometimes be clumsy but once you get the hang of it you'll be fine. That kind of sums up gameplay in The Witcher 2. I had a hard time at first but once I settled in and got the hang of it I loved it. The combat is rewarding and challenging. Geralt swings his sword as if it has weight, so don't expect instant hits, though you can use fast attacks with the A button, but the X button is how you really deal damage, though it's slow, so try and mix it up. The interface for menus is streamlined and works fine, though I feel it involves far too many button presses and can feel a tad convoluted, but it's not that bad. Leveling your skills is done through a skill tree with powers that level up twice and offer a wide variety of effects. Mainly though it's your typical RPG style. Combat, magic, alchemy and a training tree that is short and is just for general skills. Overall the game plays wonderfully and it's one of the best RPG's I've ever played. The only major gripe I have with the game is its UI. The menus are a pain to navigate and takes me out of the whole experience. Also, by my second playthrough a lot of the quests kind of felt like chores. They're still good but I feel like it needed to be a little less involved at times. Every quest requires a lot of work and sometimes it feels like I'm just going through the motions. Also, some of the conversations can get very long and wordy, throwing perhaps too much information at you at once without a break. This is a minor issue and it might just be me, but I feel like the reason conversations like that in Mass Effect or Dragon age work is because you participate a lot more than in this game. These problems hold the witcher 2 back a from being a near perfect game, but they are all quite minor. 

Graphically, I honestly can't believe this game is running on the Xbox 360. Much like Rage and Crysis 2, this game seems like it's too good looking for a console. But some how CD Project red made it work. I suspect black magic or some other means of foul sorcery. Animations are incredible, characters move fluidly. Little things make the difference to me and the amount of care and detail put into the look of this game is astonishing. It's vibrant and colorful while maintaining that gritty feel. The only issue I have with this game visually is that some texture pop in does show up to a degree of frequency, but it's a minor gripe that shouldn't bother you.
The sound in this game pretty good. Sound effects are good, monsters sound ferocious, the world sounds truly alive, Voice acting is superb all around and the music is wonderful, the game comes with a soundtrack and you should give it a listen, it's good stuff.

So, overall the Witcher 2 delivers in every way. It's a wonderful game and shouldn't be ignored, if you're a fan of RPG's and are over the age of 18 give it a look see, it's well worth your time. Hopefully the xbox release will give the series a wider audience and we can get the third game for the Xbox as well. It is so wonderful to finally see what those of us who can't afford a high end PC have been missing out on. This is a thoughtful port and I can't begin to tell you how much I admire CD Project Red for their work on this game, it's truly a masterpiece and I can't recommend it enough.

9.5 out of 10


-great story

-ineteresting characters

-fun and challengeing gameplay

-absolutely stunning graphics

-wonderful voice acting

-mature game that takes you seriously



-User interface is terrible

-quests can feel a bit too involved and like a chore

-some conversations lack good pacing

-slightly buggy at times