The Witcher 2 (Xbox 360) Impressions [E3 2011]

At E3 last week, game developer CD Projekt RED gave us the opportunity to check out a demo of the Xbox 360 version of their recently released RPG (for the PC), The Witcher 2.

In The Witcher 2, players take on the role of an older version of first game’s hero and witcher – someone who has been genetically enhanced and trained from an early age to battle vicious monsters, Geralt of Rivia, who now serves as the bodyguard to the king of Temeria, King Foltest.

Things quickly take a turn for the worst for Geralt though, when the king is assassinated and the world believes that he is the killer. In order to clear his name, the player hops into Geralt’s shoes as he attempts to track down the true assassin – another witcher.

During the demo at E3 we didn’t get our hands on the controller but we did get to watch a live play through as Geralt makes his escape from imprisonment and works his way through a dungeon, choosing to either kill or sneak by the enemies encountered. Because each choice impacts the story we saw two different playthroughs of this area, one in which the player chose to let the Baroness La Valette’s son live and one where they let him to die which resulted in different cut scenes and escape paths. There are many situations throughout the game where options made earlier will alter what choices the player will, or won’t, have.

The combat looked fairly smooth and for originally being a keyboard and mouse based title with lots of different options, everything seemed fairly accessible with the 360 controller, although they didn’t get too crazy with the potential combat options. The movement and controls seemed to respond quickly and everything really had a nice flow to it.

A couple of issues did arise though, at one point Geralt and the two enemy guards he was fighting got stuck on opposite sides of an open doorway with neither able to deal damage or cross over. Another problem was that while the game looked alright, it really didn’t compare to the PC version of the game. That is, if you have a good PC that can actually run the game of course.

The developers did make it a point to remind all of us during the session that the game is still early in the console development stage and that many of the bugs and such that we saw will be fixed and the game will be much better quality once it reaches the finished stage.

I did wonder however if the game would still manage to keep much of the mature content, like the nudity, in the console version or if they will have to do something like The Saboteur did, adding a code that must be entered or purchased to access the uncensored scenes.

While the developers did say that the game will keep its mature storyline in tact it does make you wonder just what Microsoft will allow them to do on the console version as opposed to PC. I guess we will just have to wait and see, although the demo did include some nudity.

Gamers can definitely count on the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2 to deliver an engrossing story that will draw players in and keep them glued to the screen from start to finish (PC gamers know what I’m talking about). This is one title that I’m definitely looking forward to seeing make its way to the console later this year, especially once all the bugs are worked out.