Witcher 2 Xbox 360 Hands-On Preview: Impressive Graphics, Tight Controls & New Adventures

Right, right. But how does it look?
Good! Very good, in fact. I mean, it’s not as sharp as the PC version set to ultra, but you shouldn’t expect that. What you have here is a very nice looking fantasy RPG on a console, full of color, fantastic art and nice lighting. It’s a little jaggier than the PC version perhaps. I haven’t compared them side by side or anything yet, but it looks like it’s probably hitting the PCs “Medium” quality setting or so, which is good for a 360 title.

In one of the new Act 3 quests I played for instance, you’re tasked with escorting a young lady through the forest outside Loc Muinne to meet a guy about something (my vagueness is to conceal spoilers, FYI). Anyway, the forest is lush with green flora of all sorts, and full of nice shadows that dance around in the wind.

So, what were you saying about new quests?
Right, there are two new adventures in the Xbox 360 version, and I got to play through part of one of them. This stuff takes place in the middle of Act 3, so towards the end of the game. SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT DON’T READ THIS NEXT PART IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HAVE YOUR LIFE SPOILED! Ok, they’re gone. So, Geralt and Roche are in Loc Muinne, when they encounter a woman named Brigida. She remembers Rouche (rather unpleasantly), and she’s in need of help. Apparently she was tasked with protecting Faltest’s bastard children, Anais and Boussy. The children are now missing, and in exchange for safely escorting Brigida out of the city, she promises to reveal what happened to the children. You then proceed out of Loc Muinne and through the forest, where Brigida proposed that you meet a contact of her’s. Mages and bandits attack along the way, and other stuff happens I won’t mention.

I’m personally not big into “escort missions” myself, but this one didn’t bother me. Brigida holds her own in a fight, and the story and dialog are dramatic and intriguing.

How are the buttons mapped to the Xbox 360, exactly?Like this, exactly:
Y Cast Sign
X Strong Attack
B Dodge
A Fast Attack/Interaction
R Camera Control/Switch Targets
R3 Center Camera
RB Use Item
RT Parry
START Game Options
SELECT Character Panels
LT Lock Onto Target
LB Quick Menu
L Character Movement
UP DPAD Draw Weapon
RIGHT DPAD Silver Sword
LEFT DPAD Steel Sword
DOWN DPAD Sheathe Weapon

Interesting. Does it work well?
Very well, actually. It controls a lot like an organic third-person console action game would, to be honest.

Lock onto enemies with LT, parry with RT, and attack with A (fast) or X (strong). You can also dive-roll out of the way with B. Those are the basics, and they’ll probably come pretty naturally to most players. But Witcher 2 is can be a tough b@#$. You’re often surrounded by many enemies, all with different attack patterns and abilities. Three guys may be slashing at you, while two more shoot arrows at you from afar.

Hold LB to bring up your Quick Menu, select your preferred Sign (i.e. magic spell), let go and it’s mapped. Unleash it with Y. Hold LB to bring up the Quick Menu again, and map a quick item to the item slot, such as a bomb. Let go, push RB and you’re throwing that bad boy into a crowd.

Witcher 2 is a complicated combat system (one that our own readers engaged in heated debate over), but it feels like the Xbox 360 controller can at least put the tools in your hands. It’s still not easy, though. Not at all. I died in the tutorial, actually.

Final Impressions:
If you haven’t played Witcher 2 yet, you have an Xbox 360 and you’re an RPG fan, definitely keep an eye on this one. It has all the content available in the PC version, plus 3+ hours of new quests, new cinematics, good graphics and a successfully translated control scheme.

If you already own the PC version, just hang out and wait for the new content. There’s no firm date on when that content will become available for PC players, but we’ll keep you appraised when we learn more.

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3 Comments on Witcher 2 Xbox 360 Hands-On Preview: Impressive Graphics, Tight Controls & New Adventures


On January 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Yay! More free stuff!


On January 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Don’t let Jim Sterling review it! HE would be able to get out of the tutorial without dieing 4 times and give the game a low score because hes to stupid to figure it out!

Brandon J. Clark

On January 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Oh man, what the ….