The Witcher 2 preview - What’s new and what’s different in the 360 version

The Witcher 2 is finally making its way to Xbox 360. The mature RPG from developer CD Projekt Red received high praise when it was released last year on PC. While changing a few things from the first – notably making advances to the combat system to be more action-oriented – it was able to keep the branching storyline and immersive world intact. Now the dark fantasy epic is making its way to consoles as it debuts on Xbox 360 with new content and a few more changes.

The Witcher 2 follows the exploits of Geralt of Rivia (a Witcher) as he tries to clear his name of the murder of King Foltest of Temeria and catch the real perpetrator. The dark fantasy setting puts Geralt in a dreary world where elves are viewed as terrorists, dwarves are more than literally looked down upon and the kingdoms of men are continuously in political and social upheaval. Not only will you battle huge monsters and knights in (somewhat) shining armor but you will also be making world altering choices that can affect what characters you encounter, places you travel to and quests you obtain. Sounds pretty awesome, right? So thought a lot of gamers, which is why the developers decided to not require a pricey gaming computer to play it.

With the Xbox 360 Enhanced version, all of the previous patches and content added on PC will be on the disk including the DLC quests, arena combat, Dark difficulty mode, and updated tutorial system. New to Witcher 2 will be an additional four hours of gameplay in the last chapter of the game. One of the two additional scenarios will be available depending on what branch of the storyline is chosen in your playthrough. The extra quests will introduce three new characters to Geralt’s story and two new locations to explore.

In addition to the new scenery and quests, players will also be treated to unique cutscenes, transition scenes, and ending movies that have not been seen in previous versions. Thankfullly, the developers won’t be leaving PC owners in the cold, and will be bringing the content to PC players through DLC in the future.

Even though it was possible to play the PC version with a controller rather than a keyboard, the developers made an effort to adapt the controls to better suit the Xbox 360 controller. Small tweaks have been made to the camera and targeting systems to help them work more smoothly. Everything generally works as it did before. A small icon will appear on the enemy Geralt faces which the player can lock on to by pressing the left trigger. Locked targets can then be switched using the right analog stick making it easy to keep an eye on attacking foes in Geralts periphery.

The controls feel similar to an action-adventure game. Light and heavy weapon attacks, casting magic, and dodging are all done using the face buttons with blocking and bomb throwing assigned to the right trigger and bumper. We were able to pull off sword combos, parries, and dodges with a few magic spells and bombs thrown in with ease. Anyone used to third-person action games should feel right at home with The Witcher 2’s controls.

Unfortunately, moving to console means Witcher 2 takes a hit in the graphics department. There is a definite discrepancy between the two platforms. Seeing graphics that can literally be the graphical measuring stick for what your PC rig is capable of and then see those outstanding visuals knocked down to accommodate the 360’s capabilities leaves us wishing the developers could squeeze more juice out of the console.

During our demo, we didn’t notice any hitches in the frame-rate and loading new areas was smooth as butter, but draw distances for textures are much shorter (especially when we were running through a foliage rich forest) and there is far less detail in character models and the environment. This is generally expected when bringing a PC game to console and perhaps the graphics will improve before launch. The game still does look good - just don’t expect it to be as eye-popping as it is on PC.

The Witcher 2 will be heading to Xbox 360 this Spring.


  • boondocks50 - January 29, 2012 2:39 p.m.

    so should i wait for it to come out in april, or get it on steam now? the only argument i have for waiting is honestly its one of the best looking games ive ever seen and i dont want to miss out on stopping every so often and going wow this is awesome, but i also dont want to get it on pc and play a "older version" of the game that has less story elements than whats coming later
  • lazer59882 - January 30, 2012 3:15 p.m.

    i think thats a easy one. if you have a boss enough PC to run it then get it on steam, cause im pretty sure the developer is releasing all the console content free to PC players at some point, and like i said, if your computer is good enough for the graphics difference to be noticeable, go PC.
  • Crypto140 - January 27, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    Losing some graphic power will be a shame but it still sounds like an amazing game I will be sure to pick up.
  • sirdilznik - January 27, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Well of course it was going to take a hit in the graphics department, there was just no way the 360 could handle the game at anything approaching max PC settings, top of the line and even mid-level PC hardware is several generations ahead of the 360 (and PS3). This is why PC gamers get upset when a cross-platform game gets made with the lowest common denominator in mind and the PC version winds up falling well short of the platform's capabilities. Hopefully CD Projekt RED continues with their PC-first approach when they inevitably make The Witcher 3, though by then the (not?) Wii U, and XBOX720, and PS4 might be out so there may be little difference between console and PC graphical quality.
  • lazer59882 - January 30, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    PC gamers get upset at any cross-platform game cause they know there are far more console-only games being made and they're jealous when a great PC game gets ported to a console, cause they "want it for themselves." like yourself.
  • Darkhawk - January 27, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    "Unfortunately, moving to console means Witcher 2 takes a hit in the graphics department." This is such a crock of s**** I wish journalists would stop writing it. Yeah, sure, in your paid games reviewing position on a high-end PC, this game is amazing. But the fact is the vast majority of Witchers out there are playing it on PC graphics equal (and in many cases inferior) to the console version.
  • TheVoid - January 27, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    Good sir, allow me to call your position a crock of shit. And yes, you can say shit here. I have a fairly moderate PC that I built from scratch for roughly $800. High end rig? No way. Yet I'm beyond confident my Witcher 2 experience (from a graphics perspective specifically) is sure to beat what is coming to XB360 for the following reasons alone: I'm playing it at a smooth frame rate at 1600x900. The XB360 couldn't deliver that on it's best day, and the difference that kind of resolution makes is absolutely noticeable. You know what? I'm going to leave it at that. That's enough, really, right there. I could go on about XB360's downright ancient GPU vs. that of a current (albiet mid-level) PC, which has vastly improved efficiencies, allow greater AA and such. But I won't. Not to mention a cheapo last-gen quad core proc with 4mb of budget-priced ram still runs LAPS around the 360, making for faster load times and improved frame rates. But as stated, I won't mention it. The reason I decided to not "go there" with everything I just said is because I think you are failing to see the point that Lorenzo is making, which is simply that with a PC, Witcher 2 CAN (but not in all cases WILL) look better than it's XB360 counterpart, which is worth mentioning considering that much of the allure of Witcher 2 is it's graphics alone.
  • FinderKeeper - January 27, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    Yeah, you're right. The quality of the gameplay contributes very little to the game's allure.
  • ThundaGawd - January 27, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    Did you even read the Platinum Chalice awards for 2011? We've obviously all established that gameplay is the most important aspect of a game, but if you actually read the review for Witcher 2, or the Platinum Chalice awards, you'd have known that Witcher 2 on PC is currently the best looking game on the market, and that's obviously a massive contributing factor when it comes to appeal, especially in this day and age, where alot of people are attracted to shiny visuals alongside great gameplay.
  • TheVoid - January 28, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    Thank you. I never once said that the gameplay itself isn't a huge part of what makes Witcher 2 awesome and I can't see that taking a hit with a console port. That was basically a given, or so I thought... My point was - as stated - specifically in regards to the graphics, and how even a budget PC by today's standards could easily give the XB360 a solid run for it's money. I'm happy to see Witcher 2 coming to XB360 - it's a game that deservers a lot of recognition, and even with graphical concessions it should still look remarkable (as was the case with Doom 3 when it came to the original XBox - it couldn't touch the PC version graphics-wise but for the Xbox's aging hardware it looked rather impressive). The simple point here being in response to Darkhawk's stance that most pc gamers are likely only able to play Witcher 2 with graphics set to equal-if-not-less than the upcoming XB360 port, which I completely disagree with, unless most PC gamers are running on rigs that haven't been upgraded in 5+ years, which I also doubt to be the case. My point was simply that Darkhawk's mention of Witcher 2's port to XB360 taking a hit graphics-wise being a crock of shit was itself a crock of shit. Everything else - including what makes Witcher 2 an incredible game aside from it's drool-inducing graphics and how (if?) gameplay will always trump graphics in this day (at least in terms of public opinion) - are different discussion altogether. I'm happy to go there but let's stay on point with this thread at least.
  • minimaxi - January 27, 2012 10:52 p.m.

    I read somewhere else that, art direction-wise, the devs have transitioned as-is to 360, save for some character detail that makes Geralt looks younger than he is in PC, but if you've never played it, who would notice? the only thing you'll need to worry is the combat system definitely doesn't hold your hand. I'm sure it's no dark soul, but still harder than average modern game. So why don't you guys reward a developer that, for once, gives you free DLC, no DRM, and concentrates on one platform at a time? ;)
  • patbateman17 - January 27, 2012 7 a.m.

    How about the PS3 version? No?.....No?...damn crickets.
  • kor2disturbed - January 27, 2012 3:31 a.m.

    I'm gonna get this on the 360. As long as it looks good for a 360 game it's worth it, better graphics to an already great looking game isn't worth it. With that said when I eventually do get a good PC I'll be getting it for that to.
  • Wade D McGinnis - January 26, 2012 10:08 p.m.

    Awesome to hear the DLC will still be coming to PC :)
  • GhostNappa2k10 - January 26, 2012 9:39 p.m.

    I'm surprised the PC elitists haven't infested the comments yet. Also, since my laptop has no chance of running this game, then I will definitely pre-order this for XBOX :D
  • TheVoid - January 27, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    What would a PC elitist need to say that hasn't been mentioned in the article already? "The game still does look good - just don’t expect it to be as eye-popping as it is on PC." 'Nuff said! Although I'm happy to unfurl the "PC elitist" banner quite proudly (since you mentioned it) because we more than most gamers have sunk a lot more time and cash into our gaming platform than console gamers. Instead of "rivals" or "adversaries" think of us as those with flashy souped-up cars that tinker and toil late into the night for the pride of being able to gather together in a public lot on the weekend, pop the hood, crack a few cold ones and indulge in some well-earned bragging rights while passerbys in their store-bought straight-off-the-assembly-line vehicles only draw near to gawk at our wares. It's pretty much the same damn thing. Which isn't to say I look down on consoles - they certainly get the job done and require far less maintenance, and often offer gaming experiences I could never expect to receive on PC. I myself own a PS3 and a Wii in addition to a solid PC gaming rig (which from scratch cost less than $800, I might add), and I tend to play all three almost equally (well, maybe not the Wii so much these days). But like a man who keeps his "regular" car for family errands and such parked on the street while his prize-possession "hobby" car remains secure and sparkling clean in the garage, you could definitely say the same about me and my appreciation for consoles vs. my undying love for my PC. So the next time you decide to write us off as a bunch of snobs give some pause and think about why we fly our flag of dedication so high. In the meantime, enjoy your concession-ridden Witcher 2. ZING!
  • Brutalicus - January 27, 2012 1:13 p.m.

  • FinderKeeper - January 27, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    Yup, the average gamer has two consoles and a custom-built (what else does "scratch" mean?) gaming rig... just as the average driver owns three cars. That's the "conspicuous" version of consumption: flaunting it in the faces of those with less. Kudos. And that last sentence sure sounds elitist to me. You can look down your nose all you like at the poor sobs who are limited to one gaming platform costing $300 or less... but it ultimately says more about you than it does about them.
  • TheVoid - January 28, 2012 1:54 p.m.

    By "scratch" I meant "built by buying the individual components and putting it all together oneself", which I have found to be a much more rewarding (and cheaper) option than buying anything pre-built. Not that I'm knocking pc gamers that have bought their PCs pre-assembled, but I would say those that have truly built their own rigs get to bring even more bragging rights to the table. If you are proud of something you've earned/accomplished, I see no reason not be able to flaunt it. It took a lot of time and effort to research and purchase and build my own custom PC - you bet your ass I'm going to sing it from the mountaints, as should be the case with anything rightfully earned. I remember being berated on a different thread a while back because I (and others) were bragging about having beaten Demons Souls, a game legendary for it's difficulty. Those that were not able to beat it for whatever reason were basically telling us to park it, which astounded me. Beating that game took some serious effort so why not proclaim loudly that I indeed am honored to be part of a (relatively small) group that had cleared such an immense hurdle? Beating Demons Soul filled me with a sense of accomplishment that I was barely able to contain. What should I have done? Just shuffled off quietly into the night as to not offend those that were not able to do so? Fuck that. Same here. I've already stated I have nothing against consoles, but having spent so much time and effort on my pc affords me the ability to say "yes, I am a PC elitist, and here's why I (and others like myself) feel that way", which was the only point I was trying to make. Consoles are great and I've loved every one I've ever owned but there is no denying that PCs are inheritly superior, and PC gamers know it (and tend to be openly vocal about it). As for the fact that PCs are definitely more expensive, true, but not nearly as much as some people think (the differce being in hundreds rather than perceived thousands). And I worked hard for every dime that was put towards my PC, so again, I see no reason why I should be stiffled from being vocally proud. You don't see people with souped-up cars killing themselves to make their rides look like everyone else's, do you? That would be missing the point. I think the problem is that everyone is so easily insulted these days. Noses fly so high in the air and no one seems capable of taking a joke (as was the intent of my last sentence, btw). Everyone is so quick to jump down everyone else's throats if their opinions don't line up EXACTLY with their own. People simply need to deal. They need to deal with the fact that others might make more money than themselves. They need to deal with the fact that everyone can't win at everything. They need to deal with the fact that sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. I've dealt with all of that myself, which allows me to be guilt-free in bragging about that which I have earned. I did not become a self-proclaimed pc elitist without the requisite effort and sacrifice. My rig did not just fall out of the sky - it's mine from top to bottom. And it rules. Do I need to apologize for saying so? Again, fuck that. And you can take your "you can look down your nose all you like at the poor sobs who are limited to one gaming platform costing $300 or less" and cram it up your ass. I NEVER said that, in fact I went out of my way to say that I don't look down on consoles. And there was a time when I too was only able to afford a single platform but I worked hard and sacrificed much to now be in a position to own not only two consoles but a decent pc to boot. Why? Because it was an ambition that required much effort on my part to make a reality, a reality that I am proud to admit I earned. But I suppose just mentioning that is "flaunting it" and insulting to anyone with less in your eyes, isn't it?
  • GhostNappa2k10 - January 28, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    Sorry, as you clearly have taken my comment in the wrong way. I do not mind PC gamers, as I myself am one, and an XBOX game. But what I don't like are the PC gamers who think themselves better than console gamers. I am not calling all PC gamers elitists, just the ones who think they're the greatest. And as for the whole PC vs console dealio, the reason many people have consoles over a gaming PC is BUDGET LIMITS. Not a lot of people have hundreds of pounds/dollars to go and buy the necessary parts to build a respectable rig. I certainly can't afford to go do this, which is why I own an XBOX. And, even though I do play games on my laptop, it isn't good enough to run high-end games. This is the reason why I'm buying Witcher 2, on XBOX. Again, I apologise if you were insulted by my comment, as I do not have anything against PC gamers, just the stuck up ones who have nothing good to say about consoles.

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