Monday, 16 April 2012

The Witcher 2 - launch controversy

As you all know The Witcher 2 is not due for UK release until tomorrow, however a lucky few (myself included) happened upon some rogue stock on sale in Tesco over the weekend. It seems that Tesco inadvertently began to sell the titles on Friday, a whopping 4 days before the official release. Developers quickly got in touch and demanded that the supermarket pull the remaining stock from the shelves until the actual release on 17th April. 

Whether this mistake was genuine error, or a more sinister ploy to make a few bucks at the expense of more established game retailers, we will likely never know. I for the most part was completely unaware, shambling into my local Tesco on a quest for Cat food, Butter and AA Batteries, I came across The Witcher 2 in the entertainment aisle. 

Without a second thought I dropped one of the many copies on sale into my basket and set off towards the quest marker at the checkout. I encountered no enemies on route and no traps, not so much as a puddle of spilled Ribena. Plain sailing.

After tweeting about my recent purchase, I received a few messages of confusion from friends and followers. For the most part these read something like "Howd u gt that?? N0t out till tues...!". After doing a bit of googling, I stumbled upon this article on EuroGamer, which explained the mix up.
Some of the environments are stunning

In all my gaming history, I've not really experienced this before but the sensation was probably akin to time-travel...or being sent a review copy of a game. Without hesitation, I decided to get stuck in, and here's what I found:

The Game

Following a short, obligatory tutorial designed to introduce you to the combat mechanics and some of the basic functions, you are thrown into a large battle between two ruling powers in the fictional land of Temeria. Your character (Geralt, the Witcher) is a super-human who specialises in slaying monsters. However, on this occasion, you have been summoned by the King to assist in a clash against his enemies. 

So far this looks like an excellent example of a modern RPG. The story is well crafted with characters that have a depth and complexity that makes them really come to life. The graphics are excellent considering that this is a game that has been ported from a PC and adapted to fit the aging hardware of the Xbox. 

In general, the game feels a lot more focused than some open-world RPGs like Skyrim for example (Not that freedom in Skyrim is a bad thing!) but you don't get the feeling of being herded in one direction. I spent the best part of the day exploring, getting pretty stuck into the initial quest, only to find that I was still in the prologue and hadn't even started the first chapter! So, needless to say, there is plenty to do in the world of Temeria.

Mean looking chappy, eh?
Above all though, The Witcher feels very much like an adult's RPG. The mature themes are in your face, but in no way overdone. The language is rife, the violence bloody and the nudity full-frontal, but where others try and fail, the Witcher manages to pull this all off without it feeling trite. 

The Xbox version also comes with some additional DLC and some lovely booklets, manuals and a map. Manuals. Remember those?! If you are a fan of RPGs, Game of Thrones or fantasy in general, I think you'll dig it.


  1. Lest I get very sick overnight.. I may have to wait til Friday. I can think of no one more deserving of an unexpected release save for yourself, Bickle and myself.

    I may have to start shopping in Tesco again...

    Thanks for the review, confirmed that this is a must purchase...

  2. I can't wait for tomorrow after reading this!!

  3. Cheers guys. I don't think it will dissapoint a couple of lore-lovers like yourselves! Looking forward to being able to share progress with my two Twitter BFFs lol


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