stories by Joseph Jordan
No matter how hard I try to get into a game … if it doesn't have tight, responsive controls, then I just can't do it. I don't like being caught up in a session and then launching myself or
The Witcher series, as many know, is ultimately a PC game. With this fact in mind I was weary picking this game up for the Xbox 360, but not having a competent PC, I had little choice. It is a choice that I do not regret, for this port is just as excellent as the PC version. With refinements and extra gameplay this port does good by the original, and the series as a whole You are Geralt, a deep, and surprisingly fleshed out character, something that has become a rarity in RPG's, using silent protagonists. Geralt is a witcher, one who hunts monsters. Witchers are more than just common folk, as Geralt repeats over much of the game, they are mutants. As a witcher, Geralt has many powers, and abilities he can put to use against the grotesque creatures terrorizing the land. But as you will quickly find out, monsters are but a small problem for a kingdom ravaged by war. The story is masterfully crafted, with many ways it could unfold, all depending on you. It was impressive the shear amount of choice the game gives you. Throughout my whole time with it I got the feeling that I was in for at least 2 or 3 more playthroughs if I wanted to get the full experience, which is definitely true. One decision in particular could change the whole second act of the game, it would be a huge disservice not to play through it twice. The decisions you do make in the game are much more than just black or white decisions, which gives Geralt much more complexity than just a good or bad guy, always having a reason for his actions, giving the choice much more impact than if you were to simply choose right or wrong. Much like its story, The Witcher 2's combat is just as deep and gratifying. You will not find yourself easily plowing through enemies, but instead treating each encounter as if it were a boss fight. The key to success in combat, especially on the harder difficulties, will be through the use of everything in Geralts arsenal. Bombs, traps, potions are a necessity when outnumbered or matched against tougher opponents. This made every encounter different and interesting as you must keep track of not only the number, but placements of enemies so as not to get surrounded or cornered. I felt as though the game was relying on more than just numbers, but skill, which was a refreshing change of paste from the run of the mill action rpg. The game does get much easier towards the end, which isn't exactly a shortcoming, but I was expecting much tougher, and thought out battles near the end, which didn't come. Since this is a port of a PC orientated game, there are some drawbacks. The graphics obviously are not quite up to par with the PC, and there is some occasional pop-up which can be diminished, but not quelled, by installing the game. But many of the problems that the PC version had were fixed with this Enhanced Edition, which PC users also got for free. Even with these minor quirks the game still manages to live up to its PC counterpart in quality and should not be missed by console players. If great stories, and deep combat strike your fancy, I highly recommend this. 9.5/10
You have traversed two levels of the cavern, you have full health and a shotgun. Just as you are getting to the exit you notice a golden idol. Knowing it could be worth thousands you venture to pick it up. Once it's in your hands you feel a rumbling, two seconds later a boulder comes hurdling at you from above. Splat, you die. That is the type of game that, the former PC exclusive, Spelunky is, a truly unforgiving game. In Spelunky you take control of a small explorer, or spelunker. As this explorer you will adventure into many types of caverns, from the basic rock caves, to ice caves and foliage covered ones. Your main goal is to make it through the four randomly generated caverns to the ultimate treasure, and it isn't as easy as it sounds. Spelunky, while innocent looking, is very masochistic in its difficulty, which is a great thing for fans of games like Super Meat Boy or Trials, but for people who are maybe less informative, buying for the look of it, it could be quite the frustrating time. The actual gameplay is addicting and rewarding, with items like shotguns, jetpacks and climbing gear to be found, or bought, the game makes you want to play just one more level. The game won't make it easy on you though, with snakes, bats, cavemen, and many other things that are looking to make your spelunking frustrating, the game forces you to take your time, which for a game with such great controls, will take patience. Unfortunately the game, while having local 4 player co-op, has no online multiplayer, which seemed like a no brainer for a game like this, but it's definitely not needed to enjoy the game. The price is also a little steep for the content you're getting, especially since the game is also free on PC. Overall the game is a great time waster with a pretty big difficulty curve. I recommend anyone who is a fan of a challenge to buy the game. If you're on the ropes about you can always try it for free on the Spelunky website, and if you like it I'm sure the devs would love your support. 8.5/10
Its a harsh world out there. Some people say that its impossible to find a place to fit in, in this fast pace world. Others simply recommend not to even try. This is of course the world of video game journalism. Over the last few days I have e-mailed and talked to a few people to find out just what makes the intimidating land of game journalism so… Well intimidating. I got many different opinions on the subject, some said that its all about luck. While others said that it takes good writing and the ability to hustle and network. The general consensus though was that game journalism is a tough beast, that seems to take more then the average Joe to slay.