The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, with a nearly flawless combination of deep, nonlinear storytelling and challenging combat, satisfies all around. One of 2011's most popular and critically acclaimed PC games, it comes to the Xbox in a robust "enhanced edition" full of bonus content.
Playing as the witcher Geralt of Rivia, a mutant who "slays monsters for coin," you are quickly immersed in a complicated world of political intrigue where loyalties are tested and back stabbing is frequent. With only fragments of his memory intact, Geralt is accused of assassinating the king and seeks the true killer to clear his name.
Combat is fast-paced, and the Xbox translation has very responsive controls. The magic spells, called "signs," work well in tandem with the swordplay. You can cast a sign to protect yourself or throw a ball of flame, but the most amusing sign turns enemies against each other: Hit three foes in succession and enjoy the mayhem.
As you gain experience, you earn talent points to spend on three skill trees: swordsmanship, alchemy or magic. The variations are many, making for high replay value. There's also an intense "dark mode" that must be played to unlock even more quests and content.
THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS
RATING M for Mature
PLOT Wrongly accused, you must find the real killer
DETAILS Xbox 360, $60
BOTTOM LINE Casts a spell on Xbox