“Witcher 2″ Video Game Review

My fellow gaming community, I must admit the sad fact that I own a Mac. I love it, and yet I resent the fact that it keeps me restricted to console gaming, never to join the elite social class of PC-players. One time that was more aggravating to own an Apple product than any other was the release of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings,” a PC exclusive action-RPG. Those who prefer the keyboard to the controller gloated all over the internet about how they were awarded with a beautiful-looking and beautifully-written epic unsoiled by the current game market’s tendency to dumb itself down in order to appeal to a wider audience. I and all the other console-playing proletarians had to just huddle together in defeat, telling ourselves that it is ok and that “Skyrim” is just around the corner anyway. But lo and behold, Polish game developer CDProjekt Red took about a year to convert “The Witcher 2” into something an Xbox 360 can read as well as take out some of the game’s tweaks. Now I proudly own a copy of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition.”

“The Witcher” is a fantasy series that actually continues a popular Polish book series of the same name. It tells the tale of Geralt of Rivia, who is a witcher, a mutant who is specially trained to kill monsters for profit and remain as neutral as possible in the affairs of politics and other people. Geralt is conveniently stricken with amnesia and thus has forgotten all the adventures he had on paper. The dramatic twist of the story is that he lives in a world where it seems that the people are most often the biggest monsters, and they all seem to want Geralt to pick a side. In many ways, you could probably call “The Witcher” series the “Game of Thrones” of video games, considering the more intricate and dark take on fantasy. A king takes a city to regain his bastard children, racial disputes are rampant between humans and elves, and you need to decide how serious Geralt is with his relationship with the sexy sorceress, Triss Merigold.

Another nice aspect is the lack of a rigid morality. There are no outright good and bad options, there are merely choices that you make and the resulting consequences of those choices. In fact, the entire second act and much of the third is different depending on who you ally yourself with: the human faction that tries to keep peace but has a nasty habit of persecuting nonhumans or the elves that fight against racial injustice with medieval terrorism. There is blood, there is sex, and there is harsh language throughout the story. It is not because it is a teenage-boy’s fantasy, but rather an adult’s acknowledgment of these things in the world. It is a mature game for an actually mature audience.

That being said, those who buy the game on Xbox are at a bit of a disadvantage. “The Witcher” was also a PC exclusive that was planned to be brought to consoles as well, but never quite made it. So those picking “The Witcher 2” up on Xbox will most likely have no idea what is going on in the plot. Why does Geralt carry two swords as long as this game’s full title? Who’s the bard named after a flower? Where am I? Without playing the first game or reading the books, a bit of the context is lost. To make things a little more annoying, the choices made in the first game have a slight effect on a few things in the second, so the game automatically decides what you would have done in the first. Not that there are many of these instances, but it’s a notable nitpick for those who are obsessive-compulsive about their role-playing.

The game requires a good head on your shoulders not just for the story, but the gameplay and interface as well. Opening up the menus for the first time is intimidating to say the least. Trying to brew a potion or upgrade your weapon seems more like making a 3D pie chart on Microsoft Excel at first. There is so much to manage, and almost all of it necessary to do that it can seem overwhelming and unfriendly. However, given a few hours, I found it to be easy to work with. It may be an eyesore and a bit complicated, but once you know how it all works, everything is smooth and intuitive.

Combat is also more challenging than most games these days, even on the standard difficulty. You take damage quite easily and a lot of the time you are greatly outnumbered. It appears that the controller has a better combat interface than its keyboard companion. There’s a bit less lag in command, which can actually become your downfall; the temptation to simply button mash is prevalent. Just charging in will leave you dead in seconds. You must be able to prepare before battle with stat-boosting potions and laying down traps while also being able to think on your feet to keep yourself alive with magic, parrying and dodging. I will say that the parrying and dodging mechanics are bound to get on your nerves more than a couple times. You have to pull the right trigger for a good second before Geralt takes a hint and slowly raises his sword in a blocking position; it’s like he’s trying to make sure we get a good look at his bicep rather than preventing a halberd from slicing through his shoulder. This frustration may lead you to constantly dodgeroll all over the place, but often Geralt will land in the camera’s blind spot, which can sometimes have two angry men with sabers just waiting for you. All of this isn’t to say that it isn’t fun. It is actually really engaging and immensely satisfying every time you emerge victorious from a battle. Like everything else about the game, if you put in the time and effort to work with it, the payoff is great.

But there are two big questions to be answered with “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhance Edition.” One is, what are the changes between enhanced edition and regular? Well, there are few physical things you get by buying the enhanced edition. The game comes with a map of the game world, the soundtrack, and a quest handbook, a little booklet that gives a brief rundown of every quest in the game. As far as the in-game, there are many little additions and changes. For one, there are more cutscenes than the original, which give some much-appreciated context. Then there is four more hours of gameplay, mostly in the form of sidequests in the third act. They also changed a few mechanics such as weakening one of the more exploited defense spells and getting rid of the sequence in which Geralt delicately drinks his potions like fine wine (considering you drink potions quite often in the game, you’d have to suffer through this minute long process constantly). Finally, there are minor adjustments to animations and new items throughout the game.

The second question is, should I get the game on PC or Xbox? As I’ve said before, unless you’re willing to look some stuff up, you won’t know the events of the first game if you are the console player. Also, as is the case with most games, the graphics, while still beautiful, are noticeably less crisp and dynamic on console than PC. And, unless you install the game to your hard drive, the Xbox version has a few issues with loading all the textures during cutscenes, making everything take place in blob world for a few seconds. However, the combat does seem to be a bit more fluid with a controller in hand, and when you are slicing and dicing through spider crabs, you don’t tend to harp on the aesthetic of it. The Xbox version does very well seem to contend with it’s older brother. Still, if you’ve packed enough power into your PC that it can punch holes in the moon, don’t deny yourself from a great game that was originally made for you.

“The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition” is a wonderful and intricate beast of a game. It’s like a tar pit, it’ll be a bit messy getting in, but soon you’ll find yourself completely absorbed in it. If you are a fan of RPGs or the fantasy genre in general, you need to check this game out.

 

Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road – SYS



CHICAGO, IL — (Marketwire) — 05/07/12 — The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber, ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin, ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300, and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was creating a test that would bring out the real world differences between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions. Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Røde, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni, Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam, Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit: http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012.

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories. Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both 2010 2011 (Midwest region) http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

Add to Digg Bookmark with del.icio.us Add to Newsvine

Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road

CHICAGO, IL–(Marketwire -05/07/12)-
The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber, ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin, ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300, and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was creating a test that would bring out the real world differences between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions. Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Røde, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni, Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam, Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit: http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012.

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories. Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both 2010 2011 (Midwest region) http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

Zacuto Takes The Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout on the Road


CHICAGO, IL, May 07, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) —
The Zacuto/Kessler production The Revenge of the Great Camera
Shootout (RGCSO), the latest and most anticipated installment in
their camera shootouts, is going on the road! The Revenge Roadshow
will be a combination of screenings and product exhibition in major
cities across the US and then worldwide.

Filmed in February 2012 at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, ASC
cinematographer Bruce Logan acted as adminisrator of the tests. A
series of three identical shots with countless challenges was set up
for each camera. The DPs for each camera were then given the
opportunity to relight the set under strict parameters to get the
very best out of their cameras. Zacuto’s aim was to prove that it
doesn’t really matter which camera you use. Instead, it is the DP’s
mastery of his camera and his overall artistic ability to light that
makes for beautiful images.

The cameras involved in the test include the ARRI Alexa operated by
Rodney Charters, ASC; Sony F3 with S-log operated by Nancy Schrieber,
ASC; Canon 7D with Technicolor settings operated by Michael Negrin,
ASC. Also tested were the Sony F65, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Canon C300,
and Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked).

“Revenge is unlike any other camera test that I’ve ever been involved
with,” says Zacuto producer, Scott Lynch. “I believe that the tools
available to us are all capable of creating great looking images, but
only if you know how to use them. The big challenge for us was
creating a test that would bring out the real world differences
between these cameras.”

In addition to Zacuto, other sponsors will be on hand at the Revenge
Roadshow event with gear and representatives to answer questions.
Sponsors include Kessler Cranes, Rode, Switronix, Teradek, Cartoni,
Formatt Hitech, and Marshall Electronics.

The US tour kicks off May 9th in LA at Hollywood DI. Other cities
include NY, Chicago, and Nashville. The US tour will be followed by
an international Revenge Roadshow in cities including Amsterdam,
Sydney, Paris, and London. For screening dates and times visit:

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012 .

ZACUTO, located in Chicago, Illinois, is known for their “Made in the
USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories.
Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in both
2010 2011 (Midwest region)
http://www.zacuto.com or follow @Zacuto
on Twitter. 888-294-3456

Image Available:

http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1973714

SOURCE: Zacuto USA

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

Contour’s new mount, watersports kits help bring its cameras with you in the …

CONTOUR’S NEW MOUNT KITS OFFER VARIETY OF MOUNTING OPTIONS FOR CAPTURING LIFE’S EPIC MOMENTS

Innovative Mount Kits and New ROAM Watersports Kit Makes it Easy to Capture Rich Video – From Anywhere

SEATTLE, WASH. – May 1, 2012 – Contour, Inc. (www.contour.com), the company that makes it easy to capture and share epic moments with hands free HD video cameras, apps and accessories, today announces five new activity-specific mount kits. Each kit is designed to integrate seamlessly with Contour’s award-winning cameras, and provides everything required for capturing beautiful HD action video for snow, bike, motorsports, outdoor or almost any other adventure.

Additionally, the ContourROAM Watersports Kit, also available today, offers a complete solution for watersports aficionados.

“Getting the best shot as it happens is our top priority,” says Marc Barros, CEO. “Creating an integrated system of cameras and mounts allows unlimited creativity, and enables people to use our cameras to capture rich, HD video wherever or whenever they happen to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re dropping into your first wave, free-climbing Half Dome or grinding a rail, our ecosystem of high-quality products provides a simple, complete experience from capture to share.”

The activity-based mounts highlight the company’s emphasis on product design. The mounts are easier to buy (just select your activity and pick the appropriate kit); they also offer an almost unlimited variety of filming options, from helmets, surfboards, kayaks, snowboards, ski poles, bikes, motorcycles, cars, or virtually any outdoor activity.

Limitless Solutions for Capturing Rich, HD Video
Snow Mounts – The perfect combination for capturing all the action on the snow, the Contour Snow Mounts includes two easy-to-use helmet mounts, a goggle strap mount, and the recently launched pole mount that allows users to mount their ContourROAM or Contour+ to any standard ski pole (11-18 mm diameter) for recording winter adventures. The Snow Mounts and all other mount kits also include a compact, weatherproof carry bag. For sample action footage using Snow Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-snow-mounts

Bike Mounts – For cyclists on skinny or fat tires, Contour Bike Mounts provide a variety of mount combinations. Two helmet mounts can be attached to either a vented or full-face helmet. A bar mount can be strapped to handlebars (15-33 mm diameter) and a flex strap mount lets cyclists attach their camera to a seat post, chain stay or any round or irregular bar. For sample action footage using Bike Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-bike-mounts

Moto Mounts – Designed for all motorsports professionals and enthusiasts, this combination includes a suction cup mount for windshields or the flex strap mount on roll bars, handle bars or any other round or irregular shape. The profile mount is designed to be a low profile option and the adjustable rotating flat surface mount helps drivers get the perfect angle at any speed. For sample action footage using Motorsports Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-motor-sports-mounts

Outdoor Mounts – Designed for true outdoors adventurers whether it’s fishing, climbing or trekking, this all-around mounts combination enables users to attach their camera to their head or baseball cap. People can also use the flex strap mount to affix their camera on any type of pole. For sample action footage using Outdoor Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-outdoor-mounts

Helmet Mounts – Made for all helmet types, whether it’s a hard shell, vented or full-face, this combination of mounts supports motorcross, downhill, snow, skate or climbing activities. An extra 3M adhesive pack is included to allow easy change of mounting positions or helmets. For sample action footage using Helmet Mounts, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-helmet-mounts

ROAM Watersports Kit – An all-in-one package that contains everything needed to capture beautiful HD action video while doing water-based sports such as wake boarding, surfing, paddling, scuba diving, etc. The kit includes the easy-to-use ContourROAM, a fully adjustable surfboard mount and the ContourROAM waterproof case which enables you to dive down to 60 meters. For sample action footage using the ROAM Watersports Kit, visit: http://contour.com/stories/contour-watersports-mounts

Pricing and Availability
Available today from Contour.com and select retailers, the kits are priced at $79.99 for Snow Mounts, $79.99 for Bike Mounts, $99.99 for Moto Mounts, $59.99 for Outdoor Mounts and $59.99 for Helmet Mounts. The ROAM Watersports Kit is also available at Contour.com for $249.99. Products are also available at major sports retailers including REI and backcountry.com; and consumer electronics retailers, including Amazon.com and crutchfield.com.

About Contour
Seattle-based Contour makes it easy for people to capture and share life’s epic moments. With award-winning, hands-free HD video cameras, apps and accessories; active people, athletes and professional filmmakers can outfit themselves with easy-to-use solutions for creating, broadcasting and sharing engaging videos. The company has become synonymous with hands-free, POV cameras and social video tools, topping charts for RED Dot’s design award, Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies, the INC. 500 list and CNET’s Editor’s Choice award. For more information, visit www.contour.com

# # #

Weekend guide: All about Avengers

Enabling Cookies in Internet Explorer 7, 8 9

  1. Open the Internet Browser
  2. Click Tools Internet OptionsPrivacyAdvanced
  3. Check Override automatic cookie handling
  4. For First-party Cookies and Third-party Cookies click Accept
  5. Click OK and OK

Enabling Cookies in Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox browser
  2. Click ToolsOptionsPrivacyUse custom settings for history
  3. Check Accept cookies from sites
  4. Check Accept third party cookies
  5. Select Keep until: they expire
  6. Click OK

Enabling Cookies in Google Chrome

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser
  2. Click Tools iconOptionsUnder the HoodContent Settings
  3. Check Allow local data to be set
  4. Uncheck Block third-party cookies from being set
  5. Uncheck Clear cookies
  6. Close all

Enabling Cookies in Mobile Safari (iPhone, iPad)

  1. Go to the Home screen by pressing the Home button or by unlocking your phone/iPad
  2. Select the Settings icon.
  3. Select Safari from the settings menu.
  4. Select ‘accept cookies’ from the safari menu.
  5. Select ‘from visited’ from the accept cookies menu.
  6. Press the home button to return the the iPhone home screen.
  7. Select the Safari icon to return to Safari.
  8. Before the cookie settings change will take effect, Safari must restart. To restart Safari press and hold the Home button (for around five seconds) until the iPhone/iPad display goes blank and the home screen appears.
  9. Select the Safari icon to return to Safari.