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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 4K Screenshot Showcase: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings">The Witcher 2







Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.



The Witcher 2 was a watershed moment for videogame visuals when it launched in May 2011. From the river port of Flotsam set deep in a misty forest, the bleached bricks of the towering La Valette Castle, the sprawling Kaedweni camp and the lush green wilds beyond, it buckled all but the best rigs. In anticipation of the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which comes out early next year, enjoy these 4K screenshots of its picturesque predecessor.







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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 1">Steam summer sale day one







Some claim that summer doesn t start until the 21st, but Valve says it s time for the Steam Summer Sale and we haven t heard anything from the solstice lobby so, happy first day of summer! As always, it s celebrated with a ridiculous store-wide Steam sale renowned for its low prices and intoxicating effect on the PC gaming community. Everything looks great when it s 80% off, but before you start filling up your library, here are our favorite picks of day one.



Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.



5 - Trine Complete

85% off: $3.74 / 2.69 - Steam store page

What Trine lacks in challenge it's not very difficult as platformers go it more than makes up for in magical fairy tale charm. The sequel, Trine 2, improves upon the formula just about every way, particularly through the addition of cooperative multiplayer action. And with the original game about to undergo a dramatic (and free!) overhaul thanks to the coming Trine Enchanted Edition, this bundle at this price is a must-have by any measure.



4 - Hotline Miami

85% off: $1.49 / 1.04 Steam store page | Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST

No game revels in ultraviolence like Hotline Miami, which turns pixelated murder sprees into an art form. It's brutal, stylish, and challenging in that perfect way: once you make a perfect run through a level without stopping, mowing down a dozen thugs with a knife and then a pipe and then a shotgun, you'll feel like the god of sleazy Miami murders. You'll want some practice now, since Hotline Miami 2 includes a level editor that will let you craft your own murder rooms. Get it fast the flash sale on Hotline Miami won't last long.



3 - Far Cry 3

75% off: $7.49 / 3.74 - Steam store page

Attacking outposts is our favorite part of Far Cry 3. The sandbox shooter s story is a strange and meandering mixture of Alice in Wonderland and the spring break trip you made in college, but dismantling the dozens of bases that populate Far Cry 3 s islands however you want is scrappy, open-ended FPS combat at its best. Now s a good time to jump in before Far Cry 4releases later this year.



2 - The Witcher 2

80% off: $3.99 / 2.99 - Steam store page

You ve got until early 2015 before The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt releases, and it s looking fantastic. That s plenty of time to catch up on one of our favorite modern RPG series not only is The Witcher 2 on sale, the first game is only $1.99 / 1.39. Bonus value: The Witcher 2's fantastic story splits into two completely separate arcs in its second act, so if you want to experience both paths, you've got two playthroughs ahead of you.



1 - XCOM: Complete

67% off: $16.49 / 8.24 - Steam store page

Our favorite strategy game of 2012, conveniently collected into bundle form with the equally-great Enemy Within expansion, has one of the best campaigns in gaming. Hand-building your alien defense force replicates the feeling of running imaginary missions with action figures in your living room. Except this time, G.I. Joe can die for reals. Thoughtful strategy, a tense metagame, and detailed maps that explode into pieces make XCOM the second-best digital board game available (Civilization V would be the first).



Other great deals today:

Rising Storm: Game of the Year Edition (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49

Tomb Raider (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49

Max Payne 3 (70% off) $5.99 / 4.49

Mirror s Edge (75% off) $4.99 / 2.49

The Witcher Enhanced Edition (80% off) $1.99 / 1.39

Papers, Please (50% off) $4.99 / 3.49

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (50% off) $4.99 / 3.74
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Witcher 3 preview: on combat and why we can “expect the game to look way better” on release">The Witcher 3 1







I sat in a dark room at E3 on Tuesday while CD Projekt Red cheerfully played through 45 minutes of The Witcher 3, showing off a very small part of the new open world that series hero Geralt will be able to explore. That was hours ago, and I still can't fully come to grips with the idea of a game as rich and challenging and complex as The Witcher 2 blown out into a massive world. While CD Projekt Red made sure to point out just how big the world was, their hands-off demo mostly focused on the more intricate details of combat and questing.



I went into the Witcher 3 demo hoping to answer two questions: is the scope of the game world going to compromise The Witcher's interesting quests and complex political plotlines? And does the game really look as stunning as it has in CD Projekt's trailers?



The 46 minutes I saw weren't enough to answer the first question, but they showed that The Witcher 3 isn't messing with the elements that its prequel got right. Quests and dialogue options are essentially identical. Monster hunter Geralt of Rivia still has two swords for fighting man and beast, magical signs for casting spells, potions to buff his strength. Familiar monsters like drowners showed up to be cut down by Geralt's blade. There are decapitations now, and Geralt often delivers killing blows that sever heads with a brutally quick strike.







"We wanted to make the combat more responsive, so we raised the number of combat animations like five times," said Michal Gilewski, CD Projekt's Head of Marketing. "It was around 20 something in The Witcher 2 and now we have over 90 different sequences of actions and dodges, so it makes the fight more fluid, but it looks amazing."



I talked to Gilewski along with The Witcher 3's lead programmer, Grzegorz Mocarski, after the demo. Mocarski added that Geralt now has two different dodge moves. "We're still working on it, but right now you can already see...one is the dodge move, the other is the pirouette," he said. "This time you're having many possibilities for the fights as well. You've got signs, swords, crossbows, bombs, different moves you can use. Not all features will work in all situations. We wanted to give a little more control to the player and make the fight a little more tactical."



One of Geralt's new toys, a small crossbow, kicked time into slow motion when he pulled it out and aimed. Combat looked as challenging as it did in the first half of The Witcher 2, with enemies quickly racking up damage on Geralt unless he dodged constantly and made liberal use of his magic powers. Mocarski said that enemies actually had lower health for the sake of our time-constrained demo.







My second question proved easier to answer. The Witcher 3 doesn't look quite as good when Geralt's walking around in real-time as it does in the trailers. I noticed some screen tearing and a framerate that slowed noticeably in some open areas, particularly approaching Novigrad, the largest city in The Witcher 3. The lighting at midday in a sunny area also washed out the screen, limiting the gorgeous dynamic range of lighting dominating CD Projekt's trailers. But those are nitpicks, criticizing about two minutes out of the 45 I saw. And the rest of the time, the game really does look incredible.



Soft, warm rays of light filter through trees. Rock faces are craggy and textured and the world is covered in verdant plant life. The vistas are stunning, and CD Projekt pointed out three times that any place you can see on the horizon, you can walk to. There are no invisible walls in The Witcher 3. To reach the tops of cliffs and stare slack-jawed into the sunset, Geralt can now jump and clamber up cliff faces.



Geralt's beard. Man, let's talk about Geralt's beard. Faces in The Witcher 3 are some of the most impressive I've seen in a game, though I don't think they're pushing the bar for realism. But they're expressive and and look hand-sculpted where many faces now look realistically motion capped. Geralt's beard has some incredibly detailed hair and stubble. If it's not the beard of 2015, I'll be shocked.







The Witcher 3's entire world is, of course, just as lovingly crafted as Geralt's stubbly face. I asked if it was built procedurally or assembled in unique pieces; Mocarski didn't go into much detail, but he did say that "the whole world is filled with custom points of interest, hand-crafted places that you're going to see from a distance that you're going to want to visit, and you can visit."



"If there is a point that you're seeing that is interesting, there's a huge chance that you'll be able to get there," he added. "You may not be able to get there at the beginning because of your skills and the monster that may be in the way, but later you'll be able to get there."



I never doubted CD Projekt Red could handle the basics of The Witcher a third time, or that it could make one of the best-looking games on PC. It's still impossible to tell if parts of The Witcher 3 will suffer from its ambitious scope. But the only criticisms I had so far, minor performance hiccups, Mocarski brought up himself when I asked him what kind of settings the game was running at.



"It's not yet optimized," he said simply. "You can expect the game to look way better than that."



Stay up to date with the very latest PC gaming news from E3 2014
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The Witcher 3 preview: on combat and why we can “expect the game to look way better” on release">The Witcher 3 1







I sat in a dark room at E3 on Tuesday while CD Projekt Red cheerfully played through 45 minutes of The Witcher 3, showing off a very small part of the new open world that series hero Geralt will be able to explore. That was hours ago, and I still can't fully come to grips with the idea of a game as rich and challenging and complex as The Witcher 2 blown out into a massive world. While CD Projekt Red made sure to point out just how big the world was, their hands-off demo mostly focused on the more intricate details of combat and questing.



I went into the Witcher 3 demo hoping to answer two questions: is the scope of the game world going to compromise The Witcher's interesting quests and complex political plotlines? And does the game really look as stunning as it has in CD Projekt's trailers?



The 46 minutes I saw weren't enough to answer the first question, but they showed that The Witcher 3 isn't messing with the elements that its prequel got right. Quests and dialogue options are essentially identical. Monster hunter Geralt of Rivia still has two swords for fighting man and beast, magical signs for casting spells, potions to buff his strength. Familiar monsters like drowners showed up to be cut down by Geralt's blade. There are decapitations now, and Geralt often delivers killing blows that sever heads with a brutally quick strike.







"We wanted to make the combat more responsive, so we raised the number of combat animations like five times," said Michal Gilewski, CD Projekt's Head of Marketing. "It was around 20 something in The Witcher 2 and now we have over 90 different sequences of actions and dodges, so it makes the fight more fluid, but it looks amazing."



I talked to Gilewski along with The Witcher 3's lead programmer, Grzegorz Mocarski, after the demo. Mocarski added that Geralt now has two different dodge moves. "We're still working on it, but right now you can already see...one is the dodge move, the other is the pirouette," he said. "This time you're having many possibilities for the fights as well. You've got signs, swords, crossbows, bombs, different moves you can use. Not all features will work in all situations. We wanted to give a little more control to the player and make the fight a little more tactical."



One of Geralt's new toys, a small crossbow, kicked time into slow motion when he pulled it out and aimed. Combat looked as challenging as it did in the first half of The Witcher 2, with enemies quickly racking up damage on Geralt unless he dodged constantly and made liberal use of his magic powers. Mocarski said that enemies actually had lower health for the sake of our time-constrained demo.







My second question proved easier to answer. The Witcher 3 doesn't look quite as good when Geralt's walking around in real-time as it does in the trailers. I noticed some screen tearing and a framerate that slowed noticeably in some open areas, particularly approaching Novigrad, the largest city in The Witcher 3. The lighting at midday in a sunny area also washed out the screen, limiting the gorgeous dynamic range of lighting dominating CD Projekt's trailers. But those are nitpicks, criticizing about two minutes out of the 45 I saw. And the rest of the time, the game really does look incredible.



Soft, warm rays of light filter through trees. Rock faces are craggy and textured and the world is covered in verdant plant life. The vistas are stunning, and CD Projekt pointed out three times that any place you can see on the horizon, you can walk to. There are no invisible walls in The Witcher 3. To reach the tops of cliffs and stare slack-jawed into the sunset, Geralt can now jump and clamber up cliff faces.



Geralt's beard. Man, let's talk about Geralt's beard. Faces in The Witcher 3 are some of the most impressive I've seen in a game, though I don't think they're pushing the bar for realism. But they're expressive and and look hand-sculpted where many faces now look realistically motion capped. Geralt's beard has some incredibly detailed hair and stubble. If it's not the beard of 2015, I'll be shocked.







The Witcher 3's entire world is, of course, just as lovingly crafted as Geralt's stubbly face. I asked if it was built procedurally or assembled in unique pieces; Mocarski didn't go into much detail, but he did say that "the whole world is filled with custom points of interest, hand-crafted places that you're going to see from a distance that you're going to want to visit, and you can visit."



"If there is a point that you're seeing that is interesting, there's a huge chance that you'll be able to get there," he added. "You may not be able to get there at the beginning because of your skills and the monster that may be in the way, but later you'll be able to get there."



I never doubted CD Projekt Red could handle the basics of The Witcher a third time, or that it could make one of the best-looking games on PC. It's still impossible to tell if parts of The Witcher 3 will suffer from its ambitious scope. But the only criticisms I had so far, minor performance hiccups, Mocarski brought up himself when I asked him what kind of settings the game was running at.



"It's not yet optimized," he said simply. "You can expect the game to look way better than that."



Stay up to date with the very latest PC gaming news from E3 2014
Announcement - Valve
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is Now Available on SteamOS and Linux, and to celebrate save 80% off!*

Enjoy a captivating story, dynamic combat system and beautiful graphics in the second installment in the RPG saga about the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia.

*Offer ends May 24 at 10AM Pacific Time
Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Sale continues today with huge savings throughout the store! Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales. You can even help select what goes on sale with our Community's Choice Voting Sales.

In addition to Flash and Vote sales, more than a hundred games and apps will be featured as Daily Deals throughout the sale, with new deals popping up every 24 hours.

Today's Daily Deals include:

Participating in the 2013 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn customers exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect, trade, and craft 10 Holiday Snow Globe Cards that can only be earned during the sale. Every craft of a Holiday Sale badge will also generate a random item drop from 10 participating Free-To-Play games, featuring exclusive in-game items from Warframe, Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and more. These items are both tradable and marketable.

Learn more about this year's Steam Holiday Sale features HERE.

The Steam Holiday Sale will run until 10AM PST, January 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals, Flash Sales, Community Choice Voting and more can be found HERE.

Announcement - Valve
The Steam Sale is here! Take advantage of huge savings on thousands of PC, Mac and Linux titles. Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales.

Today's Daily Deals include:


Add games to your Steam Wishlist and be notified when a game from your Wishlist goes on sale, or shop for games using the Steam Mobile App, available for iOS and Android.

Be sure to check Steam every day to see new featured deals.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Witcher 2 almost didn’t happen">30 the witcher 2







When most of us think of the Witcher series, we see an intelligent, original story that throws your moral beliefs into question. There’s still good and evil in The Witcher’s world, but they’re not painted in the traditional black and white we’ve seen before. Games would be worse off if The Witcher hadn’t grown to be the staple of video game storytelling that it has. The scary thing is, The Witcher almost died from the start.



Eurogamer ran a profile on the Witcher dev, where they visited CD Projekt’s offices in Warsaw, Poland and soon learned that The Witcher could have been the first and only game in the series. According to CD Projekt CEO and co-founder Marcin Iwiński, the company had poured most of its money into a console version of the original Witcher called The Witcher: White Wolf. which never came to fruition.



CD Projekt put a French studio called Widescreen Games in charge of porting the White Wolf to consoles, but kept running into frustrating roadblocks throughout development. According to Iwiński, Widescreen kept asking for more money, developers, and time to the point where CD Projekt was paying the developer more than CD Projekt itself. Eventually, the team at CD Projekt concluded this model wasn’t sustainable, and told Atari (which published The Witcher), that The Witcher: White Wolf had to be scrapped and CD Projekt had a gaping hole in place of their profits.



Many other things happened during that time, but after all was said and done, CD Projekt focused all of its efforts on getting The Witcher 2 — a game that lacked a complete engine at that point — out the door. Despite the setbacks, CD Projekt managed to pull through and create a one of the most compelling RPGs we have seen in a long time.



Thanks, Eurogamer.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to GOG.com giving away The Witcher with any other purchase">Witcher







To celebrate the final week of GOG.com's fifth anniversary, CD Projekt RED are giving away one of their own games. Buy anything on the distribution site between now and October 17th, and you'll get a free copy of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition. That includes if you buy a copy of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, so you probably don't want to do that.



What you might want to buy instead is something from the range of classic EA games that are currently on sale, including Sim City 2000, Populous, Theme Hospital, Ultima, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Wing Commander, or Alpha Centuri. If, though some major malfunction, there's nothing in that list you want, Divinity: Dragon Commander is also on sale at 40% off. There's other stuff too, but you'll have to go and find it yourself.



If you don't already own The Witcher, it's certainly worth getting for what is effectively free. It's ropey to the extreme, takes forever to get into the swing of things, and has voice acting so bad that I had to switch it to the original Polish language version so I could ignore how cheesy it all was. Then there are the collect-'em-up sex cards. Despite all that, it does some interesting things, specifically with its questing and morality choices. If nothing else, it's an interesting curio that leads nicely into the much better Witcher 2.
...

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