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Mad Men: The Complete Fourth Season
Mad Men: The Complete Fourth Season
DVD ~ Jon Hamm
Price: CDN$ 11.99
15 used & new from CDN$ 8.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HAMS WORTH FIGHTING FOR, Nov. 24 2012
When things get bad, we tend to look to the past. And the bleaker the future looks, the further back we search for comfort. As the new millennium keeps disappointing us, TV shows set on the 50's and the 60's (once a rarity) keep growing in numbers. Many have tried and failed. MAD MEN tried and closed the deal. And have been doing so for 5 seasons now.

Meet Don Draper (Jon Ham), a Madison Avenue water-walker (and based on the real life ad men Draper Daniels and Rosser Reeves). He is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. He is brilliant and secretive. He wants to keep walking the tight rope with no safety net. And definitely no contract. He is a chain-smoking, hard liqueur guzzling, womanizing alpha male. He is a loving father of three, married to a picture-perfect ex model. He has it all. And yet he cannot find peace. Because he learned early on that the world is always yawning at your heels, eager to yank everything you love away.

From bursting with joie-de-vivre Roger Sterling (hilarious John Slattery) and ever scheming Pete Cambell (baby-faced Vincent Kartheiser) to the gorgeous women (such as barbie January Jones and refined Jessica Paré as his first and second wife, respectively), the cast is one perfect pick after another. And the writing is brilliant, reproducing the tastes and smells and nuisances of the era around Camelot, while drawing you in to the personal stories of characters polished yet inevitably flawed.

The 50's and the 60's were before my time so it is not nostalgia that makes me love the show. Yes, I find the era mesmerizing and (probably undeservingly) less complicated. If nothing else, though, back then they knew how to dress. Women looked feminine and men looked manly. You see January Jones on the red carpet, for example, all dressed up and groomed for a Hollywood function - and that modern image cannot hold a candle to herself dressed for everyday(!) life in the 50's. When did we loose it? When did we decide men should stop wearing suits and hats and women should start wearing sweat-suits outside the house? I, for one, blame the hippies!

This is one of the best TV shows ever and this box-set includes season 4. There is one more. Season 6 is eminent whereas season 7 has already been green-lighted. As I have said again before, good TV is best watched on DVD. Make weekends out of it. It is much more enjoyable to watch an entire season in a couple of days than having to wait week(s) between episodes. And (quite ironically, in this case), you will not have to suffer the...commercials.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Mad Men: The Complete Third Season
Mad Men: The Complete Third Season
DVD ~ Jon Hamm
Price: CDN$ 14.87
15 used & new from CDN$ 9.69

5.0 out of 5 stars FRAMING PHONE CALLS, Nov. 24 2012
When things get bad, we tend to look to the past. And the bleaker the future looks, the further back we search for comfort. As the new millennium keeps disappointing us, TV shows set on the 50's and the 60's (once a rarity) keep growing in numbers. Many have tried and failed. MAD MEN tried and closed the deal. And have been doing so for 5 seasons now.

Meet Don Draper (Jon Ham), a Madison Avenue water-walker (and based on the real life ad men Draper Daniels and Rosser Reeves). He is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. He is brilliant and secretive. He wants to keep walking the tight rope with no safety net. And definitely no contract. He is a chain-smoking, hard liqueur guzzling, womanizing alpha male. He is a loving father of three, married to a picture-perfect ex model. He has it all. And yet he cannot find peace. Because he learned early on that the world is always yawning at your heels, eager to yank everything you love away.

From bursting with joie-de-vivre Roger Sterling (hilarious John Slattery) and ever scheming Pete Cambell (baby-faced Vincent Kartheiser) to the gorgeous women (such as barbie January Jones as Don's ex-wife), the cast is one perfect pick after another. And the writing is brilliant, reproducing the tastes and smells and nuisances of the era around Camelot, while drawing you in to the personal stories of characters polished yet inevitably flawed.

The 50's and the 60's were before my time so it is not nostalgia that makes me love the show. Yes, I find the era mesmerizing and (probably undeservingly) less complicated. If nothing else, though, back then they knew how to dress. Women looked feminine and men looked manly. You see January Jones on the red carpet, for example, all dressed up and groomed for a Hollywood function - and that modern image cannot hold a candle to herself dressed for everyday(!) life in the 50's. When did we loose it? When did we decide men should stop wearing suits and hats and women should start wearing sweat-suits outside the house? I, for one, blame the hippies!

This is one of the best TV shows ever and this box-set includes season 3. There are two more. Season 6 is eminent whereas season 7 has already been green-lighted. As I have said again before, good TV is best watched on DVD. Make weekends out of it. It is much more enjoyable to watch an entire season in a couple of days than having to wait week(s) between episodes. And (quite ironically, in this case), you will not have to suffer the...commercials.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Mad Men: The Complete Second Season
Mad Men: The Complete Second Season
DVD ~ Jon Hamm
Price: CDN$ 9.87
16 used & new from CDN$ 5.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE IT. BREAK IT. SHARE IT. LOVE IT., Nov. 24 2012
When things get bad, we tend to look to the past. And the bleaker the future looks, the further back we search for comfort. As the new millennium keeps disappointing us, TV shows set on the 50's and the 60's (once a rarity) keep growing in numbers. Many have tried and failed. MAD MEN tried and closed the deal. And have been doing so for 5 seasons now.

Meet Don Draper (Jon Ham), a Madison Avenue water-walker (and based on the real life ad men Draper Daniels and Rosser Reeves). He is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. He is brilliant and secretive. He wants to keep walking the tight rope with no safety net. And definitely no contract. He is a chain-smoking, hard liqueur guzzling, womanizing alpha male. He is a loving father of three, married to a picture-perfect ex model. He has it all. And yet he cannot find peace. Because he learned early on that the world is always yawning at your heels, eager to yank everything you love away.

From bursting with joie-de-vivre Roger Sterling (hilarious John Slattery) and ever scheming Pete Cambell (baby-faced Vincent Kartheiser) to the gorgeous women (such as barbie January Jones as Don's wife), the cast is one perfect pick after another. And the writing is brilliant, reproducing the tastes and smells and nuisances of the era around Camelot, while drawing you in to the personal stories of characters polished yet inevitably flawed.

The 50's and the 60's were before my time so it is not nostalgia that makes me love the show. Yes, I find the era mesmerizing and (probably undeservingly) less complicated. If nothing else, though, back then they knew how to dress. Women looked feminine and men looked manly. You see January Jones on the red carpet, for example, all dressed up and groomed for a Hollywood function - and that modern image cannot hold a candle to herself dressed for everyday(!) life in the 50's. When did we loose it? When did we decide men should stop wearing suits and hats and women should start wearing sweat-suits outside the house? I, for one, blame the hippies!

This is one of the best TV shows ever and this box-set includes season 2. There are three more. Season 6 is eminent whereas season 7 has already been green-lighted. As I have said again before, good TV is best watched on DVD. Make weekends out of it. It is much more enjoyable to watch an entire season in a couple of days than having to wait week(s) between episodes. And (quite ironically, in this case), you will not have to suffer the...commercials.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Mad Men: The Complete First Season
Mad Men: The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Jon Hamm
Price: CDN$ 9.88
17 used & new from CDN$ 8.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CAROUSEL OF NOSTALGIA, Nov. 24 2012
When things get bad, we tend to look to the past. And the bleaker the future looks, the further back we search for comfort. As the new millennium keeps disappointing us, TV shows set on the 50's and the 60's (once a rarity) keep growing in numbers. Many have tried and failed. MAD MEN tried and closed the deal. And have been doing so for 5 seasons now.

Meet Don Draper (Jon Ham), a Madison Avenue water-walker (and based on the real life ad men Draper Daniels and Rosser Reeves). He is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. He is brilliant and secretive. He wants to keep walking the tight rope with no safety net. And definitely no contract. He is a chain-smoking, hard liqueur guzzling, womanizing alpha male. He is a loving father of three, married to a picture-perfect ex model. He has it all. And yet he cannot find peace. Because he learned early on that the world is always yawning at your heels, eager to yank everything you love away.

From bursting with joie-de-vivre Roger Sterling (hilarious John Slattery) and ever scheming Pete Cambell (baby-faced Vincent Kartheiser) to the gorgeous women (such as barbie January Jones as Don's wife), the cast is one perfect pick after another. And the writing is brilliant, reproducing the tastes and smells and nuisances of the era around Camelot, while drawing you in to the personal stories of characters polished yet inevitably flawed.

The 50's and the 60's were before my time so it is not nostalgia that makes me love the show. Yes, I find the era mesmerizing and (probably undeservingly) less complicated. If nothing else, though, back then they knew how to dress. Women looked feminine and men looked manly. You see January Jones on the red carpet, for example, all dressed up and groomed for a Hollywood function - and that modern image cannot hold a candle to herself dressed for everyday(!) life in the 50's. When did we loose it? When did we decide men should stop wearing suits and hats and women should start wearing sweat-suits outside the house? I, for one, blame the hippies!

This is one of the best TV shows ever and this box-set includes season 1. There are four more. Season 6 is eminent whereas season 7 has already been green-lighted. As I have said again before, good TV is best watched on DVD. Make weekends out of it. It is much more enjoyable to watch an entire season in a couple of days than having to wait week(s) between episodes. And (quite ironically, in this case), you will not have to suffer the...commercials.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Titan Quest Gold (Titan Quest and Titan Quest Immortal Throne)
Titan Quest Gold (Titan Quest and Titan Quest Immortal Throne)
8 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT MYTHOLOGY & GREAT FUN, Oct. 27 2012
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Sure this is what Diablo3 would had looked like if it was released back in 2006 - but is clearly NOT be a bad thing! Especially after the actual Diablo3 fiasco...

Quite realistic graphics now achieved even on 8-10-year old PCs. I particularly liked that you can see the exact armor and weapons on your opponents and, after you killed them, everything drops for looting.

I am a great fun of D&D RPGs. In Titan Quest there is no deep background - except lots of excellent Mythology, correctly told for once. There is no "official 20-sided dice" getting thrown somewhere in the background - do you really care? Hack, slash, zap, burn and destroy. Loot, sell and buy. Repeat as needed.

This is the Gold edition containing both the original game and its expansion. Brace yourself for endless hours of addictive fun!
You will surely enjoy it too.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season (Sous-titres franais)
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season (Sous-titres franais)
DVD ~ Jim Parsons
Price: CDN$ 20.98
29 used & new from CDN$ 16.98

5.0 out of 5 stars THE GOOD GUY FLUCTUATION, Sept. 14 2012
In the cult tradition of SPARTACUS, the halls of every science department now echoes: "I AM SHELDON"!

Currently into its fifth season, THE BIG BANG THEORY proved to be one of the most funny TV sitcoms ever aired. Even if the show seems to have slowed down form its initial explosive impetus, I had not laughed out loud this hard ever since the best days of FRASIER and SEINFELD - and BIG BANG is **consistently** brilliant!

Sheldon Cooper is unavoidably the king of the show - the massive black hole this Universe revolves around if you will. A child prodigy, now a 24 years old theoretical physicist PhD with absolutely no social skills or known sexual drive. Sheldon may be on the verge of unifying the fields but cannot drive a car to save his life or break a smile even remotely resembling that of a mere homo sapiens.
His equally super-intelligent (yet sexually confused girlfriend), Amy Farrah Fowler, (which Sheldon finally claimed) received a far more enlarged role this fifth season. However, she was not a very good addition and she unbalances the show. Her character only manages to blur the focus form Sheldon (there is only room for one idiosyncratic genius!), diffuse a number of comically charged situations and gum up the show's flow.

Leonard Hofstadter is Sheldon's roommate and primary ...keeper. An experimental physicist himself (who Sheldon tries to "help" by steering him towards a teaching career), he juggles Sheldon's idiosyncrasies with his personal neurosis - not to mention his crush on his neighbor Penny. Which crush, like lunar eclipses, follow a predicted yet unavoidable periodicity.
Leonard tried his hand in a long-distance relationship this season with his friend Raj's sister, Priya, but he seems to be gravitating back towards Penny once more.

Howard Wolowitz is the only one with no PhD (and Sheldon will never let him forget it). An engineer (whose crowning achievements were a mechanized arm that is used in the space shuttle and a liquid waste management solution), he also managed to wreck the Mars Rover in hopes of landing a girl (but he made sure no one can prove anything).
The fact that he is a short man with a severely outdated and misguided sense of fashion, still lives with his mother, insists on using a collection of pickup lines straight from men's magazines advice columns - and yet carries himself as God's gift to women is just hilarious.
Howard used to be the show-stealer. Whenever he entered the scene you just knew he would offer such an outrageous perceptive that would render you speechless. Now, if only Howard's character was allowed to continue in its stellar trajectory. He has been weighted down by his fiancée, Bernadette, who is very likeable, but also is cramping his style. Not to mention that she, slowly yet inescapably, is turning into his scary mother.

Rajesh Koothrappali is a particle astrophysicist with a fashion sense close to absolute zero and a severe case of shyness - to the point that he cannot speak in front of women unless inebriated. He keeps using the "poor Indian" defense although his father is a rich doctor who drives a Bentley. His character, even in the fifth season, remains underdeveloped.

Then there is Penny. She is the proverbial good girl next door who came to California with stardom aspirations but so far works as waitress and suffers a sequence of bad boyfriends (Sheldon has in fact calculated the exact number of them, extrapolated from a bell-curve that started at 14)- and, obviously, from her neighbors.
One of the best fifth season moments: slipping in the "Who is the greatest?" cheer between Sheldon's patented knock of repeated "Penny!".

The show unavoidably makes use of previous sitcom combinations (the odd couple, the unfulfilled love-interest mismatch) but even if one manages to discern them they are used in such a fresh manner that all that is left is great entertainment!

The way to truly enjoy this is to own it on DVD. The writing is so smart and the jokes fly so fast (many of them non-verbal) there is just no way to savor it during its weekly air time. Well, may be Sheldon could but then again, who can compare his intellect with his?

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Lost: The Complete Collection (38-DISC DVD Box Set)
Lost: The Complete Collection (38-DISC DVD Box Set)
DVD ~ Jorge Garcia
Offered by BuyCDNow Canada
Price: CDN$ 560.72
8 used & new from CDN$ 96.51

3.0 out of 5 stars NO, NOT PURGATORY. THEY WERE ...CalvinBalling IT ALL ALONG!!, July 11 2012
I was a huge fan of LOST. I managed to avoid watching the episodes when first aired in order to enjoy each season in a LOST-binging weekend, when the DVDs were released. What a disappointment was waiting for us at the end!

>>>>>> SPOILERS AHEAD <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I started watching LOST for the deep personal stories that touched and interweaved with each other unexpectedly and mysteriously. I continued to watch LOST because of the paranormal mysteries that were hinted of having very normal explanations. Well, maybe not normal but at least logical. What was the Black Smoke? Why is Ben so important? Do the dead resurrect on the Island like Jack's father or dead means dead, like Ben's daughter? Why can it there be no children getting born on the Island? What do the Numbers mean? How was Lock able to walk again and why did he have to die at the end? Why did the statue have four fingers? And what about the polar bears, the one on the island and the other fossilized with a Dharma collar in ancient Egyptian ruins.

As it turns out, the creators of the series had no clue whatsoever. They kept throwing PostIts with ancient, urban and and religious mythology on the board and THEN they tried to mold the resulting pulp of ideas into a narrative. This way, something was bound to catch your interest every week. Yet, they had no idea where the story was going. Not even at the end. Well, especially at the end.

I gave the series an extra star because of the very intriguing and absorbing seasons 1 through 5. The problem with Season 6 of LOST was that, during the previous seasons, it had hooked us with so many lines that we expected either a fish or at least some uneaten bait at the end of them. Most of these lines simply ended, never to be picked up ever again.

No deeper meaning. No logical explanation that can tie around everything. Just a luminous steampunk spring that "is important".

I could not put it in words until I came across Jonathan McCalmont's Blog, Ruthless Culture: LOST was nothing but CalvinBall. An imaginary game whose rules are made up as we play along. No one keeps score, no one plans ahead, no one wins.

I did not expect the creators of LOST to provide serious answers to life's cardinal questions.
I did expect them to answer their own d@mn questions, though!

Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season
Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season
DVD ~ Jorge Garcia
Price: CDN$ 27.99
30 used & new from CDN$ 22.87

2.0 out of 5 stars NO, NOT PURGATORY. THEY WERE ...CalvinBalling IT ALL ALONG!!, July 11 2012
I was a huge fan of LOST. I managed to avoid watching the episodes when first aired in order to enjoy each season in a LOST-binging weekend, when the DVDs were released. What a disappointment was waiting for us at the end!

>>>>>> SPOILERS AHEAD <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I started watching LOST for the deep personal stories that touched and interweaved with each other unexpectedly and mysteriously. I continued to watch LOST because of the paranormal mysteries that were hinted of having very normal explanations. Well, maybe not normal but at least logical. What was the Black Smoke? Why is Ben so important? Do the dead resurrect on the Island like Jack's father or dead means dead, like Ben's daughter? Why can it there be no children getting born on the Island? What do the Numbers mean? How was Lock able to walk again and why did he have to die at the end? Why did the statue have four fingers? And what about the polar bears, the one on the island and the other fossilized with a Dharma collar in ancient Egyptian ruins.

As it turns out, the creators of the series had no clue whatsoever. They kept throwing PostIts with ancient, urban and and religious mythology on the board and THEN they tried to mold the resulting pulp of ideas into a narrative. This way, something was bound to catch your interest every week. Yet, they had no idea where the story was going. Not even at the end. Well, especially at the end.

The problem with Season 6 of LOST was that, during the previous seasons, it had hooked us with so many lines that we expected either a fish or at least some uneaten bait at the end of them. Most of these lines simply ended, never to be picked up ever again.

No deeper meaning. No logical explanation that can tie around everything. Just a luminous steampunk spring that "is important".

I could not put it in words until I came across Jonathan McCalmont's Blog, Ruthless Culture: LOST was nothing but CalvinBall. An imaginary game whose rules are made up as we play along. No one keeps score, no one plans ahead, no one wins.

I did not expect the creators of LOST to provide serious answers to life's cardinal questions.
I did expect them to answer their own d@mn questions, though!

XenoBlade Chronicles [RP]
XenoBlade Chronicles [RP]
Offered by VGP Video Games Plus
Price: CDN$ 119.99
13 used & new from CDN$ 102.49

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN IMPERIAL GAME!, April 18 2012
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
DISCLAIMER: This review refers to the UK version of the game, released under the name XENOBLADE CHRONICLES.
___________

MONADO: BEGINNING OF THE WORLD (aka XENOBLADE) is one of those great games that (for some unfathomable reason) Nintendo had initially decided not to market outside Japan. It has been available, fully translated, since August in Europe (where my copy came from). This used not to be true for the US. Luckily, Nintendo North America (finally!) yielded to the pressure of the fans and announced the release of the game: IT IS COMING IN APRIL, 2012!

THE MUSIC WILL ENCHANT YOUR SOUL
This is the first thing that hits your senses. The music of Xenoblade reminded me of playing Final Fantasy VII years ago and being mesmerized by its music. The Prelude I can still remember. In Xenoblade, the music will range from atmospheric to epic rock, and all the shades and colors in between.
It will be a familiar companion while you travel and a strengthening presence when you do battle, greatly enhancing the overall experience. Every map has its own theme (most with day and night variations) and you will catch yourself humming them long after having turned your console off.
Sometimes the importance of the music in a game is underestimated and the focus remains on the graphics. Xenoblade is a perfect example of how essential music is in order to achieve a total immersive gaming experience.

LIVE AND BREATH IN A GORGEOUS ANIME WORLD
Now, all of us who decided to go with the Nintendo Wii, we knew that it was not the most graphically powerful console. Its strengths lie elsewhere. Having said that, Xenoblade is the most beautiful and graphically detailed game on the Wii. Ever.
Set on two ancient biomechanical Titans frozen in mid-battle centuries ago, the world is simply enormous. There are about 20 maps, almost every map is huge and it is all open to exploration. Because there are only few and short loading times, you are practically flowing from one into the next as in a continuous world. And exploring the endless and open Xenoblade world is not only fun to do but also very rewarding.
The grass moves around your feet, birds sweep over your head, clouds roll by day, the galaxy scintillates at night and the whole world comes alive around you. In the heat of the battle the hits and special moves will be accompanied by impressive anime graphical events. Up close the characters may not be that detailed but the characters, their weapons and the environments have all been designed with great artistry. When the limitations of the Wii are reached you probably will not notice it either. Xenoblade has far better graphics than all the other notable Wii JRPG, such as The Legend of Zelda, Okami or Rune Factory: Frontier. My Wii had never produced such a visually advanced game!

THE STORY DRAWS YOU IN AND NEVER LETS GO
As any seasoned RPGer would tell you, the story is equally important to the graphics and the music, if not more so. And Xenoblade excels in this aspect as well. A tad clichéd at times, the story advances with beautifully made cinematic sequences and it manages to feel both reassuringly familiar and surprisingly fresh.
The human colonists (the Homs) are living on one of the frozen titans, Bionis, and are attacked by mechanical life-forms (the Mechons) who occupy the other. So, after the initial battle, it is up to Shulk, your hero, the young survivor from Colony 6 and the new bearer of Monado, together with (up to 3 of) his companions to save their world.
You bond with your companions by the choices you make - and this affects their abilities. Your choices also affect both the conversation options with Non-Playing Characters (NPCs) and the quests becoming available to you. In fact, everyone and their sister seems to have a quest for you. Conveniently, you do not have to go back to them once completed.
Xenoblade will enchant you with its sound vistas and ensnare you with its story.

WIELD THE BLADE THAT SEES INTO THE FUTURE
As with any true RPG, there is leveling up, looting, crafting, bartering and re-equipping your character as well as his companions. Interestingly, the custom appearance you chose for them will not be lost during the cinematic scenes. If you enjoy earning achievements, Xenoblade has you covered. The game allows you to save almost anywhere but it also autosaves at nicely spaced Landmarks - and dying will only take you back to the last one encountered (without any XP or loot penalties).
The battle system is real-time but both the distance to their enemy and your relative position are factored in (hint: for such an oversized sword, backstabbing strangely pays off). Monado has powers that are unleashed after building up normal attacks. The legendary sword also allows you to glimpse into the future in order to avert enemy blows. Moreover, your hero and his companions have special abilities, called Arts (that need to recharge before they can be reused).
The enemies, especially the bosses, will focus on the character inflicting the most damage to it - and this allows for flanking maneuvers by the rest of your party. Most battles are not that hard however some of the bosses will tax your understanding of the game mechanics.
Equally important is that is not a one-ride-pony. Once the game is completed you can restart the entire story with your high level character to complete and explore everything you missed the previous time around.

Xenoblade-Chronicles gives you the option to experience it either dubbed in (in the UK version, British accented and not lip-synched) English or in (partially) subtitled original Japanese. After I had clocked in about half a dozen hours in the game I decided to restart it and opted to keep the original Japanese instead. After all, this is a JRPG and it feels much more authentic.

A classic masterpiece, not to be missed.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GAME OF WITCHERS, April 17 2012
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
ATTENTION: If you already own the game you can simply upgrade it to the Enhanced Edition version by use of the game's Launcher - for FREE (it is a 10.5GB download, mind you). Moreover, by setting up a GOG account and simply entering your game's serial number you are also entitled to a digital backup of the Enhanced Edition for FREE (that is a 15.6GB download, plus 2.8GB for all the extras). Why all this? Because these guys truly respect their customers. And yes, the game is DRM-free and the patch contains all the DLCs! However, if you do not yet own this masterpiece of a game, please read on.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In 2007 a small Eastern European game developer (CD PROJEKT)...teaches BIOWARE how to use their own Aurora engine. The original Witcher was the game that Neverwinter Nights had promised to be. Two years later BIOWARE picks up the glove and comes back with a strong response, the masterpiece Dragon Age: Origins. Unfortunately, its 2011 sequel does not live up to expectations. And this is all the opening the perfect sequel needed to come in and, once more, steal the show.

THIS IS HOW TO MAKE A cRPG SEQUEL!
Although there may be Xbox and PS3 versions of this game later on, this is a game designed from start to finish for the PC. In an age when 5-6 years old consoles set the standard this is very important. From the brand new engine to the very last script line, everything that could be worked on was and everything that could be improved shows improvement. The story is now even deeper; the graphics are several notches higher; character development has been both streamlined and more balanced; equipping Geralt is now more detailed whereas loot is abundant.
It is possible (although not necessary) to import your character from the first WITCHER. If, like me, you liked the original game, you will simply love the sequel.

LOOK AT THE SKY: IT IS THE WITCHING HOUR - EVERY HOUR!
The graphics are simply A-MA-ZING! I like the way the rock formations catch the moving shadows and how the wind stirs up dust. I like the subtle movement of the grass and the exploding colors of the wild flowers. I like the textures of the clothes, the shine of the armor and the glint of the swords. I like the way the sun gets in your eyes and the way rays of light play with the tree foliage.
What is also important, these graphics and dynamic lighting are achieved even on medium-built systems (Minimum specs: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz/AMD 2.5GHz, nVidia 8800/ATI 3850, 1GB of RAM for WinXP/ 2GB for WinVISTA&7).
Even more impressively, the game is set in a day/night cycle, and this is reflected not only on the levels of ambient light but also on the activities of the surrounding world.

THE WORLD AROUND YOU COMES TRULY ALIVE
Remember how in most RolePlaying games approaching a Non-Playing Character (NPC) usually means he or she would utter any one of a small number of preset phrases? After a while, you have heard them all and it got very predictable. Well, prepare to be surprised. Again and again.
This is a world you will truly be immersed into. A world that wakes up, goes to work, gossips, bickers and barters, and unwinds in the tavern. Walk the same streets at night and they are eerily empty. And that is without taking into account the ever changing weather!
The immersion is so total for yet two other reasons: not only is the world fully open from the very beginning (no blocked areas or closed bridges!) but there are no loading delays between areas (only between chapters).

THE LIFE OF A WITCHER IS NEVER BORING
Geralt is a real warlock, combining a mix of sword fighting with potions and spells. These are the three main character developing trees, Swordmaster, Alchemist or Mage. Sword moves, potion ingredients and spells can be combined - and all choices are meticulously balanced.
With the original WITCHER it took me a while to master the timed sword-strokes - but it was really satisfying after that. In the sequel, sword-fighting has been simplified to the classic mod - and that is one of the gripes I have with this game. The other is the short dialogue options. I like my cRPGs wordy.
Now, the story is far from being linear. Choices matter and choosing a path will bifurcate the story, most of the times irrevocably. And the story in WITCHER 2 is as important as the fighting.
What I also appreciated was the return of consequences. Those of you who have played BALDUR's GATE Saga know that bashing or picking the lock of a chest was a punishable offense if anyone saw you. In contrast, in DA-O you could rob the town blind and (quite unrealistically) the NPCs could not care less. Well, in this game, your character better behave or face the ever vigilant guards.

ADJUSTED TO OUR ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF BINDING
Most retail versions of the game came with a simple disc-check, implemented by SecuROM. If you own FALLOUT 3, for example, you have experienced the same thing. Compared to the customer-abusing schemes out there (UBISOFT's and 2K GAMES' ears should be burning at this point) I found this solution not ideal but palatable. However, it gets better, much better.
The game is now DRM-FREE because all traces of SecuROM have been patched out by the developers themselves from day one. They chose to face ATARI's lawsuits in order to show their customers respect. Now only the STEAM version has DRM.THE WITCHER 2 gets full marks in my books in this aspect as well!
Just for listening to its customers and doing this CD PROJEKT earned a permanent place of honor in gaming history.

A FINAL SPELL
I have only praises for this magnificent sequel to a great game. It was one of the rare cases when I pre-ordered a game before I knew anything about it and was rewarded with a game that exceeded my highest expectations. I do have some advice for the game developers though.
First, keep showing the same respect to your customers and you will see that gamers know how to repay this with equal respect and loyalty. And finally, when the mega-publishers show up at your door with their mesmerizing bags of money, try to remember what happened to so many great game developing groups in the past that did not resist to temptation.

WITH MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS!

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