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The Witcher - hands-on

When we got our hands on The Witcher to feel out its combat system, we found a rather unique play mechanic hiding beneath its third-person hack 'n slash skin. It's all about timing. After you left-click to start your first attack, you'll need to watch Geralt's swing animations carefully and feel the flow of his moves. If you follow up your first strike with a well-timed click, you'll create a chain combo which- if kept up long enough- can result in some crazy kills and brutal blows.

It takes a bit of getting used to, and we found ourselves flailing wildly before we got the hang of it. But once we did, Geralt was soon slicing his way through demon dogs, mercenaries, and monsters like butter. In one instance, we saw him toss his blade into the air. Grabbing on to the sword's tip, Geralt proceeded to swing his backwards blade like a heavy axe, piercing an enemy's throat with the hilt.

Although fun at the time, it's too soon to tell if The Witcher's combat will be hit or miss, as the game's timing based combo system may get repetitive with extended play. But the compellingpremisealone makes The Witcher one you should watch out for when it releases in October 2007.