The Witcher 2 gets more mature

The Witcher was also famous for its combat, in both good and bad ways. A pause-able real-time affair, you could build up combos using timed mouse clicks, while set into three different stances depending on the type of enemy you were facing.

When it worked, it was a wonderful system, allowing for smooth, graceful combat moves to be pulled off and some incredible finishers to be implemented, such as jumping on the shoulders of an enemy and driving a sword deep into the top of its skull. However, when it didn’t work, combos kept breaking down too easily and it could get a little repetitive. This is an area CD Projekt are scrutinising with a big old microscope, making sure they get it right this time.

One thing that is definitely remaining is the distinctive stances – fast, group and heavy. In The Witcher 2, they won’t be as separate as before. CD Projekt are aiming to allow for players to mix them together to produce a better flow to the combat.

Potion creation will be made less fiddly this time – more a matter of just making sure you have the right ingredients without having to go through the whole meditation and bubbling cauldron thing. In fact, the whole issue of character inventory and progression has been addressed. While not a major issue last time, your inventory could get cluttered up easily, so there are moves afoot to make sure this doesn’t happen so much.

As for levelling up, it’ll be interesting to see how CD Projekt deal with the beginning of the game. They can’t go for the easy amnesiac route used in the first game, so will new players start out as a hardcore killer or a guy who doesn’t know which end of the sword to hold? Ignoring that for the time being, what there definitely will be are fewer different categories to level up in.

In the first game, there was a host of different magic powers, plus others related to combat, physique, mental strength and things like that. This time, the skills tree has been squished down into only a few branches, but these have been extended substantially to allow for more options than before.

A lot more information will come flooding out of eastern Europe over the coming months as the PR campaign begins in earnest, but for now we know a few encouraging things to keep us going. The combat is going to be more fluid, the inventory system will be streamlined, as will character levelling. And the choices the player makes will have more of a significant difference to the world, which in itself, promises to be substantially larger.

May 19, 2010