The Art Of Hitting Stuff In The Witcher 2

By Alec Meer on April 26th, 2011 at 6:47 pm.

Phwoar, check out the runes on that

We’ll have much more to say about the Witcher 2 in a short while – I’ve now also played the preview code Jim got all frothy about and can happily confirm that it’s awesome, so we’ll have a good old chinwag about it soon – but in the meantime allow me to point those pretty little eyes of yours at the latest dev diary video. It demonstrates one of the key differences between the first and second game: the fluidity, variance and satisfying crunch of the combat, as opposed to the rather unusual click-timing of the original (don’t say a bloody word, old magazine readers). Geralt’s a stone-cold killer this time around, a flurry of masterful violence pleasing to both the eyes and that mysterious link betwixt gamer’s hand and gamer’s brain.

Pretty representative of what I’ve seen so far, I’d say, and it’s even set within the same forest area in Chapter 1. Worth watching in HD if you can, as it gives some sense of just how lush and detailed the game is. The traps I’ve found to be particularly satisfying in instances where there’s time to use ‘em, such as the intimidating arrival of a stampeding giant spider queen. A chain reaction of explosions and chomping metal jaws made short work of something that otherwise would take my face off almost immediately if I let it get too close.

(One thing I would disagree with the video on is the prevalence and usefulness of non-sword weapons. The blackjacks and axes and whatnot which occasionally appear are significantly less powerful than the swords in general, so unless that side of things really opens up later on such toys are more for fun than killability. This is a game of swords, and massively satisfying swords at that).

The QTE-based fist fights, by the way? Jolly good fun, and I usually despise QTEs to the very core of my being.

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90 Comments »

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  1. SprintJack says:

    I especially liked the part where he hits stuff with some other stuff.

    • MordeaniisChaos says:

      World class hitting, that was.

      Really happy to hear that this game is turning out so awesome. Looks gorgeous, sounds liek the combat will play really well, and I’m looking forward to the story, being a little less generic than your average RPG.

      I should really go and play the first one. I own it, but I never had the time to play through it.

    • catmorbid says:

      You really should play it. I just finished my second play-through just a while ago, and it really is a very good game. I’m absolutely thrilled about the sequel as it seems to be better in every aspect!

  2. Wizardry says:

    Is this game turn-based?

    • bwion says:

      Yes.

      They are very fast turns with no pauses in between them.

    • Wizardry says:

      You can’t fool me!

      I want my character’s reflexes and combat prowess to be tested. I don’t want my own.

    • Berzee says:

      Why do you ask, when you must know it is not?

    • Aedrill says:

      Wizardry, we’ve had this conversation before and it’s good opportunity to continue. In general I agree with you – turn based combat and various missions that can be completed in many ways are pretty much as important in RPG as good story and non linearity. Except for this game. It’s the Witcher, game based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s saga. I’m huge fan of AS, and really recommend you reading his books. The way he’s describing fights is just amazing. When you read it you’re experiencing the quickness, rapidness of fight. Any type of turn-based combat would kill this game. I’d love to play some RPG’s set in this world with more classic gameplay – non generic character, team, turn based combat, etc. But as long as the main character is Geralt the Witcher, Blaviken Butcher I can’t imagine playing this game in turns.

    • bwion says:

      I hear you, man. My own reflexes *suck*, so I’d much rather my characters’ reflexes were being tested.

      Actually, I’d love to see more turn-based RPGs. Hell, more variety in RPG releases in general; much as I enjoy a good action-oriented killing spree, it’s really not all I want to play forevermore. Which reminds me that I really must get back to those Winter Voices games. (I only played a bit of the prologue before getting derailed by real-life stuff that made playing a game about mourning the death of a close family member a bit unpalatable).

    • paterah says:

      I think you need to get go off that turn-based obsession, it’s so 90s. It’s simply not a matter of role-playing anymore but a matter of evolution. As someone who grew up playing almost every single J-RPG on PS/PS2 as well as Fallout & Fallout 2 on PC along with other popular turn-based rpgs I simply can’t look back anymore. And as a note, your character’s equipment, stats and abilities still mater obviously, it’s just that you control your character actively during combat instead of relying purely on luck and made-up numbers.

    • Nick says:

      Whilst I agree this is a completely pointless argument to start, I do wish people would stop refering to turn based as some sort of archaic throwback, its completely missing the point and rather irritating.

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      Hidden_7 says:

      Man, where’s the RPG where it’s my character’s decision making prowess that’s being tested, not my own? I don’t want to have to choose what to say in dialogue; I want my character’s speech skill to determine the outcome. I don’t want to labour over tough moral quandries; I want the points I’ve put into ideology and pragmatism to determine the outcome. I don’t want to have to decide what skills to put points into; I want my skill in points allocation to be tested.

      Okay, I’m being entirely facetious, and I do understand people’s desire for turn-based combat (I’m personally not a fan, but to each their own). However, at the same time, it can get a little silly and / or arbitrary at times which particular things are allowed to be player skill and which need to be character skill for something to be a “CRPG.”

      Basically, the Witcher was never going to be the game with the turn-based combat (it’s not party based, which can get rather tedious in TBC at times, e.g. Fallout 2), and it is unfortunate that there is a dearth of elaborate, open, adventure games with turn-based tactical combat, since there are clearly people who dearly want them, but that’s not what defines a CRPG or an RPG anymore to the vast, vast majority of people using that term. That battle is lost. Constantly harping about something that is called an RPG not being an RPG because the combat tests player reflex, often, in addition to character skill as opposed to player tactics in addition to character skill is silly. It’s as silly as people deciding that the lock-picking minigame is the thing that makes FO:NV not an RPG. It’s as silly as people saying that Halo isn’t an FPS because you can only hold two guns at a time. Or that Psychonauts isn’t a platformer because it’s not side-scrolling.

      Genre definitions grow and change, and were never very firm to begin with, and aren’t really all that beneficial to the medium anyway.

    • Berzee says:

      “Man, where’s the RPG where it’s my character’s decision making prowess that’s being tested, not my own?”

      I give you one thousand of points! I’ve wanted to ask this SO so many times, but I kept forgetting. =) No matter how many points you put into “intelligence”…your character is never smart enough to get by without you.

    • malkav11 says:

      There are games where your character(s)’ decisions are affected by their stats. Fallout 1 and 2 and Arcanum (off the top of my head) all offer special dialogue for low intelligence characters which can potentially restrict your options and/or lead to your character being talked into things they’re too dumb to see are a bad idea. The Geneforge games (or at least the first couple) require you to invest in the intelligence stat when creating followers or they’ll act on their own (not very bright) instincts in combat instead of being under your control. Even when you’ve given them enough intelligence to be controlled directly, it’s also the stat that measures how easily they freak out under pressure and revert back to an uncontrolled state, often of panic. (Pressure in this case primarily = getting beaten on in combat.)

      There aren’t any that allow a character to simulate -higher- intelligence and/or decision-making capability than the player, but that would pretty much remove any actual interaction from the “game” at that point, and be very complex to code.

      I’d also note that like most genre labels, being an RPG is not really all or nothing. The more RPG genre traits a game has, the more it deserves the label. Relying on character abilities over player abilities is one such trait, and a valuable one in my mind, but one that is merely accentuated by turn-based combat rather than requiring that mode.

    • edit says:

      I’ve certainly enjoyed turn-based games over the years, but the origin of the turn-based system is pen and paper RPGs, right? In such a game it simply does not make sense to test each player’s actual skills. It’s not like your average D&D players can have a fencing match to determine the outcome of a battle.

      We’re now in the age of immersive, interactive 3D experiences. Player skill CAN be directly tested and expressed, and the experience really comes to life when that is the case. It really does feel like some throwback to an older era when I see my on-screen character auto-attacking an enemy. Animations don’t connect, actions simply repeat, it’s all numbers and probabilities. It feels even more arbitrary and archaic for time itself to be interrupted so that the characters on-screen (including my own) can perform actions one at a time.

      This is fun in its own way, but it is a layer of abstraction that is no longer necessary to allow the player to role-play these scenarios. Surely the very notion of “role-playing” itself, as in playing a role and immersing yourself into your fictional character, is tapped into far more powerfully when the player can perform actions directly and act AS the character, rather than witnessing them passively while the dice takes over. Of course all types of gameplay have their charm and taste will differ, but for me games are all about immersion, and I have no qualms about ditching an aspect of gameplay which serves only to distance me from my character’s experience.

      I love most other aspects of RPGs, though I actually find it quite frustrating for my character’s abilities to be arbitrarily limited when I know I could do better (“this rat is going to kill me and my arrows can’t hit the broad side of a barn simply because I haven’t grinded through enough combat”). Grinding through hundreds of battles to increase my combat stats to a reasonable level feels castrating and only really serves to artificially lengthen the game. And when it comes to guns (when aiming is up to the player), the same bullet doing more or less damage depending on stats is just nonsensical.

      Were I to design a modern RPG, anything the player can do him or herself (intelligence, reflexes, aim, etc) would be up to the player, while stats would be used to calculate things that the player cannot express through a mouse and keyboard – strength, magical abilities, crafting and so on.

    • Wizardry says:

      Okay, I’m being entirely facetious, and I do understand people’s desire for turn-based combat (I’m personally not a fan, but to each their own). However, at the same time, it can get a little silly and / or arbitrary at times which particular things are allowed to be player skill and which need to be character skill for something to be a “CRPG.”

      No. It’s pretty simple. Imagine the character and the player are two different people. The character has an ear piece connected to a microphone that the player holds. The player tells the character what to do and the character does their best to make it happen. The player guides conversations but the character is the one to be tested during them. The player guides the combat but the character is the one to be tested during them. The player guides the movement around the world but the character is the one to be tested during it. The player tells the character to swim across a lake or climb a mountain and the character is the one to be tested during those activities.

      The less character skills are involved in those activities, the more the player skills are. On one extreme you have action games that rely purely on the player. These are not CRPGs in the slightest. At the other extreme you have turn-based CRPGs that eliminate the need for player reflexes when dishing out new orders. These are pure CRPGs.

      The Witcher’s combat was basically a QTE. If the player sucked at timing their triplet of clicks then combat would be more difficult. In other words, the player was the combatant, not the player’s character. It was the same in dialogue too. You received all these choices but your character had no statistics to be tested on. It was basically purely down to the player.

      The Witcher was definitely more of an action game than a CRPG. Deal with it.

      Oh, and only idiots call turn-based games archaic. People don’t play chess out of nostalgia for the 15th century. Real-time is for LARPers. If you prefer running around in forests hitting people with sticks in real-time as opposed to sitting around a table and rolling dice then go play open world action games, not CRPGs.

    • Berzee says:

      Oh dude, I just remembered the most epical CRPG of all time — Majesty! Your heroes in that game DO decide how to develop their own skills and equipment and abilities. In fact they all have different decision making processes and personalities. You really are the guy-speaking-in-their-ear by placing reward flags…but on a much more sensible level. If I was a guy speaking in a hero’s ear, I would be pretty annoyed if I had to say “Ok…now TALK to that shopkeeper…now buy THAT sword…HAGGLE for it…PUT IT IN YOUR HAND. SWING IT. SWING IT AGAIN.”

      Much more true-to-life if you give the hero overarching goals (think of how the guy-in-your-ear gives you goals and information in an FPS…but you as the hero are free to decide what doors to open in what order unless you’re playing Homefront or something) and watch as he works to carry them out. So you might just say “Go back to town and refit” instead of guiding him around like a puppet with a fat wallet. Similarly, it should be up to the character how he’s going to train, though the player-in-his-ear might warn him about upcoming challenges that might require special talents.

      As was mentioned — until the character’s decision-making abilities are tested, it really all comes back to player skill.

      P.S. When this game is made (basically, Majesty boiled down to a single hero, with no building and with lots of character-driven character development and complex goals to give them) I would request it be called “Captain Earbud” or perhaps “Deus Ex My Ear”

    • malkav11 says:

      It may not be technologically required to abstract those elements, but requiring me to be as skilled a virtual swordsman or gunfighter as my character supposedly is removes that layer of roleplaying from the game and makes the experience that much less enjoyable for me. Besides, there’s a place for real-time combat systems in some games. I think the Witcher is one of those. I just feel there’s also a place for turn-based combat systems, that they’re more appropriate in many CRPG frameworks (especially anything based on a tabletop RPG ruleset), and that it’s unfortunate more CRPG makers aren’t using them. They certainly aren’t some archaic throwback that’s no longer required. They are a fundamentally different gaming experience. You don’t have to like them, but that needs to be acknowledged.

    • Wizardry says:

      As was mentioned — until the character’s decision-making abilities are tested, it really all comes back to player skill.

      Did you read my post? You make the decisions and your character performs the required actions. You don’t. You tell your character to swing their sword at a specific enemy and they do it. Whether they hit or not and the damage they do is down to the statistics (and equipment) of your character and the statistics (and equipment) of the enemy, as well as any environmental factors (depending on how heavy the simulation aspect is of the game).

      The game should not play itself because then it’s not a game. There is a clear separation of what should be player skill and what should be character skill. If you choose to ignore it then you’re only wasting your own time.

      It may not be technologically required to abstract those elements, but requiring me to be as skilled a virtual swordsman or gunfighter as my character supposedly is removes that layer of roleplaying from the game and makes the experience that much less enjoyable for me. Besides, there’s a place for real-time combat systems in some games. I think the Witcher is one of those. I just feel there’s also a place for turn-based combat systems, that they’re more appropriate in many CRPG frameworks (especially anything based on a tabletop RPG ruleset), and that it’s unfortunate more CRPG makers aren’t using them. They certainly aren’t some archaic throwback that’s no longer required. They are a fundamentally different gaming experience. You don’t have to like them, but that needs to be acknowledged.

      Pretty much this. I don’t care much if The Witcher 2 isn’t turn-based. As long as there are CRPGs coming out that are turn-based (and thus proper CRPGs instead of hybrids). But there aren’t outside of some independent games that get limited coverage. It just annoys me massively when people say that this is a great year for CRPGs with Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 3, Skyrim, The Witcher 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution all coming out. Because every single one of them is full of action game mechanics. It’s fine to have games like that. Just not all of them. Give me a CRPG with turns. Give me a CRPG where I have the time to think about my next course of action. Give me a CRPG where I don’t have to be mashing the space bar (or whatever the pause button is) every second in order to actually play. Give me a CRPG requiring tactics and strategy. Give me a CRPG with a party. Give me a CRPG with lots of non-combat skills. Give me a CRPG.

      The technology is there. It was there back in the 80s. CRPGs are so very primitive these days.

    • Berzee says:

      “There is a clear separation of what should be player skill and what should be character skill.”

      NEVER! We push the envelope for MORE character skill. We demand characters who are skilled determining how to allocate their skill points, skilled in determining which quests to follow!

      “You make the decisions and your character performs the required actions.”

      Sure sure, but you can tweak this to various degrees.

      Option A — You make the decision to SWING YOUR SWORD AT THAT GOBLIN RIGHT NOW. Your character performs the required action of flexing his muscles to move the sword.

      Option B — You make the decision to SWING YOUR SWORD AT THAT GOBLIN NEXT TURN. Your character performs the required action of waiting for the right time, then flexing his muscles to move the sword.

      Option C — You make the decision to FIGHT THOSE GOBLINS. Your character performs the required action of selecting a goblin, waiting for the next turn, waiting for the right time, then flexing his muscles to move the sword.

      Option D — You make the decision to FIND TROUBLE. Your character performs the required action of seeking out goblins, selecting a goblin, waiting for the next turn, waiting for the right time, then flexing his muscles to move the sword.

      Option E — You make the decision to BECOME A WARRIOR. Your character performs the required actions of deciding whether/what to train or else to find trouble, seek out goblins, select a goblin, wait for the next turn, wait for the right time, flex his muscles and move! that! sword!

      In the later options, skills can determine how good he is at finding goblins, picking the right one, attacking on the smartest turn.

      Option B is of course the standard and the one that you want. I started out being so very facetious about all this, but now I feel like I’d really love to play a game that starts around Option E and eventually moves into Option D territory. (Option C would feel too much like an RTS to really be called an experiment).

    • bwion says:

      Well, obviously, Wizardry has his (?) preferences, and I don’t see why he should be taken to task for them, except maybe in some kind of turnabout-is-fair-play sense (because he seems quite happy to take everyone else to task for not sharing them).

      I would, again, love to see more turn-based RPGs (though I agree with the folks who are saying that this game shouldn’t be one of those). What I won’t accept is that only turn-based RPGs count as RPGs at all. Then again, I’m about one stupid internet argument away from mounting a DOWN WITH GENRES campaign.

      In fact, you know what? Fuck it. DOWN WITH GENRES. There are only games.

    • edit says:

      Wizardry, it’s nice to hear someone define CRPGs so clearly. Isn’t the idea of being separate to, and a mere guide for, your character contradictory to the notion of ‘role playing’ though? I haven’t had much exposure but I’ve played some games with some friendly folk who are deeply immersed in pen & paper RPGs, and they tend to speak as their characters, from their characters’ point of view (“I want to do x”) rather than as a guide\observer (“lets see if he can do x”). They live out fantastical experiences AS their characters. If there is a third party observer\guide it would be the GM, the video-game equivalent of which would be the developers rather than the player.

      Of course the meanings of terms change as traditions develop etc, and I’ve loved many a top-down turn-based computer RPG, but from my perspective the “role playing games” which best live up to the actual meaning and potential of the term are the more recent first-person ones, because I can actually role-play rather than look at my character from above and give instructions. It seems most of the games you (and many others of course) define as cRPGs have borrowed the stats from RPGs but largely dropped the actual role-playing.

    • Wizardry says:

      @edit: What I described was how the games should play. If you take away the character completely (including their skills and statistics) then you, the player, have 100% control over your actions. If you swing your sword at an enemy then you swing your sword at an enemy. If you are good at swinging a sword but want to play as a character who isn’t good at swinging a sword, you have to gimp yourself on purpose. If you are not very intelligent but want to play as an intelligent character, you actually can’t. The abstraction of the character as a different entity to the player alleviates these issues by acting as the player’s gateway to the game.

      So of course you can “become” your character. That’s why RPGs allow for role-playing. You just pretend to be the same character that you are defining within the rules. If you create a character who has high speech skills and high charisma, you can role-play someone who likes talking their way out of combat. Similarly, if you want to role-play someone who wants to talk their way out of combat, you make a character with high speech skills and charisma. It works both ways, you see. Without the character there is no gateway to the game rules and therefore the game can’t react to the actions of your character, only your own actions, creating the problems I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

      Having no character at all and just playing the game without statistics and skills may be true to what role-playing is. You can be what you want to be, say what you want to say and do what you want to do. You can even change the role you are playing instantly without any real drawbacks. However, this isn’t the reason RPGs were created. Why invent a game where you sit around a table rolling dice when you could be having a superior role-playing experience dressing up and running around the nearest forest?

    • edit says:

      Solid points. Ultimately it does come down to preference but for me the RPG sweet-spot is that which maintains much of the character stat-based complexity and gameplay while offering the player enough control to feel like heshe is existing in the alternate reality. The hard-line cRPGs where EVERYTHING is abstracted and stat-driven can be great, but relative to the ever more immersive experiences provided by other kinds of games they definitely feel more constricting and “you are playing a game”-like to me.

      In response to your first paragraph, keep in mind that there is always a level of abstraction to games. With a few exceptions, almost no game tests a player’s sword swinging skills.. Timed mouse-clicking skills perhaps, but the swings are generally pre-animated and have pre-determined effects so the work is still being done by the character most of the time. In action oriented RPGs there is a lot of room for combined statplayer-input based systems, for instance where the player controls the timing but the stats control the swing and it’s consequences, etc etc. I’m personally not all that interested in seeing games uphold a genre tradition when there is always room for new ways to approach things.

      I do call myself an RPG fan (ok, cRPG fan). I love many, but I’m glad developers aren’t rigidly adhering to the tropes, as it means sooner or later we will get an RPG-derived game experience that takes the whole thing to another level in some unexpected way.

    • malkav11 says:

      For my part, I simply dismiss the idea that one can roleplay meaningfully in a singleplayer computer game (and anything more elaborate than map making software with a chat client and some basic statistic tracking/dice rolling will necessarily constrict one’s options even in a multiplayer format), at least with modern technology. Even the deepest, most heavily choice-and-consequences-laden game is essentially a more complex choose your own adventure book with some videogame bits put in. There’s simply no comparison. So, hey, I dig having some choices-and-consequences stuff in the narrative. That’s neat. But the mechanics of the actual gameplay are more significant in defining the genre.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      “If you are not very intelligent but want to play as an intelligent character, you actually can’t”
      This is true no matter what game mechanisms are in place though, there is no way you can effectively roleplay someone more inteligent than you are.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Ergates_Antius: Of course you can. Just say you want to smart your way out of a situation and see what happens based on your intelligence score. It’s pretty fucking easy.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Except that’s more a case of using an intelligence based skill rather than just general intelligence. What I mean is, if you’re an idiot, then this will factor into any decisions you make on your character’s behalf, so you’re going to end up with a supposedly intelligent person making a constrant stream of stupid decisions. “Lets start a fight with this dragon despite only being armed with a blunt rubber knife” etc.

      Unless you have a GM (or equivalent) constantly whispering in your ear “your character is smart enough not to do that”, which kind of ruins the fun somewhat.

      The best you can hope for is to roleplay somekind of idiot-savant, or a genius being mind controlled by a moron.

  3. DD says:

    Got The Witcher a while ago in a sale but couldnt get into it at the time. I’ve been recently playing it in preperation for #2 as it looks so god damn good. Just loving the game so far and the more I progress, the more excited I get for this release!!
    Better combat and more varied enviroments is pretty much what I would say it needs the most of. THIS SHALL DELIVER.

    • Pobblepop says:

      Stick with it, it’s a great game. You may think the swamp bit goes on too long (I certainly did) but the game just gets better.

    • DD says:

      Yea, im 14 hours in and I am so close to being done with the swamp! I got the stupid guy waiting for me at the tower! ahahah

  4. Turin Turambar says:

    They need to make special bonuses for the non-swordy weapons. Like axes destroy shields, spears to hit the enemy at distance, etc.

    • Wizardry says:

      That’s way too complicated for today’s gamers.

    • Kaira- says:

      If I remember correctly, in the original game axes had higher chance of breaking shields. On the other hand, I don’t remember there being very many shields.

    • jealouspirate says:

      @ Wizardry

      No, it isn’t. Different weapon types with different specialties is not too complicated for “today’s gamers”. Even a game like Mass Effect 2, which had almost no traditional RPG elements, had them.

      It seems like you have to come into almost every post about an RPG with this very pessimistic, patronizing attitude where you laud Ye “cRPGs” of Olde.

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      Rhygadon says:

      In theory, that’s how it was in the first game (e.g. some weapons have a chance to destroy shields). But the bonuses were a) small, b) irrelevant to most fights, and c) not actually described anywhere in-game. Meanwhile, they made all your fancy combat skills useless. So the non-sword weapons were rarely used by anyone but wiki-reading players looking for variety on a second playthrough. I dearly hope they fix that for the sequel; strategic use of alternate weapons could add much-needed variety to the combat.

    • Aedrill says:

      The reason why stuff other than swords was absolutely useless in the Witcher 1 was one – fighting styles. You could use your fighting styles only with sword, any other weapon was good only for random swinging. This time there ain’t no styles so there is some hope that axes, spears, sticks and stones and other stuff will be useful in any way.

    • Ringwraith says:

      The problem with shields is that whenever they do turn up they stop group-style swings dead.
      Which makes dealing with a group of them a small nightmare.

  5. Jharakn says:

    I hate getting this excited about a game as nothing ever lives up to your brain expectation of awesomeness but it really looks shiny

    • jplayer01 says:

      This is why my expectations of a game are generally set at ‘neutral’ or below. That way I can’t be disappointed. If a game is actually good, then I can see it for what it is instead of being influenced by PR, media, trailers and hype (hmmm, I don’t know why I said the same thing four times).

  6. Guiscard says:

    Such beautiful lush graphics. Alas, if they actually look like that once my graphics card is finished rendering them at a playable frame rate, I’d be very surprised.

  7. chickdigger802 says:

    Damn it, I want to play more Witcher 1 (only on chapter 3), but I got a research paper, 2 finals.. and to finish up portal 2. sigh*
    Already preordered this though.

    How’s the connect-ability between witcher 1 and 2? What is imported?

    • Aedrill says:

      You import ending of The Witcher 1 (there are 3), weapon, armor, some money and probably some smaller stuff as well. And some of the decisions you made during the game.

    • mwoody says:

      Arrrrrgh! I was hoping they wouldn’t do this stupid Mass Effect crap. Now I have to go looking for old saves… which, it appears, aren’t there. Great. Now I feel like I’m one step behind before I’ve ever played the game. I hate this new trend.

    • Nick says:

      what an odd thing to dislike.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s….not actually a new trend. There’s a lot of multi-game series from the late 80s or 90s that while technically allowing you to create new characters tended to assume you had imported them instead, with the better gear and levels that involved.

  8. Om says:

    “don’t say a bloody word, old magazine readers”

    I was going to say something. Then I decided not to. Yet I’m still posting. I may have gotten confused in my smugness

  9. DainIronfoot says:

    See that siege at the beginning? M&Balike that looks like that please!
    Also, really nice art direction. Y’see other developers? Fantasy armour does not have to equal huge pauldrons with spikes on..

  10. Loix says:

    SEMEN EVERYWHERE

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I was wondering what was missing from The Witcher I remember.

  11. Pobblepop says:

    If the quests and storyline are at least as the good as the firsts, I’m so pumped I’ve had to cork my orifices for fear of what I might leak.

  12. Paul says:

    I am playing Witcher EE now for second time (I played it 4 years ago right after release) and I would say that along with Fallout New Vegas, this is still the best RPG of last 4 years. Absolutely great fun, long complex quests, awesome combat (playing on hard, so all the alchemy/bombs/oils/signs/styles are necessary) with spectacular combos. It is a little janky at places, some design is not 100% polished, but still, amazing game.

    So it is just incredible watching that Witcher 2 footage which is even amazinger!

  13. Zenicetus says:

    It’s encouraging to see more fights where Geralt isn’t spending half his time rolling around on the ground. That’s about the only thing that put me off in the first previews.

  14. geokes says:

    Must finish the witcher… I’m glad this isn’t too consolised (or at all :) )

  15. Oneironaut says:

    I just finished The Witcher 3 days ago. I got it a couple of years ago but never got past chapter 4, due to losing my save. Now I can’t wait for the sequel, and I’ve spent a large portion of the past couple of days on the Witcher forum.

    I really love all of the changes they’re making to the sequel. I really enjoyed the combat in Batman: AA and Darksiders, and this is looking to be of similar style. I love the graphics even though I’ll probably have to run the game at the lowest possible settings. Even the QTEs are looking like they’ll be handled well.

    I hate to call a game GOTY before playing it, but if this even comes close to being as good as it looks, it will have that title easily.

  16. Kdansky says:

    The parts of my brain that are responsible for momentum and physics already cringe. The first game was decent, but the combat animations are just bad. You just don’t twirl around your own axis three times per enemy. plus swap your sword from one hand to the other and on top of that stab them while your back is turned on them. I am not exaggerating, use a silver sword in the first game, and do a basic combo. Twirl, small jump, switch hands, twirl, kick, twirl, stab by doing a limbo move and do some fancy waving around nonstop which takes about five times as much effort as the stab itself, which looks like a very friendly poke. Is this a game about fighting or a ballet?!

    They should just copy Batman AA. That had the best fighting system I’ve seen in a long time.

    • jplayer01 says:

      It’s about a ballet. I’m very surprised at how you didn’t catch that during the game. Big woosh, I guess.

    • FD says:

      “The elven swordsman and poet Nissail created it from his observations of wild cats, especially ocelots. The style favours speed and agility over strength of blows. The Fiery Dancer affords the opponent no time to strike. As Nissail wrote, “The ideal Swordsman is a flame that can not be hurt and inflicts wounds each time it is touched.” This style holds sway among the elven aristocracy.”
      http://witcher.wikia.com/wiki/Witcher_fighting_styles#Fast_Style

      Why can’t it be both?

  17. Pijama says:

    I didn’t get along very well with the first, but this sequel is looking neat.

  18. chickdigger802 says:

    oh yea, how’s the loading in the 2nd game? The first game had loading screens around every door which gets a bit annoying when you have to do delivery boy missions (which does seem to be most of them).

    • Oneironaut says:

      According to an interview, the first Witcher had 700 load screens, and the second has 4. I would call that a significant improvement. Basically you’ll only have them in-between chapters now.

    • chickdigger802 says:

      oh, that is pretty awesome xD

      I think i read that interview wrong and thought it had 4 different loading screen ‘art’ now.

      This is so much more awesome =)

  19. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Something bugs me about The Witcher 2. It’s the reverse Dragon Age effect. People decided that Dragon Age 2 was crap before it was released, and carried that preconception through to post-release (no matter how you feel about whether the game was objectively bad, this is true).

    With this game, people have decided that it’s going to be OMGAWESOME before it’s released, and so I can’t trust people’s opinions post-release on whether to get it. People said The Witcher was awesome, but when I got that it turned out to be the worst “RPG” I’ve ever played. And what bugs me is I really don’t know why people have the blinkers on for The Witcher.

    • Thule says:

      Dragon Age 2 was received badly because it was telegraphed quite early by BioWare that they were going to make changes that their original Dragon Age fans wouldn’t be happy with. Then they added some terrible marketing to it and released a demo which turned many people off off the game.

      CD Projekt has made only one game which was great and therefore they have a flawless track record. They’re currently releasing a sequel to one of the best RPG’s of the decade(In my opinion) and are improving it’s strengths and removing/changing it’s flaws.

      That’s why people’s reactions are different.

    • Wizardry says:

      What’s funny is that BioWare made people think that Dragon Age: Origins was actually a good CRPG by releasing an even worse sequel. Perhaps The Witcher 2 will do the opposite, but by being a better game rather than a better CRPG.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I loved the first Witcher for having the most interesting take on high fantasy I’ve ever come across. I also really enjoyed the way monster hunting was handled, and thought the alchemy was a nice touch to make Geralt really feel like a professional. So I guess it all boils down to atmosphere and setting for me; I didn’t necessarily care all that much about the main character and his affairs, but I was constantly in awe of the world he lived in.

  20. sebmojo says:

    Big Murray, if you hate the Witcher (and don’t worry, there’s no shame in being wrong) why on earth would you expect to love its sequel?

    And remember that expectations for the first DA:O were actually pretty low after an appalling marketing campaign. It gained its fans by being really good. As did the first Witcher. Marketing has a very limited effect on peoples’ views of a game, once its been released.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      Sorry, sebmojo … there’s also no shame at all in being a self-righteous fanboy. But it doesn’t help those of us who are trying to objectively figure out whether to spend our money.

      A sequel is more than possible of fixing the problems of its progenitor. Whether it does or not … is impossible to tell, because people like you seem to be blind to the glaring flaws in the first game, and thus I don’t know where to turn for an objective opinion.

    • sebmojo says:

      And what are those flaws, to you? I can name a bunch of flaws with the Witcher (slow first act with terrible checkpointing at the end, slightly abstract combat, no real use for non-sword weapons), but I can do that with any game ever made. It’s still pretty damn brilliant.

      Be specific my son. Otherwise you’re no better than Wizardry with his mumbling grognarderie.

    • Wizardry says:

      Easy. A stupid combat system requiring timed clicks, a combat system that requires no tactical thought what so ever, a really poor levelling system that is way too combat focused, too many mini-games, no dialogue related skills in a dialogue heavy game, quests that can be solved in ways that that do not reflect the character you have built, a very poor variety of items and equipment including weapons and armour, hardly any statistics and derived statistics making character strengths and weaknesses minimal, a completely uninteractive world in which all you can do is run around, fight and trigger conversations in, choices in quests that are given to you in dialogue instead of requiring you to find them through your actions, one dimensional combat with regards to which potion, stance and sword type to use, terrible dialogue, embarrassingly bad “adult” themes, non-existent level design, easy end game and a bad camera.

      The Witcher was way more like an action/adventure than a CRPG because the way you build your character does not influence the way you progress through the game. Character customisation was purely combat oriented and most quest choices were through dialogue anyway, meaning combat was basically a mini-game.

    • Nick says:

      “the way you build your character does not influence the way you progress through the game. Character customisation was purely combat oriented”

      Unlike the Wizardry series then.

      Oh wait.

    • sebmojo says:

      Thanks Wizardry – that’s a solid list. I disagree with many, but I won’t argue with you as it’s really a matter of taste.

      This interests me though: The Witcher was way more like an action/adventure than a CRPG because the way you build your character does not influence the way you progress through the game.

      So Deus Ex and FO3 are more CRPGs than Baldur’s Gate and Ultima 4?

      Were I you, I’d stick with ‘it’s not to my taste (for these entirely legitimate reasons)’ rather than drawing these broad definitional lines.

      The Witcher gives you a major ability to influence the game by the decisions you make, while allowing you minor leeway to decide the kind of Geralt you are by how you develop your skills.

    • malkav11 says:

      If you hated the first Witcher, I would recommend steering well clear of the sequel unless you hear specifically that your issues with it have been addressed. If you loved it, like I did, well, then it’s a logical preorder. I don’t really see what the problem is. Personally, I rather hope that it turns out to be a game you continue to hate, because “fixing” a sequel so that it appeals to people who hated the original is madness. (Unless it sold incredibly poorly, I suppose, but then you’re mad to be making a sequel at all. I don’t see a Daikatana 2 coming out anytime soon, do you?) It’s one of the several missteps DA2 made, to my mind.

    • Wizardry says:

      Unlike the Wizardry series then.

      Oh wait.

      Yes, but Wizardry had next to no dialogue to begin with. If you have no dialogue then you don’t need dialogue skills. If you include significant dialogue then you need dialogue skills. You cannot have a large portion of your game not testing your character. It makes a large portion of your game not a CRPG. It’s pretty simple. Wizardry was basically a pure combat CRPG series and it had turn-based combat and lots of combat related statistics and skills. A crap load more than The Witcher, anyway.

      Also, your characters in Wizardry did affect the way you progress through the game. If you take one of each basic type of character then you should have a party that can handle most situations. But if you take a party of single character types then your options in combat may well be limited. The fact is that the whole idea of party based CRPGs is to have specialists working as a complete whole. That’s where the concept of a fighter, mage and thief trio comes from. A character for each job. A party can, if made right, hide the deficiencies of the individual.

      You might be one of those people who think progression through the game means progression through the narrative. No. Not at all. The story in a CRPG can be as linear as a book while remaining a CRPG story. You can complete quests in different ways and experience different consequences while the story progresses in a linear fashion. That’s fine.

      So Deus Ex and FO3 are more CRPGs than Baldur’s Gate and Ultima 4?

      Why? Deus Ex and FO3 are both solo games so let’s pretend we are playing Baldur’s Gate and Ultima IV solo.

      A thief in Baldur’s Gate would progress through the game completely differently to a mage. A mage may rely on summons to tank the enemies while a thief may rely on stealthing through dungeons to the end. A mage could also get through dungeons by casting invisibility, yet a fighter could not. Dialogue skills are minimal, though. Most of the time it is purely up to the player. However, results are often based on charisma. If you check out some Baldur’s Gate walkthroughs you’ll see lots of charisma checks upon receiving quest rewards. Baldur’s Gate 2 also has some wisdom, intelligence, alignment, class and gender checks during dialogue, however minimal.

      In Deus Ex and Fallout 3 you can shoot up entire rooms of enemies with poor to average combat skills by actually being good at shooters. You can kite enemies around a bit and get them stuck behind objects easily enough. It’s also possible to do this in Baldur’s Gate, but that’s the problem with real-time (with pause) games. If Baldur’s Gate was truly turn-based then this would not be a problem. It would also be a better game.

      Ultima IV would play out completely differently if you played as a non-magic user because you would have none of the utility spells. You would need to rely on torches, you would need to manually exit dungeons, you couldn’t change the wind direction, you couldn’t heal yourself etc. However, with a party, you’re right. The game doesn’t really make enough of a distinction between characters, especially once they all get magic/mystic weapons. And this is precisely the reason why I always say that the Ultima series sits on the boundary between CRPG and adventure game. It’s also the reason why a lot of Ultima fans seem to also enjoy adventure games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      Wizardry more or less included everything I would’ve said somewhere in that list up there, while including some things I wouldn’t.

      I’d put emphasis on lack of interesting plot, ridiculously bad and non-tactical combat system, absolutely no attempt (and even worse, completely half-arsed attempts at times) to engage me emotionally with the characters, way too much monotony doing pointless tasks and running around boring areas, and worst of all … the voice-overs and the dialogue. I’m sorry, in 2007, there is just no excuse for a game to make me physically cringe in terms of how bad the dialogue and voices are. Remember that completely superfluous sex-scene with whatsherface near the beginning? I literally couldn’t believe what I was being subjected to. No game can do that in this day and age, let alone an RPG, which is meant to be based on plot and characters.

      What gets my goat is when people say it’s “a matter of taste”. Let’s call a spade a spade … these are catastrophic things for a modern RPG to be doing, let’s not say “Well, I agree with all that, but you’re still wrong to not like it. Let’s just say you have bad taste”. It’s an attitude which infuriates me.

    • sebmojo says:

      Wizardry – thanks for the reply. In the Witcher you can skill up different spells and styles of combat, so could (say) be great at big explosions and fighting mass groups of normal enemies and single powerful monsters, or you could focus on laying explosive traps and fighting strong enemies, whether mundane or supernatural. Or you can just blunder along picking stuff that looks fun.

      But you’re playing a specific guy who casts spells and fights monsters with his huge-ass swords, so I guess whatever you end up with will fit into that template.

      Big Murray – pretty much everything you mentioned was a matter of taste. Let’s just say you have bad taste, hey?

    • malkav11 says:

      The dialogue was significantly improved by the Enhanced Edition patch, by the by, and while I can’t say whether the English voice acting was improved, it now lets me select Polish voiceovers, which suit me much better. (I don’t understand a word of it, of course, but that’s what subtitles are for.)

    • Wizardry says:

      @sebmojo: Well the issue is that The Witcher is a single character game with no dialogue skills. What this means is that if you run into combat then you run into combat. If you aren’t specialised in killing groups of enemies then the game will still let you beat groups of enemies because that’s the only way you can progress and the game has to remain beatable. This is terrible because it means that developing your character in certain ways just makes certain combat scenarios quicker and potentially easier. In a multi character CRPG you can have characters that just can’t solve certain situations meaning that the player has to rely on the other characters in their party. Alternatively, you can put in non-combat skills (including dialogue skills) to allow your character to bypass or avoid situations that abuse their weaknesses. This is what Fallout does as you can make diplomats that avoid all but the most trivial combat encounters.

      In other words, The Witcher is just plain awful as a CRPG. It doesn’t have the benefit of a party and it doesn’t have the benefit of non-combat skills. Therefore every combat situations has to remain winnable regardless of the character build. Add in health regeneration between combat encounters and you get a piss easy game where character development does nothing to change the way you play the game. That’s the most fundamental aspect of CRPGs broken completely. The Witcher is closer to an action adventure game than a CRPG.

  21. Iskariot says:

    I bought the Special Edition of the first Witcher game and tried three times to get into it, but failed, mainly because of the terrible fighting mechanics. Perhaps I will give this one another chance. This game seems to be improved considerably.

    • Werthead says:

      I bought THE WITCHER in 2007 when it came out, but the load times sent me scurrying off. I got the Enchanced Edition download and finally got back into it in the summer of 2009, got to about 85-90% of the way through the game and lost the will to live. I think my hatred of alchemy in fantasy games put me at a disadvantage, since everything was kicking my arse due to my refusal to spend time searching for plants for buffs and heals.

      Finally, I thought I’d lost my saved games forever in a Windows reinstall, but then I found them in the My Documents folder. That’s made me ponder if it’s a sign I should just finish the damned thing off.

  22. Mattressi says:

    I can usually look past this, but for some reason it really stands out in the video for me – does anyone else stop and think “how the bloody bollocks is that thin sword cutting through plate mail”? Honestly, normally I’m fine with it (like in M&B), but I think it might be the excessive gore that makes it look so damned ridiculous in the trailer. Honestly, even the biggest, baddest sword couldn’t cut through plate mail; it’d certainly knock around the guy wearing it and potentially knock them out, but if the sword doesn’t pierce the armour (which it really can’t on a swing – maybe on a really hard half-sword thrust) it doesn’t pierce the skin, which means no blood (especially not that much!) should come out. I mean, those guys might as well be not even wearing armour!

    Now I’ll crawl back into my hole and stop trying to argue for realism in a game with magic and monsters. Honestly, it’s not meant to be an argument, just an observation about a pet peeve which I’m wondering if anyone else has.

    • Chris D says:

      Much as I’d like to see it I think the day when we see anything approaching realistic physics in a sword fighting game is still a long way off. It’s just a lot easier to assume the blade keeps going, but you knew this already.

      I’d imagine if you were able to pierce plate armour it would be more likely on a swing than on a thrust, you have far greater mechanical advantage, and that weight is working for you, rather than against. On a thrust, you’re really looking at just muscle power, and unless you strike dead on you’re just going to glance off anyway.

      While personally I can buy a suitably large sword piercing plate. ( I reckon it’s tricky, but not impossible) I draw the line at cutting straight through multiple opponents like they weren’t there, at least, not if they’re also wearing plate armour.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      The problem has always been that the favored weapons against armored opponents where never the sword. Mauls, bladed and spiked polearms, morning stars, certain types of flails, etc, were. Neither heavily armored combatants were so common as in games. Or swords, for that matter!

      A good game reenactment would first really make metal armor very, very, rare. And on the case of heavily armored opponents it would introduce some form of mechanism that could make swords and other relatively small sharp weapons much less effective.

      edit: although I hear some daggers, and particularly stilettos, were specifically designed to bypass armor plates. Mostly they would be used between the metal plates, but some were strong enough they could penetrate through the metal if sufficient thrust was applied. Possibly with the help of the body weight.

    • Chris D says:

      I believe daggers were used to deliver a killing blow once your opponent was down, you’d drive it through the visor rather than trying to go straight through the breast-plate or something. But you’re right, swords are possibly the most generally effective weapon but not the best for dealing with heavy-armour.

  23. Murazor says:

    I so do plan to play this game, In fact I’ve already pre-ordered it from GoG!. I probably should buy a new rig first though; unless someone can assure me that my Intel E6400 + GF 8800GT combo is able to give me a satisfying performance. And I doubt it :/

  24. RegisteredUser says:

    Sure, but is there a “grab titties” button?

  25. ChowTOdust says:

    I bought this game a long time ago. :P

  26. cool1990 says:

    It looks gorgeous,just too much SSAO

  27. Wizardry says:

    .

  28. Ergates_Antius says:

    Edit: wasn’t supposed to appear here….