The Witcher 2 (Combat, and YOU!)

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After I got past the Prologue, which is a little off-putting because of the amount of exposition and dense lore conveyed in an overabundance of cinematics, I've started to really enjoy The Witcher 2. I've arrived at the town of Flotsam and explored its surrounding forests. There are lots of side quests and fun character interactions. And I've finally gotten a handle on combat, which is challenging but rewarding. I thought I'd share some tips to make your journey in Temeria a more pleasant one—or, at least, a less frustrating one.

- The Witcher 2 is intentionally difficult so expect to die a lot. Save earlier and often.

- One way the game distinguishes itself from other RPGs is that you cannot heal yourself during combat. Instead, your health regenerates automatically. However, it does not regenerate fast enough to do you much good in combat. There are potions that will boost the speed of your Vitality recovery, but you can't drink potions during combat.

- To drink a potion, you have to hold LB and press A to Meditate. This brings up the menu where you can make and drink potions. As I stated, you can't do this during combat. Every potion you drink raises your toxicity. When your toxicity is at its maximum, you can't drink any more potions. This is just to prevent you from making your character temporarily invincible. Three is the most number of potions you can drink. (Four if you unlock the Taster ability.)

- So, you already know to prepare for encounters by drinking potions AHEAD of the battle. What else? Don't leave your back exposed. Attacks to the back take a LOT of health off. (I think 200%, or double the damage, because the Position ability knocks that down to 150% and 100%.) You want to use the B button constantly to roll away. This is important so I'll repeat it: Use B to dodge! If you get really surrounded, and it's an option, there's no shame in running away and living to fight another day.

- Bombs and traps are great at dealing damage and crowd control. First, buy a diagram from a merchant. Go into your inventory (Select) and read the diagram instructions to learn what materials you need. Although Geralt can brew his own potions, he needs a crafting NPC to make bombs and traps. (I use the dwarf in Flotsam.) Second, when you have the bombs and traps in your inventory, select them and use/equip them. This puts them in your "pockets" where you can find them during combat. Third, press LB in combat to see your equipped traps and bombs (and daggers too, if you have that ability unlocked), select the one you want to use with the A button, and quit out of that pop-up menu. Fourth, press RB to set a trap or drop a bomb. If you hold RB you'll throw the bomb.

- You need materials to make potions, traps, and bombs. Grab EVERYTHING all the time. You can even steal from people's houses. There are no morality or thieving mechanics in this game, so just go crazy with the looting. Then, store it with the NPC who sits behind the bar in the inn in Flotsam. There doesn't appear to be any limit on how much junk you can store. After a fight, click the Right Thumbstick to use your medallion. This lets you loot corpses, and it also highlights everything salvageable in the area.

- Geralt has two swords. The steel sword (LEFT on the D-pad) is for humans, elves, dwarves. The silver sword (RIGHT on the D-pad) is for monsters. Learning to use the appropriate sword will make combat easier.

- I guess we should cover other combat commands too. X is strong blow. A is quick blow. (I like to jam A while I have an enemy up against a wall or rock because they don't seem to know how to get away.) LB, in addition to bringing up your pockets, lets you select Signs and Y casts them. (I'll talk about Signs in a second.) Right Trigger blocks—what the game calls parrying. When you parry, you lose a point of Vigor. If you try to parry when you have no Vigor, you'll still parry... but you'll absorb some of the damage. (You will want to rank up the Parrying ability in the Training path.) Later, you'll be able to unlock the Riposte ability. (The in-game Tutorial makes it sound like you start with this ability—you don't.) To Riposte, you Parry and when an icon flashes on the enemy, you hit A. Riposte is a fancy way of saying "counterattack."

- Signs are spells, and they consume points of Vigor. The Signs I use the most are Quen and Aard. Because you can't heal yourself during combat, preparation is key. I've already written about drinking potions prior to engagement and bringing along bombs and traps. You can also cast Quen. For thirty seconds, Quen absorbs all damage. If you upgrade Quen, it will reflect 50% of damage back to the enemy. (Note: you don't regenerate Vigor when Quen is active.) Aard is basically a fancy stun, and sometimes you're rewarded with a cool killing animation if you attack an opponent stunned with Aard. (Final note: Yrden puts magical traps on the ground—necessary for a battle against the Krayan.)

That's all for now. If you have any more questions about the game, please ask and I'll try my best to answer them.


  1. GrimJack352's Avatar
    Thanks for the insight, Sheriff. Will definitely be getting this. (After I finish Skyrim)