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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Preview

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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Preview

Preview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 10 May 2011, 11:33:58

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Gamebanshee provide an in-depth hands-on preview of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Some samples:

Before I get into the more intricate details, I can't help but spend a little time on just how amazing the game looks. With the settings cranked up to "High" (the "Ultra" settings had some instability issues in the early build I played), the characters, buildings, and environments all look spectacular. The amount of painstaking detail that went into crafting the early battle landscapes, the La Valette Castle courtyard, the town of Flotsam and its wilderness, and other such areas is simply staggering. With the addition of even more realistic day/night transitions and weather effects (blurred vision during torrential rain, anyone?) than we saw in the first game, The Witcher 2 is easily the best-looking RPG I've ever played. And I say that without any hesitation.
And this one:

Alchemy, Crafting, and Encumbrance

The alchemy and crafting systems in The Witcher 2 are quite impressive and have considerably more depth than what we saw in the first title. Before you can start tinkering with either system, you'll need to track down some formulae (for alchemy) or some diagrams (for crafting) so that Geralt has the understanding necessary to create the new items. These are purchased from merchants for the most part, but you'll also pick up a few of the better ones as quest rewards or rare loot. Once you have a formula or diagram in hand, the specifics on what you'll need to craft the item and what the item's statistics will be once finished are automatically added to your journal for easy viewing. Concocting new potions, oils, or bombs is done via the game's meditation menu, while crafting must be done through a blacksmith or another merchant with the necessary tools.

By the time I had reached the end of Act 1, I had picked up nearly eighty different formulae and diagrams, and that had me ransacking every container I found in search of ingredients (using Geralt's medallion will highlight all lootable containers in the immediate vicinity, and because ingredients are so important, you'll be using it a lot). Some ingredients are very rare or even unique, such as the skin you're able to acquire from the kayran I mentioned previously. This forces you to make tough choices, as some diagrams call for the same one-shot ingredient in your inventory. Using the kayran skin as an example, I could choose between using it to craft a very nice armor upgrade called a "Kayran Carapace Reinforcement" or I could use it for some "Kayran Carapace Armor" that had the largest damage reduction bonus of any armor I'd yet seen in the game. Decisions, decisions.

While the categorized inventory screen makes it easy to view all of your acquired formulae, diagrams, and ingredients, you'll no doubt find yourself encumbered on many occasions as you leave a sleeping NPC's home with every piece of timber, can of oil, and roll of cloth he had lying around waiting to be pilfered. Your formulae and diagrams only weigh a tenth of a pound each, but something like an endrega hide will set you back two pounds for every one that you round up. With less than two hundred pounds to spare beyond the weight of your own equipment (without the "Strong Back" acquired ability, anyway), it doesn't take long before Geralt is dragging his feet. Hopefully there will be some sort of "stash" where we can temporarily store ingredients farther into the game, but up until the end of Act 1, I didn't see any good way to manage my encumbrance other than opting to drop excess ingredients that would vanish as soon as I left the area.
Sounds quite promising, actually.
Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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