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Game of the Week: How to Play 'The Witcher 2' While You Wait for 'The Witcher 3'

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One of 2015's most-anticipated video games is complete, though developer CD Projekt Red wants to spend a few more months squashing bugs to ensure that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has an optimal launch in May. The latest installment in the Witcher series requires no knowledge of the previous games to enjoy its story, though The Witcher 2 is a great primer for those who can't wait to start witching.

While its not Dark Souls level of difficulty, the Witcher 2's combat system will overwhelm those who refuse to do more than mash buttons. It can be off-putting to get railed early on by enemies that will be skill-point fodder later, but spending time with the tutorial in the game's enhanced version or using this guide can put newcomers on the path to sinking about 40 hours into The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

Those who take part in the RPG portray Geralt of Rivia, a witcher, which means he kills monsters for a living. It's set in a dark fantasy world with a medieval feel to it, created by the fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski.

Swordplay

So The Witcher 2 requires a lot of button mashing, though it's the purposeful kind instead of "hope enemies drop from the button spamming." Rolling is extremely important to getting Geralt into place for high-damage attacks and out of position from big blows.

Rolling is the quickest way to dodge attacks and blocking is most efficient way to repel them. There's also usually a split second after blocking an opponent's attack when he, she, it or they will be open to a counter.

One last note on swordplay. The steel sword works best on humans and the sliver sword is meant to attack monsters -- expect to lose a fight is the wrong sword is drawn.

Signs

Geralt's magic is just as important as his swords and each of his signs have a place in the field. But the Yrden and the Quen are the two go-to signs.

Casting the Yrden spell traps enemies in their tracks, leaving them vulnerable to strikes. The Quen sign protects Geralt with a temporary force field.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Crafting potions becomes increasingly important as the game rolls along. Geralt should always stay stocked with several potions, because some areas will almost require them.

When gearing up for a big fight, take a sip of something that gives Geralt an edge. The right potion depends on the player's style.

Geralt can also craft oils that gives his blade a bit more bite and he can create bombs that will make the enemies hit the floor.

Level Up

Geralt can upgrade all of his abilities by investing points into the game's four skills trees. The trees enable Geralt to improve on the skills covered in the aforementioned sections. It is best to match abilities with play style.  

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