Previews

The Witcher

CDProjekt's fantasy romp has the potential to be one of the surprise RPGs of 2007

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To spice up the combat, Geralt has six different fighting styles which are appropriate to certain situations. One style, for example, might be better when faced with multiple opponents, one against fast-attacking opponents while another best against slower, more heavily-armoured enemies. Sadly, in our eyes at least, it appears you only ever get to wield one of two types of sword in the game at any one time during fights so there's not much variety there - and we've been told there's very little magic loot in the game too - but alchemy will throw in some interesting options.

Thanks to his potion-making skills, Geralt can whip up all kinds of interesting brews, ranging from health potions to elixirs of night-vision to stat-boosting liquids. But here's the deal - Geralt has a toxicity level and can only down a certain number of potions at any one time; too many results in him being poisoned. Naturally, you concoct the potions with ingredients collected, bosses in the game dropping unique items that can be used to create especially potent and powerful brews.

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BOSHING THE BOSS
There are around 20 bosses in the game all told, each of them requiring different tactics to defeat according to Madej. We were privy to one boss battle during the demonstration, a fight with a creature called a Zeugl, a big nasty brute reminiscent of the kraken in the fight outside Moria in the first The Lord of the Rings movie. Knee-deep in water in a darkly lit subterranean complex and joined by an NPC, Geralt rained sword blows on the main body of the creature while the NPC tackled its wriggling green tentacles.

It was nasty, so nasty in fact that our hero had to down a health potion to stay on his feet. While our CDProjekt man took a brute force approach to defeating the boss, he explained that he could have used Geralt's fighting style geared toward tackling multiple enemies and took on the tentacles - presumably while the NPC attacked the main body.

SO IN CONCLUSION...
Although there a several questions still to be answered about The Witcher - for example, exactly how prolific is that decisions-affect-storyline feature in the game? - we've come away thinking that if CDProjekt can truly achieve its goals, then we could well be in for one of the RPG surprises of the year. Out September, if you're a fan of the genre then it's definitely a game to keep a close eye on.

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