Kicking Ass With The Witcher 3's Complex Combat

In case you want to take a closer look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's combat system, you might want to give the latest article from IGN's IGN First coverage of the title a read, given that's its subject. While the video contained within the article seems to focus more on the spectacular animations and brutal gore, the write-up offers a solid overview of the mechanical details. It sounds like CD Projekt RED is taking an iterative approach over The Witcher 2's combat mechanics, rather than going for an overhaul:

Wild Hunt is certainly faster than From Software's action games, and easier, but the comparable attention to every movement requires more skill-based brawling than either previous Witcher entry. I didn't give enough credit to enemy weaknesses early on, and it burned me later. Lathering Geralt's blades with various oils allows him to inflict additional damage depending on the kind of creature he's chopping up. In The Witcher 2, I rarely used these, because I felt confident enough in my ability to get behind a monster and end it. Alchemical solutions were useful, but didn't seem important. In Wild Hunt, it's almost essential when facing off against stronger foes, especially on the highest (Dark) difficulty. When leveling up and cashing in my ability points, I'd often tailor my upgrades to match my mutagen -- a huge character mod that amplifies bonuses when paired with the appropriate skill-tree upgrade.

Increasing the effect of Geralt's modified abilities, which come in the form of upgrades and add-ons, is similarly crucial. Embedding Shattered Cores and Runestones into armors and weapons can increase the chance to set victims on fire, to knock them down for an instant-kill execution, improve Stamina, and increase the effectiveness of Geralt's spellcasting Signs.

Balancing Stamina is particularly important. Depleting the opposition's Stamina is usually as useful as cutting down their vitality. Geralt can perform grisly executions (typically dismembering or disemboweling the opponent) on exhausted enemies. In group battles, letting groups drain their own Stamina and striking when the moment is right makes difficult situations much more manageable. Evasion is now a strategy, rather than simply a means of survival.