The Witcher Preview

The guys at ActionTrip have whipped up an extensive two-page preview of CD Projekt's highly anticipated RPG, The Witcher.
The meat of the game definitely lies in combat and facing groups of rather determined enemies. From what we've seen, the AI is shaping up quite well, making your foes think carefully before stepping into combat with the main character. For instance, if a ranged opponent, like an archer, sees you approaching, he'll swiftly seek out higher ground and attempt to pierce you with arrows from a distance. But being a witcher, you should be more than adept at handling such situations. It was pointed out that witchers are mutants and therefore a lot more agile than ordinary humans. They are gifted at combat and posses many skills that make them formidable warriors. Geralt can master the mighty useful skill of deflecting enemy arrows with his sword (which sort of pays homage to Star Wars in medieval fashion - in a way, it's similar to deflecting lasers with a lightsaber). It sets off a unique ambiance, very different from what we're used to seeing in today's action-RPGs. Next to his cool sword-swaying deflection skill, Geralt can also emit a magical sphere around him to stop oncoming arrows. Since we broached the subject of magic, you should know that the game features five magical powers, called signs: Aard (telekinetic blast), Igni (flame strike), Quen (the abovementioned protective shield), Yrden (magical trap) and Axii (mind influence). What's more to the point, defying miscellaneous creatures requires you to perform a particular strike and apply specific swordfighting styles depending on the enemy's origin and its basic characteristics. Silver and steel fighting styles represent sub-styles in combat. If, by chance, you come across a werewolf or similar entities, using the silver style will, understandably, induce greater damage than resorting to the typical steel technique.