GB Feature: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Preview

After spending a considerable amount of time with a limited press build of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, we're pleased to bring you an extensive four-page preview that covers the soon-to-be-released sequel's character progression, combat, alchemy, crafting, and dialogue systems, as well as its amazing visuals and NPC interactions.
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.
I've also uploaded nearly 170 high resolution images showcasing much of what you'll experience up to the end of Act 1. Enjoy!