The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Preview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Namco Bandai
Developer:CD Projekt RED
Release Date:2011-05-17
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
The Magic tree consists of talents that can be chosen to pick up new signs or to enhance the ones already available to you. For example, Geralt starts the game with the Aard sign, but he can pick up an early talent like "Enhanced Aard Sign" to unlock Aard Sign Level II and therefore increase its range by a couple of meters. Farther down the talent tree, you can pick up "Magical Sense" to unlock the Heliotrope sign, which grants you the ability to generate adrenaline through sign usage. Other talents like "Energy Flow" increase the chance of causing critical effects when using signs, so they're a good choice if you find yourself tossing around Igni quite a bit in battle.

If you intend to use a lot of bombs, traps, and potions, then the Alchemy line will probably end up with a majority of your talent points. For example, the "Alchemist" talent increases bomb and trap damage and the "Catalysis" talent increases the positive effects of all imbibed potions while also decreasing their negative effects. Furthermore, a talent like "Taster" is something of a necessity for would-be alchemists, as it allows Geralt to consume an additional potion at any given time.

Regardless of how you intend to play the game, you're going to be using Geralt's swords on a consistent basis, and that's where the Swordsmanship tree comes in. The "Precision" talent increases the chance of your opponents suffering from a bleeding effect when hit, or you can opt for the "Sudden Death" talent for a small chance that any of Geralt's sword strikes might instantly kill a struck foe. Other useful additions include "Combat Acumen" to unlock adrenaline- charged group finishing moves and "Invincible" to increase Geralt's vitality while also reducing incoming damage.

To add another interesting element to the talent trees, certain talents also have the option to attach mutagens to them. For example, with each talent point that you allocate to "Invincible", you can attach a mutagen to the talent (up to a maximum of two, obviously) for an added effect or characteristic. Mutagens randomly drop from slain creatures and their potency varies across lesser, normal, and greater tiers. As such, a Lesser Critical Effects Mutagen might be a nice addition to one of your Swordsmanship talents or to complement your sign usage, but the Greater version of the same mutagen is obviously more desirable.


Once again, Geralt must choose between his steel or silver sword with each battle that he finds himself in, with the former being the better option for humans and the latter a good choice for monsters. Combat consists of swift attacks, heavy attacks, blocks, dodges, parries, ripostes (if you've unlocked them with the proper talent), the occasional throwing knife, and sign usage. With each successful attack, Geralt builds up adrenaline which then allows him to carry out flashier maneuvers that are chained together and far more potent. Chaining together swift and heavy strikes isn't difficult to do, but it does take some practice as it's entirely dependent on getting the timing right with your mouse clicks (while also avoiding taking any damage yourself). Misclick once and your chain of attacks is over.

Where combat gets a bit tricky is when Geralt is overwhelmed by multiple thugs or beasts. Even if your timing is impeccable, getting hit with a single melee or ranged weapon will force Geralt to immediately stop whatever action he was taking. It can be a little jarring at times, and there's usually a slight delay before you can start chaining attacks together again. I could usually manage to deal with two opponents at once relatively well, but fighting three or more enemies in close range is practically suicide on normal difficulty. If you get surrounded or knocked down, the barrage of incoming attacks will likely be lethal.