Witcher 2 guide: Get rich, grab the best weapons, never lose in combat
17th Apr 2012 | 16:11
The Witcher 2's eye-popping mix of blood and boobs scored a massive 9.2 in our huge review. Now, with the game out this week, it's time to arm you with The Knowledge: how to watch the money roll in faster, how to destroy your enemies - whether human or monster - and how to grab the best loot.
1. HOW TO... GET RICH QUICKER
There are a ton of items that can be looted as you move through areas: in chests, on bodies of defeated enemies or just lying around on the ground. Grab everything you can and regularly visit Merchants as everything can be sold to increase your Orens, the currency used in the game.
Your carrying capacity is generous but limited, so if you find yourself over encumbered before you're able to trade then check your inventory and drop the items with the lowest coin-to-weight ratio - you can always come back and collect them later. Herbs are especially profitable as they are found almost everywhere, weigh nothing and are worth 1-2 Orens each.
By checking the noticeboards in towns and camps you can collect contracts to undertake. These contracts are side missions that involve killing a certain number of monsters in an area, and by returning to the relevant contact upon completion of the task you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.
2. HOW TO... GET THE BEST WEAPONS AND ARMOUR EARLIER
If you're looting and picking up everything you find on your travels (which you should be) then keep checking the stats of the weapons and armour you're carrying. Make sure you have the strongest items equipped and sell off the rest when you next trade.
Look out for crafting diagrams for new weapons and armour, which can be found during quests or purchased from Craftsmen. You can then get a Craftsman to create the new item for you as long as you have the required materials - if you don't, then check if they have them for sale as this may save you searching around for them.
Check equipped weapon and armour items in your inventory to see if they have small dots next to them as this means their stats can be upgraded, with the number of dots showing how may slots are available for this. Reinforcement pieces improve armour and runes can augment swords. To upgrade an item, highlight it then choose the Enhance option and select the enhancement to add to it.
3. HOW TO... BECOME UNBEATABLE IN COMBAT
The best way to succeed in combat is to be prepared: drink potions and apply blade coatings before battles, as you can't use potions once a fight has started. This is particularly important when you are up against bosses - if you find yourself fighting one without first using a potion, you need to restart the fight and immediately hit LB, which should allow you to choose Meditate and equip the potion if you're quick enough.
When confronting enemies the best approach is to keep rolling away to dodge attacks and then countering. Blocking and parrying can deal a reasonable amount of damage if that skill has been chosen on the Swordmaster development path, but don't rely solely on blocking as it only reduces damage received rather that eliminating it.
When fighting multiple enemies it is imperative that you don't get trapped in the middle of them, otherwise your health will soon be sapped by attacks from all sides. Run or roll away to escape, then focus on eliminating them one at a time to quickly reduce their numbers. Using traps or the Yrden Sign can slow the enemies down, making it easier to pick them off individually.
4. HOW TO... MAKE USE OF YOUR SIGNS
Geralt has five Signs at his disposal, all of which have different effects and uses. Casting signs costs vigour, which regenerates over time and can be speeded up by using certain potions.
Casts a force push that knocks over or stuns enemies, which is useful for separating foes if they are attacking in a group. Outside of combat it can be used to clear barriers and reach previously inaccessible areas.
Generates a magic trap where you are currently standing, which can hold enemies in place if lured onto it. Once trapped you can circle round behind them and inflict extra damage.
Produces a burst of flames that deals a decent amount of damage to enemies. It can also ignite them, which causes panic and can separate groups of foes.
Creates a shield that makes you temporarily invulnerable, which is useful when facing groups of difficult enemies. Vigour does not regenerate while Quen is in effect so you should cast any other Signs you want to use before activating it.
Uses mind control on enemies so that they fight for you and attack other foes. You have to hold down the cast button for several seconds to successfully activate this Sign so be wary of other nearby foes when using it.
5. HOW TO... BEST YOUR ENEMIES
Tailoring your approach to different enemies is the key to success in combat. Your silver sword should be used against monsters as it deals much more damage to them than your steel sword, which should be reserved for fighting human (and humanoid) foes. When you arrive in Flotsam at the start of Chapter 1 you will have lost your original silver sword, so make it your priority to head to a Craftsman and get a replacement made before leaving town.
As you encounter and fight different types of enemies your knowledge of them will improve, unlocking information about their behaviour, strengths and weaknesses. To access this data go to the Character screen and hit Y to view your Attributes, then select the Knowledge tab. Choose your enemy type, then use the information given to gain an edge in combat.
6. HOW TO... UTILISE THE WITCHER MEDALLION
By pressing the left stick, Geralt uses his Witcher medallion to scan the surrounding area. This reveals nearby items that can be collected and also highlights any enemies and traps. Do this as often as you can when entering new areas to avoid being caught unaware.
The medallion is shown in the top left corner of screen and will pulse, along with an audible chime, when you are near a Circle of Power. Keep an eye out for this as scanning in these areas will reveal the Circle of Power as a red aura, and entering will provide a stat boost that lasts for the next five minutes. These are often located near boss battles so have a look around for them before heading into a big fight.