The Witcher 2 and combat

Posted by Sunjammer (881 posts) -

As an epic fantasy RPG it's awesome. Production values second to none, cool and deep story, everything i'd normally want from a game like it. Now all CD Projekt have to do is fire whoever motherfucker is responsible for the combat design and balance, and everything in the world is perfect.


Seriously, how the fuck did they think this game could get away with this unresponsive random nonsense? There are specific gimmick fights where the weaknesses of the fighting system don't piss you in the face so much, and those are enjoyable. However fights like the one against Letho belong in a totally different game. One made by wild, dirty apes who hate freedom. Sure, let's tie blocking to a limited resource. That makes sense. Sure, let's offer a lock on system, but who cares if the camera stays on whoever you're locked on to, right? Who cares! While we're at it, let's have whatever attack comes out when you hit a button be determined by so many variables that it's practically random.

Whenever The Witcher 2 decides to bust out its fighting system like it's proud of it, the game melts into utter, infuriating garbage. It's such a shame. It's like the most gorgeous, intelligent girl, only she's got tourettes. 
#1 Posted by Sunjammer (881 posts) -

As an epic fantasy RPG it's awesome. Production values second to none, cool and deep story, everything i'd normally want from a game like it. Now all CD Projekt have to do is fire whoever motherfucker is responsible for the combat design and balance, and everything in the world is perfect.


Seriously, how the fuck did they think this game could get away with this unresponsive random nonsense? There are specific gimmick fights where the weaknesses of the fighting system don't piss you in the face so much, and those are enjoyable. However fights like the one against Letho belong in a totally different game. One made by wild, dirty apes who hate freedom. Sure, let's tie blocking to a limited resource. That makes sense. Sure, let's offer a lock on system, but who cares if the camera stays on whoever you're locked on to, right? Who cares! While we're at it, let's have whatever attack comes out when you hit a button be determined by so many variables that it's practically random.

Whenever The Witcher 2 decides to bust out its fighting system like it's proud of it, the game melts into utter, infuriating garbage. It's such a shame. It's like the most gorgeous, intelligent girl, only she's got tourettes. 
#2 Edited by Tennmuerti (7723 posts) -

Learn to play better.
Sorry to be so harsh, but really, once you learn how the flow of combat works and think about tactics it's not hard.
Swinging a 2h sword takes time and inertia. What feels unresponsive to you now is just a mater of finding your timing.
Mastering the system is very rewarding.

Not sure I understand your problem with blocking. Would you like blocking to be unlimited so you never get hit?
If you don't like to lock on don't use it. You don't have to be locked on to hit a guy, just switch your targes on the fly. I honestly have not used lock on feature once during the entire game. It's an option not a requirement.
Letho is not hard once you understand how to fight him. Go read a thread that has already been made regarding this fight. I offered very easy tips to beat him.
What comes out when you hit a button is not random at all. You use light or heavy attacks. As you perform more swings Geralt gains inertia and starts to swing faster and faster. Start with light attacks follow up with heavy.

Hope this addresses all of your issues with combat.

#3 Edited by Rhaknar (5940 posts) -

Lethos? you mean the fight where you just need to get him to half health, which you can do by spamming bombs and the TK push+heavy sword strikes? ok then...

#4 Posted by Evilsbane (4340 posts) -

I feel your pain with the Letho fight dude, but if you actually slow down and learn his patterns it Isn't hard, the only thing about the combat system I dislike is hitting something while their back is turned and they block or nothing happens..besides that it is one of the best I have ever played.

#5 Edited by RIDEBIRD (1229 posts) -
@Tennmuerti said:

Hope this addresses all of your issues with combat.

It doesn't, since the game is has terrible pacing in regards to difficulty. Why is the game starting out super hard and then just being more and more easy? I'm about five hours in and I can already start to mash down most nekkers and shit, where as a few hours before they we're completely unkillable unless I rolled around like an idiot. Sure, you gain power, but it's not very rewarding when everything starts out super hard and becomes more and more easy.
#6 Edited by Tennmuerti (7723 posts) -
@Ertard said:

@Tennmuerti said:

Hope this addresses all of your issues with combat.

It doesn't, since the game is has terrible pacing in regards to difficulty. Why is the game starting out super hard and then just being more and more easy? I'm about five hours in and I can already start to mash down most nekkers and shit, where as a few hours before they we're completely unkillable unless I rolled around like an idiot. Sure, you gain power, but it's not very rewarding when everything starts out super hard and becomes more and more easy.
Why what I posted would address your issue with combat?
Considering I was not addressing your issue in the first place, but that of a different person who had a different problem. (having a general problem with the fighting system, which you don't appear to have)


As for your issue (because I'm not a dick to leave you with the above):
All new combat mechanics systems are hard at first until you figure them out. This goes for any case where a completely new concept is introduced that you have not encountered before at all. Which is what the Witchers 2 system is.
Once you spend time with it, of course it gets easier, like you yourself said, why would it not? Seems logical.
If you are to restart the game now with all the knowledge you gained in the 5 hours it would be much easier too. Since you would not have to dodge all the time when playing smart even in the beginning, as signs and consumables can alleviate that.
#7 Posted by emem (1955 posts) -

I think it's the best combat system of any RPG I've ever played, to be honest. They could have made it a little bit faster by making it possible to do things while running, but it's already great the way it is. And when you start fighting in the 2nd chapter with your new abilites it's wayyyy easier.. almost too easy on normal. 

#8 Posted by CaLe (3678 posts) -

I wouldn't change anything about the combat system, apart from the amount you need to roll around. The actual sword play feels great.

#9 Posted by amir90 (2134 posts) -

I feel your pain regarding that fight.
However I beat him on hard, however.

It took me 15 tries.

However, the combat is quite easy now in chapter 2, especially after you get lots of talents in swordplay.

#10 Posted by Sunjammer (881 posts) -

Play Ninja Gaiden or any other modern character action game systems which The Witcher 2 obviously has aspirations towards. By comparison, TW2 is unresponsive, clunky and poor. There's no reason to be apologetic, because it is clearly, obviously flawed to anyone who has ever played a melee action game.

Blocking should ALWAYS be unlimited, because it's a PASSIVE action. Combat systems get around blocks with block breaking attacks or flanking. There is no good reason why blocking wouldn't, for instance, just stop light attacks outright and send you into a stagger from a heavy attack. Blocking should be as consistent as any other attack move. Instead, you're sat constantly eyeing the top left corner to check your vigor *mid combat*. It's crazy. Real time combat needs to be much, much simpler than this.

My one argument is that if you're exposing players to punishing melee combat, you better make damn sure the systems are intuitive and responsive. TW2 fails outright in this regard, and I honestly don't feel the need to master a system so mired in gamey idiosyncrasies. 

I love the game to death, but don't apologize for its shitty combat. If you think it's a great system, you really do have to play the games it tries to ape to see how far off target it is. 
#11 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1229 posts) -
@Sunjammer: I totally agree with this. Ninja Gaiden is also a very hard game, but you always feel like it was your fault - not that block that wouldn't work and killed you.

@Tennmuerti: Sure, but it should be done with a bit more handholding and also a better tutorial if you ask me. The system is pretty great, but it still starts out way too hard. It would be a bit easier if I started over, but I still couldn't choose to fight all of La Valettes dudes in the start for example, since I would lack the 360 degree parrying talent that makes fighting multiple enemies possible at all.

I'm sure there's plenty of you who managed that anyway - but please note that you're extremely good at this game. I'm fairly good at games and play them on hard usually, but this is a bit much for me.

#12 Posted by Doctorchimp (4063 posts) -

I play it like demon souls...and it's very manageable.

Really the beginning is brutal, but once Geralt gets leveled up he really becomes Batman in combat. Before I had kite them and pick my fights, now I just casually walk in like some sort of God. It does however have some issues with how it's presented. It gives the illusion of real time combat but dice rolls are still governing everything and I do wish Geralt's animations were smoother.

Without a doubt in mind before the next major expansion comes out they will have a combat patch, because really it's the little things that bug me and everyone else. Overall though I really like the combat and I can see what they wanted to do.

Also are we really going to compare this to Ninja Gaiden? A dedicated action game? I was on GameFAQs and people were furious because it wasn't Assassin's Creed....because that combat system is flawless....

#13 Posted by Mooqi (217 posts) -

You can jailbreak that game pretty easy. Since I don't want to ruin the fun for everyone I will put the way to make even hard difficulty a joke in spoiler tags. Seriously don't read this if you want any challenge... at all.

Saying that this is the best RPG fighting system ever is slightly over-the-top.
#14 Posted by Vitor (2789 posts) -
@Mooqi said:
You can jailbreak that game pretty easy. Since I don't want to ruin the fun for everyone I will put the way to make even hard difficulty a joke in spoiler tags. Seriously don't read this if you want any challenge... at all.

Saying that this is the best RPG fighting system ever is slightly over-the-top.
I've seen a spec tree path that pretty much forgoes the adrenaline skills so that you just unlock 10 mutagen slots.

If you add the correct mutagens to those slots, you can pretty much create a character capable of 1 hit killing all humans and severely crippling monsters with a single blow.

100% chance of all status ailments is totally viable.
#15 Posted by Mooqi (217 posts) -
@Vitor: That would not help that much in situations where you could be hit by a 100 to 0 combo by fast-hitting or down-knocking enemies. But it would certainly be a more challenging gameplay experience.
#16 Posted by Jeff (3336 posts) -

Took me awhile to pick up combat, too, and even now that I'm not having trouble with the fights, I still feel like I'm exploiting the system or something. I'm spending way too much time running circles around guys while I recharge. I suspect that once I gain a few more levels (I'm only like level 4 or so), I'll be able to deal with enemies more effectively... right?

Staff
#17 Posted by KillyDarko (1888 posts) -

Honestly, use more skill. I think the combat is awesome and thank god it's not another hack 'n slash fest!
Also, I never use the lock-on system, so I really don't understand your problem... it's not like you have to use it.

#18 Posted by Mooqi (217 posts) -

Groups have to be bombed or kited. All game. At least on hard. But combat evolves when you get access to more bombs and adrenaline skills.

#19 Edited by Cataphract1014 (1313 posts) -

I do about 15 damage.  I've been hit for 70...

Targeting system leaves something to be desired if you are near a lot of enemies.  Hacking away at one dude, and then SWITCH TARGET FOR NO REASON, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.  I still have the guy I was original attacking in the center of my screen.

Dying is like that fucking screen from Mass Effect with the slow spin.  JUST LET ME LOAD MY FUCKING SAVE.

#20 Edited by Tennmuerti (7723 posts) -
@Jeff said:

Took me awhile to pick up combat, too, and even now that I'm not having trouble with the fights, I still feel like I'm exploiting the system or something. I'm spending way too much time running circles around guys while I recharge. I suspect that once I gain a few more levels (I'm only like level 4 or so), I'll be able to deal with enemies more effectively... right?

Yes you are still very early on in the game. Level 4 is not even out of prologue yet, if I remember.
Once you get to make bombs and traps after getting to first town they will greatly help out until you get aoe skills/spells in one of the 3 leveling trees.

@Ertard

said:

@Tennmuerti: Sure, but it should be done with a bit more handholding and also a better tutorial if you ask me. The system is pretty great, but it still starts out way too hard.

With this I agree, the game could have used a bit smoother tutorial section.

@Mooqi

said:

Groups have to be bombed or kited. All game. At least on hard. But combat evolves when you get access to more bombs and adrenaline skills.

You can also use any of the signs upgraded with AoE
Bombs are just one way to go. By mid chapter 2 I was just putting up strong Quen and just massacring everybody with the sword aoe damage.

@Cataphract1014 said:
Dying is like that fucking screen from Mass Effect with the slow spin.  JUST LET ME LOAD MY FUCKING SAVE.
Hit escape as soon as you know you died and just load the game manually. It's much faster then waiting for the kill screen.
#21 Edited by Vitor (2789 posts) -
@Jeff said:

Took me awhile to pick up combat, too, and even now that I'm not having trouble with the fights, I still feel like I'm exploiting the system or something. I'm spending way too much time running circles around guys while I recharge. I suspect that once I gain a few more levels (I'm only like level 4 or so), I'll be able to deal with enemies more effectively... right?


Combat gets a lot easier as you progress but you still die pretty quickly. It wasn't until the teens that I felt confident with the system. 

   
Combat gets a lot easier as you progress but you still die pretty quickly regardless. It wasn't until the teens that I felt confident with the system. 
Bombs and traps are good against groups but try not to kill them with these items as you get no XP for trap kills. And always be picking up herbs to mix potions - they make a pretty big difference in a lot of fights if chosen well.

Make sure to get the parry ability - it makes combat against humans a lot more interesting and fun. It's basically a counter - when the lock on circle changes to a sword symbol, just tap attack (basically whenever you see an enemy start their attacking animation - think of it as similar to the counters in Batman:AA). You're invincible during the counter animation so even when surrounded it's great to break out. Combine this with the whirlwind sword ability and you can finally deal damage to more than one enemy at a time. Group fights are made a lot easier and it can help you when surrounded.
Although, as parrying pretty much relies on being able to block, you want to make sure that you have a lot of vigor and spend points reducing the vigor cost of each block in case you miss a parry (pressing attack won't always bring you out of block so if you mistime things, it's not a huge issue). This also means that you'll be spending far less time running around as the recharge speed gets pretty fast.

Make sure to use Yarden to start off a fight to reduce the guys you're fighting by one and only use Quen if you're low on health - no vigor regen if you have it activated so it can be a double edged sword. 

Don't get greedy with hits - 1 light followed by 2 strongs is as much as you should risk (or just lots of light attacks if the enemy is fast like a Nekker - Geralt's hits speed up the more you chain together so for the slower enemies who don't block often, just mashing attack is the best bet). Follow that up with an Aarden to stagger them again and repeat. This strategy makes one on one fights a guaranteed win. 

Otherwise, try to attack after they've missed or they're staggered through your block. Do your best to never get surrounded - upgrade your roll distance to help with that. Always be moving and be methodical with your attacks. It feels like it's a lot mashier than it is. Really have to take your time with things. 

But yeah, group combat gets manageable but it never feels right. Especially as countering only seems to work with the enemy you're locked on to, not anyone attacking. 
#22 Posted by Sunjammer (881 posts) -
@Jeff: I keep being told that it's a game of positioning and timing, which, I guess, amounts to a game of kiting and gauge-watching. 
In a masochistic way, sometimes that's really satisfying, but for the first couple of chapters it almost always feels like fighting an MMO boss way above your level.
#23 Posted by Cirdain (2957 posts) -

Sounds like from the complaints and the crew talking on the bombcast that it's nothing wrong with the combat. It's you. Literally, use more skill. Or learn how to.
... or READ the MANUAL........

#24 Posted by Ares42 (2443 posts) -
@Sunjammer said:
Play Ninja Gaiden or any other modern character action game systems which The Witcher 2 obviously has aspirations towards. By comparison, TW2 is unresponsive, clunky and poor. There's no reason to be apologetic, because it is clearly, obviously flawed to anyone who has ever played a melee action game.
Blocking should ALWAYS be unlimited, because it's a PASSIVE action. Combat systems get around blocks with block breaking attacks or flanking. There is no good reason why blocking wouldn't, for instance, just stop light attacks outright and send you into a stagger from a heavy attack. Blocking should be as consistent as any other attack move. Instead, you're sat constantly eyeing the top left corner to check your vigor *mid combat*. It's crazy. Real time combat needs to be much, much simpler than this.

My one argument is that if you're exposing players to punishing melee combat, you better make damn sure the systems are intuitive and responsive. TW2 fails outright in this regard, and I honestly don't feel the need to master a system so mired in gamey idiosyncrasies. 

I love the game to death, but don't apologize for its shitty combat. If you think it's a great system, you really do have to play the games it tries to ape to see how far off target it is. 
Eventhough I agree with you, it's not trying to emulate those games at all. They've said themselves that the combat is inspired by Arkham Asylum and Demon's Souls, which I find fits really really well. The big problem with that though is that I still find it really puzzling that people enjoy Demon's Souls combat :P I understand what it's trying to do, but it's just boring. It just feels like the time-old trap of sacrificing gameplay for realism.
#25 Posted by Binman88 (3679 posts) -

I found the combat to be almost perfectly executed, but apparently saying so makes me an "apologist". Haha.  
 
Blocking being dependent on vigor (ie. your energy) makes complete logical sense. Saying that blocking should be regarded as a "passive action" is an oxymoron, and just plain silly. Bearing the brunt of a strike on your sword would require considerable action on your part, and would be an energy draining act to perform. Limiting the ability to block via vigor points therefore makes perfect sense, does it not? It fits with the design of the game that centres around a somewhat realistic momentum and positional combat system.  
 
Apparently, CDP are at fault for designing a unique combat system, and expecting the player to figure it out (or at the very least, read the manual). "You're telling me I have to learn how to play this game?! Didn't they get the memo where I told them to specifically make it like Ninja Gaiden?? I don't have time for The Witcher 2's gamey idiosyncrasies, and I stubbornly refuse to master them! (ps: I'm only saying this because I'm brutal at the game and need an outlet for my frustration.)". Those "gamey idiosyncrasies" are called game mechanics, and it's a good thing that they're not like every other game out there. It's a good thing that they require effort on behalf of the player. 
 
Jesus Christ. Like I said, I really like the combat in this game, but you don't actually need to be a genius to figure it out. I actually find it hard to comprehend where people are finding difficulty in the system. Yes, it's unforgiving at the start, and I'll not make excuses for them not introducing the mechanics properly - but the mechanics themselves are not flawed. You just have to use your brain a little, and realise that there's more to combat than simply clicking on enemies 'til they die.

#26 Posted by Raineko (433 posts) -

I think the combat system is very well done. Everyone who complains about it doesn't get how it works or ist just too bad at games.

#27 Posted by RsistncE (4496 posts) -

The combat isn't difficult, it's just stupid. Running around in circles and constantly rolling around like a retard doesn't make your character look like a monster slaying badass, it just makes him look like a underpowered buffoon. It's pretty much the same case as Demon's Souls where the developers figured that stupid and annoying combat = a hard game. It doesn't, it just makes playing the game incredibly annoying and frustrating. Of course most people are going to reply that, "LULZ NOOB YOU NEEDS PATIENCE." I don't play video games to exercise my patience, I play them to have a good time. Maybe taking the long way home (through buttfuck alley no less) is some people's idea of a good time? I don't know.

#28 Posted by xXDiabloFanXx (50 posts) -
@Sunjammer: I have to agree, more times than I can account for the combat has outright bullshitted me. And whoever says the combat is like Demon's Souls can choke on their our fucking words because that's bullshit. Sure the scenery and story are superb, but the combat is so annoying and makes me rage almost EVERY time I play it, its almost right to say I'd rather play some other game with descent combat. They need to fire the guy doing combat programming.
#29 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -
@Tennmuerti: The problem I have is that I have to press a button for Sign/Trap/Block quite a few times before it actually does something. And I'm not talking about waiting for the animation to finish, but to actually start the animation. And no, I'm not press any other buttons at the same time.
 
I roll away, and while I'm trying to get Quen up by pressing the button multiple times the enemy is already behind me and interrupts my cast. Same goes for Traps/Bombs/Daggers and blocking. The animation doesn't register always and it feels a bit... inconsistent.
 
#30 Posted by newhaap (409 posts) -

@valrog: I agree with the combat feeling inconsistent. I constantly run into issues where clicking my mouse button to strike will just make Geralt jerk forward towards the enemy instead of swing his sword. Or after a roll I would press Q to activate a sign and he doesn't do it until I press the key a couple more times.

I would say that there are certain rules in the combat regarding distance and timing that's not really apparent, but I would probably just be making up an excuse for the inconsistency.

#31 Posted by Unchained (1080 posts) -

I loved the combat in this game. Very challenging, yet once you learn it - it is engaging and fun. I played through the game twice already. The second time I didn't need to use Quen (the shield spell) at all and Yrden (the trap spell) only for the one fight where it is required.

The key, I found, was to switch targets frequently. Almost like Batman: Arkham Asylum will less tells. Only use strong attack when you feel you can get away with it (the enemy is staggering back or threw their weapon wide, etc). In the case of a single opponent, try to time your roll just before they swing their weapon. If you get behind them, you do 200% damage. Even some of the more troubling single opponents that I've seen complaints about are quite frankly a cake-walk if you can get behind them.

#32 Edited by Hoz (2 posts) -

Combat is what I actually enjoyed most about this game. But I can understand why others would find it frustrating. It seems like the quickness with which you're able to perform an action depends on what you're currently doing, a hidden mechanic of momentum. Some actions naturally go together and are effortless, others conflict with each other and the action you're trying to perform is delayed.

This is a mechanic very dependent on experienced intuition and it means that new players who don't have a good understanding of how the combat flows and can only button mash, get screwed. And the curve of mastering the combat isn't gradual at all, intermediate level of mastery is a lot closer to inexperienced than to skilled. You can really only enjoy the combat if you've completely mastered it.

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