Witcher 2 version 2.0 overhauls combat, adds dark mode and battle arena, out tomorrow

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The huge, free 2.0 update to the Witcher 2 will hit tomorrow, adding new modes, a proper tutorial, and dozens of major fixes designed to improve combat. The fiddly enemy targeting system has been improved, controls feel smoother and Geralt's attacks can no longer be constantly interrupted by a prod from one of a dozen enemies.

The patch will add a new Arena mode. Separate from the single player campaign, this will throw Geralt into a gladiatorial ring in which he much fight off waves of increasingly powerful foes for GLORY. And points. Mid-fight, you'll encounter allies that can be recruited to help with tougher waves. Once you've racked up a good sum, you'll be able to post your score online.

Then there's dark mode, designed to add a new level of difficulty for hardened Witcher fans. Every enemy will have the strength to quickly take you out, but a string of new quests will let you unlock new armour sets and gain cursed weapons, because wielding cursed weapons always ends well. The patch makes loads of other changes, and incorporates all other patches and previous DLC additions. If you upgrade from a fresh install, you'll get all of the many, many free improvements CD Projekt have made to the Witcher 2 in one package. Get the full patch notes below.

Here's some bonus good news for new players. CD Projekt have decided that throwing Geralt into a siege battle without telling the player anything about how to stay alive was too unwelcome an introduction. A new opening adventure will teach players the basics of alchemy, magic, and how to swing a sword real good. Combat will feel even better, hopefully, thanks to these changes:

Patch notes

  • Numerous improvements have been made in the targeting system.

  • Parrying is now unlimited (even when Vigor is completely depleted), though parries no longer cancel all damage (maximum 50% reduction once the relevant ability has been acquired).

  • Responsiveness of game controls has been improved. This includes but is not limited to casting Signs, parrying, and attacking immediately after evading an opponent's assault.

  • Geralt's attacks are no longer interrupted by attacking opponents. Attacks are now contiguous and foes cannot interrupt Geralt's attacks by landing a blow.

  • Assorted fixes now prevent opponents from incessantly attacking Geralt after he has been knocked down. Geralt can no longer be knocked down repeatedly in quick succession. Also, he rises quickly while evading subsequent attacks.

  • Geralt no longer attacks opponents located behind other opponents positioned nearer to him.

  • The target locking system has been improved. Preference is now given to previously highlighted targets.

  • Target selection has been improved. Priority is now given to foes affected by a critical effect facilitating the completion of a finishing move.

  • The additional two steps Geralt took after mounting an attack with the W, S, A or D key depressed have been eliminated.

  • Attacks can now be continued even when a key controlling Geralt's movement (e.g. W, S, A, D) is depressed.

  • Attacks can now be continued if the attack key is depressed immediately after the final strike of an attack animation sequence.

  • Geralt can now pivot 180 degrees immediately after completing an attack.

  • Assorted problems with key responsiveness have been resolved. Keys no longer need to be depressed twice or more to trigger a given action.

  • A distance attack problem has been resolved. Geralt now mounts distance attacks (lunge with sword in hand in the Fast style) when opponents were located at a suitable distance from him.

Other corrections and amendments:

  • Casting several bombs no longer blocks further inputs.

  • An option has been added to the configuration tool enabling aspect ratio to be set independently of resolution.

  • The amount of disk space required for game patching has been reduced.

  • The loading of selected Witcher 1 game saves no longer causes the game to crash.

  • A greater number of monsters now appear in the cave leading to Loc Muinne.

  • Improvements have been made in the manner in which monsters are spawned in the mist in Chapter 2.

  • The visual effect accompanying Adrenaline use no longer disappears prematurely.

  • Archers now draw their swords more quickly when Geralt approaches.

  • Mages no longer automatically cast shield spells when Geralt casts daggers at them.

  • The game is now paused when Geralt executes a finishing move in combat.

  • The troll in Chapter 2 has been corrected. Previously, in some circumstances he could not be attacked.

  • Physics on cast daggers have been improved.

  • The site for aiming daggers is now more visible.

  • Geralt's animation when he dies while casting the Axii Sign has been corrected.

  • An exploit in the fight against Letho has been eliminated. Previously, this foe could be killed by casting bombs in quick succession.

  • An exploit related to the 'Insane' difficulty setting has been eliminated. Previously, game saves could be loaded with difficulty set to this level, which was contrary to design intentions.

  • Camera positioning/operation has been corrected during the boss fight against the kayran.

  • Camera control via gamepads has been improved.

  • Assorted adjustments have been made in mutagen statistics.

  • The 'Junk' filter in the Inventory has been adjusted to provide for correct item filtering.

  • In the Inventory, the dialogue window warning of prohibited actions has been corrected.

  • Assorted corrections have been introduced to the mini-map in Chapter 1.

  • Audio balance throughout the game has been adjusted.

  • Erratic character teleportation in mini–games has been eliminated.

  • Assorted adjustments have been made in animations applying to nekkers.

  • A minor bug in the “Scent of Incense” quest has been resolved.

  • Numerous minor fixes have been introduced in character lip-sync throughout the game.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.