Geralt’s sword-swinging, magic-casting, drunk-guy-punching prowess looks better than ever in the new Witcher 2 “Combat Overview” trailer, which shows off a few of his new tricks and at least one of his old ones.

Let’s face it, The Witcher is one of the most awesome RPGs ever and a lot of that stems from the story, the grimy world and the crappy choices we’re forced to make, but the bulk of our time in the game is spent – surprise! – offing the bad guys. It’s what professional monster slayers for hire do, after all [aside from that other thing they do] and based on the new Witcher 2 “Combat Overview” trailer, Geralt will do it very, very well in the upcoming game.

Three combat skill paths can be developed – alchemy, magic and swordsmanship – and how you develop your character will determine how Geralt fights when things get ugly. Alchemy allows for the creation of potions and oils which will boost Geralt’s effectiveness in combat, while the more straight-ahead magic will allow the use of Witcher “signs” similar to those in the first game, burning or pushing away enemies. Some enemies will be resistant to certain types of magic, however, which is where swordsmanship, also known as the art of hitting things with other things, comes into play. Geralt’s steel and silver swords remain his two primary weapons but this time around, other implements of bloodletting like axes, clubs and hammers will actually have some use.

CD Projekt promises that the new game will offer smoother gameplay and a far greater variety of tactical possibilities than the first Witcher and while it’s impossible to get a real “feel” for in-game combat based solely on a video, this does look pretty promising. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings comes out on May 17, exclusively for the PC.

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