THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS ENHANCED EDITION
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The final major combat mechanic worth discussing is adrenaline. This does not come into play until relatively late in the game, when Geralt has acquired one (or more) of these abilities: Combat Acumen, Heliotrope, or Mutant. Acquiring one of these unlocks an adrenaline meter that slowly fills up as you do something that’s relevant to the ability in question. You charge Combat Acumen by landing sword blows, Heliotrope by casting signs, and Mutant by drinking potions with high toxicity. You can also increase adrenaline generation by equipping items, primarily swords, that grant bonuses to adrenaline generation.
When your adrenaline meter is full, you can tap up on the directional pad if using a controller or X if playing the PC version and using a keyboard to activate your ability. Each ability works in a completely different way, designed to synergize with the other strengths and weaknesses developed by investing in that particular skill tree. Heliotrope, for instance, slows enemies so it’s easier to use signs on them (or just beat them up). Combat Acumen gives you access to group finishers, which can trigger instant kills on all nearby enemies if the circumstances are right. Mutant lets Geralt go on a brief rampage where he does extremely high damage.
If you never invest in any of the skills listed above, you never unlock Geralt’s adrenaline meter and it does not come into play. Leveling Geralt up this way is not recommended. The game’s final chapter is largely designed presuming your Geralt build has access to at least one of the adrenaline abilities. Note that it’s entirely possible, if tricky, to level Geralt up such that he learns all three of the adrenaline abilities. In this case, spending your adrenaline meter activates all three abilities simultaneously.