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Sometimes, for no apparent reason, when I strike one of the enemies I'm fighting in The Witcher 2, a short cinematic will play where Geralt stylishly eliminates the foe, seemingly regardless of their current health at the time.

What is actually going on here? Is it just luck?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As sjohnston stated, if you manage to stun an opponent, you will be able to perform a so-called finisher move on him.

The probability of landing a finisher move depends on the chance of causing a critical effect, in this case, stunning.

You can view your chances of causing critical effects in the character panel (enter meditation and select "Character" from the radial menu)

Character panel, showing critical effects

The odds can be raised by getting or improving the appropriate skills, acquiring new mutations, drinking potions and using oils.

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I believe these only apply to melee, right? I'm pretty sure I have been stunning with the Aard spell with 0 stun listed in my critical effects. –  sjohnston May 19 '11 at 16:35
    
Well, it's not exactly clear in the manual, so we have to do some empirical tests to make sure which is which. –  DrFish May 19 '11 at 17:31
    
According to the in-game help, the knockdown effect can allow for a finishing move as well. I'm unsure if "being knocked down" (such as by the Aard spell) visually is the same as inflicting "knockdown" as status effect. (Though if the Aard did knockdown foes, that would explain why it allows finishing moves if it doesn't stun) –  Raven Dreamer May 20 '11 at 2:52
    
I think the stats part of the game is bugged as hell. Gotta check the combat log for more insight.. –  DrFish May 20 '11 at 3:01
    
Quick follow-up question: are finishing moves the same as "Instant Kills"? With the animation, I mean? –  Raven Dreamer May 23 '11 at 22:32

I have found that enemies are sometimes stunned by the Aard spell. If you attack them while they are stunned, you get an instant-kill with the more cinematic animation.

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