Video Game: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings aka: The Witcher 2 Assassin Of Kings
"Life can't be easy for anyone who's unlucky enough to be labeled a regicide. That goes triple for someone like Geralt. Could his luck get any worse?"
The sequel to The Witcher video game and second RPG to be set in The Verse of The Witcher franchise. Released on May 17, 2011, it brought with it a brand new game engine with shinier graphics and new game mechanics.The story opens with the assassination of Geralt the Witcher's current employer, King Foltest, and Geralt being pegged as the prime suspect. Now Geralt must clear his name by bringing the real Kingslayer to justice. However, Geralt soon realizes there is far more at stake than simply hunting down an assassin of kings, as he is once again drawn into the political scheming of those who wish to seize power for themselves. To complete his quest, Geralt must join forces with one of two potential allies; Vernon Roche, the noble, but hotheaded and impulsive leader of the Blue Stripes, an elite Temerian Army special forces outfit, or Iorveth, a cynical, but well intentioned elf who leads the last remnants of the Scioa'tel.In April 17, 2012 the game was released on Xbox 360 as The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition, with approximately four hours of additional content and 33 minutes of extra cutscenes. The Enhanced Edition content was also made available to PC owners of the game through a free patch.Followed by the final entry in The Witcher game trilogy, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The game provides examples of:
Adipose Rex: Henselt is fat. Goes well with his objectionable personality.
He is more Acrofatic as he is definitely more stocky than fat. Many soldiers say that Henselt was an accomplished fighter not shirking from any battle and turned to lavish lifestyle only recently.
And also Truth in Television - a bulkier fighter in the medieval era meant they could take injuries as flesh wounds that would kill other men - an inch is quite a lot when you're talking about piercing fat versus piercing an organ. Besides the theatrical fighting techniques of movies and fencing aren't realistic fighting techniques, being a gymnast definitely isn't necessary to fight.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: Depending on what route you take through the game, you may briefly take control of Roche, Iorveth, King Henselt, Prince Stennis, or Auckes. Plus, you'll play as a certain selection of participants in the first Battle of Vergen when you're trying to break the curse in Chapter 2.
Affably Evil: The Nilfgaardian ambassador Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen is very polite around various influential people and has civil conversations with them which show how well educated he really is on matters about the Northern Kingdoms. However, he is also very crafty, tricking people into revealing crucial information simply by asking them a few seemingly trivial questions. He even has the guts to subtly taunt Geralt in King Henselt's camp about Triss while talking about a statue with beauty trapped within, the significance of which becomes clear to Geralt only later in the story.
Letho is surprisingly soft-spoken and polite compared to his thuggish, brutal appearance. He keeps reminding that he has no personal grudge with Geralt, and that he can avoid any conflict between them just by walking away.
And I Must Scream: A truly horrible one happens to Triss, when she's transformed into a tiny figurine. It's described as every bone in your body being shattered and compacted... and returning to full size is even worse.
Anti-Villain: Letho, the eponymous assassin of kings, turns out to be doing all the dirty work under the order of the Nilfgaardian empire so his fellow witchers (who are heavily discriminated against in the south) can have a safe place to live.
Arrow Catch: Geralt can even deflect them back at his enemies.
Art Shift: The game has a generally realistic look to it, except whenever a flashback plays. Those take on the appearance of a gritty comic book.
Asshole Victim: The kings that are being targeted for assassination aren't really the nicest people. A big theme in the game is whether or not letting these jerks get what they deserve is worth the chaos their deaths cause.
Attack Its Weak Point: The Karyan conveniently has glowing "tumors" to indicate where you should start hackin' with your silver.
Badass Normal: Vernon Roche and Iorveth. Neither have any magical abilities, neither lets that stop them from racking up an incredible body count.
Bag of Spilling: Pretty much averted; Geralt starts off knowing all his Signs and equipped with plenty of basic Alchemy formulas. He doesn't have any of the combat style changing from the previous game, but that's just because the combat engine is different. If you imported a save, you can even bring in artifacts from Witcher 1 like Raven's Armor or Aerondight, giving you better starting equipment for the prologue. You don't get to keep those 8000 orens, though.
Bald of Evil: Bernard Loredo. Seriously, the man is a bastard.
Batman Gambit: Letho's plan to kill Foltest as revealed in the epilogue relied on him knowing that Foltest would try to reclaim his illegitimate children as well as the fact that children would be withdrawn to the chapel for sanctuary in case of a siege, which would naturally make Foltest go there to reclaim the children.
Bittersweet Ending: At the end, Geralt reunites with Triss and recovers the rest of his memory. Unfortunately, regardless of all his past accomplishments, Nilfgaard begins its expansion into the now chaotic Northern Kingdoms.
Blessed with Suck: The elf Cedric is afflicted by visions of the future. He has no control over this ability, and some of his visions are so horrifying that he tries to suppress them by drinking heavily.
Also the Vran creation known as the Operator, should you manage to complete the "From a Bygone Era" quest in Chapter 3. He's extraordinarily difficult, becoming invincible after he takes a certain amount of damage and summoning incredibly powerful gargoyles.
Brainwashed and Crazy: The dragon Saesenthessis AKA Saskia. Depending on the choices that Geralt makes in the sequel, she can be freed of her curse, get mercy-killed, or left to be used as a tool for sorceresses.
Break the Cutie: Implied to happen to Anaïs over the course of the game. First, she sees her father get murdered before her eyes. Sometime later, her brother is killed and gets kidnapped by Dethmold. She ends the story wanting Roche to take away her toys and teach her how to fight. Kids in the Witcher have to grow up fast.
Break the Haughty: Plenty of haughties get broken in the course of the game, from kings to sorcerers.
Chekhov's Gun: In Chapter 2 of the Iorveth path, the Rose of Remembrance Triss took in Chapter 1 is used to help cure Saskia of her poisoning. Or rather, to put her under the control of Phillippa.
Also in Chapter 1, there's a throwaway line from Phillippa about her having contracted Zoltan for crafting a crystal focus for a bit of magicking equipment, noting that it has to be very precise to work properly. This comes up again at the end of the game when Letho swapped out Sile's good focus for one with a hard-to-detect flaw.
The Chessmaster: The Nilfgaardian ambassador Shilard and pretty much every sorceress in the game or at least the members of The Lodge. However, every single one of them gets outplayed by Letho.
Combat Pragmatist: Geralt and witchers in general are supposed to be this, and if you don't want the game to kick your ass, you the player will be forced to as well. Simply relying on swordplay isn't enough, you need to juice yourself up with potions, oil your blade with nasty substances, lay traps, toss bombs, turn enemies against one another and so on. Learning to be the guy who brings a grenade to a sword fight is a big part of the game.
Corpse Land: There are some that come complete with skeletons and evil spirits.
Corrupt Hick: Loredo. If you decide to kill him life instantly improves for the people living there.
Covert Pervert: Roche. While carrying a fainting Triss from an ambush, he takes solace in the fact that he'll die holding a nice ass, despite her protests.
Cycle of Hurting: One of the biggest criticisms of the game prior to it being patched - the Endregas in Chapter 1 could easily knock Geralt to the ground mid-swing, then simply swarm over him while battering him down.
Dead Star Walking: Foltest shows up in a lot of promotional materials, but he does not make it past the prologue.
Difficulty Spike: The Witcher 2's claim to infamy, despite being an intentional choice on the part of the developers. A tutorial was eventually patched in to explain the many, many new gameplay mechanics.
It has to be mentioned that the beginning isn't any harder than the rest of the game, the combat system is just highly dynamic and unforgiving, without a tutorial you have to learn it in the game itself which translates to many deaths.
Not really true. The game has an inverse difficulty curve where it gets easier the longer you play, as Geralt levels up and gains more abilities. The tutorial is more difficult because it limits Geralt's arsenal and gives no access to the specialization skill trees, with such nifty abilities like hitting multiple enemies with a single swing or increasing the damage of bombs by 200%.
Escape Artist: Iorveth, though on several occasions he requires Geralt's help.
Even Evil Has Standards: When the Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis finds out about ambassador Shilard's plan to assassinate Geralt in chapter 3, he sends secret orders to the Nilfgaardian captain in Loc Muinne to eliminate Shilard who in his view has become too reckless and has thus outlived his usefulness. This action has likely to do with Emhyr's close friendship with Geralt in the past, and Shilard even mentions earlier that Emhyr was moved to find out that Geralt had returned.
Fan Disservice: There's an Optional Sexual Encounter. A nice romantic bath with soft lighting and lots of roses all around, a gorgeous redhead, a really cool stripping scene... followed immediately, just so you don't get too excited, by a close-up shot of a corpse with flies buzzing around it... of course then it cuts back to the love making.
Foreshadowing: While the dragon is attacking in the prologue, Foltest wonders if it's possible to train a dragon. By the end, the sorceress, Philippa Eilhart, manages to take control of that very same dragon, who is none other than Saskia.
Shilard's casual comment in King Henselt's camp to Geralt about a statue with a beauty trapped within actually refers to Triss who was turned into a statue and later taken captive by the Nilfgaardians led by Shilard himself.
Gameplay Ally Immortality: NPCs have this when they accompany you on quests. Which is useful, as they'll keep enemies distracted.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Sometimes Geralt can't use his Axii sign in situations where it would make perfect sense. For example, he has to search a sedative to calm a hysterical man in a haunted ruins of a mental hospital, rather than just use the sign meant to calm and influence people's minds. Also, he forgets how to parry arrows in the Nonstandard Game Over examples below.
On the other hand, he can use Axii in certain conversations, provided he practices enough to level up using it as a speech ability (alongside Intimidate and Persuade). Geralt can also use some of his other signs in non-standard contexts; one of his sword finishers is toasting an enemy with a little fire, and he can use Igni to light or extinguish torches like a light switch.
Groin Attack: Geralt of Rivia can deliver these during quicktime brawls, and in some scenes onlookers will randomly tell you to.
Guide Dang It: It's not possible to completely finish the quest "From a Bygone Era" in Act 3, unless you decide to search a certain unassuming wooden shack near the Kaedweni camp in Chapter 2, and even then you need to know that the barrels behind it hide a cellar entrance. This is especially difficult to those who choose Iorveth's path, since this is the only thing of any interest on the other side of the wraith-mist apart from the main quest, and is possible to completely miss even if you take your time looking around the area you can never return after completing your objective there.
Dandelion: What, you want to see some hoofed hag ride me to death? (Beat) Then again, we all have to die of something.
Happy Ending Override: The Witcher ended on a somewhat victorious note, with Geralt restoring order to the Temerian captial of Vizima and helping it forge an alliance with Redania in the process. Not too long in the sequel, though, Foltest is killed and all of Temeria falls into chaos. By the end, it either gets divided up, breaks into Civil War, or effectively becomes absorbed by Redania. And that's before Nilfgaard invades the Northern Kingdoms.
Only one of the endings kind of subverts this leaving one of the royal children on the throne, with Roche acting as mentor. However the invasion of Nilfgaard will happend regardless of your choices
Harder Than Hard: The game features an "insane" difficulty, which in addition to being the toughest difficulty in general in terms of damage dealt by enemies and such, also features Perma Death where if you die, all your saved games from that playthrough become inaccessible and you have to start over.
Hypocrite: Many of the human peasants in Vergen. They claim that want a land without kings and where all people are equal. All people, that is, except for nonhumans, who should just get their own "nonhuman land." Even after you hear those racist comments it's still the most tolerant city you'll see in the Witcher 2, which goes a long way in showing how bad things are elsewhere.
Also applies to those Elves who claim the world was a utopian paradise before those filthy humans showed up. Other nonhuman races remember the history a bit differently...
In particular, from the Enhanced Edition, the Vran that originally inhabited Loc Muinne, who succumbed to a mutagenic plague unleashed on them by the Aen Siedhe.
If It's You, It's Okay: Iorveth claims to find no humans even close to attractive, but has a strong attraction to Saskia because she isn't actually human.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Geralt and Triss in the sequel. However, they have to stay involved when Geralt gets framed for Foltest's murder.
I Owe You My Life: This is why Letho lets Geralt go during the first chapter when Letho gains the upper hand in the duel. It turns out that Geralt saved Letho's life while chasing the Wild Hunt in search of Yennefer.
Jerkass: Prince Stennis. He's quite willing to give his ally, Saskia, to Henselt during the summit with Kaedwen, threatens and constantly demeans Geralt in all their conversations, and refuses to give up some blood in order to save Saskia from being poisoned. Of course, the fact that he's one of those possibly responsible for it probably had something to do with it.
Karma Houdini: Depending on your choices, the following people can get off without suffering any repercussions for their actions: Loredo, Shilard, Philipa, Henselt, Dethmold, and Letho. And no matter what you do, at least some of them will get away.
There is a way to see them all eat at least a slice of the humble pie. But getting there means making a very precise order of choices, making this a Guide Dang It. Plus you probably end up screwing a bunch of people who don't deserve it in the process.
Karmic Death: Sile if Geralt doesn't save her, as well as the Nilfgaardian ambassador Shilard if Geralt chooses to save Triss in Chapter 3.
Stennis as well, provided you decide to procure some of his blood over his dead body.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: King Radovid has Philippa captured and blinded out of suspicion of conspiring against him. This could have qualified as a potential Moral Event Horizon if not for the fact that she had previously taken control of Saskia and conspired to set up a sorceress oligarchy in Upper Aedirn.
Letho's killing of Demavend. The event causes a lot of problems throughout the Northern Kingdoms, but admittedly, the guy was a cruel and unjust ruler who was especially guilty of persecuting nonhumans.
Literally Shattered Lives: The Enhanced Edition starts off with a massive dose of this in the new intro movie. The titular kingslayer sneaks onto a ship where a king is having a private festival with jesters, strongmen and so on. He tosses a magic ice bomb at the center of the ship and freezes about 75% of it, including almost all the people, who get crunched to bits in the ensuing fight. Of course, since the freezing was probably not the harmless variety they were dead already.
Love Ruins the Realm: The war is the second time King Foltest's illegitimate offspring cause problems, albeit for different reasons.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Averted compared to the first game which was infamous for this. The lengthy opening logos can mercifully be skipped before accessing the main menu.
The Lost Woods: The unnamed forest around Flotsam is rightfully feared by the townsfolk, since it crawls with spider-like Endegra, corpse-eating Nekkers, as well as elven guerrillas who will kill any human they come across without mercy.
Mad Scientist: Dethmold definitely qualifies with his achievements in forbidden necromancy although he is intelligent enough to behave casually (very sensible thing to do as he is an advisor to a bad-tempered king who has already burned one sorceress at the stake).
Magi Babble: Geralt prattles off how Dethmold's amulet works to a skeptical Zoltan when the two are preparing to cross the cursed battlefield in Chapter 2, leaving Zoltan confused.
Magic Versus Science: It is contemplated in a conversation that humans and elves are not indigenous of the world they live in but that during a convergence of spheres event humans arrived on metal ships and elves arrived on white ships (some non supernatural monsters apparently arrived in similar fashion hence why they have no real place in the ecosystem) hinting at the fact that, while magic exists in this universe, there are some remnants of a higher tech left behind. Coincidentally, Witchers are mutants, genetically mutated humans to be precise (notice the double Helix symbol in the mutagens menu and the distinctly cellular look of the mutagens themselves which some fans disliked for their sciencey look) created to deal with things normal humans could not (the supernatural) and a lot of well read individuals in the game know an awful lot about mutations and evolution. Sounds like the Witchers might be the earliest attempt of the newly arrived humans to fight back the hostile, unknowable forces of this universe using their own technology.
Man Behind the Man: The Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis is behind Letho. His goal is to destabilize the Northern Kingdoms by putting the blame of the Kingslayers' regicides on the Lodge of Sorceresses, thus getting rid of many powerful northern monarchs as well as sorceresses, which will make it easier for Nilfgaard to invade the weakened kingdoms.
Manipulative Bastard: The three wraiths in the Little Sisters quest in chapter 2 plead for Geralt's help but in fact have a far more sinister agenda.
If Geralt chooses to help Iorveth instead of Roche prior to the first duel with Letho in chapter 1, Loredo's men and the townsfolk massacre all non-humans in Flotsam.
If Geralt chooses to believe the three wraiths during the Little Sisters quest in chapter 2, he allows an evil spirit to grow in strength, causes the death of an innocent man, and barely escapes with his life.
Roche screws things up in Chapter 1 when he attacks the Scoi'tael while they and Geralt have Letho cornered, which gives the Kingslayer a chance to escape.
Nintendo Hard: Many players find this game extremely difficult compared to the first, particularly early on. The enemy AI actively attempts to flank you and damage dealt from behind does double damage, it takes practice to avoid being trapped in a bad situation by enemies. This makes the prologue one of the toughest areas of the game, making the game have a reverse difficulty curve.
Thankfully, this got reversed just slightly in the 2.0 patch - you can no longer get interrupted mid-swing by an enemy hitting you from the side, which would generally knock you over for a few seconds prior to 2.0.
Non-Standard Game Over: Depending on what you say or do in various situation, it's possible to watch Geralt get killed:
If Geralt tries to attack Roche at the end of his interrogation during the prologue, Ves shoots him dead with a crossbow.
Likewise, being too rude to Iorveth during the meeting in the Arachas lair gets Geralt shot dead.
Getting caught sneaking through the Kaedweni Camp in Iorveth's path results in Geralt getting shot with a crapload of arrows.
Individual arrows, yes. So many arrows that the air basically turns into wood and steel with some holes here and there, no.
Not Quite The Right Thing: If you follow a traditional video-game Light Sided playthrough (by defending your allies, rescuing girls instead of chasing the villain, and serving the greater good by helping others) you may end up seriously screwing up the world.
For example, saving Saskia over Triss results in a bloody pogrom against Witches across the North. Likewise, the two biggest jerks of kings will gain control over much of the country with Loredo getting away with his crimes. Saskia ruling over her little principality is the only bright spot.
If you save Triss on the Roche path, Roche singlehandedly storms the Kaedweni camp, killing many soldiers in the process. He fails to kill Dethmold, but he nevertheless succeeds in rescuing Annais.
Or on the Iorveth path, despite having little to no experience in undoing magical seals, Iorveth still succeeds in opening the sealed chest in Philippa's quarters and acquiring the dagger that could lift the spell on Saskia.
Finally, if you choose to not save Triss on either path, then Letho will fight his way through the Nilfgaardian camp in order to rescue her for you.
Old Save Bonus: Importing a save from Witcher 1 can give you better starting equipment, and various characters will reference choices you made in the last game. For instance, if you supported the Order of the Flaming Rose in Witcher 1, you can have a brief, but friendly conversation with Grand Master Siegfried in Witcher 2, chapter 3.
Optional Sexual Encounter: Triss, Ves, an elf woman you save, various Prostitutes, a Succubus, and Cynthia. Triss gets a 4 minute sex scene.
The Other Darrin: The only returning actor is Doug Cockle (Geralt), with all other characters being recast. More obviously, Iorveth switched actors between the first trailers and release, gaining a thicker accent to boot.
In the Russian version most of the characters were voiced by different actors, including Geralt. In the first game he was voiced by Vladimir Zaytsev, while in The Witcher 2 he was voiced by Vsevolod Kuznetsov. Fans actually created an online petition, asking to bring Zaytsev back, once the trailers came out. Kuznetsov voicing Velerad in the first game didn't help matters. When the game came out, people were less upset, since Kuznetsov did really good job at voicing Geralt and was on par with Zaytsev, if not better.
There are options to this action, though. Also, it doesn't seem that the dragons are extinct; they've just mostly left beyond the borders of the known world on their own business.
Our Elves Are Better: An interesting case. Aen Seidhe consider themselves to fit the old High and Wood Elf archetypes of being extremely beautiful long-lived creators of music and poetry who once ruled during an enlightened golden age, while many humans are presented as ugly, vicious brutes. Of course, the truth is each elf has the potential to be just as much a cruel bastard as any human, if not more so.
Triss Merigold: "Amazing what the Aen Seidhe built before humans arrived. Elves possess a sensitivity humans can't hope to achieve."
Outgambitted: Philippa Eilhart and Síle de Tansarville, so very much.
Pet the Dog: Oddly enough, Bernard Loredo, the commandant of Flotsam. Call yourself nonhuman and he'll disagree rather quickly.
He does want Geralt to do his dirty work, though. Employing a nonhuman to hunt other nonhumans wouldn't make a very convincing argument.
Press X to Not Die: However, these death scenes are usually quite funny. Such as Geralt getting killed by an evil drug addicted mother.
Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Standard operating procedure for conquered towns. Geralt has the opportunity to stop a bunch of soldiers from doing too much raping, pillaging and burning, fortunately.
Refusing Paradise: Played with. After Geralt and Yennefer died during the Rivia Pogrom, Ciri transported them to a private paradise island. Geralt had to will himself back to life from there after Yennefer got kidnapped by The Wild Hunt.
Right Through His Pants: Gerald doesn't have a nude model, so he is always wearing his underwear during sex scenes.
Sadistic Choice: At one point, you have to choose between saving Triss or a major political figure... either Anais in Roche's path or Saskia in Iorveth's. Luckily, Letho saves Triss if you fail to do so.
On the other hand, not going to save Triss and choosing Anais or Saskia can result in a vicious uprising against all magic-users in the North, with frequent burnings at the stake. Witchers aren't safe from it either, since they're perceived as magical, and ultimately in the end the mass-burning causes a vast amount of unrest that will only contribute to the fallout from other events. No matter which one you choose to save, there will be repercussions.
One can come up in Chapter 1 if you side with Iorveth. Loredo attempts to burn some Elven women to death to prevent Geralt and the Scoia'tael from sailing away. You only have enough time to save them, or kill him to prevent any future nonhuman persecution and his eventual selling of Flotsam to Kaedwen.
Scenery Gorn: Loc Muine will be filled with dead bodies in the Enhanced Edition if you don't rescue Triss.
Sequel Hook: One of the reasons the ending received some criticism - it felt like there was so much more to do, even after everything the player had gone through.
Shout-Out: After Saskia is poisoned, Iorveth and Geralt ask what they need to brew an antidote. Phillipa tells them, among other things, a great source of magical power is needed, possibly through one of the twenty rings of power. Iorveth drawls out, "One ring to rule them all..." and Geralt says "Let me guess, then I run barefoot up the side of a volcano."
The same chapter features Geralt finding Balin's journal (curiously, split into parts found on three separate dead dwarves) in the rotfiend-infested mines under Vergen. It's a brief chronicle of what occurred in the mine, and ends abruptly with a mention of "Durin's Bane".
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Many of your decisions are between whether Geralt will support an idealistic (but uncertain) vision for the future based on inter-species cooperation and egalitarianism ("Iorveth's Path"), or defend the oppressive but relatively stable status quo political order ("Roche's Path"). There's no "correct" option- both approaches have serious, often negative repercussions.
The Stinger: The Enhanced Edition adds a scene showing Nilfgaardian forces beginning their northern invasion.
Story Branching: The game has a major choice, but it is made fairly early in the game. Based on your choice there, the storyline develops in one of two different ways which only come together again in the final chapter.
Take That: One to Assassin's Creed, where in the prologue you can stumble upon the corpse of an Assassin who missed the haystack by that much.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Geralt has a group finisher where he kills three human enemies by throwing his steel sword on the first, his silver sword on the second, and killing the third one in close combat. He also has a finisher against harpies where he throws his silver sword and it stabs the harpy in mid-air, killing it.
Roche also manages to kill an enemy soldier via thrown sword in a cutscene.
Triss, who loves Geralt so much she resolves to help Geralt find Yennefer, even though it will probably break her heart, since she always played second fiddle to her.
Vernon Roche. If you take Iorveth's path, where you screw him over, he and his Blue Stripes come to your aid in Vergen without blinking.
Ungrateful Bastard: Prince Stennis is not only unwilling to help Geralt or Saskia in their endeavors despite saving his life at the beginning of Chapter 2, but he also implicitly tries to poison the latter.
This can be quite jarring if you took the nice options in the bit where you play as Stennis
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Letho. Your first encounter with him in Chapter 1 is just about the toughest fight in the game, as he can kill you in 2 hits (on Hard difficulty), uses unavoidable/unblockable attacks, and spams a personal shield which absorbs damage. In the finale, however, he's something of a pushover (assuming you have half-decent gear and skills).
Arguably Fridge Brilliance, as Geralt doesn't really get stronger during the course of game as much as he just gradually recovers his old skills, so one way of looking at the power discrepancy in the final battle is that Geralt was simply better than Letho from the start.
Walking Armory: Averted compared to the first game. Geralt only equips a steel sword and a silver sword, but has several pockets for bombs and traps (likely due to complaints that the optional weapons were completely useless beyond torches for light).
What Happened to the Mouse?: When he and Geralt first meet, Letho mentions his companions (and fellow Kingslayers) Serritt and Aukes. If you choose Roche's path, you will eventually fight them. If you choose Iorveth's path, they never appear (though Roche does mention them briefly).
What the Hell, Hero?: If you import a save from the original game where you spared Adda, expect to get an earful from a certain priest upon reaching Vergen.