*puts on flame-retardant clothes, grabs some marshmallows and hunkers down*
My problem is that the sword combat mechanics break once you have to fight more than one opponent.
The auto-targeting is awful, just plain awful. You can be attacking an opponent, and one of his buddies closes in and gets kind of between you and your target, you're screwed. One of two things will happen. Either you'll switch targets and your sword swing will go after the new target, which doesn't connect because that enemy is going to either hit you first and interrupt your attack or block it himself because you were timing the attack against the original target. Or you'll maintain your original target, who is now out of range because his ally moved in, and now your attack passes right through the closer enemy but doesn't do any damage because it only registers collision detection for your selected target. Which lets not forget, unless you have ninja like concentration and reflexes, becomes absolutely useless in a group fight.
So your blocking and Signs both draw from the same power. Great idea in theory, terrible execution. Once again, against multiple opponents, block is next to useless. So what if you can block the first two attacks? You can't block attack three and four, get interrupted AGAIN, and then the guy you block originally joins in on hitting you while you can't do anything back. Not that is mechanic hinders the enemy. Fighting one of those double sword wielding elves? Guess what? They can block EVERY attack of a five or six attack long chain! They don't run out of blocking, but Geralt does. How is this fair again?
And why in the hell does every opponent stagger back for a successful block, more often than not putting them conviently out of range for a counter-attack? Don't forget to watch out for his 2+ buddies who will be after you, and if they so much as swing in your general direction, will once again interrupt your attack. Leaving you vulnerable just in time for your original target to move back into range and say 'hello' with his sword while he's at it.
Rolling? Well, it works, but not well. You'll get hit every time you try to roll past anybody with a weapon. This is ironic, since almost all group fight devolve into a series of run/attack/roll/repeat. Or if the enemies block EVERY one of your attacks (like the aforementioned dual-wielding elves) then it's run/sign/roll/repeat.
This is not epic. This is not fun. Geralt is supposed to be a renowned swordsman, but he can barely fight his way out of a paper bag. He get interrupted by any little bit of damage, causing him to be flung into back in various states of complete helplessness. This only allows him to be hit more, further amplifying this broken mechanic and ruining the combat. I get that Witchers are more than just swordsman, but this is ridiculous. All of the signs, potions, and traps don't make up for the fact that the sword combat mechanics fall apart against more than one opponent.
Every group fight requires multiple tries (it took me 4+ hours to finish the prologue because some fights took upwards of 40 tries), and it's time consuming and aggravating to no end. When you have to use cheap tactics to succeed because the game's mechanics are broken, there's something very wrong. Unless of course your entire goal was to make group fights the most god awful part of the game, because as of right now, for me they are. I love everything else about this game so far, but I am so damn tired of having to restart these 8+ vs fights over and over again.
What do I think would help fix some of the problems with the combat? Fix the targeting system, try something like the system they used in the Knights of the Old Republic series (and just about every MMO), or use the old setting from the first game. Either always have an enemy selected and allow me to rotate back and forth through all available targets, or let me click directly on them. The current system is akin to selecting by looking, similar to the driving controls for the Warthog in the Halo series. Can it be fun at times? Sure, but it's not what anybody would a 'precise' system by any stretch of the imagination.
Fix the combat interrupts, make them less frequent and serious. The enemy should not be allowed you knock half of your health off in a second because just one of your attacks got blocked, and that left you completely defenseless. And for the love of crap, find another system for blocking, because the current one doesn't work. Look at the Assassin's Creed series, it can be done. Not that you should also turn all of your fights into a parade of constantly blocking and lethal counter-attacks, but find some middle ground. I will say this about Assassin's Creed, I never felt like the game was cheating against me, it never felt like my opponents were using the games mechanics for an unfair advantage. Not like the combat in the Witcher 2 does.