I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Witcher 3: Preliminaries

I mentioned The Witcher 3 a few(?) months ago, after a friend recommended it to me and I was lookin forward to playing a ladies man in a game that so obviously targets the cisgender straight male gamer—though I’ve come to decide that some parts are for the minority audience (i.e., not cisgender straight male). 

I haven’t played the first two games, nor have I read the novels the games are based on, so I suppose I’m coming at this game with a few missing parts. Nevertheless, I don’t think that’s too much of a hindrance. 

I happily purchased the Game of the Year edition for $20, yay! And I opened the game, watched the little videos showing what’s going on...and then that bath scene, which I’ve discovered has become a meme. Anywho, the hot guy you play as, Geralt, is in a bath tub, and some naked chick is nearby, and you start feeling like the third wheel before suddenly you become the fourth wheel. A lizard mo stet cozies up in the tub with Geralt and at that moment I knew I was not mentally prepared for this game.  After the cutscene I just sat there staring at the screen wondering what the hell did I just watch before I turned the game off and decided I needed to do some research before going any further. 

After a couple of weeks, I finally went back to the game and cringed and writhed through that weird dream sequence again before getting to the game itself. Now, this is only the second RPG I’ve played, and as with Skyrim, I spend the first several levels trying to figure out what the hell im doing. I play with my keyboard and a generic mouse that has no middle mouse button (I changed the keybindibg for that), and I have to say that it can be a struggle. My fingers get tangled up a lot, so I’m still trying to coordinate myself. This is quite a task for someone as uncoordinated as I am. It can be very frustrating when I’m surrounded by, like, 50 water hags—AND to add, sometimes the keys don’t freaking respond and it annoys the crap out of me! 

I started on what I eventually learned was the easiest level. I was wondering why the game was so easy, which was making it boring, and then I discovered that I could increase the difficulty: I now play on Blood and Bones, but switch to Story and Sword when I find I’m dying too much. I know, I’m lazy. But I’m still trying to coordinate myself on all those silly keys I have to press at the same time. WASDRTY~altshift12QXCEtabbackspacespacebar. It’s always a pain to memorize the key and mouse commands for a new game, but this one is taking me forever.

Some things that I absolutely detest:
1. Can’t change the perspective—sometimes this leads to me trying to fight big scary monsters with a tree taking up my whole view, or being unable to survey a room without only seeing Geralt’s head. This is annoying, despite how hypnotized I am by his hair fluttering with every movement. 
2. The gymnastic fighting techniques. Geralt swings a sword and suddenly he’s five paces north of where he was a sword-swing ago. Can he please stop being all over the place? It’s especially frustrating when he’s trying to stay within his YRDEN circle to kill wraiths. 
3. To add to the above, it drives me crazy when you want him to move just a little bit closer to something he can only bound instead of take a small stocatto step, and walking (excuse me, running) backward means he turns instead of just walking backward. I understand he is tall and takes long strides, but can’t he please just sit still?
4. No stealth mode. Stealth would be so helpful sometimes, but alas, Geralt seems only to know “charge in full force” mode. Sigh. 
5. Sometimes cutscenes make the game choppy. You’re walking along and suddenly lose all control just to watch Geralt walk into a building that you could have made him walk through yourself. 
6. Sometimes the cutscenes prevent you from being able to prepare yourself properly for a battle. They interrupt the flow and before you can put your bomb back in your quick select you have five witch hunters hacking away at you. 
7. Main female protagonists wear high heeled boots. Their outfits are totally awesome, especially Triss’s, but holy Christ, are you kidding me? I can’t imagine this is for the target audience to enjoy because I’m sure they wouldn’t give two hoots whether the female characters were wearing snowshoes. Are the heels supposed to make the women more badass, to say they can kick ass even when having to teeter on their toes? I don’t get it. I shouldn’t care so much, but I do. We all have our issues I guess. 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff. Things I absolutely love;
1. The rock trolls or whatever they are called. You betcha I made Geralt paint a little bird for the rock troll with all the broken boats. He did it and he liked it and would paint a hundred birds if that troll asked. 
2. Godlings are so damn cute. I preferred Johnny silent, though. They’re cuter when they don’t talk haha! Isn’t everyone?
3. Geralt’s flowing hair. ¡Me gusta!
4. Witcher gear. Why would anyone use anything else?!
5. The soundtrack 
6. The epic scale of geography, detail of clothes etc., amount of quests, and length of quests. I can see someone clearing 500 hours of this game and still not getting everything done. 
7. Killing Whoreson Junior. BUT I dislike that the cutscene didn’t show Geralt actually kill him. That would have really made it satisfying. That guy was absolutely despicable. 

As I predicted, I enjoyed being a ladies man haha! Also, the way I see it, poor Geralt has to kill scary monsters for unappreciative people for a pittance. Let the man get laid. He seized the opportunity with Keira, which I knew was coming after he encountered her in the bathtub. Okay, what is with all the baths in this game?! I’ve encountered 4 bath scenes already. I was concerned that the sex scenes were going to be super porno, but they’re actually relatively tasteful. I mean, yeah butts and breasts are shown, but not for extended periods of time. On that note...

I saved my game before the end of the Now or Never quest because I wanted to see how it would be if Geralt chose Triss. I decided it seemed out of character and reloaded the game and chose instead to say farewell to Triss. However, the lighthouse scene had me laughing hysterically. They showed a few seconds of nudity, but then planned to subtle shadows before finally going full-suggestive by showing the dudes on the boat thinking they were receiving a coded message based on the patterns of fire flickering. That was hilarious. But I think, despite the obvious fact Yen has Geralt wrapped around her finger, that relationship feels more natural. And apparently that’s how it ends in the novels, too!

My Geralt has a special soft spot for little kiddies. Except for the orphans Anna watches lol whoops... But anytime there’s a quest that helps a little kid, my Geralt refuses pay. And as for that little girl who gives him a do, he’s going to keep that doll forever and ever! Speaking of kids, the best one has got to be the flying monster ghost fetus. And watching the wife beater carry it around before it was pacified was satisfying. 

As for gwent, I’m not too thrilled about the card game, and I’ll play it only for a change of pace. But I do, in fact, get annoyed when I lose. I want those special cards, damn it! It’s like that Seinfeld episode about Festivus where Elaine slogs through ten unappetizing sub sandwiches to get the captain’s hat. 

That’s 30 hours worth. Not sure how I really feel about the game just yet. Maybe my opinion will improve more greatly as I continue. I mean, there’s SO MUCH to do. I hope I encounter more rock trolls. 

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