Friday, June 29, 2012

Vodka cures all

Things are quiet all over. Very little new coming out. Not much news as the gaming press continues to nurse their cumulative E3 hangover. It's a great time to catch up on things.

Witcher 2 came to a confusing conclusion last night. Let's see if I can take all of the political intrigue and break it down into who betrayed who. The Kingslayer (who was a witcher that Garelt had once saved) teamed up with some terrorist elves to kill a king. He succeeded, then killed a bunch of the terrorist elves and escaped. The kingslayer kidnapped Triss, Garelt's pet sorceress, and used her to escape. Garelt and the leader of the terrorist elves gave chase, leading to a showdown between all of the other kings of the area, the scary empire to the south, the cadre of sorcerers and a god damned dragon.

Lots and lots of magic users died, Garelt fought, defeated and then cured the dragon (who had been under the control on one of the sorceresses), rescued Triss, and then let the kingslayer go.

At least that's how it went down in my game.

For a linear feeling game there was a great deal of choice in Witcher 2 that actually effected how the story plays out. Teaming up with the elves or the remaining security forces of the dead king is the big one, leading to, from what I understand, two very different scenarios, but there are many other small choices that add up to bigger things later. At the end of the second act I had to choose between chasing down the scum bag mayor of a town or rescue multiple whores from a burning building. I chose the whores (who wouldn't) so he ended up keeping the town and selling it off to the highest bidder. I could have killed the dragon instead of curing her, so she got to return to her human form and lead the resistance instead of being turned into swanky armor. I didn't have to spare the kingslayer, but after sharing a story and a flask of vodka there was nothing to gain by killing him.

It is almost enough to warrant a second play through. Choices in Witcher 2 make a difference, but unlike Mass Effect this choose your own adventure novel doesn't loop everything back together by the time things come to an end. Playing it on easy allowed be to focus on on the best the game had to offer and skate right past the choppy combat and over complicated alchemy system. To be honest, I find just about any crafting or alchemy system in a game incredibly boring, so this is more an indictment of  my attention span than the game's quality. If I didn't have to sleep or work I would go back and do it all again at a higher difficulty level, force myself to deal with the constant threat of death. As it is I am happy that it was a relatively short RPG, as I have another one in the wings that threatens to consume 60+ hours, and that is after Dawnguard.

Tonight, though, it is time for bullet hell.

Bullet hell and beer.

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