Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Card based distractions

Long holiday weekend so there are a few things to catch up on. First Redd's Apple Ale goes quite well with sausage, mushroom and jalapeno pizza from Papa Murphy's. I just thought you should know.

I was so ready to play The Witcher: Wild Hunt on Thursday that when it did not show up I bought Hand of Fate out of frustration, then instantly regretted it. Not because the game as bad, on the contrary, it is tailor made to appeal to my specific weak points. It's card based and an action RPG. There is no hope.

The first half of the game is rather easy and I ran through it about three hours. The following night Wild Hunt did show up but after I installed the game I found that I really didn't want to play it. Gigantic RPG with around 100 hours of game play? Fuck that, I have cards to unlock! Each encounter begins with a boss card that has its own lackeys and curses. It's the curses that make the game much more difficult as they tip the scales more and more against the player. Starving to death is never good, and I did, on several occasions.

Hand of Fate has not yet been finished. The final boss encounter is difficult to the point of it being more luck that anything else that will determine when I get to win. Normally I would be against this but it fits with what the game is: card based. Either the payer or the dealer could get screwed. There are issues, specifically the combat falls apart when there are encounters move from fix or six enemies to twelve plus a boss returning from a previous level, but that is not enough to keep me from making further attempts.

This is a game that could have benefited from reasonably priced DLC. More cards? Yes please.


The Witcher: Wild Hunt is far from perfect. Geralt controls poorly on his on and much worse when on his horse. Combat lacks the depth and finesse that games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect have set the standard for. The menus are a total disaster, both in size thanks to the games PC roots and because it takes three clicks to get anywhere and do anything. Crafting is much too important to my tastes, made all the more annoying by the aforementioned terrible menus.

But I will play the game until there is nothing left to see and do because everything, from the smallest quest to the biggest set piece, is worth seeing. There are almost no generic fetch quests. Each has its own story, its own little tragedy or triumph. Characters that the player interacts with once and then never again are given personality, history, a reason for doing what they are doing. More so than Dragon Age, this is a living world, one that I want to be a part of and do some good in.

Geralt's ethics are, more or less, up to the player. He is always an acerbic ass hole but he can ether do good while being an ass (see Dr. House) or just be an ass for his own amusement. The choices are more limited than I would like, but then again, I have put all of six hours in and have just now started the second area.

I am in for the long hall. There will be bitching about how mushy the combat is, and I will mean it, but that does not mean that I am not having a good time.


Wait, there is a card game in The Witcher? I'm fucked.

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