Friday, June 26, 2015

Ready for another 4 year wait?

As mentioned, thpoilerth!

The Witcher came out in 2007. I played some of it, got hung up on a broken quest, then quit. This was long past my ouster from the PC master race so I felt there was no good reason to put up with a buggy ass game. Take careful note of this hypocrisy for it is delicious.

The Witcher 2 came out in 2011, was buggy even on a console, and I played it and loved it anyway. I had forgotten everything there was to know about the first game so it served as a reintroduction to Garelt, Triss, and the rest of the cast. Fun was had, I sided with the elves and let the king slayer live, and I patiently waited for the next game.

The Witcher 3 came out this year after another four year gap. I do not have a four year memory, especially when the last game was as large and potentially varied as Witcher 2 was. Add to that a console generation changeover, meaning no imported saves, and I was lost. I tried my best to answer Garelt's initial questioning the right way to duplicate what I thought I did, but who knows.

This means that for the first half of the game I felt like I was catching up. I have no idea if Ciri is a returning character that I missed from the last game or if she is just there because the new plot requires it. Likewise, when Garelt and Yen talk about previous adventures, are these things that actually happened or just part of their background being presented to give them depth? It was disconcerting for a while, then I gave up on understanding everything and just paid attention to what was happening right now.

There was still a hell of a lot happening right now. Garelt never knew everything which means the player never knew everything. I stumbled through the game making the best decisions that I could, stumbling into what I assume is the good ending: Ciri lives as a witcher, Geralt retires with Yen and the the war that was the background noise to the whole game is reasonable resolved. It was strange to get a honest happy ending to a game this grim but it difficult to say that Garelt didn't deserve it.

I do have a few specific technical complaints that may or may not limited to the console version. During the siege of Kaer Morhen the action jumped back and forth between Garelt and Ciri. Had this been via quick cuts, think of the three concurrent battles in Return of the Jedi, it would have been astounding. Instead I was treated to lengthy load times each time the focus switched, killing the momentum.

That was not the only pacing problem. In the final act Garelt finds himself jumping between planes, following an elven sage who may or may not be a bad guy. Two of the planes were nothing more that bad platforming puzzles where mistakes equaled death. There looked good but were stupid. It was as after so many hours of letting the player dictate the pace it was time for the game to start rolling downhill to its finale and it didn't now how to do it.

And the card game was dumb. But I am probably wrong about that, so don't listen to me.

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