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The Witcher 3: Many great and weighty events


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#181 Ocelot

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 06:54 AM

So I finally have my upgraded computer up and running, and after finishing off Deus Ex I decided to plunge back into the warm, enveloping waters of The Witcher 3. I've been Blood & Wining non-stop for the past couple of days and I'm absolutely loving it. At this point, The Witcher 3 has more than earnt its place alongside the other great '3's of the video gaming world: Metal Gear Solid 3, GTA III and Devil May Cry 3. This game just keeps on giving. If CDPR kept making Witcher 3 expansions I would keep buying them, because I can't get enough.

 

Toussaint is just such a wonderful place. The more time I spend here the more I like it. It's totally distinct from anywhere in the main game, with that peculiar accent and all the hilariously juvenile insults the people throw about. It has this lovely feel of a lighthearted fairy tale land, where a Witcher's work is still never done, but it's not quite so harsh a place as the Northern Kingdoms. It feels like CDPR's quest writers have just been trying out all the oddball pitches that didn't make it into the main game, so I'm constantly getting blindsided. There I am, thinking I'm going to do the same old fistfighting quest from the main game all over again, except one of the fighters fancies himself so quick that he only wants to see if I can parry his blows three times. One of them is a masked fighter, who reveals herself to be *dun dun dunnnn* a woman, only to be slightly disappointed when Good Guy Geralt treats her with respect rather than crying foul. The third comes out insulting me in verse and doesn't seem particularly interested in throwing the first punch, and when I reply in kind he's so impressed by Geralt's hot rhymes that he declares me the winner without so much as a swing. Then I meet the champion of Toussaint and find that he'll only fight me drunk :P

 

And it's just so cleverly put together. When I first reached Beauclair I wasn't quite as taken with it as I had been with Novigrad, but then I got the Gwent Tournament quest that takes you all over the city, into all the stores and watering holes, acting as a nice little self-guided tour punctuated with glorious Gwent. I think the Skellige deck is pretty interesting, especially with the Leader ability that recycles cards from your graveyard back into your deck. They don't go back into your hand, so I didn't get why it was useful at first, but then I realised it's for the Muster cards. You play one of those and it summons all its friends, but it will only summon them from your deck, not your graveyard. That new Leader ability lets you play a full set of Muster cards in two different rounds, which is neato. It's nowhere near as dominant as my usual Nilfgaard Spy routine, but it's a nice change of pace.

 

I loved the whole Tournament questline. It isn't even part of the main story; I didn't even know what I was getting into until I was into it. The tournament itself was a nice chance to do a bit of horsing about, giggling at all the tropes of a big posh medieval to-do and winning myself some nice new armour and toys that I'll never use (and I wonder what that giant Sir Gregoire of Mt Gorgon could be a reference to...). But then in between rounds it turns into a classic Witcher short story, with Geralt uncovering and attempting to deal with a bizarre curse that's stricken a fair maiden, while keeping a lusty knight who's read too many stories at bay. 

 

And speaking of those new toys, while I might not use them in combat because I'm a Witcher gear man, thanks to Corvo Bianco's main man Barnabas-Basil Foulty (I geddit, CDPR :P) I'm going to have a whole room dedicated to the sweet armour and swords I've picked up over my 160ish hours of Witchering. I'm halfway through restoring Corvo Bianco now, and I love decorating my lovely little housey. Pictures all over the walls, the whole place bristling with swords, a statue of that bloke with the blessed stones out the front, and a hard-won Gwent Tournament statue up in the master bedroom to match the portrait of a young Princess Cirilla Fiona Elen Rhiannon.

 

Also, I'm really glad I managed to avoid any spoilers until now, because I was so delighted to see a certain old friend show up:

 

Spoiler



#182 The Captain

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:59 AM

I really want to get the Witcher 3 GOTY having finished the Witcher 2 over Christmas break last year but I'm absolutely terrified it's going to destroy my precious GPA this semester if I do.


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#183 Ocelot

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 05:26 AM

So, there I am, just wandering about Toussaint. I've already done a couple of laps of the whole place, and I've cleaned up every side mission and contract I've found so far. I'm just rounding some elven ruins when I happen upon a little cottage in the wilderness, with that enticing red exclamation mark on the minimap declaring that most delightful treat in this game: a hidden quest! There's an old woman kneeling out in front of her house, wishing and praying and pleading with some unseen someone to leave her alone, stop tormenting her. Well, what kind of Witcher would I be if I didn't step in and help her? (btw, just to complete the mental image, I was wearing the Grandmaster Ursine armour dyed red at the time, so I was thinking of myself as 'Bearalt of Roarvia'.)

 

Upon the customary Witcher Sense investigation, Geralt and I determined that this poor woman was being visited by an invisible wraith every night, which was sucking her blood and disappearing before morn. But she was able to see this beastie, which she described as an enormous spectral horse, by imbibing a heady brew of mushrooms and other hallucinogens. Naturally, there was nothing for it but for Geralt to take a swig of the vision juice, so down that gravelly hatch it went. It sent him into a bit of a spiral, but after a quick fade to black and fade up again, our old mate woke up in a hazy, purple world of swimmy graphical effects. And then his reverie was summarily disturbed by a distinctly California-surfer-dude-esque voice. Except there was nobody around...

 

Nobody... but Roach.

 

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Spoiler

 

So, anyway, I've polished off all the side stuff I've found, and I've turned POI indicators back on to make sure I don't miss anything. I like to turn them off to start with so I can just go adventuring on my own, but now that I'm getting towards the end I just want to see all there is to see. And, honestly, I really need to stock up on treasure again. I've made a fair bit of coin throughout my travels, but renovating Corvo Bianco and, particularly, crafting all those Grandmaster Witcher Armour sets has just about bankrupted me. All those enriched Dimeritium plates! And now that I have them all crafted, I never know what to wear. I've moved on from Bear to Cat now, and I originally thought the hood on the Grandmaster Feline chest armour was really dumb until I thought to dye the whole set white. Now I'm playing as Geralt cosplaying Ezio :P

 

Armour dyes are a lot cooler than I expected at the beginning. CDPR's artists have done a great job of making all the various colours look believable within the Witchering world; even a suit of garish hot pink armour doesn't stick out too much, at least in Toussaint. And then there are all these amazing swords I keep finding. The one I'm using now, a silver sword named Ami that I got from beating this pain in the bum furrow of a Shaelmaar, has a base damage rating of 650, which is the highest I've seen in my whole playthrough. They seem to deteriorate really quickly all of a sudden, though. I wonder if they've patched the weapon durability at some point; I've just been running around with broken swords all the time because I can't be bothered repairing them. They still kill dudes real good.

 

Anyway, no choice now but to focus on the main story missions, and then eventually this magnificent game will be over for good. I'm loving this main quest and all the side quests that keep shooting off from it, and I'm going to be so sad when it's all over. I love this game so much, you guys.

 

EDIT - I think I'm a Manticore Armour man. I've spent a while in each of the Grandmaster sets, romping around the countryside as different animals, but they're a bit too pompous for my liking. I want the higher stats, but I think most of those armour sets peak at the Enhanced level; you don't need all the extra bells and whistles for Witcher's work, y'know? The Manticore Armour is obviously CDPR's loveletter to Geralt's getup in the first Witcher game, and at first it brought back some terrible memories of his hideous Witcher 1 face, but once I got to playing around with some dyes it really came into its own. I've dyed the chest armour red for now, though I'm flipflopping between turquoise, too, and I think it's what I'm going to be finishing the game in. Nice little way to bookend this series, I suppose.

 

Also I love how Anna Henrietta uses the royal 'we'. This game has had so many feisty female characters and they're all so great. Firecrackers, the lot of'em  :P



#184 Ocelot

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 08:20 AM

Oh my God, double posting here because this deserves more than an edit: Blood & Wine is amazing.

 

Seriously, you guys. I am so serious right now. This is flat out incredible. The writing, the storytelling, the quest design, the voice acting, even stuff I never thought I'd be complementing in a game like this like the cinematography, is superb. This main quest has had me utterly enthralled for hour upon hour, and I can't wait to see where it's going to go. I've played some great DLC things in my time, from Mass Effect 2's Lair of the Shadow Broker, Dishonored's two mini-campaigns, and Witcher 3's own Hearts of Stone, but this? Boy oh boy, this is something else. Blood & Wine puts most full games to shame. If they'd stamped this on a disc and charged $60 for it, not only would it have been an amazing deal, I swear to Gawd it would have won GOTY awards. I mean, this so-called 'Expansion' has to be pretty close to the same size as the entirety of Witcher 2 was, or at least one of its paths.

 

It's so good! Words are failing me right now; I can't get my praise effusive enough. I honestly think The Witcher 3 is in with a shot of winning the coveted prize that is Ocelot's Personal GOTY two years in a row. Now let me get into the story spoilers. I still haven't even finished it, btw; to give you an idea of where I am, a certain attack has just commenced on a certain city by a certain group led by a certain beast. OK here we go:

 

Spoiler

 

Oh man, you guys. I am at the pointy end of this story and I am giddy to see how it all turns out. I can't wait! I can't remember the last time I was so excited by a video game's story, but here I am playing this absolute masterpiece by the undisputed kings of the genre. What a ride they've taken me on.

 

EDIT - And I had to take a picture of this scene, because it's just too pretty. I've turned all the Nvidia Hairworks stuff up to max, and I love what it does to our White Wolf's mane:

 

CgoHcbD.jpg

 

EDIT - I just finished it. I went with ending option one, thinking it sounded like the less interesting path of the two and that I'd reload and finish on the other one, but it ended up being so incredible that I can't imagine the other one will match up. I still made a save, and I'm going to go back and play it, but for now I'm just going to bask in this feeling. One hundred and ninety-ish hours later, I've finished The Witcher 3. It might be my favourite video game of all time. I mean, I'm sure this feeling will fade after a week or two, but it is so easily in my top five, and I'm just amazed that something can hit me so hard even after all these years. You always think your favourite things are set in stone years ago, because you look back on them with such fondness and it's so hard for anything new to compare. But this game? What an absolute masterpiece. I'm getting all teary-eyed here :P

 

Spoiler

 

Have I said 'masterpiece' enough yet? 

 

EDIT - Had to change my avatar; he's just so happy :P






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