Friday, 11 September 2015

The Witcher 1, 2 and 3 - all in one post! (story spoilers are optional)

This here is the reason for my blogging abscence. I've been playing through The Witcher series for the past month and now that I've completed the series (and am eagerly awaiting DLC) I'll tell you all about my gaming experience! Spoilery story content is blanked out. If you want to read it - highlight it! :)

The Witcher: I thought I'd have a hard time with this game. I had mostly heard things like "the story is great but the mechanics and fighting and graphics are horrible - but if you can look past that it's a great game". The graphics are forgiveable - the game is 8 years old and probably looked amazing back in 2007 when it was released. When I started the game, though, I very quickly learned how the fighting worked and I had absolutely no issue with neither fighting nor mechanics. I loved that the general look of the game was similar to Dragon Age: Origins. I did have to make F5 my new best friend, though, because I soon discovered that the game didn't autosave nearly as much as I needed. As with all games there were some areas that I absolutely loved (the Temple Quarter of Vizima) and some areas that I absolutely hated (the Swamp), and I enjoyed all the little Witcher contracts that were found on the notice boards. The two mini games (fistfighting and dice poker) never really grew on me, though. Fistfighting was boring and dice poker was just glorified yatzy. Like always I had way too much fun with the romance in the game. It was very noticeable that this was a game aimed for young guys. I could sleep with basically anything wearing a skirt, and I could get drunk every half-hour if I wanted to, and I spent a lot of time with my best guy friends complaining about how complicated women were. But I loved it. It was hilarious and I made it my own personal mission to sleep with every sleep-able woman in the game. But then the story. I became a lot more invested in the side missions involving Alvin, Shani and Triss than in the main quest line. I was also very invested in the Scoi'atael (I really liked Yaevinn) and helped them every chance I got. When I woke up in Triss' house in Vizima and heard her talking to someone urging her not to tell me things I decided that I didn't trust her, which ultimately ended in me starting a relationship with Shani and giving Alvin to her. I even gave her a ring. Practically engaged! While the main quest didn't catch my heart as much as anything involving Alvin did, the end broke my heart when I realised after having been teleported into The White Frost that Jacques de Aldersberg actually was Alvin. It broke my heart to kill him, and I was so sad afterwards when Geralt discovered that Jacques had the same amulet that he had given Alvin, but it looked a lot older. Alvin must've teleported away when the Order of the Flaming Rose attacked the Scoia'tael and accidentally gone way back in time. Nothing about the Professor and Azar Javed and the Salamandra captured me as much as that. I had one breakdown during the course of this game and that was when I was fleeing through an old mine from the Kikimore queen and Geralt just wouldn't hit the support beams correctly and I just died over and over again... But despite the fact that I couldn't get invested in the main quest and the fact that some boss battles were ridiculous and that I had to go back to that hated Swamp a million times - I really enjoyed this game.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: So it starts with Geralt waking up in bed next to a naked Triss. I still don't trust her and I wonder what the hell happened to Shani. We were practicalyl engaged in the last game and now I'm sleeping with Triss?! I had to read up on the wiki to realise that Shani had broken up with Geralt and started studying at Oxenfurt and Geralt had then returned to Triss for comfort. Still didn't trust her and because I didn't trust her I didn't like her. I liked Foltest, though and cried when Letho killed him in front of his children. Giving Geralt the blame for the regicide made me really want to catch up to Letho and kill him right back. I never liked Vernon Roche or Ves in this game, but I soon connected with Iorveth and once again I helped the Scoia'tael. Shouldn't the fact that I helped the Scoia'tael in the previous game somehow have had an impact here and made them trust me sooner? I liked the boss battle against the kayran actually - it was fun - although I had previously failed miserably at the sneaky part to retrieve parts for the trap for it. And despite not liking Triss I really liked the romantic scenes I had with her. I loved everything about Aedirn and Saskia and the dwarves. When I had to choose between saving Philippa or saving Triss I chose to save Philippa because I still didn't trust Triss. But now I felt bad about it. When it finally became time for the final confrontation with Letho - I instead had a drink with him and under the influence we became friends and then I let him go :P My main problem with this game was that it was so short. It felt like it was over before it had even begun. Once again with the mini games (fistfighting and dice poker) I only did them because I'm somewhat of a completionist and felt like I had to do them. Although this game looked a lot better than the first and the mechanics and fighting had improved a lot - this is still my least favourite game of the series.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt: Finally the Yennefar I had heard so much about in previous games showed up! Aaaaaaaaaand I didn't like her. Ciri was a surprise as well. She wasn't mentioned at all in previous games and suddenly she shows up as a dear and almost integral part of every important character's life. Wut? But other than her sudden appearance without any previous mention I soon came to love her. This game in general was amazing. Beautiful and with so much content. I loved going to every single question mark on the map to find out what it was. Dice poker was cut (finally!) and instead there was gwent. Gwent is a card game with collectable cards and the main goal is to win two out of three rounds, deploying your cards like an army with different buffs available etc. I became so invested in completing my collection, but then I didn't win the tournament at Passiflora and with that my chances of ever completing my deck were gone.  Fistfighting still wasn't anyfun, but I really liked horseracing. I have only two complaints about this game. First of all the unskippable story sequences that for some reason had to be played every time I travelled between area maps (well, I soon figured that if I pressed space an inordinately amount of times I could skip the story sequences but that soon became annoying). Second of all it's the fact that Geralt is maneuvered like a big ass car, but most of the time I could ignore that. So this game's story completely revolves around Ciri. You spent the first half of the game trying to find her and then the second half working to defeat The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt itself proved a disappointment to me. Because they are mentioned and/or featured in the previous two games. In the first game you engage in a game of dice poker for Alvin's soul (he also has the Elder Blood, like Ciri, which they for some reason don't mention in this game) with a wraith from the Wild Hunt. And in the second game we're told about the Wild Hunt that took the souls of young children from all over the place and that Geralt made a deal with them. But I always imagined The Wild Hunt as ancient wraiths that were the bringers of the White Frost, and here they show up and are nothing but ordinary elves with the added ability to travel between worlds? Kind of a let down. In this game I suddenly loved Triss to bits and I tried to pursue a romance with her as much as possible. When I got the chance to break up with Yennefer I took it. I never liked her. She was a high-maintenance bitch who didn't hesitate to treat Geralt like a dog and I did not stand for it. But I messed up one dialogue with Triss, I didn't pick the correct answer, and now Geralt in my story is completely single. Good for him maybe, but I really wanted it to work out with Triss. It took a while but she really grew on me. Anyway, I really missed the presence of Scoia'tael in this game. I had made it my personal mission to help non-humans as much as possible and then that's not an option in this game? I loved the reference to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and the Easter Egg that was Tyrion Lannister in a cell with an open back. I also liked Avallac'h a lot, although the game tried time and time again to make me suspicious of him. There were two times this game made me cry. First time was at the Battle of Kaer Morhen when Vesemir was killed. Second time was towards the end, when Ciri stepped through the portal to defeat the White Frost and then it seemed like she didn't come back through. Geralt went to the Emperor and told him she was dead and I just sat there crying and feeling like the game was an ass. You can't just make me look for her and defend her and try to save her only to make it inevitable that she die! Stupid game! But then it turned out she was alive and I just started smiling like and idiot. I also smiled like and idiot when Geralt was told that Keira and Lambert had run off together :) All in all, this was an amazing game and the playthrough of all three of them like this was an amazing adventure. Absolutely loved it. I also absolutely have to mention two of the new types of "monsters" in this game. First are the godlings which I love. They are so cute and adorable :3 Then there are the leshen which completely scare the shit out of me. Here are some random screenshots from the game:
 The three godlings I found in the game :3 And then there's the leshen that just reminds me too much of Anansi's Goatman Story
The noonwraith concoction makes Geralt look really cool. Also two nice pictures from the Skellige area: snow-covered landscape and stunning sunset. I also managed to capture a whale, which scared the shit out of me first time I came across one. I was swimming and suddenly, out of nowhere, there's this huge bump in front of me and I'm like "Hoooooly shit! Don't make me fight that!" And then the tail came about and I realised it was a whale.