Saturday!

1980s The Game of Life Commercial

I finally broke down and got the Witcher 3 a few months back when the Game Of The Year version finally switched from 50% off to 60% off and I yelled “FINE!” at the computer and downloaded it. Then I booted it up once and immediately regretted it because I never beat The Witcher and I never got over my resentment at Witcher 2’s dropping me in “easy mode” even though I worked *REALLY HARD* at the beginning combat test. (The Leisure Theory of Value, I guess we could call that last one.)

Then, a few months later, I booted it up again and HOLY COW THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES TO MAKE and I shut it down again due to choice paralysis.

So I beat XCom 2 again (War of the Chosen, this time) and having beaten that, I thought I was ready to finally dive into Witcher 3.

And, holy cow, I should have purchased this the moment it came out and then started playing it and waiting patiently for DLC.

If you’re not familiar with the game at all, know that the game is based on a bunch of short stories by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. The stories themselves are really good and do a good job of exploring Epic Fantasy from a perspective that isn’t heavily based with North American or Western European sensibilities (different attitudes about destiny/fate, different attitudes about government, different attitudes about the amount of difference made by killing monsters that terrorize the countryside) and the characters are *REALLY* strong… strong to the point where my buddy was playing The Witcher 2 and his wife walked through the room and whipped her head around to the monitor and demanded to know “IS THAT TRISS?” during a particularly dialog-heavy cutscene.

Well, the video game takes the world from the short stories and has you play as the protagonist. You are Geralt and you wander the countryside taking out monsters, collecting bounties, doing side quests, playing card games, looking for love in all the wrong places, and generally collecting experience points and going up levels and gaining skills and abilities and hitpoints thereby.

And, holy cow, remember the feeling when you played Bioware games and you visited a new region? Sure, you had your overarching quest where you needed one of the McGuffins required to act as a key that would unlock the final region of the game but this overarching quest had sub-McGuffins and the sub-McGuffins had side-quests that could help you get better weapons, armor, and accessories that would help you get the sub-McGuffins. And you had a *LOT* of stuff that could be improved by better weapons, armor, and accessories.

Well, The Witcher 3 does all of that and does it to the proverbial hilt. You’ve got two swords: one for mundane opponents and one for magic opponents. You’ve got a ranged weapon. You’ve got all kinds of armor from your neck down. You’ve got a horse that needs outfitting. And you’ve got a deck of cards that you will whip out at a moment’s notice to play a game of Gwent against various NPCs in various taverns… where you’ll also pick up side-quests just by walking from the door to the barkeep.

I’ve not played enough of the game to break down much more than the barest bones of the plot but it seems that there is a war going on, you’re looking for your girlfriend (who happens to have an aesthetic identical to a woman who shows up in a lot of prophecies) while this war is going on, and the side of the war you’re not most inclined to like happens to be winning (though that last one might have a lot of assumptions mixed in with the whole North American “sympathies-with-underdogs” thing that happens to infect my brain).

Anyway, if you’ve been mourning what’s been going on with Bioware now that they’re part of EA (or since Dragon Age 2, really), you probably already have this game and you’re wondering what took me so long.

But if you’ve been out of the loop, you *NEED* to get this. And do let choice paralysis prevent you from pinching your nose and jumping into the deep end. (It’s even on sale for 60% off until July 5th!)

It’ll make waiting for Cyberpunk 2077 a little bit easier before you beat it. Probably worse after, though, if it’s *STILL* not out by then.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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10 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. Speaking of X-Com, a different (and spiritual, rather than official) descendant of the original—Xenonauts—was free on GOG for a while and I picked it up.

    I think I dig it more than Enemy Unknown. It’s less of a departure from the classic game, while getting rid of some of the more tedious micromanagement [1] and allowing for some new tactics and having a somewhat broader array of weapons. There aren’t RPG-style special abilities: it all emerges from the basic mechanics and equipment types. You can “suppress” enemies by firing burst weapons at them or throwing flash bang grenades, which prevents them from using reaction fire and costs them TUs.

    The first time I figured out I could have one guy to throw a flash bang grenade into a room at a Gray and then had another one charge in and shoot it in the face with a shotgun left me with a grin on my face for five minutes.

    It’s not perfect—the production values are very much “small studio” and there isn’t much mission or enemy variety—but it’s a lot of fun. The giveaway seems to have been a (very clever) way to promote a Kickstarter for the sequel, which I’ll definitely be backing.

    [1] You no longer have to buy/manufacture ammo, and your squad members will automatically equip themselves with flares for night missions.

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  2. In spare moments I’ve been playing Witcher 3 as well. One of the things that is troubling me is at a certain point in the game you need to maintain your weapons and there is no apparent way to do that. So I’ve not really progressed or at least I’ve not figured out how to progress. A bit frustrating but as I find time I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

    But a gorgeous game with fluid fighting mechanics, a very interesting sensibility and a seemingly well-structured choice tree to invest you with agency in the outcome of the game (which IIRC is our Founder’s #1 priority for RPGs).

    A caution re: Triss and Yennifer. With two personalities that strong, it seems inevitable that at some point you’re going to have to choose pursuing one or the other. I have a hard time seeing them sharing.

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  3. I’ve put a lot of hours into Witcher 3 and I’m just about two thirds through the main story. It’s definitely easy to get lost in all of the side quests and activities (like tracking down gwent cards).

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  4. 12 hours left in the sale!

    (I also got my Steamlink and Controller, but my boss wanted to thank me for the extra stuff I do and he gave me an SSD for my computer and I’m kinda wanting to install the drive before I set everything up.)

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