Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sorry, T-Rex

I've been playing The Witcher lately. It takes place in the same fictional magical medieval England as most RPGs (think Fable or Elder Scrolls games) in which you play as Geralt of Rivia, an amnesiac demon hunter for hire. By far, my favorite aspect of the game are the decisions you must make which have long reaching consequences. Geralt is a bit of a Byronic Hero, which makes him doubly attractive to me. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure in what significant way the decisions affect the end storyline, or if it really is just a linear game with you being on one side or the other, seeing as I am only on Ch 4.

It's a bit complex and unintuitive. Some examples:

Ingredients: You've lost your memory. Even though you're a witcher, you've got no idea how to properly gather alchemical ingredients from monsters or plants. Before you can recognize plants or gather parts of the monsters you've killed you must first research the ingredients by reading books. Occasionally you will come across an NPC who will tell you about ingredients, often for a favor.

Alchemy: You do not know any potions formula, again due to the amnesia. You must find, be rewarded with, or purchase formula scrolls before you can make anything, even a simple healing potion (which fortunately, you are given very early on).

Fighting: You have two swords, a silver sword for monsters and a steel sword for humans. You must know what kind of fighting style to use on each enemy -- though that bit is pretty easy. If you're using strong style and the enemy keeps dodging or parrying your blows, you should probably switch to fast style. If they are a particularly bulky enemy, or a human carrying a bulky weapon, you should probably use strong style.

The above complexities bother me none at all. Researching the ingredients can be costly, when I have to purchase a 200g book just to learn about three creatures, and sell the book back for only 40g. However, once you've read about a creature, your bestiary will tell you what they are susceptible to, what they are immune to, and the best way to fight them. I've found that I find or am rewarded with many potion formula scrolls.

The Witcher has consumed all of my free time. It's an 80+ hour game into which I have logged 43 hours. I intend to play through it 2x and make different decisions and see how they will affect the overall outcome.

My largest gripe with this game is the fucking invisible walls.

The red lines below are, roughly, some of the invisible walls found in the swamp. The worst walls were those fucking surrounding the tower in the center of the map. What. The. Hell.

So, if I wanted to get from green to blue, I had to a completely fucking round about way. Green to yellow could've been a straight shot but nooooooo.

Some people consider the game to be quiet sexist. After all, Geralt has many sexual conquests and the women in the game all seem to be falling out of their tops. However, I've never felt that I can completely call myself a feminist, because I enjoy what others call the objectification of women. I enjoy seeing images of women, real life images or renderings, showing off their body. This includes everything from 50's pin-ups to nude models. I don't enjoy seeing such images of men. The female body is just so much softer and prettier than man's. Though, I will admit, if more of the men in the game looked like the Witcher, I wouldn't mind playing a female and getting some Sex Cards from them.

I love that Geralt of Rivia is a total sex fiend, and the women in the game yearn for him as well. "I'll speak plainly," says one peasant woman. "I like what I see."

In the words of my favorite video game critic*: "Female magic users were queueing up to nibble on my +69 Staff of Penetration."

After every conquest, you recieve a Sex Card, or a Romance Card in the PG-13 version which was originally released in the US. I have the Enhanced Edition, Director's Cut, so no censorship of tatas here.

Some of them are sweet, like Vesna, who makes you take her on a date, or Rozalind, a sheltered town girl. Some of them are quite dirty or just crazy, like Abigail the Witch or the Queen of the Night, a vampiress. All of them have some reference to character of the individual. Shani is an learned woman (a doctor) 1 and 2. Triss is a sorceress, 1 and 2. The prostitute and courtesan pose with gold coins.
(Links, not images, but most of these are safe except for the witch and vampiress. Rozalind and Triss 1 are the tamest ones.)

This is quite a secret, but truth be told, I finish so few video games. I can count on one hand the number of games I've played to the credits. I play about 1/2 way through and then I get video game ADD. I've started Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Morrowind multiple times. I think, however, this might be the first RPG that I complete.

By the way, the monster in the first image? You eventually fuck her, too. ... Well, you cure her first!

*Here is Yahtzee's video review on The Witcher. He hated it. I don't care. He is witty and hilarious.

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