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Spoilers for a post-script to the Dreamweaver quest, and for bits of Broken Flowers

Butch:

Actually played!

What did I do?

First, went back to find that Corrine and Sara have shacked up. Didn’t see that coming, but nice. Got a nice little cutscene. Seemed optimistic. Nothing seems optimistic in this game. That makes me nervous.

Then did “Broken Flowers” all the way through. Talked to women, and a cross dressing elf, didn’t do a horse race, went magpie long enough to erase a question mark and find a place of power, listened to the song, got yelled at by that woman from white orchard, called it a night.

Was disappointed that a game so progressive on women (and I’m sticking to that) was so…..less so…about the cross dressing elf.

But that’s negative. Let’s stay positive.

Songs in games, man. Why are they always so powerful? Is it cuz they don’t happen all that often? But from Leliana to the song in the snow to this….all just great, great moments.

And to do a song about (THEME) lost loves, or the futility of looking for love, at this point in the game, during THIS quest, was perfect timing. Guess we ARE on the same theme. Though we can discuss that further a little later on when I actually meet Dandelion.

I know games are sound and you hate sound, but why are they always so powerful? Is it cuz they MAKE you put down the controller and pay attention? Cuz of their rarity? They always stand out.

Feminina:

I liked that too! Though, as you say, the optimism almost makes one nervous. I wonder what the tiny animated cutscene was if you drove Sara out of the house? Maybe you come back and she’s dead on the doorstep or something, and you got a gloomy voiceover about destroying someone’s security. After possibly ruining Johnny’s nice home in the swamp for him, we owed it to godlings in general to help one of them out.

But see, in this case trying to help the (sort of) child, and siding with the spirit, was the right call (apparently), while trying to help the (actual) children and siding with the spirit previous to our last animated cutscene was not the right call. Apparently.

I was also not wild about the portrayal of the cross-dressing elf. I sort of imagined it in my head as being an “OK, no big deal, he’s here and he likes to cross-dress” (sort of the way DAI more explicitly did with Krem’s “he’s here and he has some body parts more commonly associated with women”) but I had to gloss over the “this dude is a bizarro freak, isn’t it funny?!” vibes that I was getting from the game itself to do that. Enh…can’t please everyone all the time.

The song was interesting. I liked that moment where you and Geralt simultaneously realize that she’s singing about Yennefer. And yeah, that woman standing up to yell at you…so unfair! We were trying to help! (And that wasn’t even a choice.)

Butch:

We shall see. I’m nervous. Things don’t generally end well in this world.

Mechanically, though, I was sort of surprised to get that scene THEN. I mean, at the end of the baron, that made sense, because that was very obviously the end of something that was a very obvious big deal. I didn’t think this part was really a chapter unto itself.

Yeah. The right call. Apparently. As in, “get your hopes up only to have them terribly dashed.”

There was a weird disconnect, though, with the elf. Yeah, I very much got the vibe that he was a freak, and not in a “he’s just like Geralt” way, but then they went out of their way to say he wasn’t gay (he emphatically says he doesn’t like men) and out of their way to say that he dresses up as all sorts of other things, too, like dock thugs. It was like “Ooo! Let’s point at the gay man….who isn’t gay or really a crossdresser, really….he’s saying interesting things about identity…..but let’s point.” Weird scene. And unnecessary.

We must remember, at times, that this game was made in another country with different sensibilities.

That moment with the song was great. And how Zoltan…knew before? Or figured it the same way? And the other reactions. The couple kissing, the people crying and, my favorite, the King of Beggars stopping to hear some of it, before moving on before the end.

Can you imagine how tricky it was to translate that into about a bazillion languages? And still have it work?

Songs, man. They work.

Feminina:

I agree, that didn’t seem to be a particular chapter-ending section, and the little animation itself was also really short. The first one seemed to kind of want you to pause and think about it, but this just happened and then was gone, sort of like they just had a point they wanted to make there, and stuck it in where they could.

“Oh, by the way, here’s this point about family and the concept of home! Your choice makes a difference! OK, moving on.”

Really, in both instances so far, the animation cutscenes seem to fit oddly into the overall game. But whatever, I’m glad Corinne and Sara are having a good time in that house. I’ll take a happy ending, even if it’s small and very likely temporary.

I didn’t do much last night: a witcher contract with another angry wraith (wronged women seem to turn into wraiths a lot), checked out a couple of question marks, sold some loot, and finally got to the Oxenfurt smith who has the devil’s puffball recipe. Woohoo, devil’s puffball! I also found out I DO have that statue that we need to talk to Triss about–I must have just missed the quest line before–so I’m back in Novigrad, and am going to go see her about that next time I play, unless I get distracted by something shiny.

Butch:

So a while back, regarding the baron’s wife and the curse, we talked on picking the right doll. This reminded me of something last night: I had to find a way into that place with the sword fighting rich brat. I talked to the guard, and, at first, forgot that she was chewing through fighting teachers, and said “I’m a witcher” and was turned away. So I reloaded (cuz I remembered as I was doing it and that wouldn’t have REALLY happened to Geralt so it’s ok) and got in.

That, like the doll, required you to have listened to the little details in bigger dialogs. Did you remember that the Baron was talking about those flowers all that time ago? Did you remember that bit about sword teachers? Neither of those were highlighted in a way that would imply they were important details. They could’ve been part of the dialog written to make things sound natural in games without any real narrative importance. But they weren’t.

Just like killing monsters requires research, so, too, do quest moments require you to have paid attention. Inattentive witchers pay.

Same thing with rich brat! The first fight, I almost lost. But then Geralt says “A bit of advice, you leave your left flank open to counterattack.” And when the second fight started, I thought “Ok, I’m going to dodge right and hit her in the left side each time” and beat her without taking a single hit.

I can’t recall a game that rewarded you for paying attention more than this one.

But regarding the animations: You know, I think their plan backfired. These weird little animated things were more frequent and longer in TW2, and people tended not to like them very much. Now, they’re less frequent and shorter, which I think makes them stand out and intrude more, not less. It’s like me being able to sleep through the planes that sometimes fly over the house, but not being able to sleep if there’s a mosquito buzzing around.

And you JUST got the puffball? I LOVE the puffball.

Feminina:

Hmm…I can see them seeming more intrusive because they’re less frequent, and therefore their weirdness is not diminished by familiarity. On the other hand, I don’t know that I’d say I dislike them more on an infrequent basis: the trade-off of ‘somewhat more intrusive’ for ‘considerably less frequent’ seems like a fair one.

I mean, assuming you just can’t see getting rid of them entirely, which apparently they can’t.

The main reason I might hesitate to go talk to Triss about the statue tonight is that I want to go try out the Puffball in combat, and exploring question marks might be a better way to do that.

But I can always hope there’ll be an opportunity to pick a fight with someone after talking to Triss. Or while looking for Triss. After all, there’s historical precedent. Devil’s puffball in that warehouse fight would probably have been awesome.

Butch:

The puffball is pretty awesome. Have you already enhanced it? Cuz I had enhanced recipe first, so I went right to enhanced.

Don’t worry. There’ll be plenty of time to use the puffball.

What…..warehouse….fight? Buttons? Is that you?

I did a fight against a bunch of thugs (the ones who lured me into an alley with a kid) where I pinned them in an alley, puffballed them, then chucked in dragons dream and lit it on fire.

That ended that. Was satisfying. Killed three bandits without the use of sword.

Feminina:

Oops! Oops! Sorry! Thought that was earlier on the main plotline. My bad. What warehouse fight? What are we talking about?

But I haven’t been lured into an alley with a kid yet (although I totally will be, because I’m a sucker for trying to help kids), so we’re kind of even. Except that one spoiler was plot and one was randits, but whatever.

I don’t have enhanced puffball, alas. I have superior puffball, so one day when I get enhanced, I’ll be all set, but for now I must make do with the basic version. I do like the satisfying blaze of a dragon’s dream/igni combo.

Happy sigh…setting things on fire, that’s the life. Magical fire that never spreads to neighboring buildings or does any lasting damage, of course.

Man, can you imagine the guilt if we had to deal with accidentally burning down an inn with 20 people inside it or something? Fortunately, Novigrad has a lot of stone construction, and, you know, Velen is very swampy and probably doesn’t burn well.

“All our food may be soggy and our clothes mildewed, but I’ll say this for the constant, pervasive dampness: it’s handy when witchers start burning stuff. ”

Butch:

Yeah, yeah. I didn’t see a thing. ***Starts stockpiling puffballs***

Dragon’s dream/igni is pretty cool, except once I got too close and damn near killed myself. Not as bad though as last night, when I thought I was sliding down a place and really just plummeted to my death and had to redo all SORTS of shit.

Man, do NOT give CDPR any ideas about burning villages. I wouldn’t put it past them.

I still sorta look around making sure everyone is all right after those street fights. “We cool? You hurt? Anyone need a ham sandwich?”

Feminina:

Randit loot is so bad. The ham sandwiches are about the best thing they’ve got. I always pick it all up anyway to sell later, but that strategy is becoming less workable as more and more often I get overburdened. And sometimes you’re SO FAR from anywhere you can sell stuff. Happily, Roach doesn’t care if you’re carrying too much, and you can still fast-travel (Skyrim wouldn’t let you fast-travel if you were overburdened, which was just cruel), but even so, I think one of these days I’m going to decide it’s not worth it to pick up all the low-grade swords, blackjacks, and hatchets everyone’s carrying. Coins and sandwiches, that’s all I want from you!

The having to get close enough to use igni is the downside of dragon’s dream. I’ve been very wary of getting too close so far, so I more often fail to ignite it, than have it burn me. I guess a self-igniting version is just too complicated for witcher bomb technology.

I do that too!–look around to see if there are any wounded civilians I could offer some refreshing water and sandwiches to. So far there never are. I guess people are really good at taking cover. That, and you do mostly seem to get attacked in alleys or abandoned fields or other places that don’t have a lot of bystanders. Considerate, that.

Butch:

Dude, you’re still selling blackjacks? No way, man. If it doesn’t have at least a blue background, I don’t touch it.

As for encumbered, I found, somewhere last night, a saddlebag that kicked my max weight from 90 to 170! Or 160, or 100 and something! Like, A LOT. No problems for a while!

You know one of these days some dude is gonna speed run this game on death march with nothing but a blackjack. You’ll see.

Self-igniting makes it too easy. Gotta get close. Still, not bad tech considering it’s made of flowers, livers and whiskey.

Re: survivors…maybe it’s just the messenger. I mean, think about it: You’re out for a stroll to the CVS to pick up some laundry detergent and you see some dude slaughter five people in front of you. He then turns and offers you a canape. You’re probably not going to say “Oh, thanks, slaughtering crazy person. I am a mite peckish.”

Feminina:

Oh, I NEED those saddlebags. I’m at 130, and I’m constantly getting weighed down by all the blackjacks and broken oars I pick up.

It’s true, they do some pretty remarkable things with flowers and wolf livers these days. A credit to the proud tradition of witcher researchers working away in labs surrounded by piles of every possible ingredient.

So your theory is that the survivors, even if gravely wounded, just drag themselves out of sight as quickly as possible? That’s plausible. As you say, I probably wouldn’t stick around to accept a drink of water and some dried fruit from a guy who just set several people on fire, even if I was a bit singed myself.

“No thanks, I’m good! I’ll just go jump in the river! Please don’t bother your head about me!”

This does assume no innocent bystanders ever get knocked unconscious, but I’ll go with that. OR…the whole city has a buddy system set up, and if one person goes down, someone else will quickly drag them to safety! Which is almost heartwarming.

Deadly witcher violence: bringing people together!

Butch:

Exactly! Geralt’s actions do not make him out to be someone who’s snacks can be trusted. But that’s Geralt. Frying people…..for love.

Yeah, it was a revelation, those saddlebags. And I don’t think they were from that interesting a merchant. Or maybe they were from the crossdresser. I don’t recall.

Researching. By which you mean throwing shit together. 99.5% of the time, they make an odd, if not repugnant salad. The rest of the time it blows up. Odd people, witchers.

Feminina:

The research is pretty much exactly like Skyrim potion research (mix random stuff together, see what happens), except that someone else does it–you don’t actually have to stand over an alchemy workstation blending things yourself. Also, the potions have much weirder names.

I guess witcher research is so boring, you have to make your own fun by coming up with strange potion names.

I don’t think the cross-dressing elf had saddlebags…I know I looked at his wares, because I bought a cheap mask from him (who knows when you might want a mask?!), so I should have seen it if he’d had anything that was actually useful. I mean, some of his clothes were nice, but expensive, and I’m already carrying the emperor’s suit around if I happen to need nice clothes, which I pray I someday will.

Butch:

That they do, have weird names.

“Hey, what are you going to call that stinky mess of flowers, seeds and eyeballs?”
“Uhhh…. I suppose if I call it ‘stinkyassed poison begone’ people might not go for it, huh?”
“Yeah, probably not.”
“Hmmm…… people think orioles are pretty!”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Marketing, man. Marketing. ‘Pepsi’ doesn’t mean shit, either.”

Feminina:

Meanwhile the one guy is grouching in the corner, “stinkyassed poison begone is honest and descriptive! We need truth in advertising! People should say what they MEAN!!!!”

But everyone ignores him. The marketers have taken over in witcher research circles.

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