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Spoilers for Cerys’ quest, Posession

Butch:

So this is a good game. We agree on that. And when I think I know how good it is, I get a quest like Possession and I become yet more impressed.

Jesus, where do we start on this one? Theme? Writing? How it fits in with love/loss/guilt? Game mechanics (which are excellent)?

So I’ll say what I did:

I put the baby in the oven. I told Cerys that women do, in fact, have men wrapped around their fingers. I tricked the hym.

Can we talk about how awesome a monster the hym is? We have so much to talk about. 

My initial impressions were that the immersion WORKED for this. I trusted the game and put the baby in, and that, plus the fact I had examined the oven beforehand and said “good craftmanship” made me think, seriously, “Holy shit I just killed a baby,” and that thought hit me RIGHT when the shadow of the thing appeared behind Geralt. The timing was perfect. I, like Geralt, fell for the trick. So good.

And we can talk about how Yen is mentioned explicitly THREE TIMES in this quest, a quest that has Geralt’s guilt actually physically manifest. Wonder if that means something.

And we can talk about the meaning of Geralt’s guilt and Yen and all that being in a quest entitled “Possession,” we sure could.

This is one of those “Think about it a long time” quests.

Feminina:

Yes. That was an interesting quest.

I also put the baby in the oven, or thought I did, and then felt that moment of “oh no, what did I do?” even though I had decided to trust Cerys and I KNEW it wasn’t really the baby (but, with this game, can you really count on that?). And even though it turned out OK, I still feel kind of guilty that I was willing to even RISK throwing a baby into an oven. If I even for a MOMENT thought maybe that was really a baby (and how could I be sure it wasn’t? we still don’t know how she and the pellar or whomever managed that trick), how could I do that and NOT actually be guilty? Of evil intention, if not evil action?

It was a good, messy tangle of plot and morals there.

And…honestly, I was just irritated by the way Cerys kept bringing up Yennefer, and how tied Geralt is to Yennefer, and how he doesn’t do anything without her say-so, or whatever. It struck me as a kind of “you’re not a real man because women tell you what to do” taunting, which I found annoying. Possibly because I’m in fact not a real man? I dunno. Anyway, I don’t even remember what I told her, but the dialogue option I wanted would have been a brush off along the lines of “like I care what people think.” Because I don’t feel that he particularly does.

But the frequent mentions certainly did stress, for those of us who don’t know Yen well (pretty much everyone, then), that their romance is a Known Thing, and that he Totally LOOOOOOOOVES Her, and that all strengthens the case for their historic passion…which will be interesting foundation for a later quest.

Butch:

No, you cannot count on anything in this game. Throw in Skellige morals (which seem to be all over the damn place) and the ambitions of Cerys and who knows.

And a great use of the “timed decision” thing, which really needs to be in more games. Very good stuff all around.

Re: Cerys mentioning Yen…see, I didn’t get that. And I am a man. I took it more as curiosity, or playful teasing. There was an aside where Cerys says, as you’re walking back to the village, some stuff about Yen and her dad, and Geralt said it was complicated. It needed to be there to set everything else up, cuz she asks something like “Why are you so drawn to her?” And he says “I guess it’s cuz I’ve never chosen comfort and ease, the calm and the quiet.” (I just youtubed it to get that right, so that’s right). Now, fast forward, and we have him throwing a BABY in the oven (the ultimate symbol of family, if not quiet and calm) and THAT’s what triggers his guilt and his shame. There’s no mistake that that’s in the same quest. None. And we could turn over what that means for the story, how we see that as parents all day long. So I think there was more than just the kind of attempts at humor that fell flat like with the Triss waistline bit and the cross dressing elf. I think the Yen stuff (AND the fact that he sees Ciri DEAD in this quest) juxtaposed with his guilt over his symbolic rejection of family is where it was at. He DOES care what people think. That’s why you didn’t get that option.

I’m going to have to back one of these two for king now, aren’t I?

Feminina:

Of course you have to back one! Why bother getting to know and like them if you aren’t going to have to choose between them?

And I did kind of like them both. Hjalmar seems nice enough, in a ‘big lug’ kind of way, and Cerys, annoying (to me) comments aside, is smart and determined and not afraid to tackle weird stuff. I did feel that Cerys’ quest was more interesting and I was predisposed to support her because I’d gotten to know her better, but Hjalmar also has strong qualifications for the throne, being all brave and a fierce fighter.

Also, yes, that was a good use of the timed decision. Clearly this was not a situation where one could realistically sit and ponder, and having that little timer reminding you (and knowing that if you don’t pick, you’ll just do SOMETHING by default–I wonder what?) really added to the tension.

Hm…I guess I may have missed some of the undertones in the Yen-related teasing. Maybe on my next playthrough. Hahahahahahahaha.

Butch:

(This is where I politely tell you that you miss stuff cuz the volume’s too low and you don’t wear headphones.)

I’m going Cerys. I am. I’m progressive. And her scars match mine. And I like the quick thinking. Hjalmar associates with dudes named “Viji the loon.” Not good. Not that I don’t like him, but seriously. Viji the loon.

I really hope I didn’t kill those guards, though. They were being cool. I mean, they just saw some dude throw a baby into an oven. I would’ve attacked. If they died, that kinda sucks. I’m hoping it was one of those “Knocked ’em out” fights.

Feminina:

I supported Cerys, so I should encourage you to support Hjalmar just so we can compare, but…I don’t have much of an argument for him. He’s brave and fierce! He’ll be an able defender of Skellige against Nilfgaard! Other Skelligers like him!…his constituency IS partially composed of people named “Viji the Loon,” after all. Those people would probably prefer him to Cerys.

I also hoped I didn’t kill those guards. They were totally doing the right thing, and shouldn’t have had to die for it, although I suppose one could say they did die in the service of their lord, freeing him from the hym and all, so their sacrifices weren’t in vain. I don’t like it, though. They looked pretty dead, and I felt pretty bad about it, but in my head they were just knocked out and they all came around OK.

Yeah, yeah, sound, headphones. You’re right, of course. I’m just going with “my Geralt is slightly deaf from all those years of listening to loud monsters roaring.” Vesemir always told him to wear earplugs in battle, but they’re not cool, so he never did, and this is the result.

Butch:

I like brains over brawn. I do. And she has nice eyes.

Yeah, hope the guards were just unconscious. I would’ve done the same in their shoes. That wasn’t very nice of anyone.

You’re a blogger, dammit! You can’t be all “Oh….right….well, I only do the themes I can see. That’s why we write about fashion so much!”

Games. Sound. Words. Dialog. That sort of thing.

Feminina:

Meh. Maybe I didn’t have the same conversation you did because I picked a dialogue option that shut down that insightful bit you refer to. I’m a blogger, but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to play out every conversation every possible way to make sure I address every possible line. I CAN only address themes I see (/hear), dude.

To take a ludicrous example, if I paid attention, maybe there’s some common factor to all the loot in all the smuggler’s caches in Skellige and I could work out some detailed rant about what this says about the needs of the common Skelliger (smugglers gotta be selling to somebody, right?)…but I’m tired of looting smuggler’s caches, so I’m not going to see whatever I might have seen, so I’m not going to address that. And no more should I have to.

Apropos of nothing, I finally got a trophy when I finished the game–it was called ‘Run the Gauntlet,’ and it was for finishing on Blood and Broken Bones. It showed up with a little ding, up in the corner, just like you said. But since I’d never seen it before, Mr. O’ must have gotten every other trophy before me. (He played on medium, whatever that was called…Sword and Story? or was that easy?)

Butch:

Nah, it was one of those “We’re gonna talk while walking” bits. The “Follow X” which is really “Listen to X in such a fashion where you don’t get to choose the dialog.” You know the ones.

Nah, easy was “Just the story.” Then Sword and Story, then Blood and Broken Bones, and then Death March. Now I get it. Mr. O’s on wimpy easy. No WONDER he finished. No five minute load screens.

Did you drop the difficulty ever? Cuz I have a couple of times. I don’t want it to cost me a shiny, shiny trophy.

Feminina:

Oh, those walking-and-talking bits…I plead guilty to sometimes wandering around looking for things to loot during those, and missing words. Or running back and forth hoping it’ll make the person I’m following move faster.

Which is my bad, but also, I think, probably not unusual in these Short Attention Span times. (Short Attention Span Times is a new, really really brief newspaper.)

It’s nice of the game to reward with enhanced insight those who, like you, are patient enough to pay close attention.

Butch:

If by “pay close attention” you mean “Listen to what was about 22 whole seconds of dialog,” then yes. Yes it is.

I’m starting to understand how you get so far ahead of me. No gwent, no dialog, no unicorn sex….

Short Attention Span Times: With headlines like “Avoid Disaster! Make sure you….And now the sports.”

Feminina:

Definitely the gwent is a big part of it. The unicorn sex probably took about 30 seconds, so negligible. And the particular dialogue we’re discussing was not only apparently 22 seconds by your own reckoning, but was also time I did actually spend on the game even if I wasn’t paying full attention because shiny loot, so…also negligible.

Somebody’s got to represent the impatient magpie masses!

But gwent, I’ll give you: that is most likely it. Lots of gwent players in Skellige, too, I have to say. That’s not going to help you finish. Although it will get you a shiny trophy.

Speaking of trophies, I never did turn down the difficulty. I was afraid it had reset after the big patch, but when I went back it was still on B&BB, so as far as I know I did the whole thing at that level. I don’t know what that means for the trophy.

Butch:

Gwent does take time. But I just can’t help myself!

Hmm. I did turn down the difficulty, a couple times, early on. I hope that doesn’t cost me.

Maybe when I replay it. Ha.

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