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Some spoilers for sidequests in the Witcher 3 expansion Blood and Wine

Butch:

Well, since I got nothing re games, we can talk about hardware. Hardware’s fun.

Specifically the PS4 Slim and the PSNeo that were announced a bit ago, with my detailed coverage.

So where do we stand on all this? We still excited? Is it irrelevant to you because Mr. O’s gonna buy it no matter what?

Feminina:

I got game stuff!

I played some Witcher. Witchered about a bit. Had a couple of moderately interesting decisions…there was a guy trying to protect the last example of an endangered monster. The Endangered Monster Species List!

So I could, eventually, decide whether to kill it or not. And it had been killing people, as monsters do, but it’s true, it was the last of its kind, and also it was apparently only killing people who ventured into its territory, which was a ‘nature preserve’ this guy had set up, and carefully warned everyone not to go into. So in a way they were really kind of asking for it.

I left the monster alive. We’ve previously talked a bit about how a sort of background theme to this game is the slow disappearance of magic and magical monsters from the witcher world, and how that’s not entirely a bad thing for the average person, but it does also mean a somewhat less interesting world. The idea of monster conservation is interesting to me, and I wanted to encourage the guy’s project.

It’s really no different from conservation projects in our own world…none of us wants to be hunted and eaten by lions, but we all want lions to continue to exist in the world. (Well, at least those of us who aren’t in danger of being hunted and eaten by them. It’s a lot easier for us to say this.) The world would be a poorer place without lions, we feel. Poorer, and more overrun by wildebeests. (The witcher conservationist touches on this as well: the monster fills an important ecological niche!)

So that was my call.

Then, on a smaller scale, I helped a guy defeat a monster he’d sworn to defeat before he felt worthy of asking for his lady’s hand in marriage, and then he revealed that he actually didn’t feel like getting married quite yet, and had picked this particular monster because he thought it would take a few years to slay. He said he needed to go slay a few more things before he was ready.

And I could either tell him “take the damn head back to your lady already,” or “hey, if you don’t want that trophy, I’ll take it.” And I told him I’d take it, because whatever, it’s not my business to tell people they have to get married if they don’t want to. But it was kind of an interesting question, whether or not I want to press him to keep his promise, and shore up the institution of marriage, or (perhaps–I didn’t talk to the lady) let him get away with proclaiming love, stealing her virtue with a promise of marriage, and then running off.

Did I just doom this woman to a life of shame and spinsterhood? Or would I have doomed her to a life of loveless marriage to a guy who wasn’t that into it?

I shall perhaps never know, although given this game, I may meet the lady in question at some point and learn her thoughts on the matter.

So we have some interesting questions to consider. These are just side quests.

As for the hardware…I don’t know that Mr. O’ is actually all that worked up about it. Depending on how awesome it sounds, it might be a birthday present for him, but he seems to view it as kind of a cash grab, and to be willing to wait until some game comes out that needs the upgrade, before he upgrades. So we’ll see.

Butch:

Ok, the Endangered Monster Species List IS pretty awesome.

Man….this is in an expansion? In an expansion. I mean, I may never get around to these expansions, but DAMN it sounds like this one is pretty much a whole game. Bigger than lots of whole games. It’s pretty mind blowing. I mean, usually an expansion is, like, a level. You’ve been all up in this, like, what, 35, 40 hours or so? Damn.

As for the marriage decision, the lady’s fate will likely be awful. I mean, remember the Leshan and all that? Shit don’t end happily. Though, even if it’s awful, it’s in character. Geralt isn’t exactly the marrying type.

Well, your threesome of shame Geralt isn’t. Mine is eating warm cakes and happily monogamous.

Side quests, though. Just…God damn. And SERIOUS God Damn that I may never have time to play it.

Silly loving family. 

No way I finish this whole expansion by the time Tomb Raider comes out. No way. And if I DO get it and wait, then I’ll have to do TR around when Mass Effect comes out….screws it all up. We have to be on the same page at some point.

It certainly sounds like you got your 20 bucks worth. And then some.

Hardware–Well, the slim I don’t get. I mean, it’s slim, ok, fine, sure, but it’s the same machine. The Neo? We shall see. Sony swears up and down that all games will run on both the Neo and the good ol’ one we’ve got, but they’ll look damn nicer on the Neo (and probably have better frame rates). I think the real tech jump is VR, which I have no interest in at all cuz of health and all that, but Mr. O might dig it. Seems like something he would dig. They say the VR thingy will work on the good ol’ one we have, but quality, yadda yadda yadda.

Who we kidding? We’ll have one sooner rather than later. We will.

Shit, you preordered the PS4 before I did. You told me at that party. Couldn’t believe it.

Feminina:

Dude. The expansion is kind of ridiculous for 20 bucks. Someday, if you have time…

I do fear meeting that lady. She will probably have a tale of woe to tell that will make me feel sorry for letting the guy run off. “He promised to marry me! Now I’m pregnant with his bastard child and my family kicked me out of the house, and I and my baby are going to starve in the gutter!” It’s an old, old tale.

Maybe I’ll have the option to at least let her go live in my house or something. I let a person from another quest live in my house, after all. She’s my cook right now. It’s kind of great to have a house.

I’m starting to see why you chose homeownership: the option to let random stray people you meet on quests move in and do your chores!

Ooh, speaking of…OTHER games…I also kicked ass to claim a Pokegym, unlike the last time, when I just walked by and it was empty. I think I figured it out: the gym is a certain number of ‘levels’ (say, three), and that’s how many monsters it has guarding it. If you defeat one of the monsters, you get some XP out of it, but if you defeat ALL the monsters in one go, then the gym loses a level, and the lowest-level monster has to go home in disgrace.

Then you have to defeat both the remaining two in another battle, and make another one leave, and then the final one in a final battle, and THEN the gym is unclaimed and you can leave your own monster there and get some coins.

And if you LOSE a battle, the gym gains prestige, and once it has enough prestige, it gains a level and can add another monster to its defense, so losing too much is just making the gym harder to defeat, meaning that one should carefully consider whether it’s worth getting into a fight.

I’m not sure about ‘training’ at gyms that are your same color…I think that if you win, you add to the gym’s prestige, and then after you’ve added enough to it, it will get another level and there will be an open slot for you to add a monster. Maybe it’s the same sort of “defeat everything in one go and it’s an automatic level” thing, but I’ve never managed that since you only get one monster to attack with when you’re training, instead of six.

Oh–and I think that your monster just does its basic attack when you tap the thing you want to attack, and then after the blue bars under its health have filled up you can make a special attack by pressing down on the screen for a couple of seconds instead of just tapping. I think the ‘not every effective/super effective’ text is related to how damaging a certain monster is to another monster (i.e., two hypnos are not great against each other, but a water creature is very effective against a fire creature), as well as being about what attack you’re using.

I have to say, it’s a little weird to play a game that comes with almost no instructions, but also kind of entertaining to figure it out. Of course, I might have figured it out wrong, so if none of this makes any sense, that’s why.

Legal disclaimer: follow this advice at your own risk. Management assumes no responsibility for lost prestige or pokemon.

Butch:

The expansion does sound pretty awesome. But man….long…..

Are you serious???? You can HIRE people? Shelter them?

God I love CDPR.

Cyberpunk’s gonna be a must play.

Pokemon, on the other hand: Even if you figured it out correctly it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’ll pass it on to Jr. He’ll get it. He speaks the language of pokemon.

The whole “No instructions” thing is an interesting gameplay twist. I mean, we’ve played games where knowing is part of the discovery process (I recall the Unfinished Swan never told you anything and just let you fling ink around until something made sense), but that had a point in the overall experience. This? This is just weird.

I don’t think you can lose pokemon. As for losing prestige….the jokes I could make.

Feminina:

Quiet, you. Blogging about games is a highly prestigious position in this new world of ours, so anything I do can only enhance my already-sterling reputation.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Jr. probably already knows everything I’ve discovered, and more. He should be sharing tips on the blog.

This expansion IS pretty awesome–although seriously, Hearts of Stone was shorter and even more awesome (I still think–although maybe this one will have a kick-ass ending that brings it over the top for me), so tackle that first if you have a couple of weeks to kill sometime.

So much to play, so little time.

We will probably wind up with Neos before we know it, you’re right. At least you have a good excuse, with your fan problem. I will have nothing but the siren song of ‘new tech! new tech!’ to explain my purchase.

Butch:

Why are you laughing? I thought you were spot on with that sterling reputation stuff.

Jr. should blog for us. When he gets going, he makes no sense, which means he probably understands it better than anyone.

As for the expansion…Hmm. I still haven’t settled on what’s on for the next month here. I’m still leaning towards Life is Strange. I mean, Gone Home just wasn’t enough teen angst.

And: now now. You’re still new to this gaming thing. Relatively. As someone who grew up on PCs, I can say: You never need a justification or explanation for new tech. New tech is an end unto itself. Embrace the new tech! It’s what we do.

Feminina:

I think Life is Strange is a good choice. Because you’re so right, Gone Home is angsty, but it’s so short that it’s really only enough to whet the appetite. For REAL angst, we need something a bit longer.

And with a PC who talks, because let’s be honest, Katie’s silent contemplation is great for getting us out of the way and focusing on Sam’s story, but it does also distance us from feeling like a participant in the main story, and for maximum angst, we need to participate. We need to make questionable choices and live with (and agonize over) the consequences!

You’ll love it.

Butch:

Yeah. That and, let’s face it, with TR, ME and Horizon all lined up, I’m going to be killing dudes (or aliens….or robot dinosaurs….can you even kill a robot dinosaur?) for a while. Best rest up the killing reflexes.

Bring the angst!

Feminina:

Indeed. It’s nice to take a break and angst for a bit. You’ll come back in a couple of months refreshed and raring to murder!

Butch:

Defend! Let’s go with defend.

Or murder.

Feminina:

Let’s be honest: until we’ve seen the game, we don’t know which term is most applicable, but we do know we’re down for whatever.

Murder, self-defense, justified aggression because some dude looked at us funny while we were trespassing or trying to steal stuff…we’re all over it.

Butch:

Hey, as long as there’s romance. Though I’m not sure Robot Dinosaur romance is something I want to contemplate.

Should be plenty of burlap, though. Cavemen and all.

Feminina:

And there’s the other issue with Blood and Wine. If there’s any romance, it’s going to be so late in the story that it’ll be totally tacked on. Perhaps the side quest with the guy who didn’t want to get married was a symbol of this expansion’s opinion on romance.

Oh, and there’s the other interesting, fairly major quest that was about a guy who was madly in love with a woman who wanted nothing to do with him. He took it upon himself to hire Geralt to help her with a problem he thought she had, and as it turned out she did have a serious problem which I helped her with, but, weirdly, it didn’t make her fall madly love with him. She was like “thanks, but I still don’t actually want anything to do with you.”

An interesting “you can’t buy love (even by purchasing the expensive and useful skills of a witcher)” message.

So, yeah, maybe they’re going for a darker view of love and romance in this one. It suits my embittered, “I tried to love everyone and wound up alone” Geralt rather well. Your loving and monogamous Geralt, fresh off the warm, homemade cakes, might feel differently.

Butch:

Totally differently.

Given the nature of so many quests, probably better that I don’t play it. My blissfully in love Geralt would probably just spend the whole time, grinning like an idiot, skipping through the white myrtle fields while humming a happy tune, completely oblivious to the carnage unchecked monsters were wreaking around him.

I should stick with angst.

Feminina:

Definitely angst. Your Geralt would be useless here. (Although I did get a message from Yen, signed “your friend” that sent me off on one of the quests. Not one of the ones with a romantic angle. So hey, at least we’re still on speaking terms.)

Butch:

Your friend? That’s cold, man.

To me she would be all “tell that red haired bitch to get eaten by a drowner. Your friend…..”

Feminina:

Speaking terms. I prefer to be on at least speaking terms with powerful sorceresses. Although that’s not about romance, it’s purely practical.

Anyway, didn’t you and Yen share a nostalgically companionable moment, gazing at the snow, after you broke the spell and agreed you didn’t love each other anymore? Why the hostility?

Butch:

We did. And she was understanding when I stole her clothes to prank call a guy. But that was before I ran off with Triss, cakes, etc.

Feminina:

Oh man, that drunken prank call was the best thing ever. If Yen can forgive that–and we know that she can–she can eventually forgive anything. Perhaps, someday, even the fact that I dared to feel affection for two different women at the same time.

A man can dream.

Butch:

Dream away.

Maybe in the sequel.

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