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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

Complete spoilerfest for the very end of the Witcher 3 expansion Blood and Wine. Then we start talking about candy, because Halloween.

Feminina:

I finished Blood and Wine last night. Such a sweet happy ending! I collected mandrake root and then sat at a fire talking and drinking with my old friend. He mentioned my new house and winery and asked if I was going to settle down, and I said “I just might. Not today, or tomorrow, but someday, it’ll be nice to know it’s there.”

Then I went home to my estate, and Ciri was there, dropping by for a visit after a successful witcher contract, and we chatted and I invited her to stay as long as she wanted, and she said she might stick around, and…I could keep adventuring with the fistfighting quests that are all I have left (utterly ignoring the gwent quests here), but I don’t care about them. So basically it was just a nice gentle fade-out on Geralt with his nice estate, so much wine everywhere, a long and challenging case happily resolved, his daughter nearby successful and happy…

If it had been your Geralt I suppose Triss would have moved in too and then there’d also be warm cakes, but barring that, it doesn’t get much better. I mean, I have all the wine in the world (as Geralt said “the worst problem here is having too much wine to fit in the cellars”) and that’s a close second to warm cake.

Aaaaaaaaahhhh…I needed that. Especially after that horrible robot vampire battle.

Butch:

Even without a hottie, that’s a nice ending.

I’m pretty happy that they did that. It seems so many franchises want to kill off the main character. Maybe people think players want to know it’s over, or they want to think that this character they’ve been controlling won’t make any choices without the players guidance. “This character is mine, and better he die than go on without me”. But I think it’s nice when a hero we’ve come to love goes out on top. I’m glad Nathan drake got the life he wanted, and I’m glad for Geralt too.

So Ciri is still around, huh? Interesting.

We did it! We timed it right! We can both start Rise of the Tomb Raider now! Who are we?

Must say, looking forward to TR. should be fun.

Feminina:

Yeah, it was pretty awesome. And I think the personal side of it–Geralt having a home (which is a big thing: there’s a final quest where the instructions are just “Go home”), Ciri being happy and successful and still caring about Geralt–would have been the same regardless of how the big quest turned out, but it was nice that I was able to get a happy ending there too.

At least, it was happy when I left. I can’t be responsible for what happens after that, right? Except that if Person A tries to kill Person B again, it will kind of be my fault for not having warned Person B. But I’m sure Person A is totally reformed and they’ll live happily ever after!

Interesting comment: Geralt asks Ciri if she’s experienced the hate that people have for witchers, and she says yes, a bit. He says he hoped it would be different for a woman, and she says something like “come on, Geralt, you know the world–anytime something’s different for a woman, it’s worse.”

Kind of a “screw the problematic concept of chivalry” moment, I thought, which was an interesting thing to toss in there when they’re in a country that is explicitly “like something out of a fairy tale.” A final bit of negation following all the other stuff we’ve learned about how knights aren’t always so noble, love isn’t always so simple, etc.

And yet, still, the land is beautiful, the sun is shining, Geralt has his home and family and friends: even in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, we can find some joy. I’ll say that’s the takeaway.

Not too grim, that.

Butch:

No. which, I think, coming from a game with more than it’s share of grim, is even more powerful.

What’s funny: there were ways to lose Ciri in the main game. You could make choices that would make it so she never returned from the portal. I wonder if that affected the expansions.

They do make good games, they do.

I’m glad the final boss didn’t ruin it for you.

Feminina:

I’m sure it would. I mean, the expansion plugs into the version of the game that you’ve already played, so all the choices of the main game must apply.

I guess it would still be a kind of happy ending, you’d still have your house and your vineyard, but it would definitely be lessened by you not having any special people there with you. Which means that it would probably be enhanced by having MORE special people, if you ended the main game partnered with Triss or Yen (assuming it was an option with Yen, though neither of us can specifically speak to this), but hey.

I’ll take what I could get. At the end of the day, after all my choices, I’ve got a nice house and a vineyard and some friends. We should all be so lucky.

Butch:

Indeed. I’ll take that ending. Sorceress or no. I would have very bummed had Geralt died. I like knowing he’s out there enjoying his golden years. He earned it.

Feminina:

He’s certainly been through a lot, over the years.

And he (at least the way we played him) tried his best to do the most good he could, even when it violated the witcher Code of Disinterest, and even when it didn’t necessarily turn out the way he hoped.

We TRIED, damn it. We did our best. We deserve some time relaxing under a tree, drinking our wine, reflecting on times past.

Ha–your old friend Regis asks “then what will you do? Write your memoirs, like Dandelion?” and Geralt sort of smiles but doesn’t disagree.

Then, in a rather self-aware moment, Regis says something like “we’ve been through a lot, we deserve some rest,” and Geralt looks knowingly at the camera before it fades to black, and then credits.

“That’s right, I’m getting some rest. You earned it, player. Let’s ALL chill right now.”

(That’s not actually the end, though, since it’s after the credits that you get the “go home” quest and talk to Ciri and everything. Still, it was a moment.)

Butch:

Self aware game is self aware.

The books weren’t first person, were they? Like, this isn’t saying “go write the books this game was based on,” was it?

Cuz that would be either a bit much, awesome, or both.

Feminina:

The book of stories I read was third person, but I did still feel that there was a hint of “let’s write the story of my adventures” in there, especially with the reference to his memoirs right before. It was kind of cheesy, but kind of awesome.

A little from column A, a little from column B…

Butch:

Given what we both agree was the insane quality of that game, I’ll allow them a bit of self aware cheesiness.

Now get to work on Cyberpunk, CDPR.

I want to start TR now. NOW dammit! Why did I plan to run errands today?

Feminina:

On an unrelated note, Mr. O’s gone back to AC Syndicate and will not be raiding tombs with us right away (the only reason he hasn’t already started it). He said Syndicate is actually not bad, and definitely better than whatever the one was before it. The one I never played.

I’m still unlikely to ever play Syndicate, unless we get a long break somewhere, but I suppose you never know.

Butch:

Nah. Don’t believe it.

Assassin’s Creed is one of those things you do, you say “That wasn’t very good,” you stop for a while, then you start again, long after you stopped because you played too much of it, and you think it’s better than the last one, when, really, you just don’t remember the last one.

It’s like lousy Halloween candy. You have a piece, you think ‘Meh, not bad,’ so you eat more, and then, at some point, you have too much and you say “This is nasty, I never want this again,” and you feel slightly ill.

Then a year passes, and there’s that bowl of lousy candy, and you try a piece, and you think “Meh. Not bad, better than that stuff that made me ill last year….”

Circle of life.

Feminina:

Yeah, but not really, because the first few were really, REALLY good. I’d say specifically the 2nd and the 3rd were fantastic. I genuinely loved them. It was that kind of “I can’t wait to sit down and play this some more!” enthusiasm. I had a truly amazing time playing them, on a level with DAO or Mass Effect.

It’s kind of a worn out hack at this point, but Assassin’s Creed was AWESOME at the beginning. Stunningly beautiful, addictively fun, fascinatingly weird…

So it’s as if you had a few bowls of amazingly good Halloween candy, and then at some point they switched to an inferior recipe and it’s not that good anymore, and you know it’s not, but you still keep thinking there’s a chance some year it could be great again.

Damn, now I want some Halloween candy.

Butch:

Ah, see, are you sure? Because that was very early in your video gaming life. You didn’t have much to compare it to.

I’m sure there are candies we loved as kids and now we’re all “why did we like that?” Perhaps that’s you and AC.

Feminina:

It’s quite possible there’s some of that, and if I were to go back to AC2 now I’m sure it wouldn’t look quite as amazing, but then we’d have to say this is also true of Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2, which I played around the same time.

Although by today’s standards they’re dated in terms of graphics, I think pretty much anyone would agree that those games were amazing, and they set the bar pretty high for me.

If Assassin’s Creed had sucked I might have cut it some slack because I didn’t know better, but on the other hand I might just as likely have judged it extra harshly because it wasn’t DAO.

I’ll note that I also played Oblivion in that same general time period, and thought it was just OK (partly because it wasn’t DAO). Even early on, I knew what I liked.

And man, I loved AC2.

And those little candy pumpkins. I stand by my assertion that those are actually really good, and eating half a pound of them at a sitting is totally reasonable.

Butch:

This is so, with the games. You did go right to the good stuff. I suppose if one is going to come to gaming late, one really must go straight for the good stuff.

But the pumpkins, see, this explains you and AC. Those ARE really good…for the first five or six….then less so….and less so….and then you barf. Until NEXT Halloween……

Candy corn, however, one can eat all day. Except that weird orange, white and brown shit. Orange, white and yellow. With real honey.

Can’t have it in the house. For long.

Feminina:

Dude, the pumpkins and the candy corn are basically the same thing. I’ll eat both of them by the pound–although you’re right, the brown ‘chocolate-flavored’ candy corn is inferior.

I mean, I’ll still eat it, but with less enthusiasm.

Butch:

The chocolate corn is wrong. Wrong, I say.

Feminina:

I won’t argue.

I mean, like I said, I’ll still eat it, but I can’t make a case for its non-wrongness. It is absolutely a perversion of the pure sweetness of the classic yellow/orange/white variety.

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