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Vague spoilers for some traps and things in the Phantom Forest in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

For some reason, I’m very tired and out of it. I’ll do my best. At least it’s Friday.

So, found the “relic,” spoke to the head, went back to talk to the statue in the knight’s tomb (all it was was you could rock paper scissors it out of that long fight), killed the bunch of dudes near the entrance to the forest (one had a pumpkin head, etc.) for XP. Found those lava plates you mentioned, and got past them, which I would brag about, but it was Junior that spotted the trick. Again. Way to go, Junior.

STILL can’t beat those damn ghosts. Well, I can kill the human ghosts, but MAN. Ghost pigs are a bitch. This game was made by vegetarians, I think.

So I’m up on the lava plates. I take it all back about the plates being in the place I was mentioning yesterday. Disregard that. Lots of plates? Totem? Silencing? That sort of thing? That’s what we were discussing?

That’s where I am. Solved it. BOOM!

Thanks. Junior.

Feminina:

Talk to the head!

You did more than we did, which was nothing. So we’ll go with what you did.

Yes!–totem, silencing, lava plates. That’s where we were most recently, until we went around the corner to look for the lava steps.

The lava plates were interesting. And not, in the end, all that important, unless we missed something. I mean, you get over there, loot a bit, turn off the plates, it’s all good, but is that it? I couldn’t open the giant circular ‘stone door’. Does that open and we missed Junior’s trick?

Also, did the totem DO anything? Ours just sat there, but we destroyed it anyway because obviously you destroy creepy branch statues in haunted forests. Maybe it would have been helpful.

The silence was an interesting element for a challenge, though. Prevents you from casting spells right there. Although as we determined, you can cast useful spells from farther away just fine, so it was of limited value in the end.

We’ll just discuss this one area all day.

Butch:

We shall. As the game has no nudity.

Happy Friday.

Uh….lava steps?

I didn’t open the big stone door either, but the lever that turned the plates off also opened that metal gate opposite the stone door. I haven’t gone through it. We shall see. Did you go through that door?

Destroying the totem turned off the “silence” thing, as far as I could tell. I kept getting silenced, then I destroyed it, then I didn’t get silenced. Or even saw “silence failed,” so I think that was it. It turned out not to be particularly important, not to be silenced, and maybe it did something else, but that’s what I could tell from it.

So limited value unless you destroy the totem. Then you can cast skills (terminology that still bugs you, as you keep saying “spells”) just fine. But I managed to do it without really needing skills.

What lava steps?

Feminina:

You know, the steps that got all lava-covered when you went close to them! INTRUDER SPIED!

Perhaps they aren’t as close as I’d thought. One gets turned around in the forest.

We have not gone through the open gate. I don’t think. Unless that was the gate that led to the green portal that bounced you back to the other side of the forest. That was around there.

We’re like two people bumbling around the same room in the dark: “I just found a chair! I think it’s near a cupboard? I feel some cups.”

“Oh yeah, I was just there! Unless they were different cups, because I don’t remember a chair. I’m over here by a door right now.”

“What kind of knob does it have? I remember finding a door earlier that had a kind of oval knob.”

“Watch out for the lava steps! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”

That makes sense that the totem had the silence spell. (Damn it, ‘casting skills’ DOES bug me. I refuse!) I was able to destroy it by dropping boulders on it from a distance, so its influence didn’t extend very far, and having been successful from there I forgot to care about whether or not I could do it again close up. But yeah, Wolgraff did teleport from the doorway once it was gone, and presumably ‘silence’ would have prevented that. Since it’s a skill you ‘cast’ and all. Bah.

Butch:

Oh the Temple of the Dead! It’s called the temple of the dead.

See? I remember the name now! So we’re even on the whole Lord of Bones/Baron of Bones/Dude behind the trap house/whoever the fuck thing.

Oh, shit, is that all it is, a portal?

I’ll find out. All I know is that the lever both turned off the lava and opened the metal gate, but didn’t do much to the stone door.

So you DID figure it out!

I reiterate: this game would likely have been frustrating as hell (or a “check the internet” fest) had we not been playing together. We can’t forgive it that. Let the haters be all “Git gud! You hate hard games!” No. This game isn’t hard. It’s confusing.

And sometimes hard.

Yeah, ironically Wolgraff, when “silenced,” still can’t do shit. That’s kind of amusing. Except it isn’t, cuz I sold an “immune to silenced” helmet that was really good because I didn’t think it mattered to Wolgraff, what him being, you know, silent.

Sigh.

Feminina:

The Temple of the Dead! That you have to be dead to get into!

It’s all coming together. But let’s just call it the Trap Temple for old time’s sake.

That is extremely ironic about Wolgraff and silence. Maybe he makes a whistling sound? Or snaps his fingers in a special way?

Yeah, I got nothin.’

I DO hate hard games! We’ve discussed this before! But yeah, this particular game is also confusing.

Butch:

Sounds good. We’ll go to the trap temple to meet…Charlotte? Lassandra?

I kid, I kid. It’s Allasandra.

The Wolgraff thing was a game design oversight, for sure.

Except, this game isn’t hard, really. Confusing, yes. A little convoluted, yes. But hard? Not so much. Usually, when things look “impossible,” they are kinda easy. Like finding that statue in Boreas’ treasure room. That was frustrating and counter intuitive, but not HARD per se, in terms of, like, a reaper moment. The reaper was HARD.

Like, another thing: last night, when I went to look for the thing that lets me talk to heads, I went back to Zandilor’s house. Remember that “off” mirror we couldn’t turn on? That we stared at? Well, Junior, once again, figured it out. And it was one of those “Oh….that was pretty much staring me in the face.”

I haven’t really hit a hard part. Well, the only time I turned down the difficulty was Boreas. So that. But otherwise, doable.

Just confusing.

Feminina:

It is. It’s extremely confusing at points. You’ll just be trucking along, everything is making sense, and then…what the heck are we supposed to be doing? Is the answer too obvious? Too complicated? Too hidden behind some leaves, or on a bloodstained switch too far out of the way?

But turning down the difficulty would not help at all with these problems, so no, it’s not DIFFICULT, I guess. I mean, it’s all about how you define ‘difficult’ (looking and thinking is hard, man!) but as games generally define it, it’s not.

It’s just confusing.

Very confusing.

Butch:

Which is maybe why we’re feeling it more. Games that have traditional “hard” bits, when they get frustrating enough, we just turn down the difficulty and move on. You can’t do that with the things we get into here. It wasn’t like turning it down would make that statue be all “Over here! I’m here! Let’s chat!” It was still gonna be there.

The reason that the reaper in ME3 remains fixed in my head was that I was still having trouble with it…on easy. Nowhere to go.

QTEs used to have the same problem. You’d be playing an action game, and Kevin killing would be tied to difficulty, but the QTE heavy boss fight, you know, the frustrating bit, wouldn’t be. I hated that. Games seem to have fixed that.

But, short of the statue being “over here! Over here!” this sort of thing can’t be fixed.

Or, I suppose, short of spamming the whole map with hexagons.

Feminina:

I would really appreciate a “hey, over here! Let’s chat!” option at some points.

Or maybe how in some games your companions will drop helpful hints like “must be something to do with these levers” when you’re standing in a room full of levers?

I would like an option to “turn up companion helpfulness” to the point that eventually they would just say “it’s that one. Right there. Pull that lever now.”

Voiceover: Wolgraff spotted something! It’s the hidden thing you’re looking for. It’s right there next to where he’s standing and pointing.

Me: Thanks, Wolgraff! You’re a pal.

Butch:

Ok, that would be kinda awesome. And it would deal with the fact some games go in the other direction. I can’t remember which games did this cuz I’m tired, but I have played games where NPCs, who you didn’t control, would kinda wander around looking thoughtfully at places, and you’d run up all “You find it? You find it?” and they NEVER fucking found it. Never once did you get a “Oh, shit! Here it is!”

Once, Wolgraff came close. Grutilda’s study, he was all “Wolgraff noticed something. It’s a torch that looks very out of place there.”

So, I guess he’ll do it if you give him a rank in interior decorating.

Feminina:

Ha! I remember that torch! Although we didn’t have Wolgraff with us, so I noticed it myself. And then it turned out we had already looted Grutilda’s Secret Cellar anyway, because we got into it from the other side a long time ago, so that was kind of disappointing.

But yeah, I would happily spend companion skill points on decorating if that’s what it took. Or, you know, “clue-finding,” or whatever they wanted to call it.

Also? Looting.

Companions NEVER help loot. It’s always up to me to be running around checking in every sack and barrel while they stand around, even though they’re perfectly happy to use the charm arrows and healing potions I might find! Start pulling your own weight, people!

I would like an option to say “hey, go check those barrels, would you?” and then they’d come back with “here’s what we found: 3 potatoes, some scraps of cloth, an unidentified sarong and a silver arrow.”

Now THAT’s companion helpfulness!

Butch:

What was REALLY disappointing was the HUGE pile of gold that you couldn’t touch. Like, what was that? PICK IT UP!

And YES to looting help! At least you have two players to do that. My heart sinks when I search and find 42 sacks. Sigh.

That would be damn awesome if they helped.

But, I figure, being used as a test subject for lava plates, it evens out.

DID you figure it out?

Feminina:

Did we figure out what now?

But yeah–HUGE heaps of gold!

“Nah, that’s worthless. Ignore it. Check out that barrel, though! It might have a potato in it.”

At least we do have two of us. It’s kind of handy: “you looted that side of the room?”

“Yup. I assume you looted that one.”

And there we are.

Butch:

The lava tiles. Cuz I did.

And three more things after that.

And how to get into the dead temple. BOOM!

But now, after two fights, I’m at that crossroads: need supplies, deep in a thing. Conundrum for sure.

But dude. Dude. I did three rather involved puzzles before that. And got how many xp?

None. Absolutely none.

Not bitter.

Ok, bitter.

Feminina:

Oh, the lava tiles, whatever. We got over those days ago. Much good it did us since we’re still roaming around the forest.

A little bitter about the XP, yeah. They should at least acknowledge the effort of solving a puzzle! That’s hard brain work!

Unless maybe they just figure everyone will look it up online? Whereas even if you look up hints online, you still have to fight a fight? Thus making it more worthy of reward?

I don’t agree with that logic, I’m with you, I think puzzle-solving is worth something, but…

Butch:

Well, you had to get by the tiles to get to the statues and the mirror which led to the lever. So it did you that good! Which is good!

Why yes. Yes, it is hard brain work.

Except it really isn’t when you have a friend who is sending you maps and shit and oh what’s the point.

I’m so bitter.

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