whicher 3

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Ransom
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whicher 3

Post by Ransom » Wed May 20, 2015 14:19

witch of you saps coughed up for this minor graphical downgrade simulator

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Gordon Frohman » Wed May 20, 2015 14:36

I did, and I can't play it because my PC is in the shop and I'm dyyyyyyyying. :'(

I bought the PS4 version as a backup in case my PC can't run it (because NVidia fucked my Titans over) but I feel the Witcher is a PC series and I'm betraying it by playing the console version.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by Saladin » Wed May 20, 2015 16:00

I still haven't finished the first one, let alone the second.

Theoretically, it's on my backlog to buy it. Realistically, I doubt I'll have much interest in it.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by kob » Thu May 21, 2015 02:00

similar boat as you saladin

witcher 2 never clicked for me. i don't really get the series. not in a snarky "its overrated" way, but rather i legitimately don't understand what the draw of the game is. nothing stood out on my first playthrough and after giving it a few hours, it wasn't sinking its teeth into me. admittedly i haven't played it in over a year and a half so i may feel differently if i played it again, but from what i remember i was... disinterested. not bored, but just not into it at all. maybe open world RPGs just don't really sit well with me anymore. they all feel the same with a few different bells and whistles.

i'd be willing to give it another shot, though, because i feel left out on the hype train

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Ransom » Thu May 21, 2015 09:50

challenge accepted

the short answer is the series functions as an unintentional middle finger to everything milquetoast about bioware RPGs

Long answer: the appeal is that it's high fantasy by way of social realism. The series obsessively concerns itself with subjective morality, refuses to give you easy choices or settle for simple consequences, and is in general governed by the mantra that its heroes and villains, oppressors and oppressed, men and monsters, are people first and archetypes second, living in a world where moral truths do not exist. In terms of RPGs as moral-quandary/choice-consequence Rube Goldberg machines, it's peerless.

It's an extremely rare breed of fantasy in games determined to question the status quo of its world rather than revel in it, and which treats its characters with frankness and care. Something as unremarkable as a casual tavern conversation between old friends feels effortlessly human.

Unfortunately this also means if you don't get excited about classy character writing, the games take a while before the churn of that consequence engine starts to be felt. The first two games don't get rolling until the end of the first act, arguably part way into the second. The open world stuff is just a necessity of its choice-centric narrative structure. The draw of the game is its people and how your decisions affect them, and for that you need a game structure that gives those decisions context and poise.

Having said all that the first game has aged badly and although I loved it at the time it's kinda bogus now. The broad strokes are inspired, but the scene-to-scene writing is all jank and struggling translation. Witcher 2 has the exact opposite problem in that it's more mechanically solid and has strokes of brilliance in the writing of its individual scenes, but the big picture doesn't ever really congeal properly. The series' other frustrating problem is its handling of the women in its stories. They've improved a lot, but from what I've heard about 3 they still have a long way to go.

To tell the truth I just haven't been hyped for 3 for some reason, but I've played it for like an hour so far and it almost immediately reminded me why I love this series. I've basically done nothing but talk to a handful of customers in an inn and play a weird card game, and I had a whale of a time. There's more humanity in the writing of the first town's incidental innkeeper than the entire main quest of most games

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Ransom » Thu May 21, 2015 10:42

fuck it i'll unpack that innkeeper remark while i'm at it, it probably says it better than that wall of text anyway.

there's an early scene that lets you the player observe the patrons of an inn in their natural state before you the character appears and weirds them all out. the writing of the patrons is solid enough; it shows you the state of the world by the way these people treat each other and what's on their minds. but also you see this innkeeper set a bunch of steins on a tray, lift it up, turn, and then some rando who probably didn't even see her shoulders past. it's a light enough knock not to topple anything, but the combined body language of her protecting the tray and the reflexively annoyed look on her face before she gets back to work is some classy shit.

it's such a tiny, incidental moment that's immediately forgotten, but it's also instantly and wordlessly sympathetic, and the kind of quiet characterisation most games have no time for. the scene isn't even about her but with the lightest of touches the game convinces you she existed before it started. the series has always concerned itself with this quality in its writing, although they didn't have digital acting as a tool for it until 2, and so far 3 has been packed with moments like this.

love it

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Saladin » Thu May 21, 2015 15:39

I'm decently far into the first game and there are aspects of it that I like quite a lot. It's weird that the game basically becomes fantasy LA Noire later on, with several different mysteries that you need to solve on super flimsy evidence.

But the pride the game takes in its minutiae is actually what I find boring about it. Sitting in a tavern while Geralt talks to his dwarf friend about whether he should settle down with one of the two impossibly attractive women in his life that he can't have children with, over dialogue that's clearly been hammed in translation, it feels like I'm missing out on something. Like there's some awesome reference to a piece of source material I missed.

It's preoccupied with being a simulation of its fictional universe, rather than being a game or providing an experience. And I think it leans too heavily on pseudo realism, which is an approach that only works if you're interested in feeling like a competent member of a fantasy world, and I'm just not.

When the game asks me to experiment with potions or runes, or do police work, or make important decisions, all I can think about is that I'm not qualified to do any of that. And since the game dwells in grey areas, there's never going to be any payoff for making an informed decision. So I don't really care to get invested.

It's as if the game asked me to perform surgery and laughs at me when I can't do it right. The process to learn how to do surgery is tedious, and then the game kills the guy anyway even if I succeed.

I would never call the Witcher bad, by any means. But, like lots of RPG's these days, I have difficulty caring about any of it. Everyone's a twat, including Geralt, the game is frequently dull, and there's this sense that the world is fucked no matter what, so there's no one to root for. And that makes it even harder to appreciate the insane amount of detail put into everything.

I feel as if the game takes pride in that, as if that's realistic, like that's a more mature form of fantasy. But I don't think it is necessarily, so there's very little to draw to keep me invested other than the main story. But that's so painfully drawn out that I don't really have the patience to finish it. Particularly since the game is fairly difficult.

When I have like a bazillion other games to play, the ones that are so demanding of my time with very little payoff I just can't give my attention to. Even if they can be quite good at times.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by Ransom » Thu May 21, 2015 18:59

i realise you can only speak from what you've actually played, but it's still a bit frustrating to see you try to apply your partial experience of the first game like it's representative of the series as a whole. it's a mistake to feel like you need to play the first game to enter the series and i'm not surprised you're burnt out on it.

like i said, the first witcher is bogus and a terrible envoy for the series at this point. it's like a for-teens version of what the series has become. it isn't successful in any of the ways i was just describing (don't for a second imagine the tavern scene between old friends that i mentioned was from the first game, which has no such grace in its writing and is frequently juvenile) - the power of the series is in its execution, and the first game is mostly an ambitious-yet-fumbling proof of concept that had the good fortune to post-humously attract the right standard of writers to make good on its concepts in future games. i didn't find its attempts at what i was talking about effective either; as i said the first one is a game of broad strokes, that works either in that weird, cumulative sense where it just eventually clicks for some ephemeral reason, or because you played it at release when its rather cynical morality was actually a breath of fresh air.

don't get me wrong i loved that game at the time, but even then i remember determinedly looking past the ruinous, at times baffling, at other times overtly sexist script to catch fleeting glimpses of what it was trying to get at, and now that we have its sequels i know it would be an impossible thing for me to return to.

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Saladin » Thu May 21, 2015 19:17

Oh, well, in that case, is it even worth finishing the first game? Do decisions carry over or anything? Is the conclusion to the story relevant to the second game?

And I knew you weren't talking about the first game, tavern moments just seem to be memorable in this series. That, the witch finale of act one, and getting wrecked by the big bad at the end of act 2 are the main things I remember.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by Ransom » Thu May 21, 2015 20:41

Haha W1's first act is such a mess. It was even worse before the Enhanced Edition, which rewrote reams of script and replaced a bunch of voice actors. I remember playing through the un-Enhanced Act 1 at release and being like ohhh nooo what did i buy. And yeah, the whole series definitely has a fixation with carefully written tavern scenes. Witcher 1 means well, it just doesn't have the writing chops to make good on it. Although IIRC it blew my mind at the time when I realised what it was trying to do

The situation is that the first game contains plenty of seeds for series-wide stuff, including the introduction of Witcher 3's antagonist (a whole plot thread that went practically unaddressed in Witcher 2 - holy shit I've been waiting almost a decade to see that resolved), but the central narrative and its conclusion is self-contained. If you've met Geralt's old gang, which you certainly have by Act 3, you've met the important recurring faces.

Decisions don't carry over. They do from Witcher 2 to 3, though. As with any series of large scope, if you can stomach the whole thing the extra context and time spent with the characters adds weight to the experience, but if it's skip Witcher 1 or skip the series, by all means abandon ship. If you're not enjoying it it's not essential. Even 3 handles the series' past pretty deftly and could conceivably work as a cold open.

On topic, though, not to gush too hard (you guys are sceptical enough of this series without me hyping it out!) but right now I'm kinda feeling like 3 is to 2 what 2 is to 1. Good grief. This game can't even give me a noticeboard kill-this-ghost quest without filling me with an abiding sadness for the tragedies of the past contrasted against the still-in-motion drama of the present. What a triumphant execution on the old promises of this series.

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Saladin » Thu May 21, 2015 21:41

I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy 1, it's just such a damn slog.

I have a mod that makes the combat easier and like quadruples the walking speed and it still takes like half an hour to complete a minor sidequest.

If they streamlined this shit, made it more fun and got less cynical, I'm definitely on board to play more.

I just don't have 100 hours to kill on one cool story. It's the same reason I never finished persona or resonance of fate.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by kob » Thu May 21, 2015 22:01

alright you've got me intrigued to try Witcher 2 again. i'll have to throw it at the bottom of my backlog though. i'm kinda bogged down with my own internal obligations to complete other games while also trying to make sure i don't get burned out since i have a lot more free time. not sure i'll be able to get past the gameplay, though. i wasn't fond of its combat even though it's better than most. from what i remember it felt clunky. and ultimately i'm just really apathetic about open world RPGs and open world games in general right now. i'm playing through Sleeping Dogs, a game that i love, and even i'm starting to lose interest despite the narrative focus and irrelevancy of its open world. if it weren't for the excellent good vs bad dichotomy and its simplistic yet effective hand to hand combat, i'd probably stop playing. i dunno what it is, but all the extra shit open world games have just doesn't sit well with me right now. maybe you guys know the feeling.

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Re: whicher 3

Post by Gordon Frohman » Thu May 21, 2015 22:17

I may be a weird fuck but I think Witcher 1 > Witcher 2.

I'm very close to playing Witcher 3 because my PC is almost ready, but for the sake of discussion I, personally, would say, Sally, to give it an honest try to get through Witcher 1.

I didn't think Act 1 was bad, and I feel the combat of the first game is the best so far (again, without playing TW3). The music, oh my God, so good. The atmosphere, the bestiary, all the monster types... so awesome. The problem I had with TW2 was Geralt didn't feel like a Witcher. It was just too small and the enemies too lacking. In the first game, all I needed was the feeling that only I was able to slay a legendary Cemetaur, and I got that. You prepare by using a Swallow, Tawny Owl and Thunderbolt, apply the Necrophage oil, Aard the fucker and impale him. I LOVED it. I loved the hunt, the feel of one-on-one combat as a mutant monster hunter vs a scavenging, zombie-like monster from another dimension. The whole premise of BEING a Witcher is so enthralling to me.

This is just my personal opinion. But honestly, you can skip Witcher 1 if need be, like Ransom said. The games are just too good to not play because of one game.

As an aside, I watched my brother play TW3 and the world size made my dick shrivel. It's so

fucking

big

It makes no sense. I don't know if anyone will find every little secret. It is without a doubt the BIGGEST game I've seen (aside from obvious ones like Daggerfall).
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Re: whicher 3

Post by Saladin » Thu May 21, 2015 22:25

I like what I played of it but I just have so little interest in it. It takes so damn long to get things done between all the running around and preparing and waiting through loading screens.

I think I'll play the rest of it with a guide and skip the side missions.
kob wrote:alright you've got me intrigued to try Witcher 2 again. i'll have to throw it at the bottom of my backlog though. i'm kinda bogged down with my own internal obligations to complete other games while also trying to make sure i don't get burned out since i have a lot more free time. not sure i'll be able to get past the gameplay, though. i wasn't fond of its combat even though it's better than most. from what i remember it felt clunky. and ultimately i'm just really apathetic about open world RPGs and open world games in general right now. i'm playing through Sleeping Dogs, a game that i love, and even i'm starting to lose interest despite the narrative focus and irrelevancy of its open world. if it weren't for the excellent good vs bad dichotomy and its simplistic yet effective hand to hand combat, i'd probably stop playing. i dunno what it is, but all the extra shit open world games have just doesn't sit well with me right now. maybe you guys know the feeling.
I do know the feeling. I know the feeling exactly, particularly about sleeping dogs.

I don't like it when games waste my time anymore. And many open world mechanics exist to do exactly that.

When GTA V spawns you in the city and puts your mission objective on the other side of the map, they have wasted your time.

Open world rpg's are often guilty as hell about this, and will ferry you back and forth on minor tasks just to pad out the runtime.

At the age that I'm at, I have the opposite priorities that I used to. I want to see what a game has to offer and get out, not wallow in its tedium just because I like it.
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Re: whicher 3

Post by kob » Thu May 21, 2015 22:49

yeah the minor task thing is pretty much it. i'm over all the extra small shit and how a lot of things i like get gated behind it. with Sleeping Dogs all the extra combat moves are locked behind finding statues in the world. admittedly a lot of them are handed to you, but the ones that aren't become a scavenging chore. that's what a lot of open world games feel like to me now. an endless list of chores i need to do to get cool things. i just wanna wear a cool all black suit while i beat the snot out of everyone but i have to do all these annoying small side quests to increase my Face Level so i can buy them. they're all very minor complaints, but they add up to the feeling of doing chores. i love the story in this game, but i wish i could cut out all the extra crap and just have something linear and focused rather than a tacked on open world because open worlds were trending at the time.

i think a string of less-than-stellar open world games have soured me on the formula as well.

(sorry to derail the thread)

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