Unwanted Changes

Happy Weekend TAY!

Looks like a nice blast of warmer weather is heading our way next week and I’ll be glad to give the snowblower a break. We’ve had more snow this year than we’ve had for the past couple of years and somehow I had forgotten about daily snow removal.

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Last week was light on gaming for me. I had my first sensory deprivation tank experience Monday night and Thursday night had me knee deep in Switch news. What little time I did have to play was spent with an awful section of The Witcher 2.

I often have a big problem when a game decides to “mix things up” by hamstringing your character or completely changing how the game is played. This most often comes in the form of removing all your weapons and, as I’m sure many of you can attest, can result in varying degrees of fun (or misery).

As I generally play my games on as hard of a difficulty setting as possible, outside of hardcore modes, these “naked” sections can be especially challenging. My patience was definitely tested near the end of Dying Light when you have all your weapons and items removed and are forced to fight a particularly tough boss.

*Very minor, potential spoilers for The Witcher 2 below. Skip to “end spoiler” if you are sensitive*

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I like challenges, but often taking away my abilities can make a game just frustrating and dull. Case-in-point, “The Eternal Battle” section of The Witcher 2.

This section finds Geralt reliving memories of a battle and becoming the characters in this view of history.

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The problem is that these soldiers are apparently unable to dodge while fighting and you lose all your magical abilities. The loss of the use of spells was the biggest issue for me. I’ve put all my experience points into magic at the expense of sword and alchemy skills. I’ve learned to fight as a magic user, so having to suddenly fight with only a sword was a jarring and repetitive learning curve. I’m definitely a better sword fighter now, but the 40 or so restarts within this quest (with limited cutscene skipping) were filled with a fury of f-bombs.

Once I finished the whole quest, I went to the internet to see if I just sucked, or if I was missing something obvious. Apparently many had similar results at lower difficulties, so I’ll just chalk it up to questionable game design decisions.

What I found worse was that your sword skills would have carried over when you inhabited other characters. This, of course, would make sword fighting increasingly easier depending on how many points you assigned to your sword fighting skills. This issue might have somehow been overlooked when testing the game since this is obviously a glaring disadvantage to those who chose to focus on different character aspects than sword fighting. In my mind, every skill should have been zeroed out in this section if you were going to remove any character abilities at all.

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*end spoiler*

Thankfully, the boss of this section saw a return to normal as you become Geralt again. This made the actual boss fight, of this grueling section, almost laughable compared to the sections preceding it.

Hopefully, this weekend will see some more of The Witcher 2 now that I have returned to normal gameplay. Aside from prepping my son for a science test next week, I imagine we will be able to squeeze in some more Diablo 3 with the family. It is so enjoyable to have a game like Diablo 3 that the whole family can sit together on the couch and play. Despite the serious misgivings I have about the game’s insane lack of challenge, it is worth it just to have both my wife and son looking forward to playing the same game.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?