Almost Up Again
Happy Weekend TAY!
Blech! What a crappy week. I hurt my back during the first half of last week and caught a nasty cold for the second part (which I’m still dancing with). Productivity was extremely low. I’m sure glad it is the weekend.
I managed to pull off a small bit of time with The Witcher last week. Colour me surprised; I really expected to hate the game. I mean, the combat should have sworn me off it right away but the whole game comes together with really solid world building.
I generally hate talking to people in games, they are usually poorly written two dimensional characters that blather on about their insignificant lives. The Witcher’s characters are extremely well written with great dialogue and excellent voice acting. Most importantly, I really do want to know what they have to say. It is weird, I don’t know that I have ever paid such close attention to what people say in a game. Everyone seems important and everything they say feels like it matters.
Another aspect I hate in RPGs is inventory. The constant weapon comparisons and carting stuff back and forth to sell is just a hellish thing for me to do. I think new weapons should be few and far between to give weight to the delight of new arms. The Witcher is brilliant here, and though I’m not that far in, I seem to already have my two main weapons and these weapons are upgraded via skills instead of replacement. Weapons I find on bodies can’t be picked up if I don’t have a tertiary weapon slot free, and so far, they don’t seem to be better weapons than I have already. There seems no reason to even pick up the dropped weapons unless you are desperate for gold. I’m happy to leave the weapons I find on the floor, I’d rather spend my time making money by playing the dice gambling game.
I still don’t love the combat in The Witcher, but the timed clicking is definitely better than something like what’s found in most “clicky-combat” RPGs. Throw in the strategy of changing styles during the fight and I think there is enough there to entertain me...at least so far.
The game feels so rich and so alive, I can’t wait to see how the sequels measure up. Townsfolk take cover from the rain, you can piss people off by saying the wrong thing, and people have definite daily schedules that puts them in different places at various points of the day. The list of nice touches goes on and on. I know I’ve seen most of these behaviours in games before, but maybe not all together and maybe not as well implemented (and I’m not sure I’ve seen NPCs hiding from the rain before).
It all comes together in The Witcher for a slick package and most importantly, an engaging and smart RPG. I’m looking forward to getting more time to spend with the game.
I also managed to slog through my game night with my buddy on Twitch last week thanks to the magic of cold medicine.
We started back with Warhammer: End Time - Vermintide. Oh dear, I think we might have worn that out prematurely. As I said last week, this is my first foray into the survival/horde first person shooters similar to Left For Dead, but now I’m curious how Vermintide stacks up to the competition.
Vermintide feels excessively grindy and stingy. I don’t mind the grinding so much, as the core gameplay is fun, but I seem to get so very little for my time.
Part of the problem is the lack of human players available and being forced to play with brainless AI teammates. There seems to be little traffic on the servers when we play. This makes the game tougher, but that’s alright in itself. It is the lack of progress that seems to be off-putting. If you don’t finish a mission, there are few rewards and even finishing a mission usually only gives you random equipment and this is not necessarily for the class you are playing. With five classes, your chances of getting something for the class you’ve decided to play with isn’t great.
The difficulty is also due in part to the in-game loot table being very sparse. I don’t mind this either, but it is the implementation that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There are tons of chests lying around the levels but most of these are empty when you open it. Opening an empty chest is one of the most unfun things you can do in gaming. Take away the chest if there is nothing to be had, don’t make me go through the motions of opening a chest for nothing. An occasional empty chest is fine, but when 75% or more of the chests seem empty, it makes the player a little sour.
So, I don’t know if we will continue with Vermintide together. I might play it solo, there is definitely aspects of the game that I enjoy quite a bit. My buddy is probably less tolerant of this type of gameplay and I totally understand not wanting to grind.
We ended up quitting Vermintide to look at Terraria which I haven’t explored since it launched and certainly never played to any extent. Looks like there have been a lot of changes since I last looked at it. I don’t know that Terraria will be a long term replacement to play, but it was nice to have another look at it. I still don’t think I enjoy the controls in that game.
We also both got Civilization: Beyond Earth in the last Firaxis Humble Bundle and have started looking at it via an email game alongside our current Civ V email game. Looks cool so far and I imagine it will make more sense once I wrap my head around the tech tree. Still though, it looks and feels very much like a re-skinned Civ V.
I’m hoping I’ll be shed of my cold this weekend and I’ll be up for some gaming. I fear I’ve been ignoring my Tron: Evolution game for too long and I’ll be forced to restart it when I go back to it. Really, that might be wisest, I hate having two solo games on the go at the same time. My wife and I really need to get back to Life Is Strange as well. So much to play, so little time.
What are you playing this weekend?