From The Witcher To Another Galaxy

Happy Weekend TAY!

I hope everyone is gearing up for a fun weekend with lots of plans. It is supposed to be almost spring-like here over the next few days, so hopefully the mountains of snow we have will start to melt away. I feel bad for the people in Eastern Canada with another 30cm of possible snow headed in their direction.

I finished off The Witcher Thursday night and I was extremely impressed with the game the whole way through. I play little in the way of RPGs because they don’t generally offer me the type of gameplay I want, but The Witcher offers a mature story with a generally compelling game that kept my interest the entire time.

I was captivated with the story and the characters. People felt real in the game and their problems generally seem to be real problems. My actions felt like they mattered as no task seemed to just be padding out the game length. I grew to love and hate many of the characters and found myself attached to people in the game maybe on a level I’ve never experienced before in an RPG. I already admitted I don’t play many RPGs, but it is because I’ve never felt the stories offered were mature enough or the characters fleshed out enough to engage me.

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I found the gameplay to be challenging (on Hard) and I love the restraint the developers showed in the inventory and equipment. I found the inventory meaningful and the equipment manageable. I never once felt like a pack mule scavenging for items to sell as I do in so many other RPGs. The alchemy and character development systems were also particularly well done in that they offer enough variety and depth as you want to devote to them. I suspect there are many different ways to play the game that would suit almost every style.

I was able to ignore the alchemy system for most of the game aside from healing potions, but I found in the late game that I needed the alchemy system to defeat the harder bosses. By the time I wanted to use alchemy in a deeper manner, I was familiar enough with it that I didn’t have any trouble fashioning the helpful potions I required.

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The Witcher definitely changed my take on RPGs and I look forward to trying other RPGs that many here on TAY have recommended to me. I am also very excited to try the other Witcher games in the future. The combat system of the first game was pretty good in the end, but definitely not what I would want for an action RPG. Thankfully, it sounds like I maybe get what I want for combat in the sequels to The Witcher.

So, with The Witcher behind me, I was free to play something new. I wanted something shooty, so I thought it would be a good time to check out Ziggurat.

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And, well...hmmmm…

Ok, I’m a HUGE Heretic (and Hexen) fan. As much as id’s Doom changed my life, it was Raven’s Heretic that really wowed me as a game. Ziggurat really feels like it is trying to pay homage to Heretic, but the whole roguelike aspect really falls flat for me. The random levels and encounters feel generic and uninspired. I appreciate what Milkstone Studios is trying to do here, it just seems to lack the heart of something like The Binding of Isaac. Mechanically it is fine, though the lack of weapon feedback is a little disappointing. Visually and audibly the game is also ok, though I can’t say I’m overly impressed. Really, what the game inspires me to do is go and install Heretic again.

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I’ll likely revisit Ziggurat from time to time, but for now I need something else.

What was I to play now? After reading the Kotaku article on the Dolphin emulator running Wii games in Direct X 12 (and I can’t find that article anymore...was it taken down?), I thought what better time to revisit that emulator.

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WOW! Performance is miles better than when I last looked at the emulator. I’m now running Super Mario Galaxy at 1080p with full anti-aliasing at a constant 60fps.

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I was floored how good Super Mario Galaxy looks. I have full Wiimote+Nunchuk support and I simply couldn’t be happier. So, I definitely know what I am playing next.

I’ve had to order a wireless Wii sensor bar from Amazon.ca so I don’t have to leave my Wii U on to have a functioning sensor bar for the emulator. The Wii U keeps going to sleep while I am playing and turns off the sensor bar. Still, it is a very small price to pay to basically be playing Wii games on PC with a better experience than I had on the Wii itself.

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Hey Nintendo, instead of porting boring Zelda over to the Wii U, how about you port over the fantastic Super Mario Galaxy series? The higher resolution and anti-aliasing is really what this game deserves. Galaxy is miles above any Mario offering on the Wii U.

I’ve got a lot of work to do this weekend, so I’m not sure how much gaming I’ll get to, but I’m super excited to get back to Super Mario Galaxy. I finished it once on the Wii, but it is like a whole new game in the Dolphin emulator.

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I also just picked up this, so I’m excited to give that a spin as well. Too much fun stuff with too little time.

So, what are you playing this weekend?