Places To Go, People To Tolerate

Happy Weekend TAY!

I hope everyone is doing well and has loads of gaming in store for the weekend. If you can’t game, then hopefully that’s because you are doing something equally enjoyable. Take time to relax; this month will start getting chaotic before you know it.

I played more Uncharted 4 with my wife last week and I’m still not really enjoying myself. There are too many little unpolished moments that keep taking me out of the game. Honestly, this game should have been given the development time and money to make a truly slick experience. I know Uncharted 4 isn’t a pillar of the PS4, but other than the amazing upgrade in visuals from the previous games, I’m feeling a little let down by this one.

The rest of my spare gaming time was spent with The Witcher 3 which is fantastic in almost every way, but there are small things I would like to see improved.

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When not in combat, Geralt moves a little bit like a tank. Most of this is due to the animation of the model (or lack thereof). This is an area where Uncharted 4 really shines. Drake has great animations for movement and wonderful idle animations which leads to more control enjoyment and visual appeal. Mind you, Geralt has a much larger and infinitely more detailed world to interact with. The Witcher 3 even offers two different styles of movement (the second method was patched in later), but neither helps with animations and both modes have their own awkwardness.

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I would also like to see more robust animations and interactions with the horseback riding. I don’t use the horse a whole lot since you can’t harvest resources from horseback, but when I do call the horse...it is a slightly awkward affair. If you are running, the horse will not catch up to you and allow for one of those pleasant swing-ups onto the horse that doesn’t break your stride. Instead, you have to stop, turn around to find the horse, and wait through a slightly awkward mounting animation. It all feels a little off and results in the horse not being as fun as the horse in the seven-year-old Red Dead Redemption.

Another slight problem I’ve had in The Witcher 3 is with the dialogue choices. I’ve had a couple storylines take a turn I didn’t want when my dialogue choice did not align with the actual response from my character. For instance, after a romantic tryst with a character I was given the choice of “stopping her” from doing something. It wasn’t clear at all, and given our history, that stopping meant killing. I was sad to have killed her and felt I wasn’t given enough information with the dialogue tree to know that this would be the outcome. It is a minor problem, and one not unique to The Witcher 3, but I felt there could have been more explanation of my choices.

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I would have also liked more notice that specific dialogue choices prevented me from getting unique Gwent cards. I am ok with losing out on the card itself, but storyline progression and dialogue choices didn’t make it clear that there was no going back from a specific point. I feel I should be given a little heads-up that I am cutting off major interactions. I don’t want games holding my hand, but if I don’t get a bit of prescient knowledge then I’m left with the choice to reload from a previous save (yuck), remembering for the next playthrough (likely never happening for me), or soldiering on with a slightly bad taste left in my mouth (my approach).

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I’m just nitpicking (though I do feel somewhat bad about the unintended killing I did). The Witcher 3 is truly fantastic and presents one of the best open-worlds in video games. It is such a time-sink though, but one that (dangerously) doesn’t even make you notice the hours flying by.

This weekend is more Minecraft Story Mode Season 2 - Episode 3 with my family and hopefully more of The Witcher 3. We’ve had a nice break in the cold weather around here and the snow is gone for the moment, so I should probably also do some outside chores while the gettin’ is good.

So, what are you playing this weekend?