Monday, February 15, 2016

Memorable Gaming Moments I

Star Wars: Battlefront

The Last of Us: Remastered

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

The griffin; I mean eagle, has landed, with the arrival of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, perhaps the first game which is in every possible way, a Gen 8 offer. The game's scope is also fantastic, thirty times larger than The Witcher 2, and also with a geography reportedly larger than that of Skyrim. The truth is that our hero, Geralt of Rivia, with his warrior-like demeanor and raspy voice, has made for a memorable gaming trilogy, each game with carefully crafted elements, and often also a reflection of Slavic folklore.

In a market inundated with remasters, which only improve the definition of games slightly, original Intellectual Properties are sorely needed. The Witcher 3 doesn't disappoint; this is very much a story of outsiders, class warfare, engulfing various other sociological aspects. Likewise, I'm happy to report, this time around, the story is more human and less political, with the introduction of Ciri, Geralt's apprentice, and even a love triangle; for the world of The Witcher is also one of adult relations.

As with the X-Men films, Witchers are seen both in either good or bad light depending on whom you ask, and it's also somewhat similar to the Spartan education; their training is more than many can take. Truthfully, the Civil Rights movement in the US, and other cases of segregation in history, provide a template, hence many books and movies play with this love-hate relationships regarding minorities. Of course, you sort of feel sorry for whomever wants to confront Geralt; the main character himself has evolved, you can even have him grow a beard, which as a detail, can later be trimmed.

The Witchers also have a code, and know when to back off from conflict. They are in short, as the promotional materials in fact say, not heroes, but professionals. The inclusion of Geralt's horse, Roach, is a welcome addition; after all, in Dragon Age: Inquisition, finding an animal to travel long distances, was really rather difficult. The  dialogues are particularly good. And, considering this and much more, the countless GOTY awards The Witcher 3 has amassed is impressive but hardly a surprise.

The gameplay is magnificent, solid, the combat flows, and the rpg elements are more than satisfactory. In fact, it's easy to be mesmerized by this medieval world, hence this is not just a game, but an experience. The missions all have internal logic, it's not just fetch this or that, but they seem meaningful. The weather effects are magnificent, it truly fools the mind in thinking you are there; the sun through the trees, the rain or snow, are all presented with a deft hand.

In the end, while reviewing a Witcher game, it dawns on you, that each of them is a marvel of design and story-telling, every one of them was made with great dedication, and I humbly salute CD Projekt for this; like a good painting, the game conveys a state of mind, perhaps even feelings. The standard edition comes packed with goodies; such as a map of the area, a soundtrack, and neat Witcher stickers. While it may be too large for its own good, medieval fantasy never played and looked this good.