First Impressions: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

I tried so hard to resist, I really did. I only managed to get a few hours into Dragon Age and even less into Destiny. I just don’t have the time to sit down and spend hours on open world games. What’s that? They say cunt in it?! *instantly downloads*.

I’ve decided to do a “first impressions” review of The Witcher Wild Hunt. Basically, what I’ve encountered during the first main mission.

The game opens with a very cool, animated sequence describing the events leading up to the games starting point.

We begin the game with a tutorial style sequence, and an erotically charged magical crab. You learn all the basics, and considering how much there is the learn in this game, that’s quite a lot!

After a few awesome, cinematic cut scenes you set off on your journey.

Without spoiling anything, your first proper contract is a Griffin. Fuck me, do Griffins look amazing. Don’t think you just have to find it and kill it. You have to, Rocky style, montage the fuck out of it! Leveling up by fighting wild dogs, bandits and Drowners. On a side note, drowners (fishmen) can snack a huge dick! They are creepy as fuck. And that’s compared to Wraiths!

This Is A Drowner Billy. If He Had A Chance He'd Eat You And Everyone You Care About.

This Is A Drowner Billy. If He Had A Chance He’d Eat You And Everyone You Care About.

After learning some proper combat moves, you set trap and fight the Griffin.

I don’t want to talk anymore about the story itself. It’s good enough. I’m happy.

The combat system takes a little while to get use to but it’s nice. You are rewarded with great kills and punished by getting your head kicked in because you side-stepped when you should have rolled!

With all the things I love, there’s still things I hate about these style games:

1) Collecting ingredients, fuck me I’m not a fan of this. Though The Witchers system is not the worse I’ve played.

2) Weapons dulling! There’s enough to do in games like this and having to constantly go back to town to get my weapons sharpened is not something I want to use my time on.

3) Filling up your inventory.Ok, weapons I understand. Carrying 15 swords is a bit silly, but when it comes to ingredients, let us just have them, please.

To counter these negative things, let’s have three things l absolutely love about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:

1) Bombs! Yes, throwing bombs is fucking boss. I can’t get enough of it.

2) Having one sword for humans and one for supernatural beasties. Not anything special, just cool.

3) When you gallop with your horse, on a road, you don’t have to direct him. You can take you thumb off and he will stick to the path. This is genuinely awesome.

I can see The Witcher becoming a firm favourite, and I’m only 7 hours in. Did I mention all the free DLCs you can pick up? One’s about a rogue pig. Just saying.

Pick it up!

Gary

Kick Ass Stories You Should Really Check Out: Part 4! Agency

Our pal Kit hits us up with some more Kick Ass Stories You Should Really Check Out!

 

“What do we do when we’re threatened by something totally alien, unable to combat it? We freak the fuck out. There’s little else we can do if one is to take the nihilistic view that humans are worth very little in the grand scheme of the universe….” Norm Sherman

That’s right. This time the article starts with a quote. Because I.

Before we get started, going forward please post any suggestions you have for themes for me to select stories for. Also, if you want some recommendations on themes or ideas you want to see explored, I’ll see what I can find for you!

Anyway, we’re on two stories this week, as they’re both pretty heavy in content and intensity. We’re looking at agency this time, There are many stories, from the Matrix to Bioshock Infinite out there where these ideas are explored, containing plot twists where it turns out everything was planned out from the start, or tiny choices made at the beginning of a story matter much more than we would think.

The first story this week looks at how control over the future can be a burden, and that there may not be a right answer to a question. On top of that, the universe doesn’t actually care which option we pick. The second story looks at the other side, asking if we really control you own life.

 

The Cold Equations

“I didn’t do anything to die for… I didn’t do anything…”

This story presents us with a surprisingly unique and haunting antagonist, as two strangers face up against the fact that, to the universe, you are completely insignificant. The story begins with the pilot of a cargo spaceship transporting medical supplies to an outreach planet on the frontier of human occupied space. Six people will die without these supplies, but due to limited resources, and the remoteness of the destination, the ship carries just enough air and fuel reserves for the trip, specifically calculated for one pilot alone to make the trip successfully (with a very small amount extra in case of calculation error). Half way through this journey, the pilot notices one of the gauges on his dashboard ticking. He is not alone, as someone has stowed away on his spaceship. There is not enough fuel or air for both of them, and, unless something changes, they will soon be dead, eternally drifting through space in a metal coffin.

At this point, you’d think a quick air lock later and boom, problem solved, stowaway dies in the vacuum of space. Except the stowaway is an innocent teenage girl, who snuck abroad the ship hoping to visit her brother on the outreach planet. She has no idea about the fuel situation on the shuttle. We go from there.

Agency here is shown by the pilot facing an impossible choice. Whilst he technically has multiple options there is only one that will save both his life and the men dependant on him. There are times in our lives where we’ll be in a situation where there is no right thing to do. Even worse, it isn’t because something evil is making us do it, nor do we gain anything by doing it. This story makes us face up to not only that, but also the universe’s complete apathy towards us. The universe runs on a series of equations (maybe just one very complex equation if Stephen Hawking gets his way!) where we are nothing more than an X to be. Sometimes, the X is too large and the equation doesn’t balance. In this case, the only option is to reduce X and take something away before the calculation is done.

You really feel for both the pilot and the girl. She has made a simple mistake, based on a misunderstanding. The sort of mistake we all make while we’re growing up and do something we know we probably shouldn’t but think we can deal with the consequences. He is a man faced with an impossible choice he has to make. He’ll have to live with whatever decision he makes for the rest of his life. Agency is something he really doesn’t want. If something made the call and executed it for him then he wouldn’t be responsible for the consequences, but no, it’s his call to make and he has to make it. Sometimes control over our own destiny might be the last thing we want in the moment.

Listen to the end and you’ll find out the alternate ending to this story, personally I massively prefer the one they kept.

This story is chilling, reminding you of your own insignificance in the grand scheme of things and that, sometimes, we have to make truly horrible choices. And I love it. This story is fantastic and well worth the time.

 

the cold equations

Author: Tom Godwin

Link: http://www.drabblecast.org/2013/07/15/drabblecast-289-the-cold-equations/

 

Hollow as the World

“…Joshua had never existed.  All the interesting things in his life had come at someone else’s behest.  His whole life had been a game, and not even a particularly well-designed one.  Another scared teenager.  Selfish.  Passive.  Predictable.”

Were you ever a socially awkward teenager, self-hating, with no idea how to deal with your emotions towards your romantic interest, and maybe even with a love for videogames? I was! If you were as well, then a warning: the main character in this story will be very relatable, and not in a way you may feel comfortable with.

This is a modern horror story, making use of modern culture, even videogames. You’ll find Portal in this and Not-Minecraft, also known as Stonehewn (and even a reference to My Little Pony… of course…). It’s similar to the use of televisions in The Ring, and I’m sure there’s many a metaphor to be found about our relationship with videogames in modern society. Luckily, It handles it very well. I named the second game Not-Minecraft because Stonehewn is Minecraft on steroids. It is the same game, but with perfectly realistic graphics, the function for your character to play itself and a load of other… interesting features.

As mentioned before, this is a story about an awkward, slightly self-loathing teenager named Joshua. He is in love with his best friend Lydia, and they’re both videogame addicts. It isn’t the case that he’s been ‘friendzoned’. He has no clue how to handle his feelings towards her, and is completely afraid to act on them, despite her signals that he should (this hit a little close to home when I think back on me 10 or so years ago). After trying Stonehewn, Lydia vanishes for a week, becoming a total addict to it (I may have done something like this myself on Minecraft when trying to build a floating airship on Survival mode). One week later she dies. She has left him a note, reading ‘Joshua: a dangerous mirror. This reveals Truth.’

Joshua picks up her old computer and boots up her copy of Stonehewn. He decides to break it, blaming it for her death. This story really makes you think about the control we think we have over our lives. It raises the question about whether or not the decisions we make our really our own, or if the games we play and the movies we watch really control us, instead of us controlling them. Games and other art do that affect the way we feel and the things we think. Therefore, while we may make in-game decisions, these have no real impact outside the game. The only way they may do is the affect they have on us internally, as they alter how we think and behave.

That’s at least one way to read into the story. You may take something else away from it. In my case I think it is a cool way to look at things, but actually so what? When it comes down to it life is actually pretty damn awesome.

hollow as the world

Author: Ferrett Steinmetz

Link: http://www.drabblecast.org/2013/08/14/drabblecast-292-hollow-as-the-world/

 

Thank you for reading! As I said before, please suggest any ideas you may have for themes and I’ll try to pick two or three stories that fit! If you want a recommendation, I’ll try to give it!

Kit 

Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

Kii continues her steadfast commitment to highly addictive games.

There are two things I love in life. Creating/collecting shit and reward based adventuring. This is why I’m a diehard Monster Hunter fan and there may have been an intervention regarding Animal Crossing. But now I have found something that combines these two loves of mine so I can easily plug hours into my 3DS instead of all that other shit I’m meant to be doing like laundry and eating. The name of this new world eater? Level 5’s Fantasy Life.

In Fantasy Life there are 12 types of ‘Life’, I would have called them ‘Jobs’ but then I suppose they wouldn’t be special or distinguishable from other such things like ‘Recycling Coordinator’ and ‘Thug’. The Life you choose gives you particular stats such as the Woodcutter having increased Strength and the Tailor higher Dexterity, these Lives (Lifes?) also give you their own quest chains in which you level up your proficiency at Mining or Cooking in attempt to Master said Life.

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Tailor, Angler, Paladin, Carpenter, Mercenary and Magician

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Tailor, Angler, Paladin, Carpenter, Mercenary and Magician

02More Life

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Woodcutter, Hunter, Alchemist, Miner, Blacksmith and Cook

When I first looked into this game I thought ‘Man, I’m going to have to play through this twelve times to be able to experience the whole thing’ but upon booting up I discovered that I was completely wrong. The game seems to realise that you want to do absolutely everything and so you can go to the Guild Clerk and change your Life whenever you want with no cost whatsoever.

03Guildclerk

There is also a main storyline in which you team up with a talking butterfly named Flutter (stay with me) in attempt to save the world from falling Doom Stones. At first I thought the story to be a bit childish but I enjoyed running around as a fledgling alchemist and the joy of the structure of Fantasy Life is that you can wander around for hours doing other random shit without having a giant exclamation point demanding you do something plot related bothering you. To move on with story you simply do the quests the Butterfly wants and off you go. The thing is, I am now over 60 hours into the game, I’ve Mastered 4 lives and I’m genuinely engrossed in the plot so much so that I found myself thinking ‘Man, shit’s going down. I need to level my Blacksmithing so I can have some cool looking armour for the next bit’. I want to look good for the single player bit. I HAVE NOBODY TO LOOK GOOD FOR OTHER THAN THE GAME ITSELF.

Fantasy Life also has local multiplayer where you can open your world to visitors or you can jump into someone else’s. It’s pretty damn seamless and you’re not restricted to where your friend has been in their own world, cue me carrying my partner through areas two cities ahead of him just so he could find some gold. But unlike Monster Hunter, you can trade items between players so sharing is caring when someone wants to level his Carpentry without actually going out to find any wood.

04Chums

So the adventuring etc is the Monster Hunter-y bit and now you’re wondering where Animal Crossing comes into it. Firstly, the game is adorable in design and I’ve come to expect nothing less from Level 5 since Professor Layton and Ni No Kuni. Secondly, you get your own little house/room and you can decorate it however you like! I’ve spent hours crafting to produce the perfect wardrobe and doing missions for the townspeople will often give you some new wallpaper or some drapes.

05House

You can also find and make new clothes so you can look flashy when not fighting monsters! Clothes do have stats in this game so I tend to have outfits to match the Life I’m trying to level at the time, for example, wearing something with high Intelligence for a Magician or high Strength for a Mercenary will give you better results. And finally, you can have PETS! You have up to three pets that live in your house and can choose between breeds of cats and dogs. A piece of advice, each main city in the game offers different breeds so don’t blow all your pet allowance in the first one otherwise the pet vendor will make you feel like a massive douche for returning them.

06Dogs!

Anyways, all of this adds a huge personalisation aspect to the game which Nintendo themselves are using to their advantage. Nintendo UK’s twitter account often links codes for unique furniture or outfits that you can download into your game for free, one of my favourites thus far has been the Nap Dragon outfit (It’s a Dragon and it naps). I was going to find them all and give you a list but I feel it’s more professional to send you to Nintendo themselves. And also I couldn’t be bothered.

The blend of these two styles solves a problem for me that I had with Animal Crossing (Other than the soul crushing guilt NPCs lay on you for not booting it up regularly). When you had accumulated the furniture you had your eye on or finally bought that fancy hat, there wasn’t much to do. I know that there were island activities but they were more like mini-games to me and didn’t hold my interest for long. With Fantasy Life, I have the fun of customising my home but I can also go off on an adventure if I feel like it. I can try and smite a dragon or chop down that ‘Boss Tree’ or find that fish that the cat gave me a mission to get. There’s always something to do, no matter how long or short a time you have to play it. It’s a game that fits around your lifestyle, do some crafting on a commute or do a big chunk of story if you’re sick on the sofa.

07Boss tree

All in all, I love this game and how easy it is to play it. It’s genuinely pleasant and nicely paced. My main gripe is that the start button is the screen cap button which I felt was very counterintuitive and resulted in at least twenty photos of my character just wandering around when I’m trying to get to the menu. It’s only a minor issue though and doesn’t detract from an otherwise great game.

If you need me, I’ll be running around a palace with a pot on my head.

08Pot

 

Kii

Guild Wars 2: Something’s gone awry

In the last segement of our World Train adventures, Kii, Fenton and Matto show you how to deal with a glitched out boss, something very on fire and a giant shadow demon. And no, we will never speak of that Jormag run ever again.

We’re now branching out into some Steam games for our next recording and we’re open to suggestions! If you’d like us to have a go at something then feel free to let us know via the comments, Facebook or Twitter. Also if you’re liking the content thus far drop us a like, favourite and/or subscribe to keep me warm at night. See you next time! Kii x