Late to the Party #9 – Yakuza 0

For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing great things about the Yakuza series. I mean, thanks to Humble Monthly and Choice, I own Yakuza 0, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 already, so it was only a matter of time until I’d play one of the games and despite me being late to the party here, I was quite overjoyed with having played and beaten Yakuza 0!

Note: This is not a review… It may look like one… but it’s not… I just played through the game and made a post about it… Enjoy the post! Also remember to hydrate properly because Kiryu and Majima make me thirsty!

Kiryu may be scary sometimes but he ain’t a killer!

So, so,… where do I start? Uh, we play as two characters in the game. Kazuma Kiryu who’s a young yakuza in his 20s and who’s part of the Dojima Family gets framed for a murder he didn’t commit (because he canonically never officially killed anyone) and that’s quite bad for the Family since yakuza don’t kill civilians. Since Kiryu has been taken in by Kazuma, Kazuma is supposed to be held accountable for Kiryu’s murder, which is why Kiryu’s trying to leave the family and to find the actual culprit. This whole thing, however, is part of something much bigger because of the empty piece of land that the murder was committed on. Meanwhile, we also play as Goro Majima, an ex-yakuza that runs a cabaret in Sotenbori to pay off a debt and to get back into the yakuza. There are a lot of circumstances going on but eventually, his story gets intertwined into Kiryu’s and it all becomes a bit of a mess that can be a bit overwhelming and confusing… but in a good way. I won’t spoil anything but I loved it and loved seeing the parallels between the characters’ ideals and playstyles. Similarly, I had to pause the game now and then to think about what the implications and revelations meant for the story and why things were turning out the way they were turning out. There are a lot of parties involved, a lot of characters get introduced, and a lot of things happen, resulting in a brilliant story that ends up getting resolved with basically no plot holes left. I enjoyed it.

Kiryu is such a cutie. I love it!

At its core, though, Yakuza 0 is an Open World Action game where you fight off enemies using three different fighting styles (per character) and a plethora of weapons and techniques. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and kind of challenging, at first. For my playthrough, I played on the Hard difficulty and struggled quite a bit against the first boss, Kuze, but after that, the game turned out to be rather easy… which may be due to the upgrades I got. I ended up abusing the food system that lets you heal even during combat and ended up investing all of my money into my own body to unlock new abilities, more health, and stronger attacks. The damage you receive in fights can be healed using food from your inventory or by visiting eateries outside of combat. There are also a lot of side-quests and activities around town to get you sidetracked and make you lose your time. You know that amazing story I mentioned? Yeah, I delayed by an hour to play Shogi instead, after learning in the game how to play shogi… and then I delayed for another two hours after finding out about Karaoke and Pocket Circuit, the local racing game.

GOOOOOROOOOO MAJIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The substories are the best part of the game, though. These sidequests are hilarious and ridiculous and it suits the game a lot. The rewards may not be worth it at first… but eventually, when you progress through the game, a lot of the side characters return to help you out, which is quite nice. And the ridiculous stories fit quite well into the game because of the fun little conversation choices and the over-the-top-combat. The story may be serious but when I can ram a bike into someone’s head and they still survive that, I can’t take a game that seriously… I mean… Again, the story is brilliant,… but at the beginning, I didn’t think that the main plot would be so good, judging from the amusing combat experience. Eventually, I ended up rushing through the game as I wanted to finish it before NieR Replicant comes out, so I ended up not doing too many sidequests for a while and didn’t regret that actually, at all. I even cried for a bit during one of the scenes.

It burns… a lot…. it pains me in my kokoro to be called out like that.

You may notice that I’m a bit all over the place right now but I still can’t believe that I’m done with Yakuza 0 already… and I’m a bit bummed out about it but there are still 34 achievements for me to collect and I really wanna clear them all… or at least most of them! Apart from that, the game’s somewhat old… I mean, it’s from 2015 as far as I know… but it still aged well! Don’t look at the water and you’ll be fine, though. The rest of the world is super pretty and the characters look and sound amazing. The Japanese dub is great and I loved listening to the fun soundtrack, too. It certainly aged well for a game that is six years old – I’ve seen newer games that looked a lot worse!

The future is NOW! (The game plays in the 1980s btw)

Now apart from that, there are a few things I don’t like. For starters, food is overpowered. Once you stock up on Sushi Sets you are nearly invincible. The combat felt great at the start but eventually, I noticed, that on Hard Difficulty the fights just turn into a button-mashing contest. Two styles aren’t that good in my opinion while the other two are overwhelmingly good, so there’s a balancing issue. The “Breaker” Style that you unlock later on, for instance, lets you deal with a ton of enemies at the same but it’s also great in One-on-One situations. I won’t spoil the other ones but I noticed that eventually I was quite strong and I frankly didn’t have a hard time at all. Fights were just me getting the heat gauge up and then smashing the enemies with motorcycles and stuff. Until the final chapter, combat felt somewhat easy, to be honest, so again, balance. I would have enjoyed a more even difficulty curve that would steadily make things harder, either by equipping guns onto them and other stronger weaponry or by buffing their damage more. There is also this one guy that you defeat a bunch of times and he just doubles up on health but doesn’t get stronger, in my opinion, making him a bad boss fight in a way…

Gotta beat up the imposter!

So, I’d love to talk about characters that get introduced more but that’d be a spoiler… the story then? Oh, right, that’d be a spoiler… The minigames? Well, one of them can get you banned on Twitch, but the rest are fine. Also technically spoilers. I’d recommend Yakuza 0 to anyone and everyone. It’s a great game and after 42.7 hours in it, I don’t think I’ll be done with the game just yet. There is still so much to do! I want to be good at most of the minigames and be friends with all the NPCs and fight Mr Shakedown until there is none left… and then there’s the different fighting styles I need to improve, all the food I need to taste, and just so much more. Great game! Looking forward to Yakuza Kiwami!

What are your opinions on the Yakuza series or Yakuza 0 in particular? Have you played it yet? Do you plan to? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Late to the Party #8 – For Honor

I’m not sure when but at some point in time, I actually got a free copy of For Honor on my account. I think Steam was just giving it away in 2018 or something… and then again in 2019… and again last year… So, I basically grabbed it for free a few years ago and then I just never played it and didn’t even bother looking at it. For whatever reason, I just figured that “freebies are nice” and that “For Honor is probably just another shooter”, so I basically didn’t really care about it… That was until Chris, a lovely streamer from the Stream Team that I’m a part of, streamed it and actually explained to me what it was about… so… now, I’m actually kind of enjoying it a lot. Alas, welcome to another post on a game that everyone but me has tried already. I’m sorry but it seems that I am Late to the Party.

Notice: This is not a review. These are my first impressions… sometimes also my second impressions. I tend to rant about games in ways that I wouldn’t rant about games I’m reviewing… I tend to praise games in ways that I wouldn’t praise them usually… Similarly, I compare games or cover non-Indie titles that I usually wouldn’t cover… Hence, these are no review posts. Just FYI. Move on.

“1v1 me bruh” – I won by spamming poison spears!

For Honor plays in an alternative timeline where Samurai, Knights and Vikings fight against each other… constantly… for territory and *For Honor*, I guess? There is a story of sorts but nobody really cares about that, as far as I know. It’s funny to see that not even Steam’s store page tells me anything about the story. You basically play as one of the three factions, deploy units on battlefields and play in a bunch of different modes from Dominion to Breach to Skirmish. But even if you belong to the Samurai faction (like I do!), you can still play Knights and Vikings and whatnot. It’s quite cool. Winning battles rewards you with different bonuses like experience for your battle pass, for your character and steel (which is the in-game currency that you need to purchase new heroes). Your character/hero can be customised once you buy them and you can level them up to unlock different skill variants to customise your playstyle. It’s an interesting concept, for sure, especially as you get to influence the battlefield with your victories and as you get to deploy units that you get from playing a lot in order to conquer a territory.

The season goes on for ages and within the season there are a lot of different campaigns and challenges and bounties to fulfil. I like this Real-Time-Battle-system a lot and really dig the whole idea behind it. As you complete matches, you end up conquering lands or battling it out with other factions and when your faction wins at the end of the season, you leave your mark in the world, as well. 

Between matches I can pretend to be a master strategist that is deploying units to these battlefields… noice.

Combat itself also has a rather high skill-ceiling. Enemies can strike to your left, right and top, so you’ll have to block accordingly and use feints or repeated attacks to trick your enemies into blocking the wrong way. Similarly, you can dodge attacks and cause the enemy’s stamina to deplete. There are also throws and a bunch of combos, specific to each hero, resulting in a rather in-depth melee-focused combat-system. But more important than the micro is obviously the macro in most games. You can be a mechanical god but it won’t help you unless you’re doing a 1v1-Deathmatch against other enemies. Most players seem to play Dominion, which is why you’ll need to keep an eye on the different points that you need to control as well as where the enemies are heading to, where your allies are, and all of that. Having a 4v4 mode like that is quite fun. There are also other modes like Capture the Flag and whatnot… but the activity in those modes is super low and I don’t have unlimited time to waste waiting on a match over there. If it’s not going to find a match in five minutes, I feel like I’m being cheated out of my time… y’know? Also, there has to be a reason that nobody plays those modes.

Now, while combat can be quite fun… I noticed that some heroes aren’t that fun to play against. For starters, I love playing Nobushi who’s an agile Samurai wielding a Naginata (which is basically a long spear… with a sword on top of it… and that btw really exists). Naginatas are annoying IRL… In For Honor, Nubushi also uses poison attacks, so, you just spam those attacks and win by default unless people know how to counter it… which… often doesn’t work because of latency. It’s annoying, to say the least. Similarly, despite being called “For Honor”, nobody honours the duel between two warriors and because of that, the most effective strategy seems to be that you group up as four people and steamroll over the enemies, especially in spots where you can easily gang up on them from behind without any issues. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. There isn’t really a whole lot to do against it unless Ubisoft does something against it… it feels kind of as if Ubisoft is encouraging it, though, since there is no penalty for fighting together as four against one… and there is no penalty for killing the same people over and over again at their spawn…

Hooray, I’m stomping people!

And while the different bounties and game modes are quite interesting, I kind of feel like I’m burning out already from it. It’s a multiplayer game, so maybe it will be more fun once I get some friends to play it with me (on that note… add me if you wanna play?) but as it is right now, I just get frustrated because of AFKs in my team and people grouping up as four together against one single person… and that kind of stuff is just depressing. Unless of course, I get to play Nobushi because… then I can at least spam poison attack at the enemies to counter-frustrate them. 🙂 

Just kidding.

But personally speaking, I’d rather have a game where I can enjoy myself and where the enemies also have fun… than a game where every round is either a stomp by your team or a stomp by the enemy team. Sadly, that’s the case here. It’s either win or lose. It’s usually decided at the beginning of the game. It’s never really close or anything like that and you hardly ever see a comeback, which is something I’d really like in this sort of game. Instead of actual comeback mechanics, For Honor introduces “Breaking” which is something that prevents you from respawning when you’re getting stomped in games. It’s basically a mechanic that makes frustrating games more frustrating…

Oh well,… I’ll play it for a while and drop it again. At least I get to play as a Samurai here… that’s quite rad, y’know? Another game off the list.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Late to the Party #7 – Enclave

As part of the #LoveYourBacklog week and the #MaybeInMarch event, I ended up saying that I’ll plan the oldest unplayed game in my backlog… as in… the game that has spent the most time in my backlog and hasn’t been played yet. I think the oldest game I own is probably some Leisure Suit Larry game… but this post is actually about Enclave. So, welcome in! Take a seat, grab something to drink, wear your mask if you’re outside… I’m sorry but I’m kinda late to this party.

I got Enclave for free on IndieGala, I think, in 2014, so, it’s been there for quite a while now. It’s an “incredibly atmospheric and intense medieval action combat experience” from 2002 where you enter an award-winning world and complete missions in an RPG-like manner. You got imprisoned but the castle is being attacked by the enemy forces. Your cell-mate is threatening to slice up your guts or something once her friends save her… but a catapult actually hits her by accident in an attempt to breach the walls. Kinda dumb. Anyways, you’re now on the loose and you’re defending the castle and get rewarded for that because you’re the good guy. From then on, you complete missions… for whatever reason… and there’s a campaign that poorly explains why you’re doing things.

Enclave has a Light campaign and a Darkness campaign. The only difference between the two is where you start off and what you do, essentially. In the light campaign, you play as warriors, archers, wizards and other characters… In the dark campaign, those classes get replaced with other class names that look different but have the exact same skills. In the light campaign, you’ll save people and stop the evil enemies… in the dark campaign, you’ll do the opposite. You’ll play the same missions, though, which is kind of annoying because you’re not allowed to choose between them. Instead, you have to complete the light campaign first and then you’ll complete the dark campaign. Fun and freedom of choice weren’t invented in 2002 after all… apparently, that came later.

Now, you may think that I’m overstating things here. It’s an old-ish game and it may not have aged too well… but certainly, it must have been fun to people back in the day and yeah, you could absolutely be right but I’m playing it right now and I found it very frustrating and annoying. Beyond Good and Evil came out in 2003 as well and was a lot better. I don’t get how Play Magazine described it as “illegally beautiful” when it couldn’t compare at all to much prettier games from the same time… and older games. Worthplaying says that it only fell “a few steps short of perfection” but more on that later. GameZone describes the enemies as “quirky” and the controls as “tight”…

Enemies in the game actually switch to ranged weapons when you’re far away and to melee weapons when you’re close by. They’ll also shoot you through walls and they won’t move closer if they can hit you from afar. If you move out of their range, they’ll stay where they are. Worthplaying.com described it as a “smart and challenging” A.I. when it’s basically the most frustrating thing in the world. With limited healing items and rather clunky controls, combat becomes a pain in the butt and the game becomes worse of an experience than the likes of Getting Over It and/or Dark Souls. 

Enclave’s 26 missions repeat the same task over and over again, it seems… across two campaigns that basically do the same thing but with different enemies and different allies. The same story is told from two sides with no changes in the writing or perspective really. You’d imagine that the bad guys would experience the story as if they’re doing the right thing and as if the “good guys” are treating them badly… but it rather feels like you’re just playing the good campaign from the other side if that makes sense. Similarly, the game tries to add variety to the game by letting you equip different gear before every mission. Without any stats or other indicators, however, it seems to be purely cosmetical… Some of the animations change a little bit but usually melee combat consists of you spamming the attack button and your character swirling around your sword, mace or hammer in the most ridiculous motion ever. It’s clanky and annoying. Hitboxes vary a lot… Super frustrating.

And then there’re the deaths in the game that add a lot more pain to Enclave. When you die, you respawn at a checkpoint at the cost of gold… that is when there are actual checkpoints. In one of the missions that I played on stream, I had to find different items, solve a “puzzle” and then I needed to save someone and fight a bunch of enemies. Afterwards, I walked over a bridge that just collapsed out of nowhere, resulting in a scripted death… and suddenly I had to start from the beginning of the level again. Why? Well, there were no checkpoints in 10+ minutes, at all. The mission before that had a checkpoint every five or so minutes. I can’t remember if that mission, in particular, had any after that bridge part but it was then that I decided to quit the game (yup, that’s a ragequit) and to raid someone instead of continuing the stream. 

Enclave is frustrating in a lot of ways and has a bunch of “mechanics” that didn’t age well at all. There are games older and newer than Enclave that had a lot better combat and RPG mechanics… and while the soundtrack of Enclave is quite good, it is also the only good thing about the game. I noticed that some of the female characters are protected by plot armour that is very skimpy and sexualised… So that’s something in the game… that people may have liked a lot.

If you somehow end up pulling through the game and if you somehow find all the gold coins in all the levels, you’ll unlock the OP characters that let you have a bit of fun as a robot with a gun… or as a fetishized female character with a gun… it’s weird. I don’t get the appeal really…

Oh well,… if you own it, I’d recommend playing this game to appreciate newer games more. If you don’t own it, buy a different game or pizza or donate to charity instead because there’re better uses for your five bucks.

Enclave was one of the first rage quits I had in ages. It just got super frustrating and while I’m kind of happy to write about a really old game that’s been in my library for ages now… I kind of regret having wasted nearly two hours of my time on this title in particular… “Maybe it gets better”, I thought… in #MaybeInMarch. I’m glad that Kim doesn’t force us to play through bad games… because I’m not sure if I’ll ever play through his shitshow of a title but I certainly played it for a while. As far as screenshots go, btw, Steam didn’t want to capture any, so I had to take some from the internet. Hope you don’t mind. 

Do you like pain and frustration? Do you want to waste your time? No? Don’t play this game… Played It? Yeah? Let me know your opinions on it!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Late to the Party #6 – Assassin’s Creed 2

It’s been a month since I last posted an LttP post and so, today I’m covering Assassin’s Creed 2 – a game I just finished today on stream. FINALLY. Today, I’m going to cover my thoughts on AC2, the improvements over the first title, what I liked a lot and what I didn’t like.

Note: This is not a review. Hence, there will be spoilers. If you mind spoilers from a game that is twelve years old then… this post may not be for you. Also… the featured image for this is a fanart I did before I played it… I hope you like it.

So, Assassin’s Creed 2 picks off where the first game left off. We’re Desmond Miles in the present day who’s now escaping Abstergo and entering the Animus again, now by choice, to train to become an assassin through the memories of Renaissance Italy’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The graphics are more polished already and being in Renaissance Italy adds a lot of much-needed colour to the world with pretty structures and architecture in the world, lots of different colours and amazing weapon types. The world looks better and while the Animus-stuff is still in the game, we get booted out of the past only about three times during the whole game, including the end, which is why you have more than enough time to explore the world and not get bothered by this weird Animus-storyline that nobody cares about. I’ve heard that the later games drop it completely, which is great… because really, nobody cares about that.

Ezio Auditore wasn’t always an assassin. In fact, we know how to fight… kind of… and how to free-run… but the game tells the story of our family, the Auditore family, helping out the Medici familia to uncover the truth of a plot against the state… but we get betrayed and our little brother, our big brother and our father get hanged publicly for conspiring against the state. Driven by revenge, Ezio’s now hunting down the conspirators and putting a lot of different names on a death list. As time goes on, we get trained in the ways of the Assassin’s since our family belonged to the Creed, known from the first game. It might be a bit overwhelming at first but the storyline is already a lot better than the first game. We get to murder different historical characters and the fact that we get to meet people like Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli in person and work together with them is amazing. On top of that, the game also ties in other historic characters like Dante Alighieri into the storyline and even mentions Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, known from the first game. Amazing!

The little conversations between the characters are full of historic/political references which were nice. At the same time, the game allows itself to crack a joke here and there. I still can’t get over the fact that Ezio’s uncle introduced himself with “It’s-a meeee, Mario!” – It cracked me up.

The gameplay itself saw a lot of improvement as well. You don’t have the annoying content gating anymore. You can do sidequests whenever you want to and explore at your own leisure. Now and then, areas are still not available because they are from later story-lines and get unlocked later, which kind of sucks, but you can explore as much as you want to or just rush through the story within hours. The choice is yours. You don’t have to do side quests anymore, unlike the first game where you were forced to do three or more side quests to proceed with the story. It was annoying but Assassin’s Creed 2 shows that it’s a thing of the past and you’re not forced to do that… so you can do it whenever you feel like it, which I really enjoyed. Side Quests are great if you aren’t forced to do them. I’ll talk more about that later. Exploration doesn’t consist of 1000 banners or something like that to collect but rather is about feathers… that have some meaning, I guess… and you have statues and treasures as well as viewpoints. As you move around and explore, you’ll amass a lot of money… which can then be invested into new gear, weapons, tools and upgrades for the Villa. Upgrading the villa and adding new buildings, brings in more people and makes it come to life and makes it so that you earn money.

Earning money, investing it into the Villa’s/City’s value, and then making more money is amazing. It feels good and adds another layer to the game… it’s almost strategic in a way and you benefit from it through a steady income that can be invested into better gear over time. 

Now, exploration is cool and still features jumping puzzles and free-running. It’s a lot faster than in the first game, though, which makes it somewhat worthwhile. On top of that, there’s now Assassin’s Tombs and Templar’s Lairs in the game that you have to raid. These involve jumping puzzles that you need to complete in order to obtain treasures and seals. You need six seals for Altair’s armour… which is the best armour in the game, really, so it’s worthwhile. 

This actually looks pretty! AC2 aged well!

But from good changes and nice things to bad things: The game just drags on and on. While at first refreshing, the new missions feel boring eventually. There are races, beat-up missions, and assassination contracts among other missions and it overall feels like the same thing over and over again. Chuck in some Escort missions here and there or some slow missions where some NPC is telling you a story and you need to walk very slowly next to them. Instead of creating a cutscene for it, Ubisoft decided to go for these small missions that kind of slow down the pace and reduce the momentum momentarily, which is a bit annoying, to say the least. I didn’t like that personally speaking and would have loved it if they had just gone for cutscenes in those case or if we had to do parkour somewhere while Shaun is telling us the information or something. This trend continues into areas like combat with the combat mechanics at first feeling refreshing with a lot of different weapons and new animations as well as a lot of new systems and skills… but eventually, it just turns into a button-mashing contest where you spam X until people die. Especially with swift weapons like swords and daggers, it becomes a bit too easy, as you just attack the enemy over and over and over again until they die eventually. Even if they block most of your attacks or counter them, you can still counter their counter and continue attacking them, often stun-locking them into walls, until they die. Combat has plenty of mechanics like taunting, disarming, throwing, dodging, countering, etc. but it just feels like a button-mashing contest with some mechanics in it for the sake of style points. You can either dodge and attack three times… or you attack three times… it doesn’t make a difference, especially with how frequently you can heal yourself or purchase more healings.

At the same time, the game eventually has this plotline where everyone is an assassin apparently and we get initiated into the creed and end up chasing after the Pope who’s our last target… and to do so… there’s this siege at a fortress and a map we get and we have to save two children and kill nine lieutenants and it just is a bit of a mess. The first game? It was predictable. Oh no, our teacher and father-figure is going to betray us and be our last target? Who would have thought?! The second game… starts off strong and falls off after 20+ hours as you have no idea what’s going on anymore. The game suddenly introduces new enemies and you have to do these super tedious missions all of a sudden… and then… to unlock the final mission, you need to gather all 30 codex pages. Luckily, I got 28 already… but I had to backtrack for half an hour to find the last two so that I could beat the last two missions. The second-last mission was kind of fun… but that last one with the boss fight was just annoying. 

And well, the boss fight is… another mess that just could fill out a post on its own. Ezio has a piece of Eden and the Pope has one… and Ezio is the prophet and Pope Borgia is believing that he’s actually it, so they battle for the other piece of Eden to gain supreme power. The Pope suddenly has Yedi powers like Darth Vader and can fucking make us fly and stab us… but we still survive that with no issues at all for whatever reason… and all of a sudden we know how to utilize our piece of Eden and create four copies of ourselves that fight alongside us. When did we learn that? Never, we just had this Deus Ex Machina moment allowing us to pull that technique out of our arse. It’s not Ass Creed for nothing, right? Once we beat the Pope in a fist-fight during which he didn’t cheat for whatever reason, we enter the Vault… where Minerva… a Goddess… is revealing the truth and the prophecy to us. Minerva and the other Gods created us but they’re not gods… they’re aliens… or something like that. They were very advanced but got betrayed by the humans they created and lost because of the numbers advantage. And then Earth got fucked up by the sun or something… and that’s gonna happen again, so Minerva is speaking through Ezio to Desmond (yup) to warn him about the catastrophe that is yet to come and the templars that want to embrace it… and then the game ends.

Sadly there were no achievements on Steam available since I finished at least 75% of the content in the game after 30.3 hours in the game. I’m missing a few treasures, a lot of feathers and a few paintings but otherwise I should be done, collectible-wise. What frustrated me was the requirement of Ubisoft for me to start up the game on Steam… why? Idk…

So, I could also go into the sexism in the game and the at times janky controls but overall, I feel like it was an alright game. It was certainly A LOT better than Assassin’s Creed 1 but the story struggled later on and combat and the controls ended up disappointing me. However, I’m still looking forward to playing Brotherhood eventually once I get to that on stream.

Ass Creed 2 was alright. What are your thoughts on it? Did you play it? And if not, would you play it now? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Late to the Party #5 – Bioshock 2

During the Spooktober of last year, I played through the first Bioshock game on Twitch. I loved it. I loved the universe, the soundtrack, the combat and the way the whole world is fleshed out. You can read about all of that in my post on it from November 28th. Alas, I recently got into the second game on Stream as well and we managed to play through it just a little over a week ago. Alas, it’s time for another LttP post!

Note: There may be minor to small spoilers for the game. I didn’t talk about certain things to not spoil them or ruin the effect on you… but I guess you wouldn’t read this if you didn’t know already that there could be spoilers. In any case, you’ve been warned about potential spoilers. Enjoy the post!

First things first, I’d like to say that the Bioshock games are somewhat old already. Alas, I played the Remastered version of the second game as it’s just a bit more pleasing on the eyes. There are also fewer bugs in it and the sound doesn’t have as many hiccups as the original version, which is great. I guess you could argue that it’s not the same as playing the actual Bioshock 2 game but honestly, I don’t see the point in differentiating between the two games. The Remastered version did perform better on my newer PC, alas I just played that. 

While we were playing as some sort of agent that infiltrated Rapture in the first game, the second game lets us play as one of the most iconic denizens of Rapture, the Big Daddy. We explore through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe named Lamb, in search for answers. Our little sister was taken away from us as we were asked if we would kindly shoot ourselves. Somehow, though, we survived and got revived in a vita chamber in Rapture, which is where our story begins.

From the getgo, I was in awe. I love Rapture and the Bioshock universe but in this game… it’s just more rotten and devastated. The sunken city is incredibly pretty, especially when we get to explore the underwater world in our Big Daddy suit. I loved the new perspective on things as we hear the ground trembling as we stomp through the areas. While we’re somewhat slow, the game equipped us with a powerful drill as well as a bunch of different weapons and powers to add to our arsenal. 

Just like in the first game, you’re able to sling spells, so-called “Plasmids” at our foes and opponents, all in order to survive. If that’s not your style, you still have the option of using guns or melee attacks. What surprised me was that while I wasn’t unsatisfied with combat in the first game, I really enjoyed the changes to combat in the second game. For instance, we’re able to use plasmids and weapons at the same time, resulting in some cool interactions. Our drill is powerful but requires fuel, which adds a new type of ammunition to the game. If you’re out of it, you won’t be able to use your drill’s charge attack but you can still wack enemies rather well, smashing their faces and breaking their spirits. Apart from that, the camera that you use to find out about enemy weaknesses now doesn’t require ammunition anymore.

On top of that, you now have a hacking tool to remote-hack turrets, cameras and doors, which is lovely. Even the hacking tool, however, can be used as a weapon to place down miniature turrets that deal a good amount of damage.

Hacking in the first game was kind of janky in a way. Often, you’d rely on luck rather than skill as you were pressured by the time running out and as you needed to guide water through a circuit board, which didn’t typically make sense. The mini-game was fun but kind of unlogical in a way. Meanwhile, in this game, you’re able to hack enemies while in combat and you actually have to prove your skill as you hit certain areas in a smaller sized mini-game. It obviously isn’t the best solution but it is one that exists and that doesn’t utilize water, which is a good thing. 

Overall, the second game offers a lot of quality of life changes that improve combat and hacking. The soundtrack is still amazing. The game looks stunning.

But the issue with Bioshock 2 is that you don’t really have an enemy of sorts for most of the game. You hear about Lamb here and there but you never really know who that’s supposed to be. In the same manner, you’ve got Sinclair who just stops by and suddenly starts to help you but I couldn’t just get attached to him as a help, especially as our helper in the first game ended up betraying us. By the end of the game, I felt a bit let down as Sinclair didn’t betray us at all… that’s a shame? I guess? Or not? I don’t know.

The world-building is well-done and the game feels immersive. Characters have an actual backstory and their own motivations and ideals but in the end, the story overall feels somewhat lacking in a way especially as you go through the first few areas with little to no clue about who you are, who Lamb is and what your goal is. You need to free your little sister but that’s about it, I guess? Why do you go that far and what makes you special from other Big Daddies? 

Another nice addition is that, after defeating Big Daddies, you get to adopt (or harvest) their Little Sisters. You then get to harvest bodies for Adam while defending your Little Sister in order to attain more of that scarce resource that you need for your upgrades. Lovely! 

Just like in the first game, you have a good and a bad ending. Harvesting the little sisters ends up giving you the bad ending while adopting and rescuing them gives you a good ending. On top of that, you have these scenarios in the game where you can kill the leaders of the different areas or you spare them. Each of these decisions also influences your ending a little bit. In one of the early areas, I had the option of killing an unarmed black woman. She put us through hell but I decided to walk away. She then realised that I wasn’t some sort of baby-snatcher and monster but rather more than that: A human being.

Alas, she provided us with some support and she got to live. I would have liked it if we would have heard more of her later on… but in the end, that didn’t happen. No idea what happened to her. 

So, the story feels a bit weaker but in the final hours, it got rather emotional and nearly brought me to tears. The additions and improvements to the game felt great. The new spells and mechanics are interesting. The story, while at first somewhat weaker, made me feel… things. On top of that, we finally were able to see through the eyes of a Big Daddy (and more, wink wink). And all in all, I really enjoyed this game. I hope that I get to play Bioshock Infinite soon. I’d also like to play the Bioshock 2 DLC “Minerva’s Den” eventually… but that will have to wait until it goes on sale. 

For now, this just means that there is another game that I played through (in a time of nearly 10 hours with 27/53 achievements completed) and I really enjoyed it. The backlog ended up shrinking a little and hopefully, I get to have more fun with other titles in the future again.

Nice.

What about you? Did you play Bioshock 2 and if so, did you enjoy it? Let me know! Also, are there any other titles that you’d like to see featured here that I may not have played yet? I’d love to get into the Fallout Games eventually and maybe write something about Borderlands 3 (as I still haven’t played that game in the franchise) or about NieR Replicant which is coming out soon. But that will have to wait until I get to it and until I have a bit more time. 

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

One Year of Blogging!

On July 15th, 2019, I introduced myself as a new blogger who just started and who was planning on reviewing games on here and write about gaming and non-gaming related stuff alike. This post here is to celebrate one year of blogging… just a bit late. Uh, I’ve been meaning to rewrite this draft a couple of times and then other stuff happened. On July 14th, I published my third post on the To The Moon Play Along that Naithin organised and while this post was due on the day after that, I ended up not publishing it yet because I had big plans for it and wanted to make it as great as possible. The next post that I published was the post I did on Hyper Scape and uh… yeah, then I procrastinated a lot… and now it’s nearly 2021. 

Alas, don’t mind me as I post this post a few months late and as I “celebrate” one year of blogging… just a bit later. 

So, what happened in one year of blogging? 

Well, for the most part… Improvements! I changed my theme two times and played around with the colours and different options until I got to the blog and blog-layout that you can see today. I also started using Grammarly and started editing posts to reduce the reading time and enhance the quality a lot.

My longest post to date was my review on Moonlighter, featuring 21,897 characters and a total of 3,912 words spread across 52 paragraphs. The reason for the switch from long reviews (2k to 3k words) to short-ish reviews (~1k words, up to a maximum of 1.4k words) was mainly that I wouldn’t have lasted long if I spent more time on writing posts than on studying. I am still able to write up reviews as much as I want to but I don’t explain every mechanic, the control scheme, every detail or gimmick in the game. I end up talking more about what I like and dislike about a game instead of explaining what you, as a potential player, will inevitably see for yourself. This was a change for the better. 

Over a bit more than a year, I published 64 reviews as well as 31 posts on The Lookout Post. I also ended up going for 50 posts in the Gaming Journal, the category where I talk about other games and where I do first-impressions, and stuff. I’ve amassed a total of 87 Stray Sheep in this time as well and managed to finish nine MonHunLogs and six posts on Twitch-related stuff. I’m actually quite happy with how the reviews turned out and how much I’ve managed to write in this time.

Alas, I’ve published a total of 234 posts with 42 drafts sitting here, ready to be edited and worked on,… eventually. 

My most successful posts were the following (excluding the home page):

  1. Indietail – Fall Guys
  2. Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like mobile games
  3. Unlocking Lillia’s Haiku – a quick guide
  4. Destiny 2 – Getting back into the grind!
  5. Late to the Party #2 – Asheron’s Call
  6. How to not-promote your channel on Twitch
  7. The “How are you?” controversy and Fleeksie
  8. Valorant – My First Impressions
  9. Indietail – RogueJack
  10. Indietail – Drake Hollow

There have been a whopping 347 comments on my blog that were not by spam-bots. If you include pings and answers, we get a total of 461 comments. On top of that, we hit 107 followers on WordPress with the very first follower being Naithin who followed on July 17th, 2019.

It was a pleasure to see my posts on Drake Hollow do so well, especially as I was really excited about this title!

Through Twitch and WordPress, I was able to hit 183 followers on Twitter, although most views probably come through referrals and discord anyways. I’ve been more than happy with the amount of traffic has come to Indiecator, especially as I’m only at the beginning of my journey on here. 

As time went on, I’d often start a new series or something like that and would then see how long I’d stay interested in it. My Viridi-post with different bloggers as plants and that kinda stuff ended up being well-received but I ended up not getting another post done in the series as I, honestly, didn’t find any more time to read posts. I still read posts every now and then whenever they pop up in my Twitter or WordPress timeline but lately, it’s been a bad habit of mine to not comment or like as much anymore. University’s still keeping me quite busy but I’ve managed to at least stay relevant for Google and other sites, to the point where I even got featured in some “top 40 Indie bloggers” on feedspot (spot 11!)… I need to socialize more on WordPress and get to know more people but that post ended up getting trashed.

An old relic of the blog: The ever-changing Dr Pepper header image!

As for other posts that ended up getting trashed, I never got back to my review on Ori and the Blind Forest or the series of posts that I wanted to do on Destiny 2 Raids… at this point in time, it’s probably time to delete some of the drafts as the raids in question got vaulted. 

Seeing that my post on Destiny 2 is still doing fairly good, I may post more on that topic. I have four more posts in line that have nothing to do with vaulted raids but I haven’t gotten around to editing them just yet and uh… they may not be the most relevant right now. 

My post on Self-Promotion on Twitch is also still getting traffic, so I gotta post more in the Bleeding Purple category that I set up! 

My post on Raid Shadow Legends is also doing really well, still, so maybe it’s time that I finish editing my post on AFK Arena and that I hit “publish” for once… 

My Witcher-Post was the most popular post for the very first few months but eventually… Fall Guys came. And everything else.

Either way, as for reviews (the main piece of my blog), I’d like to mention that there are still plenty of titles to go through. My Steam library alone, features 451 Indie games that I haven’t played at all yet, as well as a hundred or so that I have played already but haven’t reviewed yet. On top of that, there are some Kickstarter and EA games that I’ve backed and supported, that I need to write about in the near future before they get finished. 

My Steam library has been growing lately as well but I did manage to play through some titles in the Late to the Party category as well as on Stream and through my reviews. There are still about 942 unplayed games, though, so, I hope that I’ll have plenty of time to review games in the future as well. 

Alas, Indiecator went from “the guide through the Indie jungle” to a “weird but charming” blog where I don’t fangirl too much about Dr Pepper anymore and instead, talk about Indie games and Streaming and games in general really… It’s been a ton of fun to write about the things I love so far and I’m looking forward to getting better at it in the future as well. 

Stuff that I want to do in the next few years of blogging:

  • Review more games!
  • More franchise-playthroughs and write about those (Late to the Party)
  • Write more posts on Twitch growth and that kind of stuff
  • Meddle with video content (reviews, podcasts, etc. -> YouTube)
  • I’d love to host guest posts in the future or to finish up the guest posts I had prepared for other blogs.

I feel like that’s quite a list to go for. Maybe I’ll manage to get some of that done in 2021 already. Will have to see about that!

Cheers to one year of blogging and cheers to many more! 

Late to the Party #4 – Bioshock 1

So, it’s been a while since I last posted anything related to the Late to the Party series. The main reason for that is the fact that I’ve been busy playing games that aren’t that old On-Stream while not playing as many games Off-Stream.

Either way, in March, I started playing Bioshock 1 (Remastered) for the very first time during a 24-hour-stream (the kind that I don’t do anymore) and I really enjoyed playing it for about six hours. After that, we didn’t touch it again for quite a while since I soft-locked myself. It’s a rough time when your save file is soft-locked, no matter which save-file you’re trying to load. But more on that later.

So, what is Bioshock? Why did I want to play it? Why haven’t I played it yet?

Bioshock 1 is an Atmospheric Horror-Action-FPS game by 2K Boston in which you’re playing a man named Jack in the 1960s that is exploring the world of Rapture, an underground city, trying to find out what conspired there. You have a wide range of weapons available to you but you’re also forced to modify your DNA to become an even deadlier weapon, slinging fireballs and summoning bees and doing that kind of stuff.

But first things first, after a plane crash, we get to swim to safety to an island with a light tower where a capsule of sorts leads us deep into the sea. Once we arrive in the destroyed city of Rapture, we get to meet our first Slicers, enemies that are going crazy to receive more Adam (which is the stuff you pump into yourself to get stronger) and they attack anything and anyone. While you make your way through the world of Rapture you find out about Andrew Ryan, a businessman and objectivist, that wanted to create a utopia for society’s elite to exist outside of the government’s control and limits. Through several audio clips and tapes found in the world, we learn more about the world, while acquiring more powers (through Adam) and trying to progress further and further into the game, intending to eliminate the mastermind behind all of this!

What I really liked about the game in the first six hours of my playtime was that you were able to see that something obviously wasn’t going great with Ryan’s plan. This place called Rapture was supposed to be a utopia but ended up in ruins with flooded and destroyed areas as well as corruption, elitism, and a lot of danger. We find out more about the source of Adam, the science and research behind it, the world and what happened, as well as how the few sane people in the world are managing to come by. We go on errands, completing missions, and we can do so however we want.

I loved it.

We were able to be stealthy or more like Rambo. We can shoot our way through the game or play a spell slinger of sorts. The game gives you a lot of freedom which eventually transitions into the choices as well. Jack is trying to find a way to escape Rapture and obviously, needs to get his hands on more Adam. To do so, we need to defeat the iconic Big Daddies (that even I knew about) and either harvest or rescue the Little Sisters. Harvesting gives you more but it will kill the Little Sisters. Saving the Little Sisters grants them a life free of Adam and risks but you’ll end up with less Adam, though you may get some other rewards. This whole thing is completely optional most of the time and the morality behind it influences the ending.

But then I got stuck and didn’t play it again until October the 7th and October the 8th where I played through the game during a Spooktober stream.

The whole dark and gritty aesthetic that Rapture presents to you is just lovely and scary. I got goosebumps from some of the score’s tracks alone, while the enemies are beautifully gruesome, scary and just creative. The Big Daddies, for instance, are bio-engineered humans in diver suits while Spider Slicers jump and crawl away, shooting you from the ceiling. Overall, enemies like that seemed super fun to me and I really enjoyed battling them in most of the scenarios while using these 60s weapons, magical powers, and using a water puzzle of sorts to hack turrets, vending machines and other objects.

Now, the issue I had with Bioshock was that there’s a postal office of sorts with a hotel and stuff where I was supposed to photograph one of the Spider Slicers… but that Slicer was stuck in the ceiling, so I didn’t have the chance to take a snap from it. Alas, I needed to restart the last save file – a file from over an hour ago.

And then I didn’t play it again until the beginning of October… but when I reloaded and made sure that I’d take a few snapshots of the enemies that I needed, I actually was able to progress smoothly with only one crash or two in total. The story progresses quite nicely and while a lot of the “missions” felt like errands, I did actually enjoy the game a fair bit.

Ammunition and EVE (your mana) are limited, so you cannot always just fight everyone and everything. This made the game rather fun, especially as I was able to customize perks and skills to fit my needs!

Honestly, I wish I had played Bioshock earlier. I’m looking forward to playing the second game eventually! Bioshock is a great game and 2K really outdid themselves with it!

What has your experience been with the Bioshock franchise and the first game? Did you play the games/this game? Did you like it? Can you recommend the franchise as a whole or maybe just certain titles? Let me know!

Cheers!

Late to the Party #3 – Assassin’s Creed

There are some games out there that probably everyone has already played or that people would deem “Classics”. It’s games that get spoiled constantly since everyone already played them… Games that are the milestones that started entire franchises and genres. Games that are so great that it’s a miracle that I haven’t played them yet!

And that’s what this format is about. Welcome to Late to the Party #3 where I talk about my first impressions of Assassin’s Creed 1.

In the past, we already took a look at The Witcher 1 and Asheron’s Call, so check those games and posts out. Some people abbreviate Animal Crossing “AC”… some do the same for Assassin’s Creed… but Asheron’s Call… that’s the true AC, with Animal Crossing being AnCr/Anchor and with Assassin’s Creed obviously being AssCreed/AssCreek. Anyone who says something else is obviously wrong. So shut up. (That’s a joke.)

AssCreed is a game where this barkeeper called Desmond Miles gets kidnapped by Abstergo Industries. These guys want to use the so-called “Animus” to deep dive into Desmond’s ancestor’s memories that are saved in his DNA in order to find out where the “Pieces of Eden” are.

Aaaand that brings us to the Third Crusade where we play as Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, an assassin that gets demoted to a “Novice of the Assassin Brotherhood” by their leader Al Mualim, after essentially messing up a lot of things in the first few cut scenes. There’s this creed, the Assassin’s Creed, and he broke it so now he’s got to restore his former rank by getting rid of the nine Knight Templars.

So, uh, yeah, we’re climbing houses, throwing knives, stabbing people, eavesdropping strangers and try to attain intel before eventually killing someone and colouring a feather with their blood as proof of their death. There are a lot of side quests, though you’ve got to do only a few of them before every main assassination, and on top of that you can run around and explore a few different areas like Masyaf, Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. There are a lot of historical figures in the story which is rather interesting… and the parkour and climbing and free running, as well as the assassinations, the stealth and the combat in general, are super cool!

So we played this on a few different Fridays over here on my Twitch channel and I really enjoyed the game… but then it somehow came to an end when I just didn’t feel like playing the game all that much. (Spoilers from here on, so skip to the end if you’re interested in the story.)

I stopped playing the game for a lot of reasons. After eighteen hours of total playtime, I ended up quitting Assassin’s Creed due to its gameplay-formula. The story outside of the Animus was super interesting but we got way too less of that… meanwhile, the actual game is rather repetitive!

You get a target to kill. Do three side missions. Go there. Kill the guy. Come back to HQ. Get some ability. Get another target. Do three side missions. Go there. Kill the guy. Come back to HQ. Get another ability. Rinse and Repeat.

It’s just boring at some point. It never changes. There are barely any new mission types in the game and the collectables and the watchtowers are rather boring. There is no “unlock” for the collectables. You find all 100 flags in an area but you don’t learn anything new from it. Meanwhile, the towers unlock more parts of the map, so you get to see the different missions and stuff… but none of the towers is particularly hard to get on top of.

And then there are parts of the story that just feel generic and boring. “There is a traitor in the Brotherhood. Find him to restore your former rank.”
I mentioned on stream that it’s probably going to be the leader himself. He’s a templar of sorts and we will have to turn on him to become the leader ourselves.

But since I don’t want to play more of it, I just read up on it and… I was right. Nothing too drastic. Nothing too new. Oh wow, the teacher is your end boss? The student beats the teacher? So innovative! Wowsers! I can’t contain my excitement about this glorious twist that I haven’t seen anywhere else before yet, at all! I’m so mad at myself for spoiling the “good” part of the story!

Alas, Assassin’s Creed feels like more of a disappointment than anything else. The free walking and parkour and everything else I mentioned is a lot of fun and seem to stay in the whole franchise, so I’m looking forward to actually playing the second game and the rest of them… but I’m not going to play more of the first. We’ve killed like three or four of the templars already and there are way too many hints that Al Mualim is the traitor… so, in the end, it was just a disappointment.

I didn’t get to see the Pieces of Eden yet but according to Wikipedia, the game ends with us having access to a map showing the remaining pieces on a world globe of sorts. Those pieces will allow Abstergo to control the thoughts of all living creatures. So, uh… the franchise consists of Abstergo finding the location of the pieces by using the memories of the different assassin all over the world… I guess?

Assassin’s Creed is a franchise that can be fun, probably, but I don’t like the first game. The first game seems to be like a setup for the rest of the franchise. A test of sorts. In the end, it worked out. I own all the games. I don’t know why I own them all. I’ll play through a bunch of them and I hope that it gets better with the gameplay-variety. I think I still enjoyed AssCreed more than the first Witcher game but whatever.

Starting next week we’ll fill in the Friday-Slot with a different game. Possibly with Portal 1 since I haven’t played that game in ages… We’ll see.

Either way, I hope that you liked this quick little trip into the world of the famous AssCreek. Have a wonderful day!

Cheers!

Late to the Party #2 – Asheron’s Call

So, the other day Naithin from time to loot posted about Asheron’s Call, a relatively old MMORPG that looked quite interesting and I ended up signing up for it on a private server (it seems) with a nice community. Welcome to Late to the Party #2! This time, it’s about a game that came out in ’99, just like me. 🙂

Look at this friendly fellow! The friendly Lich (or rather Undead) from next-door! 🙂

So, in Asheron’s Call, you basically roam the world of Auberean but you’re only roaming the continent of Dereth which spans around 1000 km². It’s a lovely world that looks quite old-school-ish, I guess, but then again, it is old-school and I’m just a youngster. You create a character at the beginning by selecting one of several heritages and by setting up your “class”, gender, face, body, and skills. What’s interesting is the fact that you don’t have traditional classes but have to use points to invest them into different Attributes:
Primary attributes:
Strength (Muscular power – melee combat damage and carrying
capacity)
Endurance (Healthiness – affects Health and Stamina)
Coordination (Character reflexes – no idea what it does but my mage
has no need for it anyway)
Quickness (Agility, I guess – it basically determines how fast you run
and attack in combat)
Focus (Ability Power – the more focus, the better you perform at magic
and other mental skills)
Self (Willpower – affects your mana)

As for points, I went for a Battle Mage (as Naithin, a pro at AC, recommended it to me), using 10/100/10/10/100/100 for my primary attributes – or rather a side recommends that but I put fewer points into Endurance and more into Strength so that I can carry more items.

The Secondary attributes, Health, Stamina, Mana, can be increased later on, manually, with experience points.

I’m sexy and I know it. – I mean, I’m quite hot, right? Like, literally on fire.

My Battle Mage specializes in War and Life Magic. War Magic is my damage, basically, while Life Magic is used to buff myself. There’s a way to basically create infinite mana. When I’m low on mana and health, I just heal myself, then use “Stamina to Mana IV” to convert half my Stamina to Mana, then I use a bit of my Mana to cast “Revitalize Self IV”, leading to me gaining more Stamina again. After that, I cast “Stamina to Mana IV” again, gaining nearly full Mana back at the cost of Stamina which regenerates automatically. Afterwards, I use “Revitalize Self IV” again and got more Stamina again and only am at 212/220 Mana again (basically full). This is made possible due to my Mana Conversion-Skill that makes my spells more efficient and lets me use them while using less Mana. “Revitalize Self IV” replenishes my Stamina by quite a lot while costing me 30 Mana but with Mana-Conversion, I’m gaining more Stamina but lose less Mana, leading to me having basically infinite amounts of Mana.

Even as an Undead Mage, I’m still welcome in Holtburg!

I really like “strategies” like this (though I’d consider it an exploit, even though the server-admin told me that it’s meant to be this way).
Speaking of the server-admin, spigot, he’s quite a friendly guy. I talked to a few people on the server yesterday and they all are really cool and quite friendly, even when I’m a complete newbie to the game. It was interesting to see them engage with me even though I’m a complete noob. They brought me to different dungeons where I was able to kill enemies while still gaining a considerable amount of experience points without dying. To prevent me from dying, they also used buffing-spells on me, making me quite resilient! It was really enjoyable to grind those small dungeons while talking to all these guys on their discord server.

If you’d like to join Naithin and me on that server, I’ve linked Naithin’s post above and will link the Reddit-post here as well, though it’s also linked on Naithin’s post. I highly recommend reading Naithin’s post as it’s well written, as always, and quite fun to read 🙂

I soon will post again about this game as I highly enjoyed it and as there’s a lot more to discover about it but for the time being I’ll leave it here since I’m running low on time… I’ve only levelled to Level 26, so far, and I’m nowhere near the level I’d like to be at! 🙂 But yeah, there’s more to come soon! The next few posts being about my journey for the fishing rod, cow tipping and other fun things I did. 😀

Have a nice day! 🙂

Atayot!

Late to the Party #1 – The Witcher 1

Today I’m introducing “Late to the Party”, a series of posts about games that I only just played although everyone already knows them or about games that I’ve purchased quite a while ago but never played – until now.

Note: This isn’t a review! I’m only giving my first impressions on the first few hours I played. I may explain stuff in a rather sloppy and informal way, I may rant about features I didn’t like, I may praise certain aspects that I enjoyed, but since it’s only about my first impressions of the game this isn’t a full review of the game!

Anyways, today’s post is about the first game of the Witcher series. Everybody knows about the Witcher-series! There are novels about it (or rather the games is based on the novels), there are three games and there’s also a Netflix adaptation but I myself have never played the Witcher myself nor have I watched any videos or read anything about it, until now. So, today I’m going to give you my thoughts about it after playing the first game for a few hours.

The Witcher tells you the story of Geralt from Rivia, a witcher who’s tasked with curing a princess that has been cursed and transformed into a monster. After being gravely wounded in that fight, five years pass and the Witcher returns! More or less. You basically lost your memories and are rescued by some other Witchers who then get attacked by bandits, a monster and a mage. Interesting. Before I continue with this post, I should mention (for those under you that are also late to the party) that a Witcher is some kind of genetically-enhanced warrior trained to slay monsters. I think Witchers are also able to use special potions and stuff to enhance their abilities but I didn’t really get to that point yet. At least something like that is hinted at in the skill tree and shown in the intro.

Anyways, after getting attacked you need to pick up your sword. You now will have to fight your way through some bandits. To do that you click on them, just like you’d do in Fable…. or so I thought, but by clicking the left mouse button more than once you’re not lining up attacks or something that can be cancelled by rolling or some mechanic like that – No! You’re basically cancelling the attacks you queued up right after queueing them up.

The combat is really clunky, in my opinion, as you need to attack a target, wait for the attack to be done, then click again right at the moment when the sword-cursor is in flames and then you queue up your second attack, making it more powerful. By doing so, you can fight using combos and finish off some enemies in a low amount of hits because of crits and stuff, however, the tutorial signs don’t tell you that immediately but only after you’ve gone ahead a few steps to the next parts.

After that hurdle, you’re encountering agile bandits that you need to fight in a different stance. Before that, I was wondering why Geralt was holding his sword so weirdly but now I understood that I need to hold it differently against strong, slow enemies (strong-stance – Y) in contrast to agile enemies (fast-stance – X) or groups of lower enemies (group stance – C).

Find the sword! Should be laying around somewhere here..right? Took me four minutes to find, new record!

It’s a weird concept, especially since changing weapons and changing stances sometimes doesn’t really work in the heat of the moment, meaning that you need to pause the game using the spacebar, then you change your weapon or stance and then you unpause the game. I really don’t like the combat so far and hope that it changes with time. Having no jump-button and pausing the game with space is annoying me quite a lot. You can’t run up a hill and you can’t jump. It’s weird. I don’t like that.

Then some NPC dies but since I only just got to know him, I couldn’t really care less about that character, so I not only sleep with Tiss by accident acquiring a “romance card” but also skipped the funeral. I didn’t know that romance was even possible in this series but I just clicked on a dialogue option and whoops! Suddenly we had sex. I then acquire that aforementioned romance card, a trophy of some sort that you can collect in the game. I have mixed feelings about this feature. While I do like romance in video games, I don’t like the fact that you get to brag about it with a trophy or rather: I don’t like the fact that women in this game can be conquered as trophies but since I like collectables and since I’m into shipping people in games, I like, I’ll go with the flow and still collect these romance cards.

“Then some NPC died, […] suddenly we had sex. […] And then I skipped the funeral.”

me. Don’t quote me on that.

After that, the actual story begins with Chapter 1 where the outskirts of Vizima are plagued by hellhounds. You receive some quests and while the quest system isn’t bad, it’s not really good, either. I couldn’t really spot the difference between the side and main quests. This may lead to me pressing forward and missing out on gold, experience, items or more romance cards (still not sure about those) which would suck, in my opinion. Sometimes there’re quests that can’t be done after you proceed with the main quests, so I wasn’t sure about what quests to do and which not. When you hear rumours, you get a quest. When you check the board, you get a quest. When you talk to NPCs, you get a quest.

There’s a quest for everything. Slaying monsters, collecting herbs, escorting NPCs. Those NPCs also tend to be very slow and even die although you already are fighting the monsters attacking them. Sometimes NPCs die, so you can’t get their quest leading to me reloading the save again. It’s just a hassle. I guess you could pay attention to the story and then find out which quests are important and which aren’t. It’s not that the story doesn’t interest me because, psyche, it does! It’s just that you sometimes click by accident and suddenly miss out on a dialogue or a cutscene. The game is an asshole sometimes when that happens.

Meditate at firepaces to level skills or pass time and heal.

Onwards to other things I noticed: The skill-system is kinda good. You get to chose between certain aspects of the game and can skill whatever you want..but then again there’re bronze, silver and gold points that you can put into different skills that need those certain points. I feel like it’d be better if there were just one type of points to put into skills so that you could choose what to get. Better skills would cost more points to get.

As for the presentation, it’s a good game. It captures the dark-medieval-fantasy quite well, presents you with a decent amount of enemies in the beginning and there’s a small little monkey every now and then following you around. Quite adorable. The music’s alright but nothing too spectacular and it changes depending on weather, time, location-safety, buildings and other factors which I liked quite a lot. In the tavern, it’s rather lively, outside people hate you for some reason. There’re also different races among the NPCs like elves, dwarfs and other kinds of not-humans. Apparently, there’re also other factions that you can join to achieve one of three endings, I’ve heard. You either join the Order of the Flaming Rose or you join the Scoia’tael. They basically fight each other. The other option you have is staying neutral and not joining either.

Super adorable little monkey following me around! Awww!

As for the gameplay, I liked most of the game. I enjoyed roaming around an unknown world, getting to know new NPCs and crafting potions using alchemy and that kind of stuff. Alchemy is a major part of the game, so you need to collect ingredients and herbs on your journey and brew them into potions that aid you in battle or help other people in the game. I liked that feature a lot, although I’m not sure if it makes up for the fact that the combat system really sucks.

So far, I’d say that the game has good sides to it and some bad points, of course. I had quite a lot of fun actually and will play more eventually. It’s only the first game, so I definitely will take a look at the second game since combat apparently has improved in that one.
I can see myself becoming a fan of the series if the combat becomes less clunky. Right now I’m only in it for the alchemy, the dark-fantasy-RPG-world and some characters there..

Oh well..

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.