Random Rambling

A new love.

Have you ever fallen in love? Of course you did, what a silly question. Now you may be thinking that by love I am referring to love at first sight, just like when I was younger, time and time again I’d fall in love for the slightest moment of affection given to me by a girl. Sometimes there was even no need for that. A simple glance in the right angle and boom! Roses and butterflies were spat from my mouth and a small ache would then nest itself behind my own heart. What a naïve and silly boy I was.

There are in fact, another types of love that may arise as well, even on that same time period. A hobby, a sport, a series of books or movies and even a game. In this particular case that will be elaborated just below I will talk about a game, a video game actually. It isn’t the first time that I have fallen in love with a video game although those times could be counted by the fingers of one single hand, I didn’t write about those because they all happened long before I started writing, half of those titles’ flames diminished a lot while the remaining were extinguished entirely.

By falling in love I mean the eagerness to interact or to be in the presence of someone or something. Your thoughts are constantly directed towards the source of that eagerness for a few days until this obsession wanes partially or totally, at least that’s what I think it happens with me. So with this in mind, I had to write something about this unexpected love of mine before it fades away.

Keep in mind that what is about to follow isn’t a review despite its clear similarities to one. Not that the game needs one now anyway, it was already chosen as game of the year 2015 as far as I know. On yet another note, I will refrain myself from other references in order to stay on topic. Now without further a due, let me unload everything that has led me to love this game for the past few days.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Before playing the third game of this series I had already played for some time the first instalment so I knew beforehand more or less what the story was about in a way that I wouldn’t be confused as to what was going on. In the Witcher series, you play as a male character called Geralt of Rivia, a witcher just like the name of the games. You are probably trying to deduct what exactly a witcher is by its word but if you thought like I did before then you will understand that its meaning is very different from what the word seems to tell. A witcher is normally a male human who had undergone several trials and experiments to achieve a given level in strength and agility. They have enhanced senses and reflexes in order to fight and ultimately kill every kind of monster that inhabits their world.

Set in a medieval fantasy world, if you happen to have a werewolf roaming around your village, a wraith haunting the barn or even drowners in the nearby river then you should probably get a witcher to do the job that you cannot accomplish. They don’t work for free however, so you better have a purse filled with coin as payment. The world itself has a very strong influence of Slavic, Celtic, Germanic and Nordic mythology which provides a wide variety of content to be spread throughout the several villages you come across in the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

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Slay the griffin

Without spoiling the story too much, this third title of the series begins with Geralt and Vesemir, the latter is known to be the oldest witcher alive, travelling throughout a former battlefield, tracking traces of a woman called Yennefer. They were led to a village called White Orchard. Without any further hints on how to find Yennefer both of them decide to stick around the village’s inn and ask the populace about the raven haired woman. And so the playable story begins.

Perhaps you are somewhat unfamiliar about this kind of game. It is a RPG sure, but it has something that only a few other titles possess. You, the player, are in charge of choosing the lines and actions of Geralt throughout the most of the story, creating a series of events that will have impact in the present and in the future as well. Actions will have reactions and sometimes dire consequences as well as I’d soon discover while playing this game. I forgot to tell in the beginning but let me tell you something right now. This game is absolutely gorgeous. It was worth the money I invested on the desktop which I bought in the past month, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play this visually stunning game. From the characters’ details to the objects found in rooms and tables in houses, inns and castles, to the natural environment itself, filled with foliage, trees and high mountains. The villages always have constant movement within them, farmers tilling the land, collecting fruit. Blacksmiths hammering their latest piece of equipment, merchants announcing their goods to whoever passes by them and even a person in need of the witcher’s help. An immersion so vast is created right at the beginning, it is hard not to be swollen by it right away.

The time is always going forward as well, allied with a fabulous weather system, there are calm nights as well as stormy mornings in the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. When the wind blows hard, the trees follow its direction, almost taking flight with it. In the rain, countless drops of water pass by you, following the same direction of the wind if there is any of course. But what I really love the most, is the sunrise and sunset. Setting the beginning or end of the day by casting its light in an angle, that in the middle of the woods creates a dance between several lights and shadows.

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The sun shines atop a village in the mountain
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A strange mist begins to extend itself over the beacon’s peninsula

Now about the sound. I must say that it really goes into your mind and stays there for a while, repeating itself. The instruments and rhythm that they set you at a tavern for example are completely different from the ones that are played in a battle or during a conversation. In some of the music there are these chants sang by one or more women to which I utterly adore, they bring so much joy to the current atmosphere of battle that I feel like picking up my lightsaber (the closest thing I have to a sword) and swing it around a few times, impersonating Geralt in one of his fights.

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The usual mood in a tavern

On a second note about the sound, I must say that the voice acting and the kind of English that is spoken is just completely outstanding from anything I have so far experienced. What an amazing performance. Somehow I managed to figure what most of the words meant due to the context in which they were used. There is also a large use of high quality sarcasm, flirting, insults and jokes that to me, are awesomely performed by the voice actors and the animations of the characters which they gave their voice to.

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The night engulfs the day bringing new visual elements into play

And finally I get the opportunity to talk about the plot. The amount of characters that this game has is just absurd. And I have only played around twenty percent of the secondary quests. It is so fascinating to see and hear that they are all so different from each other, some more than others due to the depth of the quest line in which you are involved. The acting is amazing and the amount of backstabbing mischief due to reasons so diversified from one another, that I won’t even bother to enumerate them since it is a long list, is just too damn high! And I cheerfully welcome it with open arms. Oh well I’ll talk about a couple anyway so that you get an idea. Did I already told you that I love this game?! /hystericalteenscream

Through love, may appear a pair of mages trying to flee the witch hunters of Novigrad (do not mistake these by witchers) or a couple from which the man could not defend his beloved from an assault of angry peasants, leaving her dead body behind atop an old tower with her spirit still gazing down the cursed island through the cracks and windows of the former noble structure.

The story happens when the empire of Nilfgaard from the South is at a stalemate against the kingdom of Redania but still very close to victory. There are zones completely torn apart by war either directly or indirectly, causing a flood of refugees to the north, in the hopes of avoiding starvation, sickness and murder, either by the warring factions, bandits or monsters. Geralt tries to stay impartial in the war without taking sides, but as I played throughout the game it proved extremely difficult to not to cleave in half any of the sides when it came to my choice. So I left a trail of Redanian bodies on one side and yet another trail Nilfgaardian corpses on the other, what can I do about it? Wouldn’t surely give up from the lives of my precious friends when they were in need!

There was also a very important country that had its king assassinated. Nemeria fell to Redania and Nilfgaard, both seizing its land and extending their borders upon the fallen kingdom. There are a lot of Nemerian patriots, some of them misguided to create trouble against people who just want to earn their share in life as well as a Nemerian guerrilla, composed of former soldiers of the army who participate skirmishes against the occupiers.

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A map created before the fall of Temeria

Of course that there are a lot more types of quests and characters that appear in the game, provenient from diverse backgrounds and normally involving different types of monstrosities that hunt around villages, curses and hauntings. As well as shady deals with bandits or to simply intimidate someone who is just pestering other people and a lot more that I am still missing to complete. All of that while staying outside of the main objective of the game which is to find Ciri, a girl that Geralt treated as his daughter before disappearing without a trace. Finding Ciri will prove to be no easy task, since half of the main story line is about tracing Ciri’s whereabouts, drawing Geralt across several places chasing leads about her and doing practically any kind of job just to get the information he seeks.

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Ciri as Geralt remembered her some years ago

About the combat I must say that it took me a while to get accustomed to it. I don’t think there is much depth to it but that is compensated by the strategy that you must employ against the various monsters and different kinds of humans. By different kinds of humans I mean the different weapons that they hold. Some use swords or axes, others use two handed weapons which are impossible to parry and some others even use a sword and a shield in which you have to circle them around or tire them down so that they can yield the shield. The witchers also possess some magic affinity that they can use with a simple gesture of their hands and some concentration along with it. Although the magic they use is quite simple, it may prove powerful when used in the right circumstances. In this game Geralt can use five different signs, they are Axii, Yrden, Igni, Quen and Aard.

  1. Axii may be used to confuse enemies in combat or leave them open to your suggestion during conversation, perfectly fit to cheat your way through a stubborn thug or hard deal.
  2. Yrden is somewhat of a magical barrier, which slows enemies who enter it as well as trapping the corporeal forms of wraiths and ghosts on your realm so that they are not able to escape your attacks.
  3. Igni is quite easy to deduct its effect from its name. When using Igni, you unleash a cone of flames in the desired direction, leaving your enemies already half cooked to be served in some grotesque barbecue.
  4. Quen is a magical shield that surrounds Geralt’s body and absorbs physical damage. Once the damage exceeds the amount it can withstand, the shield will shatter pretty much like glass.
  5. And finally there is Aard. With it, you send a wave of kinetic energy, pushing enemies backwards or even knocking them back, excellent when they are just too many and you need to scatter them first before starting to cut them down one by one.

You also have access to a talent tree where you can develop your Signs and physical prowess. In the combat tree you get the opportunity to learn some new combos that bring some fresh air to the combat once you get used to it.

There is only one more aspect of the game that I wish to speak of. Perhaps you have already seen in a movie or in a television series a turbulent romance between a man and a woman that is put to the test in the most odd of conditions. When I’m watching something like that I tend to either support or not support their relationship tending in consideration a lot of variables. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you actually carve your own path into the heart of two (that I know of) sorceresses, the kind Triss Merigold and the pragmatic manipulator, Yennefer of Vengerberg.

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Triss in the left and Yennefer in the right

While Geralt may have encounters with other females, these are the ones he can actually form a relationship in the game. And how hard it is to actually choose one of them. In fact, since I was going to play the first titles, I chose to love them both and in my greed to have the two of them or simply because I’m an indecisive prick who thinks polygamy should be allowed in The Witcher 3, I ended up with neither of them at the end of the original game. Now there is a lot that I don’t know from the previous games but one thing I can tell you for sure, for someone who is sterile and was ripped of his emotions through the witcher transformation process, Geralt is indeed a very popular man with the ladies. Sorceresses especially. While you’re playing through the story, you will be able to do some favors to them and there will be a time where circumstances will lead you to flirt with them and vice-versa. Ultimately their story lines will culminate in the moment where you may choose to declare your love for them, in two of the most breathtaking moments I have ever seen in a videogame. The story brings you so much close to them when you have to choose what you say instead of it being driven towards one or the other. It really feels like you are impersonating the witcher, Geralt of Rivia.

Now that I have gone through the main story, there is also an expansion to this third installment of The Witcher, with another romance option but I will leave that for later. Once I play the previous titles and have them totally completed I will come back to this tittle with the consequences of my choices done on The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings games.

It was good to talk about this love of mine. I think it was the first time I have talked about something I like in such depth. I hope you have enjoyed to read these blocks of texts and I hope you continue to follow what I write around here.

See you next time!

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