I'm a floundering writer who would love nothing more than to actually be paid one day for something I create. I know, it sounds incredibly brutal and honest, but I'm getting old and tired. I love video games and sleeping.
Sometimes I stare into the abyss of youtube videos and weep internally as a smile creeps its way into my face, a hollow mimicry of what happiness is.
Alright fellas and felines, I gotta be Spongebob Square with you. I really wanted to write this amazing blog that explained in detail what I thought of StarCraft II, which I recently acquired after Amazon betrayed Blizzardís profit masters and allowed it to go on sale for 20 bucks per campaign and I just couldnít do it. I wanted to start off by calling all of you voracious velociraptors. I wanted to go into detail and end with some truly ghastly jokes that would have you waking up in the middle of the night screaming as you look down at your palms and realize youíve been eating giant globs of Laffy Taffy and your hands have become riddled with cryptic jokes with no solution.
Why did the rodent bite off its own tail? Why did the Blistering Banshee swoon when she saw Christís Wounds? Who did the Crane Operator steal in the night? Are these really printed on Laffy Taffy wrappers? What have you done? Do you realize how many people might have been hurt while you were blissfully unaware of your sleep eating rampage? What if itís already on YouTube?
Instead of writing such a detailed blog, Iím just going to go all over the place with little aim, lazy writing capability that a mongoose with a human thumb mutation could hammer out, and only a vague idea of when I want it to end, with the subject being loosely based on (cough, Warhammer 40k, ahem) StarCraft II. I know Iím incredibly late on the zergling train to terran sticker yum yum town, but I had been deeply embroiled in the sweet siren song of MMOís and the rocky crags of other, more distant and mysterious games when Wings of Liberty landed in the industryís mineral line, ready to be harvested by consumer units.
Letís be honest with each other, StarCraft II is about as different from the original as a middle-aged suburban wife who decided to get a tit job: itís the same chassis with greater emphasis in an area that people tend to look at most. So I decided to hold off on it until now. The graphics have improved, there are a few new units, and (cough, Commander Shepard, cough) Jim Raynor is on the (hhrmm, Normandy, ech) Hyperion sulking around and asking people about upgrades while he stares into oblivion and punishes his liver for living in his body.
Iím not really a StarCraft veteran since the last time I played the game was over a decade ago and I probably stepped on the ladder once, shrugged, and put it away so I could play on more custom maps and over a 56K connection with my friend. To those of you who donít know, the 56K modem was an electrisitcal device that bled out your phone line until you ripped it out of the jack, where it would begin screaming in awful, prehistoric tones because you interrupted its feasting. Sometimes it was too difficult to remove the 56k modem from its grip on the phone line, and entire companies went bankrupt as data was sucked up by the megabytes. You also had to move. That was the 56k modemís house now.
So despite not really having played StarCraft like a hardcore gamehound who just took an APM increasing vigor, I still decided to play the WoL campaign on hard. I have already watched a lionís share worth of streams and I can wall in and do the creep spread all the way to expansionville, so I thought I had a handle on the game. For the most part I was right, and the sections aboard the Hyperion were entertaining and helped expand the universe in a positive direction. However, I wasnít prepared for half of the missions being on a timer, so I began to stress out as the game progressed.
For instance, thereís one part where a solar systemís sun decides to supernova and itís up to Raynorís Raiders to capture a fragment of (brrpp, the Scion, cough) a Protoss artifact as a giant wall of flame begins to burn up the planet. Iím sure if you would look at a pie chart of the writing regarding this particular chunk of WoL, the largest wedge would be fiction and the person eating the science portion would starve, but hey; video games. Another has you escorting Metal Gear Odin around a gauntlet of enemy bases in a ďready or not, here I comeĒ style scenario. So naturally, combining stuff like this with a ramped up difficulty means a lot of swearing and disbelief in game design choices.
Iím an adult now, and Iím not going to spend an entire weekend doing one mission and counting my progress by microseconds and sweat gland inflammation. I could be getting angry at a veritable mťlange of video games these days, so Iím not ashamed to admit that out of the 25 WoL missions I did, I must have looked at Youtube 3-5 times.† I just started the Heart of the Swarm petri dish of delight and while itís engrossing enough, I canít help but notice Blizzardís continued fascination with cannibalism, as one of the earlier missions has you fighting a WoW style raid encounter. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my experience with the single-player, and I donít regret spending time and money on it.
Multiplayeóyou have been defeated
When I was still awaiting the shipment of StarCraft II, I thought about what league I might get placed in. I decided that my goal would be to make it to Gold, and that I wouldnít be able to go any higher. I thought Iíd be able to eventually escape Bronze and languish a little in Silver before everything came to its conclusion. However, as I continued to watch streams, I realized that there was a lot to keep track of. I started reading up on the game. For instance, did you know that if you have an APM of 50, you might as well take up a position ringing the bells at Notre Dame? With one mission in WoL to go, I decided to do my first 5 placement matches to get into a ranked position. I had also done a few challenges and did my placement with AI opponents, so I thought I was ready.
The matchmaking then proceeded to put so many boots in my ass that by the time I was done, my chair had a perfect imprint of South Korea on it. I managed to lose 10 games in a row, and I had become so amused and forlorn at my poor performance that on my 11th game I managed to scramble together a win. You should see me in action. This is literally my first legitimate win. I canít undo this.
Iím currently 3-10 in the top 50 of my division in Bronze League. I am amongst the cadre of people who have been lied to. Chances are we will never end up winning 50% of our games like Blizzard stated. Chances are weíll never be able to pull off a multi-pronged attack while simultaneously expanding and eating lunch. Iíll keep you all updated if it bears mentioning.
The Sheen of Development
I would like to say that the polish on the game is incredible. Yes, the graphics arenít anything to write to Nvidia about, but Blizzard has always been more interested in making sure their games are accessible to the widest range of PCís available. Plus, thereís enough color and vibrancy to the art direction that itís easy to see past the first layer and plunge into the other details. Since an entire country has added this series into its mainstream culture, Blizzard took care to make StarCraft II into a font of improvement over the years. There are a lot of features to discuss, and Iím not going to. I still have bad jokes to share with you.
Iíll just mention my favorite one: all that wonderful information. They keep track of everything, even over the length of an entire season. I enjoy seeing whether or not Iíve improved in my APM or workers constructed, and the replay tool is fantastic as always. Iíve trusted Blizzard in that arena ever since I saw the constant updates to WarCraft IIIís replay utility. So all in all, Iím glad I finally got to experience StarCraft II. Now the question remains: how long will it hold my interest?
StarCraft II Joke Addendum
Why did the Ultralisk learn to love Marines? Because they helped remove a Thor from its side.
What do you call a thirsty zerg? A Dehydralisk.
Why did the Catholic Church excommunicate all the zerg? Because they believed in evolution.
Why did Jim Raynor gasp when he saw Sarah Kerrigan? Because he thought he saw a ghost.
What do you call a zealot who rips the wings off a probe? A psicopath.
Why did the marine cross the road? To try and get out of his chickenshit outfit.
Why do Stalkers lose staring contests? They always Blink first.
Who is the best Protoss singer? Billy Void Ray Cyrus.
Why did the drone leave its Hatchery? It wanted to Expand its horizons.
IRVINE, CA Ė Blizzard Entertainment has made a new minipet available for sale in the MMO World of WarCraft today, sources report. The company has a history of creating virtual companions for the purpose of raising funding for charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation or providing assistance in relief efforts during tragedies like Hurricane Sandy. Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo says this new pet is not an exception. ďOur playerbase has always clamored to our pet store to show their support for current events while using WoW as an incentive, so I'm proud to introduce the Cash Cow, a lovable pet that can be yours for $14.99 in the Blizzard Store.Ē
While previous purchases in the store only offered partial proceeds to the charities of the company's choosing, Rob Pardo allayed any fears of that happening this time. ďOne hundred percent of the Cash Cow's proceeds will go straight to Blizzard Entertainment so we can continue to release anemic, half-assed updates every four to six months.Ē
More details have emerged as to the reason for this decision. Tom Chilton, Lead Game Director, stated, ďWe never thought World of WarCraft would be this successful. However, to all good things must come an end. Our subscription numbers are down and to maintain our lavish profits we need to milk the remaining players for all the money we can possibly get our hands on.Ē
Over the past several months, Blizzard has introduced more virtual goods in the WoW store, such as an ever increasing cavalcade of premium mounts, account-bound cosmetic helmets that don't fit with any existing gear and various boosters that increase experience gain or chances at rare loot that will become outdated in the next patch. ďClearly this wasn't enough.Ē Tom Chilton continues, ďWe really think the Cash Cow will fix all of that. It's a really great item. I'm hoping everyone buys it!Ē
The Cash Cow appears as a bloated bovine creature that bleats weakly and has a particle effect of dollar signs shooting out of its massive, caved in anus. Sources confirm that it will assist in creating the revenue needed to keep the MMO's archaic, coal fed servers running. Despite a recent upgrade to better infrastructure, it was recently revealed that the new machines enabling WoW to function were imported from an abandoned warehouse in Chechnya.
An anonymous employee added, ďTricking people into thinking this isn't a sinking ship is really difficult. Instead of shutting down inactive servers, we've lumped them into a convoluted system where you share space with other low population realms which creates the illusion that everything is okay. It gets to be very expensive.Ē As a sign of continuing the trend, Rob Pardo added that this was just the beginning. ďWe're planning on further pets that continue to provide people with a lazy, cheap version of selflessness in the near future.Ē
Rumors have revealed that the next promotion may end up giving half of the proceeds to allow aid in the form of free WoW time to the war-ravaged population of Syria. Increased violence is expected as a direct result, due to the many Rift players currently fighting in the rebel forces embedded there.
Hello, my dear, good-looking and sultry readers. I know itís been a while since Iíve written anything and thatís because Iíve been on a self-imposed hiatus. My creativity said it would return after it picked up some smokes, but I havenít heard quip nor snark from that mysterious source for over an eon. (For the purposes of that last sentence, an eon means approximately one month.) Hereís the problem: Iím really lazy and unmotivated.
If my ambition could materialize as a worldly object, it would be an old galosh with a fat platypus inside, languidly rubbing itself and rolling its eyes as the clouds hover with despondence. As I previously mentioned, Destructoidís blogging community is amazing with a nitrous-oxide fuel mix, but I have about as much endurance as Lance Armstrong without the pharmaceutical enhancements. I know, I know. Iíve just kicked a man whoís already been down for so long that any reference including him has grown moss.
This blog entry is designed to get you up to speed with my exciting lifestyle and the mind-blowing adventures Iíve had since weíve last seen each other. Itís also a disclaimer that while I may intend to update this line of work on a regular basis, that pie is so high in the sky itís already synced its orbit with the International Space Station. Those astronauts havenít been able to get any work done due to its pleasant aroma and flaky crust. I do have some irons in the fire though, so youíll see more of me in the future...just more sporadically than I had anticipated. So, what have I been up to instead of writing?
Company of Snow-Techô 2
When I played the original Company of Heroes, I was enamored with a Dawn of War style RTS combined with a WWII setting. I loved the cinematic quality of the action so much that I began playing multiplayer for the sole purpose of obtaining a ton of epic replays that I could sit back and gaze upon from all sorts of different angles and viewpoints. Of course, they had to be matches that I had been victorious in, because Iím made up of silky swatches of splendiferous vanity. I donít feel bad about it, for what is this age of Instagram and Youtube, if not the ad-filled mirror that Narcissus fell in love with?
As a result of my replay admiration, when I heard about Company of Heroes 2, I was excited to get my hands on it. It is one of the few games Iíve pre-ordered, so sure was I that this would be an absolute delight. Alas, I share the fate of many Shakespearean characters, for Relic had descended in quality so hard that it blew past Icarus on their way to crater into the Earth.
When the open beta started, I was on board and raring to go. The multiplayer aspect was working very well and the demo single-player mission was interesting enough that I was pleased with the direction the series had gone. In fact, this very website gave Company of Heroes 2 a glowing trophy with the number 10 etched upon its golden base. The sequel lacked innovation, but it made up for this in mechanic polish, allowing troops to vault over fences and short walls, creating dangerous situations if a player decided to mix armored vehicles, explosives and ice, and even introducing blizzards, creating freezing hazards for your infantry.
Unfortunately, during the beta SLI wasnít available. Nvidia had yet to release a game-ready driver for the game. At the time, my rig relied on having two GPUís handling a new game in order to play it on medium-high settings. I thought, ďItís no big deal. This is just the beta. Theyíll have SLI up before release.Ē I was wrong, dear reader. So very wrong.
Company of Heroes 2 never received SLI or Crossfire support. It never received an official Nvidia driver to optimize it. Benchmarks were so scathing, not even the mighty Thor of graphics cards, the GTX Titan, could run the game on maximum settings at 60 FPS. It had to struggle with around 45. When a blizzard hit during a match, it would melt the CPU and scorch whatever GPU was unlucky enough to render this fresh new visual hell.
Even after the particle effects quality was reduced, the blistering snow was still powerful enough to humble everything from an average gaming PC to the greatest PC NASA can currently afford on its withering budget. Maybe Iím being overly sensitive, but I could swear Iíve seen framerate drops during official trailers showcasing new Theatre of War DLC.
As a result of all this, I was forced to play Company of Heroes 2 on the muddiest possible settings. Speaking of settings, the options menu is only marginally better than a standard PC port, which is strange, considering weíre talking about a PC exclusive game. For instance, one setting controls shadow, terrain, and particle quality, perhaps even more. I donít actually know, since the tooltip describes the setting along the lines of ďenables advanced features such as shadows to make the game look better.Ē
The tooltips in CoH 2 arenít even properly optimized. It couldnít give less of a fuck if it became self-aware and wrote itself. Oh, this setting has shadow quality in it. Awesome. I guess I can figure out the rest because itís fun. Also, FXAA is considered a ďlowĒ anti-aliasing option, making you feel like Halfling for choosing it. There are some methods of further tweaking using the .ini files, but theyíre set in such a cryptic fashion, youíll need to endure several trials in error before you cry out in frustration because youíre not TotalBiscuit and you have to use affordable PC hardware.
On the technical side of things, itís best to describe Company of Heroes 2 as a ritzy bar. Youíve just had your second martini. Thereís a lady in a red dress and sheís winking at you, succulently licking her lips and twirling her hair. She beckons you toward her. Flush with excitement you walk towards this sexy dame. Closer still you approach and as you sit down next to her and get a good look at her face, you realize sheís an albatross in a dress. The bar youíre in is a condemned mannequin factory. The bartender is wearing a GAP polo.
Yet, despite all the vitriol Iíve spilled over this game, and this is the damndest thing, I just canít stop playing it. Mechanically speaking, the game is still well done. Close matches can bring chaos and excitement as the map becomes gradually more destroyed. Buildings collapse, craters dot the landscape and tank carcasses line the front as a progress bar on just how explosive things have become.
It certainly helps that Iíve got a war partner that Iíve been playing with for several months. In fact, like I told him, I probably wouldnít be playing this game anymore if he was done with it. Thereís just something really fun about jumping into Skype, strategizing on the fly, and enduring the highs and lows of an RNG system that dictates whether a full squad of infantry survives a mortar shell or becomes a Whitmanís sampler of assorted limbs and body parts.
Streamers In the Shadows
The game is also more tolerable because Iíve upgraded my PC. I still went with an SLI system because I feel that most developers donít want to commit themselves to hara-kiri design philosophies. Hereís the punch line though: I still canít play CoH 2 on everything maxed out. Sometimes I dip below 60 FPS if I like having my ďimage qualityĒ at high. †Yet, the additional horsepower has allowed me to enjoy watching replays again. Itís allowed me to look at those fantastic battles with enough fidelity that I feel entertained.
Of course, when Iím playing the game in real-time itís always a mixture of stress and dread, but Iím pretty sure the only people who donít feel that playing an RTS are currently employing 250 APM on a sponsored keyboard. Nonetheless, Iíve even started streaming CoH 2 (and a smattering of other games) because I play it so often. The community for Company of Heroes is small, but extremely dedicated. Their primary fan site is so steadfast, it actually released ladder rankings for people to examine before the developer did. I guess some of that enthusiasm piqued my interest enough to participate.
I wonít advertise my twitch channel here, donít worry. Itís not much to look at. Though this brings me to the second aspect of why I havenít been writing much, and this one is 100% positive: Nvidiaís Shadowplay. Man, am I enamored with this software. Twitch streaming is just a click and a log-in away, and you can record 20 minute gameplay clips that are supposedly very easy to upload onto Youtube. (Iíve only been using the twitch feature since you can highlight/upload your streams, so I havenít personally tried this.)
Yes, I know. I havenít gotten with the times. Prior to Shadowplay, I had a lot of difficulty doing stuff that other people manage with lackadaisical ease. So for me, Nvidia hit it out of the park. Of course, there was also the Steam holiday sale. Iíve added that as an afterthought because this article has already reached critical mass. (Iím sorry.)
So yes, these are the main activities that have occupied my time since writing my previous blog in late December. Company of Heroes 2 and Twitch streaming.
Hello everyone. Today I'm writing something a little different. Itís Christmas Eve, so you have more important things to do than read the ramblings of a madman; I promise I'll make this short and sweet. When I became a member of Destructoid not too long ago, I came in guns blazing without giving a formal introduction or reason for hopping on board. Despite this, the community welcomed me with open arms, and I appreciate that.
In the coming months, I hope to expand my blog with further articles that will either amuse or confound you. Perhaps you'll experience a frustrating mix of both, causing you to do a spit take on your monitor. In your anger you'll glance down at a strange object, glinting as beams of sunlight hit the floor. Gasping, you realize you've found the last piece of the Scion. Ms. Natla will be pleased. With this entry in particular, I will take the opportunity to show my gratitude.
To the staff:
Whether you're a contributor pumping out content or a moderator ensuring no discussion becomes a verbo-nuclear war, you are the front line in creating a warm atmosphere where a community can thrive. Thank you for working hard and continuing to inform us throughout the many years. Destructoid is one of the few gaming websites I visit on a regular basis. It is also the only site I've ever seen that used an image of Sonic and Zelda having sex as a header for an article. Your dedication for irreverence is wonderful.
To the bloggers:
Destructoid is a cosmic petri dish of thoughtful, provocative articles, rants, reviews, and memories. There are new blogs popping up every single day, and these individuals take care to create something worth reading and appreciating. I salute all the people who take time out of their busy day to accentuate their opinions and share their personal feelings on the issues we enjoy disseminating.
Destructoid's front page promotions allow the best blogs to enter the stratosphere of official articles, which is a motivator that breeds a future lineage of writers who put energy and love into their work. The cherry on top is the Cblog feature. These individuals recap the blogs of the day and their passion is immensely valued. This ensures that no blog is ever cast aside by the tide of time.
To the commenters:
Commenters add life and depth to the community. Without their input, even the best article would be a lonely and desolate place. Commenters are the most active part of Destructoid's ecosystem, and they provide additional information, witty one-liners we can all enjoy, and the variety that spices this place up.
To the silent readers:
The Gordon Freeman of the Destructoid cadre of protagonists. I used to be a part of this group for years. They never speak, they never create an account, yet they're always reading. Watching. Waiting. The infinitesimal matter of the Destructoid universe, the reader deserves the same acclaim as anyone else, for without them, what good is any of this?
Once again, thank you for the kind reception. Destructoid is an awesome website with an amazing community of people. Merry Christmas. Let's all make 2014 a great year.
As none of you will know, I possess a time machine I use to frequent the future for the singular purpose of playing brand new products before they release in the primary timeline. As a result, I have immense knowledge of future gaming industry events and I've decided to share with you a review of Witcher 3.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
Geralt's journey ends with the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but the final hurrah is CD Projekt Red's most ambitious endeavor to date. While the previous Witcher games have had their fair share of criticisms and issues, I can safely proclaim that everything they've ever done has coalesced into the greatest open world RPG you will ever get your hands on. Geralt will ride off into the sunset with treatment deserving of a famous monster slayer. While not everyone will be on board for the whole experience, you'll be doing yourself a disservice by not imbibing in this sweet alchemic mix.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC) Developer: CD Projekt Red Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Release Date: June 14, 2014 MSRP: $60 Rig: †Intel i7-5370k 4.66 GHz, 16GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 840 GPU (SLI)
The game starts off with an incredible set piece where Geralt is fighting the riders of the Wild Hunt, and from the very beginning the player understands just how dangerous these otherworldly elven masters of war can be. Contrary to previous entries of the Witcher series, Geralt has his full gamut of abilities at his disposal and the risky caveat of this benefit is that as the game progresses, he slowly loses his fighting ability. The Wild Hunt general, Darvanish Tornfold, curses Geralt with powerful magic that not even his most stalwart companions can do anything about. What this creates is an RPG experience unlike anything that's been seen since Zelda: Majora's Mask.
The player has a limited amount of time (72 hours) to stop the Wild Huntsman from achieving their nefarious goals before Geralt succumbs to the spell put under him. Have no fear, because the rumors were true: there is over 140 hours of content overall to quest and slash your way through. Once the main storyline is complete, you can explore the rest of Temeria with all of your powerful signs and impressive swordsmanship back in service.
Newcomers to this series may feel a little out of depth, since the game continues after the previous installments had already established many characters and concepts core to the storyline. Nonetheless, sensing that this may steer people away from the Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red made sure to ease players into the lore of the game by offering quick comic style cutscenes similar to those in Assassins of Kings and plenty of background journal entries for those that have a penchant for reading. It may be prudent to thumb through some of those entries, since a lot of characters absent from the series since the first Witcher make their second debut to tie off the tale. As for the manner in which Geralt weaves about the people within the world of Temeria, it is nothing short of breathtaking.
When Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released, the development team experimented with creating scenarios that would change based on the type of response you select, akin to Mass Effect's paragon/renegade interrupt system. This boiled down to Geralt choosing to intimidate, charm, or Jedi mind trick a target into a favorable outcome. Most of the time, whatever occurred had no real effect, and in rare cases a quest would fail. However, in Witcher 3, the way you utilize your abilities in conversation make such an impact, that the ending with several characters will change drastically based on how you've treated the people Geralt interacts with. The conversation system is deeper than previous installments, so be prepared to experiment with numerous methods in dealing with the NPC's inhabiting this visually stunning world.
Speaking of visuals, this game is drop dead gorgeous. With proper driver support and several high-end graphics options, those of you who have invested in a beastly gaming rig will be opulently rewarded. Even my 800 series GTX was sweating during some of the scenes and vistas you can visit during your stay in Temeria. SLI is a must if you're going to utilize PhysX, which creates the most realistic cloth physics I've ever seen. Let's just say I stalked many a caped individual until they became so distraught, they panicked, and I had to hunt them down, kill them, hide the body, and hope no guards were alerted. During this time, their cape continued to woefully sway in the dying wind. Shh. Don't let anyone know.
As for the combat, it's night and day when compared to Witcher 2. The previous game started with challenging circumstances that gave way to such an easy breeze after a few levels, I wondered if the only attacks every soldier I squared off with amounted to wet farts and overconfident dialogue. With Witcher 3, Geralt is a lean mean slaying machine at the outset, and based on how fast you can get to the ending, the situations become more calamitous.
There is one scene towards the end of the game in particular that strikes a poignant chord with me. Geralt can barely raise his sword. An old man is blocking the door to a burning house he must enter. The combat begins. The old man raises his walking stick and overpowers the Witcher as sad violin music plays against a wistful backdrop of depressed, shit-covered villagers and a pigsmith hammering new hooves on a farm animal. To think that CD Projekt Red was able to create such drama from such a simple scene is nothing short of mind-blowing.
To offset the fact that Geralt begins losing his capabilities throughout the main plotline, a surprising companion sees him through his journey. In a strange twist, Triss Merigold, Zoltan Chivay, and Dandelion take a backseat. Even the oft mentioned Yennefer takes second fiddle to the true sidekick of the famous monster slayer: his horse. Though the initial trailers didn't emphasize the role of your steed, he ends up being your greatest friend and ally. While the talent tree for Geralt is there to try and hold onto some of his waning power, the horse upgrade tree is full of utility, healing, and combat abilities. Never before has a game allowed you to custom tailor your horse this much.
The utility tree allows your steed to carry a shocking number of items, while the healing section teaches your friend the perfect ways in which to wrap a medicated bandage around the most grievous wounds. The combat tree culminates in your horse learning how to hold a knife in its mouth, and it will charge targeted enemies and just straight up stab them like a boss. Alchemy also makes a big comeback in the Wild Hunt; with the player no longer needing the now infamous level of clairvoyance to determine which potions should be consumed when.
Now Geralt has an audible internal monologue where he states helpful information such as "There's a troll under that bridge. I better drink some trollbane so I can rip those stupid wooden planks from his back and beat his ass till its sore." Or, "Nekkers are slinking around here. I better apply whatever oil is effective against Nekkers. I forgot. Fuck! Those goddamn Wild Huntsman have completely screwed me. There's nothing I can do. Maybe I should just...oh wait, itís oils that augment bleeding effects. Phew, that was close Geralt." The only problem with these monologues is that sometimes they're so long and winded, that the Witcher will frequently continue thinking them while fighting. It doesn't happen often though, so it can be overlooked.
Going back to the mount once more, it's important to note that he has amazing AI. Remember Assassinís Creed III? Every mount would follow you around as though you had wrist mounted sugar cube dispensers. They sometimes got in the way of you trying to interact with a quest NPC. In Witcher 3, your horse will always stay out of your way until called. It will peer at you from behind street corners or plop its ass down on a bench and gently neigh. In addition, based on how you play, the horse will react appropriately.
If Geralt has made too many bad decisions, your steed will go around biting small children and spitting on guards. If you make the correct moral choices, the horse will lick women and wink at passerby, exuding the confidence of a true stallion. †Even the monsters you slay are a gray area. In an early quest, Geralt must confront an evil unicorn named Horrihorn. If you decide to slay him, a village will be saved from further attacks, but if you spare him, he'll give you a bitching magic eye patch and then just fuck off. He does create a lot of orphans because you let him go, but hey. Bitching eye patch.
Lastly, while the story is fascinating and immersive, there are some discrepancies that should have been addressed. For instance, while the Wild Huntsman are ravaging every small hamlet and major city in the countryside, no one seems to care. Villagers continue to talk about politics whether their cottage is burning or not. The words on everyone's lips seem to regard the invading army of Nilfgard, instead of the armor clad ethereal elven specters waving blazing swords around. The game does end up addressing it when the Elven Master General stops his villainous speech mid-sentence, slumps his shoulders, and rides off to another township.
All in all, the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is a must have game. It's a highly polished product and the issues are so few, even the most cynical gamer will find something to love here. It's a hell of a ride. Don't miss it.
(Note: †I have played both the European and American releases of this game. Unfortunately, the American version has censored those hot undersea mermaids that come up during your travels in your horse-piloted boat. No aquatic tit makes an appearance. The American version compensates for this by adding a phallic sword to every mermaidís hand and giving them a frustrated expression. This is the price America must pay for prioritizing violence over sex.)
Final Fantasy VII HD Remake Announced in Alternate Universe †
JAPAN, EARTH 2 Ė EnixSoft CEO Matsuke Yosuda announced at a press conference yesterday that development was nearing completion on a Final Fantasy VII HD remake of 1997's hit JRPG after years of speculation and vocal support from fans. ďI am here to declare that the rumors were indeed true, and that the greatest RPG of all time is finally getting the treatment it deserves. We know this has been a long time coming, but we were always concerned with providing the utmost immersive and satisfying experience. I think you'll all agree that it was worth the wait.Ē A beaming Yosuda said to a room full of erupting cheers and applause.
Yosuda continued, saying ďThe HD remake will be available for both the PC and PS4 platforms in the first quarter of 2015. We're also very pleased to mention that the game features additional content that expands on the original game, fully orchestrated versions of the PS1 soundtrack and top notch Hollywood voice acting from premiere actors such as Samuel L. Jackson and Lindsay Lohan.Ē
Lohan, who reached critical acclaim alongside co-star George Clooney when she masterfully played a stranded astronaut blown off a space station in the blockbuster Gravity, will play the part of Aeris, arguably the game's central heroine and focal point. Samuel L. Jackson will voice the role of Barret, bombastic leader of AVALANCHE. ďNot only have we totally revamped the combat system and exceeded even our greatest expectations, we've ensured that the game will be fully optimized and capable of running at a full 1080p at 60 frames per second.Ē Fan reaction was nearly instantaneous, with one long time gamer, Micheal Vanderguard stating, ďI've waited so long for this to happen, I can't believe that day is finally here! What a perfect time for a remake, this is literally a dream come true.Ē
Another avid player of the original game, Suzy Leften remarked, ďI'm so excited that a whole new generation of gamers will experience what I did when I first played it back in '97. This couldn't have come at a better time.Ē †Gregory DeFanning, a prominent member of Enslavist Magazine, chimed in: ďEnixSoft could have just preyed on the fanbase by re-releasing the original version with no improvements whatsoever, but I knew that they wouldn't let us down like that.Ē
Asked why EnixSoft would remake their flagship RPG when the company is still making plenty of money and has several developers with new intellectual properties to flex, Yosuda responded, ďI think after so much outcry and desire to see this game remade, it would be cold-hearted and callous of us to ignore all this passion from our loyal customers. I mean, imagine if instead of remaking this game we just shocked people with a PS3 tech demo and after raising people's hopes ended up just dashing them on the rocks by a steady stream of silence.Ē
Yosuda continued, ďSome of our staff members suggested just continuing with the Final Fantasy series and enticing people to buy inferior products by shoving nostalgic pre-order incentives like FFVII costumes for completely unrelated characters. Can you believe how much of a cock tease that would be?Ē
After the conference ended, Jim Darling from Constructoid put it best:
ďI can't imagine a universe where Final Fantasy VII wasn't remade. EnixSoft really hit it out of the park.Ē