Busy, busy!

Jul. 6th, 2017 07:14 am
 This week is just flying over.  But being busy is ALWAYS good.  Next week is graduation week, so that'll be tiring, too, but in a happy way.  I love graduation so much.  It's one thing the University does really well.  People who have experienced it at other universities go on and on about how ours is the best.

The son is in hot water again, at work.  He's just never learned to pick his battles.  He always goes up against the equivalent of a granite mountain and there's only ever going to be one winner in THAT contest!  One day, hopefully, he'll learn...

The grandson enjoyed his 'taster' day at his new school and has already made some friends.  Although if the daughter's experience is anything to go by, he'll have nothing to do with them when he actually starts!  But at least there will be some familiar faces around the place, which is the point of the exercise.

The daughter has a temporary crown on her broken tooth - she goes back to the dentist tomorrow to get it sorted properly.

And that's me!
 So, the boss fight that I was convinced couldn't possibly be the FINAL boss fight because I still had so many quests to get through (based on my hazy memory of the quest list I looked at on line) turned out to actually be the final boss fight.  As such, the challenge level was about right, on reflection.  I mean, one of my complaints about FF final bosses is that they tend to be push-overs compared to some of the optional bosses.  One thing I can say about the final boss in W3:B&W is that he is definitely NOT a push-over.  I finally defeated him on the fourth(?) attempt, the one where I'd just realised I could SAVE with all my preparations (repairing weapons and armour, applying the right kind of oil, setting up my bombs) just before entering the fray.

And then I got the 'good' ending (at least, as far as I can tell, not having explored all the possibilities - but it all ended happily, which counts as 'good' in my book), so that made me happy.  And THEN there was some bonus happiness based, I assume, on how I played the main game.  I am now spending time working my way through the sizable list of sidequests that I didn't get around to for one reason or another.

So, my thoughts on Witcher 3...

The main game on 'super easy' was pretty straightforward combat-wise, which is just as well because I really didn't get my head around all the buttons and what they do.  Especially when play switches to Ciri.  For most battles, mashing [], with the odd Quen or Ignii worked fine.  The game is seriously beautiful to look at in all the different environments, and the people are just amazing.  The story is very satisfying and all of the characters add to it.  Ciri and Yen, in particular, are VERY well done.  Geralt took a bit more time for me to warm to - but I did warm to him.

My one real grumble is my main issue with 'modern' games.  You HAVE to do sidequests in order to level up and I found they distracted me from the main story.  This was compounded by the fact that W3 sidequests are all mini stories in their own right - which makes them more interesting but also more distracting.  Still, since every RPG requires you to level up, I'm glad that they made the levelling interesting and not just a grind.

The first DLC, Hearts of Stone also had an interesting story but a strangely unsatisfying ending.  A VERY nasty Big Bad.  I did pick up one sidequest but didn't follow it up.  There are others, so if I still have time after doing the ones I have, I shall visit the notice boards.  The part of the story that involved the lecherous ghost was hilarious.  Definitely made the whole thing worth while.

The second DLC, Blood and Wine, was almost a game in its own right.  More beautiful scenery, more situations for me to fail at (the Tourney, oh, the Tourney!) - and some VERY challenging battles.  It was in playing this DLC that I really learned what all the buttons do!  Although I still don't parry...  *spoiler alert* There was an optional story branch that took me to a land of fairy tales that was part whimsy, part tragedy.  Oh, and had the cutest sidequest!  Yes, even the sidequests (well, optional story branches...) have sidequests in B&W! 

I've already described my final encounter and the ending (spoiler free, too!).  I started playing the main game in January and took a small break between the main game and HoS to replay FFXV.  On average, I think I've played 6-8 hours a week.  It's the kind of game where it's impossible to play just one hour - it's always at least one and a half, often two and a half!  These days, my gaming time is restricted to three or four session a week (weeks off work, of course, are different!).  With the quality of the graphics alone and the sheer amount of Stuff To Do, I think the main game plus two DLCs are well worth the money.  And I haven't even mentioned the script, which is often laugh out loud funny, considering it's a translation from Polish.  And all the little side conversations you hear from NPCs as you walk past (a skit on Life of Brian's 'old ex-leper' scene, quotes from Norwegian Wood and El Condor Pasa, all spring to mind).

If you have some spare time and spare cash, I would definitely recommend getting this game.
 So, as I've mentioned before, Witcher 3: Blood and Wine is HARD.  Even on the 'Story Only' (aka - stupidly easy) difficulty level, it is HARD.  Now, there is a reason I've picked the 'Story Only' level - it's because I'm interested in progressing the story, not because I want challenging combat.  if I wanted challenging combat, I would have picked a different difficulty level.  This game doesn't seem to understand this concept.  It took me 4 goes to kill the Big Bad Wolf (who was a boss), and I got killed by a couple of low level vampires in a 'normal' fight.  Boss battles should be tougher than normal ones, I grant you - but FOUR attempts?!

And now I'm up against the Big Bad, who changes form part way through the fight.  Oh, yes - the dreaded boss-that-changes-form type battle.  And this isn't the end of the game, so it's unlikely to be the last time I meet him.  I gave up when I died the first time.  That is not a battle to tackle when you're tired.

But all these tough fights are REALLY taking away the fun element from the game.  Added to which is the fact that I can't go back to my villa and apply my buffs at the moment.  And I'm reliant on my weapon and armour repair kits because I can't even visit a bloody blacksmith!  it's a good thing I stocked up on those.  I am really enjoying the game but I'm not having fun at the moment!

Today, I'm going to give my friend a ring and see if she's up for some company this afternoon.  And I'm meeting someone else for coffee this morning.  So, at some point, I will be taking on the Big Bad again - just need to remember my Vampire Oil!
 This week has been the second longest of my life.  The longest ever was one I spent selling advertising space in a diary for the fire brigade.  I managed to sell ONE space, to a cucumber grower in the south of England who I think was Italian.  To this day, I'm not sure he knew what he'd bought :D

Anyway, this week has felt like it was about a month long.  I don't know why - it wasn't particularly busy OR quiet, I'm not ill, I'm not stressed about anything...  It's just taken a ridiculous amount of effort to get from Monday to Friday.  But it is Friday, and I'm on leave ALL of next week.  I am going to slam into Blood and Wine and ignore things like housework and writing.

The fire that happened in London the other day is consuming a lot of news time and a lot of my thoughts.  It seems that the total destruction of the building was preventable, but safety laws either aren't strong enough or have been misapplied.  There were hundreds of people in the building.  So far, 17 people have been identified as having died but that number can only rise.  The fire brigade say they hope the number won't reach three figures; it seems a vain hope at this point.
 I am REALLY enjoying Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, much more than the main game. I'm actually seeking out sidequests and getting quite excited about my home improvements. And the Big Bad looks like a VERY interesting character. Of course, the home improvements require cash, so I'm back to looting everything and everyone to get stuff to sell.

Even on 'story only' (ie VERY easy) and with Geralt at level 40+ the battles are challenging. I've improved my swords but I haven't found any armour I like better than the stuff I got about 3/4 of the way through the main game. But I am using my potions and signs, and dodging. So, yeah, it's all good.

All of the sidequests in Witcher 3 have an interesting little story behind them and one of the ones in B&W (The Hunger Game) is actually heart breaking. Geralt is a true defender of the weak and I'm enjoying making those choices for him.

And another (Great Balls of Granite) was just silly. But hey, who doesn't like a bit of silly?

Enjoyed this week's Doctor Who, 'The Empress of Mars'. The actress playing the Ice Warrior Queen did a great job, considering most of her face was covered. And Ben Kingsley's son did an excellent job of playing a cad :D Partly it was an exploration of the British attitude of 'we see it, we like it, we take it', which has led to so many of the problems we face today. And partly it was about how getting to know someone very different to you can lead to co-operation. And boy do we need some of that!

OK, that'll do for now. Bye, DW.

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