One month on and I am informed that I have been lost in the Witcher’s world for 126 hours…
With all the TV series to watch, plus this, it’s no wonder I had no time for blog posts.
With so many hours under my belt I am confident to claim this as the by far the best open world type adventure I have ever played. Skyrim, Fallout, Grand Theft Auto; all great, but none has the scale of characters, storyline and depth of The Witcher 3.
There are fifty nine significant characters in the story, all of whom you interact with to a varying extent and some of whom play a role in the outcome in deciding one of the thirty six possible endings to the story. This excludes the hundreds of incidental characters and beasts you will stumble across on your journey. There are beautifully scripted and choreographed cut scenes, fleshing out a storyline based upon Polish and Scandinavian myths. There are moral choices to made along the way which are genuinely affecting. There is loot to collect, potions to make, armour and weapons to be crafted, and a shitload of shopping.
I have to admit that I have not done so well on the romance front. I did meet a very nice girl called Keira and we ended up having a picnic on the beach followed by some tastefully photographed intercourse. The next morning I woke to find that she had buggered off to a nearby castle and nicked a scroll of something awful which I felt should not fall into the wrong hands. We argued, I made the more confrontational conversational choices (just like real life, see?) and we ended up in a fight to the death. Not the best morning after experience.
Then there was Yennefer with whom I seemed to have some history (maybe much shagging in Witcher 1 and 2?); but I found her rather cold and when she finally professed her love for me I did not reciprocate. This did not go down well. When I went to her castle I was told she had thrown the bed out of the window. So I went to see her and was apparently meant to apologise; because when I didn’t she threw me out of window too and it was a long swim back to land. Another relationship destroyed.
Still, I have found a brothel so I need not be short of company.
Right now I am about three quarters of the way through the main story, with two expansion packs still to play; so there is at least 300 hours of entertainment available for my 650 baht. Except I am stuck on a fight with a particularly difficult opponent so will probably give up.
Maybe just one more try……
..that she who must be obeyed made an honest man of me. After some research she announced that the substance associated with an eleven year wedding anniversary was metal, and that gold was a metal wasn’t it….?
With that duly ignored we may celebrate with a small lunch while I have promised her bounteous gifts for our 25th.
Talking of anniversaries, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. To mark the occasion, Giles Martin has remixed the original tapes and the result is a fresh, vibrant offering that enhances the original without destroying what made it great in the first place. Recommended; as is Howard Goodall’s BBC documentary which reveals some of the musical and technical mastery of both George Martin and the fab four. Maybe I will buy a copy of the album for my wife as an anniversary present, the CD has metal in it.
During my leave of blogging absence last month I spent some of my time catching up on some crucial TV series.
A seven part documentary, ostensibly about the unsolved murder of a nun almost fifty years ago, but morphing into a horrific tale of child abuse and pedophilia courtesy of one the usual culprits, the Catholic church. It’s frustrating viewing because the priest involved died without being called to account for his crimes (which almost certainly also included murdering, or arranging the murder of, the nun); and because it does take longer than necessary, four episodes would have been enough. Still, if you enjoy being horrified and filled with righteous anger, essential viewing.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Also horrific and angering, albeit for different reasons, The Handmaid’s tale is based on a book of the same name written more than thirty years ago. A Christian fundamentalist regime rules the USA where assorted disaster have resulted in a plummeting birth rate. The few fertile women are presented to the elite as sexual slaves and given the title of Handmaids. It’s frequently a difficult watch, I never made it through any of the ten episodes without pausing and muttering “oh fuck”. Elisabeth Moss is astonishing as the main character and although I was left drained by the end of it, delighted to see that another series will be back next year.
TV event of the year (Spike Awards).
Better Call Saul
The Breaking Bad prequel spin-off was back for a third series and it was a gentle delight as always. They are still some distance from the Saul Goodman character that inhabited Breaking Bad, so hopefully there at least two more seasons to go.
The TV spin-off from the movie of the same name was also back for season three, this time with Ewan McGregor as the lead character and the lead character’s brother; played and made up so well that is was episode two before I realised it was the same person. Mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it if only for the excellent bad guy played by David Thewlis, sporting the worst teeth in the world.
The runners assembled on the beach.
Assorted dignitaries said things which nobody listened to, and then they were off!
The enthusiastic young lad at the front was soon overtaken. There were various runs of various lengths, none of which I could understand; so just took shots of runners as they went by.
Fun to photograph, although fewer hunks and more bikinis would have been preferable.
Pattaya has a marathon, but the bikini beach race is more in keeping with the spirit of the place; and better to photograph.
An hour before the start, there was a scrum of semi-dressed humanity outside Central Mall.
There were rather too many men in skimpy swimming trunks for my liking, and one or two people in bikinis that should probably have been in trunks if it were not for the hormone injections, but I dived in a got some shots.
Eventually the horde assembled on the beach and the race began. But those are photos for tomorrow.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
It started well enough. She who must be obeyed was off to the gym with her mates, so I decided to pop out to my favourite lake and take some infrared photos. Got a shot of the quaint structure next to the lake:
And then headed inside and up the staircase to the upper area where there were views to be had over the lake. Lifted my camera high and then. OUCH! FUCK! DOUBLE FUCK!!!
Something stung me hard in the hand, then the leg, then in many places. I headed down the staircase at speed, swatting at what I assume were wasps which continued to attack me until I was outside. For fifteen minutes the pain was intense, and I noted the hospital over the road in case I had a reaction; but it just hurt like hell, so I carried on shooting.
Couldn’t get to sleep for the pain so up for a Paracetamol, and then up again to remove my wedding ring as my hands started to swell. This morning they were much larger than they should be and very itchy. The wide wide world of web recommended cider vinegar, and my wife recommended a small pot of smelly ointment. I hedged my bets by giving each hand a separate treatment. They both worked, but the combined smell was evil, the cat won’t come near me.
My wife synpathised with my swollen hands, but, ever practical, she gazed wistfully at my groin and suggested perhaps I return to the nest naked and see what else could be given the swelling treatment.
I am enjoying my new computer. Its ability to play any game at the highest graphic settings, with only a partial melting of the graphics card, is a delight. With several graphically rich experiences under my belt, it was time to throw a proper challenge at the beast.
The Witcher series of games are the unlikely product of a Polish developer, based on books from a Polish author The first version of the game was released almost ten years ago to critical acclaim, so naturally there was a Witcher 2. Even more praise, so in 2015 came The Witcher 3, which was awarded game of the year by almost everyone and sold six million copies in the first six weeks. Two expansion packs followed and even two years on it is recognised as one of the prettiest games around.
So when it went one sale last week for 650 baht, including both expansion packs, it seemed foolish not to indulge.
The story has an extensive prologue, and then you are launched into a massive world, with a main story-line and side quests which will take at least 100 hours to complete. A Witcher has abilities to take on all manner of beasties, using potions, spells and swords. This results in complex crafting and alchemy options and a skill tree I have still to get my brain around. The story is rich and complex, with interesting characters to meet, some of whom you can have sex with (allegedly). And it looks absolutely beautiful with all the graphics options turned on.
Here I am, enjoying a sunset on my faithful horse:
It’s always windy in the game world, so the developers can show off the swaying trees, and my gorgeous flowing hair.
It’s all so promising, but after fourteen hours I am giving up.
I have never had a liking, or a capability, for the running, jumping, kicking, fighting genre of games. If there is combat, I like to point something threatening at a target and blow it up; no complications. But The Witcher’s combat requires me to dodge, roll, parry and strike; all at the right time using different keys; whilst simultaneously casting spells using other keys; it’s more than my ancient brain can handle. I met a very nice witch with very nice breasts and sensed something interesting ahead; but instead I found myself stuck in a cavern with her and a golem; and the golem kept killing me; which is not the basis for a romantic seduction. Loading an earlier save, I headed off down another story arc and ended up with a fat baron who promised nothing in the way of nookie; and more misery with an undead baby that ripped my legs off. Call this entertainment?
So, even though it looks beautiful, I’ll have to admit is not for me and go back to something where I don’t die every five minutes. Shame about not shagging the witch though.