What Are You Playing?

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
After years of Souls or more curated boss experiences this felt very much like an oldschool "whatever, just hack, slash and button mash and if you're at level you'll win" fantasy RPG type fight.
Definitely; enemy patterns are minimal, except for major bosses like the Wild Hunt and the DLC ones, howbeit, if you raise the numbers high enough you can cheese through without even knowing what they are. Last time I played, I remember using a build based around toxicity, where you can raise your potion tolerance and be buffed and regenerating life pretty much non-stop. Then you just hold the attack button and profit. To be completely honest with you though, this min-maxing and abusing every possible option is a basic RPG trait that I kind of enjoy, at least the process of figuring it out if nothing else.

So far I'm overall less inclined to believe this is the best game ever and thinking more, "Are we sure CD Project Red is that good?"
The way I see it, CDPR's wide appeal is less because they make "flawless" games and more because of their consumer/gamer friendly business plan. On top of your usual crowd who overhypes anything remotely good, there are plenty of people who really love being made to feel like their interests take utmost priority. Not to say such efforts aren't admirable (especially when game development is more corporate now than ever) or that CDPR aren't genuine about it, but the popular reaction can certainly feel overstated, to the point that it becomes off-putting and hard to take seriously.

I remember this was compared favorably to BotW when that came out, like this was the ultimate grown up open world fantasy, but it just feels like the latest iteration of every fantasy RPG I've played since the 90s.
True, it tips heavily towards RPG. I'd go as far as to say it's not even really open world when compared to something like BotW.

I can't pause during lengthy cutscenes
My best guess as to why they don't let you do that, if there's even a reason at all, is in order to not segment the narrative flow. A lot of "impactful" and "important" stuff is supposed to go down during those long cutscenes, and they probably want to make it harder for you to get distracted. I can see how that might become a pain in the ass when you have a family though.

Anyway, I'm still assuming that there's going to be so much game ahead it'll became a matter of the totality of the sum of its parts; the most game total if not the best at its peak, or it really will start blowing me away. If that's reliant on side-quests and exploration though, the main quest better make me want to do it because I'm not going looking on my own.
It does get crazier later on. Structurally speaking, the story isn't bad. It's got an entertaining evolution and appropriate climax. As for the side-content, I'm afraid it's a pretty substantial part of the game. If you decide not to diverge from the main questline at all you'll be missing out on varying degrees of interesting stuff, but that is dependent on whether the Witcher universe grows on you or not in the first place.

The exploration is pretty much a time sink, so you can skip it without missing much. The biggest part of those question marks you see on the map are basically an excuse to enjoy the kinesthetics of riding your horse through the fields and forests and sailing the ocean, also finding whacky-looking swords and monster dens to test them on and then sell them 'cause they're much worse than what you already have, so yeah...
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Last time I played, I remember using a build based around toxicity, where you can raise your potion tolerance and be buffed and regenerating life pretty much non-stop. Then you just hold the attack button and profit. To be completely honest with you though, this min-maxing and abusing every possible option is a basic RPG trait that I kind of enjoy, at least the process of figuring it out if nothing else.
Definitely, as a matter of fact, if you have any easy advice for that build I'm all ears. If it's so specialized and anemic to be more trouble than it's worth I'll probably just play it straight though. I haven't spent a skill point yet though.

The way I see it, CDPR's wide appeal is less because they make "flawless" games and more because of their consumer/gamer friendly business plan. On top of your usual crowd who overhypes anything remotely good, there are plenty of people who really love being made to feel like their interests take utmost priority. Not to say such efforts aren't admirable (especially when game development is more corporate now than ever) or that CDPR aren't genuine about it, but the popular reaction can certainly feel overstated, to the point that it becomes off-putting and hard to take seriously.
Ah, I had no idea of their consumer relations, but I guess I should have guessed based on the fact the company was being mentioned at all in the plaudits. There's a lot of consternation about "toxic" fanbases online but I find the invested advocates far more insidious.

My best guess as to why they don't let you do that, if there's even a reason at all, is in order to not segment the narrative flow. A lot of "impactful" and "important" stuff is supposed to go down during those long cutscenes, and they probably want to make it harder for you to get distracted. I can see how that might become a pain in the ass when you have a family though.
Unfortunately it actually has the opposite effect because if something is distracting me there's nothing I can do about it until the scene or distraction is over.

It does get crazier later on. Structurally speaking, the story isn't bad. It's got an entertaining evolution and appropriate climax. As for the side-content, I'm afraid it's a pretty substantial part of the game. If you decide not to diverge from the main questline at all you'll be missing out on varying degrees of interesting stuff, but that is dependent on whether the Witcher universe grows on you or not in the first place.

The exploration is pretty much a time sink, so you can skip it without missing much.
We'll see, I'm going to follow the main road and if something interesting pulls me off, so be it. So far the pattern has been I'm always looking for someone but have to find someone for someone who knows someone that knows where my someone is, and then by the time I find out they're gone. I really wish I could just stick my sword to throats for the information. =)

The biggest part of those question marks you see on the map are basically an excuse to enjoy the kinesthetics of riding your horse through the fields and forests and sailing the ocean, also finding whacky-looking swords and monster dens to test them on and then sell them 'cause they're much worse than what you already have, so yeah...
Yep, it's a questing RPG! :ganishka:


As for Uncharted 2, it's still fun and impressive in its set pieces, but is otherwise getting a bit repetitive. Mostly it's lowering my opinion of the new Tomb Raider trilogy because it's clear that ripped everything off from here. While the rest of the controls hold up impressively, the cover system continues to be a thorn in my side as I'm either out of place if not jumping out of cover altogether, or off a ledge, so kudos to Tomb Raider for simplifying that. After The Last of Us I'm also glad there's absolutely zero incentive to look for any items! Healing is automatically timed and even guns and ammo are basically disposable. Its a nice contrast to looting everything I see in The Witcher.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
Definitely, as a matter of fact, if you have any easy advice for that build I'm all ears. If it's so specialized and anemic to be more trouble than it's worth I'll probably just play it straight though. I haven't spent a skill point yet though.
The main strategy I used with this build revolved around two alchemy skills: Refreshment and Delayed Recovery

The first one allows you to instantly recover a quarter of your total HP upon using any potion. You can really take advantage of this once you get your hands on White Honey, an easily obtainable early game potion that also works with this skill. It resets your toxicity to zero and allows you to take your buff and regen pots all over again in a burst, thus filling your life bar almost instantly if you find yourself in a pinch.

The second one compliments the first, making it so that any buffs and life regen you get from potions last indefinitely as long as you have above 70% toxicity, which is not difficult to maintain given the nature of the build. As long as you have a steady supply of potions to use with these skills you should be able to breeze through.

Other advantages of this combo include the fact that you can synergize it even further with other alchemy skills, it's unlockable early on and works well with lower level potions too, becoming increasingly effective as you progress further and acquire more powerful potion and concoction formulae. In short, potions potions potions and keep being toxic. :troll:

We'll see, I'm going to follow the main road and if something interesting pulls me off, so be it. So far the pattern has been I'm always looking for someone but have to find someone for someone who knows someone that knows where my someone is, and then by the time I find out they're gone. I really wish I could just stick my sword to throats for the information. =)
Haha, well get ready 'cause the biggest part of the main quest is pretty much a wild-goose chase with a lot of extra steps, and it's heavily relying on your patience and curiosity to get you through, but I would say it pays off in the end. For me the side quests provided a much needed change of scenery, particularly the monster contracts because a lot of them have their own sub-quests and mysteries to uncover. The tedious parts of the main quest felt much more manageable as a result, and you get to see a lot of cool and unexpected stuff too.

What I didn't mention in my last post is how the further you get into the game and the more characters enter the picture the more subversive and complex the side-quests become. Here are some solid ones you might wanna keep an eye out for:
  • Ghosts of the Past (Getting this one depends on a dialogue choice you make during the "shave time questioning" upon reaching Nilfgaard where you are picking choices that carry over from the previous games, but I'm listing it anyway in case you picked the right dialogue option and happen to stumble upon it. It's a fun throwback involving the Witcher 2's main antagonist Letho)
  • Contract: The Beast of Honorton
  • A Matter of Life and Death and Now or Never (If you fancy Triss)
  • The Last Wish (If you fancy Yennefer)
  • The Cave of Dreams
  • The Lord of Undvik
  • Possesion
  • King's Gambit (It's got berserkers!)
The Bloody Baron's storyline is also worth seeing through to the end, but otherwise just go with the flow and have fun. This game is way more enjoyable if you allow yourself to get immersed in the world and its designs naturally rather than chasing objectives.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
The main strategy I used with this build revolved around two alchemy skills: Refreshment and Delayed Recovery

...

In short, potions potions potions and keep being toxic. :troll:
I've been toxic my whole life; just check my post history. :carcus:

I'm glad you simplified the build description for me for starting out, I tried looking up this sort of build and it was like telling me all the specific end game armor and items I needed so I was like, "fuck this." I ended up putting points into General Vitality skills for starters plus the heavy armor school because I got some and prefer heavy attack so far. My Souls training has me alternating hitting and dodging almost every time, with maybe quick strike follow ups, so I might as well hit hard and get the vitality bonus with the armor. I already feel pretty sturdy but I'm going to add alchemy on top as I go and see how powerful I can get. When I fought the first Wild Hunt boss I fucked up and was at half life and basically out of healing items already, so I had to do it clean, which wasn't difficult with the hit and run. So I feel like I can get by even when things aren't optimal. Actually, the hardest enemies have been random encounters with like high level wraiths, or werewolves that heal faster than I can safely damage them.

Speaking of Souls, I tried moving the attack commands to the R buttons but there's seemingly no simple way to do it despite a million alternative controller setups and the ability to change key bindings (I guess I could workaround it there, but it didn't seem worth the effort at that point).

Haha, well get ready 'cause the biggest part of the main quest is pretty much a wild-goose chase with a lot of extra steps, and it's heavily relying on your patience and curiosity to get you through, but I would say it pays off in the end. For me the side quests provided a much needed change of scenery
Yeah... I was excited by the opportunity to seemingly bypass the Baron's quest because I figured the witches would be a better source of info and fuck him, but of course upon completion of that quest I'm no closer to my goal than before and it's back to the drawing board with the Baron. I mean, I take it she's just going to be in the last place I'm supposed to look or that's where I'll really pick up the trail, but you're too low level to effectively just go there.

What I didn't mention in my last post is how the further you get into the game and the more characters enter the picture the more subversive and complex the side-quests become. Here are some solid ones you might wanna keep an eye out for
Thanks for the tips, those indeed sound cool, and fortunately I was careful not to kill anybody off in that dialogue sequence. Speaking of which, any recommendation for how much delusion to invest in for story purposes? I always loved talking my way into or out of shit in these games.

The Bloody Baron's storyline is also worth seeing through to the end, but otherwise just go with the flow and have fun. This game is way more enjoyable if you allow yourself to get immersed in the world and its designs naturally rather than chasing objectives.
Yeah, I was getting pretty sucked in last night, mostly by the little things and details, and despite kind of going nowhere the witches were certainly... interesting ("you don't look like you do in the picture" =).
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
I've been toxic my whole life; just check my post history. :carcus:
Your custom title says it all. :ganishka: You'll do just fine.

I already feel pretty sturdy but I'm going to add alchemy on top as I go and see how powerful I can get.
Alchemy skills and combat skills work hand in hand, so you can't go wrong. Try putting points into anything that has adrenaline and critical strike chance on it if you want those heavy attacks to be even more devastating.

I tried moving the attack commands to the R buttons but there's seemingly no simple way to do it despite a million alternative controller setups and the ability to change key bindings (I guess I could workaround it there, but it didn't seem worth the effort at that point).
I remember having the same idea and running into the same problem. You can try going to your documents Witcher 3 folder and manually modifying the "input.setting" file; some guy on Reddit says it apparently works. Otherwise, it might be more effort than it's worth.

Speaking of technical stuff, a quick tip I can give is to go into the gameplay settings and change the movement response from standard to alternative. It significantly reduces the gyroscope-like momentum from the movement animations and gives it a more responsive and fluid feeling. Once I had discovered it I could never go back.

Yeah... I was excited by the opportunity to seemingly bypass the Baron's quest because I figured the witches would be a better source of info and fuck him, but of course upon completion of that quest I'm no closer to my goal than before and it's back to the drawing board with the Baron. I mean, I take it she's just going to be in the last place I'm supposed to look or that's where I'll really pick up the trail, but you're too low level to effectively just go there.
The Baron is gonna be your mainline for a while, but rest assured, he's got juicy information. Disappointingly enough, the place where Ciri is can't be accessed until you reach a certain stage in the main questline. It would've been pretty pointless for them to construct this elaborate and drudgerous pursuit if you could just randomly happen upon Ciri and skip all of it; would be pretty funny though. Think of it this way, you're sharing Geralt's frustration. (multilayered immersiveness :isidro:)

Yeah, I was getting pretty sucked in last night, mostly by the little things and details, and despite kind of going nowhere the witches were certainly... interesting ("you don't look like you do in the picture" =).
The Ladies of the Wood scene is amazing for sure. That's one of the reasons why I recommend completing all the Baron content. Without spoiling too much, you'll get to see more of them in a different form, and also uncover all the messed up shit that had been going on in that dude's life. You're only scratching the surface right now, way more sinister things lie in wait.

Edit: Sorry, I completely glanced over your question about Delusion for some reason. Fortunately Cyrus provided a detailed enough explanation and there is not much I can add to it. It's more of a convenience skill, so if getting the easy way out of certain situations sounds appealing by all means equip it. You said you're not gonna do a super specialized build, so there's no point worrying about maximum efficiency when it comes to skill slots.

you can always respec by drinking a Potion of Clearance, so you have room to experiment.
Yep, but be sure to snatch one whenever you see it being sold by a merchant if you have the money, as they aren't exactly common from what I remember.
 
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:serpico:
You're a monster and you're going to the Vortex of Souls!

Thanks for the tips, those indeed sound cool, and fortunately I was careful not to kill anybody off in that dialogue sequence. Speaking of which, any recommendation for how much delusion to invest in for story purposes? I always loved talking my way into or out of shit in these games.
If you want to be able to Schierke your way through every possible situation, you'll have to invest three points into the skill. Otherwise, it's inevitable you'll run into conversations where it just won't be up to snuff. Though if you personally ask me (which, admittedly, you didn't; I'm just barging in here :troll:), I don't think Delusion is worth expending a skill slot for unless you also like to use the Axii sign in combat. The extra dialogue you get out of it is really more of a bonus. That being said, I wouldn't get TOO concerned about budgeting your skill points; you can always respec by drinking a Potion of Clearance, so you have room to experiment.

Anyway...for about 4 or 5 months, I was busy playing Monster Hunter World for the new Iceborne content. That game was a freaking black hole at launch and it's even more of one now; once I start, it's a struggle to stop. Which isn't entirely good, because I've now fallen behind in my backlog and still have games I got last year that I haven't even started. Finally addressed that a couple weeks ago by playing Valkyria Chronicles 4, the first VC game in a decade to NOT be exclusive to a platform that isn't complete waste of money (COUGH-COUGH PSP COUGH). Though it feels less like a game and more like a long delayed expansion pack, considering it plays very similarly to the first game and honestly doesn't look all that different from it. That's fine though; it's still very fun. Shame the same can't be said about its story; the writing is still terrible and you're stuck having to sit through a bunch of cringy cutscenes that go on for too long between each battle that show the writers can't do anything but invoke tired anime cliches. Thankfully, the story is over and done with now, so I can now just play around in the post-game, fighting the tougher battles without any annoying interruptions.
 
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Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
You're a monster and you're going to the Vortex of Souls!
Oh c'mon, it's not THAT bad!

Anyway...for about 4 or 5 months, I was busy playing Monster Hunter World for the new Iceborne content. That game was a freaking black hole at launch and it's even more of one now; once I start, it's a struggle to stop.
I didn't buy Monster Hunter World precisely because I knew this would happen to me as well. I've been re-playing Freedom Unite on the PSP recently though, which is probably still the hardest Monster Hunter game out of the bunch, if only for the impossible hand positions you need to pull off in order to control the camera while you're trying to avoid certain death. Speaking of the PSP...

the first VC game in a decade to NOT be exclusive to a platform that isn't complete waste of money (COUGH-COUGH PSP COUGH).
:rickert:

I actually have the Japanese ROM of Valkyria Chronicles 3 loaded on my PSP, but never got around to playing it. I've heard 4 is pretty sucky, which is not surprising considering it's already the fourth iteration of the exact same formula with what seems like the minimum requirement of changes needed to be able to slap a higher number on it. I shouldn't judge it too harshly until I get around to playing myself though.
 
I fully deserved that...for the awful double negative.

I actually have the Japanese ROM of Valkyria Chronicles 3 loaded on my PSP, but never got around to playing it. I've heard 4 is pretty sucky, which is not surprising considering it's already the fourth iteration of the exact same formula with what seems like the minimum requirement of changes needed to be able to slap a higher number on it. I shouldn't judge it too harshly until I get around to playing myself though.
Don't know where you heard that from, because the reception I've seen for it has been generally positive, with people liking the quality of life improvements and the fact that design-wise, it's more in line with the first game with its larger and more open maps. If anything, it's VC2 that appears to be the most divisive. But then, maybe that's just because I've only joined in well over a year after the fact, after the complaints had time to die down (or at least when the only people remaining are those that liked it). I also didn't play 2 and 3, so the minimal changes made to 4 don't stand out so much.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Alchemy skills and combat skills work hand in hand, so you can't go wrong. Try putting points into anything that has adrenaline and critical strike chance on it if you want those heavy attacks to be even more devastating.
Yeah, I'm realizing I need more stamina and adrenaline with the heavy suit. Still, I'm much harder to kill and I don't really mind attacking and backing out while the stamina refills (though it hurts the adrenaline... ugh, games).

I remember having the same idea and running into the same problem. You can try going to your documents Witcher 3 folder and manually modifying the "input.setting" file; some guy on Reddit says it apparently works. Otherwise, it might be more effort than it's worth.
Yeesh, it's just wild that for such an otherwise robust settings menu they don't let you switch buttons.

Speaking of technical stuff, a quick tip I can give is to go into the gameplay settings and change the movement response from standard to alternative. It significantly reduces the gyroscope-like momentum from the movement animations and gives it a more responsive and fluid feeling. Once I had discovered it I could never go back.
Mine was set to Alternative by default! I switched over to standard just to see what it was like and found it to be kind of like Red Dead or something where you're a little more sluggish and weighty, which is fine for exploring but not what I'm looking for in a precision combat scenario, obviously.

Disappointingly enough, the place where Ciri is can't be accessed until you reach a certain stage in the main questline. It would've been pretty pointless for them to construct this elaborate and drudgerous pursuit if you could just randomly happen upon Ciri and skip all of it; would be pretty funny though. Think of it this way, you're sharing Geralt's frustration. (multilayered immersiveness :isidro:)
Another reason this "open world" ain't really open. It's actually much more of a story game than I anticipated for better or worse.

The Ladies of the Wood scene is amazing for sure. That's one of the reasons why I recommend completing all the Baron content. Without spoiling too much, you'll get to see more of them in a different form
Yeah, I'm getting ready to meet the Baron out there now and get a little payback on them bi... witches.

and also uncover all the messed up shit that had been going on in that dude's life. You're only scratching the surface right now, way more sinister things lie in wait.
Pretty unseemly thus far, and I'm guessing there's still more to it than his sob story and excuses. I haven't checked in on the daughter but what an awful bunch.

You said you're not gonna do a super specialized build, so there's no point worrying about maximum efficiency when it comes to skill slots.
I don't think Delusion is worth expending a skill slot for unless you also like to use the Axii sign in combat. The extra dialogue you get out of it is really more of a bonus. That being said, I wouldn't get TOO concerned about budgeting your skill points; you can always respec by drinking a Potion of Clearance, so you have room to experiment.
Yep, but be sure to snatch one whenever you see it being sold by a merchant if you have the money, as they aren't exactly common from what I remember.
The plan is to go with a build that pays immediate dividends but with the potential to really scale up as I go, but if I fuck up or it doesn't work out I can always respec.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
I fully deserved that...for the awful double negative.
Was that bait or just a smooth 180?

Don't know where you heard that from, because the reception I've seen for it has been generally positive, with people liking the quality of life improvements and the fact that design-wise, it's more in line with the first game with its larger and more open maps.
...
But then, maybe that's just because I've only joined in well over a year after the fact, after the complaints had time to die down (or at least when the only people remaining are those that liked it). I also didn't play 2 and 3, so the minimal changes made to 4 don't stand out so much.
I didn't look into it too minutely but the streams I occasionally follow that played it have either not been all that enthusiastic about it or dropped it altogether. It's possible I've mischaracterized the whole similarity to the original as something more negative than positive. If it's more of the same done well and with actual intention behind it, not just a revival attempt capitalizing on the first game's appeal, I wouldn't mind. Maybe it's both at the same time, I'll just have to see for myself eventually.

If anything, it's VC2 that appears to be the most divisive.
The second game suffered from a more generic story and reused stuff non-discreetly, but the main cause for debate with that one is because of its release on the PSP. It's no secret they had to water it down to fit within the hardware limitations, but one must recognize it was conceived as a different kind of package entirely. The portability added a different level of enjoyment separate from the first game. The capabilities for Witcher 3 on Switch didn't exist back in 2010, so you could say this was something comparable for the console market at the time. People don't give the PSP enough credit, same with the Vita.

Yeesh, it's just wild that for such an otherwise robust settings menu they don't let you switch buttons.
They did it on purpose to spite the Souls fanboys, guaranteed.

Another reason this "open world" ain't really open.
No doubt; although to be fair, the standard for open world (non-sandbox at least) has evolved quite a lot since 2015.

Yeah, I'm getting ready to meet the Baron out there now and get a little payback on them bi... witches.
All I'll say is...don't get too excited just yet.

Pretty unseemly thus far, and I'm guessing there's still more to it than his sob story and excuses. I haven't checked in on the daughter but what an awful bunch.
Oh it's a fucking disaster, but really well captured.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
They did it on purpose to spite the Souls fanboys, guaranteed.
:mozgus:

No doubt; although to be fair, the standard for open world (non-sandbox at least) has evolved quite a lot since 2015.
I keep judging this game like it's supposed to be the bleeding edge and have had to remind myself it's actually 5 years old. My brain is stuck in 2017 or something.

All I'll say is...don't get too excited just yet.
Well, it was pretty exciting anyway, and they were there in spirit, which I prefer because they give me the creeps, but the large scale combat is still underwhelming and basically requires no more than a regular enemy; flame, heavy strike, quick strike, quick strike, dodge, circle, repeat, win. Hardest enemy to kill far has been the one random dude I fought that had a shield and rando high level bandits in Novigrad because I got sidetracked on this blacksmith quest trying to get heavy armor and a cool sword. Probably wasn't worth it at level 7. I find I'm leveling up and getting coin at a seemingly glacial pace, but the story missions are so light it doesn't matter.

Oh it's a fucking disaster, but really well captured.
I actually wish I'd been more scornful to the guy, and I already basically told him it's his fault and I don't feel his pain, BUT... I do try to go the politically neutral route so as not to unnecessarily lose useful benefactors, unless they're really asking for it. If they want a fight, they'll get it. =)
 
Recently tried out the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo that just dropped on PS4. And I have to say, as someone who's been eying it very warily from the beginning, it was actually...really impressive. I've never liked any of these weird "action/turn-based" hybrid combat systems that have been all the rage in JRPGs in the past decade, as they end up being clusterfucks that either play themselves automatically, or which force you to depend on a braindead companion AI that will either blow through all its resources or get itself killed, but this one looks to have found a happy medium that lets you control the flow of battle yourself and requires you to pay attention to what's actually happening. The overall meta-strategy seems to be to charge your characters up with normal attacks so that they can use spells, items, and abilities, and do what they can to stagger enemies. Some foes, like the basic Shinra grunts, can easily be chopped to pieces without any thought, but tougher enemies, like the Sweepers and Guard Hounds, require proper use of your spells and abilities, as well as coordinating Cloud and Barret properly. Time will tell if this battle system will hold up as you get more party members and face tougher enemies, but it has at least made a good first impression.

Graphically, it's solid, and I love how they've stuck as closely as they could to the original game's art direction. It's refreshing to see FF characters who for once don't look like they just walked out of the beauty parlor and are ready to begin posing for the glamor magazines, and I was especially impressed in how every enemy that was present in the original game's opening sequence makes an appearance, including the dopey-looking sentry guns. All the characters feel like how I remembered them, even with the new dialogue, and the snipes Cloud and Barret throw at each other are entertaining. Only quibble I have is that the game hammers on too early and too bluntly that there's something seriously wrong with Cloud, as he has a number of moments throughout the mission where he zones out, whereas before he only had one. It's not big deal as these episodes of his ramp up soon enough, but I think it's better to keep things more gradual at the beginning.

Overall, I still have little faith in that this whole project will properly pan out in its entirety (assuming it ever has a chance to even reach the end of FFVII), but at least we might get one decent game out of it.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Recently tried out the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo that just dropped on PS4. And I have to say, as someone who's been eying it very warily from the beginning, it was actually...really impressive.
I didn't even know a demo had landed until I saw your post, so thanks for letting me know. For those who can't find it, it's in the PS Store, under Games / Demos (It's not actually listed on the individual game's store page...) I played through about an hour of it last night. It's pretty impressive, indeed. Particularly considering all the obstacles in its path. @Griffith , I'm eager to hear your thoughts as well.

Graphically, it's crazy to me how well it runs on my standard PS4, considering how crisp and detailed everything is on-screen. I also really appreciate the small ways they've brought the environment to life with props and objects that feel like natural extensions of the mid-90s vision of a technology that was "too-big-to-be-real." That's important because it adds to the overall effect of whether or not this feels like Midgar. And speaking as someone who probably played through the 1996 FF7 demo 50+ times, I can say that this does feel like Midgar. Mission accomplished. But is it fun?

I was a bit worried about the combat system as well because I never liked how FFX handled arbitrary enemy weaknesses and character specializations (flying enemy? swap in Wakka!) But this isn't that. It's just a bit of a guessing game initially as to which of your three primary methods of attack will chip down the armor of each enemy before you get to wail on them as you please. So that's no big deal. However it remains to be seen how that system evolves over time, and if it can sustain interest over the course of a long-ass game like FF7.

The biggest problem I have with this whole endeavor right now is the characterizations, and how super-serious everything is. I feel like the SD-polygons of the original game helped soften the blow, or at least layer some lightness on top of the serious tone of the game. But now that everyone looks like real-life, some of the characters' playfulness doesn't have much room to maneuver. For example, in the elevator sequence -- as Barret is raving about Shinra's leeching the planet of life -- in the original, he punctuates the scene by turning to the audience and waving all 4 polygons of his gatling gun at us. In this version, it's played dead serious. This tonal shift in performance is also possibly impacted by how Cloud looks like a baby-faced figurine more than a person. It's incredibly hard to take his tough-guy act seriously when he looks like a posable doll meant to be on a shelf.

I have a ton of personal baggage with FF7. I had put it on an impossible pedestal before it came out, and ended up rather underwhelmed with the game. But this new perspective on the game helped clear the board a bit, so I could enjoy it again. And that's nice. I really hope they can pull the full game off without too many hitches.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention as well, I didn't even know a demo was available either; however, I wasn't impressed, and surprisingly underwhelmed, even graphically. I mean, it looked good and all, but it wasn't like the RE2 remake where "now I feel like I'm there!" or something. I didn't finish it yet though, as I chose to go to bed instead (not a great sign =). The controls and combat gameplay are definitely a little weird too, like kind of a mishmash where I didn't have a feel for what the hell was really going on. It wasn't particularly hard or fun or really engaging at all to me. You just sort of do it.

Also, like I thought before in the trailers and cutscenes, the extrapolation of every detail of the plot isn't great so far (every minor detail will be expanded into an arc! ...ok?). Some cool, straight to the point moments feel like they've been diluted into a bunch of awkward little ones instead. None of the characters really track with my impression of them from the original (and this is the problem, because of course I was giving voice to the text in my head then), and like Walter said it's all so self-serious the characters lose their cute little foibles and body language that were ultimately endearing or unique. For example, Barret's original big punctuation line before his naming screen and the foundation for his relationship with Cloud is basically lost in a sea of back and forth, when, "SOLDIER, huh? Don't trust ya!" was perfectly fine. Also, speaking of Barret, whatever tweaks they made, he seems no less an embarrassing stereotype, just an updated one that I can now hear yelling with no comic levity, which makes some of his more noble, impassioned lines about the environment come off even sillier, and are played that way! I can't believe I'm saying it but they ruined Barret (can't wait until we get to "MARRRRLEEEEEEENE!!!" *gat gat gat gat* *gat gat gat gat* =).

Finally, the original's gameplay didn't translate at all, so I felt more like I was playing an updated version of Ehrgeiz than FF7. I mean, I'm running through some dumb lasers thinking, "What the hell am I doing?" and it's not like this completely different action-y game felt awesome in its own right, but kind of clunky. Again, I'll compare to RE2 remake, which I had my own issues with, but much more fluidly translated the feel and sprit of that game over to a modern design; though, they had the advantage that was already a fully voice acted survival "action" game (action as in you already ran around shooting shit as opposed to a multi-engine world interface and separate turn based combat RPG). Name aside, this just felt like a totally different, unrelated game, one I wouldn't want to play if it wasn't purportedly FF7.

So, I have the opposite perspective from Walter here, where FF7 IS on a pedestal, and this, rather than giving it another chance for me to enjoy, doesn't really cut it, or even compare it's so fundamentally different, at least at first blush. I think the most apt comparison I can make is to FF6. If you remade FF6 in this engine, would it still be or feel like FF6? Not at all to me, and FF7, though it had more dynamic visual direction and depth that seemingly lends itself better to this style, really wasn't that different from FF6 when it came to gameplay; it just had some polygons and FMVs on top. To put it another way, remember all those bootleg Doom variants like Simpsons Doom? If you remade FF7 as an FPS in the original Doom engine, and Doom as a JRPG in the original FF7 engine, which would feel more like Doom and which like FF7? Yeah, the ones with each game's original gameplay engines, whatever other content changes you made (which is why D00M 2016 wasn't a JRPG =). So, while this might be a detail perfect visual update of FF7, the game itself is of no resemblance at all.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
It wasn't particularly hard or fun or really engaging at all to me. You just sort of do it.
That, at least, is a proper representation of combat in FF7.

I felt more like I was playing an updated version of Ehrgeiz than FF7
Ouuuuuch! :ganishka:

I'm running through some dumb lasers thinking, "What the hell am I doing?"
The lasers section was indeed an eye-rolling moment. I feel like it must only there to demonstrate that "yes, you can also run." But it's bad.

Name aside, this just felt like a totally different, unrelated game, one I wouldn't want to play if it wasn't purportedly FF7.
Wow, I ... surprisingly can't say that I disagree with that. The main lens I was examining this through is: Did they correctly emulate HD Midgar? I think so. But did they make a "fun" game out of it? Not really. I wasn't compelled to finish it, after all. So that says something for sure.

I understand the choices they made in its design. It was never going to be a fixed-camera game. That limitation stemmed from the tech at the time. It also wasn't going to be a turn-based RPG. Square doesn't make those anymore, certainly not at this budget level. So within those boundaries, it's hard to recapture the feeling. Still, I do think it's an impressive demonstration, and it does "feel" like they made those environments come to life. I'll still probably get the full game despite that hangup. But upon examination, my sentiment does feel more rooted in a gestural admiration rather than something earned for its merit.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
That, at least, is a proper representation of combat in FF7.
Booooooooo! Materia-4-Ever! Espers suck the big one!

To be fair, the first time I played FF7 I didn't bother learning how to properly equip my characters or execute in combat either! I think I hit a wall in Nibelheim or maybe literally that wall monster in the tomb of the ancients or whatever. Basically I explored precisely at which point you couldn't just keep fucking around with basic attacks, default materia and limit breaks. I'm still not a big believer in reading manuals or tutorials... "What, I gotta read to play this game? That's like a baby's toy!" Current example: The Witcher 3, "This looks really complicated... uh huh... BORING!" *skip* "How the fuck does this POS work!?" :guts:

Ouuuuuch! :ganishka:
Even though I went 1 out of 3 on my Walter quote bait, the other two being my references to Simpsons Doom and FF6, that was the deepest cut and I'm glad you appreciated it. You being something of an FF7 skeptic, is it fair to ask the question if anything to do with FF7 was ever really good? I mean, everything since the game has certainly been abominable, with maybe the exception of that one anime video, or Crisis Core, which may have been, like, passable?

The lasers section was indeed an eye-rolling moment. I feel like it must only there to demonstrate that "yes, you can also run." But it's bad.
And it FEELS bad! Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have noticed, but for a game with so much real time action it doesn't feel like a real action game made by an action game developer. I mean, I guess that's the case, but it feels shockingly lame like I'm playing a poor FF7 action spinoff or mobile game ported to console, not the ultimate AAA prestige title.

Wow, I ...
"Ramza... What did you get? I........."

Shakespearean. =)

surprisingly can't say that I disagree with that. The main lens I was examining this through is: Did they correctly emulate HD Midgar? I think so. But did they make a "fun" game out of it? Not really. I wasn't compelled to finish it, after all. So that says something for sure.
I opened the menu and it paused in the train terminal with the camera showcasing, close up, an ad for an in-world brand of bananas for an inordinate amount of time. That did not help my personal immersion into the dystopian slums if Midgar.

I understand the choices they made in its design. It was never going to be a fixed-camera game. That limitation stemmed from the tech at the time. It also wasn't going to be a turn-based RPG. Square doesn't make those anymore, certainly not at this budget level. So within those boundaries, it's hard to recapture the feeling. Still, I do think it's an impressive demonstration, and it does "feel" like they made those environments come to life.
Yeah, I've grown apart from the genre, and this isn't the way to catch up. To many this probably is the Final Fantasy equivalent of "RE2 done like RE4" but I can't help but feel like, unlike that example, this fails to translate the old game into a new way because it's made it into something so much bigger and different as to be largely unrecognizable (unlike Cloud, I DO know the layout of that type of Mako Reactor, and this is not merely a moving camera upgrade =). I don't get the thrill of seeing some awesome, indelible location from the game fully realized because they're like someplace else altogether now. They had more disadvantages to overcome in this translation, and maybe they did the best job possible, above and beyond or too far even, I just wish I liked the results more.

They should have just made "Classic Mode" play like Chrono Trigger for old heads like me. :daiba:

I'll still probably get the full game despite that hangup. But upon examination, my sentiment does feel more rooted in a gestural admiration rather than something earned for its merit.
I'm going to give it another shot tonight or tomorrow, yesterday kind of sucked for it anyway between voting, family, and a bunch of personal errands/obligations. It's not like I was able to really get absorbed. Plus, it might have just been a shock to my system I have to get used to because I haven't played a Final Fantasy game since IX for even a second. Getting exposed to something completely new and different to me in a package that's supposed to be familiar and nostalgic was probably jarring.


Update: Well, I made bad choices last night and completed it instead of going to sleep, and tried to soak it in a bit more openly, but most of my misgivings held true, most prominently, that I don't really enjoy the combat gameplay, which is going to be the heart of the game. The Scorpion was much tougher than any other enemy, especially because I'm not used to the switching and healing strategy in this game, but even as I figured that out I wouldn't say it clicked or grew on me. So, the preview video after the demo showing endless the battles to come looked like a real chore to me, but maybe with more practice I'll learn to like it, but if the first boss was that big a pain in the ass what are Emerald and Ruby weapon going to look like, and how many $60 pieces of the same game do I have to buy to find out? I don't see how they could do it justice at this level of detail in any less than four parts, unless the PS5 releases are much bigger and cover way more ground, and any more than that becomes a bit comical: Final Fantasy VII-7, which isn't unthinkable given they're purportedly expanding the first approximately 10% of the game into an experience bigger than the entire original game.

Speaking of the story, I didn't like the extra Shinra BS where they see all and it's basically already an inside job, I'm guessing in-game to blame Avalanche for the destruction and justify harsher military rule as well as more mako fracking or whatever ala when they bring down the plate later, but really it's because they don't have the balls to make the heroes bona fide eco-terrorists anymore. =)
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
The Witcher 3 still, because this game is looooong. I'm not even that far still but even if I was trying to rush every quest leads to a chain of like half a dozen more related quests before you achieve the goal of the original quest. This has me jumping around and ahead to Skellige, doing side shit, probably messing stuff up but I got some decent heavy gear for my heavy/alchemy build, and hey, at least my guy Geralt is getting laid on the regular now with Yennifer and Keira. Now I gotta double back to Triss because I'm sure there will be no consequences to bedding every temperamental sorceress I meet. I actually had to kill Keira in one scenario, to prevent her from potentially inventing germ warfare, but reloaded and managed to choose my words more carefully. Yeesh, it's nice that there's multiple choices and outcomes to most interactions, very cool actually, and part of me wants to just let what happens happen, except sometimes it's also hard to tell which choice of words will lead to which outcome because a sentence that reads relatively benignly will then have Geralt or his partner in conversation basically saying, "FUCK YOU, DIE!!" when that's not where you meant to take things. Anyway, it's fun but I'm finding it hard to play for too long at a time because of the constant and repetitive quest, rinse, repeat format with extremely minimal, incremental payoffs, "Hey, thanks for doing those six quests, here's 40 gold and the princess is in another castle." :judo:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo - I got home from work early the other day and decided to speedrun this demo and give it another chance. Much more fun knowing what I was doing already, I was able to tear up the Sweepers and Scorpion sentry in no time this round... so, I'm probably taking the plunge. I just hope there's going to be more to it than this, or that it becomes more stimulating with more party members and potential customizations... Of course, you're not even going to get that many party members because you're not leaving Midgar! This still bugs me because when I think of all the scenes and moments I'd like to see recreated from this game most of them are not from the first time in Midgar, despite how memorable it is in its own right, so that's going to be disappointing and even though we're being told this it's kind of subliminal false advertising because I'm not really buying an "FF7 remake," but like 12% of one.
 
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Lawliet

Awkward Artist
I thought the FF VII demo was alright, nothing mind blowing. Can't wait to finally play the full game though, since I missed out on the original. Too bad about some of its spoilers, however (you know which one). Would have been nice going into the game without knowing them. But that's like going into Star Wars without knowing the whole "I am your father" plot twist. In other words, impossible.

That running through laser part was pure cringe though :magni:

Is anyone going to be getting Nioh 2? This start of this year hasn't been so good that I'm actually considering getting it, even though I thought the first was just terrible.

The Witcher 3 still, because this game is looooong. I'm not even that far still but even if I was trying to rush every quest leads to a chain of like half a dozen more related quests before you achieve the goal of the original quest. This has me jumping around and ahead to Skellige, doing side shit, probably messing stuff up but I got some decent heavy gear for my heavy/alchemy build, and hey, at least my guy Geralt is getting laid on the regular now with Yennifer and Keira. Now I gotta double back to Triss because I'm sure there will be no consequences to bedding every temperamental sorceress I meet. I actually had to kill Keira in one scenario, to prevent her from potentially inventing germ warfare, but reloaded and managed to choose my words more carefully. Yeesh, it's nice that there's multiple choices and outcomes to most interactions, very cool actually, and part of me wants to just let what happens happen, except sometimes it's also hard to tell which choice of words will lead to which outcome because a sentence that reads relatively benignly will then have Geralt or his partner in conversation basically saying, "FUCK YOU, DIE!!" when that's not where you meant to take things. Anyway, it's fun but I'm finding it hard to play for too long at a time because of the constant and repetitive quest, rinse, repeat format with extremely minimal, incremental payoffs, "Hey, thanks for doing those six quests, here's 40 gold and the princess is in another castle." :judo:
Wait till you play the DLCs (Blood and Wine, in particular). They were the best parts of Witcher 3, in my opinion. The main quest of W3 is easily its weakest part (except for some really cool quests within though), and I think they should have gone for another storyline that is more compatible with having a free, open-world to explore. "Oh, my long lost adoptive daughter is back and being chased by a group of supernatural murderous psychopaths and I gotta find her ASAP, but let's have a round of Gwent first", basically sums up the illogical structure of the game .

And yes, I wish games would stop using the "contextual" dialogue system. I can't recall how many quests I screwed up because of it. Still, W3 does it better than a lot of other games, specifically the ones with the awful dialogue wheel.

BTW, are you playing Gwent? That's easily the reason I keep coming back to the game :ganishka:
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Can't wait to finally play the full game though, since I missed out on the original.
It's so different I don't know if this will really be a substitute for the original, and it literally is extrapolating like the first 10th of it. You might actually check this one out instead, especially if you do play the remake and want to see what happens next.

Is anyone going to be getting Nioh 2? This start of this year hasn't been so good that I'm actually considering getting it, even though I thought the first was just terrible.
I'm tempted as well for the same reason, except I actually enjoyed Nioh a lot, only now it's so close to Doom Eternal (3/20), RE3 (4/3) and FF7 Remake (4/10) I might as well just wait for those. You're too late Nioh 2, there's already better games around the corner.

Wait till you play the DLCs (Blood and Wine, in particular). They were the best parts of Witcher 3, in my opinion. The main quest of W3 is easily its weakest part
UGH, when I bought the game on sale however long ago I must have got the standard edition because, "Fuck DLC on a game I may not even play through." :schierke:

And yes, I wish games would stop using the "contextual" dialogue system. I can't recall how many quests I screwed up because of it. Still, W3 does it better than a lot of other games, specifically the ones with the awful dialogue wheel.
There's a lot to like about it actually, like how it shows what's important and not, not even to skip stuff but to know simply asking about something won't fuck you up. I just wish some of the distinctions in choice dialogue were bit a clearer instead of seeming like a matter of choice of words rather than choice of actions. Something like, "I can't let you do this" can show you care about someone or that you're going to kill them if they make another move, but sometimes you don't know which until you pick! :shrug:

BTW, are you playing Gwent? That's easily the reason I keep coming back to the game :ganishka:
Nope, I have no truck with card games besides poker, especially virtual ones (except in King of Cards where I can cheat =). I know it's supposed to be good but I'm already in a hurry here!
 
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Lawliet

Awkward Artist
It's so different I don't know if this will really be a substitute for the original, and it literally is extrapolating like the first 10th of it. You might actually check this one out instead, especially if you do play the remake and want to see what happens next.
Thanks for the link. I heard about them extrapolating parts of the game, and I'd have preferred they remake the original as it was instead of having episodic releases with what might just be filler content. Here's hoping this approach will be worth it.

I actually have a digital copy of the original, and I played a little of it many years ago. Might just go back to that one if the first episode doesn't work out.

I'm tempted as well for the same reason, except I actually enjoyed Nioh a lot, only now it's so close to Doom Eternal (3/20), RE3 (4/3) and FF7 Remake (4/10) I might as well just wait for those. You're too late Nioh 2, there's already better games around the corner.
I may still go for Nioh 2, mainly to coop with friends and since I'm not into Doom. But yeah, the main event for Q2 this year for me is RE3, the first game I ever played on the PS1 (bad idea, I was only 8 :ganishka: ). Gonna play all the way through this time!

UGH, when I bought the game on sale however long ago I must have got the standard edition because, "Fuck DLC on a game I may not even play through." :schierke:
I'd still consider trying them out at some point. W3's probably the only game I played where the DLC is better than the base game.

There's a lot to like about it actually, like how it shows what's important and not, not even to skip stuff but to know simply asking about something won't fuck you up. I just wish some of the distinctions in choice dialogue were bit a clearer instead of seeming like a matter of choice of words rather than choice of actions. Something like, "I can't let you do this" can show you care about someone or that you're going to kill them if they make another move, but sometimes you don't know which until you pick! :shrug:
Oh it's definitely better than most systems. I was mainly thinking about Fallout 4 when I commented on these dialogue approaches. That one was just horrendous.

Thing is, Geralt is a man of few words anyway, so they might as well have put the exact line he was going to say as part of the dialogue options and saved us all the trouble. But I guess it would be boring to read a line and then hear it spoken identically. Oh well.

Nope, I have no truck with card games besides poker, especially virtual ones (except in King of Cards where I can cheat =). I know it's supposed to be good but I'm already in a hurry here!
Hehe, fair enough. I consider gwent the best mini-game ever made and I'd definitely recommend it over other parts of the game, such Witcher contracts, which tend to be rather repetitive.
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
Thanks for the link. I heard about them extrapolating parts of the game, and I'd have preferred they remake the original as it was instead of having episodic releases with what might just be filler content. Here's hoping this approach will be worth it.

I actually have a digital copy of the original, and I played a little of it many years ago. Might just go back to that one if the first episode doesn't work out.
I think it would be worthwhile in any case, it's just a matter of if you have the time and it can still grab you. It obviously can't have the impact it did in the 90s, and my question is if this remake can come close to approximating it. They're certainly treating it like the biggest deal ever, and seemingly trying to achieve transcendence by sheer force of quantity at least, but we'll see if it effectively conveys that feeling or just comes off like this:


I may still go for Nioh 2, mainly to coop with friends and since I'm not into Doom. But yeah, the main event for Q1 this year for me is RE3, the first game I ever played on the PS1 (bad idea, I was only 8 :ganishka: ). Gonna play all the way through this time!
Nice, then that should be a traumatic/therapeutic experience for you! I'm probably going to wait and see on Nioh 2 because I definitely will be playing Doom Eternal, RE3, etc and have Witcher 3 in the meantime.

I'd still consider trying them out at some point. W3's probably the only game I played where the DLC is better than the base game.
Yeah, I'm considering it, especially if the DLC goes on sale, but the GOTY edition would probably be cheaper but not worth the time if I have to replay the base game. We'll see how it shakes out before late March and April when I have a lot more on my plate.

Oh it's definitely better than most systems. I was mainly thinking about Fallout 4 when I commented on these dialogue approaches. That one was just horrendous.
Ugh, yeah, it's not saving you time when you need to look up a walkthrough, or reload every scenario, to know how to get the result you want instead of just saying what you want to say to that end.

Thing is, Geralt is a man of few words anyway, so they might as well have put the exact line he was going to say as part of the dialogue options and saved us all the trouble. But I guess it would be boring to read a line and then hear it spoken identically. Oh well.
That's how it used to be though! At least then I would know if my choice was going to compliment or insult someone beforehand, or so we wouldn't need some dumbed down color coded wheel (green for nice, red for mean! =). Yeah, I miss old school Fallout or Bioware where it just told you your literal dialogue options verbatim.

Hehe, fair enough. I consider gwent the best mini-game ever made and I'd definitely recommend it over other parts of the game, such Witcher contracts, which tend to be rather repetitive.
I have like only two witcher contracts that I've just completely ignored. Now I kind of wish I'd tried Gwent early on when it would have been easier to learn, especially since you can bed someone (a secret goal with all eligible characters =) based on playing it, but nah, it'd probably double my play time and I'm just going to go with Yennifer anyway because she seems to be the canon choice and I'm a stickler for such things. I do appreciate allthe Gwent memes I see out there though.
 
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I’m about 20 hours into Grandia, and I just can’t take it anymore. It’s quite literally put me to sleep on more than one occasion. The game is very well made (I love the battle system and colorful graphics), but the story isn’t compelling to me at all. I think it’s time to move on.

Next up, I plan on finishing the last two scenarios of Resident Evil 2. I finished the first two several years ago, and loved them. I’m really looking forward to playing it again.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
I’m about 20 hours into Grandia, and I just can’t take it anymore. It’s quite literally put me to sleep on more than one occasion. The game is very well made (I love the battle system and colorful graphics), but the story isn’t compelling to me at all. I think it’s time to move on.
The story's strong points are its character chemistry and worldbuilding. It gets progressively larger and more "grandiose" in scope, and you really get to see all the epic stuff the game teases you with in the beginning. Otherwise, it's heavily grounded in common fantasy-adventure tropes. I'm curious how far you've managed to get in twenty hours. For me it took a long time to get the snowball rolling as I liked to explore (often unnecessarily) and exhaust all the NPC dialogue.
 
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