Back in July we hit Cache Canyon for some rafting. Jes and I survived the day after the Southwest computerpocalypse and barely survived the insane temperatures.
(Rafting photos from Cache Canyon River Tours social media).
League of Sport: pool volleyball
Erik hosted the annual League of Sport cookout, this time featuring pool volleyball. I brought along the underwater housing and threw on a yellow filter to color correct for some underwater shots. As it turns out, I mostly shot above the surface, so there's a fun postapocalyptic vibe.
Our beach vball house rule is that game point is a jump serve. Here it meant a divingboard or slide serve:
Otherwise it was classic fun. Hot weather, warm pool, burgers, chips, brews.
Witcher 3: the best sloppily-made game I have ever played
"WTF sacrilege! Witcher 3 is an epic!"
Okay, let's beef. But also shower the game in praise.
The graphics are a bit dated. They're not bad, and there are definitely some cool weather/lighting/camera effects, but there isn't much done to cover up the obvious sprites and low-polygon models.
Character control is disasterous. I want to believe they were going for a realistic modeling of momentum and conveyeing the need for anticipation (in swordplay especially). Other games have done this, but pulled it off with much more success. So what was probably intended to be a fighting system with more depth than 'mash square' becomes just that.
Don't wander off the road on horseback. You'll get caught in a tree, rock, fence, whatever. In many third-person games you seem to glide off hard edges so movement is both smooth and realistic (personally irl I don't intentionally smack into a tree branch). Witcher provides no such help, any stray object will stop you or Roach (your horse) dead in your tracks.
Activate. If you want to activate something or pick something up you need to aim just right. And I'm not talking center of mass, but at just the right spot to get the activate prompt. And once or twice I've accidentally examined something while attempting to dodge, resulting in a significant hp loss and the sheathing of my sword. You don't want to bring fists to an acid-vomit fight.
Load. I want to believe the long load times are a punishment for sucking. Unfortunately, it's really easy to suck. For example, you can run into a lower-level enemy that will two-hit you unless you know the mind control spell makes them docile.
The voice acting is pretty good for the main cast. For the bit parts, it just falls off a cliff. The music is pretty good, but the tracks are short and don't loop well, so you definitely notice.
The aesthetics are hit and miss. The game really goes out of its way to be gruesome, but in a viscerally repulsive way, rather than with just gore. A Resident Evil game will shower you in guts, a Silent Hill will make you afraid of the fog, Witcher gives you morbidly obese witches with flies buzzing around their basket-covered heads.
On the opposite end of things, they really don't spare the adult content. But where (unmodded) Skyrim was fairly bland in this regard, and Mass Effect and Dragon Age were sexy beyond their graphical capability, Witcher 3's naughtiness is just kind of cringey.
That said, the world of Witcher 3 is gorgeous.
As a witcher, your character is a bit of a badass (novel, eh?). You carry two swords (for monsters and humans), you can craft potions, cast spells, and you have heightened senses that help you complete quests by holding down a button and seeing red highlights.
I'm just now level 12, but I'm getting the feeling the main quest was somewhat phone-in. The plot seems to be to find your old apprentice. The subplots have invariably been: go to a place where someone may have seen her, do them a favor in exchange for them telling you to check somewhere else. Sometimes these favors require going to another npc and doing a favor for them in order to complete the original favor.
In contrast, the side quests are fairly unique and involve dialogue and scripted events (rather than a thing that says go raid this dungeon).
Monster hunting is pretty cool. It doesn't have the depth or focus of Shadow of the Colossus, but it feels fresh to be in a world that has all of the legendary creatures. Like all of them. And I don't mean all the colors of dragons. Basilisks, chimeras, wyverns, werewolves, chupacabres... the lot.
Most of the merchants you run into will throw down a few bones for a hand of Gwent, the in-game card game. While the game itself isn't particularly deep, you build your deck as you progress through the game, keeping it pretty fresh (like a mild Dominion).
I finally have my first prime warframe. Happy that it's Nyx (the mind control warframe). My first prime melee weapon, Orthos, is ready as well, though I have yet to take it for a spin.
In the meantime, J and I have worked on some quests and run into some more crazy abilities.
Longship Brewery hadn't yet opened for the Camp'n'crawl II, but it's there now. They don't have a huge lineup, but the tasting room is nice (and has Axis and Allies).
MoPA was running a couple cool exhibits, including a realtime photocollage.
Derrick and I have the corner/window office pretty well dialed in, I think.
Saturday I put the remodeled media room to good use with some socially-responsible zombie killing. The Last of Us Pt II was released on Friday; the long-awaited follow up to a game that ranked third on J's all time list and fell just behind Metal Gear ...