Double Jump’s 2020 Games!

Happy Thursday! Also, belated Merry Christmas! This week is flying by and so did 2019. I was in a gaming slump for most of it and while we don’t know too much about what 2020 will bring us, there are a few games announced that I’m looking forward to. 215 more words

via 2020 Games I’m Looking Forward To — Double Jump

Rachel from Double Jump posted a list of the 2020 games she wants to play! I am also excited for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The other games I am looking forward to are Cyberpunk 2077 and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2! Check out Rachel’s post here and let her know what games you want to play in 2020!

Christmas Games – Saints Row IV: How The Saints Saved Christmas

turned on red and blue merry christmas neon sign
Photo by Jameel Hassan on Pexels.com

This month has been stressful. I was struggling to feel the excitement of Christmas so I played this DLC from Saints Row IV hoping that maybe it could help me feel the “spirit of Christmas”. It actually did with a funny but heartwarming story!

Plot

Shaundi, a Saints Row member, comes from the future to state that the world is in a catastrophe. Christmas has been taken over by Claws and there is no more cheer left in the world. The President, the custom character you play as, has to save Christmas. But, The President doesn’t care about Christmas. So they’ll need to find the Christmas spirit to help save Christmas.

Favorite Parts

I loved the theme of finding the Christmas spirit since I needed to also find the excitement I usually feel around Christmas. The President starts out by not caring, but slowly begins to like Christmas as they help Santa Claus defeat Claws.

I also loved that the enemies became gingerbread man and nutcrackers because it was really funny! The jokes they made about Santa Claus were funny too like Mrs. Claus being an absolute badass when she was protecting the workshop from Claw’s army. She really was “decking the halls”.

Claws Boss Fight

The final boss fight with Claws was really adorable! He was invincible and you had to break his defenses by spreading Christmas cheer. This involved lighting the Menorah, throwing gifts to people, and finally throwing gifts at Claws. It wasn’t a hard boss fight, but the theme was really cute because you basically destroyed him with kindness! Also the gifts were stuff that the Saints Row members wanted.

Ending and Rewards

The game gave out several rewards for completing different levels in the DLC like a Christmas Dubstep weapon, Christmas costumes like Santa Claus, Christmas helpers such as Santa Claus and Claws will help you in the main game, and Christmas vehicles like you can ride a flying reindeer.

The ending was my favorite part. The last part to saving Christmas was spreading Christmas cheer! The final cutscene involved the Saints caroling, making snowmen, and celebrating Christmas while “Jingle Bell Rock” played. It just made me smile and I started singing along!

After completing the DLC, I unlocked an activity called The Genki Holiday Special. You have to use telekinesis to throw holiday themed items such as a Christmas tree through hoops while on a time limit. I loved that the raised the pitch of the announcer’s voices so they sounded like elves and I thought it was an adorable activity!

I also unlocked Naughty and Nice where I rode in a sleigh while delivering coal and gifts to Steelport. I loved that Santa and Mrs. Claus talked to me while I rode the sleigh because some of the dialogue was funny. I laughed when Mrs. Claus berated Santa for leaving her with the elves while he got to take a joy ride around the world.

Saints Row Christmas Spirit

I enjoyed how this game helped me feel the joy of Christmas! The DLC was just long enough to keep me entertained without stretching out the plot. Each level was funny and has adorable Christmas music. The outfits allowed me to run around Steelport as Santa or Santa’s elves. I loved that the ending was all about spreading Christmas cheer!

What games do you enjoy playing around Christmas?

 

Tales from the Backlog’s Memories of Majora’s Mask

Question. How do you terrify an eight year old into being afraid to touch a video game? If you are my older brother, just start up Banjo Kazooie. For me, it was the opening to Majora’s Mask. At the time, and maybe still to this day, this was one of the scariest openings that I […]

via Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 20: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask — Tales from the Backlog

I enjoyed reading Carlton from Tales From The Backlog’s post about Majora’s Mask! I actually did play the game as a kid once. When I was on vacation with my family, there was a N64 at the hotel because it was the popular console at the time. I remember playing Majora’s Mask and being terrified of it. I only played up until the flower puzzle, but I was so young I was struggling with it so I gave up. I remember being scared of the mask and I had not even seen the creepy moon yet! I got the 3DS remake so I can finally experience the whole game. Enjoy Carlton’s post here and let him know your memories of playing Majora’s Mask!

Why I Love The Witcher Series: The Witcher

snow capped mountains under the cloudy skies
Photo by Stephan Seeber on Pexels.com

I finished The Witcher: Enhanced Edition this week. I really enjoyed seeing how the games first started and loved the story!

Plot

This picks up from where the books ended. Geralt was killed by a human, but then comes back to life. The catch is he has completely lost his memory. He spends time at Kaer Morhen trying to regain his memory when it is attacked by the Professor, Jevad, and the Salamandra. They steal the Witcher mutagens and disappear. Geralt must find out why they took the mutagens and stop their plans. This plot has many twists including my favorite which is what the mutagens are for, but I really do not want to spoil the extended plot.

Combat

This combat does get negative reception and was why I was initially hesitant to play this game. On Easy, it is not too difficult. Basically the sword combat is like a rhythm game. Clicking on the enemy with a sword icon will trigger combat. You select your sword and fighting style (Strong, Fast, or Group) and begin fighting. Geralt will automatically start to swing, and you ONLY click the mouse when the sword icon turns into a fiery sword. Too early or too late and Geralt will not chain combos and cannot attack.

On top of that, this game is really picky about you using potions. The other games I would forget and be fine, but not this one. Even on easy, you need to use potions on boss fights and certain quests or you can die pretty quickly.

World

The world is set up into chapters. Each chapter will bring you to a level with maps. These maps will have quests. The maps were a good size. They were not too big or too small. Despite it’s age, the world was still really pretty. I generally liked the worlds that I explored except the swamp because the map was really confusing and the enemies were tough in that map.

Quests

The quests are similar to the other games. I did not find contracts as fun as in this game contracts are mainly kill x amount of creatures, get some material off creatures, get reward. The interesting part about contracts was that you needed to read books to get Bestiary entries to fight monsters.

This games does have some really great side quests though. I enjoyed “Beauty and the Beast” where I helped a woman cure her lover. She wanted him to no longer be a werewolf and you try magic, potions, but true love is what breaks the curse. That was an adorable ending!

“Blue Eyes” involves The Witcher choosing between The Order and the vampires. A knight is looking for his lost sister. I find her at The House of The Queen of the Night and she seems content and happy. I tell the knight what is going on and he insists she’s under a spell. I meet The Queen of the Night and she is a vampire. She tells me that the girl is happy and loved there; she was rescued by The Queen of the Night. The knight was mistreating her and just wanted to set her up with some guy she didn’t love. The Queen of the Night has given her luxury and peace. The knight appears and I am forced to choose sides. I chose The Queen of the Night’s side and Blue Eyes thanked me because she felt safer there than with her brother.

Themes

Identity

Geralt has lost his memory so a major theme of the game is his identity. What’s interesting is you get to choose his identity and there’s actually a quest called “Identity.”  Certain dialogue choices you make will influence the quest. My Geralt went after the Salamandra for personal reasons, chose the Scoia’tael because he believed in their cause for equal rights, and loved Triss. Geralt’s identity is shaped by the choices you make.

Morality

In this game, the major moral choice, is Scoia’tael, the Order, or neutral. Yaevin leads the Scoia’tael who are fighting against how the humans treat the nonhumans in Vizima. The Order are fighting the Scoia’tael because they have hurt humans. They are also monster hunters like Geralt. I chose the Scoia’tael for this game because I want them to have equal rights. The Order also has issues with racism against nonhumans and their leader is a problem in this game. I cannot say why because it is a major spoiler, but he is.

Who are the real monsters?

The Witcher slays monsters, but sometimes he meets evil people that are like monsters. Chapter 1 is a major example. The Witcher goes to a town where a Beast is leading barghest that are killing people. I offered to slay the Beast and that’s when things got interesting. This Beast only comes when people have committed vile acts. Well this town is full of evil people who have done terrible things like murder. Not only that, but they blame a witch named Abigail for their suffering and attempt to burn her.

Interesting Start to The Witcher Games

I did really love this game! I would encourage anyone who is interested to see how the games started play this game. But, there were technical issues in Chapter 5. The game is old and for some reason was having trouble with all the enemies on the screen during the Vizima battle so it would crash. Luckily, setting the graphics to low fixed it until the fight  scenes was over which ended after I did a couple of main quests. Still, I played the game for 70 hours and only had trouble during not even one hour of gameplay.

I also love how this game foreshadows The Wild Hunt. He is an optional final boss in the game and I encountered him during a side quest in Chapter 1. He’s a creepy looking ghost with a long skeleton face. You can fight him as a final boss depending on what you do with the main villain of the game. I do really love this game for it’s story (especially during the later stages), the introduction to major characters like Triss, and the choices in the game.

Have you played The Witcher? What are your opinions on The Witcher games?

 

Adventure Rules Thoughts on Pokemon

Hobbits of Hyrule asks: what do I think of the Pokemon designs in each generation? Such a timely question as I make my way through Pokemon Sword!

via Pokemon Designs Throughout the Generations (Charming and Open) — Adventure Rules

I enjoyed this nostalgic post from Ian of Adventure Rules. I grew up with Pokemon: Red and also played Pokemon: FireRed so I have always loved the first three especially Charmander.

I do not remember much from the other titles especially since I never owned a DS. I bought the 3DS in college so I chose Fennekin as my starter in Pokemon: Y and Rowlett for Pokemon: Moon.

Finally for the Switch, I chose Scorbunny. Scorbunny was so cute and I tend to go for fire types. I think Rowlett was my only exception but that’s because I really like owls!

Check out Ian’s article here and enjoy looking back at the starters from your favorite Pokemon games!

Why I Love The Witcher Series: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings

war chess
Photo by Gladson Xavier on Pexels.com

I bought The Witcher 2 not too long after I finished The Witcher 3.  There are several similarities to The Witcher 3 such as the combat, side quests, and contracts. The two big differences were graphics which were unique due to the bright lightning and younger looking Geralt and the world is basically separated into small sections and chapters. There’s no massive world to explore, you just stay in one area at a time. It was still nice to explore the area since they still had a good amount of depth to them! leader

Plot

The game begins with Geralt being accused of murdering Foltest even though he helped Foltest and then being tasked with finding out who is the kingslayer. There is also the subplot of  continuing to get back Geralt’s memory after he lost his memory at the beginning of the first game.

Characters

Iorveth and Roche

These characters are basically the two sides you pick in the game. Iorveth is the leader of the Scoia’tael, the elves fighting against the humans, while Roche is a leader of Temerian’s Blue Stripes army. If you choose Iorveth, you are siding with the non-humans and their cause and if you choose Roche, you care choosing to side with the humans.

Saskia

She is known as the Dragonslayer, but she is actually a dragon. Phillipa controls her through a spell throughout the game and is the only one that cure her of the spell. If the spell is not lifted, Saskia will die in battle.

Phillipa

She is the leader of the Lodge of Sorceresses. She loses her sight in this game due the Redanian king. If Geralt helps her, she will help him save Saskia. She is also behind the assassination.

Sile

Sile is a powerful sorceress whom Geralt first meets when he helps her kill a Kayran. She was a major part of the king’s assassination. She forces Saskia to fight for her when she is trapped by The Flaming Rose (knights who hunt monsters, but are also against magic and non-humans) . Geralt can choose to spare her at the end of the game if he decides to warn her that Letho tampered with her teleportation device.

Letho

The kingslayer who is also a Witcher. He is the major antagonist of the second game and will only appear in the third game if you spare him. The reason he does all this was because he was hired by Nilfgaard who promised they would rebuild his Witcher school if he helped them.

Morality

The Witcher 2 has moral choices that affect the story depending on what you choose. The first major one that reflects the majority of the game is choosing humans or the Scoia’tael. The Witcher is between the two, he is human but also considered non-human by other humans. The humans put non-humans in separate locations and hurl racist insults at them. The Scoia’tael want equality, but they achieve this through violence such as destroying towns. I ended up sided with the Scoia’tael because I wanted them to have the same equal rights as humans especially after I saw the nonhumans being slaughtered by humans.

The second major choice is what to do with Letho. On one hand, he kidnapped Triss, he killed the king, and you really do not get his story until the last act. But, if you listen to his story, he was hired in exchange for his Witcher school being rebuilt (which was never going to actually happen). He was tricked and does not realize this until nearing the end. I chose to spare him.

Other major choices involve Phillipa and Saskia. Phillipa loses her eyesight during this game and you can choose to help her when she loses her sight. Saskia is a dragon who is forced to rampage on towns. You can choose to kill her for being a “monster” or save her. I saved both her and Phillipa.

Aged like Fine Wine

Despite it’s age and lacking the massive open world of the third game, this game was really good. The emotional story with multiple choices and multiple endings made for a thrilling adventure. The story caught my attention from the beginning to the end. I loved the art style of the game and I also like the smaller worlds to explore. I highly recommend trying this game if you’ve beaten The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

What did you think of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings? What do you think of the struggle between humans and nonhumans in The Witcher games? Would you spare Letho?

Later Levels’ Lessons From Video Games On Self-Care

Pushing forward with the main quest and levelling up, while getting distracted by side-missions and conversations with non-player characters (NPCs) along the way. Am I talking about an RPG or real-life here? Things can get pretty hectic in both the digital and physical world, and sometimes it’s important to take time out for yourself. Self-care […]

via Self-care ideas from video games — Later Levels

I love this post by Kim from Later Levels that focuses on self-care! I have anxiety so I try to practice self-care to keep myself calm. Combining self-care with video games is a really fun topic! I love doing several of these things like reading a book, hanging out with friends, and talking with friends really helps me with stress. Read Kim’s post here and let her know some of the self-care ideas you’ve learned from video games.

Why I Love The Witcher Series: Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

white wolf on floor
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I have been a fan of The Witcher since I decided to pick up The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt  when I saw that I could get the complete edition for $20. I did not know too much about the game beforehand. All I knew about the game came from watching Conan reacting to The Witcher 3 and he was mainly focused on the unicorn scene. After playing it for myself, I saw a beautiful world filled with lore, complex characters, and a thrilling story.  After buying The Witcher Enhanced Edition  on Steam, starting the novels, and knowing that The Witcher Netflix series is coming out this month, I have decided to write a series of posts about The Witcher starting with the first game I played.

Characters

Geralt

This game is full of amazing characters! I love Geralt. At first, his voice seemed dry, but I began to love his humor and wit. I also love how much he cared for Ciri.

Ciri

Ciri is also a fun character. She has a strong personality that starts with her as a child. I enjoyed playing as her as well because her combat was really fast.

Triss and Yen

Triss and Yen are also amazing. I am really impressed by how women are represented in The Witcher 3. Triss and Yen are both strong sorceresses. Triss has more of a fiery personality and she is in all three of the games. Yen is introduced in this game, but I love how mature she was. She is a motherly figure to Ciri and she was very independent. Even though she is helping Geralt find Ciri, she is following her own path. She is also extremely intelligent.

Dandelion and Zoltan

Dandelion and Zoltan are Geralt’s main companions. Dandelion also writes in the journal entries of the game. I noticed immediately how much he flattered himself. He definitely fits the bard stereotype with his ego (especially when it comes to his ego about his writing and poetry), but he also truly cares about his friends. Zoltan is a dwarf who is strong, bold, and caring. He is not afraid to speak his mind and he has fought and survived many battles.  He really looks after Geralt even it just means having Geralt sit down and have a drink with him.

Story

The main plot is mostly about finding Ciri and stopping The Wild Hunt. But, there are also multiple plots that overlap such as the Bloody Baron’s story and King Radovid’s hatred of non-humans. These plots also come with multiple endings and finally the final ending. So you can play through the game multiple times to find different ending to both main and side quests.

There are also a ton of side quests in this game. I don’t even think I finished all of them in my first playthrough. There are story side quests, treasure side quests where you find gear or gear sets, and contracts where you kill monsters.

The nice part is that despite having two previous games, the game does its best to explain what it can to you. There are backstories in journal entries. You can choose your own story that happened in The Witcher 2 even if you’ve never played it. Characters like Triss that appeared in all the games are fully developed in this game. I understand more about the characters and the lore now that I am playing the previous games and reading the books, but this game still did a great job at making this a good game for first players.

Humor

This game is really funny. Geralt’s dry humor really makes me laugh. The first time he really made me laugh was when he met a scholar at the first inn who listed his various titles and Geralt said he was a “Witcher. With tenure”. I also love the scene where he gets drunk at Kaer Morhen.

I also love the scenes with the trolls especially the troll named Trololo. The name was funny enough  but he also sings and just randomly says “Trollololo”. There was also a funny scene where Philippa is an owl and Zoltan thinks she’s a real owl so he gives her a perch to sit on and wants the owl to  learn to speak and play gwent.

Massive World to Explore

There are five main locations in this game: White Orchard, Vizima, Novigard, Skellige,  and Kaer Morhen. They all have different environment, different people, and different cultures. Even within the maps themselves there are differences such as the poorer towns outside of a castle.

The worlds have maps full of questions marks where you can explore and find treasures, caves, or monster dens. The monsters in the worlds are full of variety. There are journal entries for each monster so you can learn about them and how to fight them. Some of these monsters were genuinely terrifying like the Leshy.

Combat

The combat mainly consists of using swords, but there is also a crossbow for flying monsters and underwater monsters. I loved the swords because they are so fluid. I also love the movements with the pirouettes. It makes the swordplay almost look like a deadly dance.

I also love the use of signs like Igni for fire and Quen for shield. They can be used in combat or dialogue.

Finally alchemy is a major component in battle. Making potions can strengthen weapons, heal Geralt, or be used against monsters.

Expansions

The main game also comes with two massive expansions that are almost like two separate games.

Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone centers around vampires. You have to fight against Olgried Von Everec who cannot die. It also features a literal toad prince boss which was funny due to the concept, but awful to fight.

Blood and Wine

This gives an official ending to The Witcher games. Geralt is set to find out who the monster is that is killing guards by the ruler of Toussaint.  Geralt inherits a vineyard for his help and this world is a whole new map. I love owning a vineyard while also exploring this high fantasy world.

First Witcher Game

I really loved this game and consider it one of my favorite games of all time. It also got me to play the other games on Steam and get the novels so I could get more background on Geralt and the other character.

Was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt your first Witcher game? Have you played the other games or read the novels? Are you looking forward to the Netflix show?