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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:29:29     -    The Witcher (PC)

    Gamelog entry #2:

    Gameplay
    After playing The Witcher for another hour or so, feel as though I can only enjoy it more and more. As the story keeps unfolding the more I play, I feel more and more connected with Geralt and each of the characters I've come across. The combat system is also very well integrated, with a wide array of weapons and combat styles to choose from.

    One thing that is unique to the gameplay of The Witcher is the social aspect of the game. Geralt can have “special relations” with certain female characters who are crucial to the storyline, as well as those who are more “common” and “experienced” folk. This not only gets you more leeway with those characters, but it can also negatively affect your reputation with others. Another thing I noticed is the women are usually buxomly, and often talk about their husbands beating them. One thing I found ironic, and rather humorous, was a casual conversation between two housewives in the market who were talking about the best way to get rid of your husband if he beats you. One argued that a frying pan works better than a broom, and the other heartily agreed.

    Fighting in The Witcher is different from other RPGs, it is much more action oriented. Geralt has three types of sword attacks, each with its own characteristics, and each can be chosen on-the-fly. There are the Fast, Strong, and Group fighting styles. The Fast style almost guarantees a hit, but it does dramatically less damage than the other two. The Strong style has much less of a chance of hitting, but it deals a large amount of damage, and the Group style consists mostly of wide and circular swings with the sword, effectively hitting every enemy surrounding Geralt.

    DESIGN:
    The Witcher has some very innovative aspects for an RPG. The dynamic weather and time systems integrate seamlessly. There is also a system of alchemy and potion making which is required for great success. The game’s economy is also well designed. The most innovative part of The Witcher, however, is the incredibly advanced time delay consequence system, which I have not seen in any other RPG.
    The dynamic environment is excellently designed, both graphically and systematically. Time moves at a constant rate, and the only way to advance long hours is to meditate in front of a fireplace or at an inn. Meditation is when Geralt upgrades skills, makes potions, and heals. Depending on what the time is, different people will be in different places, and certain events only occur at certain times. There is also a weather system that not only affects the way the game looks, but what the NPCs do in game. For example, when it starts raining, the streets get muddy, and all of the NPCs run to cover from the rain, except the children, who love to play in the puddles.

    Alchemy plays a big role in The Witcher, and unless you are playing on Beginner Mode, you will need potions to survive. Potions have a wide variety of uses, such as health and magic regeneration, gaining the ability to see in the dark, and getting rid of drunkenness. Yes, you can drink in The Witcher, and it does negatively affect your function, but it also has its benefits. Some characters won’t even talk to you unless you get them drunk. Others only like a certain type of alcohol, and refuse to even speak to you until you fork over their favorite Dwarven Stout or Nilfgaardian Lemon.

    The Witcher is the first RPG I have ever played that hasn’t left me with a FULL WALLET (which is one of the most annoying things when I pick up coins only to realize there is no room left in my stupidly sized wallet…….. looking at you Zelda series…). I have had trouble buying new weapons, so I’ve still got my original Witcher’s sword and I alternate steel swords that I pick up from enemy’s dead bodies.

    The unique time delay consequence system that the creators of The Witcher pride themselves on is what makes the game so truly unique from other RPGs. Choices that you make in the beginning of the game follow you throughout the entirety of the game. Sometimes a decision can take several quests to return an outcome, and some can even take hours. One thing that is worth pointing out is that most of the decisions in The Witcher aren’t between good and evil, but consist more of a grey scale of morality, where you pick the least sinful person to side with.

    Overall, The Witcher is an amazing RPG, which is one of the best designed RPGs I’ve played in a while. I plan to complete the game in its entirety, and I have heard that it is got tons of hours of gameplay.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:02:34     -    The Witcher (PC)

    Gamelog Session #1
    The Witcher (PC)

    SUMMARY:
    The Witcher, developed by CD Projekt RED STUDIO [Poland], is a Role-Playing-Game for PC. Your character, Geralt of Rivia, is a Witcher, a monster hunter for hire, and you travel the world vanquishing the evils within. You travel throughout the land of Vizima, a medieval civilization with humans, elves, dwarves, and monsters. The game offers a dynamic storyline, with your decisions affecting the world around you.

    GAMEPLAY:
    The story of The Witcher starts out with Geralt (you) waking up in a medieval castle. Fortunately for you, Geralt has suffered a stroke of amnesia, which has blocked out every memory that Geralt has ever had (note: that was sarcasm). You are "healed" (ever so tenderly) by Triss, a sorceress who is your long time friend, and after a massive attack on your hideout, Triss teleports you into a small peasant village outside a main city to find out more about the attack. Aside from doing several side quests, Geralt can progress through the complex storyline by doing the "Main Quests". Initially, the side quests involve only low-paying contracts, but after you get into the rich part of the city, the contracts become worth more and more money.

    In the peasant's village, you can't help but feel depressed by the amount of poverty the villagers live in. Twiggy wooden houses, dirty torn clothes, and wailing elderly women only contribute to this feeling. Not only do they live in constant economic misery from the Kingdom, but there is a witch who is plaguing the village with a beast. At first, this is all you know, mostly due to the fact that you only talk to the high priest of the village at first. He exploits the fears of the villagers and collects donations to protect the village from the beast, who he claims is summoned by the witch. This is where the dynamic storyline takes off. You can decide to either blindly follow the orders of the high priest, or you can investigate for yourself and talk to the witch. I chose to use logic and basic investigation skills to figure out why the beast was harassing the village. After my investigation, I decided that the high priest's corruption was causing the beast, which was attracted to sin. After vanquishing the beast, and confronting the high priest in front of the town about his lies, he attacked the witch and me using the town as his peons. This is just one example of TheWitcher's dynamic storyline, as I could also have just killed the witch, and the future of the game would have been dramatically different.

    Social status plays a big role in The Witcher. Naturally, the non-normal characters are looked down upon by the humans, as is the case in most societies in real life. Being a mutant, Geralt is often looked at with great disgust by the rich upper class, thought unpleasant to be around by the middle class, and respected by the poor villagers. There are also numerous occurrences in the storyline which affect your social status amongst your friends. You are given numerous choices to choose between several paths. For example, at one point, you must choose who to side with; Thaler, a merchant who helps you figure out certain parts of your past through the game, or with a Royal Knight, (who you later find out he forges royal edicts) who wants Thaler out of his way, so he shows up with a royal edict to imprison Thaler. I decided to side with Thaler, and the group of Royal Knights associated with that incident no longer will talk to me. An earlier event played out the same way, when I sided with a group of Scoi'tel (non-human freedom fighters) against a band from the Order of the Flaming Rose, who sought to rid the "non-human plague" from Vizima. After that incident, the Order, who originally wanted me to work with them, would no longer deal with me.

    For the first session of gameplay, I thought The Witcher to be one of the better RPGs I've played. The gameplay is somewhat common for an RPG, with long sequences of exploration through one of two types of area, safe or dangerous. The Witcher excels in its plot, however. With very little embedded narrative in the beginning, as you progress throughout the game, more and more story is revealed to you, and more characters come into play, and more places are visited. The story is so compelling, in fact, that two of my floormates always watch me play The Witcher, so they can watch the story as it unfolds, and get angry when I play without them.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 02:29:59     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Entry #2

    GAMEPLAY:
    The second session of gameplay made me fall in love with Super Smash Bros all over again. The intensity as you struggle to get yourself back on the stage, or when you curse at your opponent for being an "edge camper" as you vow vengeance in the next life (which takes only a few short moments) is unmatched in any other multiplayer game. As you progress through single-player, you start unlocking new characters and maps to play on, which is a nice reward for your hard "work." Super Smash Bros continues to be the exact opposite of a stale old game, still being fun to play after 8 years.

    Gameplay in SSB is still a heart-pounding action-packed slugfest that can only be made better by incorporating the best of Nintendo's characters. There are very few and far between stop points in SSB, usually only when there are two players left and one of them getsKO'd . It is nearly impossible to not be involved in the main brawl in SSB unless you actively avoid conflict, which usually gets people saying "Ok, I'm goin after you then" and winds up with certain doom. The timing and coordination of moves, dodges, rolls, and smashes (more powerful than a basic attack) is beautiful to watch, and even better to be a part of. The only thing that you can do after winning an intense battle is stand up and dance for your victory, and try not to yank the cord out of the console.

    The unlockable characters are somewhat better than the original counterparts, but they still have their weaknesses, such as slower but more powerful attacks, which can be stopped or avoided by a quick punch or dodge. Captain Falcon is my favorite character to use in SSB, and with good reason. He is one of the fastest characters, with a nice combination of powerful attacks and artful maneuvers. He also holds the all-powerful "Falcon Punch," which is a move that, if mastered, can send your opponent flying off the back end of the stage before they can even scratch you. There are alsounlockable stages, which add to the excellent level selection, which range from nice and open battleground to skinny platform mayhem.

    DESIGN:

    Super Smash Bros is one of the best designed games for the N64. Not so much in amazing graphics, like most modern games do, but in innovation of the world you play. The innovative items system is brilliant, and often requires your attention as soon as an item drops. Items can be anything from the mega-destructive Hammer (from the original Donkey Kong), to the always needed Maximum Tomato (from the Kirby universe) or Shimmering Heart (from the Zelda universe). This brings about another brilliant design aspect of SSB, in that it ties in a vast majority of Nintendo's universe into one game.


    The levels also play into the Nintendo theme, and take place in other Nintendo universes, which broadens the field you can play through generations of games. One of my all-time favorite levels is from the Pokemon universe, atop a tower where Pokemon randomly pop their heads out of the stairwell door and perform a move. You also travel to the Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, and Starfox universes, with each of the levels displaying the main theme of the game through music and events.

    Super Smash Bros has one of the most challenging enemies known, a human. Granted, the level 9 CPU (the AI has 9 different levels, each one harder than the last) is somewhat challenging, it can't hold a candle to a human. This creates a massive combination of play methods and unique conflict for each person who challenges you. This also makes the game much more interesting the longer you play, as you can learn new combos and techniques to use to achieve victory. This human element may also help bring players together to defeat a common enemy (or the opposing team while doing a Team Battle).

    Overall, Super Smash Bros for the Nintendo 64 is still one of my all time favorite games. Not only is it fun to play, its design is quite revolutionary for its 2D-fighting genre, which is plagued by button mashers and boring sword/ninja/magician/old man beat-em-ups.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:38:33     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Gamelog: Super Smash Bros (N64)

    SUMMARY:
    Super Smash Bros is by far one of the best games for the Nintendo 64. Published by HAL Laboratory, it was also one of the first fighting games for the Nintendo 64 console. As with most fighting games, the main goal ifSSB is to KO your opponent. However, it is not by conventional means, but by a unique system in which there is no set amount of health, but rather a percentage of damage that rises with each hit. The higher your percentage is, the farther and farther you fly each time you get hit, until you fly off of the map.


    GAMEPLAY:
    For the first hour of re-playing Super Smash Bros (I practically grew up with this game) I enjoyed reminiscing with all the fond memories of the crap-tastic graphics and comical sound effects that made this such a great game. SSB doesn't really have much of a plot or storyline to it, except that you play as one of 12 of Nintendo's many characters, and you beat the crap out of everyone else. Single player, while fun and a good way to get better, gets very repetitive very fast, but I believe thatSSB was more so designed to be a multiplayer game, in which it has excelled.

    The 12 (8 originally, you have to unlock the extra 4) characters that you are able to choose give you a nice history of Nintendo games, with such characters as (obviously) Mario, Donkey Kong, Kirby,Pikachu, Link, and Samus. Each of the characters has his or her own special abilities and weaknesses. Mario, as he is in all other Nintendo multiplayer games, is an all-around good person, with average skills in ranged, throwing, and melee abilities. Samus on the other hand, has a beam weapon which she must charge for a certain amount of time before it becomes of any real use. This wide-array of character selection is an excellent step ahead from the usual everyone-is-the-exact-same-copy-of-one-another fighter game, which is another reason why I enjoy this game so much. In addition to the characters you can play, as you progress through the single-player stages, you encounter a polygon army of "dark world" copies of your characters, and a "master hand" who is the final boss. His moves are somewhat comical and well designed. For example, for one of the moves, he extends his two fingers and thumb in a gun shape, and shoots large bullets at you.

    Multiplayer is where this game truly shines, as it has been the subject of many tournaments and friendly dorm-room virtual brawls over the past 8 years. There are two game modes that can be played, with wide variations on those modes. The default setting is a timed battle, in which you and up to 4 other players duke it out for a set amount of time, and the one with the most KO's wins at the end. If there is a tie, it goes into sudden death mode, where the remaining players start with 300% damage (where a basic punch will send you flying). The second mode is "Stock" mode, where you have X amount of lives (anywhere from 1 to 99, which can get really fun/ridiculous) and whoever stays alive the longest wins. This mode is my preferred mode, as it allows for players to get eliminated, which can cause rivalries in the next round of play.

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    1Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS)Finished playing
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    3Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)Stopped playing - Something better came along
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