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    denverharward's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4)

    [January 24, 2017 12:28:14 AM]
    Today I played through the conclusion of the Hearts of Stone Expansion for the Witcher 3. In this quest I was faced with a major decision that directly determined the fate of Olgierd von Everec. When I first met Olgierd, I knew little about him besides the fact that he was the charismatic leader of a band of outlaws who seemed to be responsible for the deaths of at least a few innocents. I soon learned that he was blessed (or rather, cursed) with immortality; Nothing could kill him. Gaunter O'Dimm, also known as "Master Mirror" was a mysterious individual whom I first met at a small inn at the very outset of The Witcher 3's main story. At the behest of O'Dimm, who had cursed me with a strange scar upon our second meeting after freeing me from the Ofieri who had captured me, I helped Olgierd to fulfill 3 wishes which initially seemed impossible. In accomplishing the third task (bringing him the rose he gave as a parting gift to his now dead wife, Iris) I subsequently learned of Olgierd's dark past. The grief of Iris' spirit was so powerful that she had created a realm within a painting and now lived in this strange world between worlds. Her distorted memories showed how over time Olgierd had developed a heart of stone, becoming more distant and uncaring towards his wife in his pursuit of unlimited power, a pursuit that robbed him of all his emotions. After defeating Iris' fears incarnate and awakening her fully I was able to obtain the violet rose as proof that Olgierd's third wish had been fulfilled. Now I was left with a significant choice: I could either allow Olgierd's soul to be claimed by Master Mirror, and have a wish of my own granted in return, or wager my own soul and attempt to defeat him to save Olgierd's life. I chose the latter, taking pity on Olgierd despite his deplorable actions. I was forced to enter the mirror world and solve O'Dimm's riddle to defeat him. After accomplishing this difficult task, O'Dimm vanished with a scream of rage, gone for now but perhaps not forever. Olgierd's emotions and mortality immediately returned and he was overcome with remorse for what he had done. I consoled him, saying that perhaps Iris would have forgiven him for what he had done to her. He gave me his family's prized heirloom, a saber he had named "Iris" after his late wife, and walked off into the sunrise, a free and mortal man. I found the consequences to my actions and the resolution to this story to be extremely satisfying, and in line with the other 2 parts of The Witcher 3 in terms of storytelling and the realism of its moral dilemmas.
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    [January 22, 2017 08:23:14 PM]
    Today I played the quest "The Whispering Hillock," and the larger story quest "Ladies of the Wood" (of which The Whispering Hillock is a subquest). My larger objective in this part of the story was to find the wife and daughter of the Bloody Baron who had gone missing, in order to gain information on Ciri's whereabouts from him in exchange. This is a bit morally dubious as he is neither an honest nor a very "good" man, although he ultimately does care about his family despite driving them away and causing them pain. I learned some disturbing details about his drinking problem and marital strife, and had to help magically resolve the sinister result of an unwanted pregnancy. Specifically in the Whispering Hillock portion of the quest line, I encountered a seemingly evil spirit living inside a macabre tree on a hilltop. After talking to the tree spirit, I decided to free it rather than kill it, and had to gather a few items to do so: a womanís remains, a ravenís feather, and a black wild horse. I already had the raven feather from Johnny's nest, and the others were easy enough to find. As a result of freeing the spirit, it helped the orphans of Crookback Bog escape and avoid being sacrificed by the three crones of the bog. The unfortunate side effect that accompanied this was that Gran (secretly the wife of the Bloody Baron) was punished by the crones for her complicity in these events.
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    [January 19, 2017 11:27:36 PM]
    Tonight I played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is one of my all time favorite games and literary adaptations. Looking at the game as a whole, Iím impressed by how effectively and creatively it presents moral dilemmas along with the consequences that follow. I love how Iíll be traversing the game world and will see its populace subtly affected by the choices Iíve made, whether itís the smoldering ruins of a village, a familiar face whose life I previously decided to spare, or Redanian soldiers harassing a group of unfortunate nonhumans, unopposed. CD Projekt REDís use of visual storytelling techniques really helps set The Witcher games apart in their genre of epic fantasy and in the video game industry as a whole.
    During my playtime, I specifically pursued the side quest ďIn the Heart of the Woods.Ē This takes place in a small village on one of the isles of the Nordic kingdom, Skellige. It is an investigation mission that I began by meeting a group of villagers at the edge of a dense forest, standing around a mangled body. I was asked for help by two of them, one a young and somewhat charismatic man named Sven, the other a white-haired village elder named Harald. I quickly learned that the forest harbored a powerful spirit, which Sven presented as a violent menace that had plagued the village for years, and the villagers agreed that it was almost certainly at the hands of this beast that the poor sap at their feet had met his end. Conversely, Harald insisted that the woodland spirit was an omniscient guardian and pleaded with me not to try to hunt and kill it (a somewhat unconventional request, as hunting and killing monsters is what witchers are primarily known, and indeed employed, for).
    After a little detective work I guessed that the spirit was a relict (an ancient creature of legend) and specifically a leshen. It seemed to me that its fate was directly tied to that of the forest. At this point I should mention a complication: The only way to complete the Griffin School Armor set I had been working on crafting and upgrading for some time was to obtain a mutagen from an ancient leshen, and the only way to do this would be to kill it. In addition to this, I learned that the leshen had likely marked one of the villagers with its magic and would not leave the villagers in peace until this person had been killed or banished from their midst. I discovered that this person was a young washerwoman named Hilde. I told Sven as much and convinced him to banish her rather than take an innocent life, although in this harsh world this may have been a small comfort indeed.
    Now I was faced with the decision to fight the leshen, or do as Harald had recommended and perform sacrifices at its shrines within the forest to appease its righteous anger. Selfishly, I decided that my personal progress was more important than any of the villagersí desires, and the course ahead was clear. I brewed a couple of potions to help me in what was sure to be a bitter struggle, coated my silver sword with Relict Oil, and meditated until nightfall. A full, swollen moon shone down upon me as I opened my catlike eyes. After drinking the potions, I stood and walked calmly forward, disappearing into the trees. I sought out the first of the leshenís shrines, an easy enough task as they were tall, impressive wooden constructs decorated with the bones of woodland animals. After easily slaying the white wolves that appeared to protect the shrine from my ill intent, I invoked the Igni sign and burned it to the ground. As I did so, a bloodcurdling, inhuman scream broke the silence. It came from deeper in the forest, and sounded equal parts enraged and wounded. The leshen.
    I delved deeper into the woods, burning each shrine as I went. Each time the chilling scream was closer. As the last shrine disintegrated into ash before me, the air grew cold and dense, and from the mist rose a towering figure with enormous antlers and claws as long as Ofieri sabers, half ghastly skeleton and half ageless tree. Again and again I narrowly dodged its vicious attacks. Again and again I cast forth flames to burn its wooden skin. At last I stood over its still, defeated form and reached down to grip one of its antlers. With one brutal hack I freed its head from its body and strapped it to the saddle of my faithful horse, Roach.
    As I rode back toward the village, dark clouds formed above me and rain began to fall, gathering in cold droplets on my armor. Eventually I reached the village and was greeted with a gruesome sight. While I had been preoccupied with killing the woodland spirit, Sven had seized the opportunity he had long awaited and murdered Harald and all but one of the other village elders. Already his lackeys were harassing the poor village women, perversely viewing them as a reward for their actions. Several huts burned in the background and acrid smoke swirled amidst the carnage. I confronted Sven, who asked (or rather, told) me to turn a blind eye and let him rule over the helpless villagers with an iron fist. Although it was too late now to save the pale, lifeless Harald or any of the corpses surrounding him, my conscience would not allow me to let Sven live and see the innocent villagers suffer further. I drew my steel and swiftly butchered him and every one of his men, hacking their limbs from their bodies as they screamed in surprise. Clearly they had not heard tell of the fighting prowess of Geralt of Rivia. With one last glance at the remaining villagers, who were gazing around hopelessly with expressions not unlike cattle awaiting slaughter, I turned, mounted Roach, and rode away. The crying of the women and children followed me for a moment but was quickly drowned out by the thunder echoing from the stormy sky above. My work was done, and I knew that I would never revisit this sad place so recently full of life. I did not feel the cold of the rain as it pelted my pale face or the bite of the wind as it howled through the trees, a lament for the forest and its people that none who could aid them would ever hear. I rode on.
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    denverharward's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 19 January, 2017

    denverharward's opinion and rating for this game

    One of my all-time favorites along with The Last of Us.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    See info on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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