Looks like I’m the worst witcher, ever.
Yes I’m talking about the Bloody Baron questline. So, now the baron has hanged himself, his wife Anna is dead because I can’t lift a curse properly (nor can the Witch Hunters from Oxenfurt but that was expected) and I’ve freed something that might or might not be Cthulu, quite litteraly.
This quest line is supposed to make you feel awful, right ? Out of the two possible outcomes (i’m ruling out the potential third one because it requires previous knowledge of the story and I went in blind), there’s no happy ending. It’s either the Bloody Baron kills himself and Velen his ruled by rapists and murderers or you’re directly responsible for the death of a dozen orphans and the Baron’s life is forever shattered.
The best thing is that I never felt like I was making the obviously wrong choice. Freeing the spirit, for example, felt quite in character. I’m a witcher. Witchers lift curses and kill monsters only when they can’t do anything else. Besides, it had been emprisoned by the Crones and the Crones were awful people anyway (like, even without knowing that they had tried to eat Ciri, they’re three creepy witches who control people’s souls).
And in the end it was an awful choice.
It’s interesting to compare it with Dragon Age Inquisition where some quests can also have dreadful endings (looking at you, Solas), but with a decent knowledge of the setting and characters, there’s always a moment when you feel that you’re doing something wrong. Not here.
So, yes, the Bloody Baron quest line is great, mostly because it enables you to royally fuck up without ever feeling that you’re doing it wrong until the end.
I mean, yes, the writing is great, but it’s not exceptionnal either. For video games, yes, but that’s a low standard anyway. (And I feel like I’m summarizing the reason why TW3 got so much praise for its writing.)
There’s still some problems though.
Geralt has some…dubious dialogue choices in the quest. “You and your wife are the same”, what ? On the one hand you have a cheating wife, on the other a murderer, brutal husband and likely rapist too. Even by medieval standards, it’s pretty clear who’s to blame here. Even for you, Geralt.
Also, the Crones. There’s an amazing build-up, with the (awesome) music, the tapestry made of human hair, the creepy altars in the swamp…and in the end they’re just monsters. Creepy, awful monsters but just ugly things in the end. I would have liked to see something more elusive, more subtle. Maybe even not seeing the Crones would have been good. But I’m nitpicking.
And I feel awful.
Nice to see that so far the game seems to be much better when it comes to sex. Geralt is not the ultimate womanizer he was in TW1 and TW2, and so far I’ve managed to escape everyone except Yennefer, yes, even Keira Metz (Seriously, how can you be less subtle than her ? )
If someone can explain to me what’s the point of durability, I’d be grateful. So far it’s just an annoying icon on my screen. Weapons don’t seem to break (even a 0% durability sword is still usable) and low durability can’t result in more than a 10% loss in damage output, which is negligible at medium difficulty.
So…what’s the point ?