Wednesday, August 5, 2015

It's not just a game, ...

... it's a "a springboard for philosophy": The Witcher 3's best quests

In other words, the game is at its best when it stops being about saving the world and is instead about anything else, like finding a frying pan for a distraught old woman in a decrepit riverside village. It’s these particularities in a massive world that give it a pulse. And while the main questline is good fantasy storytelling, it wouldn’t carry weight or consequence without being grounded in mundanity first. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy sliding through The Hero’s Journey time and time again, it’s just always been a conduit—especially in games—to live somewhere else and care about something new.

What I figured would just be a two to three hour hub for early quests bloomed into a massive domestic drama that washed away the majority of my concern for Geralt’s priorities—I wanted to help a family in ruins. It’s this focus on the particular, on something outside the typical spread of fantasy storytelling, that I found so refreshing. The Witcher has it’s fair share of ugly bad guys and mysticism and prophecy, but in Return to Crookback Bog, I was simply given the culmination of small family’s story. Granted, it’s told using familiar fantasy props (how about those Crones?), but in such a fantastic world, it’s the attention to normalcy that most willfully suspends my disbelief elsewhere.

Doing what feels like the right thing in The Witcher 3 can always leave you feeling uncertain, because unlike in most fiction, noble intentions don't always lead to happy endings.

So, so, so true.

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