Next week marks three years of Giant Bomb since it was officially lunched in beta. For me, and I assume it is for many others, this is the best video game website in this world. Now, I am not a premium member or take an active part in the community here. I know for a forum post here, or there, but my biggest contributions must be the creation of the heroes concept (it is still cool to see the original image I posted there in use) and my awesome user review of The Sims 3. Still, I take pride it the fact, that I can be a part of this great experience, even if there are thousands like me.
For me, it all started back in spring 2007, when I had finished Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. I liked that game quite a lot, to the point where I searched for videos of it on YouTube. One such video was a review of the game by one Greg Kasavin, who worked at GameSpot at the time of its filming. This led me to registering on the site and being exposed to people as Jeff, Ryan, Vinny, Brad, Rich, Kevin, Greg himself and many others. After watching my first episode of On The Spot and some video reviews, I soon started to dig through on some of the back catalog of the site. I viewed almost every video review and almost every Button Mashing and Tournament TV episodes there was. And what was my joy when I found the old archives of GameSpoting Live. And it was all because of these people and there sense of humor and unbreakable integrity. After couple of months I learned that Greg has already left by the time I got to the site and Rich was also leaving that summer. But it was still awesome and funny. And then, at November that year, while I was hoping to watch a new episode of On The Spot, I learned that Jeff was fired from reading some comments.
That event there was a shocker for me, as it was for the rest of the people there. I just could not believe that a man with such history as game reviewer could get fired over a review of one game. Now, I am sure there is more than that, but we may never know how it all actually came down. Following Jeff's blog on GameSpot, I saw a post about his off-site blog and that is how I learned about www.giantbomb.com. I have been visited it form day one, back when it was still a blog and was happy to see these guys back on track. Then, when the beta version lunched, I was exited to register my user name here (without any number or crap like that) and again be part of a site, that is runed by people, whose opinion I value and trust.
And here we are, three years later. Much has changed since then, but this is still the same site I was so exited to visit back, when it all started. I guess, that with this post all I am trying to say, that the hard working staff and of Giant Bomb and Whiskey Media in general are some of the most awesome people one could find on the internet. Because of them, my knowledge of video games has grown immensely and that helped me to grow an opinion of them, that has some basis. I have followed these guys from the day I learned about them and I regret not a second of it. I am greatly happy that they get to work the job they like and provide people like with quality content. It had been fantastic three years and lets hope for even better year to come. This was my early Happy Birth Day Giant Bomb.
I played the first Witcher back when it came out and loved it. I found it great and interesting to play with a compelling story. So I was excited when I got to play the second game. Now, that I have finished it, I feel a bit off. You see, for me, the most memorable thing of the first game was its story. Especially the part, when you had to choose: Humans or Elves. I chose the Elves. That choice was somewhere in the middle of the game, more leaning to the second half of the game. By that time you got to know both sides very well. What do they stand for, what are their goals and nature. The game succeeded in telling a story about racial tension and how, with every day, that conflict grew bigger. And Gerald himself was not willing to take part in it, but he got dragged in it and had to make a choice. That choice felt full of impact since the player had to decide the faith of lots of people. Of-course, it later grew into saving the world form a mad templar, but at the time of the choice, it was all about the inner conflict of that land and what role you would take in it. Though the future was not clear, at-least you knew what your choice means.
With that in mind, the big choice in the sequel is not that grand or great. At-least it felt like it for me. When Triss is kidnapped and I had to choose with whom I will go and find her, Iorweth or Roche, I did not feel like I knew what I was choosing. it was apparent, that there was more than saving Triss, but what? The racial conflict was not at the center anymore, since the story was about power in the region. But, at the end of chapter one, your goals were to find the King-slayer and Triss. So there was no real difference between those two. I chose Iorwith, because he spoke about Saskia and her goal to unite everyone. That was something I could get behind, but what would happen, if I had chosen Roche was not apparent to me. Now, after looking it up on the internet, I know, that I would spend the whole second chapter in the Kings camp, but I just think, that the game did a poor job in telling me about the differences when choosing one or another. I was left there to take a blind guess, since no one could be really trusted that early into the game.
And that is my biggest problem with it it that it was to early. If the player could know both of them better by talking with them more and taking quest for/with them, then it would add more weight to the decision, since you would spoil the relationship with one of them. But, most of the quest you take do not involve directly them, and, while you can get a feel for what kind of people these both men are, you don't really know them. For a game, which world is dark and full of betrayal, making a player choose a partner with too little information is a flaw.
Then there are all the loose ends with some of the characters. What happened with Iorwith, when I was searching for Triss in chapter three. Or what happened with Philippa after her eyes got burned out and I left her in the dungeon. Or with the town Flotsam and its ruler? Or Saskia? Or Roche? Or Sheala? While I did feel like a peace in a bigger puzzle, the story wasn't tightly raped up as in the first game. To many questions felt unanswered. And the romance side of the game felt a bit weak.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the game. I like the setting, the humor (the joke about lesbian magic still cracks me up), the mature tone of the game. It explores a lot of gray areas, and doesn't shy away from the themes it talks about. It is just the story felt somewhat...odd.
Far Cry 2. It is just too repetitive. The story had lot of untaped potential, the shooting and driving were gridded to death, and mission structure was the same for all the missions. Just could not make my self to end it.