Shamelog #026 - Digging Deeper in Vizima

The Witcher is definitely a game that requires a commitment to play through, I’ve found. Having been busy with life and not being home much for a couple weekends, having the game dragged out over a longer period of time makes it hard to focus on what’s happening. Drop in drop out casually, this game is ill suited to allow. Still, the rich world The Witcher produces continues to pull me in.

The way the second act of this game wraps it’s way around into itself is an excellent feat of storytelling. The beginning sends you out in several directions narratively, only for you to find that everything is connected in the way that a believable world should.

Spoiler

I felt quite clever towards the end of the act, having figured out something was up with Raymond. I very nearly accused an innocent man of murder while nearly dismantling the city's underbelly, but thanks to a late night party with old friends and a trip through a crypt I was able to piece the _real_ story together. This was the moment I understood the "cult following" this game so rightly deserves.

End spoiler

I came across this in game book while playing today, which distills why I’m into this game so much so perfectly:

The Rivian Pogrom
Anonymous, based on eyewitness accounts

"After the war, the people of Rivia were unhappy. Poverty was the plight of many and most believed the kings and magnates had betrayed them during the peace talks by not exacting reparations from Nilfgaard. A scapegoat was needed and as usual it was the changelings — nonhumans and witches.

A mere spark was required to send a furious crowd into the streets. Anyone who seemed different was targeted. Dwarves, elves and those accused of using spells were all murdered. People also used the situation to settle old scores, loot and rape. I admit shamefully that few were brave enough to stand in defense of the persecuted. Among those few was the famous Geralt of Rivia, who in seeking to protect his friends was struck with a pitchfork and died. There would have been more victims if not for the intervention of Triss Merigold. The sorceress sent a powerful hailstorm down on the crowd. Only that powerful spell could stop the rioting. What happened to the body of Geralt of Rivia and those who stood by his side, I do not know."

The way this book is written in such a way that invokes not just the state of the world you are in now in game, but the way things used to be; the combination of the Vice News video on Wolfenstein 2 and the horrific news from the WSJ regarding Poland’s National Independence Day in learning about the country’s white supremacist history; the way the world bloody is at the moment…

I very much appreciate that this game isn't for The Woke Gamer. Without going too deep, you basically have to choose a side between an order of knights who work tirelessly to keep everyone safe (but a racist as fuck) and a group of freedom fighters working for equality (but are happy to kill innocents, the law be damned). You can stave it off for a while, but by the end of act 2, the game is all like, "Nah buddy, you're gonna get involved whether you like it or not." I'll admit the choice was relatively easy, but I did falter for a second thanks to a real great character who happened to be on the wrong side. Again, great writing, characterization and world building takes these things to the next level in a way I didn't expect.

Now halfway through act 3 and neck deep in it’s political intrigue, I can’t stress enough how glad I am that I gave this game it’s due.

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Games Left to Play: 114
Currently Playing: The Witcher