Derik Badman's Journal

2021-01-03 09:02

Spent most of yesterday playing Cyberpunk 2077 and realized I never wrote about Assassin's Creed: Valhalla which I finished up a few weeks back now. Well finished in that I did the main storyline and major side quests but did not get "100%" on all the minor stuff on the map (there's tons of it). I enjoyed the game a lot, as usual, in a large part because of the historical setting of 9th century Anglo Saxon Britain. The integration of the sci-fi elements was narratively more satisfying this time around I think, as the historical character's story and the mythological story felt less parallel. The modern day aspect was thankfully extremely limited (mostly a bit at the end to no doubt provide some connection to some kind of subsequent game in the series). I think I even understood what was actually going on with the sci-fi/modern parts, which is not always the case in this series.

The game had a settlement building aspect of it, that made for a nice side goal of getting resources so you can build up various buildings/homes/services, but it is also felt really anticlimactic when I got to the end of it and nothing really happened. But really it's mostly about running around the really well rendered landscape and interacting with various stories, raiding monasteries, storming forts, and the like.

Since then I've been playing too much Cyberpunk 2077 which is by no means a perfect game but is not as bad as the origianl hype backlash has it. It does tend to crash a lot (less so since some bug fixes have gone out), and I get the feeling the main issue is it's just too big to run well on the PS4 for long periods of time. There are also a ton of annoying little glitches like UI elements that will just stick around endlessly when they should have been temporary for an event or scene or something. I've also seen numerous cases lately where parts of the world seem to load before other parts, so objects or people come crashing down to ground level from above (I think because the structure they were supposed to be on didn't load first). It's a strange case of the physics of the world working even as the generation of the content isn't.

That said, I am engaged by the story and having fun exploring the ginormous city they build for the game. I am not a fan of the first person viewpoint though. Also the people who did some of the production design, particularly the advertising and shops that cover the city seemed to be a team of frat boys considering the juvenile humor and excessive sexuality and vulgarity of said designs. I can't imagine it won't be a big turnoff for a lot of people, and it doesn't fit well with the care that seems to have gone into a lot of the character/story design.

Overall the game is a lot reminiscent of Fallout 4 more than Witcher 3. There are a number of side quest paths involving different NPCs that only briefly (if at all, so far at least) interact with the main questline. Though, on the other hand, the main questline is a lot more of a narrative than Fallout's was (I've played that game more than once and only barely remember what the main point of it was about).

I think it is also very subtle in how any choices effect outcomes, I'm often a bit at a loss to understand what is important and what isn't when choosing from dialogue options, which often, in their abbreviated form, can be hard to know exactly what the resulting full form will be. I've steered a few conversations the wrong way because what I thought the summary meant and what it actually meant were not the same.