Arbiter Libera


As promised in the last update this one is late and wall of text strikes back with a vengeance. This time something recent as I cover Vampyr which happened to be one of the very few purchases I made with the price tag going over 15€. Knowing my luck it'll pop up in Humble Monthly soon enough. I think it was worth it seeing as its hook definitely appealed to me. And now I'm even more hyped for Bloodlines 2. In the effort to not make this about just one game I also posted some brief overviews of non-game stuff under MULTIMEDIA I managed to experience since – The Swordbearer, Mindhunter and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. This new format suits me seeing as I don't have to be all elaborate and like to get the point across anymore.

Have fun and enjoy the read. ◕‿◕

The Swordbearer ( Fantasy, 1982, 288 pages )

In all honesty you could call this a precursor to The Black Company before author actually fleshed out some of the ideas and, probably more importantly, spread them out a bit considering he eventually had more space to work with. There's also some Elric of Melnibone in there as well considering we follow a weakling youth who finds himself a magical, soul devouring sword seemingly blessed by a hungry goddess with a lot more in store than he suspects at first. It all definitely falls on the curse side of things despite the benefits, doubly so when you consider Suchara is not the only divine pretender with a champion... and said other champion happens to be the emperor in a war currently underway. Politicking and army maneuvers strongly featured in the first half of the book tend to be left by the wayside as Gathrid realizes more of his would-be heroic fate accompanying the mythical blade and immortal servant with a tendency to kill previous wielders at some point. Problem with The Swordbearer seems to be there's a whole lot to it that either had to be trimmed down in order to get a manageable final word count or just lack of coherent vision of Cook's part. When you add that initial onslaught of names it spews at you to get the idea this is epic fantasy after all it just comes off as glorified basic, I guess?


Mindhunter ( Crime, Thriller, 2017, 10 episodes )

For some reason I had this long-lasting irrational aversion towards Mindhunter. Not that I'm really into crime shows, but I think in this case it was because I had a misplaced notion it was an anthology series where our intrepid two FBI protagonists interview a new serial killer each episode. I was wrong, but that still remains as part of the premise – they travel across the US doing lectures to local police and along the way conduct interviews with notorious serial killers in the effort to classify and understand them to future benefit. Needless to say this is not a clear-cut road and, what I assume at least, realistic red tape they have to go through endears them to the viewer. Not to mention we also see their personal lives, how they suffer for their jobs and in general acting like human beings and not just suits. Taking into account show is set in the '70s it avoids blowing its load early by going straight for Charles Manson, but that seems to be what season 2 is aiming for so that's something to look forward to. Good show even if at times I resisted fast forwarding through Ford's “fast and loose” approach that absolutely isn't something you want to rely on.


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind ( Adventure, Fantasy, 2018 – 2019, 39 episodes )

How do you talk about the fifth part of an on-going manga adaptation while having it make sense to newcomers? You don't. You do the sensible thing and recommend them to not start with Part 5. With that in mind I have to say I'm not really a big fan of Golden Wind or more specifically how it turned out. You have the usual “gang of supernaturally-powered Stand users on a mission” which this time happens to follow a young delinquent Giorno Giovanna as he embarks upon changing the criminal underground, but I think the problem is villain barely has any presence, and he doesn't enjoy Dio's dubious benefit of having been already established previously, on top of Stands themselves going into somewhat ludicrous territory where I find it difficult to believe author was trying anything other than gauging how elaborately obtuse he can get away with. I realize I am probably in the minority here because I also happen to be one of those people for whom JoJo isn't all about Stands exclusively. It's also about striking manly poses while ignorant viewers question your sexually because they don't get your beautiful duwang. It's not a bad Part, just not one I found personally up to my taste.

Neku

Thank you for sharing this review! I bought Vampyr some time ago and was really hyped to play it because someone said it’s a choices matter game like Telltale but as RPG. Turns out it isn’t and I heard you should not kill anyone for the best ending? so I lost my motivation quickly. But I’m curious again thanks to your wall of text \o/
How difficult is it if you intend to never kill someone?

Arbiter Libera

Glad you liked it. ;)

And yes, your first spoiler is correct. I intentionally set out playing the game on hard difficulty with limitation to not kill anyone to see whether difficulty is actually tuned so you can get away with it and got the best ending because not killing any characters for experience aka embracing them is absolutely the main requirement, but there is a second good ending if you've killed only couple of people and otherwise did everything right which I assume is what most would get simply because you're not meant to avoid feeding altogether.

Let's just say that playing on hard combined with strict no-kill policy is a bad idea unless you really enjoy headbutting that wall after each and every story progression because enemies "level scale" to the expected level Jonathan is supposed to be at... except you're always under that because you avoided feeding on story characters. You're always under-leveled and it only gets worse. By the end regular enemies were almost always 10+ levels above and that applied to bosses as well at which point you're dead meat after couple of hits, even with dodging and blood shield, so you really start looking for any stray experience points to at least reduce the difference to under ten levels. Good thing is curing other characters, which keeps happening because they get sick daily, will net you some experience. It also means spending resources to craft cures, though.

I would avoid Story difficulty, which prevents you from unlocking some achievements if that matters to you, and playing on normal instead. Hard was personally too frustrating, but if you're looking for a game where you're constantly on edge from avoiding enemy packs and always the underdog it just might be your thing. Until about half-way point I liked what I experienced and then it became an exercise in frustration.

I didn’t even know about the eye changes until I read about it after the fact:

skanda

Reading all this makes me even more glad that I dropped the game after around an hour and a half.
And thanks for the actual review in your main post as well, it was an interesting read!

Arbiter Libera

No problem, I’m just glad someone still reads my walls of text. :D

Two things that got on my nerves, and weren't of my own making, were probably lack of fast travel seeing as you need to go between districts regularly which varies between being a chore or one-way trip if you don't know your routes on hard, even with unlockable shortcuts, and respawning enemies which feeds into my previous point. Nothing like resting only to see enemies come back in even stronger variants and by the time they're dropping the good stuff regularly, actually justifying why you'd fight them, you've upgraded your weapons.

I would still recommend Vampyr, though.

Neku

I really dislike the idea of good and bad endings as I always want to get the good ending but also I want to play the game making choices who to kill because this concept sounds pretty cool (also vampires are suppose to kill ppl!). This might be part of why reviews on Steam are mixed.
Still the ending you describe doesn’t sound that bad, thank you for noticing :) I keep that in mind!
And the appearences are really cool! Awesome detail I will keep an eye on it! The last one looks so full of regets :,D

Arbiter Libera

I get it.

That’s a complaint I see a lot in general, but in this case the only difference are really those final slides capping off the story and very finale itself bit between Jonathan and another character presented in a cutscene. Interestingly enough your decisions regarding what you did with important characters are only rarely echoed by others, and largely only affect district health immediately during the following night. I did like how moral choices really had me thinking for a while in most cases because you’re weighing a lot of things.