I've been playing RPGs for a while (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Final Fantasy) and I can say I'm really impressed by the game's writing and quest design. Nothing feels sluggish or bloated, but rather the game allows you to do quests at your own leisure and keeps you engaged. Nothing feels like a fetch quest like "I lost my wedding ring, I need it back" and the NPCs have mini-stories to tell.
Forgive me if I forgot most details since I met the Baron in May then I stopped to play Final Fantasy VII Remake first (which is a shallow retelling with very disappointing writing but I'm not here to discuss that).
So here is the order of my Bloody Baron quest
- Met Baron first (accidentally triggered the whole quest) and investigated his mansion
- Did the quest with peddler and got to the fisherman's hut
- Learned about the fetus, I chose to purify and turn it into a guardian monster baby
- I think I met Keira after this
- Before visiting Tamara I went to the swamp
- Met the granny, Johnny and the kids
- Got to the village for a task, the met the evil tree that looks like a dragon fruit
- Freed the evil tree
- Went back to the witches and learned about Anna
- Went to Tamara
- Went back to the Baron
- The whole village was massacred by the evil tree turned horse
- Stormed the swamp, Anna turned into a monster, the curse got lifted temporarily but she died
- The Baron hung himself
I read there are multiple endings and I don't regret my choices because it's what it is.
- Why I set the tree spirit free: I made the choice due to the numerous entries about the witches luring children with treats. I also encountered this during Ciri's flashback and saw how the swamp was designed. The moment I saw the orphans I knew that they're food to the witches unless I did something to intervene.
- The family drama: Both the Baron and Anna are horrible to me, with the Baron more responsible since he holds more social and political power and can coerce Anna. I tend to be more neutral in my responses to him though. Anna is a cheating wife who had no compassion for her husband who suffered from PTSD, while the Baron is a violent murderer who chose to kept his wife chained to him for many years and foster this very toxic environment for their daughter.
- Edit: To add, both husband and wife are physically abusive to each other. Yes I know, the strength of a man is disproportionately higher, and it's terrible to beat up your wife. Anna can't be excused from her actions eitherway. The daughter however, only sees her mother being beaten.
- The tragic ending: Both the Baron and Anna are responsible for their own deaths. Anna made a pact with the witches to abort her unborn. While you can say she's desperate, she knows what she's getting into. She's also complicit to the possible slaughter of the children by "fattening" them. As for the Baron, it's not my problem that he thought there was nothing left to live for. I do feel sad for both of them, as they're very human characters, but they still made terrible choices for many years that robbed their daughter of a happy life.
I learned there are "better" endings where Anna and the Baron reunite, and that the villagers survive. However, there is no way for me to learn that the tree spirit will kill the villagers, but I do know the witches take children. In hindsight, Geraldt might be wrong to trust a random creature and set it free, but I dislike the witches and want them dead so maybe my Geraldt is chaotic in a way.
Overall what an engaging story with complex, believable characters. The lore doesn't feel like an info dump or delivered through exposition but organically woven in every step of the story. Impressive. I can't wait to find Ciri. I hope to finish the game by September.
I finished the Wild At Heart quest with the werewolf and the bitch sister. I badly wanted the werewolf to kill the sister but I thought my duty as a Witcher comes first so I didn't let it happen. I guess I'll let her live in misery for being the cause of the death of the man she badly wanted.
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