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The Witness 
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Post The Witness
So I've been playing Jonathan Blow's (of Braid fame) second game The Witness recently and it's hurting my brain. It's basically a first person puzzle game (like The Talos Principle) but different. For one, the world you're puzzling in isn't clearly separated in different 'trials' and is quite interconnected. Which is cool. The other thing is that it's almost like it - on top of the puzzles - incorporates 90s adventure games thinking. And that's where the rub is. It basically forces you to look for solutions literally out of the box (as in, outside of the puzzle), and while it works some of the time it can also be extremely fucking frustrating. Just like in a 90s adventure game there is very little in terms of hints or instructions so you kinda have to keep trying until you 'see' or find it.

It's one thing for a puzzle to be tough within its own internal logic system...but it's another to make me waste my time to find obscure solutions. I mean, I guess it's possible it's me. I've read about people coming up with one of these solutions within minutes of getting to a place, while I couldn't see the forest for the trees. But at some point I just go "fuck this shit, I don't have time for this" and just look for a walkthrough to steer me in the right direction. I'll still try to solve the actual puzzles myself, but without an indication of the 'clue' I never would have managed to (unless I spent ages looking for this vague outside clue). In many ways, this is how I end playing adventure games too...just to get a little help to get me over the obscure "use bandaid with gun and then lower it into the sewer" kind of nonsense solutions.

Other frustrating examples: one of the puzzle types in the game has to do with separating colour boxes. Simple enough, except at the end of the game there is a whole section of these puzzles where the screens they're showed on are 'broken'. The colours are there, but they are flashing in different sequences. The puzzle principle stayed the same, the only difficulty was that it became harder to SEE the puzzle. Such a pointless obstacle. It's not challenging, it's just annoying. And I'm not even fucking colourblind hahaha.

Anyway, will likely post a Steam review when (if?) I finish the game. In the last stretch now, and the puzzles are getting a bit too crazy for me. It's possible I can't hack the final stretch haha.

P.S. the game does look very beautiful, but then so did the Myst games. ;-) Here's a trailer (it's for the PS4 version but eh)



P.P.S. almost forgot to say that the game, like Blow, can be pretty pretentious at times. Not that there is much in terms of narrative, but there are quotes from scientists and philosophers lying around that range from great to pompous BS.

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Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:30 am
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Felix Rex
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Post Re: The Witness
Those are the kinds of games that annoy me. Thanks for the warning. I play games to relax, unwind, or exert my dominance. Not to waste my time or be amazed at how "creative" the developer is. Pretty is nice, though, so that's a plus I suppose.

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Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:24 pm
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Post Re: The Witness
Yeah, if you don't like breaking your head over things in your games (because you do it at work all the time already) I don't think it's a game you'll dig. I left a review on Steam now, having finished it. My feelings are pretty much unchanged from what I wrote before. The difficulty at the end was also a bit strange. It took me almost 2 hours to solve one (massive) puzzle that gives access to the 'final level' (kinda), but then I proceeded to pwn everything beyond that with remarkable ease. I might add that I was pretty shitfaced by that time, which I presume didn't add to my problem-solving abilities. Which makes it even stranger.

Or maybe that was the problem all along...I wasn't drunk enough before! :lol:

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Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:20 am
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