Now that the Neuhof investigation has cooled off a bit, we take a break to coach Henry up in the mightiness of the pen and the sword.
Oh Yeah, This Is An Open World RPG!
I started the episode off digging into the main quest, but once my initial questioning was done I decided to change course a bit. The urgency around the main quest feels like it has died down a bit, and at this point I am starting to get the itch to roam. So instead of continuing down the beaten trail, I decided to fork off and change my course.
Tortured navigation metaphors aside, the focus of this episode was to start clearing some side content.
Honestly, it was actually kind of hard to make the choice to enter the open world. The narrative of the game up until this point has been very compelling and I wanted to continue learning more about the story. However, given this was hardcore mode, I figured it would be good to start beefing up my character a bit. I already had a few close calls with some relatively benign encounters, and I figured the enemies weren’t exactly going to get WEAKER moving forward.
So I took the next logical step in raising my power level, and grabbed a nice book to read.
Mighter Than The Sword
The process of learning to read is honestly one of the more creative segments in a video game I’ve ever played. While it obviously undersells the actual process of learning to read, the game does a great job of making the player feel the progression of becoming literate.
The first step of learning to read is finding the scribe in Uzhitz and paying him for lessons. After a quick little reading montage you are asked to demonstrate what you have learned. This is accomplished by the player reading a passage from a book, and answering some quiz questions about it after. However, the worlds and letters are scrambled to simulate the fact that Henry is now barely literate.
I’ll be honest it took me some time to get through the passages. In many ways it was essentially a representation of what dyslexic person in real life has to go through. This method of making reading more difficult was a very compelling way to show Henry’s progression.
With the passage complete(and a new found appreciate for those in the real world with reading disabilities), I took the new literate Henry on the road back to Rattay.
Master Strikes and Combos
As I entered the outskirts of Rattay, I noticed that Captain Bernard had moved from Neuhof back to the training grounds we did our original sword fighting lessons in. Given that part of the reason I deviated from the main questline was to improve my combat prowess, I jumped on the opportunity to get a training session in.
This particular training session was actually very important. When you talk to Bernard he actually has two new training options, “I’d like to learn combos” and “Master strikes”.
While both are valuable, master strikes are an essential skill to play to game. Completing this training essentially upgrades your perfect block technique into a riposte or counter technique. This essentially turns your best defensive skill into an offensive skill. As you might imagine this is a MASSIVE power increase for Henry. So big that honestly if you are a new player I would avoid digging into the open world component of the game until you have learned it.
The combos training gives you an overview of how combos work, but doesn’t actually unlock much in the way of weapon combos. Those are unlocked by progressing your respective weapon skill and unlocking them as a perk. However, one short-coming of combos is they are often hard-countered by your opponents(you guessed it) master strikes. So in practice landing a full combo in actual combat is actually quite difficult. For this reason I initially focused on unlocking 3 hit combos instead of 4 hit combos to give me a better chance to actually execute them.
With the days training done, I sold some goods, gave the grindstone a try, selected some skills, and shacked up at The Broken Wheel Tavern for the night.
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Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great rest of your day, week, month, year, and life!
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