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Venetica - First Impressions

It's good to try new things.

I was feeling somewhat apathetic and low the other day. On the grind, and the gruel of life and all. On not having been outside in a while maybe. Kept in by the rain that kept pattering the windows - something I feel is calming when I'm in a better place and state of mind. Summer's coming up and I'm not done with all, or content with all, time wanders as my mind does...

I intended to jump into a game I'd played before initially.

I pondered Serious Sam. I've been recording runthrough's of the first two encounters that I'll be uploading eventually, but it just didn't feel... fun.

I skimmed through the list of games I own on GOG in search of something that seemed better. Something that'd distract me enough. Something with an imaginative world I could truly escape into for a moment or two. Alan Wake lured, but I've played it before, and I wasn't really looking for horror.

I've had a few games bookmarked there for a while now; intending to play.

There's Mirror's Edge - that parkour action game that reminds me a bit of Oni - which I love. Saint's Row 2 - which is a clear rip-off on the GTA games of the time - which I love. Sudeki - a more family-friendly kind of adventure. And Jade Empire, and Konung - games both one and two (Konung = King in Swedish)... but Konung didn't feel simple enough. I started pondering Diablo 2 instead. But that too felt overly complicated to get into.

And then there was Venetica, a hack and slash adventure that at least visually looked pretty promising...

I started watching trailers. Then screenshots. I skimmed through all those aforementioned games again, but wasn't sure any one really would let me get away as well as I wanted to. And then I started checking filesizes, since download speed is limited, and I did not want to wait too long, and Venetica was maybe the most promising of the contenders I still pondered in that regard. Konung was though smaller out of the picture, and Saint's Row felt a bit over-the-top, so Venetica it was...

And what a game Venetica was! So far. I chose right. I really got away. I played just two hours but it felt like much longer. In a good way.

I went to bed feeling content, and relaxed, and enveloped in the mysteries of the monsters and assassins of San Pasquale - a fictional mountainside town, and the comfort of companionship, the armor of love, the subtle grind and discovery, the winding pathways, and puzzles, the simple and noble sword-to-sword combat, the steep ravines and edges that for some reason you couldn't jump down, the pros and cons and the beautiful Venice lingering beyond the long bridge and pond...

So far I'm high on this one. It's lively. It's lovely.

The main character's lovely too. She copes with her tragic loss admirably - as do the rest of the villagers - who you can sometimes drag a couple assassins towards if you need some help fighting them.

You can hone your skills, you can battle and level up, you can learn new things, you can traverse the path between life and death with an intriguing kind of twilight energy - and you speak to a stranger that reminds me of the mysterious one in Dishonored - which I was actually considering playing again whenst looking for a game now too.

The character enhancements, the items, the pick-ups and missions are simple, but seemingly plentiful. The world so far is small, but with a promise that it'll grow, and it seems I'll soon be at the big city, just a couple hours into the game...

The visuals aren't totally up-to-date, but they're good enough, movements feel more outdated than the visuals. The characters are expressive, rich in personality and beauty, and the sceneries are a fantasy.

It's not all utopian but it definitely is adventurous, wild and wonderful, and exactly the kind of game world I was hoping to get lost in for a while as I traverse my ongoing existential crisis/off-spring Spring and figure things out otherwise.

The game menu's a little basic. The transition effects and sounds are an odd choice. First impressions get lowered straight away, but once you get into the game itself it's amazing.

I wish there was a quicksave feature, and for a while I wish I could jump - I get over that though, and it does seem like the game saves automatically at key locations. When you enter new places maybe. Not sure yet.

It seems like saves are possibly a feature you don't even have to worry about. I've died a few times so far, but thanks to that mysterious twilight energy I haven't stayed dead yet, I'm starting to wonder if you ever do, might find out soon...

I appreciate how there's no superfluous words or grind involved in the game either thus far - though plenty of interactions. Both interface and story seems perfected. You pick up items, loot, trade, upgrade, hone yourself and learn a little along the way, but it's never excessive. It's easy to get into. It's homely. It's familiar and fun but also a real fantasy.

It's an adventure, pure and simple. Another age. Another face. An intriguing world and story thus far.

Might not have much more time to play right now, but I'm looking forward to jumping into this world and venture once again soon.

Venetica - it's a boon.


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