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The Witness: is it hard or am I stupid?


Bloodporne
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I'm trying to not spoil myself by looking anything up but yeah...curious what others' thoughts are.

 

I started playing The Witness last night, loved the aesthetics, atmosphere and puzzles.

 

This morning I played another hour maybe and I'm starting to hit brickwall after brickwall with no direction or clue how to even approach some puzzles.

 

Is the game generally considered hard or am I just rust and/or stupid in regards to solving anything requiring brain power?

 

Also, so far I've activated two of those lasers but have abandoned many puzzles so I hope I'll even remember where this stuff was...

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If you come across a puzzle with elements you just plain don't understand, there's two possibilities: It's a sort of intro puzzle to these elements, or it's an advanced form of those and you need to seek out a simpler version where you can more easily determine the solution.

 

The game teaches you how to handle all the puzzle elements, but it can also be tricky. The rules can easily fall out of your head if you haven't played in a while, so "going back to it" is gonna be rough for anyone with that idea, although you can easily go back and redo the simpler puzzles to refresh yourself.


Some of them I just wasn't able to keep up with, though. Like the

Spoiler

sound-based ones. I dunno if I'm soundtarded or something but once it got beyond the simpler ones it was just incomprehensible nonsense for me, even looking them up and trying to listen to what the person in the video was describing just confused me more.

 

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It's a hard game that I don't think I will ever go back to. Some puzzles even with the help of guides I still could not figure out how someone would figure it out. Then after you beat the game there are more puzzles to the puzzles. I wish I would have loved it better than I did but in the end I just lost interest.

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The rules of the Tetris Block styled panels are really tough and too much for me. I finally broke down and looked one up and honestly, particularly ones in their advanced versions I wouldn't have figured out without spending a ton of time on each, if ever. I saw the solution and still didn't really get how what I was doing differed greatly.

 

 

I was keeping a notepad around but kind of gave up for now. I really like it but find it brutally exhausting at once so I can't see myself doing more than popping in here and there for a few puzzles.

 

It's a great, eccentric little game but definitely seems tough as nails in some aspects, yea. Welp, it came with PS+.

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The Tetris ones have very specific rules that they try to teach you by introducing you to scenarios where one thing works but a similar thing won't, so if you "accidentally" solve it, it might end up being confusing later, although they tend to have multiple intermediate puzzles to make sure you know what's going on.

 

Looking up a solution won't help because the solution is only useful for that single panel. You have to look up the rules, which I would recommend against because it kind of spoils the fun of figuring it out and applying it in a more advanced way. Kind of like cheating on a math test. You passed the test but you still can't do division on your own, so you only really screwed yourself.

 

But maybe hearing one explanation might help you wrap your mind around it easier, regarding the Tetris blocks:

 

Spoiler

They're simple, but can be hard to visualize without a little pen and paper. Personally I had MS paint open the entire time and would use/alter screenshots to make things easier. If you're on console I'm sure a picture with your phone would be just as easy to deal with.


For Tetris blocks, the exact shape doesn't need to be where the icon is. If it's a lone shape, it does, but if you're fitting multiple shapes together, as long as the entire "bundle" of pieces has each relevant icon enclosed within your lines, you're good. This can start to get very tricky, which is why it's recommended you have something to help you visualize it easier. Now that I'm typing this up, I specifically remember cutting out a few Tetris shapes because it was the fastest way to have a quick solution with each puzzle, which I found a lot of fun. Sometimes it's a complicated concept, but you end up drawing a simple line down the middle to divide the entire thing into two sections, and that's it, which is always a fun solution. Here's some unrelated examples:

 

97KFYlQ.png

 

At some point you deal with blocks that can be "rotated" (i.e. don't necessarily have to be the same visually) but those come with a very specific visual tell.


As a final note, it can be easy to tell yourself you solved it "basically the same way," but if you actually went back and looked at it, I'm sure you'd find that you had an extra block or part of the puzzle was excluded entirely or somesuch.

Keep at it, don't force yourself. It's a game that requires a lot of focus, so if you start to get frustrated, go check out other puzzles, enjoy the environment, or just do something else for a while. It's incredibly hard to make progress while frustrated.

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As others have said the game is tough. A fair bit of it is the decent kind of tough. I really enjoyed figuring out the rules and seeing them put into practice.

 

But then the game seems to just keep hitting you over the head with so damn many. Once I understood a puzzle and did a couple hard implementations of it, I really started to get annoyed by just how many more they would make you do. Once the rules are known, it becomes like any other "puzzle" game people play like Sudoku. I find repeating puzzles like that boring because the ones that are "hard" are hard because they require more of a rote search than what heuristics would suggest. All I end up thinking about is how easy it would be to program an algorithm to solve it and how automating rote activity is one of the reasons I became a programmer in the first place.

 

Then you get to the end set and what a mess it is. They make the final puzzles hard not because they're intellectually challenging or have really nuanced rules to learn, but because they make it so you can't see it most of the time or some other visual interface nonsense. That's where I stopped. Endless rote search already grinds my gears, but making it "hard" by making the interface hard is super stupid and uninspired.

 

I watched the "ending" rather than finish it after that point and was completely glad I didn't waste my time for it because the ending isn't nearly as deep as they think it is.

 

 

 

So that's more of a review, but I felt compelled to say that yes, while it's hard, and some of the hardness is quite interesting, other ways it's hard are not at all interesting. I wouldn't feel bad looking up some of the solutions after you've already done many of them and know what to do and are just tired of it. And even if you're struggling to learn the rules, I wouldn't feel bad looking some of it up, because the game doesn't deserve a pure play through in general.

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Just like Fez, I set a condition for myself that I wouldn't look up the solution to any puzzles, and I would see how far I got.  I managed to get the first ending without cheating.  Eventually I had to look up where a puzzle because I couldn't find it, but I didn't look up any solutions.  

 

Whether or not you find the game hard is kind of a crap shoot.  The tetris puzzles took me a long time to figure out, and there was one particular shadow puzzle that threw me for a loop until I figured out the greater trick.  

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10 hours ago, legend said:

All I end up thinking about is how easy it would be to program an algorithm to solve it and how automating rote activity is one of the reasons I became a programmer in the first place.

Oh, you must really hate like 99.9% of games, then. :p

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1 minute ago, Xbob42 said:

Oh, you must really hate like 99.9% of games, then. :p

 

Lol. The learning the rules is interesting and right now AI isn't good at the kind of learning generalization it requires, which makes it fascinating to think about from that angle. I often get a lot inspiration for new directions of AI from playing games. 

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The Tetris puzzles broke me and I kind of answered my own question: I am firmly too stupid and just don't have the patience to continue!

 :pratt:

 

I sat down and tried to learn the rules staring at the tutorial sets, including the ones introducing subtracting blocks, went to continue after feeling it finally click and promptly couldn't solve the very first one I returned to for about 15 minutes. I looked up the solution in a rage just to see what the fuck I had missed for the rules once again and it made zero sense to me so instead I shut the game off, uninstalled it, cracked open a beer and put on some AC/DC to celebrate my anti-intellectualism. 

 

I think a big reason I didn't feel compelled to just skip this particular type of puzzle for now and move on is that I've solved about 160-something panels and the game in general still felt very unrewarding without a sense of progression really. I mean, it's cool to be able to access this or that new room but ultimately, I'm too conditioned by games to expect some type of reward. There's probably some "what do video games really mean woaahhh" message here but it just kind of came off as boring and tedious despite me loving the world's aesthetics. 

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2 minutes ago, Bloodporne said:

The Tetris puzzles broke me and I kind of answered my own question: I am firmly too stupid and just don't have the patience to continue!

 :pratt:

 

I sat down and tried to learn the rules staring at the tutorial sets, including the ones introducing subtracting blocks, went to continue after feeling it finally click and promptly couldn't solve the very first one I returned to for about 15 minutes. I looked up the solution in a rage just to see what the fuck I had missed for the rules once again and it made zero sense to me so instead I shut the game off, uninstalled it, cracked open a beer and put on some AC/DC to celebrate my anti-intellectualism. 

 

FWIW, I would never judge someone's intellectual abilities from their performance on The Witness :sun: 

 

 

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