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Piccolomini

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Everything posted by Piccolomini

  1. I haven't watched this but I'm sure I'll hear all about it at work over the coming days, as I work at an archive and we have a big video digitalisation project running at the moment.
  2. I definitely agree that's a risk but I feel pretty confident in them as shows like that tend to swing about really rapidly. That's not really the case with Succession - while family dynamics shift a lot, they are still, in the end, not free from other elements, and some of the things that started in season 1 have still not been resolved, even if they feel less urgent now. That hostile takeover is still underway, for instance, and there's bound to be legal fallout from all the stuff down at Cruises. It feels like a big part of the story here is that the family are so obsessed with backstabbing and playing each other that they forget about the external threats to the company (and their part in it), which I think will keep the story relatively tight. We've also seen a lot of these cunning plans fall apart (as they're really not that cunning and often primarily rely on bullying or shoving money at a problem).
  3. Yeah, and this is a particularly silly complaint to make because, while some of the names are made up, the vast majority are actually drawn from European languages. There's very obvious German, Welsh, Dutch, Scandinavian, Slavic, etc names in there, to the extent that some Witcher characters are open references to historical characters (like Menno Coehoorn, a Nilfgaardian general not in this show, being named after Menno van Coehoorn). It has pretty decent names as far as fantasy shows go.
  4. I agree but I think this is partly the result of the setting simply being less visually arresting. They've done what they've could with it (ie the volcanic landscapes in the southeastern part of the map feeling like vastly different places than any of the other islands) and I felt that some of the islands also felt like they had a lot of attention put into them to make them feel more different, but you're never going to get the massive contrasts that there were in Egypt, and which made that game so spectacular for me. The sudden change from a fertile river landscape to an actual desert, the bad land areas, the sandy mountains, and the absolutely stunning monuments (many of which are still instantly recognisable), all of these created arresting visuals that you'll remember for a long time. But the landscape and architecture of ancient Greece is much more familiar and therefore less memorable. I think they did what they could - to me, Athens really did feel different compared to the rest - but they had a lot less to work with. Although Sparta was quite disappointing and didn't really feel like a real city to me - the rate of public buildings to housing/industry seemed very much off. My biggest disappointment, though, was that the tomb raiding in Origins was one of my favourite things in that game. All the tombs seemed well researched and surprising. I really had no idea what to expect, most of the time. But in Odyssey it's frankly a chore and every tomb feels like it's another one, cut and pasted into the landscape. Huge lost opportunity there, in my opinion. On the whole though, I think this was a lot better than Origins. I think the writing felt a lot more confident and the character of Testikles was, in my opinion, great. Sure, there's room for improvement, but to me this was the best written AC game yet (admittedly not hard).
  5. No, I'm saying that the historical approach they've taken is identical to long-standing nationalistic and racist interpretations of Eastern European history. That actually makes it more odious in my view - regardless of talking about Vavra's intent - because it rehashes very old racist stereotypes aimed at excluding specific people for being different on ethnic and cultural grounds, which will - because of the antiquity of these stereotypes - confirm many players in those views. It's easy for people in Western Europe to be oblivious to this, because most will never have heard of the Cumans before and be ignorant of the racist discourse that's being perpetuated here, but it's going to be familiar to historians who are aware of the context. And it's a more sensitive topic now that countries like Hungary are closing their borders to refugees based on ethnic and cultural grounds.
  6. In addition to what Wiper pointed out, the Cumans are a particularly important example because of how they're treated in Eastern European (especially Hungarian) historiography - they were a nomadic people who settled in the Carpathian basin during the Mongol invasions in the early 13th century, which pushed them west, and they were allowed to settle there by the Hungarians in return for military service. By the time of this game, they'd already become largely integrated - they were no longer nomadic, and their soldiers in the Hungarian army no longer necessarily fought on horseback. Their traditional dress was being phased out, their religion replaced with Christianity. But the game depicts them exclusively as dangerous, Turkic-looking people, who it is apparently impossible to interact with through any means other than combat or torture. This reminded me of discussions I've had with Hungarians about their country's history. Now, I'm a medieval historian, and I'm very well aware of Hungary's medieval history. But I've had more than one Hungarian deny to me that the Cumans ever were allowed to settle Hungary (which is a basic fact) - they were still detested as foreigners, even so many centuries later, when in reality they had clearly begun to be accepted fairly quickly and their integration was fairly unproblematic. It's - frankly - a sign of the very racist way in which these people are viewed to this day. The combination with Sigismund as the leading antagonist is an interesting one. Sigismund ended up ruling a huge realm that including the Holy Roman Empire (of which Bohemia was a part) and Hungary. He spoke many languages fluently and travelled all over Europe. The consequence of this is that none of those countries view him as their own. In fact, he is widely loathed in Hungary and Bohemia (I've similarly been in a discussion trying to convince a Hungarian that Sigismund could speak Hungarian, which is an uncontroversial historical fact but something this particular person refused to accept), while he's pretty much forgotten in Germany, and portrayed as a villain in Hungarian folklore, even though without his military reforms Hungary would probably have fallen to the Ottomans much sooner than it did. The combination of the least popular king of Hungary with the - among Eastern Europeans - least popular Eastern European warriors made this just about the safest bet for it to be an Eastern European financial success, and nothing seems to indicate the developers have done anything but follow the basest interpretations of the Cumans, where historians have long provided a far more nuanced and humane picture of their fascinating culture. That's a particularly sore point considering the way Hungary, Poland and Czechia have been heading recently, and I have no intention of supporting developers who try to profit from the anti-immigration campaigns that have been going on there.
  7. I agree entirely. There's a few instances where it just seems like the writers wanted to tell too big a story, so they just decided to cut some stuff. I didn't mind the in media res opening so much as a story telling conceit, although it was delivered in quite a jarring manner, but it seemed like the plot had more gaps in it. At one point a villain was revealed and I couldn't actually remember who he was, which left me confused rather than surprised.
  8. I thought that particular storyline was handled well. I have some problems with the way the general story is told, but the thematic line of is generally handled in a very believable and respectful way and doesn't really feel shoehorned in.
  9. When you're out in the desert, Bayek will start hallucinating/see mirages after a while. I haven't seen the one you described, but there's a fair few of them. They're accompanied by some sound effects to simulate disorientation, and the camera becomes static for a brief moment. It's a nice touch!
  10. There's also a lot of player friendly features which help make it less tedious - you can loot from horse back, and even unlock skills which allow you to auto-loot people you kill in melee or assassinate with the hidden blade. And when you whistle for your mount you can keep running in the same direction - your mount will ride up beside you and you can jump on in one smooth motion. It's a lot less fiddly than in previous games. Crafting is also very easy and the crafting items are sorted cleanly from loot you can sell, and weapons, so inventory management is very easy.
  11. You'll probably find some gold (legendary, I think they're called) weapons if you play longer - which are a lot better in my experience. But they're also a lot more expensive to upgrade (some 4000-5000 drachmas). My main weapon deals poison damage, which is very helpful, and I have two bows that always use fire arrows, but the upgrade costs are so prohibitive I don't upgrade them every level.
  12. You can't really stealth assassinate with a bow that isn't the predator bow, in my experience - the others don't do enough damage and are better in combat. I find it's a little easier to be stealthy by sneaking up on people and just assassinating them up close. There's a lot of cover to hide behind/in and if you do this well the enemy won't see you coming at all. It also helps to use the eagle in advance to find out where the enemies are located, so you can map out where you're least likely to be seen and where you can most easily take out isolated guards. Also, did some exploring yesterday, taking in the sights. That's looking out on Cyrene. You can see the lighthouse of Alexandria in the far distance.
  13. There's no tailing missions at all. Missions aren't as diverse as in The Witcher 3 - there's no choices for instance, missions seem to always resolve in the same way (usually: you kill someone), but the game gives you a lot of room to do what you want. Origins seems much more suitable for a stealthy approach than Unity (the last one I played) and you can do this if you like, but if you just want to charge in that's also an option. The game doesn't seem to hinder either option, which is nice (although if you're going in with bows firing, you'd better keep an eye out on the brazier which will attract enemy reinforcements if it's lit). And although missions aren't as narratively open as in W3, many are a lot of fun! I just visited a city where a child had seen me jump off a building and was so impressed that he made me jump off all the other tall buildings in the city, while an ever growing gaggle of children followed me around and cheered me on. It's that kind of tiny side quest that makes the whole world feel far more vibrant and alive than I remember any AC world feeling. As to sense of discovery, that's hard to gauge for someone else, but I definitely feel that. You can explore an area and bump into a religious procession, fan wavers and everything, or climb a mountain and view an amazing landscape. It's pretty great, and feels far more varied than other games in the series.
  14. I'm enjoying this. The open world is pretty well realised and immersive, and the original setting really helps a lot to make it stand out more. I do agree that the levelling isn't ideal, but the worst aspect of it is how it's related to the world map. In the Witcher 3, the difficulty level of the map progressed pretty gradually, and you started noticing it when you entered a more difficult region, because the levels of enemies slowly went up as you progressed. That's not the case here - the levelling is really weird. I just wandered away from a level 6 bandit hideout out into the wilderness, and the bordering region was levelled much higher, so that I was almost instantly killed by a level 38 lion, because someone though it made sense to put a level 6-10 region right next to a 35-40 one... The game is luckily very generous when you die so it wasn't a big problem, but still.
  15. You can also cause an enemy ritual to fail by occupying one of their ritual sites, if the AI doesn't succeed in this. The final ritual takes 20 turns, which gives you plenty of time. If a ritual fails I think a faction will get a cooldown until they can try again, but obviously if they've failed ones their economy is likely to be in tatters for a while yet. NB: when an enemy has to retry a ritual, the ritual sites may well be different. I think they may be randomly picked. And yeah, after winning a lizardmen campaign I'm now playing as High Elves, which is a lot of fun. People who thought the Wood Elves weren't elvish enough will definitely be pleased with these - they're your traditional longbow army, incredibly powerful on the defensive. However, they do have only one type of artillery (but it's a good one). I'm really enjoying how different the factions are in this, it feels a lot more polished than the original (which was already a lot better than CA's usual TW output).
  16. Surprising there's not been any more activity here. TWW2 is really good, one of my favourite Total Wars already. The Vortex campaign gives it a much stronger narrative drive than previous TWs have had, and make the campaign a challenge until the very end. The new factions are varied and a lot of fun, and it all looks gorgeous. I've already had a lot of fun with it and the new grand campaign hasn't even been released yet.
  17. The huge difference between this and many other sitcoms (and not just cartoons) centred around egomaniac assholes is that this show is aware of how unlikable its lead is, and wants to examine that. It may not be clear at first but the show is more like a character study, or a collection of character studies (as the show focuses on more and different characters as well, as it goes on) than a straightforward comedy. And yeah, the show is very often quite hard to watch, because as a viewer you feel bad about what Bojack is doing. But he's never let off the hook, and his actions also have consequences that affect him personally (unlike regular sitcoms with unlikable characters, who are very often rewarded for their nastiness). But it's true that the show is definitely not for everyone.
  18. Yeah, I agree with this. The scenes with the gold people were a lot of fun, and I kind of wish the film had gone into more of a full on space opera direction than the not particularly interesting story we got (which felt a bit like a Dr Who season finale to me, especially the way in which all existence was suddenly at stake at the end). Still, it was an enjoyable film on the whole.
  19. All at once, it's their own show.
  20. I seem to be alone in thinking season 2 was an improvement over season 1. I thought the first moved too quickly and had no real interest in the characters, which made the whole rather superficial, while the second season, thanks to its shorter time frame, gave everyone more space to breathe. The main DEA guy was still very boring, of course, but most of the other characters benefited. I'm three episodes into season 3 and still enjoying it.
  21. I've been critical of this season here but I actually prefer it in its current incarnation to the time where it was trying to be all grimdark and decided that all villains should be psychopaths. It's more entertaining now, even though a lot of it is quite stupid.
  22. That's never been the problem for people complaining about fast travel. Just leaving out scenes to show time passing it's fine. What's problematic is movement speeds being very different for different characters/armies, where at first these made sense. For instance, Robb's campaigning was quite realistic. He won battles because he managed to outmanoeuvre his enemies, but this always happened in a realistic way. The same thing was the case, for instance, with Tywin Lannister when he relieved King's Landing. His army came out of nowhere, but it arrived after a period of time passed that would make their journey understandable. In the current season, armies in particular appear out of nowhere far too often - Euron Greyjoy's fleet being the best example of this, popping up on different sides of Westeros wherever and whenever it is most convenient. Time seems to move at different speeds for different characters, and that's jarring to a fair few viewers. It's not helped by apparently no armies using scouts anymore, of course. This is quite opposite to how war was depicted in season 1 and 2, where Tywin had clearly organised his army well and made sure to keep watch, but Robb managed to outsmart him by pretending his army was elsewhere. Tywin also followed Stannis' activities and moved to King's Landing because he knew an attack was incoming, etc. But now you can apparently land an entire horde of Dothraki on Westeros and no one notices until they're upon you. These are all things that could be dealt with in fairly simple ways that don't take up a lot of time, but it feels like they just couldn't be bothered to give it much thought. The series looks great, better than ever perhaps, but it just feels quite hollow to me now. It was a pretty clever show in the past that took heed of realistic constraints even though it was set in a fantasy world (and time was only one of those constraints). That's clearly no longer the case, and that's a shame.
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