rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy really brought home to me how tired I am of open-world games. I love the Assassin's Creed series, I love Red Dead Redemption, but I think I'm suffering a sort of open-world fatigue; I'm not really getting anywhere with Horizon Zero Dawn, even though it's staggeringly beautiful, because I'm just exhausted by how much there is to do. It felt so good to pick up Lost Legacy and play through a fast-moving game where you're constantly driving things forward.

One of the many reasons I am looking forward intensely to Danganronpa V3's release at the end of the month. Dangan Ronpa games are ALL PLOT, ALL THE TIME and it's great.

I'm feeling more generous towards Final Fantasy XV than I am towards most open-world games at the moment, because that game isn't really about the plot; it's a game about arsing around with your friends. Of course you should waste time on stupid sidequests; wasting time with people you care about is important!

Wait, maybe the problem isn't open-world games; maybe the problem is games where the protagonist is alone. In Lost Legacy, you spend most of the time hanging out with Nadine; in Final Fantasy XV, you've got three pals with you. I just want constant dialogue! And that's just not something you get in, for example, the Assassin's Creed games. (As much as I love Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, I'm sad that it went, 'Twin protagonists! You can choose which one to play! But the other twin doesn't tag along with you, sorry.' I want Evie and Jacob to snipe at each other while I'm running around London!)


...okay, I wrote the above in part because I was dithering on whether to play Infamous: Second Son, as a means of passing the time before Danganronpa V3's release. On the one hand, it had good reviews and my housemate had it, so it would cost me nothing to try it out. On the other, I was so tired of open-world games, and I'd tried the original Infamous once and hated it instantly.

I needn't have worried. I came to love Infamous: Second Son just as instantly as I'd come to hate Infamous. Turns out that this game is all about siblings who don't really get along but love each other nonetheless, i.e. my ultimate weakness. Almost at the very start of the game (twelve minutes into this walkthrough video), there was the perfect cutscene, cramming about six things I love into fifty seconds, after the protagonist Delsin got extremely stigmatised superpowers.

And it's so fun to play! Delsin can run so fast and can jump so high and has assorted zooming-and-hovering skills, so you can fly from building to building! He sometimes gives a little giddy laugh as he shoots up into the sky, and it's really endearing. It does suffer a little from Videogame Morality, where it's morally fine to kill the occasional civilian so long as you make up for it by stopping some drug dealers later, but I'm not taking it too seriously. I'm pretty used to suspending my moral disbelief in videogames.

This game further supports my 'maybe the issue is a lack of company in open worlds rather than open worlds in themselves' theory, because Delsin and his brother occasionally have little sarcastic phone conversations while you're running around the city, and it's great.

I'm only two hours into the game, so it's possible my opinion will change, but they have been a thoroughly enjoyable two hours.
rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
Out-of-Context Theatre:

'To be honest, I'm glad that Google considered my search for "nude Crash Bandicoot" and concluded, "I'm sure she meant new Crash Bandicoot."'


Here is a reaction to some E3 game trailers!

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: I'm more excited than I would have expected myself to be! I love the shot of Chloe beating up the car in the junkyard. She's a ball of rage and bad coping mechanisms, and it's great. My relationship with Chloe had a bit of a rocky start (she pointed at me and blamed me for her weed! I was slightly outraged!), but by this point I think I can appreciate her for the absolute mess of a person that she is.

I'm glad they're sticking with the soft, sort-of painted visual style of the original.

Are we going to see [unpleasant character] in this prequel? Rachel knew him, but we're playing as Chloe, and, when she first meets him in Life Is Strange, they don't seem to know each other. So I suppose he won't be making an appearance. I, er, probably shouldn't be disappointed by that.

Hidden Agenda: something genuinely cool and new from the Until Dawn developers! A multiplayer anyone-can-die decision-based crime thriller, where you all vote on decisions. It seems like a great way to ruin friendships. I'm tempted.

Assassin's Creed: Origins: come on, another male protagonist? Not counting spin-offs and handheld titles, there have been nine main Assassin's Creed games, and the protagonist has been male in eight and a half of them. I was really hoping Ubisoft wouldn't go, 'Okay, you can play as a woman for part of Syndicate, we've eaten our vegetables and now we can get back to dudes.' The setting looks gorgeous, but this game isn't really sparking any excitement in me yet. I'll probably warm up to it, though.

(To be honest, I can't be too grumpy about protagonist gender when all three of the other games in this list focus on two women, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. I'm so happy. You're improving, videogame industry!)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: this looks like so much fun! Action! Adventure! Fraught 'I'll save your life, but that doesn't mean we're friends' partnerships! (Between two women! I don't think I've ever seen that before.) I'll miss Nate and Elena and Sully, but, if you'd said, 'Okay, the central trio are off the table, but we'll make a game about any other two Uncharted characters you choose,' I would have asked for Chloe and Nadine. I can't believe this game is actually happening.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
(EDIT: The music linked in this entry has now been taken down, alas. (What am I going to listen to endlessly now???))

My housemates were listening to the Hamilton cast recording recently. I happened to be in the room during a song from the second half, and I was very aware that I probably looked absolutely furious. I was not furious. I was just trying so hard to hold back my tears that I looked really angry.

(I was slightly angry because HOW COULD A SINGLE OUT-OF-CONTEXT SONG FROM A MUSICAL MAKE ME CRY, I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THE PLOT SURROUNDING IT, THIS WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.)

I've now actually listened to Hamilton in full, and it's extremely good! Good music, good lyrics, some very striking moments. Early on there's a cute song, and then the song that follows suddenly makes it heartbreaking in retrospect. I was very upset.

It also depicts important historical political discussions as rap battles, which is pretty great.

I can't stop laughing at how EXTREMELY DRAMATIC this musical makes essay-writing, though. To experience for yourself the most dramatic writing has ever been (short of Death Note), listen to 'Non-Stop' for about a minute from the 4.10 mark (the link should take you to the right point).

I'm also going to drop the link to 'Wait For It' here. There are some songs I can't listen to without making dramatic gestures and mouthing along. This is one of them. I'll never be able to listen to it in public.

Alternatively, if you're curious about the song that emotionally wrecked me even though I heard it completely out of context: 'Burn'. (Just listened to it again, and, yes, it still makes me sob.) Spoilers for the musical, although they might be things you know already if you know much about Alexander Hamilton as a historical figure.

(I've just had the terrible revelation that this is not, in fact, the only time an out-of-context song from a musical has made me cry. I cried the first time I heard 'Breaking Free', before I actually watched High School Musical. I'm so unhappy with myself.)


Fanfiction update: the Visitorverse is still going. I stopped posting it here because there was just too much of it, but it's still going. It is 600,000 words long. This ridiculous, incomprehensible, self-indulgent Assassin's Creed AU is longer than The Lord of the Rings. It's longer than War and Peace. There are three of us writing it, admittedly (and one of my co-writers has written more than half of the total (?????????)), but it's still only been in existence for nine months. I'm scared.

Seriously, I don't understand. We've produced hundreds of thousands of words. Half of this thing is just setting up increasingly elaborate excuses to make everyone cuddle. This - this was supposed to be a one-shot.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I DIDN'T KNOW WATERLOO IN LONDON WAS NAMED AFTER THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO. For my entire life I've thought the Battle of Waterloo was fought in London! I'm so embarrassed.

(I told my dad this. He asked if he could get a refund from my school.)


Just finished a replay of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (it seemed necessary after Pirates of the Caribbean) and got tearful all over again at the ending. Of all the Assassin's Creed games, I think Black Flag has the story I get most invested in, perhaps because it's so small-scale and personal. The focus is very much on Edward and all that he learns and all that he loses, rather than on the Assassin-Templar conflict.

This is why Black Flag is one of my favourite games in the series, even though two thirds of the missions are terrible. Tailing isn't fun! Eavesdropping is a nightmare! Naval combat is - well, actually I enjoyed the sailing bits a lot more on this playthrough than I did on my first. Which is good, and not just on the revelatory 'videogames are better when you enjoy playing them' level; it was difficult to get into Edward Kenway's mindset when he was so at home on the water and I was so miserable. But there's no excuse for the missions where you have to tail in the ship.

Edward/Kidd is still the best pairing. Amazing discovery on this replay: in the opening cutscene of an early mission ('A Single Madman'), Kidd pats Edward on the arse. I want them to have so much sex where Edward's painfully in love and Kidd's just going 'need some stress relief; I suppose you'll do.'

On this replay, I really got the sense that Anne Bonny could have been Edward's second wife if things had gone slightly differently, although there would always have been the strange underlying sadness of their shared loss. It's an intriguing thought, but in that universe we'd never have had Haytham and the horrible but fascinating Haytham-and-Connor relationship, and that would have been a tragedy.


Here's something that's been bothering me. In the original Pokémon games, Professor Oak shows up to congratulate your rival on becoming the Pokémon Champion. On finding out that you've beaten him, though, he scolds your rival: 'I'm disappointed! I came when I heard you beat the Elite Four! But, when I got here, you had already lost!'

Isn't that a bit harsh? However briefly, your grandson was the best Pokémon trainer in the country. Most people are never going to achieve those heights! Give him a bit of recognition, Oak, for goodness' sake.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is still, I can confirm, a great film! Norrington breaks my heart a little more every time I watch it, though. I do have a fondness for Will/Elizabeth, but the moment Norrington realises his fiancée is in love with someone else is still really sad. Bless him for valuing Elizabeth's happiness above his own.

The film is set in an ill-defined time period, probably the early eighteenth century, which really makes me want fanfiction in which Norrington arrests Edward Kenway of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Norrington actually sort of reminds me of Haytham Kenway in both looks and manner, although Norrington is a little less unyielding. (And I'm really bad with faces, so it's possible the 'looks' similarity is based entirely on their hats.)

Like Norrington, Elizabeth is a character I appreciate more on every rewatch. (By 'like Norrington' I mean that Norrington is also a character I appreciate more on every rewatch, rather than that Norrington appreciates Elizabeth more on every rewatch, although the latter would probably also be true.) I love how she tests how valuable the medallion is to the undead pirates, and how she's able to get herself rescued from the island. A lot of characters in this film are very clever and resourceful, actually, and it's oddly satisfying to watch. (Will blunders through the middle of it all making endless terrible decisions, but I'm fond of him anyway.)

Argh, I love everyone in this film and I wish that the sequels were better. But we'll always have Curse of the Black Pearl. It's not a perfect film - it could have been, if the battles in the second half had been cut down a bit - but it's still one of my all-time favourites. It's just so much fun.


I've also been rewatching the first series of Merlin! It's really frustrating, because I can't stop thinking about all the future plot developments I hated. Morgana is so great in the first series! I can't believe how badly they'll end up destroying her character! I can't believe they'll completely forget about the lovely Morgana-and-Gwen relationship! I can't believe the ridiculous mockery of a Lancelot/Gwen storyline we'll end up with! I CAN'T BELIEVE WE WON'T GET THE MAGIC REVEAL UNTIL THE VERY LAST EPISODE.

But the relationship between Merlin and Arthur is still perfect, so I alternate between getting oddly emotional over these ridiculous boys and shouting 'WHY ARE YOU GOING TO BETRAY ME LIKE THIS?' at the screen.

My relationship with Merlin is a complicated one.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
At one point in Bravely Second, you fight an evil baker. Most of his moves involve quickly whipping up a poisoned cake and throwing it into your face.

Prior to the fight, Tiz ate a tart that Evil Baker had made. Tiz rhapsodised about how delicious the tart was and then turned into a ghost. He didn't die, note. He just turned into a ghost. We cured him of his ghosthood by throwing a bucket of hot water over him.

VIDEOGAMES.


Last night, I dreamt that the Frye twins of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate were the protagonists of Supernatural, rather than the Winchester brothers. I sort of feel this crossover needs to exist. One night, Evie hears someone moving around in the home she shares with Henry. She goes to accost the intruder; it's Jacob; she goes 'what on Earth are you doing in India?'; he goes 'EVIE COME AND FIGHT GHOSTS WITH ME :D'.

Frederick Abberline plays the role of the well-meaning police officer who’s pursuing the Frye twins, having concluded, entirely reasonably, that they’re responsible for the mysterious killings that crop up wherever they go. (Possibly having concluded entirely correctly. I'm not sure whether the Fryes are still assassins in this universe.) Jacob likes to tease him by leaving little notes and clues behind. Possibly the notes end up becoming oddly flirty.

Poor Abberline. He’s anxious enough as it is without a serial killer developing a weird fondness for him.


On an entirely different note, here is an extraordinary WikiHow article: How to Pretend to Have Ice Powers. Some of my favourite lines:

This article will help you convince others that you have ice powers.

Have some winter jewelry like snowflake charms or other wintry patterns. You can wear necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, bows, or anything else that strikes your fancy - but take it easy; don't wear all these things at the same time or you'll look like you're trying too hard and people will be suspicious.

If you don't have blue eyes, get blue eye contacts. Every person with ice powers has blue eyes. They should be bright blue or ice blue, and if possible, they should have a snowflake pattern in the iris to be even more believable.

Wear summer clothes in the winter. If you do, it'll look like the snow or cold doesn't affect you, which is true of people with ice powers. Just make sure you're not shivering all the time - then, people will notice.

Pay attention to wintry topics in others' conversations. Act aware whenever you hear someone say "winter" or "snow" or something like that.

Whenever you watch a movie where someone has ice powers, take a small glance at your hands for a second.


So now you know! Use your new ice powers responsibly, guys.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Assassin's Creed is now the single fandom in which I have written the most by wordcount. In about six months, it managed to beat the record it took Top Gear a year and a half to set. I loved my time in Top Gear fandom, and it was where some of my strongest fandom friendships were forged, but it was a slightly odd thing to have at the top of my writing leaderboard for almost a decade.


I finished playing Final Fantasy Type-0 HD a couple of days ago! It's an interesting game. On paper, it's not great: it's a PSP port and looks it; the plot never really gripped me; it throws a load of incomprehensible jargon at you the second you start the game up; there are so many characters that none of them get any real depth or development, although most of them are likeable enough (and then there's Machina, who is the worst). But the battle system is great fun, and the ending really stayed with me and, I think, retroactively made me care a lot more about everyone. Possibly even Machina. I can't imagine how much it would have affected me if I'd been more invested from the start.

Final Fantasy Type-0 also deals with a concept I find fascinating; it's set in a world where, as soon as someone dies, all memories of that person are erased. It's interesting to see the different ways people cope with that. Some people are glad not to be held back by grief, or find it reassuring to know that their loved ones will be able to move on if they're killed; some fear being forgotten. One character writes down the names of everyone she meets; if she looks at her list and finds a name she doesn't recognise, she'll know that someone she once knew has died. Everyone carries a tag with their personal details on it, so that it's possible to establish who they were and contact the next of kin who won't remember them. It could be an interesting thing to borrow for AUs.


On a very different note, I attended a recording of The Unbelievable Truth last week, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] reipan! I can remember very little, I'm afraid (I don't know how I used to write up those huge recording recaps five years ago), but here are a couple of pieces. The guests were Jon Richardson, Henning Wehn, Susan Calman and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Entry, i.e. Jack Dee; the host, as ever, was David Mitchell.


Calman spun a bizarre tale in which absolutely nothing sounded remotely plausible. Everyone sat in silent confusion, not daring to buzz. Eventually, Wehn buzzed just to exclaim, in despair, 'Something has to be true!'

At the end of her lecture:

Mitchell: And at the end of that round, Susan, you've managed to smuggle four truths past the rest of our panellists.
Richardson: Not the bloody lasagne sandwich.
Mitchell: One of them was the lasagne sandwich.
(Richardson expresses his emotions by knocking over his water bottle)

I just like it when they make jokes that will never work on radio. At one point, Calman sang the praises of Boris Johnson and said we should leave the EU, then shook her head and mouthed no. Richardson pointed out that the broadcast could very well end up misrepresenting her views.


When other people buzzed in, the light indicating Henning Wehn would sometimes incorrectly light up. During Henning's first lecture, there was a buzz and Mitchell did a wonderful double-take. (buzz) 'Henning. - Henning???'

Given that this error couldn't be reliably reproduced, Mitchell started to wonder whether he was just imagining Henning's name by the light.

Mitchell: (looking at Henning, frowning) Maybe I love Henning.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Here is a fic about Jacob Frye having a sexuality crisis. Er, happy Valentine's Day! I think this is the least appropriate day I could possibly have posted this on.


Title: Floodgates
Fandom: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,800
Summary: Jacob really needs to talk to someone about Maxwell Roth. (Set after Sequence 8.)


Floodgates )
rionaleonhart: twewy: joshua kiryu is being fabulously obnoxious and he knows it. (is that so?)
Well, I couldn't exactly not give Evie an Eevee. Have some more Assassin's Creed/Pokémon. This, er, doesn't feature any visiting, but it's clearly set in the same universe as Visiting the Pokémon Centre, so I suppose it's part two of that. It can stand on its own, though.


Title: Visiting the Pokémon Centre, Part Two
Fandom: Assassin's Creed/Pokémon
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,400 (this part; 4,700 cumulative)
Summary: It’s been tradition in the Assassin Brotherhood for over a thousand years: every novice receives an Eevee. In deciding what to evolve it into, you will discover yourself. (Part two: the Frye twins.)

Part One


Visiting the Pokémon Centre, Part Two )
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Troubling consequence of writing Slaughterhouse: I now feel really, really bad about using the hallucinogenic darts in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. They're a very useful tool! But they're also a bit horrible.

A delightful bit of apparent miscommunication between people working on this game: in the final murder mystery, you come across a plan of a building on a wall. The clue description, when you inspect it, says that the study has been circled in black. On the plan itself, though, it's very clear that there's no circle; the study has a black X through it instead. Whoever writes the player character's internal observations (which hover in the air next to clues) evidently picked up on this, because, rather than just saying 'study circled', it says 'study ...circled...'


I've now completed Assassin's Creed: Syndicate! My spoilery notes on the game are below the cut. Non-spoilery verdict: this game is great fun and the Frye twins are the best. Maybe my favourite Assassin's Creed?

(I wrote these notes as I went along, so they might be a bit disjointed.)


Spoilers up to the end of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. )


Back in 2014, when I was writing my Naegi sibling reunion fic for Dangan Ronpa, I actually made the mistake of consulting [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus on it:

Riona: This thing I'm writing is literally just 'the Naegi siblings hug'. Where can I go with this fic?
RD: ...
Riona: ...DON'T ANSWER THAT.
RD: You know what my answer will be.
Riona: I know! That's why I'm telling you not to answer!
RD: Then why did you ask?
Riona: It was a momentary lapse in judgement!
RD: Look, they don't have to have sex or anything! They can just cuddle creepily! Just make it creepy!


After that brief and possibly confusing excursion outside the cut tags, we're jumping back in to talk in detail about one of the late-game assassinations. [personal profile] wolfy_writing, if you're reading this entry, you should watch this video of the assassination in question before reading on. Spoilers for the end of Sequence 8.


More spoilers for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. )


In conclusion: excellent game. I'm sad it's over, but I'm happy with the way it ended. And I love the Frye twins. I really wish they'd had more missions together.

I must write a Pokémon crossover immediately.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I did, in fact, end up writing the horrible Frye-twin angst I was speculating on. This is almost certainly [personal profile] wolfy_writing's fault.


Title: Slaughterhouse
Fandom: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,000
Summary: A mission goes wrong for Jacob and Evie.


Slaughterhouse )
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
I'm still very much enjoying Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, although I can't take a gang called the Blighters seriously. You might as well name your gang the Dickheads.

Jacob fondly saying, ‘Who’s a good horse?’ is the most precious thing. I've been playing as Evie at every opportunity - the protagonist has been male in the other eight Assassin's Creed games I've played, so I was in desperate need of some variety - but I am quite fond of Jacob.

I love the way passers-by react when you’re sneaking around. My favourite so far is the guy who saw me hiding behind a table and said, ‘I found you; what do I get?’

I had to overcome a lot of mental aversion to jump into the Thames, having had ‘DON’T TRY TO SWIM IN THE THAMES’ drilled into me from a young age. I spent ages trying to work out a zipline route before it eventually occurred to me that... maybe I could just swim. Poor Evie is going to get so many diseases. On a more positive 'interacting with London landmarks' note, I’m so happy this game has let me fulfil my longstanding dream of climbing all over the lions at the base of Nelson’s Column.

I liked the murder mysteries in Unity, and I love them in this game. I love the way you can see your character's internal observations floating in the air. It's slightly eerie and very cool. (A detail I liked in the locked-room murder: when you inspect the vent, the clue description uses American spelling and vocabulary (‘neighboring apartment’), but in Evie’s internal observations it’s British (‘connects to neighbour’s flat?’).)

The best thing about the murder mysteries: at one point you find yourself investigating a series of disappearances in Fleet Street, and one of the suspects is a barber named Feeney Sodd.

I love all the little glances the Frye twins send each other. You can tell they’re siblings who know each other really well; they’re constantly communicating without speaking. (They’re also constantly teasing each other. I keep walking back and forth past Jacob on the train so I can hear all his mocking comments.) My favourite scenes are the ones with the two of them together, and I'm a little sad that they spend so much time working separately.

I’m genuinely quite upset that the Slaughterhouse Siblings Templar hunt gave me the optional objective ‘have the target kill her brother’ (with a poison that induces temporary mindless violence). That’s horrible! I’m not going to do that! It's even more awful because I'm playing a brother-and-sister duo myself; how would they feel if someone did that to them? (That's a concept that could make for some interesting fanfiction, but I'm not sure I'd ever want to read or write it. Maybe if one of them only almost kills the other.)

I'm already working on a Pokémon crossover. I haven't even finished the game yet.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
I was a bit alarmed to find that the manual in my copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate was in Polish, but the DLC codes work, so I suppose it's a legitimate Polish copy rather than a knock-off (and, fortunately, it still let me set the game language as English when I started it up). I've played for an hour and a half, and everything’s going perfectly smoothly! Apart from the bits where I try to chase someone and accidentally fling myself halfway up the side of a building instead, but it wouldn’t be an Assassin’s Creed game without a bit of accidental climbing.

I had to stop and stare for a moment when I got to the top of a building and saw St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance. That was the instant when it really hit me that, yes, this is my city. And then, climbing up the cathedral itself, I felt more aware of the work that must go into these games than ever before. I can’t imagine how long it takes to reproduce all these buildings.

I exclaimed ‘Look at all the red brick!’ very excitedly to my housemate at one point. Red-brick houses have never really struck me as a specifically London thing before, but suddenly they’re blaring ‘YOU’RE IN LONDON’ at me from the screen. There’s a fair bit of red brick in the North American Assassin’s Creed games, but II and Unity are the ones I’ve played most recently, so maybe it’s the contrast with the architecture of Florence and Paris that makes it stand out here.

OH, YES, FASCINATING OBSERVATIONS ON RED-BRICK HOUSES. THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE WANTS TO HEAR.

Jacob apparently has a bit of a habit of delivering terrible one-liners to himself. Possibly to others as well, but I’m particularly noticing him making terrible jokes when there’s no one around to hear them. I’m torn between groaning and finding this incredibly endearing.

There’s an interesting coldness to Evie, which I wasn’t expecting. From my brief acquaintance with her so far, she actually reminds me a little of Haytham; she has a sense of humour but takes her work very seriously, she prioritises taking out the target over helping people. She only ended up helping Guy Being Interrogated About the Laboratory escape because it happened to serve her purpose. If Ezio or Arno had been the ones trying to infiltrate the lab, I think they’d have seen that guy being taken prisoner and immediately worked ‘help that guy out’ into their mission plan without taking a moment to think ‘would it be easier if I didn’t help that guy out?’

Evie doesn’t remind me of Aveline, which is a good thing; I like Aveline a lot, but it’s frustrating when all the male characters in a series have varied personalities and all the female characters fall into a single mould. I’m glad the female Assassin’s Creed protagonists feel distinct. We could still do with more of them, though.

The thing that’s amused me most so far: the subtitles, having spent previous games translating from French and Italian and so on, are now translating from British English. I very nearly burst out laughing at ‘Lost your bottle (nerve), boys?’
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I accidentally wrote a Pokémon AU of my Sense8 AU for Assassin's Creed. Looking back, I somehow feel that I should have seen this coming.


Title: Visiting the Pokémon Centre
Fandom: Assassin's Creed/Pokémon
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 3,300
Summary: It’s been tradition in the Assassin Brotherhood for over a thousand years: every novice receives an Eevee. In deciding what to evolve it into, you will discover yourself. (Inexplicable Pokémon AU of the Visitorverse AU.)


Visiting the Pokémon Centre )


Part Two
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Well, I've finished playing Assassin's Creed: Unity!

Overall, I've enjoyed Unity a lot more than I was expecting to; I'd heard a lot of criticism, but I suppose much of that was due to the disastrous launch. (Unity, if you're not familiar with the backstory, was almost unplayably bug-ridden when it was first released.) You can tell that a great many people worked very, very hard on this game, and it’s a shame that their work ended up being overshadowed by the fact that it was pushed out of the door too early. Paris was stunningly, stunningly gorgeous. I liked the combat system a lot (it's possible to fight, but it's very easy to become overwhelmed, so it really pushes you to master stealth), and the assassination missions felt better-designed than any others in the series so far. And, of course, there's a playable drugged-up psychological breakdown, which is exactly the sort of thing I like to see in my games.

The more I reflect on the game, the more I like it. It might actually be one of my favourite Assassin's Creed games.

Some things were still a bit ridiculous, though. (Arno, you prat, did you actually just set fire to a building full of gunpowder while you were inside it?)


Spoilers up to the end of Assassin's Creed: Unity. )


I find it hilarious that Arno, with no explanation, can see the memories of the people he kills. I assumed at first that it was just some sort of metaphorical thing; perhaps we, as the player, were just seeing what the target was saying to Arno. And then Arno killed a guy and actually said, 'In his memories, I saw him writing the letter.' Why can Arno see the memories of the people he stabs? Who knows?
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
I'm playing Assassin's Creed: Unity!

And I've barely progressed the story at all. I'm spending so much time just arsing around in the streets of Paris, climbing up buildings, trying to solve murders, gazing in awe over the city. It's a ridiculously beautiful game.

I've been making disjointed notes as I go along, and I'm going to dump them here:


Notes on the first few hours of Assassin's Creed: Unity. )


There's an interesting new approach to language in this game. In previous Assassin's Creed games set in non-English-speaking locations, the speech would all be in English, but the accents would help to give a sort of linguistic sense of place. In Unity, where the major characters seem to speak mainly with British accents, the linguistic sense of 'this is France' comes from the fact that all the people you pass on the street are speaking French. I'm a bit sad about this, because I can't understand what they're saying, and I loved some of the passer-by quotes in previous games. I fondly remember the time I (as Ezio) knocked a box out of a guy's hands and he said, 'This is the third delivery I've lost this week. You're ruining my business. Please go away.'

Finally, a couple of interesting historical titbits from the in-game database:

- During the French Revolution, the statues of the biblical kings of Judah on Notre-Dame Cathedral were beheaded; the revolutionaries had mistaken them for kings of France.

- The game says that 'By 1789, the Bastille was deemed useless, and was costly to maintain, with 250 soldiers for a mere nine prisoners.' How did all the guards occupy themselves? Why not have fewer guards? Were there actually cells, or were the prisoners kept in by a solid wall of men? I'm having trouble finding another source to confirm this, though; it's definitely true that the number of prisoners was in single figures at points in the 1780s, but I can't find anything solid on the number of guards.

(I might post more Occasionally Unverifiable Eighteenth-Century France Facts in the future, if people are interested.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
It's Christmas Eve, and that means it's STUPID SEASONAL MANIP DAY.




'Shay, you look ridiculous and I refuse to accept this present.'


Less seasonally appropriate but equally essential: Edward Kenway with a Vaporeon.




I've been trying to work out which Eevee evolutions the pre-PS4 Assassin's Creed protagonists would own if they lived in the Pokémon world (and all owned Pokémon in the Eevee family), but I can't find a good Eeveelution for Aveline. This is a disaster.

Altaïr: Espeon (a Psychic type seems to fit Altaïr’s character arc, which is essentially about gaining wisdom.)
Ezio: Flareon (Fire type; passion! vigour!)
Edward: Vaporeon (Water type; they can swim around together!)
Haytham: Umbreon (Dark type; one of its Pokédex entries reads, 'When darkness falls, the rings on the body begin to glow, striking fear in the hearts of anyone nearby,' and Haytham certainly strikes fear into hearts, but Eevee will only evolve into Umbreon if it really loves its trainer, hinting towards the fact that Haytham has a heart of his own really. Very deep down. When he's not busy murdering informants and alienating his son.)
Shay: Glaceon (Ice type; Shay spends a lot of time in cold places, and a Glaceon would fit the terrain.)
Connor: Leafeon (Grass type; Connor spends a lot of time in forests and wilderness.)
Desmond: Eevee (Normal type; unevolved; untapped potential; could become one of the Pokémon owned by his ancestors.)

But that leaves Aveline with Jolteon (Electric type) or Sylveon (Fairy type), and neither seems to fit. I'm actually inclined to give Jolteon to one of the Frye twins; it makes sense to have an Electric type in the Industrial Revolution.

Well, no, I haven't played Syndicate, but it's never too early to think about what Pokémon a character might train.

Sylveon does have the ability 'Cute Charm', which means there's a chance the opposing Pokémon, if it's of the opposite gender, will fall in love with Sylveon and be unable to make itself attack it. I suppose that can sort of be related to the way Aveline will charm enemies into letting their guard down. I also like the idea of Haytham's Pokémon being weak against Aveline's, given the weird unrequited (semi-requited?) Haytham/Aveline plotline that's developed in the Visitorverse.

Connor almost certainly has a Braviary in addition to his Leafeon. It's an eagle (symbol of the Assassins); its design is inspired by Native American culture; it's in the colours of the American flag. I don't think I've ever found a Pokémon that fits a specific character on so many different levels before.

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC AND I HAVE SPENT AN ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT IT.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
I woke up to a comment on the Visitorverse saying 'it's been a long four days since I started binging this 'verse, and now I'm done'. I was perplexed: four days? Surely we couldn't have produced four days' worth of binging material since August? And then I checked the total wordcount. 178,000 words. How has this happened?


Title: Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Six
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Shay Cormac/Aveline de Grandpré (occasionally), various others
Wordcount: 8,800 (this part; 52,000 cumulative)
Summary: Visitors was a collection of scenes from a universe in which most of the Assassin's Creed protagonists kept meeting through involuntary time-travel. This is the same, only now they all cuddle and fall asleep on each other. Don't give me that look.
Notes: The full Visitorverse, including stories by others, can be found here on AO3.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five


Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Six )
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Recently, I found myself thinking 'hmm, I've heard good things about How to Get Away with Murder. Maybe I should watch it? I should find out a bit more about what it is first.'

So I opened Google, and then I was struck by the terrible realisation that I was about to type 'how to get away with murder' into the search bar.

I ended up searching for 'how to get away with murder television', just in case the eyes of the government were on me.

I'm now about twelve episodes in!


Thoughts on the first twelve episodes of 'How to Get Away with Murder'. No spoilers for the main plot. )


An exchange with one of my Visitorverse co-writers:

VampireBadger: No! No, Altair and Desmond are not going to make out! Stop it, don't you dare write them together.
Riona: VAMPIREBADGER, YOU KNOW THAT TELLING ME TO STAY AWAY FROM HAYTHAM/AVELINE JUST MADE ME THROW MORE WEIRD HAYTHAM/AVELINE IMPLICATIONS IN.
VampireBadger: YES BUT ENCOURAGING YOU TO WRITE WEIRD PAIRINGS ALSO RESULTS IN WEIRD PAIRINGS. THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN WITH YOU, RIONA.

I think this is the best thing anyone's ever said to me. (I have not, incidentally, written Altaïr and Desmond making out. Although I did write a scene on which multiple people commented to say '...I'm pretty sure you were picturing those two making out when you wrote this,' and they were absolutely right.)


In other news, we are two episodes into the final series of Peep Show and I've realised once more how deeply invested I am in Mark/Jeremy. If Peep Show doesn't end with Mark and Jeremy falling into some sort of awful self-loathing mess of a sexual relationship, I will sob.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I am still writing this. Was there ever a time when I wasn't writing this? It seems a distant dream.

(Don't misunderstand me; I've loved every second of it. This section was particularly fun because it contains a great deal of Edward being ridiculous.)


Title: Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Five
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Shay Cormac/Aveline de Grandpré (occasionally), various others
Wordcount: 10,000 (this part; 43,100 cumulative)
Summary: Visitors was a collection of scenes from a universe in which most of the Assassin's Creed protagonists kept meeting through involuntary time-travel. This is the same, only now they all cuddle and fall asleep on each other. Don't give me that look.
Notes: The full Visitorverse, including stories by others, can be found here on AO3.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four


Visitors (Gratuitous Wish-Fulfilment Edition), Part Five )


Part Six