So recently, I was finally able to finish Netflix’s The Witcher. It was pretty much sacrilege for me to put it off for so long as a sword fighter and a Witcher fan. Now that I have finished it, I can say that I very much enjoyed it! The story was very engaging, and I appreciated the episodic nature of the series. I’m still not 100% on how I feel about the different timeline storytelling but it was enough to keep me engaged.
The one thing I was really looking forward to was the sword fighting in the series. I really wanted to see a good fantasy series with fun sword fighting. I was never really into Game of Thrones (I’m not going to draw any comparisons here to GOT) so I only had this to look forward to. For background I am an actor combatant and sword fighter. I’m certified in six weapons including longsword, which is the style of sword The Witcher has branded. To clarify, I am not a swordmaster. I can only give you my thoughts based on my experiences as a fighter. I’ve mainly studied German style of longsword and dabbled in some Italian longsword. I’ll keep you guys posted once I reach Witcher status.
Now that’s out of the way, what do I think of the sword fighting in Netflix’s The Witcher? I’d say it’s basically the same to how I feel about the game’s sword fighting; flashy but not at all realistic. I was hoping to see some historical longsword come to life, but it all came down to all for show and not a lot of skills.
At first, I kind of felt disappointed by this fact and then I was really split. My instructor, who has taught me everything I know about swords, said the fighting was trash. There’s no technique involved and it’s just slashing for the sake of slashing. Then a really good friend of mine pointed out to me, “Of the general audience, what percentage of them would care?” It really gave me a lot to think about because in the end, at least it looked cool.
I for one am in the middle of the argument. Though it’s not something you would show a real-life swordmaster, it does the job for what it’s meant for, entertaining audiences. The Witcher’s sword-fighting choreography is one of those things where if you have to look from afar to enjoy. Start slowing things down and you’ll begin to see the flaws.
The best example for me to explain is the first episode of The Witcher, the market fight. The pacing of the whole fight is very well done. It’s all one shot and very smooth flowing from one enemy to another. Geralt is a badass and no one can compete with him as a swordsman. And I think that’s sort of the problem when it comes to Geralt fighting other people with swords. He’s such a badass he doesn’t even need to hold his sword upright. He starts in a reverse grip and keeps going in a reverse grip the whole way.
The thing with a reverse grip is that it’s not a real guard if you were fighting in real life. You lack mobility and you don’t get enough reach in terms of attack or defense. Just grab a broom or stick as if it were a sword and hold the long end along your forearm. If you try to slash with it, you won’t get far. I know it’s meant to show that Geralt is better than all of them that he doesn’t even need to try his best. He just slashes and moves on to the next guy. I think it just compromises the tension of a fight. If Geralt’s going into a fight and we know he can beat them no problem, we won’t be as invested. If there’s a danger there for Geralt, we’re immediately on the edge of our seats. When Geralt is fighting monsters and supernatural beings, we’re immediately invested because it’s a bigger danger than Geralt is used to. He could die if he’s not careful. If this were translated into his sword fights, it would be a big A+ for me as a series.
Now Geralt is not the problem when it comes to the show’s lack of sword skills. Henry Cavil is excellent in terms of his form and pacing in a fight. The problem lies in the henchman that Geralt fights. There’s really a lack of targeting and they just go in slashing for nothing. It’s supposed to make Geralt look good, but I just wish there was more of a threat when Geralt had to face human threats.
With all that said, I understand why they went for what they did. Watching it through a second time I can see that the style they were going for was not brutal German fighting but more of a dance. The show’s choreographer Vladimir Furdik explained, “I thought that [Geralt] should be fighter who can already predict, three seconds ahead, when he’s going to kill someone else. When he fights somebody, he can already predict what they’re doing. So, his fight should look like very comfortable, kind of like ballet.”
I think I will forever be conflicted with the show’s style of fighting. Making the choreography more dance-like makes for more flashy moves and big wow moments, but it sacrifices skill and a sense of stakes. I’m not saying that any of it is wrong. It’s supposed to be fantastical and not everything has to be 100% realistic. I just believe that it can still be improved. If we can get more sword fights with the same stakes as we did with the monsters for the second season, it’ll be one hell of a show.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is perhaps one of my most anticipated games of 2020 and I know I’m not alone. Ever since the Switch came out, fans of the series have been begging Nintendo for a new game. New Leaf was a fantastic game with hits depth of complexity and extreme customization options for both personal homes and the town at large.
New Horizon’s departure from the traditional Animal Crossing formula will definitely be a new, interesting way to experience it. The crafting system does have me a little bit tentative personally My first experience with crafting in games was in Stardew Valley. It was something I hated at first since it was something very foreign to me. In time, though, I did come to accept and enjoy it. I’ve still put over 150 hours into vanilla Stardew Valley on Switch despite my initial feelings.
Other than that, I am pretty excited for the game. I’ve personally put over four hundred hours across nearly six hundred individual play sessions into New Leaf. I even own the special edition 3DS that came with the game pre-installed on it. I’m a huge fan of the series, stretching back to the original Gamecube version. I didn’t play City Folk since I didn’t have a Wii, but I’ve played every other mainline game.
One of the things I enjoyed most about New Leaf was being able to customize the town which was the main draw for it. Despite my leeriness of the new crafting system, it does seem like it’ll offer even further customization than New Leaf.
One of my main hopes for the game is that they get rid of the stupid grass wear down. Yes, it’s a life simulator and it’s realistic for grass to wear down as people walk over it. Just because it’s a life simulator, doesn’t mean it has to be realistic. A lot of people that played New Leaf will understand the struggle of pathing to cover the grass wear.
I seriously had to make three mule accounts just to contain all of the necessary parts to create all of the needed pathways.
Hopefully they’ll also keep the town plans in some shape, way, or form. I know a lot of players including myself really appreciated the environmental plan which keeps flowers from dying. Even after getting New Leaf, my flowers are still alive because of it.
I know there are several quality-of-life improvements that I’m really looking forward to. I’m not one to really want to change my facial features or skin tone, but there are other things that I’ll definitely enjoy.
Perhaps the biggest one will be the fact you can dictate where a new villager can move in. Any Animal Crossing veteran knows the anguish and despair that happens when an animal moves in a space you were using for some reason. This was especially bad in New Leaf where you may have things laid out perfectly but then some jerk decided it would be a great idea to move in over your hybrid garden or a foreign fruit orchard. Or they just moved into the middle of one of your pathways so you now have to spend the next twenty minutes redoing your pathing.
This jerk moved into the middle of my pear orchard.
And this one decided the middle of my pathing would be a fantastic place to move so now I have to go around his house.
The fact that they’re actually listening to the feedback of their players is so good. Animal Crossing is supposed to be a game where you sit back, relax, and not have to worry about a thing other than if you caught that fish or bug. Yeah, you have a lot of debt to pay off, but you can do it at your own pace. It’s not so much about the destination but the journey.
Even though the information is still somewhat limited at the time of writing, we have the Direct upcoming tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll give us an even better look at the game. I know I’m definitely gonna be up at nine to watch it.