Tag: 2018

Giving less than thanks

Giving less than thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Break week, everybody!

What a wonderful time it is to start decompressing a bit and spend extra time with your family and friends.

Unless you’re like me this year.

Fair warning, this is a ranting vent post. So if you enjoy railing against people who do terrible things, you’ve come to the right place.

This is the first time in a number of years that Cal State Fullerton has remained open the Monday of Thanksgiving Break. Every other year I’ve been here, we’ve gotten the whole week off.

That’s annoying, but a lot of my friends have never had the luxury of a full week off, so it would feel a bit disingenuous to complain about that alone.

Everything’s relative.

The annoying part comes from the fact that most teachers decided they would either cancel their classes or just offer online coursework today. Because they, too, would rather have the whole week off as it turns out.

My Evolution and Creation professor was very eager to just not have class today. However, my Learning and Memory professor decided to keep the train going.

Naturally his class is the one that offers so much compact material that I knew I’d have to come in for it at risk of falling dangerously behind. Otherwise I would have skipped out and joined my family in Burbank.

To be fair, I also have to come in tomorrow for a mandatory internship orientation, so I would have had school this week no matter what.

The part about today that really bugged me was the execution.

To set the scene: It’s a cloudy, dreary day in Orange County and campus is next to empty (hence my featured image of the often bustling Library). The universe seems to be in agreement that things aren’t right.

Every student who is here seems downtrodden, as if the gloom of coming in during Thanksgiving Break was folding into the gloomy grey skies.

When I get to my class on the sixth floor of the Humanities building, a typically 35-ish headcount of students has been reduced to about 12.

As the professor starts to take roll amid the sound of the 1:00 p.m. clock tower chime, he pauses after a string of missing names.

He says, and I quote: “What, is it a holiday or something?”

Then he offers a cheeky grin to the audience, as if the villainous character in a reality T.V. show’s confessional booth.

How much of a dick to you have to be to crack a joke about how you’ve forced your students to come in when they didn’t necessarily have to? It’s just a cruel, self-aware form of torture.

From there it was an average lecture. Lots of densely-packed information over an hour-and-a-half. It sucked to be there, but at least I felt somewhat justified by the breadth of material.

Plus, I incurred an extra benefit by getting back my research paper final draft considering I turned it in early. It was the paper from this earlier post actually.

I got an A on the final draft. Frankly that’s all that matters.

However… He was somehow even more frustrating by proxy.

On the rough draft, he said my paper was an “excellent start” before giving me a C. It was littered with red marks, to the point where I wondered how he could justify calling it excellent in any respect.

The final draft had this message adorning the front:

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Seems like a great message to accompany an A grade, right?

Unfortunately the message feels very disingenuous when you see just how much the final draft is still littered with red ink.

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I don’t get it, man. The mixed messages are real.

But hey, I never have to think about the paper again. So I can’t complain.

I just wish that my being required to come in wasn’t accompanied by such a frustrating series of events. It doesn’t help that cancelled plans made the drive out feel like more of a waste of time.

That’s not a judgement call on the person I made plans with, since I know they’ll read this ❤

Hence why I’m sitting here in the Library writing this blog post and working on some homework to justify the time.

If nothing else I appreciate seeing campus as empty as it is during the daytime. It offers me the chance to hang out in places that I couldn’t normally.

Such as the seat by this statue’s butt near a Starbucks.

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Could have never gotten that picture normally and I kind of love it?

So long as you ignore my 5 o’clock shadow and devil horns.

I really need a haircut soon. Perhaps I’ll try to do that over the break once it starts.

But that feels like a post for another day.

Our new Toy Opening channel

Our new Toy Opening channel

After a lovely family lunch at Mama D’s with my grandparents to celebrate my Grandpa Joe’s belated birthday, Alyson made me take her over to Target.

She didn’t need anything. She just wanted to wander aimlessly and kill time.

To be fair I do that sort of thing with my friends constantly, to the point where we covertly call ourselves the ‘Loiter Bois,’ so I couldn’t argue. In fact I was pretty into the idea. Especially considering Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu just came out and I was interested in seeing it on shelves as I start to prepare my holiday wish list.

But then something happened. Idly wandering the video game and toy aisles making fun of things turned into more when she found this rip-off Lego Pokémon toy of one of my favorites:

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Isn’t Mimikyu just the cutest? Who needs Pikachu when you’ve got one of them, huh?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I let her convinced me to buy this thing. I just started cleaning my room up for the Thanksgiving Break, and having another little figurine to take up space seems counterintuitive. Plus, when I say this thing was a Lego rip-off, I mean it is like a real cheap Lego rip-off.

Just look at how weirdly confusing and unintuitive these instructions are.

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Somehow it manages to take a Lego figurine made out of ~20 pieces and not distinctly separate out which pieces are what for big chunks of the instructions. It took some time to figure out which parts went where.

But at the very least I suppose these Mega Construx are similar to Lego in that they have just random extra pieces for no reason.

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Where do you go, random circle piece? I don’t see you anywhere in the instructions.

Granted I did just complain that the instructions were unintuitive so maybe I’m just missing something… But oh well.

On the other hand, despite those points, I really can’t complain about the purchase. It was maybe six dollars for a pseudo-figurine of one of my favorite Pokémon and it came with a Premiere Ball, which is also probably my favorite kind of Poké Ball.

Its creepy long neck might just haunt me in my dreams, but I’ll happily suffer that fate for Mimikyu.

However, I didn’t just buy this fake Lego. I was pretty close to putting it down and not buying anything because it just didn’t seem worth it to get one item. Especially if that one item was a dumb toy like this.

So my sister made up for it by buying another toy while we were there:

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Yeah that’s right, I know you’ve seen these kinds of dumb collectible packs for every popular culture property in existence.

Well we got one to open up for ourselves just for the hell of it. Even though the movie isn’t out yet as of my writing this, so who knows if it’ll be worth supporting fringe toy-based ventures for it.

All I know is it definitely became worth it when we decided to do this jokey, vague toy opening YouTube channel parody just to put here on the old blog.

See? Even though I make fun of her a bunch on here, she’s still more than happy to make herself look stupid alongside me when the time comes.

I guess this is the part where I would tell you all to like, comment and subscribe to my channel like every cliché in the book tells me I should? But honestly I just use that thing as a dumping place for videos that I want to throw up on my blog, as WordPress has kind of terrible compression when videos and such are concerned.

But that’s going way into the weeds for no reason. I just wanted to share the fun, silly thing my sister and I did today.

Hope you like it.

Musings on what’s ahead

Again, life seems to have thrown me a bone with this whole pre-Thanksgiving Break school stuff.

My 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. class tonight was easier than usual, much like yesterday’s class was. Not because of the content of the class this time around, but because we miraculously got out in just an hour rather than three.

Okay well it wasn’t miraculous, I suppose.

The professor for my Visual Communications class is apparently a part of an administrative group set to appoint new professors in his department this semester. Part of that obligation means occasional meetings with the rest of that group.

Including meetings he was not previously aware of. Such as the one that he wound up having today during out class period.

Thus: Surprise! Only an hour’s worth of class before we were let out and allowed to roam free.

It always feels good to get home early on a day where I expected to be sticking around late. Especially when that gives me extra time to do the stuff I need to do, like edit a piece for Gladeo. Or edit a research paper proposal for my Evolution and Creation class. Or help edit an oral history project for my friend Tiana.

Apparently it’s just an edit-heavy kind of night.

After doing all that work I wound up sitting here close to 10:00 p.m. realizing I didn’t have any ideas for a blog post. Yet I didn’t want to just leave well enough alone, so I figured I would hike up my jeans and write… Something.

Anything.

Yet I mulled it over a bit and couldn’t come up with anything substantial. At least nothing I was willing to try to scrounge together in the next two hours.

Figured it would work to do one of my patented ‘deflecting my responsibility to write now by writing about the things I’m going to write about in the future’-type posts and call it a night. Get some Monster Hunter in or something before having to go to bed for my hematologist appointment in the morning.

Speaking of, that’s probably what I’m going to be writing about tomorrow. Not really because of the hematologist stuff in particular, since it’s just my (at this point) quarterly check-up.

Instead I think I’m going to write about a somewhat tangential point: My weight loss progress.

I haven’t checked my weight since my physical a few months back, so it’ll be good to see whether or not exercising regularly has helped out. Or it’ll be bad to see that exercising regularly has not helped, which will potentially completely demoralize all the progress I’ve been trying to make.

So that’ll be fun.

The day after that I’ll probably have a post about a tour at the Long Beach Post that I’m going on with the Fullerton SPJ chapter.

That should ACTUALLY be fun, hopefully. Not like the sarcastic fun I just joked about.

Once the weekend hits, I’ll see about finally hitting Toby Fox’s Deltarune. Maybe write something about that. The momentum of the weekend could also help me finally hit on a Monster Hunter-related post, regarding my current obsession with armor planning perhaps.

Next Tuesday I have a mandatory internship orientation. There might be something good to glean out of that for a blog post?

I don’t know, I’m kind of grasping at straws by this point aren’t I?

I’d rather not keep you all here for some random bs I’m cobbling together. So I’ll let you go free with a hopeful “come again soon!” like some kind of 7/11 exit sign.

Yeah okay I’m just rambling now. Good night, everybody.

When life hands you a freebie

When life hands you a freebie

Someone out there must have been looking out for me this morning.

I was apparently very tired, or my bed was really comfortable and warm, or I was getting ready for Thanksgiving break a little too early, or some other contrivance that might explain my behavior. Whatever it may have been, all I know is that I was cognizant enough to switch off my first few alarms at about 9:00 a.m.

But then I lost a few hours and found myself woken up at 11:30 a.m. by a call from my mom.

For once in my life I was not up into ungodly hours the night before (or morning of, as it goes), so I have no idea what messed with me and kept me clocked out.

All I know is that I usually leave for class at about 11:00 a.m., since that gives me 2 hours or so to make it from Redondo Beach to Fullerton for my 1:00 p.m. class.

So I came to the conclusion that it might just be worth skipping the first class of the day. Sensation and Perception was the earliest thing on the docket, and considering we just had our exam last Thursday I didn’t imagine anything important would be happening.

Plus I have friends in that class that I could get the notes from.

It was arguably the safest class I could have skipped, as luck would have it. My body’s poor life choices were well timed if nothing else.

But then there was a twist.

As I laid in bed sending out messages of feigned pleading to help with whatever notes I’d be missing, I started my “morning” routine by checking whatever emails I might have missed the night before or gotten while I was asleep.

While looking through my college email, I saw a message had come through from the professor of my Sensation and Perception class.

Apparently he wound up with a flat tire this morning and had to cancel class.

So, by some virtue of whatever Gods may or may not be out there, not only was my body’s messed-up internal clock timed to mesh together with a less-important class, but that less-important class happened to get cancelled anyway.

It literally became a win-win situation. I slept in and missed nothing.

My friend in that class and I laughed off the convenience.

Of course it wasn’t a perfectly timed event, because I still had to come in for my 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. block class. But at least it’s a class I really like coming to.

Also, as it happened, today was an easy day in class. We pretty much just spent the whole day watching a movie.

In fact, I wound up writing this whole thing while the movie was going because I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? Getting my blog post out of the way during an easy, chill class opens up more time for me to do other things later.

Like go to the gym.

Or finish some homework.

Or play some Monster Hunter.

Who knows what the evening will hold! All I know is this goofy little story seemed like fine blog fodder for the day.

So I hope you enjoyed the ironic conveniences of my Tuesday.

Adrift in the Rage

Adrift in the Rage

What better way is there to celebrate Veteran’s Day than to talk about a game in which fantasy characters have taken part in dozens of wars over a number of titles?

Okay no, I’m just kidding. It’s probably really weird and insensitive to joke about Veteran’s Day like that. I have nothing but respect.

I just needed some kind of segue into this Fire Emblem Heroes post that I’ve been putting off because… Boy am I not excited for it.

I know that’s a weird sentiment to walk into one of these with, because in that case why talk about it at all?

Well dear viewer.

The reason I hate this banner is because it is the next evolution in what has been a slow-growing problem.

Hope you’re ready for more of that than actually discussing the banner.


CamillaFlower of Fantasy

  • Book of Dreams (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Attack +3. If unit is adjacent to an ally, inflicts Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance -4 on foe during combat.
  • Draw Back (Range = 1)
    • Unit moves one space away from target ally. Ally moves to unit’s previous space.
  • Attack/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Resistance +5 during combat.
  • Attack/Resistance Link (B Skill)
    • If a Movement Assist skill is used by unit or targets unit, grants Attack and Resistance +6 to unit and target ally or vice versa for one turn.
  • Goad Fliers (C Skill)
    • Grants Attack and Speed +4 to flying allies within two spaces during combat.

CorrinDream Prince

  • Draconic Rage (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger. If the number of allies within two spaces (excluding unit) > the number of foes within two spaces (excluding target), grants Attack and Speed +5 during combat. If foe’s Range = 2, calculates damage using the foe’s lower defensive stat.
  • Dragon Fang (Cooldown = 4)
    • Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Attack/Defense Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Defense +5 during combat.
  • Null Follow-Up (B Skill)
    • Disables foe’s skills that guarantee foe’s follow-up attack and foe’s skills that prevent unit’s follow-up attack.
  • Hone Dragons (C Skills)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent dragon allies for one turn.

CorrinDream Princess

  • Draconic Rage (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger. If the number of allies within two spaces (excluding unit) > the number of foes within two spaces (excluding target), grants Attack and Speed +5 during combat. If foe’s Range = 2, calculates damage using the foe’s lower defensive stat.
  • Rally Attack/Speed (Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack and Speed +6 to target ally for one turn.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 30 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Attack/Speed Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Speed +5 during combat.
  • Fortify Dragons (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Defense and Resistance +6 to adjacent dragon allies for one turn.

MikotoCaring Mother

  • Flash (Might = 11, Range = 2)
    • After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts status on target and foes within two spaces of target preventing counterattacks through their next actions.
  • Martyr (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = damage dealt to unit +50 percent of Attack (minimum 7). Restores Health to unit = half of damage dealt to unit.
  • Miracle (Cooldown = 5)
    • If unit’s Health > 1 and foe would reduce unit’s Health to 0, unit survives with 1 Health.
  • Brazen Attack/Resistance (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≤ 80 percent, grants Attack and Resistance +7 during combat.
  • Infantry Rush (C Skill)
    • Infantry allies within two spaces gain: “If unit’s Attack > foe’s Attack, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack (only highest value applied, does not stack).”

Normally I would give my thoughts on each of these units individually. But frankly I think in this case it would be more constructive for me to go through these units in the way I naturally reacted a few days ago.

Starting with the first, most immediately striking question:

“WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A MAIN GAME BANNER WITH THREE DUPLICATE UNITS?!”

Words cannot express how baffling this is to me.

Duplicate units are fine in seasonal banners where they’re one-offs with unique qualities in some way. Something you can hold over people’s heads as a status symbol should you have played the game far longer than them and they missed the giveaway.

But if you’re going to add the units into the regular summoning pool, why not just add new units from the game you’re using? There are dozens of characters in Fates to pull from!

Like my waifu Scarlet. Just add her in. Please.

Instead we get our 17th version of Camilla and two new Corrin alts for basically no reason. Or lore reasons I suppose.

Once I got over that annoyance, I actually looked through the things these units bring to the table. Like sure, it bugged me when Eirika and Hinoka got alternate versions of themselves in the regular summoning pool, but at least they were neat.

These Adrift units don’t have that luxury. They’re so… Boring.

The Corrins didn’t really stand out to me at all outside of that new Null Follow-Up skill that the male one has. Mikoto is the only “new” unit here, but she’s just kind of average in a colorless healing pool that has blossomed recently with Veronica and Halloween Mia.

Camilla is honestly the only one of the four that seems particularly good thanks to the combination of her Attack/Resistance skills making her a decent mage counter as well as a flying support unit.

But she also comes into a summoning pool that has flourished lately. In just the last couple weeks we’ve all received a free flying red mage in Aversa, Summer Tana appeared again on the Legendary Eirika banner and Halloween Nowi came back in a banner retread.

I don’t know, guys. I was able to let this slide when it was just one duplicate unit on occasion despite my desire to see something totally new instead. But three on one banner?

It’s too much. If this is a trend that keeps up, I’ll have some far more choice words for Intelligent Systems. But for now, that’s mostly going to boil down to me boycotting this banner and saving my orbs for something down the line.

That said, was there anything good that came out of this banner?


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Other than the non-banner related stuff, this Paralogue is probably one the most interesting bits of story in this game in a while. Mostly because it’s a substantial interstitial explaining events between Books II and III (coming in December).

In it, we follow Loki talking to young girl Azura — the upcoming Tempest Trial reward unit who’s actually more relevant to everything than the main units here.

As we find out, the Adrift Paralogue is happening in Azura’s dream? I think? They don’t explain that part well. But the four main units in this banner are manifestations of Azura’s family and friends that helped her out of the dark past that was the driving plot of Revelations.

Except we only know that because while this strange philosophical discussion is happening between Loki and young Azura:

The Order of Heroes wakes up confused and is led on by adult Azura to find them. It’s a very short and succinct ‘find out what happened and stop the bad guy’ plot over three battles.

But what makes them so compelling is the extended look at the conversations between Loki and Azura, as they reveal more about what Loki is planning now that Muspell’s king has fallen.

If you map this onto the plot development from the Hoshidan festival banner a few months back, it becomes obvious that Loki is looking to use the power of Anankos for… Something nondescript. She’ll get to that power however she can — Even if it means abusing a tormented young child.

By the end of the Paralogue, she talks to Prince Alfonse and tells him that the Askrans clearly don’t know what potential their family’s ability to close gateways into other worlds has.

Which is a pretty good little cliffhanger considering the brief glance at Book III we’ve gotten so far is just Sharena covered in blood or dirt, reaching toward the camera and crying out.

Obviously some stuff is going to go down soon and this Paralogue is a neat little bridge to get there.

Now if only it didn’t make itself that by using a bunch of throw-away, underwhelming “dream” characters that we’re now stuck with.


I know extended rants probably aren’t the most enticing thing to read, so if you’ve gotten this far I appreciate it. I really just needed a space to complain and vent about this stupid thing in a game I love.

Let’s be honest, I’ve been putting this off for so long that framing it around complaints was the only way I was going to talk about the banner.

Originally I was also going to discuss the new Aether battles feature, because that’s actually something in this update that I like a lot… But I’m already getting pretty wordy here. So if I get around to doing it in the near future, I’ll include a link to my discussion on that at the bottom of this piece.

As usual, let me know how you feel about this new banner. Or let me know if you think I’m just crazy and stupid and wrong.

I’d also gladly accept that kind of criticism.

Fire Emblem Heroes’ treat: Legendary Eirika

Fire Emblem Heroes’ treat: Legendary Eirika

Looks like Intelligent Systems decided to give us a treat this Halloween with a brand new Legendary Hero from my favorite game in the entire Fire Emblem franchise.

While the Brave Redux banner with Loki, Kliff and Owain has been around for a few days now, I haven’t gotten anything particularly special out of it. In fact the only five-star hero it gave me was a Gray — and while I can appreciate the thematic consistency, he’s no Kliff.

After summoning him, something deep down inside me said, “Jason. Save your orbs. It feels like we might be gearing up for a Sacred Stones banner sometime soon.”

So I did start to save my orbs.

We didn’t get a full Sacred Stones banner, but the game’s chief heroine has now arrived in a brand new light to justify my frugality.

But was she worth saving myself for? Well, only one way to find out.

Even though obviously the answer is yes.



Editor’s Note: On the last banner I tried to use shrunken photos to improve my media space consumption, but they were a little too small and came out blurry.

So I’m trying a medium size this time and hopefully it will look better. Again, sorry for the growing pains!



EirikaGraceful Resolve

  • Storm Sieglinde (Might = 16, Range = 1)
    • Grants Attack +3. If the numbers of foes within two spaces (excluding target) ≥ the number of allies within two spaces (excluding unit), grants Defense and Resistance +3 and Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per unit’s attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack).
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense and Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Attack/Speed Solo (A Skill)
    • If unit is not adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Speed +6 during combat.
  • Lunar Brace (B Skill)
    • Slows Special Attack trigger (cooldown count +1). Deals damage = 50 percent of foe’s Defense when Special Attack triggers.
  • Odd Defense Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Defense +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Legendary Eirika has an interesting synergy with her brother’s Legendary Hero variant. A synergy in that, while both are cavalry units (as per their ultimate forms in Sacred Stones), both also thrive when staying way the hell away from each other.

That Solo skill and her weapon’s effect makes her a unit whose primary purpose is to charge into battle on her own, slaying enemies with an accelerated Moonbow trigger that has extra boosted damage on account of the Lunar Brace.

Send her in on turns where she gets a defensive boost thanks to her C skill and Eirika reads like a force to be reckoned with on paper. Personally I even kind of prefer her Brace’s focus on improving damage output over Legendary Ephraim’s Solar Brace improving his vampirism.

Arguably the only real problem harming Eirika’s viability is the fact that sword-wielding cavalier is a field that’s very saturated all things being equal. Eldigan, Sigurd, variant Reinhardt, Brave Roy, Exalt Chrom…

And those are just the ones I own.

Personally I think Legendary Eirika would have been more impactful if they utilized the mage cavalier variant here instead of in her Anamnesis alt from the start of this year. Or honestly anything that could have helped her stand out a bit better.

Though that said, I fricken love Eirika and will sink all my orbs into summoning her no matter what. Hell her OG form is still my token unit and I’ve invested a lot into her, so Legendary girl will fit right in.

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I’ll probably regret this decision when Neimi drops in the Sacred Stones exclusive banner next week… But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get there.

Also available on Legendary Eirika’s banner are:

  • Tana — Noble and Nimble
  • Olivia — Sky-High Dancer
  • Ephraim — Legendary Lord
  • Ninian — Bright-Eyed Bride
  • Sumia — Maid of Flowers
  • Lyn — Lady of the Wind
  • Sanaki — Apostle in White
  • Robin — Fell Reincarnation
  • Robin — Fell Vessel
  • Innes — Regal Strategician
  • Genny — Endearing Ally

My preferences for the supplemental summoning units this time around are rather simple.

In red, Olivia. In blue, Ninian. In green, Sanaki. In colorless, Genny.

Those are the four units I have not summoned before, with all the rest having joined my army already. In that respect the banner overall is a bit disappointing, as red is my major focus — with Tana being a sticking point. As much as I love her.

However, if nothing else I do appreciate the themeing. Having both Tana and Ephraim on Eirika’s banner was a smart choice, and both Grima variants being summonable is cool… Even if female Grima is very overplayed.

Now there is one more problem with this banner thus far…

The fact that I’ve blown through the 60 orbs I had already and pretty much summoned nothing.

Hell probably the only ‘useful’ unit I’ve gotten for myself is an extra Soleil, bringing me up to my 8th merge for her.

Should I do a post on my +10 merge project units at some point? I feel like that could be fun.

But that is also a discussion for another day. Because right now I need some extra orbs for my fix… And I think Eirika might have just what I need.


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I usually don’t have too much to say about these Legendary Battle maps, and this time is no exception. The reinforcements arriving thing is never a fun mechanic, but otherwise this one seems better than some of the others we’ve seen before.

Plus, Lyn and Grima’s Legendary Battle maps return as well and I haven’t beaten the Infernal difficulty on either. So yay, orbs.

Please game just give me some orbs for Halloween.


So I know this probably isn’t the Halloween post you all would have expected out of me. But don’t fret, as I may just have Halloween things to talk about later today?

Who knows.

I certainly don’t because it’s 12:30 a.m. when I’m writing this. I just think it could be fun to do a ‘costumes I see around campus’ kind of post at the end of the day, as I’ll actually have a Halloween to enjoy this year sans Milo Yiannopoulos.

Which, by the way, it’s crazy that it has been a year since that whole debacle. That’s just also a story for another non-FEH post.

Thus I’ll leave you all with this: Why is Sacred Stones the best Fire Emblem game?

Kidding, you can disagree with that if you want. Just go ahead and think about the usual ‘who do you want to summon?’ and ‘who do you want to see next?’ kind of questions and get back to me if you want.

But honestly you should all just go enjoy Halloween. Do it for all the reporters covering nasty things who can’t this year. Because I certainly will.



P.S. — After I finished writing this and set it to publish, I got her with 15 orbs to spare.

Boy am I going to sleep happy tonight! And build a great Sacred Stones-themed team in the near future to boot~

My Thoughts on the September 13, 2018 Nintendo Direct

My Thoughts on the September 13, 2018 Nintendo Direct

I’m not feeling too great right now.

A bit of an unconventional way to start a post that’s just going to be talking Nintendo news for a little while, but I figured I would put it out there since it’s probably going to effect the way I’m doing this.

See I could go into all about how today was a bit of a wash when I drove out to Fullerton only for my one class to get cut short, making me spend more time in the car than at school… But none of that really matters right now. All that really matters is the fact that I felt like I had to puke all the way home, and am now spending my time running back-and-forth to the bathroom.

Yet I promised I would talk about the Nintendo Direct today. So I’m still going to do it.

I’m just going to structure it a little bit differently, because… Well… It’s a 40-minute long video. I’m going to watch it, and as I do talk about my thoughts on some of the big things that are announced.

To be honest I’m a bit surprised they had so much to talk about considering the last Direct was… What, last month maybe? But those good old boys in Nintendo are really cranking it out for the Switch it seems.

So without further adieu, let’s get into some highlights.


Luigi’s Mansion 3

Right off the bat Nintendo started with a bit of a surprise entry. It seems almost serendipitous that Luigi blew up on Twitter during the last Direct for dying in the Castlevania Smash trailer only to show up now with a brand new game in the — apparently long-standing — series of Luigi’s Mansion games.

There isn’t too much to say about the game itself considering we only got a 30-second trailer with a working title, but for all intents and purposes it seems like this new entry will be much closer to Dark Moon than the original GameCube version.

I did enjoy that game, but not quite as much as the original. It sort of swapped out the hyper-creepy atmosphere for a more video game-y approach of hunting monsters en-masse and solving puzzles.

So I might buy this one or I might not. Depends on what we get shown later on.

But I’m glad to see our green hat friend is alive and well!


3DS Remakes

In the near future, we’re getting Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and Luigi’s Mansion remade on the 3DS.

From what I’m aware we’ve heard various and sundry bits about the three in the past, but having them all together with little trailers was nice.

  • Epic Yarn is a game I never played, and despite enjoying the Game Grump’s let’s play of it, I don’t necessarily have a huge desire to play it for myself. But adding new game modes is a nice touch.
  • I was hyped as hell when Superstar Saga was given a remake, but Bowser’s Inside Story never clicked quite as well with me. It’s a fun game, but I’ve found I haven’t been able to play through it subsequent times. Honestly, I’m not sure a graphical rehash (which frankly doesn’t look super different than the original game imo) or a return to the… Army command side-story (which I’ve expressed distain for as the worst part of SS in the past) are going to sell me on it again.
  • As I just mentioned, I like the OG Luigi’s Mansion better than the sequel, so I’m looking forward to seeing that one come back on the 3DS — with co-op and amiibo support to boot. Seriously, who can complain with download play features? Whether it’ll be worth the money with everything else coming out soon is a discussion I’ll have with myself later.

Couldn’t really bring myself to care about Yo-Kai Watch. Like it looks pretty and everything, but I haven’t gotten into that particular series just yet.

So that’s about all for the 3DS here. A bunch of good games that I’m just not particularly interested in right now.


Mega Man 11

I skipped over Splatoon 2 Ver. 4 because, in spite of the weird anime intro they did and the fact that I’m glad the game is still getting content, I’m just not that into it right now.

Which is a pattern so far I know, but shush.

Instead I’ll talk about the triumphant return of Mega Man. While the character model for Mega Man himself does remind me a bit too much of a certain… Failed successor to the throne… I can’t say the game doesn’t look gorgeous. Because it does.

While I’ve watched just about all of the original games get played through online, I’ve never personally played a Mega Man game. I think this might be a good opportunity to, because the game looks super fun.

I’ve seen Arin play that demo. It looks super fun. That’s all I’m saying.

If it’s a $60 I don’t know if I’ll bite, but the game seems like it might just be enough of a callback experience game that it could be cheaper.

In that case I’ll definitely get my hands on it.


New Super Mario Bros. U & Katamari Damacy

I was going to skip over NSMBU getting ported onto the Switch because that seems like such a minor thing.

But then they announced that you can play as Toadette.

And apparently.

When you get a mushroom as Toadette.

She turns into Princess Peach.

I’m really not sure what kind of drugs these guys were on when that decision was made, but god bless you all. Because that’s just about the damn weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.

Arguably more important on the rerelease train was Katamary Damacy, which is being remastered for the Switch.

That’s another game I’ve had a passing interest in for some time, but might not get it due to the glut of games coming in the near future. So it’s cool, but a bit out of my realm at the moment.


Pokémon Let’s Go

It’s no secret that I’m hyped as hell for this game. However, I’ve been a little behind in terms of talking about all the little updates that get put online around here.

The trailer that was put into this Direct kind go succinctly summed it all up though, so that was cool!

First and foremost, the new Erika design looks cute. Just saying.

More importantly are the ‘Secret Techniques,’ or HM supplements in layman speak.

See Game Freak must have learned a lot from Sun and Moon about how much we all hate needing to have HM slaves in-game. So they’ve relegated all of those pesky environmental moves into techniques that Pikachu or Eevee can use independently.

They cut the trees.

They get a surfboard so you can swim.

They… Attach balloons to your bike so you can fly?

Alright some of them are a little weirder than others, but I appreciate the vague references to surfing and flying Pikachu.

Either way I’m still very much looking forward to consuming all of this game. All of it.


Diablo 3

I have no particular interest in Diablo 3 being ported to the Switch.

I just wanted to say I was shook when the narrator guy essentially told everyone they could go to hell. In a Nintendo promotional video.

Enough said.

Also I’m super excited for Super Mario Party because it looks great, but there wasn’t really enough to justify a full separate segment on it. So just know… I’m down to party, Nintendo.


Town

A non-Pokémon Game Freak-developed RPG?

On my Nintendo Switch?

Obviously Town appears to be relatively early into development due to it’s working title and unclear release date… But considering Pokémon is my favorite game series ever, I’m willing to give this a shot right off the bat.

The idea of an RPG all taking place in one village is interesting, and I’m curious to see how they’ll go about it.

So congrats Town, you just hit my radar.


Yoshi’s Crafted World

I didn’t play Yoshi’s Epic Yarn on the Wii U, but by god am I enticed by how cute this Yoshi game looks.

It’s just incredibly adorable with the painterly arts & crafts style, and features co-op. Perfect for me and Aly to play together.

Plus it has this flip-the-world mechanic that lets you explore all over the place which feels very reminiscent of Super Paper Mario and I am all about it.


Civilization VI

Civ is, again, a series I’ve always had a fleeting curiosity for… But never got around to playing.

However, the fact that it’s coming to Switch with a four player local co-op mode that seems to use that interconnected Switches idea is actually bananas and if all my friends get this, I probably will too.

You can never have enough Gandhi nuking the world, after all.


The World Ends With You

There wasn’t exactly a lot to the TWEWY segment of this Direct, I just wanted to put it up here as a reminder that I really want to play this game when it comes out in October.

In fact, just throw Warframe into this category too. It’s my friend Juan’s favorite game so I’m probably willing to try it as well now that I “have no excuse not to” as he says.

But we’ll see about that one.


All the Final Fantasies

I’m not a huge Final Fantasy fan myself. Sure I appreciate the games and everything they’ve done for the industry, but I haven’t exactly played a lot of them.

However, I might be willing to get into Crystal Chronicles – again, if all my friends do. I appreciate that Nintendo is putting so much stake into letting on a bunch of games that can be played with friends, because that’s a huge selling point for me personally.

Also, this portion introduced me to the fact that a Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon exists.

Which is essentially Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.

But all of the main characters are Chocobo. Really not sure how to feel about that honestly.

Oh yeah, and FF7 is getting put on the Switch. Which is kind of hilarious to me considering how long the remake has been in production.

At this point, I’m pretty convinced there just is no FF7 remake and it was all a scam to get Cloud into Smash Bros.

Speaking of:


Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

Can’t have a Nintendo Direct without talking about this sucker.

The main part of this announcement was just the special Switch and Joy Con designs that are Smash-specific, like how the Let’s Go Pokémon games are getting some repainted toys to play with.

That’s cool and all. But I’m not the kind of person that buys multiple copies of a console when I don’t need it.

But then, after the Direct supposedly ends.

We get the next big reveal:

Isabelle in Smash.

It’s actually, genuinely hard to watch the little reveal trailer for her and not smile. She’s such a pure, wholesome character and I love her.

It’s great to see her get some more representation for the Animal Crossing series in Smash. I look forward to trying her out!

Oh, but that’s not all Nintendo had up their sleeves here, folks.


Animal Crossing 2019

Great. Now everyone can finally stop complaining about this on every Nintendo-related video ever.

That’s something I can say too, because I was of the crowd complaining about how long it took Hoenn remakes to get confirmed.

Anyway, there’s a brilliant little set-up right in the lingering few seconds of the video where Tom Nook remarks that he needs to make everything tidy for everyone’s return.

Then. Cut to white.

Animal Crossing 2019 flashes onto the screen. Then the Nintendo Switch logo.

No voice lines, no nothing. Just that.

Video ends.

Good on you Nintendo, you did a great job with this teaser.

That’s a game I’ll be looking out for, especially if Isabelle is coming back as a recurring character like Tom Nook himself.


Well, that’s about all I have to say about the big Direct today.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, there were a huge amount of announcements considering how recently we got our last bout of news, and it proves the Switch is still going strong.

Hell, I didn’t even mention their little discussion on the Nintendo Switch Online system, which happened in a cute Mario-centric animation.

You should watch that too if you haven’t, because it does a way better job explaining things than I ever could.

To be honest this entire post has been a rollercoaster ride, and not just because of all the cool news.

While I’ve started to feel better over the course of this writing, my computer decided to shit out on me and stop doing WordPress well.

So you probably noticed a significant drop in length/quality as I had to move my operation onto mobile.

That said, I’m going to cut things off here due to my lack of further things to ramble about and kind of awkward working situation. So hopefully my long-winded discussion covered everything!

What games are you looking forward to out of Nintendo’s upcoming line-up?

Let me know! I’m excited to talk some games.

Sketchy Summer, had me a Blast

Sketchy Summer, had me a Blast

Out of all the bizarre banner names we’ve gotten throughout the history of Fire Emblem Heroes, ‘Sketchy Summer’ is probably the funniest to me. Even more than the strange ‘Farfetched Heroes’ banner we got a while back with Lute and Mia.

Mostly because it brings Alyson to mind. Dad and I always like to joke with her that musicians are sketchy individuals whenever she brings us stories from the RUHS band room.

Speaking of, shout out to Intelligent Systems for giving me the opportunity to bring up Aly in a video game-themed post. Because as I’m sure you all know…

She lives it when I do that.

But hey that’s enough personal stuff. We’ve got a brand new set of summer heroes gracing the beaches of… Fire Emblem worlds. All of them? I guess.

Whatever, let’s show them off!


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LindeSummer Rays

Skill Set:

  • Starfish (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before for can counterattack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Ardent Sacrifice (Range = 1)
    • Restores 10 Health to target ally. Unit loses 10 Health but cannot go below one.
  • Brazen Attack/Resistance (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≤ 80 percent, grants Attack and Resistance +7 during combat.
  • Cancel Affinity (B Skill)
    • Neutralizes weapon-triangle advantage granted by unit’s skills. If unit has weapon-triangle disadvantage, reverses weapon-triangle advantage granted by foe’s skills.

Analysis:

Starting off this new banner is probably the most bizarrely constructed unit here. Linde, the rather well-loved character from the original Fire Emblem who wielded the original Aura magic…

Is now a dagger-holding cavalier.

I’m still having some trouble wrapping my head around the idea that Linde of all characters is our first cavalier dagger user, but I suppose I can’t complain about her necessarily. She’s actually really well constructed for her role based on her inherent skills.

Ardent Sacrifice isn’t necessarily the most useful assist skill, but if she has a lower health stat it will help bring her into a range where she can activate both her weapon’s immediate follow-up skill and the attack boost from her A skill. While Cancel Affinity seems a bit randomly thrown in for a colorless unit, the rest makes for a very solid core.

She’d actually be a very useful summon if she weren’t stuck with a much less adequate unit in the colorless pool on this banner. But we’ll get to that.


TikiBeachside Scion

Skill Set:

  • Summer’s Breath (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Grants Defense +3. If foe initiates combat, grants Special Attack cooldown charge +1 per attack during combat (only highest value applied, does not stack). If foe’s Range = two, calculates damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance.
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Attack/Defense Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Defense +5 during combat.
  • Hit and Run (B Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, unit moves one space away after combat.
  • Dragon Valor (C Skill)
    • While unit lives, all dragonstone allies on team gain 2x SP (only highest value applied, does not stack).

Analysis:

Summer Young Tiki is an absolutely wild unit. Full stop.

I’m not even sure I have to elaborate too much about why, just look at her weapon. It has four different and useful effects all together inherently. Granted the ranged defensive stat shift only works if you replace her A skill with Distant Counter, much like with Myrrh, but it does balance beautifully with her Moonbow Special Attack.

Hit and Run is also great on a flying unit, as I’ve found through my Cordelia, and the Valor skill has vague utility for training. It’s just not something I’m very keen to keep.

I won’t even wait for the end of this unit analysis to say that Tiki is the best unit here and the one I’m super invested in summoning. Regular young Tiki was my first five-star summon ever and I’m very excited to get this one too.

Soon I will be able to combine her with Myrrh and female Grima to create an Earth-blessed flying dragon loli army.

Prepare yourself, Fire Emblem world.


TakumiPrince at Play

Skill Set:

  • Fishie Bow (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against flying foes. If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before foe can counterattack.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Fury (A Skill)
    • Grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +3. After combat, deals six damage to unit.
  • Odd Resistance Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Resistance +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

As I alluded to earlier, Takumi seems like the most underwhelming unit on this new summer banner. It’s not by any fault of its own, he actually has a pretty solid base skill set, it’s just so generically ‘good’ that it doesn’t really stand out like the others.

Basically, he hits hard using his Fury/Glimmer combo, strikes twice when beat up like Linde and boosts his team’s resistance every other turn.

It would probably be better if Takumi had some more interplay between his bow’s skill and the other passive skills he carries, and while that can be rectified via skill inheritance, who knows if it’s worth investing that much into him as of yet.

Oh, and did I mention he’s out third Kinshi Knight unit. Apparently every Hoshidan noble is going to get one at this rate, and it’s sort of lost its luster.

Until we get Kinshi healer Sakura of course. I’ll pay plenty of money to bring her into my army.


CamillaTropical Beauty

Skill Set:

  • Juicy Wave (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit initiates combat, unit can make a follow-up attack before foe can counterattack.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Death Blow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack +6  during combat.
  • Flier Formation (B Skill)
    • Unit can move to a space adjacent to a flying ally within two spaces.
  • Hone Fliers (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent flying allies for one turn.

Analysis:

Alright folks, joke’s over. We finally did it. We got a summer Camilla. I hope you’re all happy.

All things being equal, Camilla makes for a decent Flier Emblem team member between her Hone Fliers and Flier Formation skills. In fact, she feels very similar to Elincia due to her inherent Death Blow as well.

Unfortunately, her ranged weapon is far less useful than Elincia’s is. It has the same effect as Takumi and Linde’s do, except with no extra bonuses attached. Again it’s decent, just somewhat lackluster without the synergy that Linde ruined everyone else with.

Honestly the best part about summer Camilla is the fact that there are now four Camilla in the game. Now we can have a full team of Camilla, all giving each other flying bonuses and all carrying a range of colorful weapons.

I know my friend Mitchell is up for building that, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.


I already said this during the Tiki section of this little look at our new characters, but she undoubtedly stands out as the unit I want to summon most. Linde is a close second, if for no other reason than the bizarre nature of her existence.

Plus she could help me make a cool secondary Horse Emblem team. But that’s a different story.

Two other subjects regarding this banner as a whole primarily come to mind.

First, I think it’s a little disappointing that a new game was once again stuck sharing the spotlight with a game that has already been featured in the summer banners. Just like Sacred Stones had to share the love with Awakening units, the original Fire Emblem units have to share a space with Fates units here.

I don’t care quite as much about this game as I did with Sacred Stones, so I’m not as angry as before. But still, it’s not a great practice IS.

Let games other than the newest titles have some love once in a while.

The second thing is some sort of red unit fatigue I’m feeling. On the one hand, I’m staring at the large array of red units in my army wondering how I’m supposed to use them all when there are so many good ones. Though on the other hand, I’m now desperate to summon both Tana and Tiki on these summer banners before they pass.

Hopefully I’ll get one of the two of them before everything disappears.

Since the new summer banner just started, however, I’m trying my luck on that today. So how have I done so far?

well… That requires a bit of story time. See I started the night with about 80 orbs. My first summon circle was a full set of five units that got me basically nothing.

However, that session put me over unit storage capacity, so I had to exchange a few units into Hero Feathers. With those feathers, I finally hit the threshold where I could finish this merging project:

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Ain’t she the best?

Now I have two +10 merged units, and I’m well on my way to getting a couple more.

After that first batch I kept trying and managed to pull a five-star unit on a red stone almost right away at 3.25 percent chance!

However. It wasn’t Tiki.

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It was Gray.

Now I’m not necessarily mad about getting him, as he’s one of the few Echoes units I’ve been missing. Though I really wish I could’ve gotten Tiki on that easy 3.25 percent investment.

With Gray resetting me so quick I decided to try to shift my attention toward Tana again. After all she’s gone in two weeks while Tiki is here for a whole month.

Somehow I also managed to get a red five-star unit within my first few summons there that wasn’t Tana.

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It was Celica. Evil Celica at that.

Apparently I’m just an Echoes guy today, ladies and germs.

Somewhat baffled by my ability to pull two five-stars that I didn’t want within about 40-50 orbs, I decided to just cool off from there. I went into doing the story missions so I could stock up on some orbs once again before going back into the fray.

That being said, I guess that means it’s story time. But this time about the actual in-game story and not my personal story about dealings prior to the story.

I’m sure you know what I mean, I’ll quit rambling on.


 

 

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I think it’s worth taking a moment up top here today to acknowledge that the summer-themed maps have always had my favorite aesthetic to them. In my original summer banner posts from last year I remember complimenting small things like how pretty the water is, and that still hasn’t changed.

It’s pretty high praise considering things like the Halloween and Christmas banners have also had fantastic map artwork accompanying them.

Something extra special about the summer maps in this Paralogue specifically is the fact that even the generic enemies get in on the fun. Some of them are wearing accessories and they all use weapons that previous summer units like Adult Tiki wielded.

It’s a super nice touch and I appreciate it.

With that said I’m sure you’re wondering what kind of amazing story accompanies this kind of great artwork.

Well… It’s about on-par with what we’ve gotten the last three times.

Though this one does start with what is arguably the most relatable line I’ve ever read in a video game.

Useless Failure Meme

Me too Anna. Me too.

As it turns out the sound recording of waves crashing at the beach is not selling like the Order expected, so they once again need a brand new way to try to make some money to stay afloat.

 

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I’m getting a very strong ‘famous last words’ vibe from that sentiment.

Ah who am I kidding, all of this is just an excuse to get our heroes in the same room as heroes in swimsuits, right? So let’s see what they’re up to.

Camilla and Linde are hanging out together by the pier, discussing the merits of wearing such skimpy outfits compared to their usual skimpy outfits.

 

They attempt to set Linde up as a character who constantly bemoans her current choice in an outfit, claiming that it’ll hurt her ability to fight more than it’ll help her.

But like… The joke isn’t all that funny. So I won’t stick on it too long.

Instead let’s look at Takumi and Tiki being best friends because it’s literally god damn adorable.

 

Just being all best friends, hanging out at the water together. It’s wholesome and great and I love it.

But what I love best is this.

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Normally I’d be upset that we’re using this naming convention for someone other than Marth… But I can’t be upset. It’s too sweet.

Before my heart just explodes out of my chest, the game thankfully moves us into the final stage. The dialogue build-up is about what you’d expect.

 

 

Except god dammit Tiki and Takumi are still being way too adorable and it just. It hurts okay?

This is the kind of thing that I didn’t know I needed? And now I’ll ever think about is how sweet Takumi is with Tiki because they both deserve nice things and.

I’m going to be a minute here.

Okay here I am, sorry about that.

When you win Linde makes another remark about her dress before moving you back to the Order of Heroes’ base. From there the group begins to compare drawings.

 

 

 

Obviously it doesn’t go very well.

But then Anna apparently reveals that you, the player, were also drawing pictures of the swimsuit heroes.

Though if the FBI happens to be reading this, I swear it’s not true. I was not drawing the little girl that’s a dragon in her bathing suit.

No matter how much these two try to convince you I was with compliments about my abilities.

 

Highly appreciated, but definitely not the time.


Alright well, I suppose that brings an end to my coverage of the Fire Emblem Heroes summer schtick for 2018. Once again it has been a pretty wild ride, and I’m definitely feeling the same sentiment right now as I was a year ago.

Boy it’s late while I’m writing this. Also why don’t I go to the beach more often?

That’s a mystery I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to truly answer.

Now before I go to bed for real this time, I wanted to update you all on one more thing. See, after finishing this post earlier, I’ve decided to rewrite the ending. Because I was laying in bed finishing the Paralogue missions for more orbs and decided to try my hand at the banners once again.

This time I managed to get a real bite.

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Helllooooooo Tiki. Welcome aboard the hype train!

I’m seriously glad I managed to get the unit I really wanted out of this banner so soon. Because of that I can go back to focusing exclusively on getting Tiki for a while before coming back to maybe get Linde later.

With that happy news to leave off on, I suppose it’s only right for me to ask. What do you think of this new banner? How has your summoning luck been lately?

I’m sure not great because apparently I’m a God who steals every bit of luck right now… But I’m sure I’ll get my karmic retribution for that eventually.

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Tutorials Abound in Version 2.7.0

Another update has made its way to Fire Emblem Heroes. This one is relatively small and more focused on assisting players who are new to the game, but veteran players are able to reap some rewards too.

Thus I’m going to talk about this one all the same! Just don’t expect it to be a particularly long update. I’m still hot, tired and waiting in anticipation for the new summer units to drop.

Speaking of, get ready for that update tomorrow too. Should be fun!


Tactics Drills & Learning with Sharena

The major addition for Version 2.7.0 is Tactics Drills. In a sense these are advanced tutorials for players that go far deeper into the game’s mechanics than the cursory tutorial missions at the start of the story mode when you start the game up for the first time.

As you can see, they come in three tiers of difficulty. Each serves a slightly different purpose, but all offer the same bonuses for new and old players alike. Every five maps give players 300 Hero Feathers when they’re passed, and the sixth map will offer an orb for completion.

The small amounts don’t really build up to a lot in the end, but rewards are rewards and I can’t complain. Especially since supposedly there will be more added into the different tiers as time goes on.

So what do the tiers offer?

The “basics” tab offers challenges that showcase… Well… The basics of the game. There’s really no better way to put it.

These basics range from how different unit types move across the field to showcasing the benefits of certain strategies like baiting out enemies or teaching players how different weapons work.

They’re all pretty simple honestly, and the rewards are more worthwhile than the instruction in my personal attempts.

The “Skill Studies” tab… Again, just about does what the name implies.

Each map showcases a different skill archetype that exists in the game. Hone skills that improve stats, more attack-focused skills like Wraith, so on and so forth. If you don’t understand how certain strategies work, this will likely help you out. There are even a few toward the end that I haven’t been able to beat yet, as I find they’re a little more difficult.

The “Grandmaster” tab moves furthest away from being purely tutorial-based. Rather than teaching basic skills knowledge, Grandmaster challenges are simply that. Challenges.

The game throws you into a map with a pre-determined unit set and just has you go at it. I haven’t personally attempted these maps yet, though considering you need to have access to Book II of the story in order to even open these maps up, they’re clearly more difficult than the average challenge.

I only wish this meant they had better rewards too. But no, it’s still rather basic all things considered.

What’s interesting about all of these missions are that they’re purely for instruction and require no baseline units. The only real requirement to anything is the level cap for accessing Grandmaster tactics.

Every unit is provided based on the challenge. That means not only is everyone more open to the rewards, but newer players can see which units have great skills to utilize should they be lucky enough to summon them.

It’s a respectable idea all-and-all. I appreciate it.

You may have also noticed a fourth tab allowing people to “Learn with Sharena.” If any of you were wondering what that was:

It’s essentially a website with more in-depth tutorials on anything and everything in the game. Pretty much the same stuff you’ll get out of the Tactics Drills but spelled out in further detail.

They also include silly back-and-forth conversations between Sharena and Anna.

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Again, I think it’s a respectable addition to help improve the game’s accessibility for new players.

I’m just not personally very driven to go look at them without the allure of extra rewards. Sorry Intelligent Systems.


Weapon Refinery Update

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Ah yes, another four units have come up to the wringer. Has Intelligent Systems done their job in making these characters more useful than they were before?

For the most part… Not so much. From what I understand, anyway.

Katarina (known as the first scarf bae in my friend circle) essentially gained a refine to her tome that adds a Speed and Resistance Ploy skill on top of its owl effect. However, as Jonathan (owner of the bae) pointed out, her weapon’s might sticks at 14 rather than building up to 16 as we usually see. So… Yeah, that’s a thing.

Eldigan wasn’t given a straight upgrade so much as he was given an alternate path to success. His Mystletainn was already able to refine itself and have a built-in Fury skill, giving him a big boost across all stats at the cost of some health. The fact that he was able to have double the Fury was actually a great meme for a while there.

Now he can take on his son’s previously exclusive variant known as the Dark Mystletainn, which inherent accelerates Special Attack cooldown by one, then accelerates cooldown by two each time that attack triggers during combat. Honestly both are viable options, so it’s up to personal preference.

Titania probably got the worst of the upgrades in this batch. Her brand new Draconic Poleax keeps a Triangle Adept skill in-tact from her Emerald Axe, but has a much more beefy 16 might. When players refine the weapon, it apparently grants +6 resistance to units within two spaces.

I don’t use Titania, but honestly this upgrade doesn’t make me any more willing to do so. Sorry girl, better luck next time.

Conversely, Nephenee‘s upgrade from the Slaying Lance to the Dauntless Lance is a vast improvement and I couldn’t be happier. She has been a mainstay on my Water Blessing team for a long time, so I’m glad to have even more reasons to use her.

On top of cranking her might from 14 to 16 (leaving the base lance as powerful as her old one with a refinement), she also gains an inherent advantage against armored units. Zelgius and Black Knight be damned.

However, add onto that an additional refinement to the Dauntless Lance that gives her +4 Speed and Defense when she’s attacked and Nephenee becomes quite the monster in her own right.

It’s a little silly to say that she moved from being my chief lance infantry unit to being my chief lance infantry unit with even more regard. But hey, that’s what should be expected when you improve upon greatness.


Quest Progression

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I don’t exactly have a lot to say about this new feature in particular. In fact, I don’t fully understand why this standalone update was important enough to distinguish alongside new unit skills and the new game mode.

But someone decided it was important, so I’ll give it the time it demands.

Apparently when players complete quests, there will be a separate screen dedicated to showing off all of a player’s finished quests rather than having everything separated onto different pages.

I’m not sure who thought this was a significant problem that needed to be addressed, but I hope they’re happy with it. It seems a little superfluous when there was already an option to simply accept all of one’s finished quests… But oh well.


Additional Updates

As usual, there are a number of smaller things listed at the bottom of the 2.7.0 update page. They usually aren’t big enough to give a lot of time to, but I like to spread the word all the same:

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Things like new maps scrolling to the top are cool quality of life updates that always come with new versions of the game. They just don’t offer too much to talk about.

However, there are a few especially nice things in the ‘other improvements’ section this time around. Being able to set any music one wants underneath battles is something straight out of classic Fire Emblem games and is a greatly appreciated option in a title that features songs from every game in the series. Event text recaps are also a great addition for someone like me, who seriously enjoys little things like plot in silly games like this.

The most useful overall is the ability to restart ‘difficult’ maps without having to exit and reenter the battle over-and-over again. As someone who tries things like Grand Hero Battles repeatedly to earn all the orbs I can, I can assure you all that this is highly beneficial — even if you haven’t personally gotten to a point where it’s useful just yet.


Like I mentioned up top, none of the updates specifically included in Version 2.7.0 are groundbreaking. The tutorial missions that make up Tactics Drills are nice, though mostly for the rewards given how long I’ve been involved in the game. Nephenee getting stronger is also a plus, and I’m really glad I can restart missions that don’t require stamina at a faster pace.

If nothing else, even smaller moves forward like this show there’s always room for improvement in a constantly developing game like Fire Emblem Heroes.

That said, what sort of updates might you want to see come to the game in the future? Let me know in the comments down below!

In the meantime, I’ll see you all tomorrow when Sketchy Summer units arrive.

Ant-Man 2 shrinks the MCU’s scale with minor success

Ant-Man 2 shrinks the MCU’s scale with minor success

Ant-Man and the Wasp is, frankly, a mediocre showing for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has some brilliant stuff within it, as one might expect from the studio that has revolutionized the idea of a connected universe of films for the last 10 years. However, that brilliant stuff is marred down by a weak plot with awkward pacing and some noticeable problems balancing the movie’s comedy and heart.

Now as usual I’m not planning on putting any spoilers in this mini-review here. Though all things being equal, I would argue there isn’t too much to spoil outside of the end credit stuff that isn’t already shown in trailers and advertisements.

I do wish I could talk about that end credit stuff, because I’m still overjoyed at how my post-Infinity War fan theory was made true in a big, bad way.

But I won’t. Just know that Marvel has no chill right now and I love it.

The first Ant-Man movie was something of a surprise hit for Marvel along the same wavelength as Guardians of the Galaxy. Nobody expected much of anything out of a superhero film with a premise that the hero can shrink down and be really small.

However, by mixing together a lovable main character, some well-done comedy, a few clever visual spectacles and a heist film plot, the movie was a fun little success.

It led to Paul Rudd, the titular Ant-Man, becoming something of a darling in the MCU. He turned into the kind of character whose cameos improved other films like Civil War. As a result, people were a little disappointed when Rudd and Jeremy Renner (the universe’s Hawkeye) did not appear in the crossover blockbuster Infinity War due to a somewhat weak excuse.

That they had “other things going on.”

So Ant-Man and the Wasp, the second MCU film starring Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as our other titular hero, promised to hopefully be the compelling story of just what was so damn important that we couldn’t have shrinking powers assisting in the big fight against Thanos.

What we got was a product that, like I said, was rather mediocre. But not because of its explanations regarding Rudd and Lilly’s absence from Infinity War.

As something of a side-discussion before I jump into where Ant-Man and the Wasp faltered, I want to dive into the reason why I love the opening premise to this film. Even going back to the original advertisements for it, I knew I was looking forward to Ant-Man 2 because it’s a movie that’s predicated on the consequences of other movies.

The aftermath of Civil War, where Rudd is part of the group arrested for siding with Captain America against government restrictions on superheroes, plays heavily into the plot of Ant-Man 2. Much of Rudd’s struggle is having to help his friends while also trying to serve his last three days of house arrest so he can be free to see his daughter more. Meanwhile, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym and his daughter Hope (Lilly) are also on the run from the FBI because their tech was what allowed Rudd to take part in that battle.

I love that Ant-Man is being used as an example of how actions in their universe have consequences going forward, much like Civil War did. Just a little less heavy-handed due to its smaller scale story.

Puns.

As much as I love the way the movie is set-up, the plot it rolls with given that establishment isn’t the most stellar one we’ve seen. The first third of the film is great and the resolution is decent. But the middle of the movie is bland and forgettable, in part because of the way it tries to balance at least six different stories at once.

That’s right, if the back-and-forth of those three or four driving plot points I’ve already laid out aren’t enough, there are also a couple of separate things going on with all the side character. That’s not even mentioning the film’s villain Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen.

She does alright with what she’s working with, but for the most part Ghost feels like a more one-note throwaway character than most of the other Marvel villains we’ve seen lately. Her personal story arc also has a vague conclusion in the film that seems sidelined in place of Rudd going after his happy ending.

They do offer John-Kamen room for possible inclusion in sequels, but not enough was done to encourage me to be excited for her to show up again.

The way Ghost’s inclusion seemed choppy was kind of emblematic of the problems with Ant-Man and the Wasp as a whole. Because so much was being done all over the place with each character, it felt like a lot of the film was left on the cutting room floor. Many of the scenes feel rushed, with quick cuts that seemed more jarring than stylized in the overall package.

Balancing all of those aspects also created tonal issues. There are a lot of attempts to be comedic that fall flat. For every funny bit, like relating Ghost to an old Russian folktale, there are two or three returning bits from the original Ant-Man that seem to be there just to reference the original Ant-Man.

The lackluster comedic bits hurt especially so because they are interjected around emotional moments that work damn well. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a movie about family, and each character struggles with familial issues in some way or another.

Rudd’s character shines far brighter whenever he’s with his daughter than when he’s the ‘dumb, goofy everyman’ archetype stuck in a room trying to pretend he understands what’s happening.

Every moment his daughter, captured expertly by Abby Ryder Fortson, was on-screen made the movie that much better. You can tell she and Rudd had an electric chemistry together that left the whole audience saying ‘aww’ throughout the film.

Lilly’s relations towards her mother, another driving motif in the film, are also quite heartfelt. I actually teared up a little during the film’s cold open, which was surprisingly well done and emotional.

Ant-Man and the Wasp should have spent more time deciding whether it wanted to be a comedic movie or a heartfelt one. Either path likely would have led it to more success, but the balance is skewed badly in its current state.

It did have some decent action scenes to stand on, especially when digging back into the things that made the original so good: Playing with size.

I won’t spoil too many specific bits, but probably the most memorable moments outside of Ant-Man with his daughter were the moments playing with making big things small and vice versa.

Though my personal favorite ones involved a salt shaker and some hot wheels cars.

Like I said at the top, there were some great things throughout Ant-Man and the Wasp that were wonderful. The family moments, some of the comedy and the visuals especially… Plus the spoiler-y stuff I won’t go into.

However, it was so bogged down by much larger problems that the high of the end-credit scenes quickly fade into a lukewarm reception at best.

Oh, there is one more thing I can think to mention. But my friend Lissete put it best, so I’m going to let her handle this:

Yeah… Arguably the most egregious use of product placement I’ve seen in a Marvel movie thus far.

It’s pretty noticeable all over, though I won’t say it ruined or improved the movie for me in any significant way.

If nothing else, I’ll just say it’s worth seeing the movie – either now or later on cable – to understand why I now want Paul Rudd to be both my Dad and Mom.