I was originally going to spend part of today writing the post that will probably ruin my reputation once and for all. A post about my recent relapse into playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.
But uhh… I got lazy and didn’t put the effort in.
So sorry about that! Maybe tomorrow.
Now to be fair, it wasn’t pure laziness that kept me away. I may or may not have slept late after staying up real early, but then I did spend a good amount of time working on stuff for Gladeo and my novel this afternoon.
Plus there were a good amount of chores getting done. There’s only about a week left until the new semester starts, so I’ve gotta get through them while I can.
However, I didn’t want to skip out on writing anything tonight. Not when keeping up the craft outside of work-related pursuits is something of an unofficial New Year’s resolution.
So I think I’m instead going to chew on my sudden desire to return to an experience… Somewhat long-since abandoned.
It all began with Smash Bros. Ultimate, actually. Despite how long it has been since the game came out, I still find myself playing quite a bit. Maybe not as intensely as I did when I was grinding through World of Light, but I’m still hoping to improve so I can have more fun matches with my friends.
Then the other day I was playing on the new Great Plateau Tower map, griping about how I wished Link was his Twilight Princess design since I personally prefer it (in spite of the fact that Breath of the Wild Link has his own interesting mechanical complexities that are arguably more diverse).
When I first saw that at E3, I was fucking hooked on it like a drug.
No joke, I played the trailer on repeat just to hear the music (even while showering), at times on the verge of tears from how beautiful it looked and sounded. I’m not sure a trailer for a game has ever had that effect on me before.
In fact I didn’t even realize that post was more about Pokémon Sun and Moon than it was Breath of the Wild, because I only recall the Zelda trailer leaving an impression!
Once BotW came out, for a long while I was disappointed that I didn’t have the Nintendo Switch to play it on. The Wii U version seemed like it might be inferior, so I avoided it.
Which to be fair means I’m probably part of the reason why the Wii U failed. Whoops.
Eventually I did get the console, and the summer of 2017 becoming the summer of Zelda as a result. I played the game obsessively, combing through the vast environment until I literally got sick of it.
Seriously, I completed one of the Sacred Beast temples and explored a good quarter+ of the map before giving up because I was too overwhelmed with how I was playing it. I may have put it in my top games of 2017 list, but I haven’t looked back.
Yet remembering that trailer gave me flashbacks to the gut feeling of awe.
A feeling which only got more intense as I discovered a new YouTube obsession with KingK.
The guy does extended retrospectives on different game series. The 3D Zeldas, 2D Sonics, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I find his videos really compelling because they don’t strictly focus on the same arguments you’ve likely heard a million times. They seem more about his personal, emotional connections with each game.
All still mediated by tough analysis.
He has some great content and I’d highly recommend watching it.
With my sickness beginning to fade away, I spent part of the day hanging out with the core four friends. Minus Tiana because she had work, apparently.
Nice going being responsible, nerd.
… He says while sitting on a 6,000 word interview to translate into a story.
Gosh the tangent game is still strong right now. I really shouldn’t let myself succumb to stream of consciousness writing when I’m not feeling good. Especially when I actually sort of have a point to what I’m writing for once.
Two of the games we played have been on my interest list for some time, and playing them led me to some different, interesting conclusions about what to put my money down on.
So I figured I’d talk about them. Because it’s getting late and I don’t have anything else to write about today.
Hollow Knight is a game I’ve been eyeing for a long, long time. It has been highly recommended to me umpteenth times by my boy Kyle, and I’ve seen it on a number of ‘best of’ lists since it came out.
Essentially, the game is a metroidvania-style sidescroller that has very striking similarities to Bloodborne/the Dark Souls series (as Jonathan couldn’t help but pointing out over and over again). It has a super great art style and supposedly goes into some really cool things with its story and lore.
When Nintendo announced Hollow Knight would be dropping on the Switch during its E3 presentation this year, I was very excited to know I might have the opportunity to try it out soon. However, when Aly finished her sophomore year a few months ago, we decided to spend $15 on Wizard of Legend instead. It’s great couch co-op for the two of us, and I don’t regret the decision at all, it just happened to push-off possibly buying this title.
So I didn’t have the chance to try the game until Jonathan brought his Switch over today.
Honestly? I found myself more intrigued than ever.
While the movement controls felt a little more floaty than I had anticipated, I’m willing to chalk that up to not having a lot of time to mess around with the game overall. I imagine it’s something I’d get used to with a lot of personal time to focus on it without being trolled by all my friends as they watch my constant deaths.
It has a really, really interesting self-heal mechanic based on how many enemies you kill, and every moment felt reminiscent of my childhood playing games like Metroid: Zero Mission while offering a unique aura of dread to its presentation that perfectly complimented the mystery underlying everything.
We got through two bosses and I felt like I wanted to play so much more after we switched it off. That’s the sign of a good game, in my opinion.
So yes, Hollow Knight definitely lived up to my expectations in the short-term, and I’m considering buying it more than ever. But it wasn’t the only thing we played, as soon after we jumped into:
Splatoon 2: The Octo Expansion
I listed Splatoon 2 on my personal top games of 2017 list, but I put it rather low. Mostly because as much as I enjoy the IP, not enough felt different from the original game to seemingly warrant a sequel for any reason other than to transition from the dying Wii U to the shining new Switch console.
When the Octo Expansion was first announced I was intrigued. A whole new additional story mode certainly seemed like exactly what I felt Splatoon 2 needed the first time around. However, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth spending the extra money.
Especially considering I abandoned the game some time ago and would need some time to jump back into it and get used to the controls once again.
Now that I’ve played the game on Jonathan’s account (thanks again my guy, you the best), I have to say… My suspicions were confirmed.
Now I’m pretty confident that the original Splatoon 2 package should have just been Splatoon 1 DLC. The Octo Expansion should have been the story mode of Splatoon 2 from the get go, not extra content a few years down the line.
The world that the Octo Expansion creates is fascinating in that not only does it mess with themes of racism (better than Detroit: Become Human as we all joked while playing it), but it also builds on the lore established in Splatoon 1 in an honestly brilliant way.
Essentially, the idea is that you play an Octoling — one of the higher-ups in the army opposing the Inklings in both games — who has been converted from their ‘evil’ side by the power of the music played by Callie and Marie during the endgame fight in Splatoon 1. The Octoling encounters the protagonist of the first game and winds up having to go through a journey to get to the surface world so they can join the Inklings that live there.
If you’re concerned all that is a spoiler, it’s all in the opening cutscene for the expansion, so it’s really not. They start to build up the lore quick!
The way it incorporates elements from the first title into its DNA in a clever way earns massive points for the Octo Expansion in my mind. Especially since it builds on the gameplay as well by offering a large number of more difficult challenges to test a player’s platforming and gunplay.
We had fun with the expansion by having my play through the Wily’s Castle-style multi-stage endgame section, which was hilarious just because I had to get used to the game again by doing the hardest stuff it offers.
On the one hand I’d say it was worth it because the endgame stuff helped make me way more interested in the lore of the world beyond what I already mentioned. They do some AWESOME stuff with the final boss. Stuff that, like I said, should have been around the first time around.
But on the other hand, now that I’ve seen the endgame content I’m not sure I’m more encouraged to buy the extra expansion or not.
I’m intrigued by the challenge and think it would be worth redoing that endgame just to have the bragging rights on my personal account. Yet I’ve seen it now and have had time to absorb what happened, so I think I could spend my money better by buying other big games coming out in the near future.
Seriously though. Mario Party. Smash Bros. Pokémon. Monster Hunter. Mega Man Dragonball So on and so forth.
There are a ton of games coming out soon-ish that I’d love to buy that are more expensive than both Hollow Knight and the Octo Expansion.
My wallet cries out in indecision. Do I buy games now? Or do I wait for the gratification of games I want later?
I suppose I’ll have time to decide, but the pain of having to decide in the first place is almost worse than my sick right now.
Oh well, at least I’ve now had the pleasure of trying out both these games. That way I have a much more well-defined opinion of my interests to jump on whenever I do decide.
That said, what do you think? Should I spring for one of these two games now? Or should I hold on and see what I can get later?
Let me know! I’d love to hear what some of you think about some current games.
E3 was a tricky thing for me this year. See… A lot of it just isn’t for me.
That’s not me saying I’m not interested in a lot of the developers and what they’re working on, I mean literally there are barriers to me playing most games.
Like yeah I would love to play Kingdom Hearts 3, and I thought having three trailers across three different conferences that all featured different content was dope. But it’s on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Not the Switch.
Unfortunately I’m just limited in what I can access, and money is a severely limiting factor when it comes to getting consoles.
So to sum up 90 percent of E3 this year I’ll say this: It was better than a lot of other years prior, and I had a great time watching my friends freak out about what’s coming out soonish. And it has been cool seeing YouTube ads get replaced by E3 trailers
But frankly the only thing I can really have any authority or hype to discuss is the big N. So today, I’m dedicating my blog post to the Nintendo E3 2018 Direct conference.
If you want something more in-depth about the other conferences, there’s plenty of opinions out there. Might I recommend ProJared? He didn’t go to the conference in person this year it looks like, but I still respect his opinion quite a bit.
That said, let’s jump right in with what we got out of Nintendo this year.
So the Direct starts with this hype game about mechs battling called DAEMON X MACHINA. Super action-y music, real Justice League-esque color scheme.
It looks cool, and I get why they would start with something that has such a high-octane feel… But it’s not a very ‘Nintendo’-looking game. I just kind of spent half of it staring at the screen wondering why we started with this and not one of the classic IPs.
But then it very jarringly cuts to silence and awkwardly moves into the next thing.
That next thing happens to be Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC. Which is something I would probably care about more if I’d played either of the Xenoblade Chronicles games.
Okay that’s not fair, it’s nice to see the game getting more love since I know it’s a series plenty of people love. I just literally don’t know enough about it to offer an opinion.
But hey, then our boy Reggie Fils-Aimé comes in to kick things up to 100 for me by showing off that Pokémon goodness.
Except he doesn’t really, since it’s mostly just a recap of the trailer we saw the other day. No new footage or anything. So I guess if you want my over-extensive rumination on that, check it out through this link.
One thing he does let us know that’s new is the fact that the Pokeball Plus accessory allows you to get Mew in Let’s Go. That… Actually does make them feel much more worthwhile than I had originally thought.
Damn you clever marketing tactics. Damn you…
After that brief aside comes a return to form that feels much-needed on the Switch:
Super Mario Party.
That’s right, everyone’s favorite friendship killer is back. But this time it looks like Nintendo made a lot of good choices just based on the footage we can see.
For one, no more cars. Everyone wanders around on the game board on their own again. God bless.
They also show off the fact that the Switch consoles themselves will be well-integrated into the mini games, allowing players to do things like rearrange battlefields for tank fights.
Everything looks colorful and has branching pathways again, and there seems to be a wide variety of mini games to play. On top of that, they clearly pushed the fact that this is a Mario Party you can take literally anywhere thanks to it being on the Switch, which is a good selling point.
Plus Rosalina is there as a playable character. So honestly I can find no reason to complain. Come October, my friends and I are going to be all over it I’m sure.
Once Mario is finished, we move into the next thing. Yet another highly anticipated interest of mine:
Fire Emblem Switch finally has a name. Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
It seems the one thing Intelligent Systems learned from Fates is the fact that they can sell more games if they split them up, so instead of two main versions now there are three!
Alright no that’s a joke, don’t believe that fake news. I think it’s just three Lord characters from feuding lands or something along those lines.
The game honestly looks gorgeous from what we can see in the trailer. The environments look realistic more in-line with Fire Emblem Warriors than the somewhat cartoonish fantasy worlds of Awakening and Fates. Which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are, but I dig the art style personally.
It also seems to retain the same stylized cutscene art as Echoes, and the in-game character models are full body, more in-line with those cutscenes.
There are a number of new mechanics showcased in the trailer as well. For one, all individual units appear to have their own troop of units surrounding them when you zoom in close enough. Honestly, this makes a lot of sense to embody the feeling of controlling an army, something older titles had to kind of awkwardly skirt around due to the conflicts with its core gameplay mechanics.
The extra troops don’t appear to be able to take hits for each individual main unit, but they can be put into formations to direct attacks whichever way the player wants.
Also introduced as a step-up from previous titles is what looks like semi-open world portions where the game’s lords can explore expansive towns and castles. It’s as if the free-roaming home base feature from Fates used the third person camera style from dungeon exploring that came in Echoes, but it has a massive graphical overhaul.
Beyond that there are a few extra vague things shown that won’t necessarily make sense until we learn more/see the game. There are character choices that may affect what weapons the Lord units specialize in, the evil king uses an electrical whip like that villain from Iron Man 2 (so whips confirmed as weapons?), there are big mechanical people who seem to be units or at least bosses…
And then lore stuff that isn’t exactly clear.
They give a Spring 2019 release date, but that’s about all we can gleam before the next few trailers hit rapid-fire. For anyone who watched the presentation, there’s a pretty big light at the end of the tunnel so I’ll move through them quick.
Fortnite on Switch: I couldn’t really care less. But it’s free I suppose?
Reggie comes back to introduce Indie games. Starting with the sequel to Overcooked — a game that I’ve been forced to play with my friends and regret every minute of. Why Reggie. Why.
Killer Queen Black looks like a strange 16-bit inspired clone of Joust, just updated for 2018 mayhem. Apparently it’s a port of a game Reggie says was really popular… But I’ve never heard of it. So we’ll see.
Hollow Knight, meanwhile, is a game I’ve heard plenty about. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and fun, one of my friend Kyle’s favorites from 2017. I’ll actually consider downloading it given the fact it’s out today.
The super stylized Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler received an official June 14th release date. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the game but it looks cool and my friends are hyped for it, so I’m sure I’ll play it eventually.
After those announcements, there’s a montage of games that are either coming out or have come out. The one that stood out most, frankly, is Dragonball FighterZ. Something I’ve been looking for on Switch for forever.
Plus Dark Souls and Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate. And The World Ends with You, coming this Fall apparently.
Just… Give it to me already Nintendo, I need all of your games.
But wait, that montage must be the end of the Direct, right? How can there still be a half hour left?
We begin this long examination of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the biggest announcement it has to offer. Every single fighter from every previous Smash game is back.
Ice Climbers? In the game.
Solid Snake? In the game.
Pichu? Young Link? Wolf? Pokemon Trainer? In the game.
But more than that, a few characters have received overhauls. Most notably Link, who now sports his Breath of the Wild look, as well as Zelda, from Link Between Worlds, and Ganon, from Ocarina of Time. The clashing art styles there are a bit jarring for me personally, but it’s cool to get a wider breadth of representation for the series!
Oh and let’s not forget the new characters: the Inklings from Splatoon, Princess Daisy and… Oh.
Ridley is actually in the game.
Our memes have become our reality, folks. End of the line.
Many of the characters also appear to have adjusted move sets. Notably final smash attacks. For example, Pac-Man now seems to rain down like meteors in his, rather than just moving semi-quick across the screen. King Dedede’s smash is based on the Masked Dedede cage fight now. Bowser’s is based on the Yoshi’s Island boss fight.
There’s a whole long section in the video going over the different ways characters have changed, and I’d recommend going to watch that. It does a way better job summing things up than I could.
I’ll just say… RIP Landmaster. Your legacy will always be remembered.
Sakurai himself says they made the impossible possible because it’s what players want, and by god is he right. What a beautiful, amazing man.
Eight-player Smash matches are also returning, as are a billion fan-favorite maps. On top of that, there are little quality of life changes like seeing gauges for Cloud and Robin’s abilities, which makes it easier to track everything on one screen.
Oh and let’s not forget. Assist trophies have been added, like the Squid Sisters. Many can be knocked out too New Pokémon assists have been added, like Solgaleo from Sun and Moon.
… Also Bomberman is there. Because why not?
Everything emphasized by Sakurai seems to suggest the game’s development was focused on making everything more beautiful, more intimately connected to the individual fighters showcased and more quick and fun as a brawler for players.
It’s honestly a greatest hits album for Smash Bros., and I really can’t argue with how amazing it looks.
I just hope we get a lot more new characters in the lead-up to the game. I want the roster for Smash Ultimate to look like one of those silly rom hack Smash games. After all, the Inkling fighters and Ridley both look like really fun additions.
But mostly I want more characters because then we get more amazing reveal trailers.
In Ridley’s trailer, he straight up murders Mario and Mega Man.
Like holy shit it’s so intense and real like for no reason. And I love it.
Plus they say he finally ‘hits the big time.’ I see what you did there Sakurai.
With Smash coming out in December, it’s heard up to be a perfect holiday present for all the kiddos. I’m certainly looking forward to it!
I can understand why people might have been disappointed by Nintendo’s E3 Direct this year.
As a fan of Fire Emblem, Pokémon and Smash Bros., I had a great time watching the Direct. It does help that the Switch is the only console I own, so it was kind of a look at the only games I can get in the near future… But still.
I felt much more hype walking out of the Direct than I did walking in.
Despite that, the lack of discussion regarding things like Metroid Prime 4, which was teased last year, and other such misses are easy jabs to make at the conference. Everything was very focused on a select number of games, with not too much else branching out.
Of course there was (and I believe still is as I write this) the Treehouse Live going on that talked about more Pokémon details and stuff like that… But I didn’t have the patience or time to sit through it, so I’m going to leave those topics for another day.
Probably not, I don’t know. We’ll see.
In the meantime, let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 conference this year!
Or, further than that, let me know what you thought of E3 in general this year. I may only have a Nintendo console, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t games in the other spheres that I didn’t find interesting. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to coming soon to consoles everywhere!
Welcome to what may just be my last Entertainment Beat Report. Later today I’m heading back over to Cal State Fullerton so I can show this little experiment off to my professor for a grade, and I haven’t decided whether or not I want to keep it going after that.
On one hand, it’s been cool keeping up a little more with the video game industry where I can.
But on the other hand, I do just kind of feel like I’m latching onto things and rambling about them. Which is my aesthetic around here to be fair, but it’s a lot of effort on my end for just that.
I don’t know, I’ll have the internal dialogue with myself on the subject later.
For now, let’s talk video games.
Monster Hunter Generations Returns
Okay so… This one is pretty much exclusively for me.
MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS ULTIMATE IS COMING TO THE SWITCH?!
Like. Wow. Totally didn’t expect that announcement this morning and I’m already pretty hyped for it. Even if the game isn’t coming until the end of the summer… Curse you, late August release date.
Ever since Monster Hunter World came out, I’ve felt pretty left out just watching my friends get to play together on their PS4s.
But now. Now I will get to play with them once again on a console that I own. In a world I’ve already mastered with hundreds of hours of playtime. In a play style I’m still accustomed to.
On a system that will not only look more amazing than the 3DS, but will still allow me to go play locally with my friends as well as offering online play. Plus all sorts of new monsters will be available as per the ‘ultimate’ version tradition!
I’m just going to kick back and savor this one for a while as I wait impatiently.
At this point, it isn’t a question of ‘if’ I’ll get the game… But whether or not I’ll transfer my hundreds of hours of experience from the original game onto the Switch version. Could be fun to start over? But I’m not sure.
I’ve got a few months to figure it out at least.
Nintendo Switch will receive new charger accessory
Keeping on the Nintendo train, this may seem like not a big deal for people who don’t own a Nintendo Switch. But as someone who owns and plays one rather frequently, this new addition to the accessory line-up is actually pretty huge.
Just looking at the picture, this thing seems like a phenomenal idea… That should have been released at launch.
But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
This just feels like a must-buy for Switch owners to me, and while I’m disappointed we’ve had to deal without it until now, I’m very excited to get one in the near future. Thank god it’s only $20.
Overwatch League grand finals to be held in Brooklyn
As the title to this section suggests, Blizzard announced Wednesday that the grand finals for their eSports tournament, the Overwatch League, will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in July.
According to an article by Variety, the finals will be about a month-and-a-half after the regular season ends (on June 17), and following a postseason playoff at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank.
Finalists will be competing for $1.4 million… Which isn’t too bad for a video game competition, I’d say.
Hell, I’d love to get $1.4 million for playing some games.
Oh well. Maybe someday, if I keep working on my Pokémon competitive skills or something.
Bungie Developer apologizes to fans
So this is an interesting little thing my friend Mitchell pointed out specifically, as a big fan of Destiny.
A few weeks ago I talked about how Bungie was planning on hosting fans to talk about how they would improve the rocky follow-up to their popular shooter.
However, it seems like all the bad blood hasn’t quite fizzled out yet.
On May 7, a fan replied to developer Josh Hamrick’s tweet about being excited for an expansion to Destiny 2:
I honestly understand why you feel that way Jacob. I’m sorry we let you down. We’re working our asses off to turn it around and bring the hobby back though. I feel like the last few updates have really started to change that and I believe the future is bright. I hope you join us.
That’s a pretty serious statement for what could have just been blowing off a butthurt fan.
I don’t exactly have a lot to say about Destiny or the state of its future as a game series, but I just wanted to point this out because it’s an awesome little example of a developer being respectful to the feelings of his fanbase.
Among the games that got shown off were Borderlands 3, Lego DC Villains, Gears of War 5 and more.
Obviously these are kind of like leaks, so I can’t necessarily confirm nor deny whether the games that were put out here are legitimately coming soon. That’s why I buried this one under the other stories I talked about here.
On top of the gold-plated elder dragon, Capcom has added a new locale into the game for it to reside in as well. The Kulve Taroth’s nesting place is known as the Caverns of El Dorado, which as the name suggests is essentially a large series of interconnected caverns.
I unfortunately still don’t have a means of playing Monster Hunter: World in my personal time, but I really do like seeing it get the love it deserves. Plus, I’ll likely enjoy beating this thing up when I hang out with my friends over the summer.
Now I say I have mixed feelings on this because on one hand I’m really looking forward to this game coming out so I can finally experience the series I’ve always heard so much about. But on the other hand, I had no idea that the game was set to come out on May 25th originally, and am glad to have some extra time to enjoy ‘Don’t Starve’ more before jumping into a new game.
According to the Nintendo Life article I’m pulling this from (the one I linked above, thanks to my editor’s feedback), the development issues seem to only be affecting the Switch version thus far. Every other console will still see a May 25th release.
Bungie to host community summit regarding ‘Destiny 2’
When Bungie originally decided to move on from their success producing games in the ‘Halo’ series, many fans were sad to see them go but also excited for their next project: Another futuristic space-themed first person shooter called ‘Destiny.’
Destiny was a huge hit upon release and built up a massive fanbase quickly that latched onto the game for years following its 2014 release. However… The sequel, Destiny 2, has not been so lucky.
I’ve never been a huge Destiny fan myself despite a long history with Halo, so I can’t say I’m an expert in everything people complain about regarding the game. This Variety article does a pretty nice job of laying it out though, so give that a read if you’re interested in some more context.
Besides that, don’t have too much to say on this one. I think it’s cool that Bungie wants to bring its community of fans in for this kind of work, but I don’t necessarily have a stake in the game either way.
E3 press conference announcements have begun
With the annual E3 conference comes a heaping helping of new video game news that fans around the world are always eager to gobble up. Even though it won’t be until June, various companies have already begun to announce their line-up of titles and press conference times.
IGN has a nice list of everything that has been announced so far, so I’m going to leave that here. Nobody has leaked the specifics of what they’re doing just yet, but it’ll be interesting to watch this space over the next few weeks to see what we can see.
Nintendo’s Labo experiment to launch tomorrow
If it wasn’t obvious, I’m kind of scraping the barrel at this point. There wasn’t a whole lot of news this last week that was groundbreaking, so I’m just pulling together whatever I can.
The first Labo Variety Kit will cost $69.99, which is a little rich for my blood looking at what it comes with… But I can’t argue with the fact that the set is essentially four games in one with extra real life fun to be had by building cardboard objects. So the price probably balances out there somewhere.
Also on the release docket for tomorrow is the new God of War, which continues to get rather stellar reviews like I mentioned in my last beat report. Schools around the country should probably be prepared for a lot of absences given the crossover of ‘hype new game’ and ‘smoke weed day’ if I were to make a prediction.
So with this beat report, I tried taking a slightly different approach. A few more items of interest than usual with a shorter, more to-the-point word count on each. Let me know what you think of that in the comments below, since I’m personally hoping it doesn’t just feel like I phoned things in!
Also, as usually, let me know if there’s anything I missed because I’m sure there is.
Hope somebody out there learned something today, but until next time I’m out of here. Have to get to class in about an hour or so, which is why I’m a bit more in-and-out than usual.
A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.
That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.
As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.
As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.
On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.
So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.
If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?
￼Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.
Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme
Don’t do this all too often, but Heroes updated again today and essentially invalidated large chunks of this post, so I figured I would address it in an update here as well.
When I talked about how I felt Legion and Clarisse should have been the heroes featured in the newest summoning focus, I apparently did not anticipate that the characters could and likely would show up in Grand Hero Battles.
In hindsight it seems rather obvious (though I suppose you can say that for most things in hindsight). Characters like Xander who had been in the game through missions without being a summonable hero did wind up coming to the game later as Grand Hero Battles, where you unlock them by beating a particularly hard map.
Since Legion and Clarisse are boss characters from Mystery of the Emblem, I suppose it also makes sense for them to be unlocked through especially hard fights.
The Legion fight is particularly interesting, however, as it’s the first Grand Hero Battle that has an extra difficulty level: Infernal.
Dramatic letter coloring is dramatic.
Infernal is pretty much just a step up in difficulty that comes with an additional four star Legion and 2,000 feathers. Both are decent rewards to work to get, as duplicate characters can pass down skills and feathers are generally a rare (but highly useful) commodity.
I tried to beat the fight on Infernal but didn’t exactly get very far. Most of my best heroes aren’t well-equipped to tank heavy damage, which they have to be with a map that continuously spawns hard units to fight.
But… Oh well, at least I got this one:
Anyway, that’s about all for this update. I figured it wouldn’t be a big enough thing for its own post, but I also didn’t want to just delete what I had on this post already. Keeping it around for posterity and timely remembrance and all that.
Just keep in mind as you read through the rest of this post, which I essentially tried to frame around the idea of there being a missed opportunity with these heroes, that even the greatest of thoughts can ultimately be wrong without all of the pieces at play.
E3 has just about come and gone for the year. While I’m planning on putting something out talking about some of my personal high points from the conference, I’m not quite prepared to do that right now.
So instead, here’s an update on the most recent update for Fire Emblem Heroes that came out last night. While not quite as expansive as the Tempest Trials release, we did get four new heroes to play around with:
From Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem comes Katarina, an assassin who aspires to be a tactician, Athena, a foreigner from a town bordering Archanea who speaks with a accent, and best friend/rivals Roderick and Luke, two cavaliers serving under Marth in the Altean army alongside Katarina.
I personally have not played New Mystery of the Emblem, or the original Mystery of the Emblem for that matter, so I don’t have much experience with these four new heroes. Though, I was surprised during my research to find that Athena appeared in Shadow Dragon as well. I have played that game, but I honestly don’t remember seeing her.
One thing I can say about the four heroes that were chosen is that I feel like there was a missed opportunity somewhere along the lines. Let me explain.
The plot line of the new Paralogue that was added for this summoning focus feels more like a filler arc in an anime than just about any other Paralogue I’ve seen added into the game. Which, I might add, is really saying something considering the one before it focused on heroes randomly pulled together for wedding-based shenanigans.
In essence, it follows the primary members of the Order of Heroes (Alphonse, Sharena and Anna) entering into the new lands of Mystery of the Emblem hoping to free heroes that have made contracts with Veronica and, in Sharena’s case, make new friends.
Once you arrive, the first hero you encounter is Katarina, being aided by Roderick and Luke. When you defeat her, she bonds with Sharena and takes your team on a trip through the land to help free her other friends.
Arguably the most interesting thing about this series of Paralogue missions to me is the fact that heroes who aren’t a part of the summoning focus appear on top of the characters who are a part of the focus. As far as I can remember, this is the first time something like that has happened, which makes these missions stand out in their own right. For example, along the way you discover Athena being attacked by discount Gollum named Legion:
Okay technically they’re on the same team in this mission, but that’s not what I’m looking to point out. What I’m looking to point out is that this is a seriously strange characterization for any character.
You also come across an archer named Clarisse, who arrives when you find out that (big shocker) Katarina was actually tricking Sharena the whole time and spent the previous missions leading your team into a trap.
Considering every other mission thread in the past has had the heroes making a contract with Veronica stay under that influence until the final battle, the feigned friendship act is honestly pretty obvious the whole way through.
By the end, it is revealed that Katarina truly does appreciate the trust and friendship Sharena entrusts in her and hopes that they can work together again in the future… Despite the fact that she led the Order of Heroes into a deathtrap. It’s a sweet, if not hokey, moment that also results in Sharena having a moment with Alphonse talking about the value of her trusting nature compared to his more hesitant and cautious one.
The more separate nature of the narrative and moral-based conclusion to this Paralogue is what makes it feel like a filler episode of a show to me. Something about the writing gives me the same kind of impression.
I say everything about this setup feels like a missed opportunity because every hero besides Katarina that you can summon is pretty much utterly wasted. Roderick, Luke and Athena have no speaking lines at all across any of the three missions. Meanwhile, Legion and Clarisse not only have plenty of speaking lines but also seem like much more interesting characters. I understand it’s because the four heroes they chose go together at the beginning of the game’s story, but still.
Seriously, I’d use Clarisse, her design is great and I like her seemingly scalding attitude. Plus her Clarisse’s Bow inflicts -5 attack and speed on enemies within two spaces after each attack. Now that I’m more into serious battle strategies, it’s a pretty sweet sounding weapon.
Oh, also, the summoning focus comes with three additional missions.
Figured I would just throw this in there. I’m not really sure what a smooth way to transition into it would be and it’s the last thing I have to talk about for this update. So… Yeah. That’s about that.
However, I’m not much of a fan of unceremonious endings, so I’ll add on an update for my progress in the Tempest Trials as well.
Because players of the game were able to amass a total of 2,639,517,292 points since the beginning of the event, everyone who participated gets a pretty nice reward for their trouble.
Personally, I have been able to collect at least enough points to reach the main goal I’ve set out for:
The Trials as a whole are admittedly more of a slog than I expected they would be. Each round takes a long time to complete, so even though I have more than enough stamina bottles to be able to get all the rewards, I haven’t felt like sinking in enough time to repeat the same fights over and over again.
Nevertheless, I will continue the uphill climb so I can hopefully get the new seals and a five star variant of Masked Lucina. She’s a rather interesting character, all things considered. Besides getting access to Falchion as a five star unit, she gets no skills at all. As a result, it seems like Intelligent Systems planned the character out specifically to be a build-your-own blank slate. I can’t say I’m opposed to the idea, in fact I’m rather excited to figure out how I want my Lucina to fit into a team!
There, NOW that’s all I have to say about Fire Emblem Heroes for the day. Thus it’s time for the obligatory comment questions at the end of the post.
How do you feel about the new focus heroes? Do you feel they should have gone with different heroes to summon instead like I do? And, of course, who would you like to see arrive in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes in the future? By now I’m sure my own answer to that question should be obvious. I’ve been waiting for a Sacred Stones-based summoning focus for quite some time now.
Also don’t ask why I’m feeling so much more fourth wall breaking than usual as far as blathering on about my lack of knowing what to do, because I’m not sure.
E3 has been going on for the past few days, and unfortunately enough not a lot of the reveals have interested me thus far. A lot of the games talked about have been sequels for games I haven’t played or games on available on consoles I don’t own – and probably won’t own due to monetary concerns. One of my favorite games talked about so far was Halo Wars 2 actually, since I loved the first game way more than I probably should have given how generally unpopular it was. I played that to death with some of my friends, even months after the general fanbase dropped off and left the multiplayer barren. Plus, it’s available for the PC as well as the Xbox One, so I’ll actually potentially have the chance to play it!
But that’s a different story, and one you can see more about here while you check out the beautiful trailer here. After all, today was the Nintendo Treehouse Live, and there were at least two massive things talked about during the presentation.