Tag: Fire Emblem Echoes

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

A bit of a clickbait-y title this time around, but I would argue there’s no way to get around that in this case. This particular go around is rather crazy, if you ask me.

Though unfortunately my value for consistency in presentation is probably only going to add to the apparent hypocrisy of making this like dreaded clickbait, since I’ll be burying the lede at least a little bit under my usual character and story discussion/ramblings.

So for those of you who only see this cut-down synopsis on my branch-off to Facebook, I apologize ahead of time.

However… With that said, it’s time to get on with the show.


Today the developers at Intelligent Systems have blessed us with not just one, but TWO new summoning focuses themed after Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Each feature heroes from the separate armies of the game’s dual protagonists Alm and Celica.

And boy did they pick some great heroes to showcase with these focuses.

Seriously I’ve been excited all day knowing these heroes were coming soon, even though the first hint of them being in the game came from two videos that just showed up to give us about one day’s notice. Yet, that one day’s worth of hype has made me more amped to play Heroes than I’ve felt in months.



Editor’s Note: Yes, I do understand that my temporal perceptions probably sound confusing. In some cases I’m referring to ‘today’ as Thursday, July 13, when the focuses technically dropped. However, at the same time I’m referring to ‘today’ as Wednesday, July 12, since I’m having another case of ‘too excited about writing to sleep,’ which my brain is taking as a continuation of Wednesday even though it’s actually 1:30 a.m. or so on Thursday.

Just bear with me, I’ll try to make as much sense as possible given the aforementioned ‘writing at 1:30 a.m.’ barrier to cognizance.



Just which heroes have made me so giddy, you may ask?

Well I’ll tell you all about them my dear reader, using only the kind of over-excessive and flowery language that can come from someone who just recently played through the game featuring said characters, falling in love with them along the journey.

Alm’s Army

  • MathildaLegendary Knight
    • One of the founding knights of the Deliverance, a force fighting to preserve the land of Zofia in Fire Emblem Gaiden/Echoes. Mathilda is known for both her great combat proficiency and her adoration for the Deliverance’s first leader Clive, who she later marries in the game’s canon. To be honest, I found it a little strange to see that Mathilda was joining the fray rather than Clive, who is arguably a more important character to the story in Echoes… But that’s something I’m going to get into later.
    • Notable Skills: Mathilda comes with an anti-cavalry weapon, the Ridersbane, and a new skill called “Cancel Affinity” which not only negates abilities that increase an opponent’s strength in Fire Emblem’s token weapon triangle, but also reverses the effect of said granted strength. A pretty interesting idea.
  • GrayWry Comrade
    • One of the Ram Village villagers that starts the journey Alm embarks upon alongside Tobin, Faye and Kliff (who is so far the only one that hasn’t made an appearance, interestingly enough). Gray tends to come off as a bit of a womanizer, but he’s a stalwart ally for Alm who (in my time with the game) rode as a cavalier for the Deliverance that eventually comes to marry Clive’s sister Clair. To be honest, he’s my least favorite of Alm’s childhood friends… And my ambivalence kind of extends to this mobile title as well.
    • Notable Skills: Zanbato is a new weapon that only Gray has thus far in Heroes (as far as I can recall) which gives him anti-cavalry capabilities like Mathilda. His passive skills also grant him +6 speed when he has at least 3 more health than his opponent in combat and grant all other sword users twice their special points at the end of a battle.
  • DeltheaFree Spirit
    • Arguably a god amongst men, Delthea is a young girl from a forest village in Zofia who joined Alm’s quest after he (alongside her brother Luthier) saved her from working under the control of a servant of the Duma Faithful. She and her brother are the only two in their village graced with magical capabilities, and though Delthea’s power is the most potent, she tends to struggle internally with the idea of being seated with such a special status. Among Echoes players, it seems to be generally the consensus that Delthea is one of the most powerful units in the game. She seriously wrecks house, and that fact combined with the adorable depiction of her with a single sharp tooth showing and some reminders of my own relationship with my sister makes her one of my absolute favorite units.
    • Notable Skills: Where to start with Delthea… Not only does she herself come equipped with the skill “Death Blow,” instantly giving her +6 attack when she initiates combat, but her new weapon “Dark Aura” grants certain of adjacent allies +6 attack at the beginning of a turn AND her new skill “Drive Attack” grants allies within two spaces +3 attack when fighting. Delthea is kind of wild, and as I’m sure you can imagine will become relevant later in this post.

Celica’s Army

  • SaberDriven Mercenary
    • The first to join Celica’s quest to find the Mother Mila after she sets out from the Novis Island Priory, Saber is a mercenary who pledges to come along to help stave off pirates, but winds up sticking around for far longer than he bargains for. In fact, he winds up becoming one of Celica’s greatest advisors throughout the plot of the game, especially as choices become more difficult when they broach into his original home territory of Rigel. I like the guy, but not significantly so I’m afraid.
    • Notable Skills: Saber’s “Slaying Edge” grants him an ever coveted accelerated special attack cooldown on top of skills which grant him +4 HP, +2 speed and an even faster special cooldown for defensive special attacks, ones that trigger to do things like lower damage dealt by an opponent.
  • LeonTrue of Heart
    • Now here’s a man I can get behind. Leon is an archer who accompanies the knight Valbar when he goes to get revenge by killing the pirate king Barst. Clearly in love with the man, Leon continues to follow Valbar when he joins Celica in thanks for her helping to get revenge for his deceased family. Most of his character revolves solely around the idea of his unrequited love for the man whose tragic history left him separated from his first family, and it’s the kind of love that really melts my heart. So add on to that the fact that he can become a bow knight, probably my favorite Fire Emblem unit, and Leon skyrocketed to the top of my interests as a rather perfect storm of things I enjoy.
    • Notable Skills: Like Saber, Leon’s bow also accelerates special attack cooldowns and he gains +3 speed through a passive skill. He also has a new skill called “Guard” which lowers the special attack cooldown of enemy attacks provided he has over 80 percent health at the start of a battle, though this seems like a strange skill to give to archers, a typically non-defensive unit.
  • SonyaVengeful Mage
    • A powerful mage who joins Celica after she defeats the pirate leader Grieth in the deserts of Zofia… If you choose to let her live during a semi-critical junction in the game. Despite the fact that she is technically skippable, it’s implied that Sonya is the true ally meant to join Celica’s team due to her connections with the leader of the Duma Faithful and her strong mother-figure support with fellow Priory abandonee Genny. Just their connection to each other along gained Sonya some extra points in my book, as Genny was arguably my favorite unit in the game as a whole.
    • Notable Skills: Sonya has a pretty busted initial skill set as well between a weapon that adds damage to her special attacks, one of the most powerful and overused special skills in “Moonbow” and two passive skills that raise her attack and lower opponent’s magical resistances in cardinal directions at the start of each turn. Though I stand by Delthea having the craziest skill set, Sonya makes for a close second.

Whoo boy, hopefully that didn’t tire you all out, as there’s a lot more to go through from here. Hell, I haven’t even broached into the story behind how all these characters appear in the continuing Heroes plot line.

I’ll try to keep things brief and more picture-heavy, since I’m sure this much text is already burning everyone out as is.


img_5607

This new story chapter, Bitter Enemies, begins as something of a direct continuation of the previous chapter. The Emblian prince Bruno made an appearance during the big battle with Celica’s forces in the “Rite of Shadows” chapter due to having some connection with Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena’s missing friend.

Thus, since it was the last place he was seen, the Order of Heroes goes back to Valentia hoping to find him once again.

Once they arrive, the typical gambit of fighting through different battles with contracted heroes do occur…

However, the story around them has much less of a focus on the Valentian heroes than on Bruno, his increasingly mad and violent attitude and his overall connections with Zacharias.

The battles continue across Valentia until eventually the Order of Heroes encounters Bruno and his troops for one more big bout:

Once the fight ends, Alfonse has Bruno cornered and seems ready to end his life.

However… He stops when coming to a different conclusion:

img_5630

And that’s it. The chapter ends on this exact image. Cliffhanger city.

While this chapter as a whole does add some nice drama to the overall experience, it admittedly leads to a conclusion that isn’t so surprising. My friends and I came to the conclusion that Bruno was probably going to be Zacharias since the game first came out and reached its release content ‘climax’ at Chapter 9.

One thing it does add that I personally love is a bunch of new Echoes maps, as the miniature recreations of original game locations continues to be one of my favorite things Fire Emblem Heroes nails every time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first four parts of this chapter are wonderful mimics of the Sluice Gate map where Alm frees Delthea, the Zofian coast map where Celica meets the Whitewing sisters, the map where Celica marches on Grieth’s Stronghold and the outside of the Temple of Mila.

I admittedly wasn’t able to immediately identify the fifth map as a recreation of anything specific, so it may just be a map created for Bruno’s big battle. Though if I’m wrong on that and you know what it’s meant to mimic, feel free to correct me.

Also interesting to note: I mentioned earlier that I was surprised to see Clive was not a hero we were able to summon, as instead we were given his love Mathilda. However, in the Grieth Stronghold siege map and in the final battle Clive does, in fact, appear.

If the two Mystery of the Emblem villains were any indication, Clive should likely appear as a Grand Hero Battle sometime soon. I’ve also heard talks that Berkut, one of the game’s antagonists (and one of my absolute favorite tragic characters) should also be making an appearance soon, so there’s always more to be excited about.

Even if I could argue that I enjoy seeing the new map layouts and new characters more than I enjoy getting story continuations in Heroes, at the very least I’ll definitely be interested to see where things go from here.


Summoning focus details? Check.

Added story and drama? Check.

Extra bonus content?

In this case five new orb-providing missions and a new chain challenge map set… Check.

Well then, I think that about gets the nitty gritty update information out of the way. Onto my personal experiences with this update.

I spent just about all day Wednesday hanging out with some of my close middle/high school friends, as we tend to do often given that we were so tightly knit and keep in contact to this day. It was a usual kind of hangout for us, plenty of video games and pizza to go around.

… Though this time we did play a round of Monopoly, where Juan (or cyv001 as you might remember from some of my earlier Sun and Moon build-up days, and whose blog I would still recommend seeing here) beat the absolute hell out of my friend Tiana and I. The angry words that were exchanged as he bankrupted us all more or less reaffirmed why we don’t play games like monopoly too often.

Anyway, one of the big highlights of the night came at midnight, when the new summoning focus banners rolled around. All of us but Juan in this group of friends play Heroes, so we were all pretty excited for the cool new heroes. Even if Jonathan, the one guy who plays mainstream Fire Emblem titles with me, did bring up a gripe that they’re dropping these heroes while still running the Summer hero banner. Having two completely new focuses kind of screwed him over due to the investment he’s made in trying to summon a Summer Robin, which is an issue I completely sympathize with from my own troubles with summoning orbs in the past.

This time around I had a huge surplus however, given that I’ve been saving them up for a rainy day. As I’m sure you all picked up from the amount of praise I heaped on Delthea earlier, she turned out to be my rainy day.

I felt about as excited seeing her appear as an obtainable unit as I believe I’ll feel whenever Neimi inevitably (crosses fingers) shows up, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to start blowing my riches from the past few months of storing like a squirrel for the winter.

Now for context, even after my last big orb binge to obtain Eldigan (which I mentioned briefly in this post), I was rather quickly able to grow my hoard back up to 200 orbs as you can see in this picture I took when I first got the update:

img_5600

By the end of my time summoning on this one banner alone, here’s how many orbs I had left:

img_5606

That’s right, I spent 140 orbs tonight. Granted, I didn’t have to spend any real money since I’ve just been saving for the last few months, but something about seeing all that hard work evaporate so quickly in one night felt… Dirty. For lack of a better term.

I’m strange like that when it comes to these games. Despite the fact that my friends were baffled at my ability to have so many orbs at once and the fact that I still have far more than them, internally I still feel like I’ve brought myself into the negative by getting rid of so much.

Still, that begs the question – Was the orb binge worth it even with the ‘dirty’ feelings I associate it with?

Well… Yes.

Yes it was.

Not only did I manage to summon Delthea, my major goal across both of the new banners, but along the way I was also able to summon a five star Catria, my personal favorite of the three Whitewings.

In a way that’s almost more crazy and ironic considering Catria and her sisters appear as characters in Fire Emblem Echoes as visitors from Archanea. Thus, even though she wasn’t a banner focus like Delthea, I was able to get two different five star blue units from Echoes.

On top of that I also managed to build up a hell of a backlog of other new blue units by only activating blue summoning orbs when I saw them:

img_5632

I wound up summoning so many blue units that I actually had to trade away a bunch of my units for the first time to make room for more.

While most of what I got is some basic tribute fodder, some stand-out units I received included female Corrin, Lukas, male Robin and Roderick. All of them were brand new to me and help to fill the complete log of units I’ve received, even if Delthea and Catria are going to be the main two I use for bolstering my usable blue unit category.

Now my sights are set for Leon and Sonya in Celica’s Army, as Leon is one of my favorite units and Sonya seems like she has quite a bit of power behind her. Though I’ll probably be more sparing about how I administer my orbs going forward for a little while, so who knows how that will go.

You’d think that would be all I would have to say on the matter, but if that’s the case,you clearly haven’t spent enough time watching me ramble on about video games before. Because there’s definitely more.

After all, I wasn’t the only one summoning heroes tonight.

img_5631

That’s right, not only did I receive a Delthea, but so did my friend Tiana (in the middle) and my other friend who asked not to be named around these parts (on the left). They got theirs with far less effort than I did, and in fact my unnamed friend also got a Mathilda in the same summoning batch, but either way we all bonded as Delthea owners the first night she became available.

So far the only one who hasn’t gotten a Delthea is my friend Jonathan, though with two weeks left we’re all rooting for him and his summoning success. After all, he’s destined to join the Delthea squad with the rest of us.

Until he does, however… This night will go down in infamy as the spawn of a brand new group-wide meme.

img_5634

Very simply yet elegantly put together by cyv001


NOW that should be everything I have to blather on about for Fire Emblem Heroes tonight.

I won’t bother boring you all with further details on the new card pack that came out in Duel Links or with any extensive updates on my sunburn (which is starting to peel) or even my recent work experiences (such as driving out to Fullerton to cover a CSUF GOP meeting with my friend and now Editor in Chief Zack), as I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing me write tonight.

Also because it’s significantly later now than I indicated it was at the top of this post and I’ve legitimately become exhausted. Guess the only things I’m expecting to see on my calendar tomorrow are sleeping late and cleaning the downstairs bathroom.

… Today? Definitely today at this point, even if it feels like it should be tomorrow since I have’t slept yet. Perceptions of time and relativity really are a confusing subject matter on little-to-no-rest after a day partying with friends.

So, to save myself from endlessly rambling any more tonight in place of getting the sleep I need, I’ll leave off with this.

How do you feel about the new Fire Emblem Heroes characters? Am I insane or justified for saving my orbs for so long just to binge-use them all in one sitting like I did? Will my friend Jonathan summon his own Delthea and join the Delthea squad?

Find out the answers to this and more on the next episode of Dragonball Z!

… Maybe.

Tempest Trials, take two

Tempest Trials, take two

I warned you all that this would be coming today.

The Tempest Trials have returned in Fire Emblem Heroes, and this time they’re based in the land of Valentia, home of Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes.

img_5483

Unlike the last Tempest Trials, this one comes with a little less pomp and circumstance. While the Ylisse-themed trials had an extra paralogue series aimed at explaining how the entire calamitous event began, this one simply comes with a small conversation introducing it to a new world:

img_5488

It wasn’t much, but I did find it interesting to note that Masked Lucina continues to be the bridge for Tempest Trials appearances. Given her initial appearances and overall role in Awakening, when she served as a warning for the coming apocalypse by the Fell Dragon Grima and aimed to stop its rise, it makes a lot of sense.

It’s also pretty cool from a lore perspective, I would say. Gives the chance for these events to tie together and be more engaging as they go along and hit more worlds.

Beyond this lessened storyline impact, much of the inner workings of this event are the same as the last one. As a result, I’d recommend going back to look through my post on the first Tempest Trials for the major overarching details. The rest of this post is going to focus mostly on what has been added or changed this time around.


First and foremost, the major difference between this version of the Tempest Trials and the last version is the locale. Instead of the battles taking place on maps from Fire Emblem Awakening, they take place on the maps from Fire Emblem Echoes.

In the most difficult Lunatic-level run, the first three battles take place on maps from Alm’s in-game route (featured in the “World of Shadows” Paralogue) and the second three battles take place on maps from Celica’s in-game route (featured in the “Rite of Shadows” main story chapter).

The final battle takes place in the ritual sacrifice room underneath Duma Tower where you have your final bout with Berkut in Echoes. I won’t spoil anything here, but the fight has some emotional repercussions in the games story, so having that map as a background is pretty awesome.

img_5491
This game never ceases to amaze me with how it can recreate maps in such a small format with pretty impressive accuracy.

One of the coolest things about this map is that it continues the tradition in Fire Emblem Heroes of using the origin map’s music to accompany the fight. While Alm’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 1 and 3 from Echoes and Celica’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 2 and 3 from Echoes, the final fight in the ritual sacrifice room uses the music from Chapter 5 where the in-game battle takes place.

It’s both fitting and brings up good memories from that part of the game. All and all a nice touch.

Plus, Celica is the big contender to deal with rather than Veronica, which is phenomenal considering how hard it was to get past her.


The next change regards differences in the missions that have been added to correspond with the event:

img_5495

Now, instead of there being a larger reward for completing runs in the trials over the course of the two weeks, the reward missions for completing runs are going to recycle every day and come with smaller prerequisites. Completing the run once, twice or three times rather than 15 times in a more long-term format.

The rewards for these daily missions will also be doubled once the event is halfway done, starting on July 14th.  At the very least, this makes aiming for the stamina bottle way more worthwhile, as each of them provides enough energy to accommodate about 5 runs at the Trials on their own.


To accompany this new mission system also comes changes to the format of battles and the multi-team selection mechanic as you progress through battles.

The update log specifies two proprietary changes in this field:

First, the scores you can receive in normal and hard difficulty runs have been increased. This is good for people who are new to the game at least, as it makes it easier to rack up points when you don’t have that many good units to cycle through. However, I only attempt the hardest difficulty so I can earn as many points as possible even with losses, so it doesn’t affect me that much.

Second, the more significant and honestly much needed change, comes into play as battles progress.

Inevitably, your units will begin to burn out the further into the challenge you get. Health and death are not restored when you move from one battle to the next, so even the strongest of teams can get worn down. This fact hasn’t changed, but what happens when you move from one team to the next has.

During the last Tempest Trials, when you began with a second team, the opponents on whatever battle you’re fighting were restored to full capacity with just a small health deficit.

Now the opponent’s team receives the same treatment yours does. Whoever you kill before your team loses stays dead and all the damage you cause carries on.

Finishing the final battle against Veronica in the last Trials was frankly a nightmare. Even if you got close to winning and lost, all of your work would be undone when you started with the next team. It meant you had to be nearly perfect to make it to the end and follow-through for a victory.

My teams were less than perfect, so I had to work up to the higher-tiered rewards by racking up as many points from loses as I could.

The fact that you can wear down your opponent’s team is frankly a godsend. I’ve already won more times in one day than I did in the entirety of the other event’s two week runtime.

It makes everything feel faster and more engaging to play, which fixes my major complaint of getting burned out on Tempest Trials runs far too quickly the last time it came around.


The last major change to discuss are the rewards to shoot for.

In Fire Emblem Heroes, sacred seals allow heroes to have an extra skill to utilize for building battle strategies. However, you can’t have more than one of each kind of seal, so it would be useless to provide the same rewards a second time around.

Thus, there are two new sacred seals and a brand new hero to aim for:

The lower-level seal at 20,000 points is a +1 Resistance buff. The higher-level seal, pictured above at 40,000 points, is Phantom Speed 1. This seal automatically adds 5 points to your unit’s speed stat whenever a skill activates that compares your unit’s speed to another unit’s speed.

The character reward this time around is Tobin, one of Ram Village’s children and childhood friend of Alm. Arguably one of my favorite villagers too… Though I’m not sure I fully understand his designation as “The Clueless One.” If anything, I remember him being more of a confidant and advisor to Alm.

That’s beside the point, however.

Compared to the last character reward, Masked Lucina, Tobin looks to be a little underwhelming. Lucina was a completely blank slate that allowed for complete customization of skills through inheritance, which was an interesting prospect. Tobin, however, comes prepackaged with an Armorslayer+ and the skills Pivot, Attack +3 and Seal Speed 3.

While I give the game some points considering I made my Tobin a mercenary during my playthrough of Echoes, meaning I appreciate the idea of him holding a sword (even if it isn’t my personal token Levin Sword that slaughtered fools), these skills don’t seem fantastic or make him standout particularly well.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong by a good stat distribution, but I suppose I’ll find that out once I unlock him. He has attachment value at least, so I’ll be happy to get him for that if nothing else.


Besides the two additional summoning focuses corresponding with the Tempest Trials and with the Alm & Celica special battle, that just about sums everything up in regards to the new event.

I’m building up my orb surplus after splurging to get Eldigan after all, so I probably won’t be spending any on those. Even if the second chance at getting Genny, my favorite Echoes unit, is appealing.

How do you feel about this second Tempest Trials? Do you appreciate the changes to the format as much as I do? Or would you have liked to see more done?

Personally, I’m pretty happy with the changes. Between getting through a number of updates in Duel Links coming down the pipeline, I’ll gladly be working my way up to that 5 star Tobin.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

To be fair, this is beach-themed. It’s beach-themed and I am writing this in the late hours of the night (or morning if you want to get technical).

So… I’m going to count this as one of my trips to the beach this summer. Even though it’s really just me playing more video games. Because you can’t really video games at the beach, now can you?

Oh wait, I did do that last year… Never mind.

Anyway, dumb attempt at a clever opening monologue aside, welcome to my regularly scheduled big Fire Emblem Heroes update. I’ve actually been fairly busy the last few days doing some work for my internship (hopefully some Gladeo stuff should be coming around in the next couple of days for me to talk about), so I haven’t been able to update everything as I’ve been going.

Figured I would update it all in one fell swoop, all under the banner of this strange, strange special character addition.

img_5429

That’s right folks, if June was the month of the brides, July is the month of summer fun for the colorful cast of Fire Emblem characters… From Ylisse. Because apparently only the Ylissians get nice things like summer vacations.

Now, just who do we have filling out our roster of summer-themed heroes?

  • Robin (female): Seaside Tactician
    • Can’t have a collection of heroes from Fire Emblem Awakening without including Chrom, Lucina or Robin somewhere in the mix. Lucina’s gotten more than enough love in the time Heroes has existed, so I’m glad to see Robin finally getting some more time in the sun. And no, not because she’s scantily clad and running around spearing seafood. Not strictly, at least.
  • Frederick: Horizon Watcher
    • Never did I ever think I would see this great Ylissian knight don casual clothing, hit the beach with his friends and chuck seashells at people. Seriously. The guy that usually flattens enemies with his horse and impales those who do disservices to his lords chucks seashells at people. Easily the best character added solely for how strange he is, and that’s saying something considering…
  • Tiki: Summering Scion
    • Have you ever wanted to see an eons-old half-dragon of divinity with a pension for feeling heartbroken about the deaths of her friends in the hundreds of years she hibernated decide to smack a watermelon with a stick and use the combined items as an axe? No? Well have this anyway.
  • Gaius: Thief Exposed
    • Besides the fact that “Thief Exposed” is a ridiculous name to bestow upon anything in this context, I don’t have a lot of things to make fun of with old Gaius here. In fact, if there was anyone on this list I would want, it’s him. Not only does he get the skills Vantage AND Astra, but he also shoots the blue ice cream pops from Kingdom Hearts at people. It’s pretty dope.

I’m sure you know exactly what’s coming next at this point.

 

 

New heroes equals new paralogue. New paralogue equals three new missions. Three new missions equals nine new orbs, plus an extra three for included special missions. The return of two orbs daily. Rinse and repeat, as usual.

Oh, but this time they also included an extra event to get us some boosted Skill Points for playing over the weekends.

img_5432

So that’s pretty cool.

In case it wasn’t all that obvious, I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on this like I usually do. As much as I love writing far too much about a relatively small amount of content with this game, it is already pretty late and I have some stuff going on tomorrow. However, the writing in this game never ceases to amaze me with how bizarre it is.

If you thought things got weird when the girls of the game were wandering around in wedding dresses… Well…

 

 

Surprisingly, talking about liberation from one’s clothing isn’t even the weirdest thing Anna talks about in this miniature storyline. It actually gets much, much creepier from there.

To sum it up really quick, you and the rest of your colleagues from the Order of Heroes decide to go to a beach in Ylisse to relax for the summer. However, Anna has ulterior motives with the casually dressed heroes under contract with Emblia to defend the beach.

 

 

 

She basically wants to take the four new special heroes and use them to make her own Playboy-esque pictures to sell so she can help fund the army.

I’ve had a couple of hours to stew it over and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this plot point.

However, it just about goes how you would expect. You fight a few maps, Anna fails to get any of her pictures, she actually winds up losing money thanks to a letter from an alternative version of herself and everyone fills her in on the value of spending the summertime making friends and relaxing rather than dwelling over money.

img_5447

Seriously this game has more Hallmark card morals than Hallmark cards as far as I can tell.

The “lore” for this event doesn’t get much deeper than this, so that’s really all I have to say on that matter. Except that getting through this event makes me feel like like the writers for this game are trying to send a message that they could probably stand for a “liberating vacation” of their own.

The map environments are quite pretty however, I have to say:

img_5448

It’s obviously hard to tell with a still image, but the water flows back and forth with a little bit of froth. It’s really nice.

With the summer beach fun out of the way, let’s get into a little lightning round for all the other updates in my games I’ve neglected, big and small.


Clarisse Arrives

img_5433

My upset rantings from a couple of weeks ago were once again proven to be obsolete as we received the second boss character from the recent Mystery of the Emblem Paralogue  through a special map. I updated that post when the first character came through, so I figured I would update that post again with this little blurb here.

Otherwise, don’t have much to say about this. I like the character, she seems cool and I got a three star version of her. However, with my current collection of heroes, I’m not having much luck at the harder difficulties for her mission.


The latest Voting Gauntlet: Battle between the ladies of the cloth

img_5450

Admittedly I’m not super invested in this voting gauntlet. Because healers aren’t prominent or even necessarily good to battle with in this format, you don’t see the headlining characters strongly supported in the battles at hand with this gauntlet.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made for having a balanced cast to prevent any unfair match ups (experiences like Ephraim vs. Eirika one time do come to mind), but when people aren’t using the characters featured it makes it harder to feel invested in the team support. At least in my opinion.

However, I have been supporting my teams all the same. I started with Sakura, the best younger sister from Fates… But she swiftly got beat by Elise. Guess people didn’t agree with me, but at least I can take solace in the fact that people can have their own opinions… They just can’t make up their own facts. So my opinion still stands.

Anyway, now I’m supporting Lissa from Awakening in the fight against Priscilla from the Radiant series. Whether I win or not, at least I know… Everyone who plays gets tons of rewards at the end.

Rewards are good.


Champion of Valentia

 

In other non-Heroes related Fire Emblem news, I finally beat the main story in Fire Emblem Echoes over this last week! It was a long time coming, as I’d been putting it off for quite a while due to other things, but I certainly don’t regret a moment of it.

Seriously, Echoes has easily skyrocketed to being one of my favorite Fire Emblem titles over the time I’ve played it. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, the graphics are easily characteristic and exemplary of all the advancements made in the Fire Emblem series in recent years and dungeons are simply wonderful.

I sincerely hope that the popularity of this game encourages the return of similar first-person dungeon exploration in future titles. I would understand if they want to keep it unique to Gaiden and its remake, but in my opinion they would be remiss to not capitalize on how fun the mechanic is.

There are also a striking amount of similarities between this game and the Sacred Stones from my point of view. That added some extra investment personally, as it reminded me of my favorite game in the series. Plus, on top of that, I eventually realized that Valentia is the ancient equivalent of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, much like Archanea is the ancient equivalent of Ylisse. Seeing that kind of world building across generations is always phenomenal.

I do have my problems with the game, however. There’s a certain element of “keeping to tradition” with Echoes in terms of its character interactions that I can respect… But disagree with at heart. If you want to keep the original support system from Gaiden and keep the canonical relationships canonical, that’s fine. In fact, I quite enjoy most of the canon in-game relationships. Alm and Celica, Gray and Clair, Clive and Mathilda, Mae and Boey, so on and so forth. They’re great.

img_5410

But for this being a modern Fire Emblem game… They really aren’t enough.

Particularly on the coattails of Fire Emblem Fates, which gave you the chance to essentially learn about, befriend and create your own relationships between two complete armies and their children, Fire Emblem Echoes was sorely lacking.

All of the characters I would love to see have more development essentially don’t. This lack of development is almost uncomfortably disappointing, as many obvious options for connections to at least talk are simply missing. For example, many of the initial villagers from Alm’s route can’t talk with one another despite being childhood friends. Genny, the little sister surrogate from Celica’s route, can’t talk with Celica or any of the other people she starts the journey with. Or, in fact, anyone besides Sonya from later on in the story.

I could go on and on. Saber should be able to talk with Celica, Delthea should be able to talk with Clive, Silque should be able to talk with Jesse. Most of these names are just garbled nonsense to people who haven’t played the game, but trust me. They have hinted relationships through different outlets that get unfortunately ignored by the lack of support conversations.

Again, I can appreciate sticking to conventional things and keeping canonical relationships alive. But if you’re going to revamp a game, to the point where entire characters are added and given integral parts of the story (Editor’s Note: Love you Berkut <3), the least you could do is add extra conversations into the game that I would assume aren’t entirely too hard to implement.

But I digress, as I’ve already probably talked about this game far too much in this unconventional space as is. Time to move on, shall we?


Yami Bakura is a dick

 

Enough said.

In actually non-Fire Emblem related news… I love this character and I love the event he comes with in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The blood red sky full of eyes and mouths are rad, and when I first started playing the game this event was happening the first time, so it comes with a certain amount of nostalgia as I see how much further I’ve come.

However, dueling him is way too god damn hard thanks to a mechanic he abuses that ends the match within five turns, so it’s a real pain in the neck to collect any points and prizes from him. It annoys me, but not enough to go into immense details about here.

Plus Yami Bakura is great, so I can’t really stay that mad with him. His theme music is still my favorite.

I also figured I would mention that Konami has impressed me recently with all the notices about updates that are coming and have come to the game. Tons of overpowered skill rebalancing, revamping some graphics, adding lots of new and cool cards and more. It’s actually really nice to see how much they seem to be listening to the community with this game.

Good on you, Konami.


2,000 words in and I’m finally done. Geez, I really need to stop doing this to myself. Every time I say I’m going to write short, get in early and get out fast, I always wind up going above and beyond the call of duty without intending to. I do enjoy the writing, but I always hate myself in the morning when I have to drag myself out of bed.

For now, however, that’s neither here nor there. It’s about time I let you all go on with your lives.

What do you think of the summer heroes? Which one of the four Ylissians are your favorite in their special getups? Also, because I’ve been considering it myself, are you interested in a more extended discussion on Fire Emblem Echoes? I thought about it when I finished the game initially, but I’ve been so busy that I didn’t think I was going to get anything official out. However, if the demand is high enough, I just might.

Maybe I should get a better way to capture images off my 3DS. That could encourage me to talk about those games more, since I know part of my interest in the mobile games comes from the ease of getting screenshots.

But once again I digress. For now it is time to sleep so I can stop rambling on and on like this.

June brides in Fire Emblem Heroes and the luckiest roll

June brides in Fire Emblem Heroes and the luckiest roll

It’s about time I return to one of my favorite pastimes: Writing excessively about video games. It’s been a while, and I’m glad to be at a point where I can without too many distractions. My internship and the build-up to next semester at Cal State Fullerton may interrupt some of that free time, but I’m still working on arranging my timing for all that, so I’ll probably talk more about it in the near future.

Anyway though, that’s enough about work. There’s a time and a place for everything, and this is the place for video game talk at this particular time.

Since Fire Emblem Echoes came out, I’ve been pretty obsessively playing that. It’s a seriously phenomenal game, enough that I’m sure I’ll need another very long post in the future just to talk about everything it does right. Playing that game has also re-ignited my passion for Fire Emblem Heroes, so even though I missed a couple updates I’ll happily start posting about them again.

img_5250

In this update we have four new heroes, special variants of units from four different games, to celebrate the apparently well known traditional cliché of June being a popular month to hold weddings. As a 21-year-old single college student, I was unaware that this was a cliché, so I guess if nothing else this is a good example of video games teaching me things!

The four heroes are:

  • Caeda from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (Though the game lists her as being from Mystery of the Emblem despite it technically not being her first appearance… Consider that a personal gripe if anything)
  • Lyndis (or Lyn) from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
  • Cordelia from Fire Emblem Awakening
  • Charlotte from Fire Emblem Fates

Speaking of personal gripes, why would Charlotte be introduced into Heroes through this special bridal event if she is not even a regular character in the game yet? Not that I can complain since one of my favorite units from Fates has now been introduced, but it seems strange to not use a character that already has an original model in the game.

But I digress.

Along with new characters comes a new spread of maps. As of late the game has been introducing new main story chapters through a world featuring Ike from Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn and a world featuring Celica from Echoes, but the “Bridal Blessings” focus maps are instead set in a Paralogue mission.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

As usual, this Paralogue offers three missions with three difficulty levels, which provide nine orbs for players on top of the returning daily two orbs and three orbs from associated tasks to complete.

Story-wise, it doesn’t offer anything too special. It’s more of a goofy little romp through some sort of wedding festival where the four aforementioned ‘brides’ are competing to receive a special bouquet that apparently grants eternal happiness in current or future marriages to whoever catches it.

The oddest part of the setup for this series of missions is Commander Anna being the most excited to bring the player character out to the celebration so she can try to get the special bouquet for herself.

For a character known to have rejected notions of traditional romance in her support with Robin in Fire Emblem Awakening, it’s certainly a strange way to start.

And yes, I did remember that small character detail on my own, because I’m pathetic like that. But I bring it up for good reason.

That reason being that the whole setup becomes a conduit for Anna showing the most accurate expression to her canonical character by the end of the Paralogue, something my friend Jonathan and I both picked out by the end of the battles.

Whether it actually matters that the traditionally greedy character shows a more strong semblance to her canon personality by hoping to sell a magical love-based item for her own profit is not really relevant to anything. I just thought it was great that my friend and I had a moment with a game series we both like, so I figured I would at least chronicle that for the future if I ever decide to look back here.

Really beyond that nothing too special happens with the characters in this Paralogue’s story besides them reacting to wedding stuff in ways that might be expected.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I liked it, but I got through the missions quickly and kind of just moved on… Except for the suggested battle capabilities of the gowns, which I will continue to question for quite some time to come.

img_5249

Sure Cordelia. Sure they will.

.   .   .

.      .      .

Of course I say that, but I suppose I should bank on it being true. Because after Jonathan drew a special 5 star hero from the new bridal character focus, I decided to try my own luck.

I’ve been saving up my orbs for some time hoping that a focus will come soon that has characters I really want (like Neimi, come on already Intelligent Systems give us some more Sacred Stones characters), but with 170 stored up I figured it wouldn’t hurt to use 20 for a try at these special characters.

I got two of them in one pull.

img_5258

Seriously I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this lucky in this game. I’m not expecting to ever get this lucky in the future either, but for now I’m willing to revel in the joy of this blessing from the random number generator. ESPECIALLY since Cordelia’s skills and Cupid Bow make her pretty amazing at buffing other units on my team, something that’s incredibly well-timed considering the re-ignition of my passion for the game has also led to me being more interested in playing with the online metagame.

A metagame which led me to build a unit up that benefits immensely from receiving buffs of any kind:

img_5252

In other words, if there’s anything to take away from this little event, it’s that I love it when a plan comes together.

If you have any thoughts on the new summoning focus, on probably the luckiest thing to ever happen to me in a free-to-play mobile game or really anything video game-related since it’s been so long since I’ve been really active around here, please feel free to let me know in the comments below!

A sonnet to start the summer

The summer has started.

My courses are completed.

Our Daily Titan banquet is departed.

Some time off is here to be greeted.

/

Yet, not all will be rest and relaxation.
Next week I interview for internship and editorship,

Which will make my time into more of a donation,

Though for these I am excited and do not merely quip.

/

So for now I split my time thrice,

Between three different games, one on each system:

TV, 3DS and mobile device.

Whether this is wise will soon be old wisdom.

/

For now I’ll end this charade until next we meet,

Because I have a brand new Fire Emblem to  play and to beat.


Hopefully my English-majoring friends aren’t offended by this very sudden flash of inspiration to make really bad poetry. It was arguably my least favorite subject in AP English classes, so who knows how many rules I’ve broken.

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

While I’m a day late and a dollar short on this one, there was a Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct held yesterday that I missed because I was hosting some of my friends for a small get together.  However, given that I’ve talked a lot about how much I love Fire Emblem in the past, I figure I should still go back and talk about what the Direct had to offer, at least briefly, now that I’ve had the chance to sit down and watch it.

If you haven’t seen the Direct yet either and want to watch it alongside me, you can check out the full video here.  It’s only about 20 minutes long and showcases four games, so I promise it won’t take too much time out of your life.

Unless you decide to write long-winded posts about it like I do.  Because then it’s going to take up a lot more of your time. That, I can assure you.


Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

3DS_FireEmblemEchoesShadowsofValentia_logo_02.jpg
Image courtesy of gamingrespawn.com

The Direct starts off right away with what I can only call the cinematic trailer for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.  The game, as is then elaborated on after, is a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was a Japan-exclusive title from the early 1990s.

A lot about the art style in regards to character portraits and things like the overworked map in the gameplay footage that was shown reminds me a lot of some of the earlier GameBoy Advanced Fire Emblem titles like The Sacred Stones (which, fun fact, is the first FE game I’ve ever played thanks to the ambassador program for the 3DS, and thus the one that got me into the series).  However, the in-battle style looks like it’s going to have the same impressive 3D polish that Fire Emblem Awakening had and that Fire Emblem Fates more or less perfected.

There are also apparently some unique elements to Gaiden that have been recreated for Echoes, such as free roaming fights and dungeon crawling.  Both of which sound like amazing inclusions that I honestly can’t wait to see executed for myself.

The game has been given a set release date of May 19, 2017 for the 3DS, and boy am I now excited for it.  To be honest, the anticipation that’s building after watching just this first part of the Direct really does make me want to go back and play more Fire Emblem.  In my early-games-of-the-series catalogue, I’ve so far only played The Sacred Stones and Shadow Dragon, a remake of the original first Fire Emblem game.  I’ll look forward to adding Gaiden to that list with this remake.

Oh, and there are Amiibo, and considering I have an on-again off-again problem with collecting those dumb amazing little figurines, I just might see my collection grow again.


Fire Emblem for the Nintendo Switch

FireEmblemDirect_19012017-600x346.png
Image courtesy of gameaxis.com

Next up was the announcement of a brand new Fire Emblem title being produced for the Switch, set to come out at some point in 2018.  As the narrator announced, making my job here that much easier, the new game (with a currently working title) is the first in the series to return to consoles since the games featuring Ike: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.  The decision to do this is interesting, and honestly makes a lot of sense.

Fire Emblem is a game that seems to do best when it’s a mobile experience, when you can pick up your fight wherever you want while waiting for whatever it is you might be waiting for.  The Switch gives the game a chance to have the best possible graphics Nintendo has produced thus far while also keeping the idea of mobile gaming alive, and to be completely honest it’s a clear showcase of one of the reasons I believe the Switch is going to do quite well over it’s lifetime.

That was all we got on the new game in the series unfortunately, but considering we’re still at least a year out it’s understandable.  Just the fact that a new one has already been confirmed so soon after Fates graced the gaming market is nice really, as it means the series is continuing to go strong.  As I’ve said before, we can always use more Fire Emblem.


Fire Emblem Warriors

fire-emblem-warriors

Image courtesy of technobuffalo.com

Speaking of more Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Warriors was the next subject of the Direct.  There was a small teaser for the game in the Nintendo Switch presentation earlier this month, but this time we got to see a trailer with some gameplay.

The opening did the same cool orbs-with-swords that led into the Fire Emblem crest.  This time, after the mysterious figure – revealed to be Chrom, the royal Prince/Exalt of Ylisse from Awakening – takes the Falchion, he proceeds to just demolish mobs of soldiers all at once in a few fell swipes of the blade.

But that was about it, we then got the same vague Fall 2017 release date.

However, they did reveal that the game is actually going to be dropped on the 3DS concurrently with the Switch version of the game. That alone makes this game infinitely better in my eyes.  Part of the reason I didn’t get Hyrule Warriors was because I didn’t have a Wii U when it was released, and by the time the 3DS port came out I was too busy doing other things to devote my time to the game.

I’m very excited to try this game, honestly.  I’ve never played a Warriors game before, and this seems like it could be a perfect entry point for me.  I just hope that the developers go back and pull some more older characters that I might know for the roster of playable heroes rather than mostly sticking in the modern games like Awakening and Fates.  I love those games, don’t get me wrong, but I’d also love to do something like play Neimi from The Sacred Stones, probably my favorite archer girl ever.

Considering the treatment that was given for the character roster in Hyrule Warriors, I’m sure that kind of possibility isn’t too farfetched.


Fire Emblem Heroes

fire-emblem-heroes-800x420
Image courtesy of slashgear.com

Fire Emblem Heroes, the first mobile smartphone game in the series, had it’s opening shown during this Direct as well.  The cinematic, as usual, was beautiful, and featured a bunch of new characters we haven’t yet seen before apparently summoning heroes from other Fire Emblem titles (though all it showed was Awakening and Fates) to fight one another.

Not a bad way to start a reveal, I’d say.

Rather than just making a mobile game for the sake of a mobile game, however, Fire Emblem Heroes touts its own brand new story, which makes the game that much more enticing.  It might just be a rough skeleton to encase the idea of making old characters fight in a mobile format, but just the fact that the extra effort was put in makes me more happy to look forward to the title’s release in .

Though the cinematic opening only showed Awakening and Fates-based heroes, there was also a screen depicting heroes from all across Fire Emblem’s history, so even if Warriors doesn’t have a hugely nostalgic cast, this game certainly will.  Though the game itself doesn’t look incredibly complex, the art style is rather adorable overall between the pixel art-based world and the occasionally appearing fully-rendered character art depicting their attacks.  I can see myself getting pulled into it at least.

On top of that, the narrator promises the gameplay will be as “intense” as expected in a Fire Emblem game, which either bodes well … Or not so well depending on how it’s handled.  Not sure having a mobile phone game with stages it takes me twenty years to beat because of BS enemy placement or terrain issues would be all that fun, no matter what the subject matter may be.  But hey, at least the weapon triangle still exists.

Then of course comes the real mobile game edge to Fire Emblem Heroes: Microtransactions.  I have a mixed history with this style of setting up a game.  On the one hand, if handled well, I quite enjoy a system using Microtransactions.  If I can manage through the game reasonably without being absolutely required to use them, that’s A-OK by me.  Even better would be if I love the game so much that I feel I should pay the developers something for their work, even if the game initially comes free.  However, if the Microtransactions are used as a significant roadblock, forcing the game to elongate itself because of how long you have to wait between getting the in-game currency if you don’t pay for it… I’ll likely get warded off quickly.

Seriously Fire Emblem Heroes, I hope you take a page from Pokémon Shuffle‘s book.  If you ask me, that game has a pretty perfect system in place for how they’re used.  The fact that the summoning stones used as in-game currency simply summon characters for you to use I doubt the same system would be possible… But it’s the idea that counts.  If anything the game will probably be more like Marvel’s Contest of Champions with a battle style that I believe I’ll enjoy far better, so I get the impression it will have some staying power.

I don’t know, I can see the problems potentially there, but because the heroes you receive don’t permanently die and force you to wait to summon more, I don’t think it’ll be a huge problem.  Waiting a period to revive is far more manageable if you ask me.

Especially since there’s grinding.  After playing through Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, I thank Naga every time there’s a chance for grinding in a Fire Emblem game.

The end slate for this game says that Heroes will drop on February 2nd for Google Play, and gives a vague ‘soon’ for iPhone and iPad.  Just as long as ‘soon’ is sooner rather than later I’ll be happy.  It’ll be nice to have  some Fire Emblem to tide me over before Echoes.

Plus, if I enjoy it the way I have and continue to enjoy Super Mario Run, then I’ll happily continue to finance Nintendo’s trek into the Mobile gaming world.


That was all we got in the Fire Emblem Direct, but honestly I can’t complain.  Having a more compact game-focused Direct felt much better than the big Nintendo Switch Direct, which had to spread it’s time among a billion different games.  Also, I have to say, the narrator for this Direct had a wonderful voice.  I feel like I could listen to him tell me about new games forever…  Er, anyway.  Everything on the horizon for Fire Emblem looks amazing, and I’m hyped to be a part of all of it.

Hell, I already am a part of it.  I just went and took part in the Fire Emblem Heroes’ “Choose your Legends” event, where you can pick any character from any game in the series to vote on as a character you want to show up in the game.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 12.52.35 PM.png

Naturally I chose Neimi, because I seriously have so many fond memories of mowing down enemies with her mighty bow.  Though looking through the list really brought up a ton of fond memories for various characters… You would’ve been my second choice, Amelia.

If there’s any game on this list you’re particularly excited for, let me know in the comments below!  Writing a post like this feels like building up to Pokémon Sun and Moon all over again, and it’s good to get back into that mindset if you ask me.

With college starting up again next week, having a distraction to help keep myself sane during long nights of work is never a bad thing.