Tag: Fire Emblem Fates

New Year, New Heroes

New Year, New Heroes

Okay so in my end-of-year post earlier today I mentioned that I would be doing something “when New Year heroes dropped tomorrow.”

I apparently don’t know how to read dates because as it turns out they’re here for New Year’s Eve, not New Year’s Day.

Then I went to bed early last night before checking the game, so I never found out until this morning.

Oops.

That said, looks like you’re all getting two posts today, even though I was planning to try and use this as a kicking-off point to do a post every day for the first week of the new year. I’ll see if I can still get that to work out.

But enough pussyfooting around, let’s get into these Heroes, shall we?


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Okay before I do get into these new heroes, I am actually still a little annoyed about this timing. Why aren’t the New Year heroes out on the first day of 2018? I feel like that would make so much more sense. Especially since there’s still one more day for the Winter/Christmas units. Why not just hold off one more day?

I suppose there’s no use complaining about it, it just does bug me a bit.

That said, I’m not necessarily mad that these new summonable heroes are here, because I do like them quite a bit.

I mentioned briefly in my Top 10 Games of 2017 list that I was going to try and figure out a way to either cut down on my Fire Emblem Heroes posts, or at least shorten them somehow so they aren’t quite as much work for me to produce so often.

I’m going to be trying a couple things in the next few posts, this time by distilling down the skills list for each new character through using the official descriptions. After all, for something like this there’s no better way to summarize information than to just have it in the original form, right?

  • TakumiPrince of Soup
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    • Takumi is frankly the most ‘eh’ hero on this list for me. I really like his weapon (even though I’m disappointed that he doesn’t throw soup at people), especially in combination with a natural Moonbow, since together they give him repeated high special attack potential. However, the Attack and Resistance boost is a little situational because he needs to be next to someone, and Bowbreaker is contradictory if you want him to have boosted resistance. Plus, let’s be honest with ourselves, not many dagger-based units are viable. So all-and-all, I might skip out on Takumi for now, but we’ll see how good my luck is elsewhere.
  • CamillaHoliday Traveler
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  • Camilla is clearly the odd one out when it comes to these New Years heroes. While I acknowledge that it’s part of her character in the Birthright game’s conclusion that she travels Hoshido, I still can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t include a Hoshidan sibling that hasn’t gotten any love yet – Hinoka and Ryoma, namely. Well… Okay, I know why they would choose Camilla, because everyone loves her and probably spends a lot of money to get her… But still. She is special as our first sword-wielding Wyvern unit, which opens up the possibility of a fully balanced wyvern-based team, but otherwise she’s somewhat unremarkable too. Okay weapon effect that stacks with her ward skill alongside a strong special attack, but also a strangely combined boost to her Defense and Speed. Maybe it makes sense for her stat spread, but personally I’m not sure I understand it.
  • AzuraCelebratory Spirit
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    • While Camilla is an odd flying unit in this banner, Azura is a freaking incredible flying unit in this banner. I’m not going to bury the lede here, she’s the unit I’m after right now. As far as I can recall, she’s also unique as an axe-wielding pegasus knight, but she’s also a flying unit with Azura’s signature Sing ability. That. Is. Awesome. Even if she doesn’t have the same beneficial weapon buff that the Performing Arts Azura has (in fact her weapon is basically a clone of Camilla’s, so it’s just ok), she does grant a large defense boost with her Earth Dance skill. Plus, she comes with Hone Fliers, arguably one of the best skills you’ll need on a flying unit focused team. Give this girl the Iote’s Shield Sacred Seal that was added during this last Tempest Trial, and I get the feeling she’s going to be an unstoppable force.

Honestly I’m really glad Azura’s skills look as good as they do. Even when I originally talked about these guys a few days ago I was convinced I would love Azura just because of her nice artwork, so it all just seemed to work out perfectly.

My only question is… What happened to Corrin, exactly?

Back in those leaks I talked about before, a bow-wielding Corrin was one of the featured heroes:

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And he does, in fact, appear through the Paralogue missions that accompanied these heroes. Yet, he’s not in the main summoning focus banner, and the upcoming Winter’s Envoy vs. New Years Voting Gauntlet is not going to feature him as a hero to support. So what happened to him?

Is he going to be in a separate banner that drops on New Year’s Day? Is he going to be a future reward unit, perhaps in some sort of Grand Hero Battle or? Who knows.

I get the feeling Azura would have been my focus whether or not Corrin was here too, so I suppose his absence is alright for now. It’s given me more of a chance to blow all my orbs on green, after all.

Except for the one time I pulled a series of summons that didn’t include a green unit.

Which was the one time I naturally got a five star unit.

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Love you Tharja, really I do… But you didn’t have to show up now you know.

Also why couldn’t you have shown up during my attempts at the Winter/Christmas banner?

Ah well, guess I can’t really complain about a new five star. Especially since this banner is going to be around for the entire month of January, so there’s going to be more than enough opportunities to get my Azura.

In the meantime, I’m getting a bunch of Cecilia clones all of a sudden, which means I’ll be able to keep improving mine in place of getting a Gunnthrá. Gotta love consolation prizes.


This story portion of the main event is probably going to be a short one, or at least a photo-heavy one. There really isn’t a hell of a lot to say about the Paralogue this time around besides the fact that Corrin shows up in it despite being absent elsewhere.

Even the maps you battle on aren’t super exciting for me this time around.

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I suppose there’s some traditional Japanese elements to them considering how Hoshido is heavily inspired by feudal Japan, but most of those references go right over my head if they’re there. As a result, all I really see is a couple of maps that are less visually enticing than the last few special holiday maps we’ve gotten for Halloween and Christmas.

But I digress. What exactly is the story here?

Well… You and the Order of Heroes start off by going to Hoshido to celebrate the New Year.

When you get there, the special heroes have already made their contracts with Princess Veronica, so as usual it’s right to battling – though you do get some interaction between the characters beforehand.

For example, leading into the first map, Corrin and Takumi talk about getting fortunes:

Spoiler alert, Takumi’s fortune says the exact same thing as Corrin’s fortune does. They’re just playing up the ‘Takumi doesn’t like Corrin’ thing I’m pretty sure.

The interactions between Azura and Camilla are a bit more interesting to me, admittedly.

Not going to lie, pretty sure they’re referring to the fact that her bust is way more restricted in this outfit than in… Just about any other outfit she gets in this game.

But that’s not the part that’s interesting to me. Rather, it’s the aspect of them interacting as sisters, playing on their relationship in Conquest version where Azura turns out to be the sibling from Nohr that was stolen away to Hoshido at a young age – opposite Corrin, as the plot goes.

It’s nice to see them have a moment to be sweet with one another from that perspective.

Even if it does get kind of weird.

Camilla is just a wonderfully awkward character in almost every respect. Honestly that’s one thing Heroes has done well, made me care more about her than I ever really did in the original games.

The final map is just about as generic as it gets. Everything leads in with the four heroes preparing to fight their last stand:

I’m definitely Takumi in this scenario.

Then you win the battle, and the Order of Heroes decide to stay back a bit and make wishes for the New Year.

As is characteristic, Alfonse wishes for world peace, Sharena wishes to be friends with everyone forever and Anna wishes to fill the coffers of the Order with lots and lots of money.

And that’s it. No more pomp and circumstance, no tie-in to a more overarching plot. Just a simple filler arc to celebrate the New Year, exactly what you might expect to see.

I suppose I can’t complain, after all we got an easy 12 orbs out of it. Plus, it houses my new dream hero Azura.

I will get to you eventually, Azura. No matter what it takes. As long as what it takes doesn’t include spending money because I’ve already done that too recently and I’m not starting bad habits for the New Year.


With that said, here’s all there is to say about this Heroes update. Like I said above, I’m going to keep experimenting with these to try and cut them down, so let me know what you think about trying to summarize the skill list using the list given in-game.

Also, let me know what you think of the New Year-themed heroes! And what you think about the absence of Corrin, for that matter. Will he appear soon? How will he appear? I’d love to know what you think.

The timely journalist in me couldn’t resist getting this post out the day the update happened, so now that this post is the last one I’m publishing for the year I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018! May it be full of good times… And good luck when pulling heroes.

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My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

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



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

The Most Anticlimactic Banner

It seems like I’ve really taken that “not planning on posting anything on this blog until after finals” thing to heart, haven’t I? Guess I really can’t bring myself to avoid a couple good Fire Emblem updates.

Though to be fair, two things are different this time around.

Firstly, I’ve actually finished a lot of my work for the final projects and exams I have. The only thing I’ve still got to finish is some work for my internship class, which shouldn’t be that much trouble.

There’s also work for the paper I suppose… But that’s always kind of a different story.

Secondly, this post should be really short. I know I say that a lot, but I’m serious this time around. Just watch, let’s see how quick I can get it out of the way:


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Today is the day that the Children of Fate summoning focus banner has arrived. These heroes have been built up for quite some time now, appearing as a point of attention in the calendar update a few weeks ago and showing up in the Book II story update just a couple days ago.

I enjoyed Fates a lot (besides one majorly terrible thing that kind of ruined the whole experience for me, but that’s a story for another day). One of the things that made Fates as enjoyable experience as it was boiled down to the child characters. The same thing could be said for Awakening too, but in Fates I distinctly remember a bunch of the kids being more memorable.

In fact, my friend and I spent a good amount of time leading up to this update discussing who we believed would be appearing in this banner. I actually wound up calling two out of the four new heroes: Soleil and Shiro.

So, what do these new heroes have to offer?

  • ShiroRaw Talent
    • Ryoma’s son Shiro was a character I imagined would arrive based on the general lack of lance-wielding units amongst Fate’s children cast, and I’m interested seeing that I was right. Even if Shiro wasn’t necessarily my favorite character overall. In Heroes, he comes with a Bright Naginata that grants him +4 attack and defense if the opponent initiates combat, the Swap movement skill, Steady Stance to gain +6 defense when he’s attacked and Defense Tactic, a new skill that grants allies +6 defense if they can only move two or less spaces at a time. There’s something a little off in my head when thinking that they made the character named for his ‘Raw Talent’ focused almost solely on defending rather than attacking. I don’t know, maybe I’m just biased because I don’t really like Shiro all that much, but I just think that Siegbert handles it better. Speaking of…
  • SiegbertFuture King
    • Okay, before I really get into things, I just wanted to say that ‘Future King’ is kind of a lame moniker. There’s seriously half a billion characters in the Fire Emblem universe that this could fit. Hell, related to this banner alone, Shiro could also use the title ‘Future King.’ In fact, Siegbert’s father Xander could technically be called ‘Future King’ as well. He really never becomes the king of Nohr until post-game. It might have fit Siegbert better if it commented on his nerves or fear of the responsibility he’s to inherit. But I digress, onto the character details:
    • Xander’s son Siegbert comes equipped with a Dark Greatsword that grants him +4 attack and speed if he initiates combat. He also has the powerful special attack Dragon Fang, Death Blow and Attack Tactic, which gives his allies +6 attack if they aren’t cavalier units (only 2 or less movement spaces). Frankly, I really like his skill set. Not only is he built like a long-range heavy hitter, but his new passive skill Attack Tactic really fits his character from an inherent, descriptive sense. Much more than I feel like the opposite ability does with Shiro, honestly. I like it, and I wouldn’t be too upset receiving a Siegbert. Even though I’d much rather get…
  • SoleilAdorable Adorer
    • Laslow’s daughter Soleil is probably one of if not my favorite character in Fire Emblem Fates. Or, at least, my favorite child character from Fates. She’s incredible, taking all of the flirtatious, happy-go-lucky attitude of her father (who we’ve gotten to know over two games) and putting it in a much more adorable form that manages to do everything better than he ever could. It’s a beautiful dynamic, and it’s gotten me very excited to pick up a Soleil of my own. But is she worth summoning? Well, she comes with a Firesweep Sword, preventing counterattacks on both sides, the special attack Blazing Wind to cause damage to foes all around whoever Soleil attacks and the passive skills Darting Blow, which grants her +6 speed if she attacks, and Drive Resistance, which grants allies +3 resistance during combat. The Drive Resistance skill is a little out of left field, but everything else makes her sound like a great fast attacker, which is always a good niche to fill.

I would also be remiss to not talk about the other Fates child introduced, even if she showed up the other day. But I didn’t talk about her then, so let’s give Rhajat some time to shine now.

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  • RhajatBlack Magician
    • Hayato’s daughter Rhajat is a character that I honestly didn’t want to see show up in this banner. Or… This split banner, as it were. She, alongside Caeldori and Asugi, were children of Fates characters who were actually retreads of parent characters from Awakening. That whole idea never really sat well with me in the original game, since it just felt like a strange way to shoehorn in old characters compared to just having them be travelers from a different land like Laslow, Odin and Selena. Though I suppose her appearance was predictable considering how much people love Tharja. I know I do, but Rhajat not quite as much. Either way, that shouldn’t take away from her potential usefulness here in-game. She comes with a Keen Gronnwolf green tome, which is effective against calvary, a Rally Attack/Defense movement skill, Distant Defense to grant her +6 defense and resistance when attacked from a distant weapon, and Savage Blow to cause damage to surrounding opponents after she attacks one of them.

I’ll be honest, Rhajat is the least appealing of the four heroes here, in my opinion. Ironic I know, considering she’s the most dramatically sexualized one of the lot (seriously, I joked with my friends that she’s like a pornstar in this version for some reason), but her skill set just doesn’t do it for me. I suppose in a sense that makes it better that she’s separated from the rest in a different banner.

However, that does annoy me quite a bit, as an aside.

Any sensible person seeing the collection of heroes in both of these banners with new characters must have thought the same thing as I did. Why is there one banner with two red units (Soleil and Siegbert) while there could have easily been a swap with Rhajat, making the Fates children banner contain a red, blue and green unit?

Well, the obvious answer to explain this is forcing the pay-to-play model. With two reds on one banner, there’s an increased chance of pulling the unit you don’t want. In my case, for example, I could wind up pulling a Siegbert when I want a Soleil. Though I’d be find with a Siegbert, I would still wholly prefer a Soleil, and might be more tempted to spend money to get more orbs if I lost out on the unit I wanted.

That’s a pretty shitty way to approach things, and you can tell it’s supposed to be the intent when there could have very easily been a split of the red units. Hell, Soleil would have arguably fit just as well in a love-themed Voting Gauntlet slot as Rhajat does, especially since Tharja is there filling the exact same role as is.

I don’t know, it just bugs me to see that greed factor rear its ugly head and remind me that I’m playing a generally unfair RNG-based character draw game.

That said… I have succumb to the enduring challenges of fighting against RNG this time around. Like I’ve said, Soleil is my goal, and I’ve already sunk about 50 stored up orbs into it.

Without much luck.

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Seriously, three Corrins? Come on game. I think I deserve a little better than that.

Oh well, I’ve got about two weeks to get it right, and as far as I can tell there isn’t anything else coming up that’s going to get in the way.


Alright, clocking in this post at… Close to 1,500 words. Still arguably more chatty than I expected to get with it, but much better than usual, I’d say. In fact, 1,500 words is the cap for the reflection I have to write for my internship class. So, if nothing else, this is a good comparison to use for how easy that assignment should hopefully be.

Wait, what’s that? You’re wondering where the story-based portion of this post is?

Well, there is no paralogue for these heroes. Why would there be, they’ve already gotten a chance to appear in the second chapter of Book II.

Sure, they didn’t get a single line of dialogue, and only seemed to be there to serve as a tool for Princess Veronica to throw at you, and they don’t get a paralogue mission to offer players an extra chance to get some orbs so the split banners annoyance can be offset… But it’s fine. These guys didn’t get shafted at all.

Again, I digress. We’d be here all day if I just griped about everything for the rest of eternity. It’s all just a little… Underwhelming. Anticlimactic even, considering how much buid-up there was. Which is how I described this one in my post title.

How do you feel about the new heroes? Were they who you hoped to see? I know theres a few I might have preferred, like Nina or Mitama for example. Though, do you also think the ones we got were shafted too? Let me know in the comments below.

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

Fire Emblem Heroes Book II update – Part 2

I’ve begun to think of Fire Emblem Heroes like an interesting sort of social experiment, for a variety of reasons.

From what my friends who live on Reddit tell me, there’s quite a strong creative fanbase built up for the game there. People gather en masse to build character sets up in weird, interesting ways that most might not think of outside the game’s meta.

There are discussions about who’s going to be added whenever new summoning focuses approach, and reactions to those characters when they show up and inevitably get placed on tier lists.

Artwork abounds of characters who not only just appear in skimpy or cute outfits (because let’s be honest it’s a game with an anime aesthetic, so there’s plenty of it), but of characters who have gained relevance solely because they matter in Heroes. Like Reinhardt, who appeared in a currently Japanese-only Fire Emblem game but is now unforgettable as a destroyer of everything in the mobile title.

Probably the most interesting thing about the fanbase for heroes is seeing them deal with the interactions between characters from different games coming together. Never is this more apparent than during Voting Gauntlets, when artwork starts popping up of front-running units beating the crap out of each other. People pick sides and root vehemently for their favorites, only to cry out in disappointment as Intelligent System’s ‘inability to math’ screws them over.



Editor’s Note: For those who don’t know, there’s a meme among members of the Fire Emblem Heroes community making fun of the fact that the point calculations in Voting Gauntlets are screwy, making it so the two sides can be labeled as having the “same score” when the numbers above clearly show that one side is a few million points ahead.

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It’s never not hilarious.



I don’t think of Fire Emblem Heroes as a social experiment because of the community, however. I think of it as one because I’ve never seen a game that’s taken such an interesting shift in story development over such a long period of time.


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When this game came out in February, it started with a rather simple story through ten sets of missions. You, as a summoner of characters from all over the spectrum of Fire Emblem games, traveled with the Order of Heroes to stop an opposing summoner from destroying the homeland of your friends. That was about it, a fairly thin layer of skin over a random number generating summon mechanic clearly designed to make you want to spend money.

But now, about 11 months later, we’ve arrived at the release of Book II, and things are dramatically different.

Most of the extra story chapters and paralogue missions in Book I expanded upon the original premise of the game by taking you to different Fire Emblem worlds to find more heroes that you can throw your orbs against the wall to summon. However, under the surface, there was more being developed, slowly but surely.

Princess Veronica, the leader of the opposing nation, developed a partnership with a mysterious character named Loki who disguised their appearance but hoped to bring their king to Askr to fight the good fight. Prince Bruno, Veronica’s brother, is revealed to be the old ally of the Order of Heroes that provides much of the motivation for Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena. But these developments with the villains are slow to arrive, and give the game a chance to develop its characters over a long period as players become accustomed to them.

Then, Book II takes the story through a rapid paradigm shift.

The new part of the story begins with a cinematic that introduces the overall theme of this leg. New characters, allied with Veronica and clearly fire-themed, take on the Order of Heroes allied with a new character who controls ice. There’s some impressive displays of power, but otherwise it doesn’t tell you a lot.

It also turns out to just be a teaser of sorts, looking at future events as Fire Emblem likes to do. The actual story of Book II begins well before what they show you.

When you arrive at… I’m not even sure I can write the name of this land, so I’ll just say the ice kingdom… When you arrive at the ice kingdom, Alfonse and Sharena remark on the cooling magma that covers the once beautiful farmland they used to visit as children.

The first chapter of Book II pretty much goes on without any other story until the fifth map, when you first run into Princess Fjorm and King Surtr.

The two are dueling, though the fight is clearly lopsided in favor of the king. He leaves after defeating Fjorm, but leaves his assistant Loki in charge of taking care of your team.

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Defeating Loki leads to her retreat, and allows you to bring Fjorm to safety, where she joins your team to help fight against the evil monarch.

Once she’s on your side, you take on chapter 2, where you and your allies chase after Surtr.

It’s mostly a story-less approach (though it introduces a few interesting things that I’ll go into in a bit), besides the beginning and the ending maps.

The first brings you face-to-face with Veronica, now open about her allegiance with the fire kingdom.

She sends new Heroes at you over the next few battles to slow your progress, but eventually you reach the fifth map and encounter the king himself.

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His fight is a timed survival, as special magic makes the armored king invincible. You have to survive six turns against Surtr and his main allies, who all get a proper first introduction here.

If anything, this fight is arguably the representation of the opening cinematic in-game… Though it’s much less exciting than the specially created video, of course.

When you survive long enough, the Order determines that they cannot win and retreat.

Oh also, there’s a prophesy. Because of course there’s a prophesy. Can’t have a big dramatic story without it, apparently.

Minor clichéd gripes aside, that wraps up where Book II ends… For now.

To be completely honest, like I’d mentioned toward the beginning of this, I’m very impressed at how things have developed, and glad I’ve stuck around long enough to see it happen.

Over 11 months, the entirety of the game we’ve seen up to the release of Book II felt like the end-all-be-all of Fire Emblem Heroes. It was a simple game with a simple premise that delighted players by finding a basic way to throw a ton of Fire Emblem characters together.

But now, that entire 11 month developing story just feels like it was a prologue. Expositional, introducing us to the main characters and what they can do and how they interact with one another to build up to the actual chief conflict of the game: This war of fire and ice that everyone gets dragged into.

It’s kind of incredible really, thinking that all of this was likely planned in some capacity from the beginning. Granted, thinking back to a game like Fire Emblem Awakening where halfway through the story you jump ahead a few years and suddenly have a whole new story that’s the true meat of the game, it’s the kind of developmental ‘pulling the wool over one’s eyes’ that the series does frequently.

But Fire Emblem Awakening was one contained product, a single game cartridge with just about all of its main content available at launch.

For Fire Emblem Heroes, developers had to make sure players stuck with their game for almost a year to get the big reveal and find out that everything they’ve seen is just build-up. That’s a crazy feat, but one that really seems to have paid off in the long run.


Though this post was mostly intended to elaborate on why I felt the Book II story is more impressive than others might give it credit for, I did also want to touch on some of the new, interesting thing they added throughout the maps as well.

In chapter 1, there are a two new generic units that fill different archetypes from Fire Emblem games which haven’t gotten any villainous love up to this point.

Manaketes and Wyvern riders are staples of the series all the way back to the original Fire Emblem game with characters like Tiki and Minerva. The fact that they didn’t show up in the enemy armies up to this point was a little odd, though I suppose it becomes a nice and convenient excuse to say that they were added in as units from the fire kingdom who didn’t exist in Emblia.

I can respect that. Waiting long enough that you get a convenient out. Much better than just adding them in randomly a few months later like they were forgotten originally.

However, the generic units really aren’t the highlight of the new units added in. Rather, it’s the heroes that Veronica brings along, teasing the next summoning focus:

Children of characters from Fire Emblem Fates are next on the docket, which is something we knew about from previous calendar updates, but never knew exactly who would be showing up until now.

I’ll keep my thoughts abridged for now, since I’ll probably be more over-the-top and wordy later once the main banner is released… But let’s just say there’s a certain Nohrian girl I’ve got my eyes on.

Even if the way they split the heroes into two banners bugs me.

But again, I’ll save that discussion for next time.


For me, this was part two of my discussion of the Version 2.0.0 update. However, I tried to set it up so you could read them in any order you want, so if you haven’t seen the first part going over mechanical and aesthetic changes, you can look here.

Hopefully you all enjoyed me blathering on for almost 3,000 words on a mobile game once again. There’s going to be more later this week, like I said, but for now I’m going to be taking another break to work on all of my final projects and exam study guides. Gotta love this time of year.

What do you think of the Book II story? Are you as enamored with the idea of the long-term story telling as I am? Or is it just basic enough to keep you invested in the game a bit longer? Let me know in the comments below!

A song of Awakening and Fates

A song of Awakening and Fates

My last post about Fire Emblem Heroes was pretty negative honestly. I talked all about how tired I felt I was getting seeing things like Tempest Trials show up over and over, burning me out more each time without a substantial break in between.

However… This new banner of special heroes brought me right back from the brink of despair.

I’m not even overemphasizing things that much. Two nights ago when the trailer dropped showing off these four new units, I watched the video at least five times while sitting in the newsroom, waiting for corrections to come back on front page. I was excited to see who was added, I liked the look they were going for and I REALLY liked the music that went with the trailer – though I’ll get more into that later.

Hell, I was so excited about these heroes that even in the midst of a super exciting update to Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links with a billion giveaways to celebrate the launch of a GX-themed world, I still found myself thinking about Fire Emblem. Waiting impatiently for the update.

Now that it’s here, was it worth the wait?

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Though everyone was expecting some sort of a Halloween-themed update to coincide with the beginning of October, instead we got a summoning banner themed around dancing and singing, featuring characters who do those things from Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. Namely:

  • AzuraLady of Ballads
    • Dressed like she is during her special musical number in the Conquest route of Fates, Azura’s performer ensemble is an interesting departure from the norm in that she comes as an axe-wielder rather than a lance-wielder… Though she generally serves the same niche as her original counterpart. Her special axe Udor (with some weird accent over the ‘o’ that I can’t even start to imagine how to recreate) makes it so anyone she sings for also gains +3 to every stat. Frankly, that’s a crazy buff. She also comes with Triangle Adept to help take out other lances and a passive buff to ally resistance stats during combat, but I would argue the special axe overshadows everything else.
  • InigoIndigo Dancer
    • Clearly somewhat over his stage fright, Inigo is here in his pre-Laslow standing. Rather than coming in as a mercenary like we might expect, however, he’s fully embraced his dancing spirit and… Is a green mage. I’ll be honest, the green mage thing threw me off when I first saw it, but his Dancer’s Ring has the Breath of Life skill built in, so it’s pretty cool. I can’t complain about it, at least. He can also dance for allies and provide them +4 speed if he does, with a turn start buff to attack for adjacent allies as well.
  • OliviaFestival Dancer
    • Inigo’s mother Olivia is also making an appearance, wearing an outfit that’s as revealing as ever but comes with a super nice dark color scheme – I think it’s really nice, at least. Instead of bringing a sword for protection, she carries a weapon called the Dancer’s Fan: A colorless dagger that has a Breath of Life skill built in similar to Inigo’s weapon while also causing a -7 defense and resistance affliction to opponents. Seriously, if you like Inigo’s weapon, this one is above and beyond that, even if it trades off some power and has a physical rather than a magical attribute. She also grants +4 attack with her dance and has Distant Defense, a skill which adds defense and resistance during combat if she’s attacked from afar – something you’ll likely see often with a dagger weapon.
  • ShigureDark Sky Singer
    • Azura’s son Shigure makes his first appearance in Fire Emblem Heroes, but comes in as a blue tome mage rather than a lance-wielding pegasus knight as he is in Fates. Though Shigure was admittedly never really my favorite child unit, it’s nice to see him appear, and the outfit he has to match Azura’s is quite pretty in its own right. His weapon, the Dancer’s Score, is essentially a blue version of Inigo’s Dancer’s Ring. On top of that, he grants +4 to a unit’s defense and resistance stats when he sings for them… Though his final skill only provides SP buffs to other blue tome users on your team. Probably useful for training, but not at all for combat.

From a purely mechanical standing, I love how each of these units come with skills that give their singing or dancing extra utility. I haven’t used a unit with an ability that lets units take a second turn, so the idea of finally getting the chance to do so with whatever extra benefits are brought about is exciting.

Though I also have to say that I think my favorite thing about the specific selection of characters for this banner is the fact that they went with a sweet Mother/Son dynamic with the singing and dancing duets. They do address it somewhat in the story for the paralogue, but just as an idea I think it’s a great little connection that I wouldn’t have thought to pull together until I saw it.

Plus, Inigo and Shigure are both technically brand new characters if you don’t count Laslow. They’re child characters too, which gives me some more hope of seeing some of my other favorite child characters from Awakening and Fates in the future.

Given my excitement for these heroes appearing, I prepared myself for the inevitable orb binge. Things have been storing up for a while, since I got everyone I wanted out of the Crimean Heroes banner a few weeks ago in fact, so that extra buffer finally had its chance to be useful.

It became a little event for me in fact, and as you can see from all of these summon pictures:

 

It was a big bust in the end. Up around 80 orbs more or less down the drain without anything to show for it. I didn’t quite blow everything as you can obviously see from the last image in the set above, but I’m generally not a fan of summoning when I have less than 20 orbs on-hand at least. That way I’m not screwed over if I happen to get five colored summoning choices I want to take on at once.

So, in the unfortunate melancholy of my failure to summon any of the performance heroes, I decided to jump over and see the paralogue for this special banner.

Even from the very beginning, this particular bit of story doesn’t go out of it’s way to distinguish itself as anything beyond filler for the sake of introducing cool alternate costumed characters.

There’s a bit of a joking air at the start as Anna sings Azura’s song, Lost in Thoughts All Alone (more or less the theme song of Fire Emblem Fates as a whole, for that matter). However, not much time is devoted to that before things go right down to business:

Get going you do, and as a result you find yourself in the grand canal-flooded opera house in Cyrkensia from Fire Emblem Fates, arguably one of the game’s most significant and popular locations.

Each of the three maps has you fighting at a different location within the Opera House, which frankly does make sense considering the sheer size of the place in the original game:

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Image courtesy of gamerguides.com

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The actual fights on the maps aren’t particularly challenging in my opinion, though having to deal with 2 to 4 units that can all sing or dance to allow their partner a second opportunity to act is a bit of a pain for sure.

Arguably the biggest boon to these maps are how they look. Not only are things inherently interesting considering the special character outfits, but the setting makes for an aesthetically beautiful set piece both in and out of the battle screen.

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Little in-game Azura singing her heart out. Gotta love it.

However, no matter how nice these maps look and how much I enjoy the characters talking within them, in my opinion there is at least one majorly glaring issue with the new content.

Why is there no special music for the special banner about the performing arts?

That whole thing seems counterintuitive to me, honestly. As a matter of fact, I might even go so far as to say the lack of special music is a rather huge detriment to the update as a whole. It took away quite a bit of my initial hype to hear old music show up again for the three battles in the Opera House.

The idea is especially poignant because a really dope song was already used in the announcement trailer that doesn’t get any play here in Heroes proper. It’s honestly perfect, and I was listening to this video over-and-over for parts of the day leading in just so I could keep hearing the remix.

Don’t want to dwell too much on that however, as music issues aside there isn’t a lot of substance to go over in the story itself either. Each of the three maps starts with a small introduction to the characters that are going to be the focus in that fight, as you’d probably expect.

The first map has Inigo and Azura running into one another, with Inigo having to break away from his desire to hit on such a beautiful lady so they can stop you.

Why are they stopping you? Well… They think you’re intruding on the sanctity of the stage they’re performing on? I guess?

The motivations are a little weirdly specific this time around, I’ll be honest. Though props to the reference of Azura knowing Laslow, who is Inigo taking on a different name at some point the future.

The second map features Olivia and Shigure in a different part of the Opera House, more or less encountering your team under the same mysterious pretense that Azura and Inigo did.

Then finally, the third map features the two groups coming together to fight, dividing into Mother/Son combos of dancers and singers.

Interestingly enough, this part of the paralogue was the most interesting to me because it takes a small detour to delve into lore and character building for this dark-cloaked Azura.

It’s just interesting to me that they decide to talk about the implications of the story in Fates, messing with time by having Shigure appear to be from some canonical timeline that Azura has disappeared in while this special Azura is apparently from some other continuity. I suppose if it’s a subject they can mess with anywhere, Heroes is a good place to do so considering it’s predicated on the idea of drawing characters out from various timelines and dimensions or what have you, but it still seems to be a complicated thing to add just in the middle of another thing going on.

It’s also a little unbalanced in my head to see Inigo and Olivia have a happy little reunion while Shigure and Azura’s interactions are more seeped in sadness and angst… But at the same time that probably fits the characters we’re looking at pretty well. So who am I to complain?

Beyond that side note about Azura, however, there isn’t much else to talk about in regards to story. After you beat the four performers, they acknowledge they were wrong and offer to help you if you summon them later… But it just ends there. No extra banter from the Order of Heroes characters or anything. Just a one-and-done sort of deal.

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Whether it was “kind” to come in and beat everyone up until they came to their senses is an argument we’ve yet to have extensively, but it’s a nice sentiment to end on either way.

The romp through Cyrkensia may have been overall uneventful, more of a filler ark like I said before, and the lack of special music continues to baffle me… But in the end it serves it’s overall purpose well.

That purpose being offering opportunity to earn extra orbs.

I decided to use those extra orbs I earned from the story missions for one last attempt at summoning. An attempt that had…

Very unexpected results. But certainly not results I’m interested in complaining about.

Got me a special Azura, baby!

With this special Azura comes a special personal distinction in that I’ve never had a good dancing/singing unit before to support my team with double action turns. Now I do, and although I’ve been finding that Azura might be a little too much of a glass cannon for my tastes, I’m still excited to make good use of her.

… Though I also won’t stop trying to get some of the others over the next month. Grinding the Tempest Trials out to the end will net me some extra chances to summon, and in particular I’m looking out for Olivia at this point. A good colorless is something that’s far more widely applicable.

But I digress, since beggars can’t be choosers and all that.

After all, it’s time for me to go get some more orbs and get my GX on. Don’t know whether I want to write a post about the GX world coming since I’ve already basically blown through all the first-time impressions… But I suppose if you’re interested in seeing that, let me know in the comments below.

In fact, if you have any opinions on the performing arts heroes, let me know that in the comments too!

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

Boy, Intelligent Systems sure is looking to wring all the money it can out of its gaming audience this summer, aren’t they?

Of course I say that in jest (as much as I can muster out during my early morning writing binges), as I happen to really enjoy what they have been doing and what they will be doing in the near future.

It’s only slightly in jest, however.

My friend Jonathan has been going nuts with all of the frequently added characters he’s wanted to get, and though he succeeded in getting Delthea and Sonya from the Echoes banners (like me!), he did have to spend some real money to do it. I’m starting to feel the same way at this point, as I just barely started to replenish my surplus when today’s new banner dropped.

Speaking of:img_5784The new Nohrian Summer summoning banner follows in the footsteps of the Ylissian Summer banner that we saw about a month ago, only focusing this time on the royal family of Nohr – as the name suggests.

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I probably would have been much more excited for this if we had gotten Hoshidan royalty, as I have much stronger personal connections with the Birthright side of Fire Emblem Fates than the Conquest side. However, beggars can’t be choosers. The special heroes we got are still great and rather quirky in their own rights.

Four members of the Nohrian royal family are here to spend time at the beach with the boys and girls summoning heroes on a day-to-day basis:

  • CorrinNovice Vacationer
    • A princess caught between her ‘birth’ family in Hoshido and her ‘adopted’ family in Nohr who comes to be the hero that leads one side or the other to victory in a war between the two nations. Unless you played the Revelations version of course, in which case you’d have a completely different story. In this special summertime edition of Corrin she appears as a tome using wyvern rider who attacks with Finding Nemo characters. If that’s not enough to make her enticing, I don’t know what else could.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat, which is a useful idea… Even if in execution a +1 boost isn’t necessarily the most helpful thing. Corrin’s weapon of choice is a blue tome, and she also comes equipped with a decent spread of skills right out of the box, including the Dragon Fang special attack, a +4 speed and resistance boost during initiated combat and the ability to fortify the defenses of fellow flying units.
  • EliseTropical Flower
    • The Nohrian royal family’s youngest sibling, Elise is a princess known for her charm, boundless childlike energy and great horseback healing capabilities. Finding her adorning a lei while on a summer vacation grants her a different set of skills, however, as she becomes an infantry unit who excels at using flower-based green tomes.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Elise’s weapon of choice is a green tome, and she comes with skills that grant her +2 speed and resistance, allow her to provide a +3 attack and resistance boost to allies as well as a skill that gives fellow green tome users extra ‘special points’ through battling. Honestly her skills are probably the least impressive when compared to the others.
  • LeoSeashore’s Prince
    • Being the younger of the middle children among Nohr’s royal siblings, Leo tends to be a little abrasive – particularly in the face of being teased by his siblings. Despite this, his strength wielding the mystic tome Brynhildr is unquestionable and gives him a cocky edge alongside his vast intellect as a mage knight that nobody can really deny. His summer attire loses a lot of the heavy black armor he’s known for wearing in place of a simple blue cloak, and his mystic tome has been replaced by a book discussing the ever beloved(?) tomato. Which he can launch at his enemies using magic. For some reason. It’s strange, though I’d argue his older brother’s gimmick is a bit stranger.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Leo’s weapon of choice is a red tome, though he also comes with the Iceberg special attack, the Seal Resistance skill and Attack Ploy, allowing him to lower the attack of anyone in cardinal directions with less resistance than him.
  • XanderStudent Swimmer
    • The crown prince of Nohr, known for his stalwart attitude and willingness to fight against even the mightiest of forces if it’s necessary to protect his siblings. Out of all the characters here, Xander easily has the strangest additional ‘summer attribute’ in that he apparently cannot swim and needs the help of a floatation device to stave off what seems to be a fear of the water. However, this strange attribute becomes one of the most endearing things I’ve ever seen when it appears he uses a floatation device modeled after the dragon form of Lilith as an axe. Though I get the feeling it would be even better if Corrin had the Lilith-themed gear, just the fact that he has this makes him the one character I’m pining after for this focus.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Xander’s weapon of choice is an axe, and he comes with the powerful Bonfire special, a skill called Fire Boost that gives him +6 attack if he has more health than his opponent and a skill that lowers the special cooldown for infantry units with less health than him. His skills are another reason I really want to add him to my team, I’d say.

For real though, look at this:

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Look at this wet and glistening beefcake swinging around an amazing dragon floatie around. It’s as magnificent as it is ridiculous and I am 100% down to add him to my teams.

In fact, I’ve already spent the 50 orbs I’ve collected over the last week or two (or however long its been since I summoned Sonya) on green orbs for him. To little avail thus far, but the summoning focus lasts for more than 30 days, so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to catch him… Even if I feel like shit to some extent because I gave up on my orb collection so early.

At least there’s more opportunities for orbs coming down the pipelines. Though I’ll mention that after I get into what has become probably my favorite part of these events: The story.


Three new Paralogue missions providing nine orbs and three corresponding missions provide for a nice bit of an orb boost after already burning away quite a few. Though the storyline you have to move through to get these orbs is… Interesting. To say the least.

Last time around I mentioned that the strange approach Anna took to taking pictures of summery heroes seemed characteristic of the game’s writers crying out for a vacation.

They really stepped it up this time around and helped me double down on that opinion.

While Anna once again hopes to document heroes in their swimsuits to sell to the highest bidder as a means of filling the Order’s coffers, this time she’s decided to abandon her goal of starting her own playboy magazine in place of starting… What I can only think to describe as her own pornography website.

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I’m honestly not sure what to say, though Alphonse sums up my overall impressions fairly well:

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Anyways, that just about bookmarks everything once again. You go to the Nohrian islands to find scantily-clad heroes under a fighting contract so you can get pictures of them. Starting with the girls:

Then hitting the boys as well, since Anna is an equal opportunity monetarily-driven pervert as it turns out:

Then, once you get to the end of the line with Anna’s movie collection complete, she finds that loopholes once again ruin her plans.

This, of course, leads to a comical overreaction from a character now afraid of going bankrupt. Though this one takes the cake as one of the strangest experiences I think I’ve had as a gamer.

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Never before has a video game character asked me to strip down and put on a skimpy swimsuit. Caught me pretty off guard, though I’m not sure if I’d say doing so was a good or a bad thing in the grand scheme of things.

That odd experience was really the biggest thing this part of the ‘filler arc’ had to offer, and I’m already pretty much out of things to say about it. Just off of one full stamina bar I was able to collect all of the orbs available from this story focus, so I’ll probably be spending some time trying to get my hands on Xander while playing Splatoon with my friends and grinding up cards against Yami Marik in Duel Links on the side.

Which, by the way, is another super cool event going on right now. However, I don’t have too much to say about it beyond the fact that I love being able to use Marik now, so I didn’t think it would be worth a whole post on its own. You can check out some information on it here if you’re really curious about what the deal is there.

Speaking of probably not being worth a whole post on its own, one of the reasons I’ll be working hard to get a Xander summoned is so I’ll be able to use him in the Voting Gauntlet coming up on the horizon:

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This summer hero-themed gauntlet looks like it’s going to be way more exciting than the healer unit-themed gauntlet we had in the last go around, and I’ll definitely be backing my boy Xander all the way even if I don’t personally have one to use. Though if he loses I’ll probably go with Gaius. Or I’ll improvise if both are taken down, I suppose.

We’ll see how it all turns out with time.


Another thing relevant to the game that I figured would be worth noting in this post is the launch of Feh Channel, where the in-game item delivery owl (called Feh, appropriately enough, not-so-coincidently matching the anagram for the game’s name) tells you all about everything you want to know about the future of Fire Emblem Heroes.img_5760

The channel series, if it’s a continual venture and not just a one-off clever way to do what is essentially a Nintendo Direct, will be nice and informative going forward. Just the first video that has been done really gives us a solid low down on everything that’s going on over the next month or so.

I’d check it out for yourself here, as there really is a lot of interesting information about things like the upcoming voting gauntlet, tempest trials updates, summoning appearance rate changes, a new game mode, the mobile app’s sixth month anniversary (can’t believe its already been that long, personally) and more.

The format they use with the owl is a little bit strange and admittedly annoying to an extent, but it’s still great if you want to get a look ahead of time at what I’ll likely be talking about here. If you don’t want to sit through the long-winded approach – which I can’t imagine why not if you’ve read up to this point in a post like this on my blog – everything boils down to this:

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Image courtesy of the Nintendo Mobile Youtube account

I’d say the Grand Hero Battle against Valter at the end of August has me most excited in terms of looking ahead. Seeing another Sacred Stones character appear suggest that perhaps the game will be in the limelight soon enough… With Neimi hopefully riding the coattails. I’ll never stop being excited for her.


All in all it’s going to be a nice distraction from school starting up again, since at this point I’ve got Daily Titan orientation coming up soon alongside preparations for a new work opportunity I’ve been invited to take part in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that soon enough, but for now just know that I’ll be stressing myself out well before classes even begin for the semester.

Though I suppose relieving that stress is what video games are best for.

How do you feel about the new summoning focus? Or about any of the upcoming updates we’ll be seeing in Fire Emblem Heroes? Let me know in the comments below, as I just love discussing all of this stuff if that wasn’t obvious enough already.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

Springtime for Heroes

In non-real life related news, my timing with putting out a post catching up on news in Fire Emblem: Heroes yesterday turned out to be impeccable.  Today there was an update to the game, introducing a paralogue and four “new” characters that are incredible in how silly they are.

Much in the tradition of events like the Hot Springs Scramble in Fire Emblem Awakening, Heroes has brought players a Spring Festival to celebrate the season that appears very grounded in the aesthetic decor of Easter. Awakening’s Exalted family members Lucina and Chrom as well as Fire Emblem Fates’ Nohrian Prince Xander and Princess Camilla have been given an alternative character skin and abilities. These heroes can, of course, be summoned through a new focus.

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As also seems to have become the usual affair in terms of updates to the mobile title, this special focus comes with its own set of special missions and a story paralogue showcasing the new characters. These offer the chance for players to earn 10 orbs and a variety of other small prizes from completion tasks involving the paralogue missions.

Now, the idea of a Ylissian Spring Festival drawing in heroes from various worlds to dress in bunny costumes, paint eggs and fight with weapons like comically massive carrots may seem ridiculous…

It is.  It’s very ridiculous to be completely honest, to the point that when I first saw everything for this event I was pretty turned off to it.  At the core of what it is, the Spring Festival seems to be fan service more than anything – an excuse to get popular characters in silly and arguably sexualized outfits just for the sake of doing it.

But then I actually played through the paralogue, and seeing the goofy, somewhat out-of-character dialogue is a treat in its own right, enough so that I wound up loving it.

The missions start innocently enough, with Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena inviting you to join them at the Spring Festival, which apparently hosts an undefined battle tournament.

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Once you arrive, you’re quickly introduced to the re-imagined royal units in a series of three stages, each of which showing just how… Quirky they are.

The characters also talk amongst themselves in pairings that would never get to met outside of Heroes:

Amazing words by the man holding a massive carrot as a spear

On top of that, these special characters get new skills that do things like increase the amount of rewards you get after battles, as well as special weapons and even silly descriptions that reveal more about the “backstory” of the Spring Festival.

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This description is my favorite – invoking Corrin is a nice touch

That’s about all there is to the Spring Festival. It’s ridiculous in all kinds of ways and I can imagine some people might even find it demeaning… But it hooked me with just how over-the-top everything is.  I’m already through all of the special quests (since they are geared more toward a new player level range for the most part) and I’ve gotten all the orbs that can be collected, so at this point I’ll just be biding my time and hoping to have the chance to summon one of the new spring-specific heroes.

Especially since the last focus disappear when I had a 4.75 percent chance to summon a five-star or a five-star focus hero. Seriously, that stings.

Oh, and also, kudos to anyone who picks up on the reference in my post title, since I’m hoping the callback isn’t lost on everyone but me.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

Saying Sayonara to 2016


As the holiday season and the year 2016 come to a close (very conveniently at the same time in this case), I feel like I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on some things.  As I mentioned in my last post about Carrie Fisher’s passing, the general attitude seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough.  Globally, the world is a bit of a mess.  In the United States, the incredibly divisive presidential election we just completed left everything feeling a little bit fractured and not-so-unified.  In the world of popular culture lots of people who were well-known and highly adored by the general public passed away.

It’s understandable why people feel the year was so bad, and admittedly there’s some of that I’ve gotten bogged in too over the last couple months.  However, for me personally, the year really hasn’t been all that awful.  In fact, it’s been a fairly great year all things considered.

One thing I always find interesting as a gamer is reflecting on what games “defined my year,” as it were.  Granted I didn’t necessarily diversify my interests a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of things I played.

Toward the beginning of the year, I was still riding some of my Wii U hype.  I just got my system as a present last Hanukah, in fact, so games like Super Mario Maker were still huge time sucks, moreso than they are now.

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Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

Another thing that I’d gotten for Hanukah in 2015 also continued to take up my time, and that was The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.

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Image provided by Wikimedia Commons

While the game wasn’t a traditional Zelda game like we’d all been waiting for in the relatively soon-to-be-announced Breath of the Wild, it was still a blast to play.  The game had some awesome multiplayer functionality both with friends and with strangers, and to this day I don’t think I’m over how hilarious it is to spam the cheerleader pom-pom Link emoji.

On top of that, you could literally dress Link up as a cheerleader and it was one of the most viable costumes in that game.  Not sure I ever thought I’d be so gung-ho to get Link to cross dress in all honesty, but I was.

Also earlier on in the year, while I was still getting into the swing of the Spring semester, I remember binging every Shantae game that’s been released thus far.

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Image provided by WayForward

Not only did I play the original Shantae for the Game Boy, I played Shantae: Risky’s Revenge and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse.  I fell in love with the series fast thanks to the lovable characters, the quirky and fun writing, the beautiful animation style and of course the music (composed by Jake Kaufman, who also produced the music for another one of my favorite games in the same general style: Shovel Knight).  I literally played through all three in a row and loved every minute of it, even if none of the games were necessarily all that beefy.

I do know that I can thank MowtenDoo for really sparking my interest in the series thanks to his indescribably wonderful rendition of one of the game’s songs, “The Nightmare Woods (Run Run Rottytops!)” in a way that’s truly unforgettable and continues to be one of my favorite videos on YouTube.  Seriously, I listened to this way too many times this year I’m sure.  But it was worth it.

Doing a little bit of research, it looks like the latest installment in the series, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, has been released just recently, but it apparently slipped under my radar somehow.  I’m wholeheartedly Ret-2-Go with that game as soon as I can pick it up, as there are a few too many games in 2016 that I unfortunately missed despite wanting to play them.  Didn’t have quite as much time to devote to these things as I would have liked.

Next on the list of my year’s rundown is the first in what I would consider my ‘return of old gaming loves’ trilogy.  That, of course, was Fire Emblem Fates.  All three together technically, but Birthright was undoubtedly my personal favorite.

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There’s a few things I’ll never forget just leading up to the games being released.  First, I’ll never forget the hunt my friends and I went on trying to find some of the special edition three-in-one game cartridges for Fates that was a resounding failure but had some great moments.  Like getting literally laughed at by a guy in a Game Stop one time.  That was awesome.

I’ll also never forget getting the first game, Birthright, as it was actually a gift that was given to me by the editors of the News section on the Daily Titan, Micah and Brianna, as thanks for being their assistant for the Fall 2015 semester.  Seriously, check it out, I still have the note here:

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It was really awesome, especially considering it apparently took a lot of work to build up to the reveal, including using my friend Kaleb as a spy to figure out which version of the game I wanted more.

Fire Emblem took up a huge chunk of my life from there on out, as I went on to play all three versions.  In a row.  In hindsight, admittedly not the best idea, but I’m really into the games so it was the decision I made at the time.  Birthright was incredible, rose-colored glasses or not, Conquest literally made my just about cry on multiple occasions from how unnecessarily difficult it got to be at times (Seriously, screw the port level.  If I never play that game again, the port level is to blame) and Revelations was… Admittedly underwhelming.

I meant to talk about it on here a little bit, but beyond just being burnt out on the games by the time I hit the third, there were a few things that really sort of killed the experience for me unfortunately.  First, I padded it out too much for myself.  I tried to grind all the characters up to have a ton of diverse skills rather than planning ahead what I would’ve wanted, and it wound up being far more effort than I was honestly willing to put in.  Second, they killed off my favorite character in what was literally the worst possible way in my opinion.  I have a huge, huge rant still built up about it because the moment was so caustic for me, but this isn’t really the time or the place, so perhaps I’ll still come back to it later.  Third, there was another game coming on the horizon that left me rushing to finish, which took away a lot of my enjoyment toward the latter half of the storyline.  Who knows, maybe if I go back to it now I’ll have a better time, but for now Birthright will continue to be the high point of my memories for Fire Emblem Fates.

The second game in my personal trilogy was Monster Hunter Generations.

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I talked about it on here a bit, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail, but this game sucked away quite a bit of my time as well.  Though I’ve only been playing Monster Hunter since the last major release, Monster Hunter 4U, it has quickly become one of my favorite franchises.

The seemingly near infinite levels of customization thanks to a wide range of monsters and a progression-based-on-skill system is something almost totally unique to Monster Hunter in my gaming experience, and it ticks boxes like crazy for me.  There are very few games that I get super in depth about building sets and doing hours of research into said sets and also things like lore, but Monster Hunter is definitely one of them.  It’s also one of the favorite games of my friend Juan, so we always have a good time going on extravagant hunts as a super powered duo, Hunting Horn and Charge Blade in hands.

Granted, I’ll admit that the game wasn’t quite as invigorating as MH4U for me, since that was the game where I truly had a skill curve to learn and overcome so I could truly become a master, but Generations was still a blast to play through and through.

Last, but certainly not least, comes what must be an obvious entry on this list.  Hell, there’s only one game that really defined not only the latter half of my year, but also most of what I’ve built my blogging experience on so far.

And that game is, of course, Pokémon Sun and Moon.  Because technically they go together even if they’re two separate games.  Because Pokémon works like that.

Images provided by Serebii.net

Really I’ve said more than enough about these games in many, many posts over the last year, so I don’t think I need to waste too much time on it right now.  Not only were the games beautiful and fun experiences in themselves, surpassing what I consider to be some of my favorite and some of the best constructed games in the series thus far, they reinvigorated the love of competitive Pokémon breeding that I fostered in Alpha Sapphire and got me back into the Pokémon YouTube communities I followed around the same time.

I have been and will continue to do some breeding in the games, especially once the Pokébank opens in January, and I’ve considered doing more competitive battling in 2017.  There’s an official battle competition coming up pretty soon that I’m pretty sure I’ll be entering, so I’m sure there will be plenty more posts in the future on the subject as well.

Beyond those massive entries that took up my time, there are a few other games that permeated my year’s experiences.  The 20th Anniversary of Pokémon for me included the continued playing of Pokémon Shuffle and Pokémon Picross on my 3DS, which were my puzzle game obsessions that I’ve only recently seemed to kick.

Images provided by Serebii.net (here and here)

The summer was undoubtedly defined by Niantic’s Pokémon GO, the game which really felt the most universally unifying during the sub-par situations of the year surrounding it.

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My whole family was playing the game together and I still remember wandering El Camino College hatching eggs after my summer classes there.  Though I wound up a little disillusioned with the game, and still haven’t jumped in to catch the start of the Generation 2 Pokédex, I still can’t imagine Pokémon GO won’t hold a place in history in some way or another.

Also hitting the mobile gaming scene this year was Super Mario Run.

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I gave my thoughts on the game in depth a little while ago, and as a small follow-up I will say that having spent money on the full game has made the experience even better for me.  I’ve gotten really into collecting all the colored coins in single player on long road trips and I have a pretty well developed town so far.  As a first jump into the mobile scene for Nintendo, I can personally say that Super Mario Run has been a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

I also replayed quite a few older Steam games that I adore but haven’t touched in some time this year.

My friend Samantha and I played Terraria for a long stretch of time together, progressively getting better and better as we learned and built more complicated structures and items together.  The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth ate up huge chunks of my time in brief intervals throughout the year, as it’s always an addictive rogue-like experience that I’ll never get tired of.  The same could be said for FTL, which I can only describe as a real-time rogue-like spaceship command and battle simulator.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of the game it can be hard to explain, but it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

My 2016 was defined by more than just the video games I played, however.  It marked the end of my first year at college. It also included my first semester as an editor for a college paper, one which I feel went really well considering all the crazy things that happened politically while I was in charge of the News page.

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2016 was where I really feel like I got into the rhythm of driving and being able to get myself places.  It was also the first year where I got to vote for a serious election – despite how divisive it might have been as far as an election went.

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However, because of my time as a journalist, I felt like this was the first time I really got to apply what I was doing and learning to a real-world event.  Literally the more I learned, the more prepared I felt to vote in November.

On top of that, I feel like I really learned a lot just in general.  Two semesters and a summer intersession at college had me taking classes all over the proverbial spectrum at two different schools: Cal State Fullerton and El Camino College.  Not only was the subject matter of the things I learned interesting, I also got to explore more places at the same time, which I also enjoy doing.

I got my first few relatively well-paying jobs in 2016 between being an editor on the Daily Titan and working for Boom: A Journal of California.  Thanks to that, I’ve felt more independent than I ever really have before.

In 2016, I went to New York for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long.

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I used to have a lot of family living out there, but now most of my close relatives live here in California, so I rarely ever get to go out to the East Coast anywhere that isn’t Florida.  The trip was amazing and so much fun, and I really felt like I got close to a lot of my friends and colleagues in the newsroom that went with me.

While I was there, not only did I get to visit the Nintendo store inNew York (an experience you can read more about in one of my earliest posts):

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I also got to relive a part of my Dad’s childhood by finding his old high school.

So, all and all, I’d say that trip was probably one of the most memorable parts of the year for me.

I got to visit SpaceX for the first time this year, and though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside, it was still a phenomenal place to see.  Seriously, some of the stuff they have going on in there is incredible.

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In my opinion, I really started to come out of my shell a little bit more in 2016, and that helped me meet and interact with some people who I can really see myself continuing to talk to for a long time to come.  Both those in and out of the newsroom.

2016 was also the first year I’ve let my beard grow out.  It started as a No Shave November thing we did for the Daily Titan, but in the end I wound up getting such a positive reception that I kept the hair grown out.

Seriously, what a difference a little bit of hair will make.  I look totally different from one picture to the other, if you ask me.  Probably helps that I had more hair on top of my head to cover my forehead in the first picture too… But that’s another story.

Finally, 2016 was where I really got into blogging.  Yeah, seems like a silly thing to cap this whole list off with, but you are literally reading this on my blog.  I started this blog back on February 18, a day after my birthday, thanks to some school assignments I had to do.  My Communications 233 class required us to have a blog that we posted 20 things on of any subject we chose.  Naturally, I chose to make this a blog about video games and about my journalism experience.

Though it started as an assignment, one that I literally had to come up with ways to finish by coming up with admittedly silly things to post, I’ve come to really love doing this.  Writing is a passion of mine, and getting the chance to write more often has been wonderful.  It’s also been a way to voice my opinions and thoughts on various subjects, which I don’t tend to do in a largely public forum like this very often.  I may be a relatively small blog still, but I feel like I’ve found somewhat of a rhythm thanks to Pokémon Sun and Moon, and I’m looking forward to writing more on whatever comes up in 2017. As goofy as it might be to say it, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write more next year, so I hope you all stick around to see whatever it is I come up with to write about.

Really, from the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone who’s following my blog, everyone who’s read anything I’ve wrote and to all my family and friends who have helped me explore, encouraged my writing ambitions, and worked to make sure I put my best foot forward.  If you have any of your own favorite memories from 2016, or if you just want to send a good riddance sendoff to the year, feel free to share them down in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and here’s to 2017 being a happier time overall than 2016 seems to have been!