Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.
Stranger Things season 3 clearly went to the Suicide Squad school of overemphasizing plot details with spot-on song lyrics, but surpassed its teacher by actually having a fantastic product around that gimmick.
The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.
Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.
You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:
“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”
The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.
So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.
With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.
It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.
Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.
Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?
Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.
Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.
The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.
And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.
But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.
So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!
“ANOTHER Legendary sword cavalier?” I thought, lamenting the fact that Eliwood would be lost in a sea of Eirikas and Hríds.
Swords in general are a very overplayed weapon type in the Legendary Hero listings. Though that’s a symptom of many main characters being cool sword bois.
Yet Eliwood stands out due to his insane buffing potential.
The gimmick of his skill set is granting one ally +6 Attack and Defense if (for example) Ninian is also deployed, then doubling that buff through his weapon’s Bonus Doubler effect.
Those buffs are applied to the ally with the highest attack stat on his team, which is clearly intended to be Eliwood thanks to Death Blow 4. But I could just as easily see a team being built up so a specific unit can get the +12 stats.
Congratulations Intelligent Systems, you made me care at least a little about a hero I figured I would completely pass on.
Unfortunately, only one other hero on his banner truly entices me despite it including:
I’ve been enjoying it a lot more than I expected to, and I considered writing about its interesting treatment of Fates characters in a blog post yesterday if I hadn’t spent all afternoon cleaning the house.
So hey, I’ll probably have that coming soon. Look forward to it.
In the meantime, let me know what you think of Eliwood down in the comments!
This update came a little out of left field, but it’s exciting as a small new addition to the game.
Between Fjorm, Gunnthrá, Ike and Ephraim, we’ve gotten Legendary Heroes matching all four seasons that Fire Emblem Heroes cycles through (Water, Wind, Earth and Fire respectively). While it seems as though that would be the end of these characters being released, apparently there are going to be multiple heroes for each season.
Which in hindsight makes perfect sense from a ‘releasing hyped up units to get players to spend money’ standpoint.
But I digress.
Today we’re starting that second round with:
I’m just going to call her Grima instead of Robin because we already have other Robins and in my head it just makes more sense this way.
I know I’m not the first to make this connection, but Grima isn’t exactly a hero. In fact, the male version of Robin overcome by the spirit of Grima was a part of the villainous banner not too long ago.
But I guess now we’re just going to bring along the literal Fell Dragon, destroyer of worlds and civilizations, as a hero meant to lead our armada in the Order of Heroes.
I wonder how Lucina feels knowing that the force she’s spent her whole life hoping to stop can now be in charge of her and give her massive blessings?
… Yeah I’m not going to get a response anytime soon am I?
That said, I do actually want to say that Grima looks pretty beastly and powerful for a number of reasons.
On top of being a hero(?) who can confer the benefits of the earth blessing on her allies, Grima comes with a bunch of great skills. Her weapon is the same as male Grima. Expiration lets her hit regardless of distance and hit her opponents on their weakest defensive stat. She comes with the special attack Bonfire, which boosts her damage based on her defense, and three passive skills: Dragonskin, which grants her a defensive boost when attacked while also neutralizing her flying weakness, Cancel Affinity, which negates the effect of the weapon triangle, and Resistance Smoke, which lowers the resistance of everyone around an attack target by seven.
These skills, combined with the fact that this Grima is our first ever colorless manakete unit who also happens to be a flying unit (ala Myrhh) but with the natural ability to cancel out bow effectiveness AND weapon triangle effectiveness… Well, she just sounds incredible. Hopefully her stat spread matches and makes her a new meta staple, because that would be awesome.
The crazy thing is, this banner has even more great stuff beyond just the colorless flying dragon that negates half of her own weaknesses.
Considering it’s coming out just straight up in the middle of the spring heroes banner, you know Intelligent Systems is looking to siphon up all of our money at this rate.
On top of the Fell Dragon, this eight percent five-star banner also offers up:
I usually pick my character colors to fit who the character in particular is, but in this case I’m going to have the colors correspond with what weapon-type on the triangle they are. It’ll be easier with 12 units available.
Granted, Jakob has become one of my favorite units on my armored team, but still. I want my cute costumed girls, man.
Just don’t call the police on me… I know how creepy that sounds.
Because at least those three units are high up on my desire sensor, I’ve already spent a good few orbs on summoning from this banner.
My free summon has so far been the most lucrative pull, funnily enough:
Lyn may not be the colorless unit I wanted to pull considering I already have her, but she’s got some great skills to pass along if nothing else.
Nothing else has come of my efforts so far (though I’ve summoned normal cleric Sakura a number of times and that has given me multiple heart attacks). However, part of that is probably because I am trying to show some restraint.
I want to keep my orb count above 50, so I’m only summoning when I get to about 70 on the off chance that all five of the pulls in a session are worth going after.
Luckily, Grima also came with a few extra additions that have offered players orbs considering the Tempest Trials have now passed.
The first thing is a special map connecting to this Legendary Hero specifically.
A Legendary Hero-specific map for some extra orbs is a new thing entirely, and honestly I hope it’s a feature that returns. I quite like having the chance at some extra orbs and a special map – even if this one is the same special map from the aforementioned Tempest Trial.
Coincidentally, this banner also corresponds with the start of a series of special maps related to a DLC update for Fire Emblem Warriors.
Man… Fire Emblem Warriors… Talk about another game I wanted to play that I never got around to.
While it’s too bad I never did get to play the game (outside of one session thanks to my friend Kaleb), I suppose I can’t complain about having some free orbs.
Plus the song that plays is a top-notch Awakening remix.
That’s about the extent of what I’ve got for Fire Emblem Heroes today. Like I said, this addition was small but cool. I’m definitely excited to try to summon this new version of Grima.
Actually, that gets me thinking… What if I paired the two Grima together and created the ultimate destructive selfcestuous power couple?
Sheesh, that just made me more excited to summon her. Here’s hoping it works out I guess!
Also, here’s hoping I can balance doing that with work/school stuff. And with playing more Duel Links, since a new character just dropped over there.
You know you’re at an overpowered place in a game when you unlock a brand new character about an hour after the special event starts.
But now I’m rambling about a totally unrelated subject, so I’ll leave it here.
What do you think of the new Grima? How game changing is she going to be? Feel free to discuss it in the comments down below!
Hope everybody in the states enjoyed their 4th of July this year! Mine was rather quiet, not counting the fireworks that began to explode around my neighborhood after a certain hour. Pretty much just spent some time with the family, had Korean BBQ for lunch, watched some movies and enjoyed the fireworks shows in both Washington D.C. and in New York.
If I had to put in my two cents, the Macy’s 4th of July Firework Show had the undoubtedly superior display of bombs bursting in air, though PBS’s A Capitol Fourth had nicer musical acts and such leading up to a subpar series of fireworks.
But I digress, I’m not a fireworks review blog after all. Not yet anyway, haven’t felt the burning desire to review them that badly.
No, I’m here to move past the stars and stripes, the explosions of color in the sky and the insane hot dog eating contests so characteristic of America’s birthday to instead talk about Japanese interactive media localized so those like me can enjoy it. As usual.
That’s… A lie. I’ll be honest, I have quite a bit to say about that little trailer. However, most of it boils down to me fan-girling about being able to play as Lissa swinging a giant axe around or getting to play as Lucina with and without the Marth disguise. So I figure it didn’t need a whole separate thing for itself when I can just sum it up here.
In the aftermath of a recent Voting Gauntlet:
And in the days leading up to our second Tempest Trials:
A large update for Fire Emblem Heroes, Version 1.5, dropped for the world to enjoy. The update has actually added quite a bit, and I’ll sum up all of it, but arguably the two main additions are the “Chain Challenge” and “Squad Assault” story map battle modes.
Here’s a new game mode taking the conceptual ideas from the Tempest Trials event and applying them to a wider experience.
And giving us the chance to get a crap ton of goods, which is a better incentive than almost anything to keep on chugging through this game, I’d say.
All of the game’s story maps and paralogue maps have been grouped together to give players the chance to play them in a new format. Much like the Tempest Trials, each map is fought in succession, and you’re allowed to take one to three teams worth of chances at each.
The rewards for completing these are either feathers or orbs. Both are greatly appreciated items in this game, and after a while they really start to stack up.
By the time you get to the Lunatic-level challenges for the newest maps, you can get up to 8 orbs per three maps.
While not necessarily a lot on their own, all of these maps put together provide a heck of a lot of orbs for everyone’s summoning desires. In fact, just the prospect of having these orbs for the future has encouraged me to break into my stash to try my hand at summoning an Eldigan.
Fun fact, while writing this paragraph about how I was struggling to summon Eldigan and feeling bad about wasting a good chunk of my orb surplus, I actually managed to summon him.
Amazing how the power of complaining about things seems to have an effect on games like this. Now that I have him and his legendary meme-worthy sword, I can start to save up my supply again.
Squad assault is just mean.
Right now there’s only one Squad Assault map, and like the Chain Challenge mode it also seems to take cues from the ‘permadeath’ feature Heroes started using during the Tempest Trial last month. However, there’s more of a twist to this version.
In Squad Assault, to earn the two orbs and sacred seal rewards, players have to take on five battle maps in a row. The battle maps are based on story missions, like the first map from the “World of Mystery” series and the first map from the “World of Conquest” series from what I saw in my first attempt.
However, after each map, the four heroes you used to beat it are cycled out. So if you don’t have 20 good units to beat through each of the five battles in the series, you’re going to have a bad time.
Also you aren’t allowed to let any of your units die on any of the individual maps. If any unit dies, you automatically lose and have to start back from the beginning of the series all over again.
Granted, it isn’t a timed event, so you theoretically get as many attempts as you want… But it is still a little frustrating to even think about.
This portion is going to be more of a lightning round, since it’s a lot of smaller improvements and edits that are relatively short to sum up. At least, theoretically they’re relatively short to sum up. Who knows how much I’ll wind up blathering on about it.
Not only will it now be easier to train cleric units due to an increase in experience points from healing, there are also going to be more experience points rewarded for defeating enemy units stronger than your own and less detractions for battling enemy units that are weaker than your units. Small changes relatively speaking, but all welcomed changes nonetheless. Training isn’t a huge burden in this game admittedly, but making it easier to get units to level 40 can’t be bad by any stretch of the imagination.
When searching for units to build teams, use in tributes, accomplish certain specific challenges and more, we were only able to use one method of categorization at a time prior to the 1.5 update. While this worked just fine in its own right, as categories like “movement type” or “rarity” are useful and generally all I’ve ever had to use, now it’ll be that much easier to pick out specific units in the barracks by categorizing using up to three sorting methods at a time.
Summoning screen user interface
Again, another small change, but each of these smaller user interface and aesthetic changes do contribute to making a smoother game experience. In this case, now the time remaining for each Summoning Focus will be displayed at the main screen for each of the focuses. While this information was available one click away from where it is now in the detailed information screen, having it on the main page is just a bit more convenient. They also added an extra “more information” link that brings you to the page detailing the focus that was previously only available from the update bulletin board. So that’s cool.
Purchase interruption protection
I’ve never had this problem myself, but apparently communication errors have been issues for people who tried to purchase orbs for a summoning session. Now there’s an option to complete a previous purchase so that the issue doesn’t require a complete restart of the application.
As someone who has become frugal with his orb purchases in the hopes that one day a focus I really want to see arrives, I’ve yet to have to expand my barracks past the initial 200 base units allotted. However, for people who really like hoarding units I suppose, the overall maximum unit space in the barracks have been expanded from 500 to 1,000. Small details once again, but I imagine some collector out there appreciates the extra space.
Additional Improvements and Changes
Here’s where we get into the nit-picky stuff that even the update page I’m working off of delegates to small sentences, so I don’t think I have too much to say about much of it myself. I’ll drop this here and probably leave it at that:
Some frankly much needed changes to the structure of the Tempest Trials events have also been implemented with this update… But I feel like that will be a better topic to broach when I write up my post about the new Tempest Trials after it drops on Friday.
So if you enjoy me talking about this game, look forward to that.
If you don’t enjoy me talking about this game… Well I’m sorry. I personally happen to enjoy writing about this game, so I really appreciate you putting up with it one way or the other.
Now then, onto my standard end card questionnaire. What do you think of the new Fire Emblem Heroes update? Do you feel it’s substantial and improves the game widely? Or would you have rather they done more, either on top of what they did or instead of what they did.
Let me know in the comments below! I’ll probably be off getting more feathers and such from these Chain Challenges.
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
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
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
Speaking of more Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Warriors was the next subject of the Direct. There was a small teaser for the game in the Nintendo Switch presentation earlier this month, but this time we got to see a trailer with some gameplay.
The opening did the same cool orbs-with-swords that led into the Fire Emblem crest. This time, after the mysterious figure – revealed to be Chrom, the royal Prince/Exalt of Ylisse from Awakening – takes the Falchion, he proceeds to just demolish mobs of soldiers all at once in a few fell swipes of the blade.
But that was about it, we then got the same vague Fall 2017 release date.
However, they did reveal that the game is actually going to be dropped on the 3DS concurrently with the Switch version of the game. That alone makes this game infinitely better in my eyes. Part of the reason I didn’t get Hyrule Warriors was because I didn’t have a Wii U when it was released, and by the time the 3DS port came out I was too busy doing other things to devote my time to the game.
I’m very excited to try this game, honestly. I’ve never played a Warriors game before, and this seems like it could be a perfect entry point for me. I just hope that the developers go back and pull some more older characters that I might know for the roster of playable heroes rather than mostly sticking in the modern games like Awakening and Fates. I love those games, don’t get me wrong, but I’d also love to do something like play Neimi from The Sacred Stones, probably my favorite archer girl ever.
Considering the treatment that was given for the character roster in Hyrule Warriors, I’m sure that kind of possibility isn’t too farfetched.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Fire Emblem Heroes, 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.
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.