Guess the best way to start this overdue update is by wishing all of you a happy new year and a happy new decade! There’s something overwhelming about the idea that we have a new blank slate to work off in 2020, especially now that I’m at an age where I can appreciate relativity and the passage of time.
But I’ll have to table that existential stressor for another day.
While I have you here and now I’m sure there are other matters you’d rather I discuss. Most notably, I assume, where that classic “Top 10 games of the year” list is. It’s been at least a year and 24 hours since the last one came out.
Probably too many opportunities, according to this wrap-up email from Nintendo:
Yet things have circled around to kill my my motivation to write about all those video games by the end of 2019.
I put this blog on hiatus for the second half of the year to focus on my novel — with a brief resurgence talking about my vacation in Florida. Yet even after I finished the book’s first draft, I couldn’t bring myself to start writing things here again.
Getting the opportunity to professionally write about video games has honestly been very exciting. What a way to start 2020, right?
So if you want to see what I’m up to regularly right now using all the experience I garnered writing on this here blog, go follow my burgeoning career on GameRant.
I likely won’t return to the ‘daily posts’ schtick anytime soon. That whole Avengers Summer Initiative thing was mostly about giving myself a regular writing project when I had none — but real world career stuff is going to take precedence now.
That said, I really appreciate how people have been keeping up this web traffic during my absence.
Don’t know how often I’ll throw full posts up on the blog from here on, but I wanted to put this update together so all you loyal viewers would know I haven’t abandoned you. At the very least I’ll try to regularly update my GameRant stories.
Part of my plans for 2020 are to finally spruce this joint up so it’ll stand up as a better professional resume. Stay tuned to see if I hold myself to it.
I hope you all have an amazing 2020 and plenty of great opportunities in the upcoming decade!
I swear it was raining much harder than that gif makes it look. So much so that it didn’t seem worth trying to go through a multiple-mile long outdoor experience.
So instead we got frozen yogurt at Menchies.
Even though that too wound up being an adventure because it was raining so god damn hard.
As the afternoon wound down, so did the rain. Our respite from the inclement weather gave me the chance to pack my bags, straighten up the space I was leaving behind and (sort of) help Grandma make burgers for early dinner.
After that, it was time to say goodbye.
It’s crazy to me that I’ve been here for a whole week already. It seems like just yesterday I was landing and lamenting the impending heat wave.
Now that I’m leaving, I feel like I’ve grown. No longer am I the immature kid who believed I would melt in Floridian heat.
I’m an absolutely mature, well-grounded adult who doesn’t hate the heat. Instead I hate the fact that it managed to somehow be hot enough to leave me sweating and uncomfortable while ALSO raining hard enough to make umbrellas near-useless at keeping the horizontal water at bay.
Good riddance, Florida.
I may have loved spending some personal time with my grandparents, but the idiom that there’s nothing like coming home will undoubtedly hold true.
I’m going to try keeping this brief because I have a new game to return to.
Today was racetrack day in Florida.
The idea that we would be watching horse races was interesting for me to prepare for. It’s been a long time since I’ve personally gone to any kind of races, and in the time since there have been controversies at the track I’m most familiar with in Del Mar due to a series of horse deaths.
Obviously Florida is a whole world away, but I was curious to see whether any hint of animal rights backlash would reach across the country.
I didn’t see anything of the like.
What I did see is one of the coolest god damn landmarks ever built:
Look at this. A Pegasus stomping on a dragon? How could you not be excited to go to Gulfstream Park?
I wanted to get a photo of the statue myself… But naturally heavy weather picked up the moment I separated from my grandparents to get a nice angle on foot.
Here’s the best I got:
That said, I did get some nice photos of the area in-and-around the track. The whole place is like a Las Vegas gambler’s dream.
I’ve been enjoying my “book writing sabbatical” perhaps a little too much. A lot of my novel has gotten done, but there have been plenty of things over the last month I easily could have blogged about.
I was almost completely by myself for three weeks as Mom and Aly went to New York for a summer music program.
I'm putting down Mario Maker 2 so I can focus on writing today, but I've been having such a great time building levels again that I thought it would be fun to share what I've made so far. If you have the game, feel free to check some of them out!
I completely skipped the Three Houses banner in Fire Emblem Heroes.
Normally I’d be writing something for the new Fire Emblem Heroes banner today, but I decided not to for a couple reasons. So here’s the Featured Image you’d see in case you’re feeling blue about my recent lack of blog writing. pic.twitter.com/v1dCw3q05M
I really should play Binding and Blazing Blade sometime soon to get personal connections with some of these characters…
But for now, a few of these units at least have impressive skills that it would be a shame not summon for them.
For instance: Lyn (despite her market saturation) has an impressive weapon in the Deep-Blue Bow, which gives her insane stats alongside Sturdy Impact.
Roy’s friend Wolt also has a special “win more” weapon in the Big-Catch Bow that buffs him when his opponent is weakened. Plus his Brazen Attack/Speed 4 is too good for any mortal to possess.
Ursula and Lilina stand out less because I’m not a huge dagger fan, even though Ursula’s Scallop Blade has the same “win more” effect.
So Lyn and Wolt are at the top of my list.
Which is good because one of them decided to give me a break after multiple disappointments trying to summon Laevatein.
Look at this good +Attack archer boi.
I appreciate you helping me save orbs, so we’ll see how I can put you to work.
In the meantime there’s no better way to recoup those orbs than a good old Paralogue.
Paralogue 36 — Summer Refreshes
This paralogue follows right on the last paralogue’s heels. Anna has recovered from the psychosomatic illness that resulted from hiding her mercantile side and decides to…
Just kind of sell things again. Regardless of what the nobility thinks.
I guess that’s character development?
It doesn’t seem to matter however, as the Order of Heroes arrives at the beach to find all the heroes in fancy swimsuits:
Being “magically” forced to buy skimpy outfits seems like it would be a major plot point, but it’s thrown away by the second map because Lilina and Wolt just talk about protecting each other for the sake of Roy.
Once the summer heroes are all beaten down, it’s revealed that Anna was the one convincing heroes to buy new swimsuits.
Just not our version of Anna.
Thus, foiled again, our Anna vows to return next year with an even crazier scheme to sell more things.
The fact that this little story drops its most interesting element is pretty disappointing. Kind of makes this experience one of the weaker paralogues overall.
But at least it gives us one of the most unintentionally real things that has ever been written down in a gotcha game.
I’m still upset that we were lied to and given another summer banner. Intelligent Systems be wasting our orbs all over the place!
Sure, thinking we wouldn’t have another banner was entirely speculation.
And I didn’t have to waste a lot of orbs to get Wolt.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be upset! You can make it up to me by helping me get Laevatein, Intelligent Systems.
I’ll be expecting her.
Anyway though, let me know what you think about these new summer units. I’m a little salty if it wasn’t obvious, but I imagine some of you are very excited to see a few of these characters come around again.
Pretty sure this is the last blog thing I’ll have to worry about this week, so wish me luck on jumping back into my novel.
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!
Thus Laevatein is really the only character I’d say I’m very interested in summoning. She’s my favorite Book II character, has cute artwork and packs a great 1-2 punch against other mages with Mirror Impact.
Seriously Intelligent Systems? +6 Attack, +10 Resistance and no counterattacks?
You can’t just make these characters that broken.
I used the Paralogue orbs to get a few extra shots at her, but I haven’t pulled anything special and I’m not going to rush it.
Once again we cut away from dramatic story progression to bring you the latest in Anna’s attempts to make money off of some softcore pornography.
Or… Do we?
Anna is feeling self-reflective this year and promises not to do anything that can give her a bad reputation at risk of being fired by the royal family.
Which means the entire Paralogue is going to be focused on trying to avoid money-making schemes, isn’t it?
Well to be fair the first two battles completely disregard this plot point and focus on the reunion of the Múspell sisters.
Then the reunion of Ylgr (future Tempest Trials reward) and Helbindi.
They’re both cute interactions. But that doesn’t stop them from being pure filler in an admittedly great dusk luau-themed environment.
Don’t worry, though. We return to the exploits of Anna soon after.
By which I mean Anna buckles under the pressure of trying to repress her desire for cash and falls ill. She passes out on the beach, leading to the Order of Heroes realizing just how integral money is to her character.
To a ridiculous degree.
So that’s Fire Emblem Heroes’ 2019 summer banner. Probably the only one we’re getting this year.
I’m a little lukewarm because of my orb stinginess, but I will absolutely try to building my Laevatein squad.
Let me know what you think of the banner down in the comments! How does it compare to previous summer banners? Do you agree that Laegjarn’s arm looks fucked up?
Seriously, do you? I need to know that I’m not alone here.
I’ve never played a DQ game or Banjo-Kazooie, but I know plenty of people who love those series and I’m happy to see them so happy.
Especially given the love and attention both fighters are getting. The Hero has multiple alternate costumes and a final smash featuring different protagonists from that series, Grant Kirkhope was involved in doing the music for Banjo…
Masahiro Sakurai truly is the king of reviving Nintendo history, and looping in Rare was a great way to include a fighter with die-hard fans who fits in the roster far better than Minecraft Steve or Master Chief.
Look at how hype the Donkey Kong characters are for Banjo and Kazooie
Look I played the first couple Olympic crossover games with my sister and they were decent minigame collections.
But the fact that this series is still going astounds me.
Some of you would probably prefer I put Cadence of Hyrule in this major slot since it looks cool and is only $25 bucks, which definitely entices me to buy the game when it drops this Thursday in spite of never playing Crypt of the Necrodancer.
Breath of the Wild is getting a direct sequel, bringing it in-line with Majora’s Mask and the Wind Waker series. A sequel where Link and Zelda are going to be traveling the ravaged Hyrule together and discover some demented shit.
The trailer was just an “in development” teaser, but they sure did succeed in making it emotionally provocative. I’m curious to find out more… Though a lot of that is based on hype from my friends’ speculations.
Which means I guess I have to go finish Breath of the Wild.
Damn you, Nintendo. Quit monopolizing my time when you’re about to monopolize my time with all these new games!
Those were the big ticket items out of this E3 Direct for me, but there were a lot of smaller things that piqued my interest too.
Nah is the headliner for this banner, and a fairly worthwhile one. Oracle’s Breath is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.
She and Yarne are also some of my favorite child units. Yarne and Morgan are top five Awakening ships for me, so I’m more than willing to pull for him — which is good considering he’s a speedy boi between the Solo, Wave and Galeforce skills.
Kjelle and Brady are less significant characters to me personally and they have weaker skill sets.
But I am a fan of Kjelle and Owain… Despite Owain going to Nohr and becoming Odin, who I ship with Camilla.
I like her with Severa too, yet Severa also goes to Nohr so it’s the same problem.
That returning trio in Fates really screwed up my shipping charts. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in Three Houses.
Also Cynthia is coming soon. I didn’t connect with her in Awakening, but I’ve warmed to her confident demeanor over time.
Her descriptive text in Heroes is a perfect example why:
Isn’t that amazing?
Luckily there’s a Forging Bonds event to give us some free summon tickets, because that should supplement the orbs out of this story chapter so I can save up for Lute… Or Genny… Or the summer units.
Book III, Chapter 8 — Truth of a Name
At the start of this chapter, the Order of Heroes continue exploring the destroyed Ask from Chapter 7. They want to find out what happened to it, as that may provide clues on how to stop Hel.
Along the way they encounter Líf twice. The first time he almost kills Alfonse, but is stopped by Sharena.
Don’t worry about that. Foreshadowing.
As is the second encounter where Eir tries to find out what memories were wiped away by her mother.
There are a few bland encounters with Awakening kids that conclude in a library.
The Order discovers that this Askr was destroyed in a future timeline when they teamed up with Embla to enact yet another deus ex machina Rite that makes Hel vulnerable…
At the cost of all the lives in both kingdoms.
Bodes well for whenever Princess Veronica and Loki show up.
After that exposition dump, the final battle features Líf as its boss. Once he is defeated Alfonse goes Sherlock Holmes on our asses and deduces:
Líf has actually been doomed future Alfonse all along! Which means that Thrasir is probably Veronica, both of whom became Hel’s generals after they died trying to stop her.
So I guess now we get a ‘change the doomed future’ arc.
Fitting set-up for a Chapter that features the Awakening children.
Intelligent Systems just had to schedule this update for the same day as Nintendo’s E3 presentation.
It’s clever. Pick up that search activity.
Unfortunately, staying up late to write this will make me less likely to catch the 9:00 a.m. presentation live. Not that I really mind as the video will be online, so I’m still planning on writing a post about my thoughts on that.
At least Fire Emblem finally pulled my head out of Stardew Valley.