Tag: Leon

My thoughts on the June 5, 2019 Pokémon Direct

My thoughts on the June 5, 2019 Pokémon Direct

Is there anything better than waking up to Pokémon trending all over Twitter?

Especially when the series is trending because of some brand new Sword and Shield information dropped in this morning’s Pokémon Direct!

There’s a bunch to talk about, good and possibly not-as-good, so let’s jump right into what stands out the most.


The Galar Region and the Wild Area

Over the years, I’ve learned that my favorite thing about Pokémon is the world each region helps to create. A world that’s similar to ours but flourishing with fantastical elements on account of the creatures roaming through it.

Unova, Kalos and Alola made this especially apparent as Game Freak experimented with landmarks and traditions from places outside of Japan to great effect.

For all its faults, I have to commend Alola for its Hawaii/pacific island setting. Gen 7’s theme song was a perfect tone setter.

The theme song for the UK-based Galar Region heard in this and the last Direct is a bit more generic, but aesthetically the world looks like series of a watercolor paintings on the graphically superior Nintendo Switch.

The trainer models also look far better than the flat-faced happy trainers in Alola, and fist bumping Scorbunny helped me settle on my starter.

Hands down the best thing we learned about the Galar Region today is the existence of the “Wild Area.”

The Wild Area is ostensively a Breath of the Wild-esque open world that connects towns with free-roaming movement and camera controls. It also has overworld wild Pokémon like Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee who change via environment and time of day.

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

Also it has local multiplayer roaming elements. Need I say more?

Luckily Galar’s human inhabitants don’t seem too bad either.

 

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

Professor Magnolia is an obvious Queen Elizabeth reference and the first female Professor since Juniper, while her Granddaughter Sonia…

Already has a lot of smut drawn of her.

Because she’s really cute and that’s how the internet does.

 

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

Meanwhile Hop is our generic rival/friend-type who has a name eerily similar to both Hau and Hugh… Because Game Freak loves rivals with ‘H’ names apparently.

His older brother is Leon, the region champion and person Hop wants to defeat.

Personally I think the gameplay themes of Pokémon could have been utilized better if Leon was your character’s brother that you aspire to beat. But early revealing a beloved, undefeated champion with links to other major characters possibly sets up a fun secret villain twist.

Or maybe he’ll be Henry VII like I said earlier:


New Pokémon

That’s enough about boring people. In today’s Direct we got to meet new Pokémon.

Glossifleur and Eldegoss

 

Images courtesy of serebii.net

The signature line of Galar’s gym leader Milo, Glossifleur and Eldegoss are cute in their own right.

I’m not enamored with them necessarily, but the fact that they have Regenerator as an ability means we can probably expect to see a little meta action out of them if their stats are decent.

Wooloo

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

He’s a fluffy sheep and he rolls around like Sonic.

Not sure I need to say anything else about this beloved Normal-type.

Corviknight

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

Corviknight is easily the big winner of today’s Direct.

This super rad armored raven is a killer Steel/Flying-type that puts Skarmory to shame and has the hilarious role of being intertown fast travel.

I’d let this boy caw in my face and fly me to a new place in a heartbeat.

Drednaw

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of Drednaw.

It’s typing and abilities are decent, but something about the design is a little too… Rough around the edges for me.

Four out of five ain’t bad.

All of the new and returning Pokémon will interact with the world, either free in the Wild Area or playing hopscotch with NPCs like we see a Wynaut in the trailer.

I can’t emphasize how much I love that aspect of these games.

However, there are two Pokémon that astute viewers will notice I’ve missed. Unfortunately they comprise the first negative thing I have to say.


The Legendaries

 

Images courtesy of serebii.net

Meet Zacian and Zamazenta, the Legendary Pokémon of Galar.

Zacian is a good boy who runs around with a sword in his mouth and I love him.

Zamazenta is literally the exact same Pokémon but carrying a different weapon.

Whose decision was it to make the Legendary Pokémon so similar? I could see there being lore about the same Pokémon with different held items, but Cosmog kind of just did that idea. And Solgaleo/Lunala at least weren’t a bland duo.

Maybe they would have worked in a Rome-themed Region playing off of Romulus and Remus. But as it stands I’m ambivalent at best.


Dynamax

Pokémon changes mechanics frequently to keep things fresh.

Up to Gen 4’s physical/special move split, most of those changes were integral to underlying battle mechanisms that evolved the games.

Mega Evolution in Gen 6 was arguably the first “spectacle” battle mechanic — if you don’t count Chatot in Gen 4 or the sometimes still relevant Triple Battles.

Megas were a selling point by all accounts, something unique to Kalos. But it was a tastefully handled gimmick that gave old favorites new potential and meshed well with series’ themes of bonding with Pokémon. It remains popular.

Much less tastefully handled was Gen 7’s Z-Moves that provided a once-per-battle super attack which was only interesting when tied to a handful of unique Pokémon.

They were situational and not nearly as well conceived.

Now we have Dynamaxing: A similar limited-per-battle gimmick that turns Pokémon giant and essentially gives them a full set of Z-Moves for three turns.

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Image courtesy of serebii.net

I like some aspects of the Dynamax system, but overall I believe it could do more harm than good.

In the Wild Area, local co-op allows trainers to take on Dynamax Pokémon together.

This is cool, but I hope co-op isn’t limited to it. The main selling point of Dynamax Raids is encountering Pokémon you can’t find otherwise, but you’ll need a little more to impress a 22-year-old Pokémon scholar who already owns every creature.

They also appear to be giving every gym leader the ability to Dynamax, and I love the idea of making tougher challenges with unique mechanics. Like how Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire used Mega Evolution in its Pokémon League.

But Kaiju Pokémon are more restrictive than Megas design-wise.

Every gym in Galar will be a soccer stadium with an open ceiling for these Dynamax transformations. The developers use this to emphasize an idea of battling as spectator sport in Galar, but uniform gyms remove the uniqueness of a palace designed by its inhabitants from earlier games.

Part of why I love Black and White 2 is because every gym was unique down to the remix of the same theme for each building. That was awesome, and we might lose that uniqueness because of Dynamaxing.


And that, ladies and mentlegen, is today’s Sword and Shield info dump.

I might not be super impressed with Dynamax or the game’s Legendaries, but I’m still incredible stoked for new Pokémon games.

And I’m stoked to talk about about the build-up to them!

This post didn’t even touch on enhancements to Sun and Moon’s RotomDex, or my fan theory that the train system in Galar looks incredible similar to the unused train station of Couriway Town in Kalos.

Let me know all your thoughts about Pokémon Sword and Shield somewhere on the Internet, because lord knows I’ll be thinking of nothing else for the next week!

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

My craziest Fire Emblem Heroes orb binge yet

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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



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

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

Alm’s Army

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

Celica’s Army

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

However… He stops when coming to a different conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Summoning focus details? Check.

Added story and drama? Check.

Extra bonus content?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well… Yes.

Yes it was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Very simply yet elegantly put together by cyv001


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… Maybe.