I’ll be talking about the larger, more exciting subjects (to me) in detail before lumping the rest together for a quick mop-up at the end. So if you want to follow along, feel free! I’ll try to include individual trailer links where possible.
That said, let’s a go!
Super Mario Maker 2
Oh man, if there was any reason to own a Wii U, it was Super Mario Maker.
When I got mine, it was in a Mario Maker bundle that included this neat Mario Amiibo:
I spent hours making levels on the game pad, and the sheer amount of creativity oozing out of all corners of the Nintendo universe during its time in the spotlight was something to behold!
Given the first game’s pedigree and the sheer amount of improvements for an already creative powerhouse, I’ll be more than happy to drop some money on this come June.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
There was a decent amount of RPG news for fans to soak up in this Direct.
Dragon Quest had Builders 2 — even though I forgot the first game was a thing — and 11S Definitive Edition. I haven’t personally played a DQ game, but 11 looks like a fun, polished game with a cute 16-bit mode.
If nothing else, I’ll be expecting the protagonist as a Smash Bros. DLC.
The original Final Fantasy 7 and 9 Switch ports got some recognition, as did Chocobo Mystery Dungeon. Plus Square Enix has Oninaki coming, which looks pretty.
The segment kicked off with a lore-filled cinematic about the titular three houses in this new continent, the customizable player protagonist’s place in the story and more.
The leaders of the three houses — Edelgard of the Adrestian Empire, Dimitri of the Kingdom of Faerghus and Claude of the Leicester Alliance — all got some attention too. You only get to choose one, which will presumably branch into three campaigns.
Only this time we just have to buy one game!
The most interesting thing about Three Houses is that it looks like a high school anime, filled with vaguely Harry Potter-esque sensibilities and Fire Emblem mechanics.
Rather than a tactician, you are a teacher with students making up your ‘army.’
All of the battles (presumably before a real war breaks out) are considered training assignments, despite featuring such tasks as “quashing rebellions.”
In general the premise and scope of the game seems very interesting compared to most Fire Emblem titles. I’m excited to see where they go with it!
… I’m also excited to see Intelligent Systems announce a Heroes banner with the three leader characters sometime before the July 26 release date.
I know the original 1993 GameBoy version has been available on multiple platforms for years, but I’ve never gotten around to it.
Now I can justify putting it off by saying I waited for this brand new experience in an absolutely adorable Pikmin-esque art style!
The ‘2019’ release date is vague, but Marin humming the game’s theme over the end card sent a shiver down my spine. So I’m ready to wait for you, Wind Fish.
Those were my high points in today’s Direct, but there were plenty of other games spotlighted!
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got a lame teaser for it’s upcoming 3.0.0 update where we found out nothing, other than Amiibo coming for the Belmonts and Pokémon Trainer.
Updates were announced for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Starlink, the latter featuring more Star Fox characters. I don’t own either, but still neat.
Demos were announced for Yoshi’s Crafted World, Daemon X Machina and Tetris 99.
… The last of which being a battle royale-styled Tetris game? I’m definitely going to have to try that and see if it’s as weird as it sounds.
Hellblade, Dead by Daylight and Rune Factory 4 are all getting ports for the Switch (plus Rune Factory 5 was announced). I’m not sure I’ll have the time to get to those over everything else, but I’ve heard great things about them all.
Mortal Kombat 11 and a remasted Assassin’s Creed 3 (from what I understand the best of the series) are coming to Switch.
Yet there were games I didn’t particularly care for, like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Box Box + Box Girl (basically my TI-83 calculator game), Disney Tsum Tsum Festival and GRID Autosport car racing among them.
But that said, it’s hard to say there’s not something here for everyone, even if they aren’t for me!
… Unless you’re a fan of Bayonetta. Because Bayonetta 3 only got a brief ‘in progress’ mention after PlatinumGames‘ Astral Chains was announced.
Still, the future of the Nintendo Switch continues to be promising!
Which games stood out most to you in today’s Direct? Let me know, I’d love to start up some conversations!
After pouring over 70 hours into the game, I think it’s safe to say that I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Ultimate is probably the first Smash Bros. game that I would argue has stellar single player content which really jives with the way I like to play games, even if it doesn’t have a Subspace Emissary mode ala Smash Bros. Brawl.
Subspace Emissary offered a healthy mix of story-driven character interactions, platforming-based overworld sections, Smash fighter duels and big boss encounters to bring something to the table for everyone.
It even had secret characters hidden within the platforming sections who could only be unlocked via finding them. That’s a super cool reward for putting time into the game!
Plus it had couch co-op for anyone playing with a friend.
But for all the positivity Brawl offered for solo players, Subspace Emissary did shine brightest when playing it cooperatively. Also beyond that mode, it mostly survived among my friend group because of how fun it was to do regular Smash battles on custom-made stages.
What Smash Ultimate lacks in a story as character-driven as Subspace Emissary, it more than makes up for with the amount of care poured into the details of World of Light’s adventure and individualized Classic Mode routes.
I figure I’ll dive into each individually, making room for my change pertaining to Classic specifically.
World of Light
World of Light has a vague overarcing plot. Kirby must set out to save every other Smash fighter, as they have been captured by Galeem, the lord of light, and replicated for nefarious purposes.
In terms of interactions between characters, World of Light is lacking.
Instead it centers around Spirits, over 1,000 characters curated from just about any Nintendo (and third party) title that have taken over the mindless puppet fighters.
These Spirits are battled across a world map chock full of references. For instance, there’s an entire town made up of Nintendo consoles just underneath Lumiose City from Pokémon X & Y, and it can be revealed that the entire town is powered by a facility utilizing the electricity of Zapfish from Splatoon.
Each of the battles with Smash Ultimate’s Spirits also have great care put into how their source material is referenced.
One of my favorites is the Legendary Dogs from Pokémon:
But there’s a whole lot more to love, from a Dr. Wily battle where Dr. Mario hides behind eight metal Mega Men to a classic Donkey Kong spirit that has you fight alongside Peach against a massive DK on the arcade game’s stage.
Even this little indie gem:
And those are just a few of the hundreds of Spirit battles. I powered through the somewhat grind-heavy adventure just to see as many of them as I could.
That’s the power of well-crafted references. World of Light and the corresponding Spirit Board has them in spades, but even more come forth with Classic Mode.
Masahiro Sakurai’s team put just as much care into giving every fighter a unique Classic Mode route that fits their character.
At this point I’m kind of an expert in the subject:
There are three categories of Classic routes I would separate all 74 into.
References to the character’s game series or a particular storyline.
Combining opponents by color or theme based on the character’s interests.
Playing with the character’s quirks.
The first category has some of the most fun Classic runs.
Mega Man follows the story of his second adventure by taking on eight characters before fighting a giant robot, then Dr. Wily (Dr. Mario), then Mewtwo as an alien version of Wily.
Ryu fights proxy Street Fighter representatives and is the only one with Stamina battles (similar to fighting game life bars).
For characters that group things together, there’s a ton of variety.
Marth only fights dragons, ending off with a battle against Monster Hunter’s Rathalos.
Bowser fights red costumed fighters in reference to his hatred for Mario.
In the last category, you have unique rule sets.
Kirby fights characters that are known for eating, and only food items spawn.
Mewtwo takes control of one of his previous round’s opponents to be a teammate in the next.
There’s so much to love about Classic Mode in Smash Ultimate that the one (in my opinion) glaring execution error shines.
With all of the variety exuding in each route, far too many end with a fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand.
They are the biggest representatives of the Smash series as a whole, so it makes sense that they would be the default final boss. But the amount of times I groaned seeing them show when I expected someone else were far too frequent.
Why don’t more of the Mario characters battle Giga Bowser, for example?
It seems like a small thing, but the routes that go all-out on final bosses are the best. Toon Link’s Classic Mode is based on the Four Swords Games, and culminates in a four-on-one battle against Ganon from Ocarina of Time.
Now I’m not complaining to Sakurai’s team. They did so much more than they had to with Ultimate, and I love everything about it!
But if I could make any change to the end product, I would have added a more diverse boss battles.
Not just by handing out the six World of Light bosses more readily. So much more could have been achieved by adding a few Classic Mode-exclusive bosses as well.
I would have cranked the nostalgia machine up a few notches by adding a boss related to each of the eight original Smash 64 characters.
Mario, Link and Kirby already have representatives with Giga Bowser, Ganon and Marx. But imagine this:
Adding just a few extra bosses would add a ton of diversity and surprise for players who took on the World of Light first and might assume they’ve seen everything.
Again, don’t take this as me complaining about the end product in any serious manner. I’m simply a fan of all things Nintendo and can’t help but drool at the thought of even more iconography being brought together with such a well-crafted game.
That being said, what else would you want to see added into Smash Ultimate if you were on the dev team? It doesn’t even have to stick to bosses: Characters, alternate skins or items are always fun points of discussion as well!
Let me know in the comments or somewhere on the Internet, because even as I transition into playing Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee with my sister, I’m still thinking all about that Smash.
Been a little while since I jumped into one of these ‘my thoughts’ posts, but I got pretty into the Twitter hype after the Smash Ultimate Direct this morning and it felt like a good topic to kill some time talking about!
Certainly a better topic than school stuff right now.
BUT that’s why we have distractions like video games to keep us sane as we stare into the void. Between this and that little Delta Rune thing Toby Fox put out yesterday I’ll likely have a couple video game-related posts this weekend just to keep my stress levels down.
In the interest of time I don’t think I’m going to go into each and every detail of every minute part-by-part like I would if this was a general Nintendo Direct. I’m going to pick out the most interesting/relevant bits and have a basic discussion on each of them.
Let’s a go.
As our boy Masahiro Sakurai said, all 74 characters in the game have now been confirmed. Up until now we only had 72, with this Direct revealing the final few:
Ken (Street Fighter): I didn’t play a whole lot of Ryu in Smash 4. He was a DLC character and I never went through with buying any of that game’s DLC. So having an echo fighter of Ryu in his eternal rival Ken, while pretty sweet from a content/lore standpoint, doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot to me.
It’ll be cool to watch people have Street Fighter fights in the middle of a Smash Bros. game, though.
Incineroar: Now, personal bias coming into play, I would have preferred to see Decidueye get into Smash over Incineroar. Because Rowlet is mah BOI.
But I can’t deny that Incineroar looks pretty incredible and makes a lot of sense from a fighting-game perspective. He’s all about grapples and throws as a professional wrestler in Pokémon, so why wouldn’t he fit into a fighting game like this?
I also love how hard this guy goes. I tweeted this morning in the midst of my hype after seeing a picture on Serebii because, well…
Alright so I know the #Smash community is all over everyone getting obliterated by light right now, but can we talk about how Smash Ultimate’s motto is literally “let’s introduce brutal characters to kill the old cast?” pic.twitter.com/rbzMvZF0nY
While those two are the last fighters being implemented into the official game, there are also DLC characters coming some time in the near future. The first one announced as a bonus for pre-ordering the game is…
It’s about as weird a choice as it sounds. Especially since it’s still planted in a pipe and just… Has feet underneath that pipe?
I might have preferred if they went down the Petey Piranha route, but Petey is his final smash so I guess I can’t complain.
I’ll probably be more willing to buy the DLC on this ultimate version for the Switch anyway.
Gotta love how Nintendo does season pass content, but unlike every other company on the planet does so in a way we know we can trust it because this is Sakurai’s baby.
Oh, also I would be remiss not to mention that there’s assist trophies coming in from Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, ARMS, Mega Man, Fatal Frame, the Art Academy series and more. A whole bunch of good additions in my opinion!
Now here’s an interesting idea. Instead of having collectible trophies like in most other Smash games, this time around we have subsidiary characters available as Spirits.
The lore behind them seems like over-complicated junk — and part of the next thing I’ll discuss.
So the important thing is that in certain modes, you can choose Spirits to give your fighter power-ups. They’re like the collectible trophies from before, but actually provide a useful service in-game.
That’s super neat!
The Spirits come in four levels that offer differing levels of support:
And can only be assigned one at a time. There’s a weapon triangle system to the abilities of each Spirit, similar to Fire Emblem. However, much like gear in Monster Hunter, you can also attach other Spirits onto your primary one to provide additional skills.
To unlock the Spirits you have to go through challenge battles against a fighter themed after the character, which is another really cool way to incorporate things from earlier Smash games.
Also, there’s this individual training system and trade-in mechanic that’s similar to Fire Emblem Heroes where you can get Spirits, send them away to get cores that can be exchanged for new Spirits.
Plus there’s a casual time-based system where they can go out and find items like it’s a mobile game.
And Doc Louis from Punch-Out runs the training gym.
I swear, these guys put so much effort into optimizing, polishing and streamlining that we should give them all of the awards right now.
Long story short, I’m very ready to get lost in Spirits.
World of Light
After years of asking, it seems like Smash Ultimate is going to have a story mode! Though it’s a little different than Brawl’s Subspace Emissary.
Instead of going through character-driven missions across full-fledged platforming worlds, it seems like World of Light is more akin to a Kirby Star Allies-esque overworld that has challenge battles at each stop.
There is an overarching story of sorts where Kirby is the sole survivor of an apocalyptic flash of light and has to save each of the other fighters from having copies that are taken over by Spirits.
Which sounds way weirder than it is considering that was essentially the threat in Subspace Emissary as well — just with Spirits, clearly a tie-in to the new mechanic in Smash Ultimate.
Looks like it’s going to be fun, and I’m glad to get a story mode again. I just don’t have very much to say about it right now.
My only semi-serious complaint is that I prefer the orchestral version of the Smash Ultimate theme to the Square Enix style anime vocal version of it used in the trailer for the story mode.
But that’s probably just me.
Now I didn’t talk about everything here today. Plenty of the Direct was spent talking about things like online mode changes and optimization.
Or the 11 languages supported in-game.
Or the fact that you can make and post videos off of saved battle Replays.
But like I said, I just wanted to discuss the things that stood out to me right now.
So, that said, tell me what you thought about the Smash Direct! Are you even more excited about the game now? Because I know I am.
This truly is the ultimate version of Sakurai’s baby, and I’m more than willing to go on the journey that he and his team have created.
Luckily the holidays are coming up, so I have something to ask for this year!
As would be expected for an Apple product, this port is actually a general iOS title available on iPhone and iPad as well. On those devices the control schemes are based on virtually imposed joysticks and buttons. To be expected on any sort of iOS port or emulator in my experience.
… Not that I emulate games on my iPhone. I just saw that sort of thing going around a lot back in high school as different people played Pokémon on their phones.
Obviously the Apple TV doesn’t have a touch screen, so that begs the question. How exactly do you control Sonic the Hedgehog using an Apple TV remote?
Spoiler alert. Very. Very badly.
Yeah… This is a thing. Whoever decided to give a platformer swipe-sensitive controls like this is some kind of person.
While the controls are rather atrocious, there are other things about this port that simply baffle me.
For one, the game’s App Store information page suggests that the title is free with in-app purchases. But Juan and I looked through every conceivable place and couldn’t find a single microtransaction.
They didn’t even pull something dirty and offer a continue when you game over for a few bucks. There’s just no in-app purchases.
So why did they advertise them?
Also, when you first load up the game, the first major studio credit after SEGA themselves is Christian Whitehead. Which blew both our minds.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Whitehead is one of the chief members of the team who developed the widely successful Sonic Mania for SEGA for the blue blur’s 25th anniversary. He’s a mega-fan that did such good work with such a passionate interest in the series that he actually got to add onto its canon.
So what was his name doing on a port of the original Sonic game on my Apple TV?
In all honesty, as much as I joke about the baffling controls on this hilariously placed port, I might actually keep playing it. Assuming I can get past Marble Garden Zone sometime soon — it’s easily the worst thing in this game and I’ve only seen up to it.
I missed out on being able to play Sonic when it first had its run because I was a Nintendo kid primarily. So it’ll be really cool to go back and experience the original game in the series that has become such a… Controversial mainstay in our popular culture.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even talk about the game as a game on here at some point. We’ll see.
With my sickness beginning to fade away, I spent part of the day hanging out with the core four friends. Minus Tiana because she had work, apparently.
Nice going being responsible, nerd.
… He says while sitting on a 6,000 word interview to translate into a story.
Gosh the tangent game is still strong right now. I really shouldn’t let myself succumb to stream of consciousness writing when I’m not feeling good. Especially when I actually sort of have a point to what I’m writing for once.
Two of the games we played have been on my interest list for some time, and playing them led me to some different, interesting conclusions about what to put my money down on.
So I figured I’d talk about them. Because it’s getting late and I don’t have anything else to write about today.
Hollow Knight is a game I’ve been eyeing for a long, long time. It has been highly recommended to me umpteenth times by my boy Kyle, and I’ve seen it on a number of ‘best of’ lists since it came out.
Essentially, the game is a metroidvania-style sidescroller that has very striking similarities to Bloodborne/the Dark Souls series (as Jonathan couldn’t help but pointing out over and over again). It has a super great art style and supposedly goes into some really cool things with its story and lore.
When Nintendo announced Hollow Knight would be dropping on the Switch during its E3 presentation this year, I was very excited to know I might have the opportunity to try it out soon. However, when Aly finished her sophomore year a few months ago, we decided to spend $15 on Wizard of Legend instead. It’s great couch co-op for the two of us, and I don’t regret the decision at all, it just happened to push-off possibly buying this title.
So I didn’t have the chance to try the game until Jonathan brought his Switch over today.
Honestly? I found myself more intrigued than ever.
While the movement controls felt a little more floaty than I had anticipated, I’m willing to chalk that up to not having a lot of time to mess around with the game overall. I imagine it’s something I’d get used to with a lot of personal time to focus on it without being trolled by all my friends as they watch my constant deaths.
It has a really, really interesting self-heal mechanic based on how many enemies you kill, and every moment felt reminiscent of my childhood playing games like Metroid: Zero Mission while offering a unique aura of dread to its presentation that perfectly complimented the mystery underlying everything.
We got through two bosses and I felt like I wanted to play so much more after we switched it off. That’s the sign of a good game, in my opinion.
So yes, Hollow Knight definitely lived up to my expectations in the short-term, and I’m considering buying it more than ever. But it wasn’t the only thing we played, as soon after we jumped into:
Splatoon 2: The Octo Expansion
I listed Splatoon 2 on my personal top games of 2017 list, but I put it rather low. Mostly because as much as I enjoy the IP, not enough felt different from the original game to seemingly warrant a sequel for any reason other than to transition from the dying Wii U to the shining new Switch console.
When the Octo Expansion was first announced I was intrigued. A whole new additional story mode certainly seemed like exactly what I felt Splatoon 2 needed the first time around. However, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth spending the extra money.
Especially considering I abandoned the game some time ago and would need some time to jump back into it and get used to the controls once again.
Now that I’ve played the game on Jonathan’s account (thanks again my guy, you the best), I have to say… My suspicions were confirmed.
Now I’m pretty confident that the original Splatoon 2 package should have just been Splatoon 1 DLC. The Octo Expansion should have been the story mode of Splatoon 2 from the get go, not extra content a few years down the line.
The world that the Octo Expansion creates is fascinating in that not only does it mess with themes of racism (better than Detroit: Become Human as we all joked while playing it), but it also builds on the lore established in Splatoon 1 in an honestly brilliant way.
Essentially, the idea is that you play an Octoling — one of the higher-ups in the army opposing the Inklings in both games — who has been converted from their ‘evil’ side by the power of the music played by Callie and Marie during the endgame fight in Splatoon 1. The Octoling encounters the protagonist of the first game and winds up having to go through a journey to get to the surface world so they can join the Inklings that live there.
If you’re concerned all that is a spoiler, it’s all in the opening cutscene for the expansion, so it’s really not. They start to build up the lore quick!
The way it incorporates elements from the first title into its DNA in a clever way earns massive points for the Octo Expansion in my mind. Especially since it builds on the gameplay as well by offering a large number of more difficult challenges to test a player’s platforming and gunplay.
We had fun with the expansion by having my play through the Wily’s Castle-style multi-stage endgame section, which was hilarious just because I had to get used to the game again by doing the hardest stuff it offers.
On the one hand I’d say it was worth it because the endgame stuff helped make me way more interested in the lore of the world beyond what I already mentioned. They do some AWESOME stuff with the final boss. Stuff that, like I said, should have been around the first time around.
But on the other hand, now that I’ve seen the endgame content I’m not sure I’m more encouraged to buy the extra expansion or not.
I’m intrigued by the challenge and think it would be worth redoing that endgame just to have the bragging rights on my personal account. Yet I’ve seen it now and have had time to absorb what happened, so I think I could spend my money better by buying other big games coming out in the near future.
Seriously though. Mario Party. Smash Bros. Pokémon. Monster Hunter. Mega Man Dragonball So on and so forth.
There are a ton of games coming out soon-ish that I’d love to buy that are more expensive than both Hollow Knight and the Octo Expansion.
My wallet cries out in indecision. Do I buy games now? Or do I wait for the gratification of games I want later?
I suppose I’ll have time to decide, but the pain of having to decide in the first place is almost worse than my sick right now.
Oh well, at least I’ve now had the pleasure of trying out both these games. That way I have a much more well-defined opinion of my interests to jump on whenever I do decide.
That said, what do you think? Should I spring for one of these two games now? Or should I hold on and see what I can get later?
Let me know! I’d love to hear what some of you think about some current games.
I’ve had a bit of a hectic week and not a lot of time to pay attention to the gaming scene, but I didn’t want to miss out on one of these beat reports after I already did last week thanks to the convention I attended.
So this is going to be a little more short and to the point, just to show that I’ve been paying some attention to my entertainment beat for class. Hope you all enjoy or learn something either way!
March 8, 2018 Nintendo Direct
Gaming’s biggest name (arguably, but I’d stand by that) made waves across the internet on Thursday when they put on a Nintendo Direct showcasing all of the new stuff coming to stores and e-shops in the near future.
I could talk for hours dissecting each and every little announcement that was made… But frankly I still have not watched the whole thing. As I said, time has not exactly been on my side recently.
Despite this, Nintendo includes a summary of everything they announced in the description of the archived stream, so even if I would usually dedicate a whole expansive post to this topic I can run through my thoughts on everything in short form.
I’ll try to be quick and painless with it.
The 3DS will have a number of new titles in the near future: WarioWare Gold, Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers as a sequel to Dillon’s Rolling Western and a remake of Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story.
As a side note, I’m still confused as to why Bowser’s Inside Story is next on the docket here. Superstar Saga had a remake not too long ago, but theoretically the next game on the list should be Partners in Time if they’re going in order on the Mario RPG kick. Perhaps that’s a discussion for another day…
Detective Pikachu will be coming out soon, and Nintendo announced a remake of the GameCube classic Luigi’s Mansion on 3DS. Coming… Sometime soon. Definitely looking forward to that one.
Kirby Star Allies, coming out later this month, will allow players to travel with old Kirby staple characters and companions – most notably including the animal buddies from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and Marx, the (Spoilers? I guess?) arch-villain in Kirby Super Star.
Okami HD will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, as will a game called Sushi Striker (a puzzle fighting game based on Sushi I believe?), Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Undertale, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, the Crash N. Sane Trilogy and so, so much more. Seriously, so many games here that are worth your time it’s crazy.
Dark Souls Remastered will have its own special Amiibo based on Solaria of Astora and his famously meme-worthy “praise the sun” pose when launched. Still looking forward to trying this one.
Splatoon 2 will receive an expansion with Version 3.0 and $20 paid DLC that’s going to add a whole hell of a lot. More stages, outfits, competitive rankings and even new single player experiences. Who knows, maybe this is the kind of thing that could get me back into that game… If I’d be willing to pay the money, I suppose.
Finally, the one that truly broke the internet: Super Smash Brothers is coming to Nintendo Switch. Whether it will be a port of Smash 4 or a new game entirely is not yet known, but it appears like the Inklings from Splatoon are new fighters and Link has been updated to fit his appearance in Breath of the Wild. Though I’m still a huge fan of the Twilight Princess Link, it’ll be interesting to see how that change plays out.
Also if you haven’t watched the video yet, go see the Smash teaser where the Inkling has the fiery Smash logo in her eyes. It’s one of my favorite hilarious visuals in a long time.
Seriously how nice must it be when details like that line up? It’s almost serendipity that years after this character was created we can appreciate unintentionally meta humor like this.
Once Google Maps have been updated, anyone can hit the question block in the corner of the screen to have a 3D model of the plumber replace their car as it travels along the blue line toward a destination. It’s a small, kind of silly idea… But a cool one all the same.
Besides, considering the Pokémon April Fools joke from a couple of years ago helped lead to Pokémon GO, maybe this is just test driving a new Mario Kart mobile platform.
Pun only slightly intended.
Mario Kart-style go-kart track will open this Spring
Nintendo sure has been busy recently, haven’t they?
It has been a long time since I’ve gone go karting, so I can’t exactly say I’m excited by the prospects of going again now that I’m way too big to do so probably, but it is pretty cool to imagine playing Mario Kart in real life.
Plus, you can totally have Mario guide your way to the Mario Kart tracks if you choose to drive there this week. Who can argue with that?
Overwatch League host harassed for comments made on International Women’s Day
On finally not Nintendo news, here’s something back with our local Orange County favorite Blizzard.
Unfortunately, this might not be as good a publicity pull as the company might want in the midst of their League’s second stage.
Really from what I’ve been able to find, that’s about as deep as this story gets. There’s a little more back-and-forth about what she did afterward in the story I have linked above, but I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation.
I just think it’s interesting that there was a vitriolic response to what seems like such a simple, encouraging message. Guess that’s just the nature of the world we live in today.
President Trump held meeting about violence in video games following Parkland shooting
The Parkland shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, 2018 left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Personally I’m not sure that kind of thing needs to be there necessarily… But I guess it is.
That same article says the meeting was “unproductive and bizarre,” with little discussion on potentially being able to restrict companies in what they can produce. More of the discussion was focused on voluntary measures and more robust age restrictions.
Another point worth noting about this story is different groups pointing to it as a “distraction tactic” in leu of talking about gun control, which says a lot with the March for our Lives march planned by students to talk about guns and mass shootings later this month.
Like I said before, things have been busy for me so I haven’t exactly gotten the chance to appreciate a wider scope of news — as I’m sure is obvious by the amount of Nintendo dominating the charts here.
If there is any news I missed that you were interested in, please let me know about it in the comments below! I know I can’t hit everything, so it’d be great to know exactly what I wasn’t paying attention to.
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
You may think I’m strange for celebrating the six-month anniversary of a mobile game, but I can assure you that I haven’t been obsessivly counting down the days since release. I’m just jumping on the celebration boat Intelligent Systems has set afloat!
After all, if Duel Links and Fire Emblem Heroes have taught me anything, it’s that mobile games apparently really enjoy celebrating half a year’s worth of existing.
It’s strange to think that this game is already half a year old. To be completely honest, I’m not sure whether or not that seems like a long time ago or not long ago at all. The last semester of school I endured was such a slog for a variety of reasons that I feel like things changed completely between the beginning of Spring 2017 and now.
Yet, I can still distinctly remember the day when Fire Emblem Heroes dropped as if it were yesterday. I remember riding down one of the elevators in the College Park building on campus with (I believe) my friend Megan there next to me, trying out a game that had just been announced not long prior, one that I was very excited for in the midst of still playing Pokémon Moon. The classic music and game art was so refreshing for a mobile game that I instantly fell in love.
Hell, even in this small niche I’m trying to carve out for myself I’m not totally convinced anyone wants to read my long-winded speeches about this game. I certainly never expected Fire Emblem Heroes to blossom into being the biggest thing I talk about into this void I call my blog after that initial review I wrote, but here we are. I suppose the game is just a gift that keeps on giving.
Hopefully the new Arts & Entertainment editor for the Daily Titan will be as accepting of stupidly intimate game reviews as Kaleb was…
That’s probably more than enough waxing poetic for one day. I was the one who made a joke about celebrating a six-month anniversary at the beginning of this post, after all. Now here I am talking endlessly about fond memories for a game only six months old.
Though I suppose I can appreciate the overall sentiment of celebrating this. In a time where we’re constantly barraged by stimuli of all kinds and live through an interconnected virtual web that has the memory of a fruit fly, any new venture that manages to last six months without really losing a hefty degree of zeal from its fan base certainly seems like something to celebrate.
ESPECIALLY in the field of free-to-play mobile games. I’m sure most of those things die off fast from frustrating their core player base alone.
Plus, it’s not like I can complain about a celebration. The game is planning to celebrate their anniversary with free goods, after all!
The most important thing going on for the game’s six-month anniversary, I’d argue, is the big orb dump. The game will be providing two log-in bonus events that provide players 20 orbs if they log in ten times over two week periods. One starts today and goes until the 21st, while the other starts the 22nd and will go until September 10th.
40 orbs? Not a bad deal, Nintendo. I can respect that.
As I’ve expressed plenty of times in the past, one of my biggest idiosyncrasies when it comes to Fire Emblem Heroes is a strange peace of mind and security that comes with hoarding a large quantity of orbs just in case a certain hero arrives that I desperately need in my (probably somewhat pathetic realistically speaking) virtual life.
My last hoarding session was cut off somewhat pre-maturely by the arrival of the second summer heroes banner, but since I managed to summon summer Elise:
I’ve been pretty good about saving up again. Sorry Xander, as much as I love your Lilith floatation device, I gotta start saving up again. Plus most of the tier lists say Elise is better anyway. So there.
Speaking of summer heroes, this six-month anniversary celebration began the day after our last Voting Gauntlet ended. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I felt it was worth bringing up, so this seemed like a good transition.
Overall I did pretty poorly.
I lost the first two rounds when backing my girl Elise against Corrin before joining my friends to back Robin against Corrin, but she steamrolled me both times. Then I supported Corrin in the final round and…
Naturally we destroyed Gaius, who is ironically my favorite guy from the first summer summoning banner. Funny how that works.
These Voting Gauntlets don’t tend to mean much outside of getting some extra feathers, however, so really that’s about all I have to say on the matter. Except for the fact that they added some extra orb rewards on each cycle of the rounds, which was a much appreciated addition.
Keep that up I’d say. It definitely encouraged me to participate in the event more often.
Getting back into the meat and potatoes of this post, the six-month anniversary celebration isn’t just a couple of orb showers.
Though they haven’t arrived yet, part of the celebration will include two limited edition special map challenges and two presumably prize-heavy quest lines toward the end of August. Given the nature of those events I don’t believe I’ll be talking about them on here that much, but just know they’ll more than likely include lots of orbs, lots of colored level-up stones and some new Sacred Seals.
Also later this month, starting on Thursday actually, there’s going to be some events meant to help Fire Emblem Heroes newcomers… Though the events will also be beneficial to veterans like myself, if not more beneficial. A second “Hero Fest” banner will be coming for a week, allowing players to get the chance at popular heroes with an increased summoning chance. Plus, there will be a secondary log-in bonus to coincide with the starter support event that I believe will overlap with the anniversary bonus and give us an additional 20 orbs.
That’s at least 60 orbs, not including whatever we’re going to get from those special maps and quests I mentioned before.
I didn’t personally take advantage of the first Hero Fest when it rolled around since it happened during my very first orb collection binge (the one that got me to 200+ orbs I might add), though I get the feeling this one might sway me more easily if the heroes are desirable enough.
The reason this Hero Fest might sway me is also thanks to the final part of the anniversary celebration: Core summoning changes. Two of them to be exact.
First, a free first summon has been implemented.
Pretty much what you read is what you get with this one. Every time a new banner is released, the first five orb cost to summon one hero is waved. One hero free of charge.
While it isn’t much, the teaser given in regards to this change stands pretty true. Everyone can try each banner at least once, and there’s no harm in that when you have the possibility of drawing one of the rare focus heroes in that first summon.
Because that’s what we all say before sinking money into the pit hoping to get that hero we’ve already invested time and effort into finding.
Second, the rates of summoning four star and three star heroes have been switched. Now, starting with every summoning banner released on August 7th and beyond, it will actually be more common to summon four star heroes rather than three star heroes.
Before the change
After the change
This change, despite not applying to the ‘Summer focus’ and ‘Life and Death focus’ banners we already had before today, is actually really beneficial. If nothing else it makes it a lot easier to get your hands on higher leveled units that take less investment to train up if desirable, and there are a lot of abilities you can inherit that come from four star allies.
Since it ties in with a lot of what I talked about already, I figured it would also be worth brining up the Bound Hero Battle that began today featuring Cecilia and Lilina from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
This special map collection offers a challenging map layout with three difficulty levels for summoners to try their hands at. The catch with each difficulty level is that you can’t lose a single unit. Once one of your four heroes dies, you automatically lose.
It’s a bit of a brutal task for sure, but those who have the skills to take it on can net themselves an extra nine orbs to put in the bank. Don’t think I’ll be able to beat the Infernal level since it really does live up to it’s name, but I’ve already beaten Hard and have a good strategy going for Lunatic, so we’ll have to see.
The special map challenge also comes with a brand new summoning focus:
With the focus on Roy, Cecilia and Lilina, this banner overall isn’t really for me. I already have all three heroes in my collection, so the increased chance at nabbing them really isn’t all that appealing. I still figured it would be worth mentioning, however, as this banner is the first to implement both the free first summon and the swapped summoning chances that I mentioned earlier.
I used my free summon and got a four star Stahl. He’s pretty useless… But the fact that I got a four star with my free summon kind of proves that something in the new system is working, right? I like to think so, anyway.
All of these new things in the game also coincide with the version 1.6 update, an update that includes a variety of changes also worth talking about… But changes that I’m not sure I have the energy for tonight.
Seriously, it’s right around 2 a.m. and this post has taken me much longer to write than I anticipated. While rambling ceaselessly in the early hours of the morning has served me well in the past, I’m afraid I’m just a little too tired to keep going. Probably in part due to feeling sick over the last couple of days, something which honestly should have driven me to bed sooner anyway.
Ah well, ’tis the life of a Masochist I suppose.
Because I have some time with my friends later today (during normal daytime hours) and orientation for the Daily Titan throughout the week, I think I’ll skip out on the version 1.6 talk tonight. If anything I’ll include that as a post-lengthener when I talk about the Hero Fest on Thursday, though it could come earlier if I feel the writing mood come on.
Either way stay tuned, it’ll be here.
Until then, let me know how you feel about the six-month anniversary celebration for Fire Emblem Heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited for all the cool give-a-ways as I am? Or are you more stuck in the kind of temporal confusion and awe in regards to time passing that I was toward the beginning of this post?
Before I sign off and hit the hay, I also thought this would be worth mentioning.
The other day I tried something strange by posting a tweet from my Nintendo Switch. To test the feature out I tweeted about the results of Splatoon 2’s first Splatfest.
A disappointing outcome… But that’s beside the point.
While posting to social media from my game console was an undoubtedly strange experience… It wasn’t necessarily one I was all that opposed to. Particularly if it’s the only real way to get the pictures I take on that device off of the device so I can show cool things off to the world.
Thus, although it probably won’t be an earth shattering change, I may just wind up posting to twitter independently more often with Switch-based content. That in itself could lead to more individual social media posts in general… Though for now I doubt it since I still like to tell myself I’m not a huge fan of using social media.
Still felt like it would be worth mentioning here as sort of a shameless self promotion. After all, if you’ve made it this far into the post you clearly enjoy my company to an extent, so it might be worth checking out my Twitter for some sort of an evolution in the future.
Even if it’s mostly a conduit for getting these blog posts you see already in front of more eyes as it currently stands.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
I’m honestly not sure what to say, though Alphonse sums up my overall impressions fairly well:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.