Tag: YouTube

Not at all refreshing

Not at all refreshing

When the last summer banner came out, I was convinced it was the only one we’d see this year.

That 50-day period was incredibly deceiving, because here we are staring down a Binding/Blazing Blade summer banner. Featuring our sixth variant of Lyndis.

Sigh.

Let’s break my anti-Summer Initiative for the second time this week and talk Fire Emblem.


Summer Refreshes


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.

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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

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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.

Riveting.

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.

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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.

Sword and Shield news: Exclusive trainers and Gigantamaxing

Sword and Shield news: Exclusive trainers and Gigantamaxing

I can’t believe I’m going to break my self-imposed blogging restriction on account of Pokémon today and Fire Emblem tomorrow.

Here I was ready to sleep through the morning, but no. Apparently I have a problem.

Let’s just jump in so that I don’t spend a billion years writing this post — as I tend to do with these updates. I’ll keep it short and sweet by focusing on three things addressed in today’s trailer:

Version exclusives, new Pokémon and… Gigantamaxing.

Sigh.


Version Exclusives

Version differences are not new to Pokémon.

The series’ initial hook was monsters exclusive to Red and Blue version so kids would trade in order to “catch ’em all.” Every generation has had exclusives since.

Gold, Silver and Crystal started the trend of different versions having unique legendaries that changed details about an overall identical story (though Yellow technically led the way by making an anime-inspired version of Red/Blue/Green).

Arguably the first major game-to-game change was the Magma/Aqua split in Ruby and Sapphire, even if they were just different villains in the same circumstances.

It wouldn’t be until Emerald version that they truly stood out as different entities.

In Sword and Shield we will be getting version exclusive Gym Leaders. Sword will have the Fighting-type Bea, while Shield will have the Ghost-type Allister:

Images courtesy of Serebii

We haven’t seen differences in the Gym Leader roster since Black and White, where the eighth Gym could feature Iris or Drayden. Though Iris was clearly better since she went on to be the Unova Champion.

These newbies will have to battle for who is better. To me, it’s an even match so far.

Allister is a Mimikyu lover with a Shy Guy mask. Meanwhile, Bea is a Hitmontop lover who must be getting all the fan art on account of her exposed feet.

Both seem like great additions to the canon!

The trailer also introduced Rose, chairman of the Galar Pokémon League, and his assistant Oleana. As far as I’m aware they are not version exclusive, but there’s so little about them that I couldn’t figure out where else to slot this.

You’re welcome.


New Pokémon

Can’t have a Pokémon news update without new Pokémon, though one of the monsters revealed isn’t new:

Yamper

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Image courtesy of Serebii

Yamper was seen in Sword and Shields’ E3 demo, but now we know more about the adorable Corgi with the heart-shaped butt.

For instance, he charges electricity by chasing cars and has an ability that lets him catch one Pokéball. Literally playing fetch.

That’s really all we need to know.

Alcremie

alcremie
Image courtesy of Serebii

Alcremie is a foot-tall pile of whipped cream and strawberries that drugs its opponents with whipped cream that chefs also like to use on desserts.

Because if Game Freak wants us to know anything about Fairy-types, it’s that half of them are edible.

Also Alcremie becomes a giant cake when Gigantamaxing…

But we’ll get to that.

Rolycoly

rolycoly
Image courtesy of Serebii

I’m all-in on Rolycoly for its name alone.

This new Rock-type is essentially a mobile ball of coal with a lamp that must have been a godsend during the Galar Industrial Revolution. It’s new Steam Engine ability increases the Pokémon’s speed when hit by Fire or Water-type moves.

So you know.

It has Overheat synergy?

Duraludon

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Image courtesy of Serebii

We’ve saved the weirdest for last.

Duraludon is our first Steel/Dragon-type since Dialga. But instead of being a wicked cool time dragon, he’s like…

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Image courtesy of the Sword and Shield website

I’m not even sure what he looks like. Some kind of weird gun? Or airplane part?

But hey, this weird airplane part goes head-to-head with Tyranitar apparently.

So it has that going for it.


Gigantamaxing

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Image courtesy of Serebii

I don’t have a lot to say about this.

I gave my thoughts on Dynamaxing last time, but the fact that there’s a special version of that mechanic only adds to my hesitation.

Gigantamaxing Pokémon are extra exclusive variants of Dynamaxed Pokémon that trainers can sometimes find during Max Raid Battles.

They look different, have better stats and a more powerful “G-Max Move.”

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Image courtesy of Serebii

Like… Is this something we’ll have to breed onto our Pokémon if we want competitive Gigantamaxing over Dynamaxing?

I don’t know, man. The official website only has so much information, so I can’t fully speak to the merits of this mechanic.

All I can say is I’m unfortunately still not into it.


And that’s that, ladies and gentlemen. New Pokémon information to salivate over.

While I’m not enamored by Gigantamaxing and the latest crop of monsters are more on the weird side, I’m still plenty excited overall. Especially by the prospect of having more unique trainers to meet on each journey through Galar!

So let me know what you think of this latest trailer.

While you do that, I’m going to make use of this closure and go back to sleep.

Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]

Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]

I have great things to say about Spider-Man: Far From Home; Marvel’s first Cinematic Universe film following the bombastic conclusion to their Infinity Stone saga.

When the first teaser trailer came out, I was skeptical. It dropped before Endgame and felt like the worst example of draining tension out of character deaths.

Then the trailer after Endgame made me confident by suggesting the movie would address repercussions of Tony Stark’s death.

Far From Home is steeped in Tony Stark, using the grief Spider-Man feels literally seeing his face in memorials everywhere to bridge us into the future. I was worried about the studio’s ability to hold my interest following its magnum opus, but that won’t be a problem if all upcoming MCU films are as fun and smart as this.

Unlike most of the MCU films I review, the stuff I love about Far From Home leans heavily into spoilers, so I’m going to hide specifics under a read more.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just know I highly recommend it.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDb

Continue reading “Far From Home is far above its competition [Heavy Spoilers!]”

Eliwood rides again

Eliwood rides again

We already have a Legendary alt for Lyndis and Hector, so it only makes sense that we’d be filling out the Blazing Blade’s lordly roster with the father of the Lion:

It’s Eliwood’s time to shine.


EliwoodBlazing Knight


I rolled my eyes when first watching this video.

“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 already own a vast majority of the characters here. Selkie, Yune, Hinoka and Sakura are the only missing links in my catalog.

But of those four… Sakura is the only unit I regret missing back when her special banner happened. Selkie would count if she was a unique summon in special banners.

Thus, I’ll probably be skipping out on spending a lot here. I’d still maybe like to get summer Laevatein, and Lute continues to be an upcoming object of my affection.

At least I can build up some extra orbs with this Legendary Battle Map.

Look at this god damn boy scout. I can’t believe you made me care about him, Intelligent Systems.

Can’t wait to finally play Blazing Blade at some point and experience his boy scout nature for myself.


Shout out to Eliwood’s banner being unveiled a few days ago so I could write this before having to host a party.

Though it’s not unusual for me to have Heroes posts rolling through my blog, doing this has actually been a nice break from my intense Fire Emblem Warriors binge.

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!

Gotta read ’em all!

Gotta read ’em all!

The Unova Region has enveloped a lot of my life over the last few days.

First there was the start of my fanfiction.

Then the locale of Pokémon Black & White came up again when I was wandering Barnes & Noble with my sister and discovered a book of Santa Harukaze comics, put out by Viz Media.

I put off buying it because money, but figured if I saw the book again I might give it another thought.

Then we went to a different bookstore and the fateful book was there too.

I’m not one to tempt fate.

So here I am, reading through 300+ pages of comedic manga-style comic strips about Unova Pokémon, ready to teach you the gospel.

Just consider this my equivalent of Brian David Gilbert’s Skyrim Book Report.

The first thing you need to know is these are “comedic” comics. Like Family Circus or any other traditional funny page staple, some of these one-off jokes are funnier than others.

It’s telling that the Stunfisk comic was my favorite of the bunch.

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That’s peak comedy.

This comic is emblematic of what 70 percent of the collection is: Jokes about a design element or Pokédex entry.

The appearance bits are usually blasé, like Galvantula having too many eyes to cover in case of a surprise.

But I quite like seeing aspects of these Pokémon that I’d always disregarded as innocuous details:

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Another repeat detail throughout these comics are Pokémon being treated meanly, often for no reason.

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Apparently everyone in Unova is a mischievous trickster like Scraggy or in the wrong place at the wrong time like Oshawott.

Though these are Pokémon, so it’s not very surprising that they battle and act aggressively. What is surprising is the way we playing with continuity.

The creatures spend a lot of time playing with or referencing human technology:

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Their confusion suggests these guys are still animals.

But… They sure do spend a lot of time talking and having personalities like in the Mystery Dungeon games.

So maybe these comics take place in that universe?

Except then this page comes along and ruins everything.

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Of course Nimbasa City exists here. Thanks, comic.

But then there’s the weird stuff.

Oh boy is there a whole lot of weird stuff in these comics. And it’s the best part.

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Some of these are far better out of context. Trust me.

One thing I don’t fully understand about the collection is how nonsensically ordered it is. Though the individual comics are segmented by focusing on different Pokémon, they don’t proceed through the book in number or alphabetical order.

It seems entirely random, and that’s compounded by the fact that two-part comics can appear pages apart.

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There’s a particular comic about Woobat and Yamask that’s referenced more than 50 pages later and has a disclaimer telling readers to go back.

Twice.

Why not just order the pages to avoid that kind of problem if there’s no sensible ordering scheme in the book?

Though there’s a much more important question buried in these pages.

Why is Throh the only Pokémon with a two-part comic in which he is the named focus on both parts?

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The. Only. One.

Why Throh of all Pokémon?

Like I’m glad the collection has cool tidbits and quizzes on the sides of each page where I can learn things…

But I’m not sure I can forgive Santa Harukaze for making me feel this tumultuous about Throh.

So, in summary:

Is it worth reading through every Pokémon Black & White Pocket Comic in an afternoon?

Honestly… Not really.

The world of Unova comics has highs are pretty high, but the lows are very, very low. So much so that I don’t think I’d recommend reading through all of them except that you can only find the true gems that way.

I suppose I’d still recommend the book as something of a coffee table read to put out if you have Pokémon-loving guests. But as a Pokémon fan, I’m not sure I would buy the Kalos edition after this one.

That’s a real downer note to end a Pokémon-related post, so here’s a picture of Alyson ruining my attempt to get a Featured Image.

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You’re welcome.

The highs and lows of recomposing Zelda

The highs and lows of recomposing Zelda

I never played Crypt of the NecroDancer.

When the roguelike rhythm-based dungeon crawler was released by Vancouver game studio Brace Yourself Games in 2015, it got a lot of good press for being a unique Indie game that blended disparate genres seamlessly.

I’m not sure why I didn’t try Crypt, so I’ll just say I assumed a lack of rhythm as a suburban white boy.

It would take something special to pique my interest in Crypt’s unique gameplay style. Like a special crossover announced at 2019’s Game Development Conference.

Of course I’m talking about Cadence of Hyrule.

I forgot about the game until Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct, where we found out it was $25.

Cadence is a fascinating beast in concept. Nintendo let an Independent studio with a bizarre gameplay hook handle one of their most popular franchises. Hopefully it succeeds and encourages more experimentation!

There’s a good chance it will, because if Zelda is known for anything, it’s solid music. Why not use it in a rhythm-action game?

That’s where Cadence shines brightest: Homaging and using elements from Zelda’s history.

The game’s story is as simple a vehicle as they come. Cadence (the hero from Crypt of the NecroDancer) is transported to Hyrule and must help defeat the wizard Octavio before he puts the world to sleep with musical magic.

That framework is all you need to just run into a world of classic Zelda locations with a new rhythmic twist:

 

 

The map is primarily based on A Link to the Past. Tools like the Cane of Somaria return, as do recognizable sound bites like that of a portal to the Dark World.

 

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The Dark World is arguably a spoiler, but it’s only about an hour at the end of a 15-20 hour game that thrives more on its experience than the plot. It also features the best remix in the game.

Other bits of Zelda canon play into Cadence’s world too. Much of the music is from Ocarina of Time, as are places like Gerudo Town and people like Dark Link.

Dark Link

I know he’s technically from Zelda 2. But this is a very OOT design.

There are also overt references to characters like Tingle, who the player must awaken to clear the Lost Woods:

Tingle
You had to play Saria’s Song and it ruled.

Then there are subtle touches which might not be references, but feel like clear inspirations.

For instance, the Lost Woods is full of poisonous water that felt visually similar to Twilight Princess’ Faron Woods.

Hidden caves are on nearly every map square like in the original Legend of Zelda, and the final area has elements of the Four Swords games.

I’d also say that the art direction feels more reminiscent of Minish Cap than A Link to the Past.

And let’s not forget the bosses. Zelda classics mixed with instruments:

 

 

The victory chime from A Link to the Past plays in that instrument when you beat them. Very good stuff.

Brace Yourself Games were also willing to add new things to the canon:

Bomb Cones
He’s my child and I love him.

With all that said, you’d think Cadence of Hyrule is a perfect 10/10 game for me.

But… Here’s the rub.

I kind of dislike the gameplay?

Don’t get me wrong, Crypt of the NecroDancer has strong bones. The gameplay is functional and works well. I just personally don’t enjoy it very much.

This rhythm game requires movement and attacking to the beat, and the only way you can use your weapon is by running into opponents.

Like the NES game Hydlide.

In the 20 hours it took me to beat the final boss and collect every item, I never quite acclimated to running into enemies and avoiding telegraphed attacks on-beat.

There’s only one screen that really requires an expertise in the mechanics, but I’m not sure I’m excited to go back to the original Crypt having heard it’s much harder.

Now to be fair, I like the use of different weapons with different patterns, from three-square wide broadsword slashes to two-square long spear stabs — especially for unique weapons like Zelda’s rapier.

Speaking of, how amazing is it that this is a Legend of Zelda game where you can play a Smash Bros.-inspired Zelda, who utilizes Din’s Fire and Nayru’s Love, for the entire runtime?

Some items like the bow are also solid, but others like the Rito Feather are incredibly underwhelming. Also, why not use the Zelda-staple Roc’s Cape?

But to be completely honest, those complaints are somewhat negligible.

After all, Cadence of Hyrule is a two-player co-operative game.

Co-op

Being able to fully complete a game with my sister, who is both a musician and a Zelda fan, is an experience I don’t get very often.

And that, alongside the incredible attention to detail, makes Cadence of Hyrule an experience I’ll not soon forget.

Even if I’m still iffy about Crypt of the NecroDancer.

 

Commitment to unexpected storytelling

Commitment to unexpected storytelling

I was planning on writing a different blog post today, but this caught me so off-guard that I had to talk about it.

Since the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December, I’ve become a fan of YouTuber Alpharad thanks to his Ultimate Level 9 CPU Tournament video.

The premise was simple: Throw a bunch of computers onto a tournament bracket and watch them fight. Alpharad and a few friends commentated the matches, providing insights into actual competitive strategies and general comedy.

It was fun and apparently so popular that he would have been a fool not to do more.

From there I got into a few more series. Mostly other Smash-related videos like ranking all of X elements or “Stage Builder was a Mistake.”

The guy is also a fan of Mudkips and Shantae, so it’s hard not to like him!

However, the CPU tournaments were clearly Alpharad’s bread and butter.

Over time they grew into more than just a showcase of computer intelligence. Jokes about certain fighters repeated to the point of giving them distinct personalities. Then came clever brand integrations by having his video sponsors “sponsor” the winners of previous tournaments like they were sport stars proving themselves.

Sure some of those deals were a little cheeky, like having an Incineroar sponsored by the eSports team Panda Global where he serves as creative director

But still a clever idea.

Then the series grew further. Original characters were added via Mii Fighters that developed entire plot threads cleverly delivered by commentators on the spot.

I’m not sure how much was pre-planned or improvised based on genuine tournament results, but either way it was impressive to see a cohesive narrative emerge that culminated in an “Endgame” duel between light and dark.

Released two days after the newest Avengers movie.

Perfect SEO.

After a few months hiatus, the series returned with noticeable differences.

In the lore, two years had passed. Thus, much of the first episode was spent doling out exposition about what had changed — from new Mii Fighters to the off-screen reigns of joke characters like Rosalina.

What stood out most about this structured direction is how much more planning and effort clearly went into the season’s pre-production. Everything down to anime-inspired intros that are just cringe enough to be great.

Whereas the first era of the CPUCS emerged from completely different roots and had to develop into something more, the second era is immediately running with the aftermath and presenting more foreshadowing for underlying story bits.

That was exhibited magnificently for me in the episode uploaded just today.

After the time skip, a Mii Fighter called “The Agent” appeared. She was understated because she didn’t make it very far, but in the second episode she came back.

Again she lost, but this time Alpharad ended the match by suggesting she would be writing about this on her blog. Then he quickly read off a url.

I was willing to wave that off as a joke, but part of me was curious to know whether it was real.

Agent Naomi Winters’ blog is absolutely 100 percent real.

And probably made with Squarespace. Because sponsorship.

We live in a world of digital marketing, so creating websites or social media accounts to help promote a fictional story isn’t anything new.

In fact, Ryan Hollinger has a great video about the effective use of external marketing sources by Cloverfield (and not Snakes on a Plane).

Yet I felt like this guy when I discovered that the blog not only exists, but has been used since May to create a more lived-in environment:

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I too am now a big fan of Agent Naomi.

For what many would write off as a silly YouTube series about Smash Ultimate where cashing in is easy because no human interactions are needed for gameplay, this is an awesome bit of committed world building.

It shows how much Alpharad genuinely cares, and I can respect the hell out of that.

So if I haven’t convinced you yet, go watch the CPUCS.

I swear it’s more than just your average Smash Bros. series if you stick by it.

Summer returns in Fire Emblem Heroes

Summer returns in Fire Emblem Heroes

Hard to believe it has been two years since I joked about using Fire Emblem Heroes as a surrogate for not going to the beach despite living in Southern California.

Even harder to believe I still don’t go to the beach nearly as often as I should.

But at least Fire Emblem is still here to let me live vicariously through anime jpegs.


Summer Returns


The recent Awakening children banner drained a whole bunch of orbs, so I was hoping this summer banner would be low-key. Something I wouldn’t feel pressured to invest a lot into.

A revival banner with Lute is coming, and my recent foray into Sacred Stones has left me eager to finish my collection of its characters.

Luckily I’m not enamored with the summer units.

Mostly.

Gunnthrá and Helbindi aren’t my favorite original characters from Book II. Plus her ability to disarm Aether Raids traps and his ability to excel in the Arena don’t inspire me to open my wallet.

Laegjarn does stand out thanks to Swift Sparrow 3.

Yet… Despite the Internet fawning over her, I can’t get over how fucked up her idle pose looks. It’s like she has no armpit, and that leaves her with one monstrous arm.

I can’t unsee it.

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.

The banner will be here for 50 days.

Which I’m assuming means we won’t get a second set of summer units this year. Something that’s totally fine by me considering last year’s was disappointingly non-Sacred Stones and I’ll need the orbs later.

Speaking of that Paralogue… Let’s talk about it.


Paralogue 35 — Summer Returns

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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?

Yep.

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.

Thanks.

Jason wrote a fanfic

Jason wrote a fanfic

I have been playing a LOT of Stardew Valley over the last week.

For those uninitiated members of the audience, Stardew Valley is an independent farming/life simulation game in the same vein of Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing that came out in 2016 to critical and audience acclaim.

Well-deserved acclaim at that. This is a title with some incredible pixel art design, a treasure trove of content and enough charm to reduce your Pikachu’s attack by six stages — all made by one person, ConcernedApe.

That was a Pokémon joke by the way. *marks off checklist*

I bought the game alongside my friend Samantha, who was one of my close friends to recommend it years ago when I had no time to join the fad.

We’ve gone through cycles of playing different co-operative games together in the past. From brief stints with Don’t Starve Together to an innocuous MMORPG called Aura Kingdom, as well as hundreds of hours invested in Terraria just a few summers before she moved away.

This time The Dream Team reunited for the multiplayer update to Stardew that dropped for Switch last December.

Unfortunately she’s been a little more busy with work so far this summer, and we haven’t gotten the chance to play a lot. But I started my own single-player file to learn the basics so I wouldn’t be a complete disgrace.

I fell into the game hard. I’ve been up playing until 3:00 a.m. a few more times in the last week than I’d care to admit.

Originally I intended to write a review of the game for my blog to justify all the hours I’ve poured in. But I’m three years late to the party and everything I could say has already been said.

Plus it would more or less just be hundreds of words gushing about what a mastahpiece it is, and that can’t be very exciting for a three-year-old game.

You can honestly judge for yourself based solely on the trailer:

However, something strange happened with this game.

Even though I resigned myself not to write a review, a totally different craving bore its way out of my subconscious mind after watching my single-player character get married to my Stardew love, Emily.

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Ain’t they the cutest?

There was a particular string of events and cutscenes leading up to the marriage that I thought flowed together like an unintentionally beautiful story…

And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My blood ached with the desire to show my adoration for the game by doing what I do best: Writing.

The other day I announce my intention to ruin my credibility by writing a Stardew Valley fanfiction, totally abandoning my original book for an afternoon to use digital ink on flourishing personal video game experiences instead.

I may or may not have managed to pound out 6,000 words.

Sometimes you just have to strike when the iron is hot. Writing is writing.

My blog post fell to the wayside as a result, but I think you’ll find it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

My quick turn-around on the fanfiction meant I was able to get it briefly edited by Mom (who I’m sure is now ashamed of that college degree [NEVAH- mom]) and posted online at fanfiction.net.

Even though the website’s posting rules meant I had to wait an extra day to get this post to you.

I’ve never used the site before, as most of my character-writing impulses have been expended via brief roleplays.

The only time I recall writing a legitimate fanfiction was a very short scene between Alela Grora and Wodahs from The Grey Garden for Sam, who also introduced me to that pseudo-visual novel RPG.

Talk about another title I’ll need to dedicate a whole post to. A particular bad end in that game haunts me to this day.

All of that is to say you get to be the lucky audience who sees my debut piece of fanfiction not counting Wattpad.

It’s pretty heavily focused on recreating scenes from the game to convey a budding romance in a grander fashion. So if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out here!

I’m past the point of shame, so there’s a genuine curiosity to know what you think.

Regardless of your thoughts, I will say the exercise was a nice break from my novel that kept me in an invigorated fiction-writing mood.

Can’t complain about that right?

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to 2019’s E3 outside of the surprise Keanu Reeves appearance, but today was Nintendo’s time to shine.

That’s all the introduction you need.

Here’s the 40-minute video. Let’s talk about it.


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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kicking off the Direct was a flashy cinematic of Ultimate’s World of Light in which Link was rescued by The Hero, our next DLC fighter and Dragon Quest representative.

You’d think that would be the big news. Yet Nintendo had one more trick up their sleeve to conclude the Direct:

Banjo-Kazooie.

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…

It’s just perfect.

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.

Great way to bookend the Direct.


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Image courtesy of My Nintendo News

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Subtitle: Hotel Mario 2?

Though I wasn’t a huge a fan of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon compared to the original, this game looks pretty incredible. It has a creepy atmosphere directly reminiscent of Ghostbusters mixed with a Super Mario Sunshine vacation plot.

And it has built-in Gooigi multiplayer, unlike the shoed-in stuff for the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake.

I’m pretty into this game honestly. Especially after seeing this kaiju boss reveal Nintendo put out after the Direct:

It’s just too bad Nintendo has a billion other great games coming out, or Luigi swinging a chair around with a vacuum would be at the top of my list.


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Image courtesy of engaget

Link’s Awakening

Here’s one of those games that unfortunately pushes Luigi’s Mansion aside.

I was incredibly excited for this remake of a Zelda game I’ve always heard praised but never took the time to play when they announced it a few months back.

The new trailer didn’t show too much more than its Sept. 20 release date…

EXCEPT FOR A TOP-DOWN 2D DUNGEON CREATOR.

THE THING I LITERALLY ASKED FOR WHEN I GRADUATED:

Thanks Nintendo, you always make my dreams come true. Just be sure to add Minish Cap into the official Zelda Maker.


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Image courtesy of Nintendo UK

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I wrote a Fire Emblem Heroes post just this morning, so of course I was going to talk about this game.

All we got today was a cinematic trailer that mostly stood out because some character had a sword that turned into a bone whip. Which is fine because we got a big gameplay trailer already.

It mainly featured lore that won’t make a ton of sense until the game releases in…

Wait, late July?

Damn, I thought I had more time. Stop making so many games I want to buy Nintendo, I’m still addicted to Stardew Valley for the next few months!


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Pokémon Sword and Shield

I wasn’t expecting any new Pokémon news after the recent Direct, but Nintendo truly is a benevolent overlord.

During the presentation we found out that the Pokéball peripheral from Let’s Go can act as a modern day Pokéwalker and that the Water-type Gym Leader will be Nessa:

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

She’s a little derivative of Shelly from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but not a bad design at all.

During the Nintendo Treehouse we discovered the existence of a perfect Electric-type pup named Yamper and a little Dark/Fairy gremlin named Impidimp:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

One of them is God’s perfect child and the other is his greatest mistake.

However, we also found out that not every Pokémon in the National Dex will be compatible with Sword and Shield, which is a step in the wrong direction after Sun and Moon already didn’t have a Pokédex entry for every monster you could collect.

Go check out Serebii’s page, because they have the full list of everything from today.


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Image courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube

Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Then there’s this.

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.

But… I just did.

So there.


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Image courtesy of Mashable

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Like Reggie Fils-Amie, I put a lot of time into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

New Horizons not only looks like a wonderful graphical update to the series, but an update that allows for 8-player simultaneous action while potentially building a town from scratch.

That’s… Pretty god damn incredible. Definitely worth pushing the release date to March 2020!

Already Nintendo has me feeling all:

But we’re not done just yet.


The Highlight Reel

The reel always has a billion things, so let’s lightning round what stood out to me.


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Breath of the Wild 2…?

Time to address the elephant in the room.

I made a big deal out of returning to Breath of the Wild. Yet… I didn’t actually finish the whole game.

Turns out I should get moving on that again.

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.

A Final Fantasy Tactics-type game for The Dark Crystal, No More Heroes 3 with weird Star Wars jokes and Gundam fights and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 among them. Plus the Switch is getting the return of Contra, The Witcher 3, Secret of Mana, Resident Evil 5 and 6 and a Panzer Dragoon remake.

Nintendo really knocked it out of the park this year, especially considering the rest of E3 wasn’t phenomenal from what I’ve heard.

Though was there any doubt when they began their Direct by capitalizing on the “Bowser is Nintendo of America’s new president” joke?

All they’re missing is this:

Let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 Direct! What game are you most excited for?


Featured Image courtesy of Nintendo Life