Friday Favorites: 2019 Game Releases

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

The end of 2018 is only in a couple of weeks! Are you already thinking of your 2019 video game lists? What kind of games are you looking forward to for the new year?

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Untitled Pokemon Nintendo Switch Game

Okay, I know we just got the Let’s Go titles, but I am still looking forward to the next Pokemon Switch game. I’m presuming it’s another core title in the main series and will give us a new region and a new generation of Pokemon to capture. I was a bit indifferent when it came to the Alola region, so I’m crossing my fingers that the untitled Pokemon Switch game will capture my attention much more than Sun/Moon did (along with the awesome mechanics that Let’s Go has brought to the table… Or at least the mechanic of having your Pokemon follow you).

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem is one of my favorite franchises. That’s honestly enough reason for me to be excited for the new Switch title. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Echoes title back in 2017, and the Warriors title wasn’t the best when it came to a variety of classes and characters, so here’s hoping Three Houses will be better than both of them!

Anthem

Anthem was actually showcased in the Game Awards last week and I thought it looked interesting. Being able to play both in single-player or multiplayer mode, taking on the part of a exosuited-up hero to explore a contiguous open world. It’ll be a different kind of game than what I’m used to, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

I love this series so much. Honestly, we probably don’t need the Ace Attorney trilogy on our Nintendo Switch — not when we have it on our still-working Wii and I have it on my 2DS XL — but… it’s Phoenix Wright. You have to have Phoenix Wright on your Nintendo Switch. I would love a new Ace Attorney game, but I’ll take this to tide me over until we get that.

What 2019 releases, so far, are you looking forward to?

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Preferred Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Have you ever noticed if the gender of the protagonist effects the game? Perhaps one gender has better stats or different powers or something as simple as clothing options?

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Many games, particularly RPGs, allow the player to choose between playing a male or a female protagonist. While most games tend not to have much of a difference between the genders, there are some games that can be skewed to favor one over the other.

One of the most notable examples that I’ve heard of Harvest Moon 3. While I’ve never played the game myself, I have heard that the game is cut short as soon as you marry while playing as a female. While, as a male, you get married and can continue working on your farm, as well as get a child. Granted, each gender had different perks — males tended to be better with the farmland, while females were better with the animals — but why would the game just end if you get married as a female?

Different stats in games, such as the Fire Emblem franchise, favor one gender over the other as well. Males tend to have higher strength and defense while females are better with magic and speed. In many Fire Emblem games, some character classes are restricted as well — only males can be fighters while females can be pegasus knights, for example. One of my favorite aspects of the Fates trio is that these class restrictions were lifted, and I was disappointed when Echoes brought them back.

In hindsight, being a remake, Echoes probably brought the class restrictions back in order to be as faithful as it could to the original. With that said, though, I do wish it was updated to not only lift those restrictions, but also lift the healer restrictions. In the very beginning of the game, if you are following Alm’s story and have Faye with you, she has one less class promotion available than the boys. Archer is not available for her, yet when she was introduced to the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game, archer is her class rather than cleric.

If the female gender is favored over the male, it tends to be for aesthetic reasons. In Pokemon X and Y, the female character has almost double the amount of clothing and hair options. The Sims franchise also tended to have gender options based on aesthetics only — with jobs and skill building being exactly the same across the board — but Sims 4 took this a step forward to allow transgender sims and lift the gender restrictions on all the clothing and hair options.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of Stardew Valley is how absolutely little your gender matters. No NPCs treat your character differently no matter what gender they are and your skills do not depend on your gender. You can also marry whatever eligible NPC you want, no matter the gender.

Any games that you’ve played that tend to favor one gender over another?

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Monday Memories: Game Boy Advance

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

The Nintendo Switch and the 2DS XL are our current go-to consoles when it comes to playing games lately. Recently, however, I found my old Game Boy Advance during a cleaning spree, and I remember how much I used the old handheld…

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The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001 and I loved using mine over my Game Boy Color. The landscape screen for the games made it seem like the screen was so much bigger and I remember having the little worm light adapter hovering over the screen to make it brighter. The backward compatibility for Game Boy Color games was an added bonus.

I went through so many pairs of AA batteries when playing my Game Boy Advance, wearing it down while playing favorites like the Pokemon series, particularly Emerald, Sonic the Hedgehog games, Harvest Moon, and Fire Emblem. It was with the Game Boy Advance that I started my love affair with the Harvest Moon and Fire Emblem franchises.

Besides being home to some of my favorite old games, the Game Boy Advance was used quite often when Rachel and I were playing The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube. With the link cable to hook up the Advance to the console, Rachel and I had some awesome adventures playing a co-op Legend of Zelda. More often than not, I was diving forward to meet the enemies while Rachel was trailing along, picking up all the treasure I would leave behind. It was a good system.

The wireless adapter that came with Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen was also a treat, granting us a Union Room that allowed easy trading and battling. Granted, Rachel and I tended to be the only ones in said Union Room, but it was definitely easier than the link cables we had for the Game Boy Colors when it came to trading and showing off our teams to one another.

I found my old Game Boy Advance buried in one of my old desk drawers, with the cover to the batteries being gone and the batteries themselves all corroded. For the heck of it, I cleaned out the dead batteries and tried putting fresh ones in, but to no avail. The poor console was officially dead. Still, it was nice finding it, especially since I thought it got caught in the basement flood years ago (pretty sure that’s what happened to my Game Boy Color!).

Did you have a Game Boy Advance? What was your favorite older handheld console?

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Friday Favorites: Weapon Triangles

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

A couple of Mondays ago, I wrote about the Rule of Three, a trope that exists in many stories, movies and video games alike. Many video games have aspects that come in threes that convey special attributes about the game, especially when it comes to combat. So today I’ll be sharing my favorite weapon triangles from various game franchises.

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | Triangles | Rule of Three | Triforce | Legend of Zelda | Pokemon | Fire Emblem

Grass-Water-Fire

One of my first “weapon triangles,” this elemental concept was introduced to me through Pokemon Red and Blue. Bulbasaur’s Grass-type moves were strong against the Water-type Squirtle, whose own abilities were strong against Charmander’s fire attacks, which were strong against Bulbasaur.

Sword-Axe-Lance

One of the first parts of the prologues or introductions in a Fire Emblem game tends to be the weapons triangle. Namely, how the three basic weapons stack against each other in strength. Swords are quicker than axes, which are too close-combat orientated to be hurt by lances, which are long enough to stab before a sword. Or something like that. A few Fire Emblem games have another weapons triangle with the tomes. Dark magic is weak to light magic, which is weak to anima — or elemental — magic, which is weak to dark magic.

Power-Wisdom-Courage

Not a traditional rock-paper-scissors scenario, the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda franchise is a favorite “rule of three” for me. Almost every game in the franchise swirls around the relationship between Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf who hold Courage, Wisdom, and Power respectively. The relationship between these three fighting to protect and dominate the world has never failed to create an enjoyable story for me in these games.

What are your favorite weapon triangles in video games?

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Of Art Books and Collections

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

Aside from collecting the actual games, Rachel and I enjoy collecting other aspects of our favorite games and franchises to celebrate them. Rachel, for instance, loves to collect Pokemon cards. For me, it’s all about the art books and posters of my favorite games.

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You know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” No one listens to that when taken literally. Everyone judges books by their covers, as they are the first aspect of a book that will potentially snag a reader’s attention. It’s the same with video games.

Aside from box art — which, considering the digital age of gaming nowadays, may not exist — the art style and graphics of a game are one of the first impressions a game makes to a potential player. Screenshots and trailers are shared before the game is officially out to entice gamers, and I for one Google games before buying them to see if I can gauge how well I may like it, art style included.

Graphics are one of my favorite aspects to gush over when it comes to games and I am forever amazed at the designers and animators. So when Nintendo announces books dedicated to the art of some of their most popular games, I’m ready to say, “Take my money!”

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Take the Legend of Zelda series alone. We have the history collection — Hyrule Historia, Art & Artifacts, and Encyclopedia — along with the Creating a Champion coming out in November. There’s also The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening, which looks gorgeous. Honestly, with the popularity of Octopath Traveler and its art style, I bet an art book for that game won’t be far behind. They have posters for all the main characters, which I would love to collect.

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I would love to collect these books and posters dedicated to the art of some of my favorite games and franchises. For now, though, Nintendo, space and money is a bit of an issue.

Do you enjoy collecting the art books or posters for video games? What are some of your favorites?

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Fire Emblem Warriors [Game Review]

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Title: Fire Emblem Warriors
Developer: Omega Force, Ninja Team
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform:
Nintendo Switch (also available for the 3DS)
Category:
Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Release Date:
October 20, 2017 worldwide
How we got the game:
Pre-ordered a physical copy

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Fire Emblem Warriors is a crossover game between Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series and Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblem series. It’s the second such crossover since Hyrule Warriors — using characters based on the Legend of Zelda franchise — for the Wii U back in 2014. I had enjoyed Hyrule Warriors and playing with some of my favorite characters in a new game style back then, and being a sucker for the Fire Emblem series, I was looking forward to Fire Emblem Warriors as well.

gameplay

Being a hack-and-slash game, the gameplay consists of the player taking control of up to four characters on a given map and demolishing the opposition. Each character attacks by the player more or less button mashing, but if you wanted to be more precise, there are combo attacks that you can trigger by pushing buttons in a certain order (generally the Y and X buttons). The more enemies one defeats, the quicker one can unleash a special attack that can be particularly devastating on hoards of enemies and even the sub-boss characters, such as Fort Captains. The controls themselves were fluid and responsive, which is excellent considering how quickly one is dropped into the fray of the battles, even if there were times when it seemed my character was running too quickly for me to make a turn!

Characters can be given orders on the battle map, such as directing one person to fight a certain enemy or to guard a teammate. While the player can switch between four characters, there is usually four additional teammates on the map to aid the playable characters. The AI of NPCs was well-done, in my experience, as the majority of them were eager to complete the goals and sub-quests that popped up with the map.

The majority of the characters in Fire Emblem Warriors are sword-users, but there are a few who use lances, axes, magic tomes, bows, and dragonstones, which are a special item to some unique Fire Emblem characters to transform into a dragon. Like the Fire Emblem games, characters are able to level up in their weapon rank, allowing them to use stronger weapons and attacks as the game progresses. In Warriors, this is achieved by crafted crests, which are used for attacks, defensive purposes, and enabling special skills. Crests are crafted with materials that enemies drop as well as collecting items from characters themselves when they increase their Support rank with one another. The more two characters fight together — by being on the same map, helping to guard one another, healing each other, or by literally pairing the two up as a support pair — the higher their Support will be. A Support Conversation between the two characters can be unlocked once they reach an A-Support rank.

The major flaw with the gameplay is how little diversity there is amid the weapons and characters themselves. Slashing away at enemies with swords is fun and all, but having more variety would have definitely helped me explore the maps of the game multiple times and giving it more replay value. Daggers and shuriken, lance-users on the ground instead of being regulated to Pegasus Knights, more axes and magic, beaststones for laguz from the Radiant series…

To go along with the lack of weapon diversity is the character roster. It mainly focused on the cast from Awakening and Fates, along with Marth as one of the Fire Emblem series’ first protagonists. Fire Emblem Warriors stars a pair of twins who both use the sword as their preferred weapon. The Heroes that we must track down as per the story mode all use swords as their preferred weapon. While I have nothing against any of the characters that are on the roster, I would have loved to see characters from more Fire Emblem games.

Let’s get Ephraim from Sacred Stones as a lance-user Hero. Hector from Blazing Blade can be the axe-wielding Hero. There are laguz characters from the Radiant series — Ranulf, Lethe, Tibarn, Naesala — who could be Heroes in their own right. Lilina from the Binding Blade as not only a mage Hero but also another female.

Perhaps it would have been a little too much to throw so many different timelines into Fire Emblem Warriors, but there was so much more weapon and character variety that could have been packed into the game!

graphics-music

One of my favorite things about the Nintendo Switch is the graphics. The graphics of every game we’ve played so far on this little console have been crisp, clear, and beautiful, and I loved seeing the dynamic Fire Emblem Warrior battles on the Switch. The animated movies were fairly well-done, being on par with most of the animated scenes in most of the more recent Fire emblem games.

I’ve always been a sucker for Fire Emblem music, and Fire Emblem Warriors would be no exception… except for most of the, erm, “suggestions” that continued to pop up in the first half of the game. Since everything on the battlefield happens quickly, so do character dialogue boxes popping up with someone talking about someone else being trouble or telling you of a new quest that has arisen. The cacophony of the battle was interrupted much of the time for the game to continue on, which threw me off a bit at times. It was tolerable especially when I reminded myself that it went hand-in-hand with the chaos that was supposed to be the battlefield. It was quick and exciting, even if the voice acting had me rolling my eyes once in a while.
storyLike most Fire Emblem games, the story was a bit cliche, with it being way too focused on bonds and support among one another, and you defeat a dragon at the end.

The story opens with the royal twins of Aytolis, Lianna and Rowan, sparring with their friend Prince Darios of Gristonne. Monsters appear from Outrealm portals, attacking the castle, separating the twins from their mother, and starting the twins on their journey to protect their homeland. They journey across the land to find Heroes that have been displaced in time, Heroes that have Gleamstones to power up the Shield of Flames to defeat the evil dragon Velezark.

The characters spend much of their time focusing on friendship and their bonds with one another, which is a bit corny but sweet message. The twins work and grow together with the help of the other heroes to ultimately succeed in the end. The story itself had a few plot holes or threads that could have used more closure — such as the Darios subplot — but it wasn’t too bad for game.

replay-value

Fire Emblem Warriors has the story mode and a history mode. The story mode has about 25 “chapters,” or battle campaigns, in it while the history mode allows players to battle in scenarios from past Fire Emblem games that were re-imagined for Fire Emblem Warriors. Each has different levels of difficulties and goals, giving one a few more challenges if one wishes to replay the game.

While I wish that the roster wasn’t so sword-user heavy — really, seeing a thief character or more axes and lances would have been wonderful — and had characters from more Fire Emblem games rather than focusing mainly on Awakening and Fates, I did have a lot of fun with Fire Emblem Warriors. There’s something so satisfying about the hack-and-slash aspect of the game, and I know I’ll pick it up again.

Fire Emblem Warriors gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Currently Playing: Sonic Mania & Fire Emblem Warriors

Double Jump Kris MiiTwo “Currently Playing” posts in a row? How about that?

I splurged a little in getting a couple of new games for the rest of this month. A little Sonic the Hedgehog and Fire Emblem seemed to be just what was needed!

I’ll admit, I nearly forgot about Sonic Mania! The game came out last August, and I had been planning on buying it then. However, other games wiggled their way in and considering that Sonic the Hedgehog is a franchise that I haven’t dabbled in as often as I used to. The original Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic and Knuckles games were not part of my collection while growing up. Rather, the 3D games that generally didn’t get great reviews (but had amazing music) were the Sonic games I played and, honestly, enjoyed.

I didn’t get a chance to actually try playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog games until we had gotten Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube. Even then, however, the GameCube was mostly used for Super Smash Bros. Melee and the Legend of Zelda games. Seeing the few original levels from those games being put into Sonic Mania, however, has given me a load of nostalgia. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how well the rest of the game plays out!

Considering Fire Emblem Warriors just arrived, I’m not sure how long it’ll be until I get back to Sonic Mania, though… Fire Emblem is a franchise near and dear to my heart, and it is so deliciously fun to mow down enemies in the Warriors installment of the series! I’m not very far into the game just yet, but I don’t think it’ll be a game that will take me long to get through.

Have you played Sonic Mania or Fire Emblem Warriors? What do you think of them?

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