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

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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.

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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.

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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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Thoughts: Nintendo Direct

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We were definitely excited that we were both home to watch the Nintendo Direct live this time! While the few games that we had wanted to see were not showcased in the announcement, I don’t think Nintendo did too bad during their latest direct. Over 40 games were shown for both the Nintendo Switch and the 3DS families, ensuring that Nintendo fans will be busy during the next few months!

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Yes, that’s right. No Smash Brothers, Animal Crossing, or Luigi’s Mansion. I’m going to pretend that those games are going to be awesome because they’re working so hard on them. Still, I’m excited for what’s to come soon. I was certainly impressed with their latest Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon games as well as Super Mario Odyssey. And yet, there were some surprises here and there as well.

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Considering how much Nintendo boasts about the Switch’s portable and multiplayer capabilities, I’m especially surprised that Super Smash Brothers — even a deluxe version like Mario Kart 8 — isn’t on their radar just yet. I think the biggest surprise to me was the Mario Party game coming to the 3DS. For nostalgia reasons, seeing that the game is going to have the top 100 minigames from the entire series sounds great! Here’s hoping that it’ll be true to the original games regarding party boards instead of the last couple of installments!

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I’m super excited for the Mario Party, however, I am worried that that’s all it’s going to be… mini-games. Like you said, for nostalgic reasons, it’s great, but I don’t know if there will be any other form of “gameplay.” They didn’t show anything else for it. Maybe Nintendo is finally hearing us all say we want the original games back. Maybe, after seeing what a success this will be, they’ll make Mario Party 11 just like Mario Party 2.

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I did read somewhere, perhaps My Nintendo News, that there was to be a board game play, but I may be making that up with wishful thinking. Other 3DS games I’m excited about are Lady Layton — I’d much rather have it for the 3DS rather than mobile — and the Alliance Alive and Radiant Historia, both from ATLUS. I’m itching for a new, good RPG to sink into.

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Oh, yes. I forgot about Lady Layton. I was super excited when I saw Apollo Justice, but then I realized that was just the first game… I thought it was going to be a new one. The other 3DS games look good as well. Now that we have the New 2DS XL, I’m excited to play some new games on it.
The Switch seems like it’s going to get some great games as well. I was happy to see that they’re adding more to Snipperclips. While that wasn’t our favorite game, it was still cute and enjoyable. I had wished for more levels and they’re giving it to us. I also think it’s cool that you can start in random shapes as well. That may make it easier or harder.

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It is nice that they’re creating some more levels for Snipperclips. The random shapes sounds entertaining, too! I’m definitely looking forward to Fire Emblem Warriors and was thrilled when they showed Lyn as playable (along with a couple of other characters that may have been shown in international versions of the trailer that us North Americans may not suppose to know about yet, shhh!). Having another female and another character from a game other than Fates and Awakening is great to me! Skyrim is another that I want to try, although I’d rather tame the dragons than kill them (someone who’s played Skyrim, let me know if that’s an option), and we’re definitely going to download the Octopath Traveler demo to check that out.

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Octopath looks great! I can’t wait to give that one a try. It will certainly be something different. Overall, I think Nintendo has a great lineup ahead and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

What did you think about the Direct? Which games are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

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Friday Favorites: Fire Emblem Warriors Wish List

Double Jump Kris MiiHow has everyone been this week?

With more and more information being shown for Fire Emblem Warriors lately, I’ve been thinking about what kind of characters I would like to see in the game. I’m aware that the game is focusing mostly on fan favorites from Fates and Awakening, it seems, but I can always hope, right?

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Shinon from Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn

I loved this grumpy, sarcastic sniper when I played through the game. His character development through Path of Radiance was also really interesting to me — not dealing well with his commander’s death, deflecting to the enemy, finding his way back to the right side while also trying to figure out himself — and his sniper skills weren’t bad at all.

Mae or Boey from Shadows of Valentia

Mae and Boey were both a couple of my favorites from Shadows of Valentia, and I think both of them would be interesting additions to Warriors. Their personalities and skills would fit right in, and I would love to see their reactions to some of the other characters in the Warriors world!

Tiki from Archanea/Awakening

I want to be able to stomp around as a dragon in Warriors! The Corrins may have that ability in the game, or perhaps gain it during the story mode, but I would still love the idea of being Tiki and changing into a dragon to destroy your enemies.

Matthew from The Blazing Blade

Rather, any thief/ninja character would be fine with me, but Matthew was always cool. In the Warriors game, I imagine thief characters would be some of the faster ones, with swift combos and, perhaps, one-hit kill special attacks. I would love to see thief mechanics in the Warriors game!

What are some of your Fire Emblem Warriors hopefuls?

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Video Game Bundles

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy September!

As kids, Rachel and I tended to wait until Christmas or our birthdays for new video games and consoles but, as adults, we squirrel away some money for these kind of occasions. Getting a new game here or there isn’t bad, but when they’re hard to find consoles or such, bundles look more appealing…

Usually when a shiny new game or console comes out, plenty of stores offer some sort of bundle to include the game or console with other trinkets. Generally speaking, these trinkets usually aren’t anything that we’d be interested in — such as little posters or figurines that, while look cool, would do nothing more than collect dust.

Case in point were the bundles that ThinkGeek were offering with the SNES Classic console. The SNES Classic itself is only about $80… I’m not convinced that the extra toys that come with the console even out the high price of the bundles. Is it really another eighty bucks for a mushroom plush, a mug, and a calendar? Most of the bundles looked nice, especially the Zelda-themed chess set, but I’m more interested in the console itself rather than the add-ons.

Of course, there are bundles that I wouldn’t mind getting. I’m honestly considering the Fire Emblem Warriors bundle that Nintendo is offering. Along with the Switch version of the game, you get a duel-sided poster, art cards, and 3 CDs of the game music. The art cards and poster look nice, but what I’m really interested in is the music. Video game soundtracks are my favorite kind of music, enough so that I don’t know anything on the radio nowadays.

The Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon bundle doesn’t seem too bad either. It comes with art cards and a code to get 200 pokeballs along with a version of each game. Rachel and I were considering it so each of us would get a game out of the deal and she could keep the art cards.

Price-wise, both bundles are about eighty dollars (which seems to be the magic number of this post). It’s about twenty bucks more than what the game would be by itself, but music comes along with it! It’s also the price of both Pokemon games put together, so that doesn’t seem too bad either.

It’s a shame gaming is such an expensive hobby, isn’t it?

Do you take advantage of video game bundles? What do you think of them?

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Best Games To Bring On Vacation

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We’re going on a relaxing vacation next week, one where we just rent a cabin to lounge beside a lake. It’s the best kind of vacation for hanging out with family, reading books and, of course, playing video games. Aside from a suitcase full of books, our 3DS systems are always packed with plenty of games whenever we go away.

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I always tend to bring more games than I plan on playing. I never really have a specific game in mind when I go away, but I tend to bring as many games as I can. I mean, I’m not really a light packer anyway.

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I try not to pack too many, especially since we don’t take the cases for the games. Rather, the games all get shoved into a little Ziploc bag before going in the suitcase. I’m paranoid that I’m going to lose a game or two! That fear doesn’t stop me from always packing certain games, however. Whenever we go away, I need to bring one or two of my favorite Harvest Moon games. There’s just something about a relaxing farm game that goes hand-in-hand with vacation.

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Meanwhile, I always tend to bring a Pokemon game. I always plan on starting a new journey and beating the game before the week ends. That usually never happens, but one vacation I beat HeartGold from start to finish. I also tend to bring Pokemon Conquest, but I beat that a long time ago. I don’t know if I’ll bring it this time.

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Pokemon is another good franchise to bring. One of my old favorites that I used to bring all the time was Sonic Battle for the GameBoy Advance. It always had great replay value, because the little robot character could mimic moves from all the other Sonic characters, letting you customize its fighting style however you wanted.

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I don’t remember that game. I don’t think I’ve ever played it. But going off your Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing is a great game to bring as well. It’s calming and relaxing and the perfect thing to wake up and play right away.

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Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing do seem like the perfect vacation games, don’t they? When I want something with a little more adventure and strategy, though, I tend to reach for Fire Emblem. Awakening will probably be the one to come on vacation with us! There are also a couple of games that I’ve had for months but haven’t had the time to try playing them, like Monster Hunter Generation. I’ll have to bring that and give it a try!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
There are just too many games. In addition to these games, we now have the Nintendo Switch. We’ll see how much of our time is taken up by that.

Which games do you bring with you when you go away? Let us know in the comments below!

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review

Double Jump Kris MiiHello everyone!

Being a sucker for the Fire Emblem franchise, I was very excited for the release of Shadows of Valentia, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden that was released only in Japan. As always, this is just my personal opinion. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

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Title: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Company: Nintendo
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Console: Nintendo 3DS
How I got the game: I bought it.

Warning — there may be story spoilers!

gameplayLike the majority of Fire Emblem games, Shadows of Valentia is a turn-based tactical RPG franchise with a myriad of characters that the player raises into an army. Shadows of Valentia is based off of the Japan-only released Fire Emblem Gaiden. Considering I had never played any form of Fire Emblem Gaiden — emulated, translated, not even YouTube videos — the plot of Shadows of Valentia was completely new to me.

Despite the perma-death aspect that Fire Emblem games are famous for, I played the game in the Casual mode, allowing characters to come back after falling in battle as opposed to being out of the game entirely like they would on the Classic mode. While there is a special item called Mila’s Turnwheel in the game that lets players turn back a turn in the game should a mistake be made, the Casual mode allows me to fully enjoy and get to know the characters while also doing my best to unlock as many Support conversations between them as possible.

Unlike previous games with Support conversations, where various characters could be paired up, gain spouses or best friends, depending on how strong their supports were, Shadows of Valentia has a limited number of Support conversations. Characters have good or bad endings that are mostly dependent on whether or not their predetermined spouse or best friend lives until the end of the game.

Shadows of Valentia has plenty of the same character classes as previous games, with fairly strict class tiers. Unlike the Fates trio, Shadows of Valentia had gender-locked classes again, with Pegasus Knights and Clerics being female only, while males were the only ones who could be Mercenaries, Soldiers, and Archers. Mages and Cavalier class trees were accessible by both genders.

Tactical battles are similar to previous Fire Emblem games, with each side taking turns to move and attack. Each character class had access to specific weapons and magic, with many weapons unlocking special skills the more the character grew and used the weapon. Shadows of Valentia also had a navigable world map as well as dungeons that one could explore through a third-person behind-the-back perspective and towns that were explored like a visual novel, talking with villagers and allies, and point-and-click interaction with the backgrounds. I enjoyed this unique exploration take, even if some of the dungeons took a little too long for me to get into the next battle.

 

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As usual, I was pleased with the graphics of the game on the Nintendo 3DS. The few anime cut scenes were fun to watch, as was the opening video, and the character models were on par with the previous Fire emblem games. The battle maps and dungeons were mostly unique as well.

I definitely enjoyed the music too, the battle scores always leaving me eager to beat the map. This game also had full voice-acting, which was a pleasant surprise. I found myself really enjoying the voice acting, with each character’s tones being really well done. Exclamations, questions, pauses, everything said sounded full and natural.

story

Fire Emblem games revolve around wars and revolutions. Shadows of Valentia is no different, keeping the classic story formula that works so well for Fire Emblem games.

As a brief summary, the main plot involved warring gods, where each one ruled over one part of the continent of Valentia. The god Duma ruled Rigal to the north while the goddess Mila ruled Zofia to the south. Duma believed in strength while Mila believed in peace and pleasure, and the truce that the pair had was broken when Rigal’s Emperor Rudolf invaded Zofia to seal Mila in Falchion, a divine sword. It’s Mila’s disappearance that prompts Celica to start her journey to search for the goddess, while Rudolf’s invasion of Zofia compels Alm to leave his village to fight for the country he calls home. Eventually, Alm’s and Celica’s armies join up to take down the final boss to bring peace throughout the continent.

Shadows of Valentia has dual paths, letting the player switch back and forth between Alm’s and Celica’s routes with ease. Alm’s path consists of leading the Deliverance, a band of Zofia’s last remaining soldiers fighting to free their country from Rigal’s invasion. Even after Zofia is free and the larger plot looms before them all, Alm continues to lead his army into the heart of Rigal in order to break the land free of Duma’s influence. His path was my favorite regarding a variety of battles and scenes, along with plenty of interesting characters to recruit and speak to. However, his motivation for quite a few of his battles were saving a “damsel in distress” — literally all of the female recruitable characters except for Faye (who is even an optional recruit for Alm’s side) could be recruited after being rescued. Saving people is a fine motivation and all, but a little variety regarding who was saved or how the ladies were recruited would have been nice.

Celica’s route involves… mostly pirates, to be honest. Her path is about traveling to Mila’s temple and, upon finding Mila missing, searching for the goddess, pitting her against Duma’s most faithful follower Jedah. About half of her battles in the second act of the game took place on boats, which got monotonous for me quickly. The speed of the characters and their limited movement on boat maps were tedious unless I had the Pegasus sisters on my side. While her story and characters were more engaging to me than Alm’s was, there was in the second half of the story that bothered me about Celica’s character — she didn’t communicate as well as she could have with her closest allies. In order to move the plot forward, she needed to keep a secret, and it’s a common enough trope that just annoys the hell out of me. These people are putting their lives on the line for you, Celica, you owe it to them to tell them everything that’s going on!

All in all, the story was okay. The plot twists were simple enough to figure out long before the game revealed them, but it was still on par for a Fire Emblem game. I had fun creating strategies for the myriad of battle maps and raising my little army, which is what Fire Emblem games are all about.

replay-value

Like other Fire Emblem games, Shadows of Valentia has a decent replay value if one considers the different combinations one can use to create an army. However, in Shadows of Valentia, every recruited character is used in battle until the last dungeon where the player must pick nine additional members to go with Alm or Celica, depending on which side you are playing. Generally you pick and choose which members of your army joins you in a every battle in Fire Emblem games, giving them more replay value than Shadows of Valentia.

In addition to that, there are more varieties to character classes in previous Fire Emblem games than Shadows of Valentia had. In the beginning of Shadows of Valentia, players are able to choose a handful of classes for the few villager characters that join Alm’s side, allowing players to switch up what their beginning army will be like, but other than that, most classes are static and, depending on who you recruit, one side can get all swordsmen while the other is full of mages. Each presents their own challenges, of course, but I would look forward to replaying Shadows of Valentia more if I was given the chance to really choose my army with the classes and characters for each battle.

Of course, there’s plenty of DLC for the game as well, pricing at about $45 dollars for it all, which is more than the game is going for now on Amazon.

In my opinion, though, there are other Fire Emblem games that I will replay again before Shadows of Valentia.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

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

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