Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fire Emblem: Echoes - Thoughts

Finally completed the game. I bought it when it was released in Japan, but it dragged out all the way until now.
Hey, Monster Hunter was released only a month before it. It's only inevitable.
I'll leave another post for Characters. Mainly pictures of my team.
For this one, thoughts/review on the game. Since the game has been out for so long, I will not hold back on the spoilers, BTW.

In short, it was a very well done game, to my surprise. From overpowered bows to the other mechanisms, it was a generally original-source loyal game.
And no self-pleasuring from the staff like getting to sexually harass your army, "My Unit", and all of that crap. Then again, I have not actually compared the staff of the two games, so I'm not even sure who worked on both of them in the first place.
Worked on both games + in a role that influences game content -> Good job in controlling your sexual desires!
Worked only on this one + in a role that influences game content -> Glad there are staff in Intelligent Systems right now that keep that back at home

And yes, I know that there are attempts in the game (especially the end-game dungeon) to connect the game with Awakening. To me, I think it is almost a miracle this is the only attempt to connect the game to the current staff's oh-so-beloved Awakening, so I'll look the other way on this. In the first place, the end-game dungeon is annoying and I'm not sure I'll even bother to continue playing it. More keen on ending the game and going to Monster Hunter Stories or something.
And yes (again), I know that the two games are supposed to be connected in the first place, due to the same world and later time thing. THAT ITSELF I do not like, which is why I prefer if they avoid pushing that... "setting" out to the front.

But the DLC is atrocious, even worse than last game. Which can lower motivation to really get into the game. A little ranting on that later.

Oh, and I generally have nothing to say about music. This actually goes for all games, unless something is extraordinary.
As for voices, if you are going to put in voices, make it full-voiced, not part-voiced. In that way, this game improved on that. Not that I think voices are needed in the first place. Oh, and there was one line in the game that wasn't voiced (an NPC). I think they missed that when adding voices...

But putting that aside, here are my thoughts.

First, the visuals.
Finally, the artwork improved by switching out of Kozaki. Hidari's artstyle is very fitting of Fire Emblem. Kinda resembles Wada Sachiko (Sacred Stones)'s artstyle. I'm not an artist myself, so I can't really analyze why so, but it just reminds me of Wada's. In a good way.

On the other hand, the 3D is still... Yeah... Generally, it isn't that noticeable. But when you start doing cutscenes using the 3D? It's... not exactly the best way to get your audience into the game, let's just say.
And as always, the characters start looking weird after they Class Change. Like their body and head are separate things. (Program-wise, they probably are)

Second, the story.
Perhaps thanks to having a backbone, the story was not a complete mess like last time. Really, I don't expect an awesome story from Fire Emblem, but it needs to at least be mediocre, you know?
That said, there is one big problem to the story, and that is Celica in Chapter 4. She goes through this "I can't tell anyone my worries" phase that really is done way too late into the game. You've already gone through so much with your party and now we are at the end of the game, and the story does this? What's worst is that she someone is able to trust the absolutely suspicious guy. And even worse is that her party never really gets to redeem themselves. They spent their vacation lost in the underground maze and just happens to catch up after the Protagonist saves her. Bonding with your party? N... ah...

Third, the systems.
I have to say I am disappointed in fact that there is no Lunatic. I was quite surprised that there was not any upon beating the game.
And no, selling it later for a price will not improve by impression here.

The Mira Watch thing that allows you to go back turns was... an interesting addition. The problem here is that it is only interesting because it feels like the game was balanced partially upon the fact you can use this. Because when you use this, the RNG is randomized again. The enemy moves differently, attacks hit or miss differently... Added to the fact you have stuff like randomly teleporting enemies, it just feels like the game was balanced under the knowledge the player can reverse moves and play with the RNG.

The ability to retreat is a fun feature. Aside for certain battles, you generally can attack and retreat over and over again, slowly wearing down the opposing army. On the 3rd turn, you could just charge all of your characters with no regards to their remaining health and then just retreat after killing as many enemies as possible.

One thing that was noticeable, for better or for worse was the number of maps where the enemies just charged at you. There is slightly more variety than that, but a large amount of maps are just a huge army charging at you.

Yay, the "every character can have support conversations with every other character" thing is gone. The characters a character can converse with is in itself a characteristic of that character, after all.

No problem with the lack of weapon triangle or item thing.

And I think that is really all?
So yeah, let's get into the DLC...
Hmm, I have to say I am surprised that the DLC is getting worse. Still not at BandaiNamco level, but I'm starting to get reminded of them.
Especially the Class Changes. The past game had extra Classes that everyone could become, but now there is a paid DLC for every single class, where you have to buy one at a time. And despite this fact, it isn't cheap either.
I have not bothered to count, but I think you can probably buy a whole new game with the money that would go into all of that DLC. And there is more to come, but from the way they make it out to be on the site, they actually think it is something to look forward to. Yeah, I totally look forward to being looked down upon. Ah yes, those stupid piggy banks of a consumer will surely look forward at out creative ways at draining their wallet!
(If you missed the sarcasm, the DLC aren't exactly creative)

And what's even more funny:
Before this game was released, Monster Hunter was released. A HUGE brand that makes Fire Emblem look like ants, but wow, no paid DLC.
To be released one month from now is Alliance Alive. An incredibly minor game that any of the few that read this article to hear probably even know about. But what do you know? They actually went out of their way to announce beforehand that there will be no DLC.
And you may be like, "Well, others are doing it!" and perhaps so. But it leaves a different impression, you know. Especially Alliance Alive, whose staff (or a staff) constantly speaks about the game (and its development) on Twitter as well as have been trying to take in feedback and update the game before its actual release.

So all in all, if you can accept the DLC, there isn't really that much of a problem with the game. Sure, a couple of flaws here or there, but it is pretty solid.
That said...
That said.
If Class Changes is DLC-okay now, I will have to think a bit more next time before buying a Fire Emblem game. I do like the series (in general), but I'm not exactly at the blind worshipper level anymore. (Perhaps I once was, but Awakening/Fates/Heroes was more than enough to wake me up from it).

PS: I do not think there is a need to say this, but DLC itself is not a problem. It's the content that is decisive.

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