By ArbitraryWater 27 Comments
Oh, hey person. Thanks for reading my blog thing. Assuming this is a few days out and my blog thing has dropped off the front page of the forums, I congratulate you for being able to find it, considering that you’d have to look on my profile page or like… the community spotlight to find it. Either way, good on you for doing so. As far as video games that aren’t covered by this blog are concerned: Dark Messiah of Might and Magic seems sort of bad and goofy in a way I can get behind, but my burgeoning playthrough of that was stopped in its tracks by it crashing at a specific point a few hours in every single time, and I don’t have the patience to try to find a work-around. I did, however, “acquire” Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System after finding out that someone had made an English patch for it, but other than deciding right out the gate that I utterly despise Vaan and wish Balthier was the main character I couldn’t tell you anything about it. Oh right, I started playing League of Legends again (and then proceeded to get a bit of carpal tunnel in my right hand), so if any of you are still playing, you can probably guess what my account name is. I’m still a decent mid or jungler (and can do the other 3 positions with varying levels of skill), for what that is worth, though I end up being the jungler more often than not because apparently people still aren’t into playing that position very much.
But now, let’s talk about Fire Emblem. Again. I’ve been hammering my way through Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi (basically translated as “Sword of Seals”) probably since finishing Awakening (which I still mess around with here and there whenever new DLC comes out. The DLC itself is clearly overpriced at around $2 a map, but if you know who all of these Japan-only characters are, you’ll probably enjoy it just the same) and can give a pretty clear contrast between them. Whereas Awakening is probably the best game the series has had in a while, acting as a perfect introduction to new players and being backed up by an excellent localization. Fuuin no Tsurugi is only relevant to you, the regular human at home, because it has Roy in it and Roy was in the Smash Bros and not quite as good as Marth. It actually represents a significant downgrade from the SNES games that preceded it in terms of story, design and mechanics and is similarly blown out of the water by the other two GBA games, not to even talk about Path of Radiance or this newest installment. The rather literal, direct translation can certainly explain the dull writing, but as it stands I’m totally fine with the seventh installment (just called Fire Emblem here) being the series introduction to the west rather than this one. Can I explain why without sounding like a crazy person? Let’s find out!
Fuuin no Tsurugi is still a Fire Emblem game, let’s get that out of the way. Weapon Triangle, Red and Green Cavaliers, support conversations and somewhat crummy Jeigan characters are all included. However there are no skills and every map has “Seize the Throne/Gate” as the main objective. Roy, son of Eliwood (making this a prequel to the other GBA game) gallivants his way across the world, being incredibly dull and fighting dragons along the way. While it’s weird to retroactively see characters and world-building explained by the overly literal and dry translation when the same was done in the other game much better, it stands that the plot is as straightforward as it is boring, with the support conversations (introduced with this game) suffering much the same fate. With the writing not being able to hold it up (which is fine, because I’m not one of those crazies who always comes to games for the story), what about the gameplay? It uses the same engine as the other two GBA games, how can it be worse? Design, mostly. The levels are all a bit larger than needs be (which, as you may expect, makes the 7 paladins you get pretty useful and the already tragically underpowered knights a liability, not that armored knights are never not sort of bad outside of a few notables.) It’s harder than Fire Emblem or The Sacred Stones on their default difficulties, and while I’m all for my Fire Emblem games being hard without being sadistic monsters (i.e. Lunatic mode), the difficulty is more “your units aren’t super great and enemy reinforcements move the turn they spawn” and less “I have to think smarter because this level design is ruthless”. Still not act 1 of Radiant Dawn for what that’s worth… ugh. I should probably also throw in that this game probably has one of the single most pathetic final bosses in the series, perhaps only rivaled by Beld in Thracia 776 and Formortiis in Sacred Stones.
I mean, for what it’s worth, it’s still a Fire Emblem game so I still enjoyed it, but I think as far as anyone’s ventures into the questionably legal realm of Japanese Fire Emblem are concerned, you’d be better served prioritizing other games in the series (I.e the ones for the SNES) before moving on to this one. Hell, after this one I only have 3 games in the series that I haven’t finished yet and those happen to be the first 3 installments. Also Tear Ring Saga, which I can already confirm is better than this game because it’s crazy and is a more logical successor to the Fire Emblem games that I like.
To talk about something else...
I also played Super Mario 3D Land, and man is that game awesome. Ok, allow me to make a correction: That game is ok for the first 8 worlds and then gets awesome once you reach the special worlds, at which point they start resembling Galaxy in terms of being crazy and imaginative and actually challenging instead of absurdly easy the way those base levels are. In any case, this and Fire Emblem Awakening alone have made me feel ok about owning a 3DS. Now all I need is a PS3 to play Demon’s Souls and I’ll be golden! What’s that? I need to save money again? Damn. I need a job.