Games I've played: Fire Emblem: Awakening (chapter 19/26), Super Mario Galaxy

Fire Emblem: Awakening (chapter 19/26)

I have a really weird relationship with Fire Emblem: Awakening. I started it at the end of June, moved, and completely stopped playing for around a month. I resumed sometime in August, but fell off again, and picked it up for real near the end of September. I'm now on the warpath to finishing it, if just to finally put it behind me. I say this just to establish that you should take my opinions about this game with a grain of salt.

There's a lot of cool things about Awakening, but I just can't get meaningfully invested in the characters or story, and I find I'm often just not in the mood to play it. I can't point to any one thing and say "that's why I don't love it", but I don't love it. It's a remarkably well-executed and polished game -- in a way that puts so much of today's buggy, day-one-patched stuff to shame -- and it's really obvious that Intelligent Systems has been honing this formula for ages. The gulf between the respect I have for the game and my personal taste for it has been wearing on me.

If I had to point at one thing about it that's disagreed with me, it's that it feels unfocused. There's a lot of characters, and maybe because of that, most of them lean pretty heavily on one or two shticks. My map is always full of random battles and StreetPass teams, but I really only deal with that stuff for the sake of grinding, not because I find repeating easy battles fun. I often have very specific goals in mind when grinding -- such as building up affinity, weapon skill, and equalizing lower-leveled characters; and while that's satisfying in its own way, it feels a bit soulless. I'm finding the story to be perfectly serviceable, but it's not like I'm sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what might happen next, and in the context of a JRPG, I think that's a problem. I'm hitting a point where I feel like I've experienced most of what I want to from the game, but still have 10+ hours to go.

I do love the affinity system, which I unfortunately neglected and somewhat misunderstood through a lot of the early game. It's, in my mind, the redeeming side of the lack of focus, because it lets you create your own stories and/or badass character teams. I married my tome-using MC to Lucina, and they're a two-person wrecking crew in a really satisfying and narratively contextualized way. Same goes for Stahl and Cordelia, who have the added bonus of extreme mobility and amazing tanking potential. Vaike and Nowi; Lon'qu and Panne; Chrom and Sumia; and various other unmarried pairs have all turned into very reliable crews. I didn't realize it early on, but the support mechanic may be the most important and rewarding aspect of the game -- If I played the game again, I'd put way more thought and planning into it.

When everything comes together, Awakening can feel rewarding like almost nothing else. In the paralogue in which you're protecting Tiki, I took one look at the situation and figured "there's no way I can possibly get through this without losses", but I got my units into a perfect support formation and made it through. At one point, I pulled off a brilliant-feeling unit shuffle (complete with a choice Olivia iron sword kill) to get a unit healed and safely paired up. I'm sure I'm playing the game terribly by series veteran standards, but it makes me feel like like I'm smart, and that's what matters!

P.S. I love the character design and art. It goes a really long way to giving the characters, well, character.

Super Mario Galaxy

I caught a nasty cold last week, and I dug out my copy of Super Mario Galaxy as a sort of video game comfort food. Six(!) years later, it's still a great game. The last time I played it, it was on a fairly bad SDTV over the stock composite cables, and while I remember it looking good even then, on a nice widescreen monitor in 480p (via Wii2HDMI), it looks really good even by modern HD standards. I've seen the screenshots of it upscaled in Wii emulators, and while they do look better, Galaxy hardly needs to be rendered in HD to be a looker.

The levels are wonderfully varied, inventive, and playful; and the way they're organized into hubs makes it really easy to hop between them and keep things fresh. The controls are tight, the surprising breadth of game mechanics are really smoothly dolled out and trained, and the production values and polish are almost without compare. This is one of those games that almost never breaks character. It's quite possibly one of my favourite games ever made, though I'll feel more comfortable saying that once I'm finished playing and my 2007 memories have been thoroughly challenged by recent experience.

And man, the music. I'm only 20-something stars in, and I know there's some great stuff coming (Gusty Garden Galaxy in particular), but here's some favourites from early on:

I incredibly never got around to playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 -- a mistake I hope to rectify soon.

27 Comments
27 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

I'd say the plot's the larger problem with Fire Emblem: Awakening. There are all these really important and well-executed events, but no real cohesion between them, resulting in the lack of focus you cited.

Wait, what's that about a Nowi paralogue? Do you mean "Nah"? The simultaneously satisfying and annoying one with all the collapsing walls?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Oh hey. I don't know if you know this, but I like Fire Emblem a whole lot and I have yet to find anything that tops Awakening as my pre-emptive Game of the Year 2013, but I'm also crazy. The story is sort of... there, so don't expect the conclusion to be revelatory or anything. I think the support conversations are pretty great though. The characters may fall pretty squarely into established anime archetypes, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun watching them play off each other.

Also, even on hard it's pretty easy to over-grind your characters to the point of trivialization, making anything that isn't one of the absurdly hard post-game DLC chapters a walk in the park. I tried playing on Lunatic, but as far as I can tell that mode is actually for crazy people and should not be attempted by anyone without godlike patience, even on casual. It's not my favorite in the series, but it is the best Fire Emblem has been in a long time.

Oh, and Super Mario Galaxy is great and now you've made me want to play it again. Congratulations.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

@video_game_king said:

I'd say the plot's the larger problem with Fire Emblem: Awakening. There are all these really important and well-executed events, but no real cohesion between them, resulting in the lack of focus you cited.

Wait, what's that about a Nowi paralogue? Do you mean "Nah"? The simultaneously satisfying and annoying one with all the collapsing walls?

Oh yeah, I just did that one. I was going to write about that, but I didn't want to sound nitpickier than I already was. I brought Anna along for lockpicking, but through a really unlucky series of events she got killed in a single round (and I didn't care for her or the mission enough to restart), so I ended up dashing through the random wall openings.

And yeah, the this game's got some really charming writing in it. Between this and Persona 3 ("More like Stupei, Ace Defective"), I've been getting more than my fill of goofy video game jokes lately.

Oh hey. I don't know if you know this, but I like Fire Emblem a whole lot and I have yet to find anything that tops Awakening as my pre-emptive Game of the Year 2013, but I'm also crazy. The story is sort of... there, so don't expect the conclusion to be revelatory or anything. I think the support conversations are pretty great though. The characters may fall pretty squarely into established anime archetypes, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun watching them play off each other.

The support conversations are good and fun, but they still lean on the pretty thin stereotypes a lot of the characters are based on. I'm not saying it's terrible -- for what it is, it's well-executed -- more that deeper characters would help me develop more investment in the narrative. The core design of the game -- which needs a lot of non-essential characters -- is at odds with that, so I don't know that what I'm asking for is a fair expectation.

Posted by Hailinel

I'd say the plot's the larger problem with Fire Emblem: Awakening. There are all these really important and well-executed events, but no real cohesion between them, resulting in the lack of focus you cited.

Wait, what's that about a Nowi paralogue? Do you mean "Nah"? The simultaneously satisfying and annoying one with all the collapsing walls?

Well, Nah's paralogue is also Nowi's, in that it requires Nowi to marry in order to access.

The thing about Awakening's plot is that it isn't all just one grand conflict. It's a series of smaller conflicts that are woven onto the backdrop of an underlying conspiracy. So the wars against Plegia and Walhart, while major conflicts with important moments, and which could alone have been written as their own stories for individual games, are just pieces of the whole.

The strength in Awakening's story is otherwise in its characters. Marriage and childbirth isn't something that has been in a Fire Emblem title as an actual game mechanic since Genealogy of the Holy War on the Super Famicom. But its the nature of the characters and the bonds they form that drives the story forward, not just in terms of marriage and children, but basic ideas like trust and respect, which are key to the endings of all of the major conflicts the characters face.

Posted by Hailinel

The support conversations are good and fun, but they still lean on the pretty thin stereotypes a lot of the characters are based on. I'm not saying it's terrible -- for what it is, it's well-executed -- more that deeper characters would help me develop more investment in the narrative. The core design of the game -- which needs a lot of non-essential characters -- is at odds with that, so I don't know that what I'm asking for is a fair expectation.

The thing about the characters, I feel, is that the cast really thrives on the sorts of characterizations that they present. Sure, you get a lot of these characters that seem based on a stereotype or archetype, but when you start digging around in their support relationships with others, you start seeing more depth. That's the reward in reading the support conversations; you learn more about these characters and see a little further beyond Sumia's clumsiness or Noire's timidity. Relative simplicity will always be there because the vast majority of these characters are not important to the overarching narrative, but there's a fair bit of depth if you're willing to put in the effort to earn it.

Posted by BisonHero

@grantheaslip said:

My map is always full of random battles and StreetPass teams, but I really only deal with that stuff for the sake of grinding, not because I find repeating easy battles fun. I often have very specific goals in mind when grinding -- such as building up affinity, weapon skill, and equalizing lower-leveled characters; and while that's satisfying in its own way, it feels a bit soulless.

This is something I've experienced as well. I think Awakening is the most polished Fire Emblem ever, but I much prefer the tension of Fire Emblems that have a finite number of battles. It gives the game a focus that a lot of JRPGs don't have (strategy JRPGs included), since most JRPGs and strategy JRPGs sorta lose focus with all the grinding, since there are SO MANY BATTLES between each relevant story moment. Anyway:

A) We can all agree that the main story/paralogues in Awakening are by far the more interesting battles in the game, since they have custom scripting and character dialogue, and each one introduces a new map.

B) The Risen and Streetpass fights are either painfully boring, or (early on when your levels are low) painfully unfair, because instead of some enemies only engaging you when you come within a certain distance (like the main story/paralogues), every enemy immediately charges towards you.

The advantage to Fire Emblems with no grinding is that it strips out B, so the game is just all the goodness of A. Granted, it's a shorter game, but I think it's better for it.

I'm not a Fire Emblemologist like @arbitrarywater, but of the ones I've played (only 3 total), I prefer Path of Radiance on the Gamecube to Awakening. The story isn't amazing, but it's good enough, and in combination with the support conversations (which I think were less goofy than Awakening), I felt urged onward to see how each chapter unfolded. Awakening certainly has a greater quantity of support conversations, but I kinda prefer the support conversations where people learn something from/about each other, which seem few and far between in Awakening, relative to the "HIJINKS!" support conversations.

So for me, it's Path of Radiance, Awakening, then way, way down is Radiant Dawn.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

@hailinel said:

@grantheaslip said:

The support conversations are good and fun, but they still lean on the pretty thin stereotypes a lot of the characters are based on. I'm not saying it's terrible -- for what it is, it's well-executed -- more that deeper characters would help me develop more investment in the narrative. The core design of the game -- which needs a lot of non-essential characters -- is at odds with that, so I don't know that what I'm asking for is a fair expectation.

The thing about the characters, I feel, is that the cast really thrives on the sorts of characterizations that they present. Sure, you get a lot of these characters that seem based on a stereotype or archetype, but when you start digging around in their support relationships with others, you start seeing more depth. That's the reward in reading the support conversations; you learn more about these characters and see a little further beyond Sumia's clumsiness or Noire's timidity. Relative simplicity will always be there because the vast majority of these characters are not important to the overarching narrative, but there's a fair bit of depth if you're willing to put in the effort to earn it.

I wasn't giving them enough credit -- as you say, there ends up being more to some of the characters -- but I think you might be giving them a bit too much credit. I mean, what really becomes of Lon'qu aside from him realizing that women aren't scary? How much is there really to Nowi's character besides child-like playfulness and regret that everyone around her dies? Yes, it's easy to be reductionist, but most of the characters and/or character relationships could probably be pretty neatly summarized in a sentence or two. Most of the arcs are predictable and linear.

I totally get that most of the characters are by their very nature -- and because of gameplay realities -- very secondary, and they do a very good job within that constraint. Within that constraint, the stereotypes serve a very useful purpose of giving the player a set of expectations.

But at least when it comes to core, must-live characters, some more depth and reason for me to feel more invested in their characters and goals would have gone a long way for me. Basically, what if there were two tiers: regular characters, who are treated as they are now, and core characters (say, MC, Chrom, Sumia, Lucina, Lissa, Morgan, and maybe a few others), who get more screen time and more complex story arcs? You're a series veteran, so you've got a much better idea of whether what I'm asking for is a good idea or not.

(And again, keep in mind that I've played this game in fits and starts, which is no doubt contributing to my feelings about its narrative.)

Edited by Video_Game_King

@hailinel said:

you learn more about these characters and see a little further beyond Sumia's clumsiness or Noire's timidity.

You need the supports to see beyond that? What about her RANDOM BOUTS OF DEMONIC ANGER!?

Posted by BisonHero

@video_game_king said:

@hailinel said:

you learn more about these characters and see a little further beyond Sumia's clumsiness or Noire's timidity.

You need the supports to see beyond that? What about her RANDOM BOUTS OF DEMONIC ANGER!?

BLOOD AND THUNDER!

Edited by GrantHeaslip

@bisonhero said:

B) The Risen and Streetpass fights are either painfully boring, or (early on when your levels are low) painfully unfair, because instead of some enemies only engaging you when you come within a certain distance (like the main story/paralogues), every enemy immediately charges towards you.

Early on, the biggest problem I had with StreetPass battles was that any team with Frederick in it required me to very specifically formulate a plan to prevent him from one-shotting anyone. Now, the problem I have is that most people I StreetPass have powerful endgame teams, or are close enough to me in level that I'd run the risk of a character with low defence or resistance getting smoked by their weakness.

That sounds more appealing to me, especially if it allowed the developers to very specifically tailor the difficulty of battles to the amount of experience you'd accrued. I've ended up not over-levelling too much, but have definitely been a few stretches in which I just tore through story chapters.

In her case, she was an "abandoned" character in the sense that she was way under-levelled and under-supported, so losing her was pretty inconsequential. It helped that I really didn't care for the character to begin with.

But really, having not played one of these games, is letting someone die ever done? I lost Virion early on in a way that felt pretty unavoidable (a boss smoked him, but would have smoked someone else if not for him, though given what I know now I may have just not been playing well), and I lost the sweet tooth thief directly after recruiting him during a pretty difficult mission I didn't want to repeat for a third time.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@bisonhero: EDIT: Really? It ate my post again? Stupid forums. What I was going to say is that I agree with you that grinding takes away from Fire Emblem's strength as a game, and I'd say that the difficulty for the story missions are balanced in such a way as to require at least a small amount of grind.

Posted by Video_Game_King

But really, having not played one of these games, is letting someone die ever done?

I don't do it. If one of my characters dies, I reset the hell out of my game and make sure they pull through. The only characters I let die were Quan and Ethlyn, and that was only because letting them survive would've broken the game.

Edited by BisonHero

@grantheaslip: If I may continue to sing the praises of Path of Radiance on the Gamecube, the support conversations don't rely so heavily on whatever that character's quirk is.

For example: in PoR, the transforming animal characters (like Panne and Nowi) are major factions. One character, a tough guy cat/lion person (sort of like Panne), can have a support with a curt hawk person (sort of like Lon'qu). They're from different kingdoms.

Their first couple supports sort of talk about the differences in their abilities. The lion guy has good night vision, while the hawk guy can fly (obv). They lament that they can't see the world the way the other does. The final support conversation is that one of them proposes that after the war, the hawk guy could carry the lion guy over the forest at night, so that the hawk guy can see (via the lion guy's description) how alive the forest is at night, and the hawk guy could carry the lion guy to the hawk capital, which is high up on some cliffs and only accessible by flight, letting the lion guy see the world the way the hawk people do.

http://www.serenesforest.net/fe9/support/060.html

That's one of the conversations I specifically remember, and while I like a lot of the support conversations in Awakening, a lot of them just seem like "what if this quirk had to interact with this quirk" fluff compared to the cool hawk-lion bro time Gift-of-the-Magi support conversation. For example, with the handful of Feroxi people you get (Lon'qu, Olivia, etc.), I wish they might actually talk about their culture or how they were raised or SOME unique insight, instead of just "OH NO I'm super scared of women constantly" or "blah blah blah dancing".

Some of the personality traits are just so endearing that all of the support conversations are freaking great (Donnel comes to mind), but I just feel like they lack the same substance that I got out of some of the ones in Path of Radiance.

Posted by Slag

Hey Grant!

Thanks for reminding me I need to get back to finishing galaxy. It's the first Mario game I lost interest in, there was lot I loved about the game, but ultimately my hatred of the wii remote just turned me off it as it has for countless other great wii games. I just really dislike holding that thing for some reason. Maybe it's because I tend to game in long bursts.

This is why we Save Scum. How is that not a wiki concept page btw?

Posted by Video_Game_King
Posted by Slag

Because it's more a feature of gamer culture than it is a hard, objective concept one can point to in the game?

hmmm I guess you have a point. I don't see "rage quit" or "teabagging" either.

Edited by Hailinel


But at least when it comes to core, must-live characters, some more depth and reason for me to feel more invested in their characters and goals would have gone a long way for me. Basically, what if there were two tiers: regular characters, who are treated as they are now, and core characters (say, MC, Chrom, Sumia, Lucina, Lissa, Morgan, and maybe a few others), who get more screen time and more complex story arcs? You're a series veteran, so you've got a much better idea of whether what I'm asking for is a good idea or not.

(And again, keep in mind that I've played this game in fits and starts, which is no doubt contributing to my feelings about its narrative.)

Well, one minor point is that Sumia is not a story-important character. Though the game is designed and presented in such a way that she is the most obvious choice as Chrom's wife/Lucina's mother, she is just as capable of dying permanently before any of that can happen as any of Chrom's other potential brides. Which again, relates to the difficulty of giving her presence importance beyond a selection of key scenes (where she can easily be swapped out with whoever Chrom actually does marry, assuming that his wife is still alive by that point in the story).

As far as the core story for a Fire Emblem game is concerned, the most plot-dependent characters are the Lords, and a select few secondary characters that either aren't playable or, assuming they run out of hit points, don't die and are merely forced out of combat with injury. Like in Path of Radiance, Ike and Elincia are the two most important protagonists in the story and can't die or it's Game Over. Mist, Ike's sister, can run out of HP and won't die. She has story-importance, but you lose the ability to learn about her through her supports, and she won't receive an ending in the epilogue.

I'm not sure what you really want out of the characters. I mean, more depth and complexity would be nice, but the games aren't structured in such a way that these large casts, outside of the most prominent and story-important character, really get more than a chapter or two to showcase themselves.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@hailinel said:

I mean, more depth and complexity would be nice, but the games aren't structured in such a way that these large casts, outside of the most prominent and story-important character, really get more than a chapter or two to showcase themselves.

I smell a video game idea...

Edited by GrantHeaslip

@hailinel said:

@grantheaslip said:


But at least when it comes to core, must-live characters, some more depth and reason for me to feel more invested in their characters and goals would have gone a long way for me. Basically, what if there were two tiers: regular characters, who are treated as they are now, and core characters (say, MC, Chrom, Sumia, Lucina, Lissa, Morgan, and maybe a few others), who get more screen time and more complex story arcs? You're a series veteran, so you've got a much better idea of whether what I'm asking for is a good idea or not.

(And again, keep in mind that I've played this game in fits and starts, which is no doubt contributing to my feelings about its narrative.)

Well, one minor point is that Sumia is not a story-important character. Though the game is designed and presented in such a way that she is the most obvious choice as Chrom's wife/Lucina's mother, she is just as capable of dying permanently before any of that can happen as any of Chrom's other potential brides. Which again, relates to the difficulty of giving her presence importance beyond a selection of key scenes (where she can easily be swapped out with whoever Chrom actually does marry, assuming that his wife is still alive by that point in the story).

As far as the core story for a Fire Emblem game is concerned, the most plot-dependent characters are the Lords, and a select few secondary characters that either aren't playable or, assuming they run out of hit points, don't die and are merely forced out of combat with injury. Like in Path of Radiance, Ike and Elincia are the two most important protagonists in the story and can't die or it's Game Over. Mist, Ike's sister, can run out of HP and won't die. She has story-importance, but you lose the ability to learn about her through her supports, and she won't receive an ending in the epilogue.

I'm not sure what you really want out of the characters. I mean, more depth and complexity would be nice, but the games aren't structured in such a way that these large casts, outside of the most prominent and story-important character, really get more than a chapter or two to showcase themselves.

Yeah, I knew that about Sumia and Lissa (and Morgan, I assume) -- just throwing out a hypothetical different way the game could be structured to have a larger core cast they could flesh out more without leaving behind the diverse supporting characters. And yes, I know, I'm sort of asking for a different game, though I'd put forward that even the core, must-live characters (Chrom, Lucina, and MC) are more plot devices than interesting characters in and of themselves. My opinion, of course, and I realize it's a bit much for me to come parachuting into a 20-year-old franchise claiming to know how to make it better.

@slag said:

Hey Grant!

Thanks for reminding me I need to get back to finishing galaxy. It's the first Mario game I lost interest in, there was lot I loved about the game, but ultimately my hatred of the wii remote just turned me off it as it has for countless other great wii games. I just really dislike holding that thing for some reason. Maybe it's because I tend to game in long bursts.

I actually don't mind the Wii Remote so much, it's the Nunchuk I've never really liked. It's always felt to me that it should be larger, or the analog stick should be positioned further up on it. I find I often have to reposition my grip to be able to get the analog stick to a full down position. I'm also the kind of person who hits the X button a PS3 controller with the fold of my thumb, so it could be that I just hold controllers weirdly in general.

[...] For example, with the handful of Feroxi people you get (Lon'qu, Olivia, etc.), I wish they might actually talk about their culture or how they were raised or SOME unique insight, instead of just "OH NO I'm super scared of women constantly" or "blah blah blah dancing".

That kind of lore stuff, speaking as a series newcomer, would be especially nice. I'd honestly forgotten Lon'qu and Olivia were Feroxi, and I've never really developed any understanding of what the Feroxi are besides Flavia and Basilio. Actually, that applies to nearly all of the factions -- I have only a vague idea of who's who, what the factions histories with each other are, and how that applies to the situation at hand. I guess there's two sides to that coin -- I'd rather get personality than history lessons out of characters -- but there could be some middle ground there. The lack of world building seems especially weird in the context of this being a game designed to be more open to newcomers.

Posted by Hailinel

Yeah, I knew that about Sumia and Lissa (and Morgan, I assume) -- just throwing out a hypothetical different way the game could be structured to have a larger core cast they could flesh out more without leaving behind the diverse supporting characters. And yes, I know, I'm sort of asking for a different game, though I'd put forward that even the core, must-live characters (Chrom, Lucina, and MC) are more plot devices than interesting characters in and of themselves. My opinion, of course, and I realize it's a bit much for me to come parachuting into a 20-year-old franchise claiming to know how to make it better.


That kind of lore stuff, speaking as a series newcomer, would be especially nice. I'd honestly forgotten Lon'qu and Olivia were Feroxi, and I've never really developed any understanding of what the Feroxi are besides Flavia and Basilio. Actually, that applies to nearly all of the factions -- I have only a vague idea of who's who, what the factions histories with each other are, and how that applies to the situation at hand. I guess there's two sides to that coin -- I'd rather get personality than history lessons out of characters -- but there could be some middle ground there. The lack of world building seems especially weird in the context of this being a game designed to be more open to newcomers.

The thing about the lore is that, by and large, it's not a necessary thing from game to game. Fire Emblem doesn't exist in one consistent universe. Some games do share universes, but there are entries that exist in worlds that are entirely distinct. The premise behind Awakening's setting is that it's the world of Fire Emblem 1-5 in a far-flung future (specifically the continents that appear in 1-3). So far in the future that all of the old nations are gone. The primary connections to the games of old being Lucina's choice of disguise, the existence of the Falchion, and a few other select characters. The story and dialogue is also loaded with inside references to other games in the series, like Owain's battle cries, weapons and gear you can find on the ground, or arguably Gangrel's "Mad King" nickname. This is of course made only more prevalent with the DLC battles involving spirit forms of characters from across the entire franchise.

So the story and plotting aren't really meant for newcomers. It's more of a loveletter to fans of the series; particularly since the development team was apparently told that the game would need to sell at least 500,000 to ensure the continuation of the franchise. They basically used the game as a melting pot for most every concept that has ever appeared in a Fire Emblem game, wrapped in a story and world meant to appeal to long-time fans.

Posted by BisonHero

@grantheaslip: Also, remember how Tharja was a Plegian Dark Mage you convince to join you/she doesn't give a shit? I sorta forgot almost immediately forgot she was from this crazy desert country, because in all of her supports it never comes up, and instead she hexes people and/or kind of just acts like Daria.

Haha, I legitimately wasn't sure if Daria ever had a video game, but she did! Awesome. Thank you Giant Bomb image search.

Anyway, maybe my memories are exaggerating the support conversations in the Gamecube game, but I just don't remember them being as insubstantial and kinda one-note as they are in Awakening. Awakening is admirable, in that writing all that wasn't easy and it's hilarious that there are so many romantic pairings, but a lot of those romantic S-ranks come out of nowhere. On the other hand, I liked a lot of the support conversations between parents and their kids. All the kids have the same mothers (barring Lucina and sort of Morgan) so I saw the same supports as you would've, but it's interesting to see what the fathers brought to the table with each kid in my universe, which would differ from who you think of as being that character's father in your version of the game.

Edited by Hailinel

@bisonhero said:

@grantheaslip: Also, remember how Tharja was a Plegian Dark Mage you convince to join you/she doesn't give a shit? I sorta forgot almost immediately forgot she was from this crazy desert country, because in all of her supports it never comes up, and instead she hexes people and/or kind of just acts like Daria.

Anyway, maybe my memories are exaggerating the support conversations in the Gamecube game, but I just don't remember them being as insubstantial and kinda one-note as they are in Awakening. Awakening is admirable, in that writing all that wasn't easy and it's hilarious that there are so many romantic pairings, but a lot of those romantic S-ranks come out of nowhere. On the other hand, I liked a lot of the support conversations between parents and their kids. All the kids have the same mothers (barring Lucina and sort of Morgan) so I saw the same supports as you would've, but it's interesting to see what the fathers brought to the table with each kid in my universe, which would differ from who you think of as being that character's father in your version of the game.

Part of the reason why the support conversations in Awakening are structured as they are is because of the marriage system. When most every character can optionally marry one of multiple choices, the dialogue has to be tailored to that fact. The same goes for the child characters. Noire and Tharja will always have a more unique, personal dialogue than Noire will have with her father because Noire's father isn't set in stone. It's easier to write for the characters in a game like Path of Radiance that doesn't have this sort of variance, as it allows the conversations to be more personalized between pairs. The support system in Radiant Dawn was even more hamstrung in this regard because it allowed for support relationships between any two characters, and thus was loaded with conversations that felt more like templates (because that's essentially what they were). The more personal dialogues came in that particular game's Info conversations that were like short skits, but each character only received one or two of those.

Posted by Slag

@slag said:

Hey Grant!

Thanks for reminding me I need to get back to finishing galaxy. It's the first Mario game I lost interest in, there was lot I loved about the game, but ultimately my hatred of the wii remote just turned me off it as it has for countless other great wii games. I just really dislike holding that thing for some reason. Maybe it's because I tend to game in long bursts.

I actually don't mind the Wii Remote so much, it's the Nunchuk I've never really liked. It's always felt to me that it should be larger, or the analog stick should be positioned further up on it. I find I often have to reposition my grip to be able to get the analog stick to a full down position. I'm also the kind of person who hits the X button a PS3 controller with the fold of my thumb, so it could be that I just hold controllers weirdly in general.

for me it's definitely the remote part. I just don't like pointing it at the screen for hours on end, never found a way to do so comfortably.

re: nunchuck- never had that problem with it, but now that you mention it I could see how that could be an issue if your hand size is different than mine.

fwiw I hit the x button the same way on the dualshock. I think that's pretty normal.

Posted by BisonHero

@hailinel: I still think they could've built rapport (leading to romance) in a way that didn't so directly play off of whatever character quirk that character has. To be fair, not ALL of the Awakening characters are guilty of this. Nonetheless, if your point is something like "due to the sheer number of characters and support combinations, that's a lot of writing and it's hard for every conversation to stand out and seem meaningful", then I'll admit you're right. Writing dialogue for so many characters just takes a ton of time, and it's why Radiant Dawn's support system was boring. It was basically the barracks conversation template that exists in Awakening, which is functional but totally generic, but it almost had to be that way because almost all of the cast from the prior game returns, plus a bunch of new characters, and that is SO MANY CHARACTERS. Writing for that many characters would just be a crazy amount of work.

Also, it bummed me out that because Awakening is so based on romance, each person usually only had a couple same-sex supports. Which I think is why everyone notices stuff like Lon'qu freaking out over women; he has something like 10 stammering around women supports (11 if player avatar is female), while you only get to see his demeanor around guys when he talks to Vaike or Gregor (or male player avatar).

Maybe I'm judging the game by unfair standards, but at the end of the day, I'm fine with having way less supports and characters if they can be as cool as some of the ones in games like Path of Radiance. Though I super duper hated that each character can only have 5 support ranks, so you could only get one A-rank conversation and then one super frustrating B-rank conversation that you'll never get to see the conclusion of.

Posted by PandaBear

Fire Emblems Awakening had a plot? It had some cool looking cutscenes and some shit about time travel and zombies ... but yeah, it's story was piss-weak. Loved the game though...

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

I've approached Fire Emblem the same way as you. I come back in large spurts, but I still need to actually finish it.