We’ve almost made it through the first official week of 2017! Congratulations! How are we celebrating?
For the most part I’ve been playing through Fire Emblem: Awakening on 3DS, which I’m in love with. For those not in the know, it’s one of the landmark strategy role-playing games, similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, but with a catch: the characters that die in your game are gone forever. Awakening is full of great writing and character development, interesting combat, and if the whole permadeath thing doesn’t appeal to you, you can elect to turn it off by playing in “normal” mode.
In this specific playthrough I made my Robin (the player character) male and married Tharja. As a fellow mage, he probably thinks dark magic is sexy and mysterious. I also made sure Chrom ended up with Sumia, Vaike with Sully, Virion with Cherche, and put Lon’qu with Cordelia. I had Fredrick paired up with the dancer, Olivia, but he and Lucina are a monster pair on the battlefield and that’s something I just can’t live without.
Relationships are crucial in Fire Emblem: Awakening. You can pair two fighters together in combat, which not only applies various stat boosts and potentially increases movement distance on the battle grid, but based on their affection levels they’ll step in to deflect blows, deliver counter attacks, or attack alongside them while on the offensive.
Having a friend or lover save another character from a potential death blow, quite literally, is a great feeling that makes the grind rewarding. For instance, Cordelia is my 2nd favorite female character in the game (just under Tharja) and toward the end of a battle she was taken down to 2 health points by the enemy units. There were only 2 of them left, it was their turn to attack, and I thought for sure that poor Cordelia was about to rip in peace. However, thanks to her relationship with Lon’qu, he stepped in with a clutch deflection on both of their attacks and she ended up killing them with her counter strikes. Many chapters later, Cordelia still lives to fight another day.
I’ve had a few close calls that delightedly ended in jubilation, and these are the moments that’ll stick with me the most. Anyway, Fire Emblem: Awakening is an incredible game on 3DS and one that any owner of the handheld should experience. I’m definitely glad I stuck with it this year.
My first game completion of 2017 happened yesterday, with the indie parkour platformer Ninja Pizza Girl on PS4. I was given this game by Cathy over at Indie Gamer Chick during her #IndieXmas gift giving extravaganza on Twitter, so thank you for that.
It’s a cute little game about a pizza delivery girl who wants to be a ninja, but suffers from bullying and depression as she’s not accepted by the ninja community (who also strives to put her father’s pizza company out of business). Each stage acts as a separate delivery mission, where you’ll platform and parkour your way from door to door. As Gemma struggles to fit in, heartbroken by rejection, she’s cheered up by the customers that remind her it’s okay to be different.
Ninja Pizza Girl is a sweet concept, but I didn’t find the gameplay very enjoyable. It starts off simple enough, using elementary platforming mechanics to leap, wall jump, and slide under things, and steadily increases the difficulty by inserting bully ninjas that need to be dealt with in specific ways. It’s accessible, which broadens the audience. However, there were times where it felt half-baked and unresponsive.
Once Gemma gets going, the electronica music starts pumping, and a power-up triggers the slow-motion camera, there’s just a little too much going on to keep track of. The darker color scheme found littering the environments don’t help either. However, I still enjoyed the story and have no regrets with the 2 hours I spent completing it.
Side-note: I’ve started comprising an ever-growing list of my 2017 game completions, which I’ve dubbed The Bounty Board. It can be found right here. I’m hoping that by tracking my progress I’ll remain motivated on my quest to tackle the never-ending backlog.
Outside of playing games, I’ve started watching Hungry Goriya’s episodic LP of the Sega Master System JRPG Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord. I’ve attended most of her live streams, but the YouTube uploads are actually part of a separate playthrough. My schedule is all over the place and I’m pretty invested in the game as a whole, so I don’t want to miss anything! I think she’s playing through Ys or the original Phantasy Star next, which I can’t wait for.
I’ve also been meaning to start Christopher Odd’s LP of The Last Guardian, which I’ve yet to do. He recently uploaded the first hour of his Undertale run, which was a fun watch, but it’s part of a new series where he plays bits and pieces of games that have been recommended a bunch. He then weighs the feedback received to determine if it’s something he’ll continue playing. Undertale is possibly my favorite game of the last decade and my fingers are crossed that he’ll keep on keepin’ on.
What about you folks? What are you up to this weekend?