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    Flora (Cipher)

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  1. What would be Marianne's ideal A slot skill? I'm thinking of Sturdy Impact, but maybe she can be defensive with self-healing if I give her Fortress Def/Res.
  2. No email here either. Maybe Europeans don't get to chime in?
  3. Yeah, I was informed of that later. That's pretty cool. I completely missed it because I only used the zipline on the higher platform. I'm aware of this, and I don't buy it. I don't buy that the Wolfforts wouldn't notice the Aesfrost army (same thing with the initial invasion), I don't buy that they wouldn't be exchanging letters before then, and I don't buy Wolffort not having any other option but to fight. This all ties back to the decision to hand Roland away. It's beyond ridiculous - the characters don't have the slightest reason to believe Aesfrost wouldn't attack them after getting what they want anyway. They've literally already executed the king and conquered the capital. It's also worth pointing out that Gustadolph does not threaten Cordelia or Roland or anyone else. He seems to be convincing Roland, which is something else entirely. Would he threaten Cordelia if Roland didn't fall for it? Maybe, but that isn't what we saw. And I don't buy that there was no option for any kind of maneuvering. If the cast is this easily manipulated and spineless, then it won't be fun following them, that's for sure. That's what you take out of both Fire Emblem and this demo of two chapters, one version of which has you pull off a seemingly impossible victory because you're doing the right thing? Sure, but you go to an extreme length to save the prince only to ditch him before next chapter even begins, for a conqueror who you know is not telling the truth. The fact that this causes a route split has me concerned for the game and its ability to give us reasonable choices. What I mean is, if a character is holding a passionate speech about doing what's right, and you fail to convince her with the game saying "she remains indifferent to your pleas" or whatever it was, then her vote probably shouldn't change, right? The text didn't match what was happening in the game. Where's the confusion coming from? What bothered me was how you got multiple extra scenes of nobles twirling their mustaches and going "this may benefit us in the end!". Scheming nobles are fine and all, but getting four scenes split between two areas of people greedily rubbing their hands felt less like political intrigue and more like Saturday morning cartoon villainy.
  4. Hello chaps. Last Direct, what really caught my eye was Project Triangle Strategy. Being a big tactics and strategy game fan, as well as someone who really values a good story, I was hoping for something to scratch that itch while I roll my thumbs waiting for the next scrap of Fire Emblem news. Presentation Triangle Attack's sprite work may be good, but I don't think it services the story it tries to tell, at least not when it comes to the cast. Every character seems to have official art - which is pretty damn good - but you have to click a button to see it, otherwise you're just watching these pixly chibi humans emote. The problem is that the sprites simply can't convey enough emotion or even individuality - one of the best things of Fire Emblem is that every character in your army is unique, and Project Triangle Strategem seems to opt for a similar approach, but the sprites don't look distinct enough for you to be able to tell what each character is about. You can press X when a character is speaking to get a picture of them, but it never changes expression or anything to fit the current situation. Some sprites also look vastlydifferent to their official art. This would could easily be fixed by just including character portraits when they speak. Square Enix could use the official art they already have, and just draw some three or four expressions per character, with more for the main ones of course. I'm honestly baffled they didn't learn this after Octopath Traveler, which suffered from the same problem. This is something games haven't done for decades, so it's so weird seeing this in a modern game from a prominent studio. So, you've got chibi sprites which don't really fit the tone of the game and can't convey the individuality of the characters, but I'm afraid there's one more issue: the voice acting. The English voice acting is...uneven, to say the best. Some actors sound like they're really trying, but some - especially the main character - sound like they had to memorize their lines and don't have the script in front of them. If the chibis don't take you out of it, the voice acting definitely will. The quality is so uneven and the delivery of some characters change seemingly mid-sentence. This is particularly bad since, like I just mentioned, the protagonist's performance is the worst. When Roland mourns his dead father, Serenoa is supposed to convey his sympathy, but he sighs in what sounds like annoyance. It made me laugh during what was supposed to be a serious moment. Gameplay and writing may be king in a game like this, but when you just can't get into it and buy what the characters themselves are saying, you'll feel emotionally disconnected. Three Houses and Shadows of Valentia, regardless of whatever other problems they may have had, consistently managed to sell what was happening on-screen. So far, Triangle Shmiangle has not. Story and writing Triangle Circumference seemed like it had a lot of potential. A mixture of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and with the setting similar to Three Houses, I was hoping for some sweet sweet drama and tales of political intrigue. While this may come later, there are some major red flags and inconsistent writing in the demo. The game all but starts with one massive issue which seems unlikely they'll address satisfactorily in the first chapters we haven't seen: Aesfrost's forces manage to seemingly teleport to the Glenbrook capital without anyone being able to tell. Aesfrost is located far to the north, surrounded by mountains with seemingly only one easy way in and out, and that goes through two Glenbrook High Houses territories. Even if they managed to convince House Tellior, whose leader is a coward, they'd also have to pass through or close to House Wolffort's territory, which is the domain of the protagonist. The logistics behind the attack which seems to set off the real beginning of the plot make absolutely no sense. I realize this might be addressed somehow, but this is a red flag for logistics being completely ignored. This wouldn't be the first military strategy game to basically ignore things like these, but it is very egregious here. The villains thus far seem to be mustache twirling Saturday morning cartoon characters or the usual anime take on cowardly nobles. Maybe Gustadolph, who is portrayed as the main antagonist, has some kind of weird reason for what he's doing, but he doesn't have the charisma to sell it. The game pretends like he does, however, which is a problem. Gustadolph keeps the "kind and benevolent king" prisoner, holds a speech about how Glenbrook betrayed Aesfrost during the opening of a joint mining operation. The fact we know this to be false doesn't matter, but what does matter is the people of Glenbrook cheering when Gustadolph speaks for some reason. Gustadolph makes king Regna confess to a crime he didn't commit under the threat of medieval gunpoint, and yet people seem to buy it? And yet in the very next scene, the narrator says the people are confused by Regna's death - why is the game including loud cheers during the pre-execution speech? There's a reason people don't trust people speaking in videos sent by kidnappers. The core of the demo is the decision to give up Prince Roland so that House Wolffort and its allies live another day or fight a seemingly hopeless battle to defend him. On paper, this is a decent moral dilemma. In practice and with context, this doesn't work. You know Gustadolph is a lying and manipulative bastard, and you just spent great effort trying to keep Roland safe. It makes no sense for the cast to go "whew, we just saved Roland. Anyway, should we sacrifice Roland or nah?" The Scales of Conviction is a very strange part of the story. With the power of democracy, you can use this family heirloom to make decisions to avoid regrets, but...putting votes in a hat and then sorting them would literally accomplish the same thing. During this phase the dialogue also seems to be incredibly mismatched. I played both choices, and when I spoke to Frederica about giving up Roland, which she passionately spoke against a minute before, it said she was "indifferent to your pleas", yet her position changed and she still voted to sacrifice Roland. I could also convince one of Roland's loyal soldiers, yet she remains in the party after he leaves, which is...awkward. When I convinced others to let Roland stay with us, Anna, who I thought was Serenoa's spy, said half-threateningly "don't make me regret this", which also doesn't seem to line up with the, er, medieval hierarchy. The "I've had Roland in my party for five minutes but if anything were to happen to him I'd set fire to people's houses and then myself" route Probably the most mainstream choice and honestly there's not that much to say here. The traps are convenient and I dislike the fact that the game assumes you used them all. It's also pretty frustrating that you've got two separate bonus conversations with people going "all according to keikaku". At least this choice lines up with the rest of the game, however... The "Oh hi Roland. Oh bye Roland." route I'm sorry but what is this? Within minutes, Roland is convinced by the man who invaded his country to order the Wolffort house to attack the other loyal house. And the Wolfforts agree to take their army to the other house's doorsteps...is Roland okay? Did we drop him on the way from the castle? So anyway, you fight against the other loyal lord in a typical "misunderstanding battle". These are not too uncommon in strategy games, and there are bad examples of this in Fire Emblem too, but that does not make this okay. Again, due to Aesfrost apparently having an army made up entirely of teleporting ninjas, no one in the Wolffort army notices them approaching, and now you're forced to fight against the other house...apparently. One would've thought these two houses would be in constant communication with each other, especially considering how fast armies move in this universe. This entire battle felt contrived. It was built upon contrivances and poor communication between two houses which should've been talking to each other constantly considering the circumstances. While I understand the other house leader (whose name I've obviously forgotten) would be suspicious of Wolffort, he immediately jumps to conclusions and attacks the Wolffort army. Serenoa, in his idiocy, doesn't just lay down his arms to prove his innocence or anything, but just goes "fuck it, we're killing him". I worry that this game is so focused on giving us choices that matter that they forget to make the choices make sense. Gameplay Honestly? Pretty good. Lots of things to keep in mind and I like the uniqueness of the characters thus far. I also liked the variety of the map layout and the different objectives seen thus far. There is a lot of room for improvement here, however, but unlike the story, I suspect this is much easier to fix. 1) The camera is wonky and getting it in a good position was a struggle. This also affects how easily you can move your units. 2) It's slow. Really slow. Both versions of map seven take far too long and make me nervous to think of the final maps. 3) For some reason it says "search" even when you interact with things in the world, like a ladder. 4) I don't know what it is, I can't put my finger on it, but the UI felt...bad. Really bad. Like I couldn't view all the information available to me. 5) This might just be me which is why I saved it for last, but in the "let's send the prince to his doom" route, I couldn't use the zipline. I tried standing behind it, in front of it, at the side, click on it, but I couldn't see an option to use it despite Benedict telling me to use it in case of combat. Summary Project Triangle Democracy has many major issues which plague the demo. This is especially bad in terms of its presentation and story, and I worry the latter in particular will be hard to fix. There are leaps in logic, ignored logistics, and character interactions that seem inconsistent in addition to lackluster bonus scenes and uncharming villains. All in all, it feels amateurish, and while I realize this is a demo, I worry it's built on a foundation the developers will be hesitant to change.
  5. Zelda news seem likely. With any luck they'll show off more of BotW 2 but it's unlikely to be released in the first half of the year, no? Maybe they'll mention a port and/or a remaster before finishing with a BotW 2 teaser. As for Fire Emblem, I'm not expecting any news about the next big project, but I'm hoping for a Tellius port. Other than that I'm hoping for a few nice surprises.
  6. Gaiden and Binding Blade. Massive maps and unengaging, unintuitive gameplay. I guess Binding Blade is a lot more frustrating than boring, however. Revelation deserves a mention for the elevator maps in particular.
  7. Weird question, but is anyone finding AR more difficult this week? I've won two fights and then lost all my extra chances and the rest of my Aether. I've gone up against defenses I basically don't have the teams to take down, and for some reason there's always a catapult ready to take down my Shock Tower, and I rarely see catapults otherwise. If this keeps up I'll fall from tier 21 for the first time since I reached it, and that was a while ago.
  8. "Bullying" is an interesting word to use to describe criticizing a game, made by industry veterans and published by Nintendo, which many of us paid around 80 dollars for. Likewise, it's also interesting to bring up an "authorial intent" when the game's premise was outsourced to a busy manga writer who wrote far more than he was asked to, leading Intelligent Systems to presumably have to make a lot of cuts which we don't know anything about. In addition to that, we know of "Team A" and "Team B", so even within Intelligent Systems itself, there was never a unified vision of what Fates should be. To then tell others that these authors' intentions somehow take precedence over your own thoughts and feelings when criticizing this product that you paid for, as though you're more informed about that than everyone else, is nothing short of being condescending. But fine, if we're going to look at author intentions, then... 1) Fates is split into three paths and you have to pay for all three, making this the most expensive main series installment in the series. Rather than letting the choice be something we made then and there, it was based on what version you had bought. I assume they did this in order to squeeze the players of more money. 2) Camilla's entire existence, including spending two cutscenes only on her appearance to put it mildly, leads me to believe their intent was to objectify her, market her, and pander to certain players rather than letting her be a character in her own right. 3) I assume they included the three most popular second gen Awakening characters and an ill-fitting second gen system because they wanted to win over the Awakening crowd even though what worked in that game doesn't work in Fates. 4) The fact that the Hoshidan siblings can get a letter, prepared by their dead foster mother, telling them it's okay to marry Corrin because there are no blood ties, leads me to believe they prioritized shipping over the premise of the game because they thought it would sell better. Can I prove that this was the thought process of the developers? No, but to my knowledge it's hard to prove these points wrong either. All we have to go on are some brief interviews at best. Even then, it doesn't matter if the developers thought, for example, that the Birthright Camilla cutscene was a true work of art meant to display her confidence; most people will think it's vulgar because it's a cutscene that deliberately zooms in on "your not!sister's" private areas before a fight. The developers' intentions here don't mean anything to me; what matters is what they put in the final product that they sold in stores all over the world. But Fates' writing problems go well beyond that. @Etrurian emperor and @NekoKnight, for example, have already given examples of how the story doesn't hold up to scrutiny and how it it's almost like a parody taking itself seriously. Fates' writing can't really be summed up in a single post, but I'd like to bring up a point that may not have been mentioned yet. The games are bizarrely empty. They're generally just about getting Corrin from point A to point B (in Conquest this is only the case after chapter 15), which stands in stark contrast to every other Fire Emblem game where the journey is a lot more unpredictable and features more buildup. Corrin kind of just...walks through forgettable areas that are almost never referenced again on the way to the finish line where the plot will end (Garon's throne room, the Hoshidan throne room, Anankos' throne room). During this journey from point A to point B, things just happen around Corrin. This leads to the protagonist of the game feeling like they've got no agency. I made a Reddit thread a few months ago where I went through in which maps Corrin initiates the battle and in which someone ambushes them. In the clear majority of maps, Corrin is minding their business and are suddenly attacked, usually without having seen it coming. It makes far too many battles feel like filler. Every other Fire Emblem game includes smaller victories and reaching more modest goals in order to build momentum for the final battle. Ike gathers allies for Elincia, Chrom defeats Gangrel and Walhart, Roy frees Erturia, etc. The closest Fates comes to this is having your siblings join you, but that's not based on any victory on Corrin's part. This lack of interesting twists and turns in the story is bad enough, but this is further made worse by the characters primarily talking only about the plot at hand - there's so little dialogue that actually fleshes out the characters we're supposed to care about in the main story. In Birthright, not once does Corrin and the Hoshidan siblings sit down and talk about...anything that isn't the main plot. These people are absolute strangers to each other, yet we're supposed to just accept their close bonds based on the fact that Hinoka and Ryoma knew Corrin as a toddler. As a result of this, Fates feels like an on-rails experience without any heart to it. There's no growth, no interesting dialogue, and no one pulls off any cool feats or strategies. Things just happen, mostly in unimportant places. And this is just in addition to the problems that have already been mentioned. I know I will never convince the OP of anything; they have made their stance clear many times throughout the years, trying to create a framework in which criticism of Fates can be dismissed. Still, maybe someone else will find this post fun to read.
  9. I want Three Houses for Marianne, and after reading about the BHB pattern, I'm expecting it. Before that I was predicting Binding Blade, as they haven't gotten a banner in a while.
  10. Love dragons and have wanted Dheginsea in the game for a while, yet still I feel oddly disappointed. I think having yet another Y!Tiki alt instead of the Awakening version really gets to me, especially since she's no doubt got the TMS alt coming at some point. Ninian should've at least been the lead, and maybe worn a costume. Tellius now has more seasonal units than Awakening, too.
  11. Does the left silhouette's hair match Naga's? Naga's hair is also long and "flat", for the lack of a better word, but Naga's hair looks like it's longer.
  12. Some are speculating that the one on the right is Orochi but I don't know if the hair matches, which is usually our biggest clue for these.
  13. ProZD voices Darros. That might be enough of a reason for me to +10 him.
  14. Felicia mentions wanting to try the capes I believe, so that could be fun too.
  15. After my spectacular failure at getting the summer Three Houses units I really wanted, I kind of want it to be a banner that I care about. That said, Dheginsea and Skrimir getting into the game would be seriously cool. Tellius has gone a long while without a regular New Hero banner too, though they have had a very strong presence in the seasonal banners this last year.
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