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    Blazing Sword


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  1. That's interesting! I'm not a fan or non-fan of J-Pop, it's really a song-by-song kind of basis for me, but I really appreciated how TMS went all-in on the aesthetics, not just going "hey look, you like J-Pop, right? Well, our game has J-Pop!" The music and industry are integrated into the story and world, the entire game is suffused with it and that makes it feel like something meaningful, rather than just trying to cash in on pop-culture or fandom. And I like how they used the different elements of Japanese idol industry, not just music but acting, commercials, photo shoots, variety shows, there's a real eclectic mix of things in there that the characters are involved with, and they used their struggles in and desires out of the industry to develop the characters across the story, I really appreciated that attention to detail and that they used the aesthetic, music, and industry to craft a really immersive and creative fictional version of Tokyo. I still just love running around in the different districts and talking to all the weirdos! Whoa! Thanks for the analysis. It would be cool to see them pull characters from more than Awakening and Shadow Dragon, bringing in Azura could be a neat way to do that. Whether or not people like her in Fates, each of the Mirages in TMS have interesting changes on their original personalities. Whoever Maiko and Barry's Mirages are, it'll be really neat to see how they both reflect and contrast with their counterparts from their source games. I'm so excited that Maiko, Barry, and Tiki are all going to be playable! And now Sessions are going to be even longer and more ridiculous, which I'm all about.
  2. All my thoughts exactly! I'm very much not a fan of the grimdark, which is why the initial announcement of "SMT x FE" was not even interesting to me, despite my love of Fire Emblem. When the first trailer for Tokyo Mirage Sessions hit, though, I was all aboard the hype train, and I haven't gotten off since. The stuff about character interactions you mentioned are a great point! Itsuki's kind of very bland as a protagonist, but it works out well because everyone gets time to shine and be the focus of the story, and Itsuki plays more of a producer/supervisor role than a "main character" role a lot of the time, which is a neat change from what happens in a lot of games. And it lets the other characters shine even brighter alongside him because he doesn't overwhelm anyone else in personality, he doesn't hog the spotlight, it's great!
  3. SO HYPE!!! I loved the game on Wii U, and now it's getting a brand new song, new costumes, new dungeons, and THREE NEW PLAYABLE CHARACTERS??? This is way too hype to be believed! I really hope people who skipped this either because they didn't have a Wii U or because they thought it looked stupid give it another chance. One of my favorite JRPGs ever, and a fantastic type of "crossover" that's very much its own thing, while just taking ideas and concepts and some characters from the series it draws inspiration from. Gave it tons of freedom to be what it wanted to be without being restricted by its "crossover" status. I was just gearing up to play New Game + on the original, now I'll just wait for the Switch version and play it twice through on there! Seriously, this is one of the most fun turn-based RPGs out there. The battle system is second to none, stunningly fast-paced, and does an amazing job of including your entire party in every battle even though you can only have three active party members at once, through a combination of FF X-style switching (switching party members in combat doesn't cost you your turn) and combo chain Session attacks that even involve characters on the bench. It's flashy, stylish, fast-paced, surprisingly difficult and tactically engaging, and you get to use your entire cast of characters in every fight! It's great! Even if maybe the story doesn't grab you (I LOVE the story and characters, but a lot of people don't) the battle system is not to be missed. And the music is great, too! Also, if you're like me and instantly love any JRPG that lets you unlock and equip various costumes (i.e. the Tales series, recent Pokemon games), then that's another big plus in Tokyo Mirage Session's favor.
  4. I'd like to see a Genealogy remake, maybe bundled together with a Thracia 776 remake, or have both of them launched as separate games but close together, no long waits between. But for an actual new FE, not a remake... No more avatar. Not one you create yourself, not a silent protagonist, not a character you name but is a character themselves and drives the story, none of that. The only way I'd be okay with an avatar is if you're basically just a cog in the machine, a soldier who's just there, along for the ride, watching all that happens but not a major part of it. Or something like FE 7's tactician, where you're not a playable unit at all and maybe not even seen, but instead of a tactician being someone who chronicles the events, kind of like the game's narrator in a way. That might be neat. But please, let individual and unique characters drive the plot, not a player-created hero-worshipped idiot, I'm so sick of that. Whether they're a great tactician, or an idiotic royal, or a silent mercenary, every time the avatar character has been subject to obsessive hero-worship and it's so stupid, I'm utterly sick of it. It was bearable in Awakening, terrible in Fates, and terrible again in Three Houses. Lighter character customization. This is really just that I like character classes and abilities to also reflect their character and story, which is why I'd prefer characters to have a set class or a small number of classes they're capable of, rather than full, wide-ranging customization. But I understand that there are some who really like "I can make my characters whatever I want!" and as long as a free-customization system does have a sort of "this is how they would canonically be" or something like that, I'd be okay with that (and Three Houses does have that in a way, it's just a little too free and open for my tastes, feels like diluting the characters). This is probably my least important point and one I'm most okay with others disagreeing with. Complex enemy AI. Especially for harder difficulties! This, I think, is the future of FE in terms of advancing the tactical gameplay. It's not as simple as enemy placement and stats, but also different units follow different patterns and have a variety of responses to the player's gameplay decisions. In fog of war maps (yes, I'd like fog of war to return because it's potential hasn't come close to being realized), the enemy could have patrolling units with a set line of sight, and if they spot you, then on their next turn they'll call for help if they're still alive, but they can only call a certain distance, and different units will respond differently. Some come running to help, others rush back to base to report, etc. Gives you more of a stealth feeling to it, and design it so the enemies also have limited sight-lines. Combine more complex enemy AI with more indicators for the player, like the lines showing who the enemies will attack in Three Houses, and we can see some really intense and interesting battles the likes of which we've never seen in the series. More complex "route choosing." Basically, it's not just choices made in dialogue from a menu, but also choices made in battle influence how the story progresses. Characters on the field that you save, or fail to save, or choose to kill, or choose to spare, or who escape before you can kill them, these can all influence what enemies you'll face later, what allies you'll have later, what alliances your enemies and potential allies will form, and more. If you have more characters involved in the story (see next point), then they have their own ideas of what should be done, and some of your choices might push them away, some of them might even leave if you, say, don't let them be the one to fight the boss (because of a specific character dynamic between them), or you choose to show mercy to a foe they hate, or you fail to save a dear friend or family member of theirs, stuff like that. Not just "here's a multiple-choice menu to clearly decide your story's path," but more gameplay decisions influencing how the story progresses. Perma-death MATTERS IN THE STORY. This is the biggest, I think, missed potential for FE to date. Perma-death is gameplay only, and at this point it's just gotten to be stale outside of the few who enjoy ironman runs. That's a legitimate way to play and enjoy the game, but it's still leaving out a big potential of perma-death: complex and layered storytelling. Have all of the characters have their purposes in the plot. Don't keep characters in the background just because "well, if they die, then they're gone for good so we can't have them involved later." That's not true. It requires more writers, more planning, and more coordination between writing staff and everyone else, but it absolutely can be done. Having your entire team, or at least multiple characters, actively mourn a character's death after a battle, and not just a story-required death, but any death that happened in gameplay, would be impactful. If you have a hub location like in Three Houses to return to, then the fallen can be buried there, and in a calendar system depending on how far the calendar goes could even mark the anniversary of their death, or there are events for the birthdays of the fallen, a more somber affair to remember them and ensure the dead are not forgotten. And you have different types of conversations later in the game depending on who's alive, not this "story-relevant characters can't ACTUALLY die" because that's so contrived and Intelligent Systems has to have the staff and funding to be able to move beyond that by now. FE isn't niche anymore, and this is a big way they can take advantage of the new funding and resources afforded to them in their recent successes to advance FE to something it's always had the potential for. If you have multiple routes, let us make major choices later into the story. Don't have the most impactful choice (side with Hoshido or Nohr or neither; choosing your house to teach) happen extremely early in the game. Still have early-game choices, but if there's a big moment of decision and a turning point for the plot, let that be where the major decision happens. In Three Houses, we could have taken longer to choose a House, there's no need to have us be the teacher as early as they did, and even then why not allow us to simply switch sides if we see our House leader going a direction we don't like at the big moment before the time skip? That could be the point where allegiances are either more deeply forged, or broken forever, and could be much more impactful. Of course, this would be even better when the story is written from the ground-up towards that goal, fostering investment over a longer period BEFORE the big moment of decision. I'm personally not as big a fan of choice-driven narratives, but when they're done well they can be really amazing. I don't think Three Houses handles the player choice side of its different routes well at all. That's not saying anything about how the routes themselves are written, just that the way the player decides, and WHEN they make the biggest decision of the game, is very poorly handled and happens far too early with far too little understand of what's at stake. I understand most of my hopes require a much more robust writing staff and more earnest planning on the story side, but that's not something that's impossible or even unreasonable. And with how FE has struggled with writing in many of its entries, especially recent ones (and strangely enough, Three Houses was mostly developed, and written, by Koei Tecmo staff, not Intelligent Systems), now is the time, with a huge surge in popularity and financial success, to invest in stronger, more complex writing that not only tells better stories, but is written in a way only video games can take advantage of. There are lots of little details I could talk about, but things like the weapon triangle, weapon durability, combat arts, gambits and battalions, marriage, children, all of that really often depends on context and execution. All of those things I've been fine with or without depending on the entry and how they're handled, so I really wanted to touch on the things that I think matter most and can really push Fire Emblem as a series to bold new heights. This is one of the best strategy RPG series out there, so focusing on how they can lean into that and make it truly innovate on and advance strategy game design would be really amazing, and I think there's absolutely the potential for it to be done.
  5. Worked for me too, thanks! But thanks also to Azz for posting the picture above as well. Wish it wasn't so grainy, but we'll get all this info more clearly soon enough. Fun to get advance info and images for speculation purposes though, of course 🙂
  6. Where are these new renders? I haven't heard about them anywhere but here, and I can't find anything no matter what I search for.
  7. Went in with 200 orbs, hoping for Legendary Lyn since I failed to Summon her the first time. About half the time, didn't even get green as an option. When I did, it was almost always only one. Had three greens once, and two greens once. Ended up getting two LA Lillinas, though! That was nice, if not what I wanted. And on one of the times there were no greens or blues I pulled colorless and got another Brave Lyn. But no Legendary Lyn. Time to save up for October when she comes back...
  8. Same here, I'm a 100% F2Per, and I merge my favorites. I've been playing since launch so I have almost forty five stars by now, so I don't need to worry about variety. And I've used more feathers for upgrading a new character to 5 stars than for merges until recently. Now that I have a ton of 5 stars, and most of the new ones I want come summonable at 5 stars, I don't need to spend feathers on upgrading new characters, so I spend them for merges. I also don't have any reason to have EVERY character 5 star - there are a number of characters I actually actively send home for feathers every time I summon them, rather than ever keep a copy, because I don't like them or know I wont' use them and they don't have skills worth passing on. Some people want a full catalog of 5 stars. I want all of my favorite characters, and for all of my favorites to be the absolute best they can possibly be. So I merge, and I do SI, sometimes in ways that are "wasteful" in terms of meta, but this is how I have the most fun with the game. And like you said, it's no fun at all if certain content is ONLY beatable with specific characters. That's why I work on my favorites, so that I can run the team I want to beat the content I want to beat in a way that's fun for me. It doesn't feel rewarding to me to win even the highest level challenges with teams that I don't like. And ultimately, to me, the appeal of FEH is the characters, not in gameplay or the meta or in min-maxing or "being the best." It's in having the characters I love all in the same game, and being able to use them to their fullest potential. For many, that's only possible with merges. (Also, it's just really freaking fun to have a Nino that one-shots almost everything in the game, or a Nephenee that can never take damage from anything other than tomes. You go, girls!)
  9. There are tons of compelling reasons, I think. 1. To make your favorites stronger! That's obvious one, alongside getting high Arena Tiers 2. To allow for more viability to unconventional team compositions. Sometimes you want to make weird teams, but they're not very strong. With merges, they have a better chance of success. 3. For high-level single-player stuff. The hardest GHBs and LHBs, Blessed Gardens, Squad Assault, Chain Challenge... these can be very tough at the high levels, and given that a lot of them reward you with orbs, new characters, Divine Dew... it's desirable to be able to beat them. Merging makes weak units stronger, and strong units incredible, giving you more options. There's strategy in FEH, of course, but power matters a lot. Merging gives you an edge in more than just the arena. For me, 1 and 2 are the biggest reasons I merge. I want my favorites to be viable, and I want to be able to screw around with weird team comps without losing too much of a competitive edge. And 3 also matters to me - it's not just high-level arena that's difficult, there's a lot of high-level content in Heroes, and a lot of it (particularly OUTSIDE the arena) gives some really great rewards.
  10. Favorites Nino - her damaged artwork, unlike so many others that are for fanservice, makes her look more determined than ever, sort of a "I may be hurt but I'm not giving up!" and I wish more damaged art was like that Raven - I REALLY don't like Raven with an axe, but... he rocks it. His art fits his character so well, and he's one of the few "carrying a sword even though I don't use it" artworks that I really like. And him being an axe user actually makes him fit onto more of my teams better, he's one of my most-used characters, so that's not such a bad thing. Least Favorites Eliwood - his original art is SO WEAK. It hurts me, because Eliwood is one of my favorite characters in the entire franchise. I don't know how to put my finger on it - his armor looks odd to me, his pose looks off, he just feels... like a weird, fuzzy reflection of his actual self, something that you can tell by looking at it "yeah, that's Eliwood," but at the same time makes you feel like "wait... something... isn't right here." Thankfully, his LA artwork is pretty nice. I'd love to see a new alt for Eliwood that's just on foot with the Rapier (a weapon that surprisingly still isn't in Heroes), with an artist who can better capture his character and his style from his original game. Arthur - he just looks dumb to me, which maybe sorta fits (he's dumb, in an endearing way), but I just don't like it. I had fun with Arthur in Fates, but I always send him home for feathers immediately whenever I summon him in Heroes. Every Single Fanservice-y Damaged Art - like I said above with Nino, I wish more characters took advantage of the damaged artwork to show determination, desperation, a resolve to stand firm no matter how bad things get, or just, like the art should, show more of who this character is when put under pressure. Instead, they're just "how much of this character's clothes can I rip off, and how 'sexy' of a pose can I give them, without it being out of bounds?" and I don't like that approach at all (also funny side note, swimsuit characters generally have the least amount of clothes-tearing, which clearly shows the objectives and the boundaries for the artists behind most damaged artworks... which actually isn't funny at all).
  11. Ahh, crap. I only played Shadow Dragon once, and I barely remember it. Oops. Sorry Bantu! (but hey, that reminds me I should replay it sometime)
  12. That was the big thing for me. Every playable Manakete (except for... older Tiki) has been a young girl. To assume this Manakete is "almost certainly" Tiki was a huge leap of logic (there were several made in the analysis, but this one was the big one for me). She doesn't even look like Tiki aside from age. and if IS does make her Tiki again in a different continent and storyline and try to explain why she looks so different I'll scream that's so lame I usually love GX's analysis videos, including Derrick's FE ones (I know he doesn't get any help from the rest of the team) so I was really surprised at how much he seemed to drop the ball here. He's clearly excited, so that's nice, but it doesn't seem like he took as much time and care with this one as previous ones? And he got a little too into making leaps of logic and theorizing too far beyond what was actually shown, which goes from analysis to something else entirely. But the Tiki thing... I just don't see how anyone could get that unless they only know about one Manakete girl (which Derrick clearly knows more about, he's clearly played Sacred Stones).
  13. I don't view it as creepy or sweet, but just painfully tragic. There was probably a sweet and wonderful love between them one time, but with Loptyr in Julius' hands, he's become a monster, and yet Ishtar still loves him and hopes he can be well again somehow. Almost every scene between them in FE4 breaks my heart.
  14. Serra: I love her. She's great! I see people talk a lot about healers based on their ability to fight, I've never used Serra as a fighter, and have her set up so enemies can't counterattack if she does attack them which is nice. But she's a healer. At least the way I have her built, she can warp around to any injured unit anywhere and her healing skills heal tons of HP. Now that Nanna's been added, her utility of removing status ailments makes her very likely for me to use her as much as Serra, but before Nanna, Serra was my go-to healer (the only one I actively used, actually), and I still use her heavily. As a healer, she's top-notch in my book, though the fact that I don't use healers often means she isn't overall totally incredible, when I need a healer, she is the first one I turn to, and she never lets me down. 7.5/10 Haven't used Lissa so can't comment on her.
  15. I'd love to see more banners like this that combine many games in the series together! Not a huge fan of villain characters as playable - I only pulled on the Fallen Heroes banner because Celica wasn't super "evil-ized" so I still liked her design (and I still have never pulled mage Celica, so I was glad I got sword Celica on my free pull). But I would like to see Julius! And from 7, while Nergal is the obvious choice (and certainly not a bad choice, especially if his damaged art shows his uncovered crazy eye), I'd love to see Ephidel or Limstella instead. Some themed multi-game banners in that vein I'd also like to see: Wandering Mages Claude, Hugh, Canas, and Nyx Noble Siblings Conrad (wearing his mask), Ethlin, Altena, Guinivere "Fallen" Heroes A collection of character not playable in the games they appear in Contains: Elbert, Greil (in merc leader axe form, not as Gawain), Marth's father (do we even get a name or appearance for him? Would love to see what they come up with), and Leila There are lots of things they could do with banners and I hope IS will be more creative with some, instead of always trying to milk the popular characters. Characters who weren't well-known at all in the west are now super popular in large part BECAUSE of Heroes, like Reinhardt. I'd love to see them throw in characters like that, take a chance and see who can become popular rather than just going off of known quantities. Also, where did the Echoes crew go? They had like two banners close to each other, and since then have practically vanished aside from Celica (that's part of why I put in Conrad above).
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