Tag Archives: Fire Emblem

From The Armchair: Fire Emblem FTW

What ho, chums!

First of all, a big thanks to everyone who has contacted me about writing for A Most Agreeable Pastime, it’s great to hear from you. Sorry for my lack of replies so far – I’ve been hugely busy over the past couple of weeks, but I will get back you all eventually. There are exciting times ahead in The Manor, watch this space!

Last week I wrote about The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, as The Year of Zelda got off to a cracking start. I actually finished that game quite a few weeks ago, and I fully intended to slide straight into Oracle of Ages – but Fire Emblem leapt into my face like a barking Chiahuahua with ADHD and insisted that I play with it.

It all started with Fire Emblem Heroes, that gacha-style mobile game that, to all intents and purposes, is a sort of ‘Fire Emblem Lite’ with added gambling. I was sceptical of its tiny maps and lack of permadeath at first, but it soon had its quasi-medieval tendrils hooked into me. In fact, I’ve been playing it every single day, often multiple times – the tiny maps and constantly refreshing quests are perfect for quick five-minute breaks during the working day. I’ve been tending to my ‘A’ team of Lucina, Ephraim, Camilla and Setsuma like a digital shepherd with an overly fond and possibly questionable appreciation of his flock.

And as sure as soft drugs lead to hard drugs and The Beatles led to dance music (FACT: without ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ there would be no Chemical Brothers), my time with FEH spurred me into buying Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, and now I can’t put the damn thing down.

I’m still not sure whether it’s better or worse than Fire Emblem: Awakening, but I’m certain that it’s damn good fun. The story is compelling, the little support vignettes between the characters are almost always endearing, and the swoopy 3D of the battles genuinely made me gasp the first time I saw it. I also liked the fact that they’ve done away with weapon durability – swords, axes and lances are now effectively unbreakable – but I miss moving characters over the map world, as it’s hard to get the same sense of progression.

Anyway, I’m almost done with Birthright now, but I’ve already downloaded its companion game, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, and I’m keen to see the conflict from the other side. Not only that, you wouldn’t believe the number of hours I’ve been putting into Xenoblade Chronicles X… but more on that another time.

All in all, it means that The Year of Zelda has been put on hold briefly – at least until I can liberate the residents of Nohr/Hoshido and New Los Angeles, that is.

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From The Armchair: Old Man Lucius

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

Friends, I’m growing old. As I near the end of my fourth decade on this planet, my listening predilections are veering from rock and roll towards radio plays, and my shoes are getting comfier and less fashionable with every passing year. I’m wholeheartedly embracing it – bring on the grey hairs, I say. I now actively look forward to receiving new socks and slippers for Christmas.

One change I’ve noticed is that my choice of games is getting more sedate as my body withers into middle-aged podginess. My extended time with No Man’s Sky has been so relaxing because that game is essentially an enormous galactic toolshed, and I’ve been pottering around it happily while avoiding doing the dishes. One of my biggest regrets so far in life is that I don’t own a shed of my own, but thankfully gaming can fill the void with virtual sheds like this one, in which I can make useless things and let my mind wander freely.

No Man's Sky is essentially a space shed.

No Man’s Sky is essentially a space shed.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones on the Wii U, a Virtual Console version of the old Game Boy Advance game. (God knows why they didn’t release this portable game on the 3DS as well, Nintendo works in mysterious ways sometimes.) I think turn-based strategy games are probably my all-time favourite game genre, simply because they give me the space to sit and ruminate on what I want to do next. It’s truly relaxing, and these days that’s what I really play games for – to take a break, and lose myself in another realm. Or shed.

Which brings me to Bayonetta 2. I finally finished the game this week, and I think it’s brilliant – right up there with the first one, and between them they represent the absolute pinnacle of the hack ‘n’ slash genre. Superbly crafted, ambitious in scope, incomparable in depth and simply gorgeous to look at. But quite often I found I was simply too exhausted to play it.

Bayonetta 2: exhausting.

Bayonetta 2: exhausting.

I’d often fire up the Wii U and thrash through a level or two, only to turn it off about an hour  and play something a bit less taxing on the old thumbs and fingers. Bayonetta 2 is a game that demands lightning reflexes and constant attention, and my ageing brain is far too addled with years of coffee and biscuit abuse to take that kind of strain for long. An hour is about the limit before my failing cortex demands a game that has in-built coffee breaks – i.e. turn-based strategy.

I’m already glancing through my game collection and mentally discarding titles that look like they might be a bit too much like hard work. Crysis 2 seems like it might require too much running around. Child of Eden is basically a headache inducer. Zone of the Enders needs to just slow down and smell the roses once in a while.

Phew, all this typing is hard work. I think I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes…

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Roy has arrived!

My Roy amiibo finally arrived this morning – and only three days late. Ooooh, GAME UK whyIoughta… [shakes fist]. To be fair, they sent it out on Thursday morning, so it’s probably more Royal Mail to blame. But everyone loves to take a pop at GAME sometimes, don’t they? *mumble mumble preowned prices mumble mumble extortionate mumble mumble*

Roy amiibo in box

Anyway, as ever I’m impressed by the level of detail on the amiibo figurines, they really are great little things. Roy’s mega flares are the standout this time around – just look at those glorious bad boys.

roy amiibo

Yes sirree, my Fire Emblem amiibo set is shaping up nicely – just Corrin to go!

fire emblem amiibo collection

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It’s nearly Roy day

Things have been quiet on the amiibo front of late. The last one I bought was R.O.B. back in November, although before that there was a relative flood of them through my front door in summer.

roy-amiibo

And now another one is due to arrive. Tomorrow, Roy will join my other four Fire Emblem amiibo – and eventually Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates will complete the set, whenever she goes on sale. I’m a Fire Emblem fan, in case you can’t tell.

The irony of all this is that even though all of these amiibos come from the Super Smash Bros. Collection, I’ve barely played the actual game they’re meant to work with: I sunk a few hours into Super Smash Bros. for Wii U back when I bought it in December 2014, but I don’t think I’ve played it since then. Except, that is, when I took it to a stag do last year and pretty much everyone hated it, labelling it “too confusing”. They’ve got a point.

Pretty much the same thing happened with Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii – I played and enjoyed it for a few hours, but then never went back. I guess fighting games just don’t really hold the appeal for me that they once did.

Tiny plastic figurines, on the other hand, have me enthralled.

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My Fire Emblem amiibo set is complete

IMG_2607Good news everyone! With the arrival of Robin and Lucina, my set of Fire Emblem amiibos is complete! At least until they decide to release any more Fire Emblem-themed amiibos, that is.

Lucina, of course, is one of the main characters in the recent Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS, whereas Robin is the player’s character in that very same game – and until Super Smash Brothers for Wii U came out, I had no idea he/she had a name (you usually give the character a moniker at the start of the game). The amiibo is of the male version of the character – although Ms D thought he was a woman. I suppose he is a bit androgynous…

IMG_2610As with the other Fire Emblem amiibos, I’m impressed with the level of detail on these figures – they really look great. Even Ms D admitted that they look pretty cool, even though she’s slightly concerned that tiny plastic toys are taking over the living room. She asked me how many more are arriving.

“Just one,” I replied, “It’s Yarn Yoshi, but that one’s made out of wool, so it looks really cool… Oh, and Ganondorf as well.”

Cue raised eyebrow.

“Well, he needs to keep Link company…”

IMG_2611Anyway, back to Lucina. I was surprised to see her sporting this rather comprehensive support structure, although her legs are pretty spindly, so it’s understandable. To be honest though, the support is fairly unobtrusive – unlike Link’s massive yellow pole. The less said about that, the better. Although actually I barely notice it any more – like a carpet stain that you get so used to that you’re surprised when guests point it out.

IMG_2613

But I digress. The main thing is that Marth, Ike, Robin and Lucina are together at last, and looking rather lovely on my mantelpiece. I’m looking forward to nabbing Codename STEAM when it’s finally released over here and zapping these characters into the game. But to be honest, that’s just a bonus feature – I mostly bought this lot just to look great on the shelf. And I’m fairly sure that’s what most amiibo collectors will say, too.

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Happy Amiibo Day!

The next wave of amiibos is released today, and look what was waiting for me in the post box…

IMG_2356 - CopyIke will now be joining Marth on the fireplace as my collection of Fire Emblem-related amiibos grows steadily larger. I’ve pre-ordered Lucina and Robin too (although they won’t be out until April), and I’m hoping that Nintendo release a few more Fire Emblem-themed ones to coincide with the upcoming game, although who knows when that will come out. Sir Gaulian’s amiibo Achilles heel is Warioware, and I reckon Fire Emblem is mine (and possibly Pikmin). Oh, and I pre-ordered Toad as well. I mean, come on, it’s Toad!

IMG_2360 - CopyOne thing I’m confused about is why each amiibo comes with an instruction booklet. The gist of these ‘instructions’ is essentially ‘don’t eat amiibos, and don’t put them next to a fire’. Surely that’s just common sense? There clearly must be a legal obligation to include these pointless booklets (which are written in about a dozen different languages), or else Nintendo is being extremely careful about not being sued.

"Don't eat amiibos. Don't set amiibos on fire. Don't punch yourself in the head."

“Don’t eat amiibos. Don’t set amiibos on fire. Don’t punch yourself in the head.”

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The New Nintendo Direct (Or Christmas Part II)

I spent my lunch break yesterday happily watching the latest Nintendo Direct, rather like a Victorian child with his hands pressed against the window of a sweet shop, licking his lips in delicious anticipation. For a Nintendo fanboy like me, the range of wares on offer was intoxicating.

Mine in just a month...

Mine in just a month…

The biggest news was the announcement of a street date for the rather wonderful-looking ‘new’ 3DS, which will arrive in the UK on 13th February, along with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and the 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Both games will have rather spiffy-looking special-edition 3DSs to go with them, and the Monster Hunter one in particular has stolen my heart – in fact, I’ve just got back from GAME, where I’ve already placed a preorder. I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a 3DS XL for a while now, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Can’t wait to play MH4U either – the previous MH game has sustained me for the best part of two years.

Another reason to upgrade to the new 3DS XL is that it can read amiibos – and the wonderful-looking Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (which was announced at E3 last year) will be compatible with the Fire Emblem amiibos from the Smash Bros. collection. I already have Marth, and Ike’s on preorder, so now it’s a no brainer for me to get Lucina and Robin as well when the figures are released in March. Oh, and of course I need to get Captain Toad too, obviously. Dammit Nintendo, just take my wallet!

So, yeah, just put me down for all of these. Here, take my watch, too.

So, yeah, just put me down for all of these. Here, take my watch, too.

Another announcement that caught my eye was the release of Wii games as downloads for the Wii U, each at an introductory price of £8.99. I’ve already played most of the games listed, but one caught my eye: Pandora’s Tower. I’ve been on the hunt for this for a while, and it currently goes for silly money on eBay, so this will be a fantastic chance to bag it for £9.

Speaking of RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles X looks amazing, although that running animation looks a bit weird to me, as if the characters are ice skating. Did that bug anyone else? Still, it feels almost churlish to point that out in the face of the rather stunning giant monsters that flip and jump about in the trailer. There’s a new Fire Emblem on the way too (hurrah!), and this time the writer will be Shin Kibayashi, apparently. Yes, I don’t know either. But I looked up his Wikipedia page, and among the many manga he’s authored is Sherlock Bones, in which the famous Victorian detective is reincarnated as a dog. Which sounds like the best idea for a comic I’ve ever heard.

Best, Manga. Ever. Probably.

Best, Manga. Ever. Probably.

Another highlight was a Mario version of the Japanese smash-hit puzzle game Puzzle and Dragons, which is being released in combination with Puzzle and Dragons Z. This cross between an RPG and a puzzle game looks right up my street, and I was pleased to see it was a boxed release rather than a ‘free to play (but we won’t ever stop bugging you for money)’ title (the original is an F2P mobile game). “Good old Nintendo,” I thought, “nice to see them holding out against the insidious free to play money trap.” And then straight afterwards they announced Pokémon Shuffle… a free to play game that looks very similar to Puzzle and Dragons. Ah.

Pokémon Shuffle. Cutesy? Yes. An insidious foreshadowing of what's to come? Almost definitely.

Pokémon Shuffle. Cutesy? Yes. An insidious foreshadowing of what’s to come? Almost definitely.

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