Monday, February 16, 2009

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon First Impressions

It's been awhile since I've posted anything on this sad excuse for a blog. So, without further ado, my first impressions of the newest iteration in the Fire Emblem saga.

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon First Impressions

Fire Emblem games tend to go by the same formula- someplace or other falls under siege, your hero gradually picks up a motley crew with a decent amount of what you might call advanced "chess pieces," and you and your companions must fight, turn by turn, click by click (or, in this case, tap by tap), to regain control of your kingdom or, in some cases, fight for freedom. The story, no matter how much "Intelligent Systems" attempts to make it different, always follows the same basics that started the series.

Luckily for you, if you're playing a portable game like Fire Emblem, chances are you don't care about the story.

What Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (herein referred to as FE:SD) lacks in creativity and story it makes up for in its gameplay. Like every Fire Emblem game in years past, FE:SD is one of the few turn-based strategy games on the market. Unlike other games in the genre, however, Fire Emblem can captivate you and, in a way unlike any other game, it allows you to think without truly making you think. Though it may punish you severely for being bold, you never have to worry about losing units if you understand a few basic concepts.

One of the great additions to this title is the ability to see every block on which your opponent can attack you with the press of a button. Through a touch of the "Y" button, your map is painted red with the classic Fire Emblem gameplay element, advanced for convenience. In games past, you had to highlight every enemy individually, then remember where they could move to and who they could attack. With this new feature, you can lock their attack range into place so you can maneuver your units out of harms way.

My last comment is about the AI. This game blows previous games out of the water with enemy smartness. Now, not only do they attack your weakest unit, they will attack whichever unit they can do the most damage on. It no longer feels like you're playing many separate enemies; it's as though it's a 1 vs. 1 contest of human and artificial intelligences. Just through playing through the first few chapters I've noticed this, so I can't wait until I get farther into the game.

I'll write a full review if there's any interest whatsoever, but my preemptive summary is as follows-

Recommend- Great gameplay, deep characters, amazing A.I., lasting appeal through Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.

Stay Away!- Sub-par story that seems overused, no support conversations, some other staples of the series from present games missing.

Verdict- A must buy for any Fire Emblem fan, or anybody who wants a hard core first-party DS game. If this is your first venture into the Fire Emblem series, steer clear; Sacred Stones would be a better investment. At first glance, an 8.5/10.

Closing Remarks

So there you have it- my first foray into game previewing and reviewing. If you have any questions, you can find me at For tips on big stories that you think are worth being investigated, email me at the address mentioned above.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh Sh*t, Rant time!

So, Nintendo, where's the hardcore you promised me? Does this "Blue Ocean" include me, too, or am I left to dry out here in the f***ing desert?

Okay, if you've read this blog then you've realized that I used to be a pretty hardcore Nintendo fan. Yeah, that's right. I would not have bought an Xbox 360 for the life of me. Talk about money whores! They make you pay for extensions to the game after said game comes out!

It all makes sense now.

Brawl is boring. No, it hasn't always been boring. I used to play it religiously, actually. It used to be the game I looked forward to playing every day when I came home from school, the game that I ran my clan off of, and the game that I went to forums for. No longer, Nintendo. I can only put up with the same for so long.

What has Nintendo done for the fan community? Have they given us new stages? New characters? New story elements for SSE? I don't think so. We've had the same game since the day we bought it, and I'm blaming the Wii for taking the easy way out and going for the "less is more" route.

Why can't we have DLC? Why don't we have storage solution? Why do we have shovelware pushed up our a$$3s (See what I did there)? You could always give us a USB peripheral, more 3rd party developers, and a patch to do the simple things like... well, patch games. Remember the whole Guitar Hero III thing where there was only Mono sound? Yeah, you could have saved money and earned yourselves some at the same time. How does that sound?

I finally see why things like Hard Drives are so important. It makes games not get old, and it also makes them not broken. Nintendo, we already know that you've lost the hardcore in general. Please, please, don't lose me.


(This is unedited, by the way. I'm a little mad right now.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Console Wars- Fanboys Unite (Or Don't)!

Fanboys piss me off. Badly. I can't stand talking to them. They're all about their console, and they're close-minded enough that they won't give anything else a chance (albeit without a grain of salt).

Let's start with the 360, since that seems to be where most of my frustration comes from;

"Graphics make a game. Gameplay's only half, but if it looks pretty and plays like shit, let's give it a chance anyway since we can take some pretty screenshots and rub them into people's faces. Oh, and while we're on the subject of rubbing it into other people's faces, let's just be total assholes over our amazing online because we can be and they'll never know who we are."

You all know who I'm talking about. They're not as graphics-crazy as the PS3 fanboy, but every time somebody brings up the Wii in a conversation, they will be sure to jump on the chance to dis the graphics of the less-powerful console. They also tend to lean towards the pseudo-hardcore, calling any shooter or sports title their game of choice.

They think it makes them seem cool to play something for adults, and they feel as though any other type of game is for 5-year-olds.

"Littlebigplanet? Who would ever want to play a game where you have to be creative? And that sack thing? It's so cute I want to make it bleed. Blood is good! Oh, and this- this?!? Why the hell would I ever play a game where you run around planets and collect stars? All Mario ever does is save the princess! There's no reason to play it!"

Right, and I'm sure saving the earth from the flood is much more important. Let Noah do his job, 'aight? If blood matters so much, then why is the best rated game of all time on the N64? I'll confess that I'm big on story too, but it doesn't make the game. In all honesty, have you ever played Soul Caliber or Super Smash Bros.?

Xbox fans, I hate to burst your bubble, but it comes down to gameplay. If your game sucks, admit it. If it looks pretty, don't brag. We can see for ourselves if we feel so inclined. You whining about it will not get other people to see it your way, nor will being stubborn when a fan of another console tries expressing their views.

PS3 players, did you miss me?

You guys are, plain and simple, tech whores. Your console has a few good games, yeah, but you don't have to tell us that. We'll admit that we like Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted. But that's not good enough, apparantly. You have to show us side-by-side comparisons of your 1080i blu-ray playback compared to the DVDs of the 360. You're also too good for the Wii, of course. Nobody wants a console that isn't HD. It's pointless.

Come on, now. Where are the games? Where is the gameplay?

"We have Littlebigplanet! We can make our own!"

Guess what? I have a computer and flash. Spend your time earning money, dipshit, and stop showing off to your friends. Creativity's good when it's used in the right places, but believe me, it's so much more worth it when it does what you want it to.

Oh, and what happened to your Six-axis? Did the Wii steal your idea? No, I think you guys might have added that at the last second because your competitor had it. Thanks for making Factor 5 look like idiots. They had to give "Lair" actual controls for it to be a good game! Wow, who would have thought it! The Six-Axis is not a flight stick, so don't make us use it as one. We have the Wiimote for that.

By the way, Home's a glitchy mess. Get over it.

Now for my little buddy, the Wii.

Nintendo faithful, I'm not blaming you for this. I can't. Nintendo's been getting on my nerves recently with this whole "expanded audience" thing, and if you read my past entries you'll realize that.

Move on. There's a decent share of games on the console, but if you're a real hardcore gamer you'll need more than just this. I've realized that by now. Nintendo hasn't given us decent online, nor have they given us many core first party games

No, Reggie, Animal Crossing does not count.

I like me some Mario as much as the next guy, but even I, the former Nintendo purist can only take so much. It makes the Xbox 360 law of "Blood = Good" look nice. Give me something that will get my adrenaline pumping. You guys can do it; Zelda and Brawl kept me interested for hours. The thing is, I need you to stop making me (and the billions of other Wii owners out there) feel like a priss. Fireballs catch people on fire. Swords don't do damage- they slice people in half.

I realize that gaming is a hobby meant to get us away from our normal lives, but a bit of realism wouldn't hurt (no pun intended) every now and then. The wii remote's a nice gimmick; in fact, it's great. But you guys have Gamecube controller ports and a classic controller for a reason. Push them to the level where you need them for the console, and keep the Nintendo innovation you've always had on the software side (at least until we can shut those other guys up for good- then add some more waggle).


I'm a Wii60 guy. I hate to steal that from a T-Shirt I saw on the internet, but I must. I feel that you have to have a Wii and one of the powerhouse console to get the best gaming experience you can get. If not, you're really missing out.

I like innovation. People who complain that the Wii makes you tired are apparently retarded (and not to mention fat). People who say the 360 has the same games repeated over and over again (shooters, that is) have apparently never given the console a shot (Well... that pun was intended).

All in all, everything in gaming matters to a certain extent. I put gameplay over graphics, but both are important. I'm also a fan of stories, but they shouldn't take away from the gameplay or vice-versa. There's a certain level of balance that needs to be had, and it seems that every console has reached a niche that it won't be exiting soon. If you give something else a chance, you'll be surprised what you'll find.

Now go drop your CD-i off of a cliff... or something.