Postgame Review: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

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Yeah, BOEY! Pun intended.

While it is true Nintendo has alot–and I mean A LOT–of experience remaking old games (Starfox and Pokemon both come to mind), never before has Nintendo taken a game from the 8-bit NES era and modernized it like they did with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. For those who might have missed the Fire Emblem Direct earlier this year, this is a remake of the Japan-only Fire Emblem Gaiden–a game that was up until now considered the Black Sheep of the Fire Emblem series. Why? Because it was released the year after the SNES had been released. The game pushed the NES to its limits and was ahead of its time for reasons I’ll get into in a moment.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows if Valentia is called Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero King in Japan. The game takes place between the events of the first two Fire Emblem games (Shadow Dragon and Light and Shadow) on the continent of Valentia. The Whitewings Sisters and the origin of the Triangle Attack that’s been staple in the series–Palla, Catria and Est–are playable characters. They get mixed up with some pirates while visiting from Archanea–where the events of the first two games starring Marth take place–and end up helping Celica on her mission.

Story: 10/10

Kudos to Nintendo for this one: Anyone who’s played Fire Emblem Gaiden will tell you the story was bare bones. Nintendo took the existing story and not only fleshed it out but gave every single character–both old and new–a detailed and fleshed-out backstory. Here’s a few noteworthy ones and be warned, there are MAJOR spoilers.

 

  • Alm: One of the game’s two protagonists. He leads The Deliverence against the Rigelian Empire to the North as well as the corrupt Zofian Military. Alm’s surprisingly straightforward and clever despite both his upbringing and his lineage. He is the Hero King who would unite all of Valentia.
  • Celica: One of the game’s two protagonists. She leads her allies and friends on a mission to find out what happened to Mila, the Divine Dragon on Zofia. Celica hides a secret even from Alm: She is real Princess Anthese, who the Zofian Knights are searching for. Celica finds herself forced to chose between sacrificing her life to save Alm or watch the whole world burn.
  • Masked Knight: One of the new characters in Shadows of Valentia who didn’t exist in Gaiden. He is revealed to be Conrad, Celica’s brother and prince of Zofia. Having long thought the other dead, Conrad aids Celica on her mission before eventually joining her as an ally.
  • Faye: One of the new characters in Shadows of Valentia who didn’t exist in Gaiden. She has a seriously crush on Alm. If you see their A-Rank support conversation, Alm admits he’s known she had feelings for him for some time and since she clearly didn’t take the hint, he plainly turns her down.
  • Mycen: A former Rigelian Knight who found himself the caretaker of both Alm and Celica. When Alm decides to join The Deliverence and fight against the Rigelian Empire, Mycen suddenly disappears. When the two meet in Zofia Castle and later Rigel Keep, it’s revealed Mycen was far more privy to the goings-on of Valentia.
  • Emperor Rudolf: The Emperor of Rigel, the northen Kingdom of Valentia. Emperor Rudolf personally leads his army in an attack on Mila’s Temple, binding her with the power of the Valentian Falchion. In a cruel twist of fate, Emperor Rufolf is slain in battle by his long lost son: Alm.
  • Zeke: A mysterious knight in the service of the Rigelian Empire. Heeding a cryptic message from Emperor Rudolf, Zeke joins Alm after he rescues his friend Titania from harm. This is the same Zeke who also appears in Archanean Fire Emblem games.
  • Duma and Mila: Both are Manakete who are worshipped as God and Goddess. Dragons have a long lifespan and this both a strength and a weakness for them. Over time, they will lose their minds and become a threat to mankind. Such was the case with a certain dragon in Fire Emblem Fates. Such is the case with Duma in the final battles of the game.

….I could go on.

There are subtle references to the events of at least 3 other Fire Emblem games for those who’ve played them to spot:

  • Fire Emblem Awakening: Most obviously, the continent of Valentia is present-day Valm. Walhart’s backstory isn’t all that different from Alm’s when you think about it. Perhaps the biggest hint is Alm promotes to the Conquerer Class–the same as Walhart but with different weapons. Alm can use Swords and Bows while Walhart can use Swords, Axes and Lances. In the postgame town, one of the villagers also references the Valmese invasion that takes place halfway through Awakening.
  • Fire Emblem Fates Revelations: This is a MAJOR spoiler for those who haven’t played the third route in Fates but the big bad you fight at the end with the combined forces of both Hoshido and Nohr is the Divine Dragon, Anankos. Around the time Azura lived in Valla, Anankos succumbed to madness and turned his rage on mankind. Shortly after Corrin was born, knowledge of the third kingdom was lost to a powerful curse to protect Nohr and Hoshido. By the time Shadows of Valentia begins, Duma has succumbed to madness. Mila sacrifices herself to cancel out her counterpart’s power and is dead by the time Alm and Celica find her in Duma Tower.
  • Fire Emblem: I mentioned this already by Shadows of Valentia/Gaiden takes place between the events of Marth’s two games. Zeke and the Whitewings are originally from Archanea obviously.
    Fire Emblem Sacred Stones: It was viewed as an homage to Fire Emblem Gaiden. It’s so obvious where the inspiration for Sacred Stones came from at the time it was released back in 2003 on the Game Boy Advance. The traversible map and dual protagonists are the dead giveaways so…yeah.

The Dungeon Exploration mechanic is a pretty cool feature in both the original and the remake. One can only hope it’s used again in a future Fire Emblem title ^_^

Soundtrack: 10/10

Easily the best part of the game for me. Every track from the original game was upgraded.

 

Here’s March of the Deliverence, which is Alm’s pre-promotion battle theme music:

And the original version from Fire Emblem Gaiden:

Exact same song. All they did was use a real orchestra. There was nothing to add beyond that.

 

Here’s Celica’s pre-promotion battle theme music, With Mila’s Divine Protection:

…And again, the original Gaiden version:

 

As you can see, the conversion is near-flawless here, too.

Shadows of Valentia is also the first Fire Emblem game to be fully voiced–not a bad honor for a remake. All dialogue is voiced including most of the optional interactions with villagers. How cool is that?!

 

Difficulty: 9/10

Despite the graphical facelift, Nintendo went out of its way to preserve the original game’s level of challenge weather you play Classic (fallen units are lost forever) or Casual (fallen units return after battle). Unlike the later games, Gaiden didn’t have a Weapons Triangle and neither does its remake for that matter. Spells also cost HP unlike the later games. As a reminder, you automatically lose the battle if the main Lord–in this case–Alm or Celica–lose all their HP. It’s an instant Game Over.

What keeps it from getting a Perfect 10 is how overtuned the final battle and the final battle in the postgame dungeon seemed to be. For the purposes of reviewing the game, I did my first playthrough on Casual with the Normal Difficulty. Even though I had access to DLC Content for EXP grinding as well as the DLC-Only 4th-tier classes, I struggled to clear the final battle and was curb-stomped in the final battle of the postgame dungeon.

I couldn’t help but assume the postgame dungeon’s final battle had been tuned with the assumption players would either overlevel or at least had access to the EXP Grinding DLC Maps. The Status Ailments alone are a pain given only two characters can remove them but the enemies in that battle being able to 2-shot anyone not named Alm or Celica is a bit of a problem. LOL.

 

DLC Content: 7/10

You got your staple EXP, Money and Rare Item grind maps. They come in two flavors: One for the first two Chapters, the rest of the game. Then you have the 4th-Tier Classes for all classes including Alm and Celica. Then you have the four prequel maps, which takes a look at certain characters before the events of the game. There are even maps featuring characters from the Japan-only Fire Emblem Cipher Trading Card Game! I touched on this in a separate blog post but all the DLC content combined costs more than the game. Not a good look for Nintendo. It’s also why I took 3 points off this, more so given the grind maps that have been staple since Awakening.

 

Amiibo Support: 8/10

Alm and Celica have their own Amiibos, which serves two purposes. One is access to special dungeons you need their Amiibos to challenge. The other is to power up your Amiiino for summoning purposes. Alm or Celica can summon their Amiibos or that of Robin, Lucina, Roy, Ike, Marth or Corrin (when it’s released) to fight for one turn. I took two points off because of the restrictions: You can only summon a phantom fighter once per battle and it will only last for one turn. On top of that, Alm/Celica can’t act like a normal summon either. That makes it hard to justify using the feature at all when you think about it. Nintendo dropped the ball here.

Overall: 10/10

Despite it clearly being a remake and despite the overpriced DLC, Shadows of Valentia is a must-own for any Fire Emblem fan. If you are new to the series, I reccommend starting with Awakening though. Regardless, this is yet another good year to own a 3DS!

 

 

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Fire Emblem, NES, New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS, Retro Gaming, Review, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pokemon UltraSun and Pokemon UltraMoon coming to the 3DS November 17

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…To the surprise of no one, the question of what the companion to Sun and Moon will be seems to have been answered. UltraSun and UltraMoon (U-Sun and U-Moon for short) come to the 3DS this Fall the week before Thanksgiving so be thankful ^_^

If I had to guess, Nintendo will enable Poke Bank compatability for U-Sun/U-Moon ahead of their release and likely when Pokemon Gold and Silver are released on the Virtual Console in September (More on that in a bit).

What do we know about U-Sun/U-Moon? This:

  1. They’re being released worldwide on November 17 on the 3DS.
  2. Solgaleo, Lunala and several other Pokemon will new forms. Presumably, the new Alolan forms will be based on Johto Pokemon to tie in with the Virtual Console release of Gold and Silver. Solgaleo and Lunala’s new forms have something to do with Necrozma by the way.
  3. There will be additional Pokemon that weren’t in Sun or Moon though it’s not clear if they will just be Johto Pokemon or entirely new Pokemon ala Black 2 and White 2 as well. I’m assuming both for now.
  4. The games will load faster when played on the New Nintendo 3DS or New Nintendo 2DS.

…That’s prettymuch it. We know nothing of the games’ story though to be fair, the games were just announced today (LOL). Will it be a whole new story like Black 2 and White 2 or will it be an enhanced version of the current story ala Yellow, Crystal and Emerald? Time will tell ^_^
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This brings me to the other big news I care about: Per popular request, Gold and Silver are coming to the Virtual Console. Now, the question to be asked is will Crystal follow? According to a picture I saw while I was looking for the above image, I would be VERY suprised if Crystal’s release isn’t announced as well =O

Thanks to the Virtual Console versions of Red, Blue and Yellow we know Gold and Silver will emulate trading using the console’s wireless feature. I almost forgot the original Gold and Silver introduced the Mystery Gift feature, which allows two players to receive a random useful item using the Game Boy Color’s infrared sensor. The 3DS family consoles have an infrared sensor so this feature will likely return ^_^

The 2nd Gen Pokemon games are actually considered two of the best handheld games of all time for a variety of reasons. For those who either need a refresher or didn’t know, the 2nd Gen games introduced ALL of the following features that have been staple going on 20 years now:

  • The Steel and Dark Types: Magnemite and Magneton are Electric/Steel Types in the 2nd Gen games.
  • Pokemon Genders: Aside from Legendaries, 95% of all Pokemon are now Male or Female. Certain Pokemon always Male (Nidoking) or Female (Miltank) while there are some who are Genderless (Voltorb).
  • Pokemon Eggs and Breeding: That moment Pokemon went PG-13. LOL. One of the biggest mysteries in Pokemon Lore is where DO those Pokemon Eggs come from? No one has ever actually seen Pokemon “do it” so…yeah.
  • Egg Moves: With breeding comes the ability to pass moves known by the “Father” Pokemon on to the son. Want to put Dragon Dance on a Tyranitar or Charizard? Breed a Female Charizard or Tyranitar with a Male Dragonite, Kingra or Gyarados that knows Dragon Dance. Want to put Mirror Move on Blastoise? Breed a Male Corsola with a Female Blastoise. Of course, it may take a few tries to breed a Female Charmander or Squirtle. Seriously though, Tyranitar’s only worth using competatively with Dragon Dance (aka D-Tar) so…yeah. One round of Dancing is enough for Tyranitar to outspeed most Pokemon. Two rounds of Dancing = Team Sweep including the Super Legendaries (Mewtwo, Lugia and Ho-Oh).
  • Special Stat split into Special Attack and Special Defense: Due to how overpowered Psychic Pokemon were in the 1st Gen, not only did they get a true weakness in Dark Types but they were weakened even futher by splitting the Special stat into Sp. Atk and Sp. Def. The introduction of the TM Move Calm Mind in the 3rd Gen (raises both Sp. Atk and Sp. Def) kinda negated this until the 6th gen though.
  • Hold Items: Pokemon now have the ability to hold items. This all-important feature added an extra layer of strategy that must be accounted for.
  • Additional Poke Ball Types: The Fast Ball, Heavy Ball and their variations in later games began in the 2nd gen. This made it easier to catch certain types of Pokemon.
  • Two cover Legendaries: The 2nd gen introduces Ho-Oh and Lugia as the cover Legendary Pokemon. Unlike the games that came after it, you could catch both legendaries in each game. You could catch Lugia in Gold or Ho-Oh in Silver after speaking to a certain person in Pewter City after defeating the Elite Four for the first time.
  • Roaming Pokemon: Raikou, Entei and Suicune were the original Roaming Pokemon. After you encounter them for the first time in Ecruteak City, the three will run off in different directions. You may then randomly encounter one of them while traveling around Johto as long as your lead Pokemon is under level 40. They run as soon as you encounter them so it’s a good idea to open with a level 38 Ariados that is holding the Quick Claw. Open with Spider Web to prevent them from running away. The Quick Claw is insurance vs. Eneti (Fire) since Ariados is a Bug/Poison Pokemon. You might also want to have a level 70+ Pokemon with False Swipe (target Pokemon is always left with 1 HP), a Pokemon with Hypnosis and (alot of) Ultra Balls.
  • Pre-Evolutionary Pokemon: Pichu, Igglybuff, Cleffa, Tyrogue, Elekid, Magby, Smoochum and Togepi. They would later be joined by the likes of Riolu, Bonsly, Mantyke, Budew and Munchlax. Aside from Riolu, 7 of the first 8 “Baby” Pokemon don’t require special conditions like the others do in order to get them. Just breed two of their evolved forms or one of their evolved forms with a Ditto. Tyrogue will evolve into Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee or Hitmontop depending on its Atk and Def stats when it hits level 20. You can use vitamins to manipulate its evolution.
  • The Alphabet Pokemon Unown: The game’s first multi-form Pokemon, there were 26 Unknown though one for the “!” and “?” punctuations were added in Crystal. Unknown could only use the move Hidden Power and while not much good for battles, there IS a fun reason to collect as many variations as Possible: You could spell words! This made for some mischief among friends and classmates like sharing secret messages or spelling out swear words (LOL!).
  • Night, Day and the Days of the Week: Easily the biggest feature added the Pokemon games ever was the sense of Time. Why? Because there are certain Pokemon that can only be caught or evolved depending on the time of day. To go with this, there were events and services that were only available to you depending on what day it was. This most obvious being the Day Siblings: On each day and in a certain location in Johto you will run into someone who will give you a hold item. They only do it once but it’s ok if you miss a day: They’ll be back the following week.
  • Shiny Pokemon: For most Pokemon Vets, the Red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage was their very first Shiny Pokemon. That aside, so far there is a Shiny version of every single Pokemon EXCEPT the Alolan Cover Legendaries. The catch: You have a 1 in 6,000 to 15,000 chance of encountering one. For those who are wondering: Pokemon imported from the 1st Gen could be Shiny when sent to the 2nd Gen (!). What’s so special about Shiny Pokemon? Color aside, absolutely nothing ^_^
  • PokeRus: Who knew Pokemon could get sick? Even weirder, this is a Super-Rare virus you WANT your Pokemon to get. Why? Because Pokemon with PokeRus grow faster and have more stat gains on level up that’s why. Oh and no there is no cure. To spread it, simply place an infected Pokemon in your PC and fight a few battles. Repeat for each box. Perks aside, it’s pretty harmless to the Pokemon.
  • Cross-Gen Trading: Obviously I care about this the most (LOL!). After you visit the Ecruteak City Pokemon Center for the first time, you will be able to trade between the 1st and 2nd Gens. Aside from the 1st Gen Starters, Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee, the Fossil Pokemon, Mewtwo and The Legendary Birds (for the Pokedex) you can also get certain items when importing certain Pokemon from the 1st Gen. For example if you send the Pikachu you receive in Pokemon Yellow to the 2nd Gen it will come holding the Light Ball, which doubles Pikachu’s Sp. Atk (!).

…I’d say that covers everything more or less.

In short, Gold and Silver are must-haves if you have Sun/Moon or the 1st Gen VC games or both. Presumably the cross-Gen transfer to the 7th Gen will be one-way. The difference is if you already have the VC versions of the 1st Gen games, you can breed the starters, the Hitmons, Eevee + Evolutions, the Fossil Pokemon and other Pokemon you only had one of up to now.

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon, Preview, Retro Gaming, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia’s DLC will cost more than the game itself?!

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…Yep.

Serenes Forest broke the news yesterday: The DLC Content for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadoes of Valentia COMBINED will cost $53.50. If you want to say $9.50, you can buy the season pass for $44. As a reminder, the game costs $40 minus the DLC. The Alm and Celica Amiibo 2-pack costs $20. If you want all the DLC and the Amiibos you’re sending $104 or $113.50 in total, the price of the game included.

The obvious “WTH Nintendo?!” aside, most players will likely cherry-pick what DLC they get as usual. Yours truly will buy them all usual. It’s worth it to me. I have already alotted the necessary funds in my eShop account to buy the Season Pass when the game is released on May 19. That’s two weeks from tomorrow ^_^

To recap, all of the DLC in Fire Emblem Awakening costs $44. I own two copies of it–Physical on my Ambassador 3DS and digital on my other 3DS. I also have A physical copy of both Conquest and Birthright as well as the other campaign digital and the digital-only third campaign, Revelations. $20 per campaign so that’s $80 total. Oh and yes I have all the DLC times two so…yeah.

Again, it’s worth it to me. There was an 18-month gap between when I bought my first copy of Awakening and the second. I bought Birthright and Conquest at the same time. I haven’t yet decided if I will buy a second copy of Echoes but it won’t be later this year (LOL).

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Fire Emblem, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Preview, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nintendo quietly announces the New Nintendo 2DS XL

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…Goes without saying I was too busy playing Persona 5 to catch this when news first broke the other day: A 2D variant of the New Nintendo 3DS is coming this summer. And I’m going to get it. As you guys know, I bought a New Nintendo 3DS XL last month. I still have the launch 3DS it replaced but as of tonight my former Ambassador 3DS will have a new owner. I still have my other standard 3DS but I was already thinking of buying a second New Nintendo 3DS but I’ll save $50 and get this instead. LOL.

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This is what the back and underside look like. Like the 3D variant, the New 2DS will use MicroSD Memory Cards. Interestingly, there is a cover to prevent players from accidently touching the game card while playing unlike the New 3DS. As you can tell you also will not have to unscrew the back cover to insert your own MicroSD Memory Cards which is the case with the New 3DS.

As a reminder for those looking to pre-order and replace an older 3DS/2DS, you WILL need the older console to transfer everything to the new one so DON’T trade in your old/current 3DS/2DS. The process requires a computer, a MicroSD to SD Expansion Card (always sold as a pair) and of course the existing console + SD Memory Card. Use a computer to just copy everything to the new MicroSD Memory Card. After that, just run the Transfer Data App (In Settings) to complete the transfer. Whole process takes no more than an hour. Your eShop History, Themes, Digital Games and everything else and transferred over to the new console. Once the transfer is completed, the source console is factory resets. It IS a process that was only meant to be used ONCE, after all.

To the parents who may have been thinking of getting one, it’s kid-friendly. It has larger buttons and larger screens. The 2DS and the New 2DS are so-called because unlike the 3DS and New 3DS there is no “pop out” 3D. Aside from this they will BOTH play ALL DS, 3DS and New 3DS games perfectly fine.

Posted in Brendan Aurabolt, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Postgame Review: Persona 5 (PS4 Version)

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…Wednesday morning, I got to the above screen. Then I gave it a Standing Ovation. Persona 5 is easily Game of the Year 2017. I will be shocked if it isn’t considered at least. An easy 10/10 despite being delayed for 3 years.

The interesting thing: The Soundtrack for Persona 5 was released on iTunes last  week. It’s $30 for the whole thing but I’d say only 16 tracks are worth getting. Those who’ve played the game know which ones ^_^

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Like I mentioned in the first-look review, you play a high school student named Akira Kurusu. That’s his name for the Anime but as we know the names of Persona protagonists can vary. For example P3’s goes by Minato Arisato in the video games (Minako in P3 Portable for the PSP) but Makoto Yuki in the movies. P4’s goes by Yu Narukami in the video games and Anime but Souji Seta in the Manga.

Anyway, Akira finds out no good deed goes unpunished when he steps in to help a woman being harrassed. This act of chivalry backfires: The man Akira confronts presses charges against him for assault and Akira is put on probation for a year. Embarassed and ashamed, his parents send him to live in Tokyo. It’s later revealed the man who screwed over Akira has very big aspirations. I won’t say any more than that since I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t gotten too far in the game.

As the story unfolds, Akira meets other teenagers who like him were horribly mistreated or taken advantage of by adults. They decided to work together to reform society as The Phantom Thieves:

  • Morgana/Mona: The non-Human member of the group and its cofounder along with Akira, Ryuji and Ann. When Akira first meets him in the Metaverse, Morgana is trying to reclaim his lost memories. Like Teddie in P4 and Komoharu in P3, Morgana has his own Persona. That MUST mean he’s human…right? RIGHT?!
  • Ryuji/Skull: A former athlete on the school’s disbanded track team. Ryuji is a delinquent who was injured by a teacher on purpose, costing him a promising career in running and the track team. His resolve get payback is the turning point in his life and leads to him awakening to his Persona.
  • Ann/Panther: A half-Japanese girl and teenage model. Watching her friend’s suicide attempt at school is the turning point in her life and leads to her awakening to her Perona.
  • Yosuke/Fox: A talented young artist. After learning his master was nothing more than a fraud and a con artist, he awakens to his Persona.
  • Makoto/Queen: The Studen Council President at Shunjin Academy and younger sister of Sae Niijima, the prosector heading the Phantom Thieves Investigation. Turning a blind eye to horrible things going on at her school and the rumors about her take their toll. After getting blackmailed by as dangerous criminal, Makoto awakens to her Persona.
  • Futaba/Oracle: An incredibly talented hacker and adopted daughter or Sojiro, Akira’s guardian. Futaba became a shut-in after watching her mother die in front of her a few years earlier. Having watched the Phantom Thieves from a distance, she turns to them for help and eventually awakens to her Persona. She’s a non-combatant but provides support for the team.
  • Haru/Noir: The daughter of a powerful CEO. Unable to turn a blind eye to the rumors concerning the way her father treats the company and its employees, Haru takes a stand.
  • Akechi/Crow: A talented young detective. Despite hos charming demeanor, the popular student detective is a man of mystery. It doesn’t take long for the rest of the Phantom Thieves to realize there’s more to Akechi than meets the eye.

…Going with the game’s Emancipation, Prison and Thievery themes everyone’s Personas are based on outlaws. For example Ryuji’s is Captain Kidd and Yusuke’s is Goemon, who were real people. Morgana is named for a cat owned by Arsene–the name of Akira’s initial Persona–who was a famous thief in literature.

There’s a crapton of pop culture references to go with the theme. Speaking of, the real world connections for every person the Phantom Thieves…like I said in my First Look Review it’s massively relevant to what’s going on today in the world: What can you do but rebel when the game and the rules are the game are rigged and stacked against you from the beginning to ensure you lose? You rebel of course.

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Easily the main draw of the game for me. After working with Persona 3, Persona 4 and their repective spinoff games Japanese Hip Hop Artist and Persona fan Lotus Juice passed on lending his vocals to Persona 5. Lotus Juice, who actually raps in English (He grew up in New Jersey and his accent is barely noticable) explained on Facebook he wanted to enjoy Persona 5 “as a fan this time”. Turns out the soundtrack was in really good hands.

Like I mentioned at the top, you can buy the full soundtrack for $30 on iTunes, which contains 32 tracks. I bought the 16 best tracks from the soundtrack via iTunes earlier this evening. Here are just six of my favorites, all performed or arranged by Lyn (personally reccommended by Lotus Juice for the job =O):

 

The cover track for the game. Persona 4’s is Pursuing My True Self (Shadow World in P4 Golden) while Persona 3’s is Burn My Dread. There is also an instrumental arrangement for this track.

…Such a smooth song =O

This song plays after the Phantom Thieves send their Calling Card to a target. The Instrumental Version plays during battles. It’s blood-pumping and fast-paced arrangement goes well with when it’s used in-game.

 


The battle music ❤

Persona 4 has Time to Make History and Reach Out To The Truth while Persona 3 has Mass Destruction. Like both games, this arrangement was purposely chosen and composed and it’s amazing ^_^

Easily the second-best track on the album. It plays during your free time. There is also a rain variant with just the keyboard and vocals.

I actually love the Instrumental version more:

…Lotus Juice loved the track so much, he freestyled to it. LOL. And yeah this traclk just BEGS you rap to it ❤

I LOVE this song. LOVE ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

It plays during special sequences in the game, most notably the  game’s opening escape sequence. It has an Instrumental arrangement as well becausse why the hell not?

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…We were kept waiting for 3 years but the wait was WELL worth it. Don’t even get me started on the TIMING for the game’s release: A full month after The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the Nintendo Switch were both released. Whoever isn’t playing Breath of the Wild will likely be playing this game. This is coming from someone who actually does have said game. LOL.

Atlus has received alot of criticism in regards to Persona 5 has received criticism for blocking gamers from taking screenshots or video of the game’s story content. There’s also the glaring problem in regards to time management when trying to work on social links: Story content forces time forward, preventing you from using time you could have used working on a social link. Things are a little easier starting in the second playthrough: Anyone you got a max social link with in the previous playthrough, you will receive items to speed up the process in the next playthrough. It’s certainly possible to max all Social Links in one playthough with some careful planning though.

P5 contains two mechanics that were big in P4 and P3: Mementos (The Tartarus in P3) and Shadow versions of people (Introduced in P4). It’s an overt nod to both games. Persona 5 also seen the return of the negotiation system, which has been absent from the Persona games for some time. The system ads an extra layer of strategy in battles. Also like Persona 3 and Persona 4 you can get in a relationship with multiple ladies. Those who dare to play around, beware: As the saying goes you reap what you sow. LOL.

A few days ago, it was announced Atlus has trademarked several new names mostly relating to Persona 5 and Persona 3 in particular. No question there will be more spinoff games but we’ll have to wait and see. Persona 5 was released on the PS3 and the PS4. Like I said in my First Look Review, I would not be surprised at all if a Vita port happens. It would be awesome to say the least!

Posted in Atlus, Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Persona 5, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, Shin Megami Tensei, Video Games, Vita | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Look Review: Persona 5 (PS4 Version)

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…LOL.

Took 3 years but like only a handful of other games, the wait was worth it: Two years after the game’s release in Japan it was FINALLY released in North America this past Tuesday. P5 was easily the most anticipated PS3 game ever and one of the most anticipated PS4 games yet. I have both a PS3 and a PS4 but I decided to go with the PS4 version of the game to take advantage of the MASSIVE storage on my PS4 (1TB). The Persona recruitment mechanics are a throwback to the P1 and the Shin Megami Tensei series: When you Knock Down a Persona (called Hold Up in P5) you can talk to them. If this is your first encounter with them you can ask them to join you. Another method is beating them within an inch of their lives to the point they beg for mercy.

In comparison to the previous 2 Persona games (P4 and P3) the core mechanics are the same from Social Links to a calendar system to the Velvet room. The clear distinction is the Prison theme the game has. Things are prettymuch the same otherwise. P5’s open world is also MASSIVE compared to P4 and P5: The game takes place in Tokyo so…yeah. I played the game through the first major dungeon before I decided to write this analysis of the game. My postgame review…I imagine will be months away (LOL).

The basic premise of the game’s story is this: A fateful decision made by the game’s protagonist got him in trouble with the law and he was sent away to spend a year of Probation in Tokyo. A single mistake could see him hauled off to jail. The funny thing is the opening 3 minutes of the game clearly takes place much later in the story. The protagonist, who is the leader of the Imfamous Phantom Thieves is nabbed by the cops and brought in for questioning after a job goes horribly wrong. After being roughed up and drugged by the fuzz, a local prosecutor–who happens to be the older sister of one of the protagonists–interviews you. The flow of the story is everything that happened from beginning which you play.

Like I said before, I cleared the first major dungeon. That gave me a pretty good idea of a few things. The theme of the game is Emancipation. and Rebelling against unfair punishment and restorative justice. Along the way you encounter others with similar problems who will join or aid you on your quest to purge society of corruption. The interesting thing is the overt references to corruption and abuse of power are far more relevant today than they would have been 3 years ago. The game getting delayed twice is just a massive coincidence on that note. LOL.

My first playthrough…I can see it taking me two or three months to finish. I take it slow but as I noted with my previous blog I have 12 other PS4 games I got around the same time. So, yeah. I expect it will be some time before I see the end of the game. Of course, there IS also the remote possability P5 will get a Vita release. A guy can dream!

One last thing before I forget: You do not need to be familiar with the Persona series to play P5. It will help to have at least played P4 or P3 but is NOT required to play P5. I will say that if you are not a fan of traditional RPG mechanics in general you probably won’t like P5.

Posted in Atlus, Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, News, Persona 5, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PS Vita, Serene Adventure, Shin Megami Tensei, Sony, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I recently got a PS4 and I already have 12 games

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…You did not misread. I shared the above picture on Facebook yesterday morning. I bought or traded for 5 more games last night and used my GameStop rewards Points to prettymuch get two games for free. In addition I preordered Persona 5, which comes out on Tuesday.

These are the 12 PS4 games I now own:

  1. Samurai Warriors 4 Empires
  2. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate
  3. Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4: Road to Boruto
  4. Tales of Zestria
  5. Tales of Berseria
  6. Attack on Titan
  7. Dragonball Z Xenoverse 2
  8. WWE 2K17
  9. Skyrim: Special Edition
  10. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
  11. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
  12. The Elder Scrolls Online

…Like with my Wii U, I only got games I knew I wanted.

I have the PS3 and Steam versions of Skyrim already. I decided to get the PS4 version because I know I’ll play it. LOL. Same with Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, which I have the Vita version of already. The two Tales of Games…I haven’t finished Tales of Graces f yet. I have Xillia 1 and 2 but haven’t started either of them yet. LOL. I know I’ll eventually get to all of them in time though.

…So glad I got my 1TB PS4. What this means is I will never have to worry about ever running out of storage. It also means I can delete most of the video files from both of my Vitas and my PS3: I can stream all of the movies and episodes I bought over the years on my PS4. I’ll probably be too busy to play my PS4 until after the weekend but I wanted to make sure I shared this before then ^_^

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Posted in Anime, Anime Boston, Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, News, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PS Vita, Sega, Serene Adventure, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legend of Zelda Series continues to defy expectations

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Each game in the series follows a very simple formula: When a threat appears, a hero clad in green appears to counter it.

That’s it.

That’s all you need to know about The Legend of Zelda series. Actually, one other thing: Even though it’s called The Legend of Zelda, it’s really Link’s story. Like the Final Fantasy series, each game is unrelated to the one that follows or precedes it though there are exceptions such as Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Originally, Majora’s Mask was going to be a short postgame adventure in OoT but Nintendo decided to do things right and made it a full game.

Chances are good everyone who calls themselves a gamer has played at least one, maybe 4 of the games in the series. I myself have now played all but Skyward Sword (but I will get to it at some point), Link Between Worlds (will get it before it gets too rare) and Triforce Heroes (just bought it actually) but I have beaten four at least twice: A Link to the Past (my all-time favorite in the series, I’ve beaten it 8 times), Four Swords (GBA version), Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time (beat the Gamecube release but have the Virtual Console and 3DS versions as well).

As folks are aware, Link has been in every release of Super Smash Bros. The child version of Link (from Ocarina of Time) is an unlockable character in Melee while Toon Link is an unlockable character in Brawl. Zelda and Sheik are playable characters in all but the Nintendo 64 version of Super Smash Bros.

The Overworld Theme (introduced in the very first game) is internationally recognized and is just below Super Marios Bros.’ World 1-1 for the most recognized video game soundtrack in gaming history. It has appeared in some fashion in every single Legend of Zelda game ever made. Zelda’s Theme (introduced in Link to the Past) is second in the series followed by the “Got an Item!” jingle.

Out of the games I have played, this is my top-5 list in the series in terms of favorites:

  1. Link to the Past + Four Swords (Game Boy Advance): The GBA version had both games on the cart and cross-game interaction that has never again been done: After you beat Four Swords, you will gain access to a new Sword Skill in LttP called the Hurricane Blade and access to a new super-hard dungeon after you’ve beaten the final boss of both games. I still have my GBA copy of the game to this day.
  2. Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64 originally): You’ve either played it to death or at least heard about it. Nintendo released a Master Quest version of the game when it was ported to the Gamecube in which you can play the game with all the dungeons mirrored. The Master Quest version was added to the 3DS version, which I have. OoT has been ported to every console released since the Nintendo 64 version.
  3. The Legend of Zelda (NES originally): The game where it all began. Even though I haven’t ever beat it, I have some fond memories playing it as a kid. It was the game I almost pulled an all-nighter on when I was in the hospital once. Played it until 2:30AM in the morning (Super Mario All Stars would get the honor of being the first game I skipped sleeping to play when I was 10). It’s worth remembering after the NES games, all subsequent games in the series would have a save slot.
  4. Hyrule Warriors Legends (Nintendo 3DS): It’s worth noting I bought the Wii U version 3 weeks after I bought the 3DS version. The 3DS version includes all of the DLC Content that was released for the Wii U version. As a bonus: the 3DS version comes with a Code to get all of the DLC for the Wii U version at no extra charge.
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U and Switch): Easily the most ground-breaking game in the series since OoT. BotW is the first true open-world game in the series and blurs the lines between the Platformer, Surival and RPG Genres. There are too many “for the first time evers” in this game for me to list here and by the way, I’ve only played the first 45 minutes so far. Let’s just say Link can do alot of things in this game he wasn’t able to do before.

Even though the series has perhaps stubbornly stuck to the same formula going on 25 years, it has managed to keep itself relevant. To those who may have resisted playing any game in the series because it looks “too kiddy”, your loss. You can enjoy your Madden and Call of Duty all you want then ^_^

 

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Posted in Brendan Aurabolt, NES, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Preview, Retro Gaming, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, The Legend of Zelda, Video Games, Wii U | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nintendo Switch launches; Breath of the Wild released

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The main reason I’m making this post is because I have a bit of breaking news I meant to share earlier this week: I bought a Wii U. In other news, I also bought a New Nintendo 3DS at the same time (WOOT!) and moved everything from my Blue Ambassador 3DS to it.

Due to some technical issues I’m still trying to figure out, I’m not able to transfer my Virtual Console and Wii Ware games from my Wii to my Wii U console. My problem is likely due to my having bought the console Used: The console didn’t come with the Wii Transfer App and I have been having connection issues in trying to download the App to the Wii U. I linked the console to my My Nintendo Account via my Ambassador  New Nintendo 3DS so I’m locked in more or less (LOL).

Like the Sony consoles, My Nintendo transactions are shared across the linked 3DS and Wii U consoles. That said, I don’t plan to repurchase anything I already bought on my 3DS or Wii on my new Wii U. LOL that would be wasteful spending. Apple and Sony still do what NintenDON’T: Not forcing you to buy more than one copy of a purchase on another console with the same account. All the VC games on my 3DS? I’d have to BUY THEM AGAIN on my Wii U. Hell no I absolutely will not.

For those who are wondering, I own the following Wii U games already:

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U (of course)
  • Hyrule Warriors (Of course)
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE (couldn’t resist)
  • Star Fox Zero + Star Fox Guard (2 for 1 deal)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Goes without saying)

…I anticipate making 5, maybe 7 more purchases for the Wii U. All physical games of course. Tempting as it may be, I refuse to buy the GBA Virtual Console games I don’t have already out of principle: They should’ve been released on the 3DS or at the very least the New Nintendo 3DS. “The 3DS is not powerful enough to run GBA games”? Yeah right. My Ambassador GBA games say otherwise. LOL.

I got the Deluxe 32GB Wii U by the way. I don’t think I will buy an External HDD or rather not if I can’t fix my Wii Transfer problem. As an aside, this is the 2nd time a Legend of Zelda game was released on two home consoles: Twilight Princess was the last one 10 years ago. It was released on the Gamecube and the Wii. I got the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess. Still need to finiah actually (!). As it happens, an HD release of Twilight Princess as well as Wind Waker are on the Wii U. I got the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild but the difference is when I bought the Ganecube version of Twilight Princess, I had already bought a Wii at the time (?!).

I don’t own a Switch and as of right now, may not buy one until info about the Unnamed Fire Emblem title announced last month uis revealed. I buy consoles for specific games, not just because it’s a new console.

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…Moving on.

I bought my Wii U for a few specific games and I own 3 of them: Super Smash Bros., Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE and Hyrule Warriors. Three of the other games I’m looking at are Mario Kart 8 (of course), Bayonetta 2 and Warriors Orochi 3 (Game never gets old to me lol). Oh and Skyward Sword before I forget. I would be very surprised if I own more than 10, maybe 12 Wii U games total being honest. I already plan to just play my Wii games on my Wii (for now) so…yeah.
Finally: I’m definitely going to buy a PS4 in mid-April or early May. I have a personal matter I will need to deal with before making that purchase but it’s definitely happening. Depending on how I do with my part-time job later this year, getting an Xbox One this summer isn’t out of the question. The two Tales of games on the PS3–Berseria and Zestria–are what I’m after plus the yet to be released Persona 5. LOL.Save

Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, New Nintendo 3DS, News, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, RPG, Serene Adventure, Video Games, Visual Novels | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I just Preordered Fire Emblem Echoes and bought 5 3DS games released last year

…Like I did with Fire Emblem Fates (both Birthright and Conquest), I preordered the game in full. I don’t know if I will have income between now and May 19 but I decided to basically pay off the full amount in advance now than worry about not being able to later (LOL). I plan to preorder the Alm and Celica Amiibo set once I’m able to as well.

In addition to preordering Fire Emblem Echoes, I also bought the following 5 games:

  • Pokemon Sun
  • Stella Glow
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apoocalypes
  • Hyrule Warriors: Legends
  • Bravely Second: End Layer
  • Robin Amiibo (used with Super Smash Bros. and Fire Emblem Fates)

…I am also now forced to buy a New Nintendo 3DS XL as soon as I have the money: My Ambassador 3DS, which has a 16GB SD Memory Card (the biggest you can use on a 3DS or 2DS) is very low on free space. I actually deleted some Free to Play Games to make room for Spotpass Content from Hyrule Warriors Legends. The 3DS uses SD Memory Cards but you can only SD Memory Cards up to 16GB (Same as the DSi actually). The New Nintendo 3DS uses Micro SD Memory Cards but you can use them up to 64GB (Formatting needed for MicroSD Memory Cards above 32GB). I aim to buy a New Nintendo 3DS by this summer out of necessity in short now. LOL.

The five games I bought I made sure to get all physical copies. I’ll probably have to delete some digital games to make room for the Echoes DLC and I’m ok with that. Deleting Bravely Default (I have two digital copies, one on each 3DS) should take care of my needs until I get a New Nintendo 3DS and redownload it later this year. I already beat it on my Ambassador Nintendo 3DS a while back anyways.

Oh yeah, I also bought a Robin Amiibo. Robin is a Playable Character in Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U. In addition to that, you can use Robin’s Amiibo to unlock him as a Playable Character in Fire Emblem Fates (All 3 Campaigns) and presumably Echoes when it’s released. That leaves getting the Marth, Roy, Ike and Lucina Amiibos. I expect to have to turn to Amazon for all of them since the demand is much higher. Ike, I think I might get lucky and find in a store though.

…Anywho, between the 5 games I bought and the game I preordered I’m sure i’m set for the rest of the year: All of them have replay value and unlike today’s gamers, I don’t mind playing the same game after the first play through. As of right now I am playing Stella Glow on my Red 3DS and the other four on my Blue Ambassador 3DS. The game I’m playing in my Blue 3DS at the moment is Bravely Second. So much fun to look forward to. I will have my First Look Review of Hyrule Warriors later this month ^_^

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Posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Fire Emblem, News, Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon, Serene Adventure, Shin Megami Tensei, Super Smash Bros., Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment