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!

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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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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

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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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Nintendo announces Fire Emblem Gaiden remake is coming to the Nintendo 3DS this Spring

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…Before there was Eirika and Ephraim, there was Alm (Alum in Japan) and Celica. Before Magvel, there was Valentia.

One the four new Fire Emblem titles announced in this week’s Nintendo Direct was Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Echoes is a remake of the 1992 game Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was only released in Japan on the Famicom (NES). it is the little-known sequel to the first Fire Emblem game. Echoes comes to the U.S. On May 19.

 

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…Of course, there are Amiibos. It’s not yet known how the Amiibos will work in regards to Echoes. In Fates, you could import Robin, Lucina, Ike, Marth and Roy using their Amiibos. Presumably an update will come to Fates so you can import Alm and Celica using their Amiibos. Both Amiibos are one set as you can see!

 

 

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Alm and Celica are both recruitable Einherjar Characters in Fire Emblem Awakening. The DLC Version of Alm comes as the DLC-Obly Dreadfighter Class.

 

There are not one but two versions of both Alm and Celica that can be recruited in Fire Emblem Awakening. The DLC Versions of both characters have unique artwork and the DLC Version of Alm comes as the Dreadfighter Class, which you can get the scroll to change to for completing the map Rogues and Redeemers 3.

The Spotpass version of Alm is a Level 20 Hero and comes with the Skills HP + 5, Zeal, Sol, Axebreaker and Aegis. The DLC Version of Alm is a level 20 Dreadfighter and comes with the Skills Resstence, Aggressor (both Dreadfighter Skills) and Rally Resistence. The Spotpass version of Celica is a level 20 Sage and comes with the Skills Magic +2, Focus, Rally Magic, Tomefaire and Dual Support+. The DLC Version of Celica is also a level 20 Sage but comes with the Skills Rightful King (in reference to her status as a Princess), Tomefaire, Aegis, Dual Support+ and Miracle.

All four versions of Alm and Celica in Awakening are like Robin and the other Einherjar Characters: They can be promoted or Class Changed to every class in the game. The DLC Version of Alm comes with a unique Class while the DLC Version of Celica comes with a unique skill.

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The original game Fire Emblem Gaiden was released in Japan on the Famicom (NES). Thanks to the magic of emulation and an English patch I found online, I started playing Gaiden the day the remake was released. I’m about halfway through Chapter 2 (Celica’s intro Chapter). It’s obvious Gaiden is where Sacred Stones and Awakening got the idea from for a traversable map. Gaiden/Echoes has two protagonists (Alm and Celica), which was brought back 11 years later in Sacred Stones (2003) with Eirika and Ephraim.

Gaiden was clearly a game ahead of its time. Much of the core features in Gaiden were brought back in later games like I said before. That said, the game IS 25 years old. Without question, it pushed the NES/Famicom to its limits. You have a “Simple” promotion tree, traversable map, separate campaigns, dungeon crawling and skills learned by leveling. Oh, and the staple Fire Emblem battle mechanics.

That was virtually unheard of 25 years ago. Gaiden was a BIG game in terms of content, which is pretty impressiven given it was one of the last NES/Famicom games released. It kinda flew under the radar even in Japan since the SNES/Super Famicom had been released the year before. To complicate things, a direct sequel to the first Fire Emblem was released on the SNES: Mystery of the Emblem. It was a remake of the original game and also came with the an all-new campaign set a few years after the first. Gaiden was virtually forgotten to time…or so it seemed.

The release of the Gaiden remake worldwide has renewed hope we may yet see Binding Blade, (Roy) Geneology of the Holy War (Sigurd and Seliph) and Thracia 776 (Lief) get released in the west. I’ll speak more to those three games in a separate post.

 

 

 

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Nintendo of America confirms The Switch will NOT replace the Nintendo 3DS

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…To those of you thinking of putting your Nintendo 3DS down as a deposit at Gamestop for the soon to be released Switch, not so fast. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie announced today the 3DS has “A long life in front of it.”

As a reminder, the 3DS was released in the U.S. on March 27, 2011 (A month and a day after its release in Japan). The Wii U was released the following year in November (US) and December (Japan). The Switch will be released on March 3, 2017 worldwide. This will be the first time since the  Game Boy Family that a handheld console will span not just one but three home consoles. The Game Boy family consoles–Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance–spanned the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64 and the Gamecube. The 3DS Family–3DS, 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS–will span the Wii U and now the Switch.

…As it happens, I plan to buy both a Wii U (so I can retire my Wii) and a New Nintendo 3DS (so I can retire my Ambassador 3DS) by the end of this year. Of course, I also plan to buy a Switch for one game that has been announced but I’ll save that for a separate post.

Anyway back to the main topic, which is AWESOME news for 3DS owners: The 3DS has plenty of good years ahead of it. I do think Nintendo will start to push the New Nintendo 3DS a bit more next year. As of right now, it’s basically a more powerful version of the 3DS. There are no console-exclusive games to push sales. Not yet, anyway. I have a backlog of 3DS games from last year to both buy and play myself on that note. LOL.

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

First Look Review: World of Warcraft: Legion

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…In the 5 months since its release, Legion has been a tale of two cities. Universally viewed as having saved the franchise after the forgettable Warlords of Draenor (two raid tiers, painful rep grinding and no meaningful new content), Legion is not without its shortfalls in a few areas. I’ll get to everything by category so here we go.

Main Story – 8/10

Legion’s story picks up where Warlords of Draenor leaves off. Gul’dan is sent to Azeroth where he raises the Tomb of Sargeras and brings the Legion to Azeroth. The Alliance and the Horde suffer devastating defeat at the Broken Shore. King Varian Wrynn sacrifices himself so Alliance forces can escape and Warchief Vol’Jin dies shortly after returning to Orgrimmar, naming Sylvannas Windrunner his successor.

The fallout from the Broken Shore has the Alliance and the Horde at each other’s throats. Genn Greymane (the King of Gilneas), already has just reason to have beef with Sylvanas. For those who never made a Worgen, she killed his son Liam and devastated his homeland. Meanwhile, Sylvanas has a vested interest in the Val’kyr of the Broken Isles. As a race, the Forsaken can’t reproduce since they’re Undead. Few of the Val’kyr she recruited after the Northrend campaign remain. She travels to Stormheim in the hopes of recruiting the most powerful Val’kyr on Azeroth.

Khadgar usurps leadership of the Kirin Tor from Jaina Proudmoore, who leaves the city in disgust. With Khadgar at the helm, the Horde are allowed into the city for the first time since the Sunreavers were kicked out during the Pandaria campaign. An unexpected but powerful ally in Northrend awakens to join the fight against the Legion.

Cordana Felsong, a Warden who accompanied Khadgar during the Draenor Campaign was corrupted by Gul’dan. Now with the Burning Legion, she leads Gul’dan to the Vault of the Wardens to retrieve a certain body. Caught offguard by the Legion’s attack, Maiev decides to fight fire with fire and releases certain prisoners held captive since the fall of The Betrayer…

Broken Isles – 6/10

Almost all of the events of Legion take place on the Broken Isles, which is the land around the Broken Shore and is several miles from the Tomb of Sargeras itself. The Kirin Tor teleports Dalaran to the Broken Isles so the armies of Azeroth can take the fight directly to the Legion. Lorewise, Dalaran is above the Broken Isles (clearly visible from Azsuna, Stormheim and Suramar) but for gameplay reasons, it is also floating above Northrend. Aside from the different factions, the two Dalarans are virtually identical in layout.

Unlike Warlords of Draenor in which the questing experience was very linear, in Legion players can quest in four of the five zones in any order they want. Azsuna, Stormheim, Highmountain and Val’Sharah are the four zones for leveling. Once you start your first zone, you are locked out of the other three zones until you hit level 102 or finish the zone’s main story. The mobs level as you do. Let’s say you do Stormheim first, you’re level 103 by the time you finish the main quest chain including the dungeon at the end. You go to Azuna next, the mobs are all level 103. If you did Azsuna first, the mobs would be level 100.

When you hit level 110, Suramar is where you go. Be warned: At level 102, you will get a quest from your Order Hall that will send you to an area in Suramar but it’s a 1-way trip. Use the Dalaran Hearthstone once you’re done with the quest since all the mobs in Suramar are level 110. Each zone has their own story. The main quest chain in each zone ends with a dungeon, three of which are to retreive one of the Pillars of  Creation. You get the Tears of Elune in Val’Sharah at the end of the main quest chain but are sent into the Darkthicket to rescue Malfurion Stormrage.

 

Class Order Halls – 8/10

The battle at the Broken Shore left the Alliance and the Horde devastated. The 12 Class Orders have decided to band together, transcending faction division to fight the Legion. The player character is chosen to lead the Order Hall. Paladins of the reformed Order of the Silver Hand are based in Light’s Hope Sanctum under Light’s Hope Chapel. Hunters join The Unseen Path and gather at the Trueshot lodge hidden somewhere in Highmountain. Shaman of the Earthen Ring meet in a previously hidden cavern near the Maelstrom. Warriors become the honored guests of Odyn in Valhallas. I could go on and on for all the rest.

Order Halls make Class Lore relevant for the first time since Vanilla WoW. The Death Knights of Acherus for example reform the Four Horsemen and are backed by the new Lich King. It’s your base but you won’t be “living” there like you did with your Draenor Garrison. There are only a handful of followers you can recruit and quests take you out into the world. Order Hall Missions are prettymuch irrelevant at max level. Most take on average double the time of all the Draenor missions, which were nerfed HARD halfway though WoD.

In short, the only reason you have to visit your Order Hall on average is to modify your artifact or research Artifact Knowledge. More on that in a bit. I give Blizzard props for making classes relevant again but I share the concern of many as to if this will continue after Legion. The message being sent loud and clear is clearly “Bring the Class, not the Player” and to that I say it’s about time!

The higher end Order Hall Perks and Artifact Research take days to complete–up to a month for the last tier. More on this in a bit.

Demon Hunter Class – 9/10

Demon Hunters (DH for short) are a Hero Class–the first since Death Knights were introduced in Wrath of the Lich King. UNLIKE Death Knights (start at level 55), Demon Hunters can start questing in their theme expansion right away since they are level 100 (101 if you equip Heirlooms) when you finish the DH starting experience.

The DH story is Illidan Stormrage’s story: When the armies of Shattrath City and Azeroth led by Maiev Shadowsong attacked the Black Temple, Illidan sent the Illidari on a suicide mission to Mardun, a Legion world. The Illidari were tasked with retreiving the Sargerite Keystone, which would allow the Illidari to travel to any Legion world at will. By the time the Illidari return from Mardun, Illidan has been slain (obviously). Maiev and her Wardens imprison the Illidari along with Illidan’s body in the Vault of the Wardens forever.

…Or rather, that was the plan.

10 years pass between Illidan’s defeat at the Black Temple and the Legion’s attack on the Vault of the Wardens. Backed into a corner, Maiev decides to fight fire with fire and releases the Illidari to join the fight against the Legion. After cutting a swath of destruction through the Legion forces, the Illidari travel to Stormwind and Orgrimmar to establish diplomatic ties with the Alliance and the Horde. Only Night Elves (Alliance) and Blood Elves (Horde) can be Demon Hunters. The Demon Hunter class speaks to Illidan just like the Death Knight class speaks to the Lich King Arthas.

According to the Lore behind Illidari initiation, only 3 in 10 initiates live to become full-fledged Demon Hunters. Initiates are infused with a Demon’s soul and have three choices: Dominate and survive, go insane or die. The demon soul unleashes horrifying visions on its new host in an effort to drive them insane. Because of what they’ve seen, they gouge out their own eyes. Those who survive the initiation with their sanity intact are considered Demon Hunters. They are more demon than mortal but willingly sacrifice everything to put an end to the Legion.

 

In short, no one would willingly become a Demon Hunter under normal circumstances. As eluded in a cutscene at the end of the DH starting experience, the Illidari become Demon Hunters because they’d seen what the Legion had done to their people and didn’t want to wait around for the Legion to attack again. Lorewise, it’s not hard to believe the Illidari faction were just Night Elves until Kael’thas Sunstrider and the Sindorei joined forces with Illidan. This brought the Blood Elves into the fold during the events of The Burning Crusade.

During the Black Temple raid, most of the Illidari were on Mardun. There have been debates as to weather or not Illidan would have won if the Illidari had remained behind. Illidan’s not the type of guy to leave things to chance in my opinion. He likely sent the bulk of the Illidari away because he knew there was a very real possability he wouldn’t survive the battle. A topic I’ll get into more another time. LOL.

Before I forget, Demon Hunters only have two specs: Vengeance (DPS) and Havoc (Tank). Blizzard couldn’t think of a way to make a third spec work and decided to just keep it at two. Druids have four specs (Feral, Guardian, Restoration and Balance) so I don’t see a problem with the DH having two.

Artifact Weapons – 9/10

The third most talked-about aspect of Legion after the Legion Invasion and Demon Hunters: At the beginning of the expansion, Heroes of Azeroth will take up powerful weapons in the fight against the Burning Legion. Retribution Paladins get the iconic Ashbringer and Enhancement Shaman get the legendary Doomhammer. Frost Death Knights get the Blades of the Fallen Prince, which is forged from the shattered Frostmourne. Fire Mages get Felo’Melorn, the legendary sword last wielded by Kael’Thas Sunstrider during his battle with Arthas in Icecrown. Balance Druids get the Scythe of Elune, a relic sacred to the Worgen.

There is an Artifact for each class and spec. After you get your first artifact, you will be locked of getting the remaining artifact(s) for your class until level 102. There is an advantage to getting all the artifacts for your class. You enjoy a nice boost in power for one and second, The questlines are pretty cool anyways. Once you retrieve an artifact, it is locked into that spec. If you change specs, you will automatically unequip your artifact. If you have two or more artifacts, it will change to match your active spec.

Blizzard has said players will not have the artifacts after Legion. Speculation is rampant as to how exactly players will “lose” their artifacts.

 

Artifact Power and Artifact Knowledge – 3/10

I feel like with this–as does many others–Blizzard really dropped the ball. Artifacts are upgraded with Artifact Power (AP for short). The problem–weather you focus on just one Artifact, want to work on your offspecs or want to develop your alts–is AP comes at a slow trickle. It makes sense for about half the leveling experience. At level cap, it shouldn’t take a few days to get your next artifact trait.

Artifact Knowledge is a catchup mechanic for alts. Blizzard has promised things in this regard will improve “soon” but it’s clear Blizzard underestimated how many more folks would create a boosted character or boosted an existing character to 100. More on this revamped Boost to 100 in a bit.

Dungeons and Raids 7/10

I have only done the dungeons relevant to zone storylines during the level experience so far. As of right now, I have no plans on doing any progessive raiding in Legion, mostly because I’m currently unemployed and have no guaranteed means of playing longterm.  That aside, due to how divisive the topic of Progessive Raiding has been in WoW since the beginning I’ve decided to just wash my hands of it off the bat. I haven’t done any progressive raiding since Cataclysm. That was also the last time I did all raid tiers when they were current as well.

Gearing up by doing Mythic+ dungeons is a new standard for getting gear outside Raiding. Since many guilds are selling carries (players pay ALOT of Gold to have a group run them through Mythic+ Dungeons), many causal players have started to experience Mythic+ content. Speaking of, the new Karazhan Dungeon that went live last Fall requires players to go into several dungeons at Mythic+ difficulty to unlock it. Similar attunement should be expected for the previously announced Tomb of Sargeras Raid.

 

Mythic+ Keystones – 4/10

The four points are for the idea and intent behind Mythic+ Keystones. That’s it. The intent behind it was to add a level of challenge to repeat Mythic+ runs: For each successive Mythic+ run, everyone in the party will get a Keystone. The Keystone, when used at the start of their next Mythic+ run will put a handicap on the group. In addition, they stack when doing successive Keystone runs.

The way it was executed…I’ll put it this way: Those who Beta tested it said it needed a bit more work. Blizzard said the intent was to make each handicap feel inconvenient and frustrating the more consecutive runs you do. Mission accomplished to say the least. Of course, for a difficulty that can escalate quickly between runs there are rewards to match: There are Artifact Appearances that can only be unlocked by clearing level 10+ Mythic Keystone runs.

In addition, Mythic+ is now the new second alternative to Raiding: You get Raid quality gear from Mythic+ and Keystone runs. So, for those of you who either don’t have enough players in your guild to do 10 and 20-man raiding, you can just do Keystone runs instead to get geared. I forgot to say this before but Keystones are consumed when used. It’s a matter of deciding when to use a Keystone in short. In addition, what type of Keystone you get is decided bv how you did during your run. Wipes reduce the quality as is taking too long to finish.

 

Broken Isles Pathfinder – 3/10

…We all knew this was coming after how the Devs flip-flopped in regards to Draenor Flying. Difference is things were put in place from the beginning in terms of unlocking Flying on the Broken Isles. Like Draenor Flying, you are expected to 80% of the content to unlock Flying on the Broken Isles. In addition, it’s accountwide so one character can do it and it’s permanently unlocked. Blizzard has decided it will be the new standard for unlocking Flying from now on: On the one hand, you’re not just handed Flying and other the other hand, all who unlock it will have experienced most of what the expansion had to offer. That’s Blizzard’s reasoning behind it: “You WILL get the achievement if you want to Fly”.

Like Draenor Pathfinder, my biggest beef with The Pathfinder Method is there is no Option 2. That’s basically it if you wanna fly in the next expansion moving forward. They also satisfiy the Internet Trolls at the same time. As someone who gets the Explorer and Loremaster Achievements every expansion, I obviously have no issue with doing the actual content. Unlike Progressive Raiders I prefer taking things nice and slow.

What I DO take issue with are the reputation requirements being Revered as well as the World Quest count being 50. I have yet to get Draenor Flying for these two reasons: Rep grinding is painful and slow. When Blizzard decides to take the pain out of Rep Grinding, then my opinion will change in regards to the Rep Requirement being so high. The World Quests grant rep upon completing tasks which are themselves grindfests. It was meant to repleace the Master Treasure Hunter Meta-Achievement from Draenor (Find 100 Treasure Locations on Draenor) so you’d essentially kill two birds with one stone.

I will concede Rep Grinding is not as painful as past expansions if you do ALL of the story content first but only if you’re playing a Melee Class with some decient to good ranged options–Paladins, Death Knights or Demon Hunters–or as a Hunter or Warlock. If you main any other class, just do yourself a favor and level one of these to 110 just to unlock the achievement.

PvP – 8/10

After years of neglect, PvP got some much needed love and I don’t just mean Battlegrounds and Arenas. You can now level straight to 110 just from doing Battlegrounds now. PvP Talents are unlocked at level 110. You can then work towards unlocking some additional talents that can only be used in PvP. Well done on Blizzard’s part. My only complaint is you have to be at max level to use the PvP Talents. If you could work toward unlocking them at level 10, that would be awesome.

 

Music – 9/10

Always underappreciated in WoW is the music. My only real complaint is Blizzard doesn’t release the soundtrack on iTunes. If you want a copy, you’ll have to get it off Amazon or buy the Special Edition package. Legion’s music is beautiful and sets the tone for each zone. It makes you feel totally immersed in the Broken Isles.

 

Social Aspects – 1/10

This should come as a surprise to no one.

As much as I hate to say it, Guilds are a dated mechanic and hasn’t been relevant since Cataclysm. I know most are quick to point to Dungeon Finder (introduced halfway through Wrath of the Lich King) and Raid Finder (introduced at the end of Cataclysm) as what killed server community but I disagree with that.  I’ve played WoW since mid-Burning Crusade. LFD and LFR had an impact, yes but they weren’t the main factors. It would be more fair to say Paid Guild Transfers (introduced in Cataclysm) and Paid Faction Change (introduced in Wrath of the Lich King) killed server identity and Faction loyalty.

Most players don’t feel any sort of attachment to their faction or server and haven’t since then. This includes those who started playing WoW after that time period. If someone is toxic on their server or faction, they can simply pay $25 or $30 and move on. It never ceases to amaze me how many of the same players who knock Faction Change, LFD and LFR simply for existing are usually the same reasons said features were introduced. That and more ironically, it doesn’t directly or indirectly effect them but they feel it shouldn’t exist because others benefit from it.

The WoW Community’s grown worse since Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard has acknowledged this. The problem is as long as the WoW Community continues to normalize Toxic Behaviors and Attitudes, the problems will only get worse. It truly is sad and pathetic there are people who have nothing better to do with their time but to make the playing experience of others as miserable as possible. This is one area Blizzard can’t micromanage for a variety of reasons. For one, WoW is an MMO. It’s played by players all over the world. There are cultural differences all over the United States to boot as well.

I’ll close this section with this: This rating will improve when the WoW Community ITSELF improves. I don’t see that happening anytime soon of course so…yeah.

Fun Factor – 5/10

…One complaint I heard alot during the two months between Legion’s release and when I finally bought it was how quickly some players were burning out. It wasn’t from running out of things to do but the exact opposite: Folks were actually complaining that there was too much to do. For reasons a rational person will probably never understand, many peoeple tried to do everything possible in a single day.

I read the first “I’m burnt out” thread on MMO-Champion a week after the expansion went live. This is the new norm Blizzard started designing expansions around about halfway through Mists of Pandaria: Players sub for new content, consume said content and then unsub, then repeat the process. No longer do you have regular players inbetween content patches. In fact, that’s now considered “dated” by the vocal minority of the WoW Community. A bit of it has to do with the Paid Boost (introduced in Warlords of Draenor) being normalized to the point players buy a paid boost to bypass the 1-100 leveling experience entirely, allowing them to jump into the current expansion’s content off the bat.

The interesting thing worth remembering is new players as well as vets and returning players can and do use the Paid Boost to 100. The problem of new and returning players boosting and not knowing their class is still there of course. It’s a problem when these players que into a dungeon and have no idea what they’re doing. Even worse is knowing they’re likely to get booted from the group simply for doing an instance for the very first time. This has been a problem since LFD was introduced back in Wrath of the Lich King.

That aside, most players did feel Legion brought alot of fun they felt was missing from Warlords of Draenor. The problem as they saw is since there’s so much to do, it was easy for them to become overwhelmed and burn out. In my case, I’m an altoholic. I play as long as I’m able ^_^

 

Replay Value – 4/10

…Which brings me to this.

The one thing I do have to agree with critics on is how unfriendly to Alts Legion is. I’m referring to Artifact Knowledge mostly. As I mentioned before, Blizzard plans to make Artifact Knowledge progress accountwide. This will make Artifact Progression for Alts a bit less painful but the problem is no timetable has been given. The longer Blizzard waits to make Artifact Knowledge accountwide, the far less likely folks will want to bother playing Legion content as more than one class. It IS alot to ask of players who play multiple classes.

That aside, there is still the problem of the dated 60-90 leveling experience. The Paid Boost allows you to skip it, this is true. At the same time, players can use Heirlooms and passive EXP boosting items along the way to quicken the leveling experience. That still doesn’t address the overarching problem with the aging 60-90 leveling experience. Many of the mechanics introduced in the last few expansions would help address the problem. The problem is after how Cataclysm’s 1-60 revamp was received, there is little to no hope of a revamp of old content. It also didn’t help Blizzard blamed spending so much time on the 1-60 revamp as the reason for the disjointed level 85 content at the time.

I feel a rant coming on so I’ll just stop there. LOL.

 

Overall – 5/10

I’ll end with this: Those who talk about WoW on the Official Forums, MMO-Champion and other websites represent a small minority of the actual WoW Playerbase. They feel since they want to be seen and heard, the silent majority’s opinion doesn’t matter. Makes no sense, I know. In regards to Legion, you really have to try it and not go off what other people say. Most have mixed opinions. Legion deserves to be tried before you draw any conclusions though.

I have about a week left of my prepaid time. I bought 90 days’ prepaid time along with Legion. I used a bit less than half of that time. I leveled one character to 110 and then lost alot of my motivation when I started working on my other level 100 chars. It was easy to see how so many players burned out in the first few weeks of the expansion.

For the second expansion in a row, I do agree with much of the criticism Legion has received from others. Not the overblown bashfests but the coherently expressed negative critique, most of which I touched on above. Legion did its job of moving WoW in a good direction. There is still much that needs to be done, however

One last thing before I forget: One of the single biggest complaints from the vocal minority has been the lack of communication from the Dev Team since Legion launched. Contray to the fan theory “The Devs don’t wanna say anything” and “The Devs think everything’s fine”, the fact is there has been alot of turnover at Blizzard over the last two and a half years. Many longtime Devs have left the team to work on one of the other Blizzard IPs (Most notably David Kosak now working on Overwatch) or another company entirely (Most famously Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is now with Riot’s League of Legends).

The one that tops them all is Chris Metzen (also voiced Varian and Thrall) retiring shortly after Legion launched. He dropped a huge hint in that regard with the Enhancement Shaman Artifact Quest Chain: Thrall decides to fade into the sunset so he can spend time with his family after helping the player Enhancement Shaman recover Doomhammer.

With most of the original Dev Team now gone, it’s actualy become easier to predict the direction of WoW. For starters, we now know the next major patch will at least in part take place on Argus…

 

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My thoughts on the SAG-AFTRA Strike

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It’s been a month since the union representing Gaming’s biggest and most known English voice actors went on strike. Many of these same voice actors lend their voices to the English versions of Anime as well. To say one effects the other is no understatement.

…Unsurprisingly to me, the gaming community has been far from sympathetic toward the Voice Actors’ Guild overall. In fact, the reception has been mostly hostile toward English VAs over the strike. I’ve seen comments range from annoyance over the reason for the strike (“Who do they think they are?”) to trashing their profession (“If they want to get paid more, they should get real jobs.”).

I want to restate something I said on my Anime blog a few years back: English Voice Actors get NO RESPECT. NONE. Not from the industry. Not from gaming critics. Certainly not from gamers. They don’t do it for the money (They make far less than people think). They don’t do it for fame (Though some are famous from their various voice acting roles). They certainly don’t do it because they’re contracted to (rumor has it the main reason Persona 5’s North American release is being delayed into 2017 is because they kept having to get new VAs and have to redub the lines of certain characters).

They do what they do because they love what they do first and they want to give fans of the game a great experience second. I have met several English Voice Actors. I met David Matranga, who voices Tomoya Okazaki from Clannad (Anime version) at Anime Boston. I met Reina Strober, who voices Azura from Fire Emblem Fates through Serenes Forest. They are both wonderful people and I know that they are nothing short of dedicated to what they do.

Voice Acting in Japan is very different from Voice Acting in the U.S. in regards to video games and Anime. It’s a big business in Japan and VAs have celebrity status in general. In the U.S., VAs aren’t always properly credited for their work. Unlike in Japan, they don’t collect royalties (which they should) for dubbing video games but they do for Anime. Only a handful of English VAs are well known such as Mark Hamill, Johnny Bosch Young, Luci Christian and Crispin Freeman. Of them, only Johnny Bosh Young and Mark Hamill don’t have to take several VA jobs to make ends meet: Johnny collects royalty checks from his days as a Power Ranger and Mark played Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars Trilogy (Funny thing is he’s mostly voiced villains during his VA career).  Most English VAs are also live actors but some work normal jobs.

…Look, I’m well aware most gamers don’t give a damn about the people who make the video games they play, let alone the VAs. More shamefully, there is a growing belief I’ve noticed online where gamers have adopted an entitlement mentality. Let’s Play videos and review sites like Metacritic have alot to do with this. Basically, many gamers feel that if a video game doesn’t have everything they think it should have, they shouldn’t have to pay the sticker price or even at all.

It would be one thing if they didn’t want to buy the game. The problem is they WANT to play it but they don’t want to pay for it. “Why should I have to pay $40-$60 for a game when there’s only 1-3 things I like about it?” Last I checked, only reason is the only reason you really need to buy something. Regardless of the price, if you want it that bad you WILL buy it. For some reason, gamers have developed an entitlement mnentality where if they want to play a game but don’t want to play for it, they’re justified turning to piracy.

Speaking of which: Nintendo dropped the Banhammer on some gamers with hacked 3DS consoles who broke the street date with Pokemon Sun and Moon last week. What happened is apparently they used an exploit to play game after pre-downloading the game ahead of its official release (which is legal). The problem is they used 3rd party software to decrypt the game after it was downloaded onto the SD Card to unlock the game. Every 3DS with the hacked game file was banned when they tried to connect to the eShop. Unsurprisingly, the gamers blamed Nintendo for banning them. The audacity of people who refuse to take personal responsability for their own stupidity.

Anywho, It’s been about 20 years since voice acting started to became the norm in video games in the U.S. The first game I played with English Vocals was Starfox 64 in 1997 (Technically it was Mario Kart 64 the year before). Two years later, I played Metal Gear Solid. Can you imagine Metal Gear Solid being such a cult classic without David Hayter as Solid Snake? Almost 10 years later, I played Tales of Symphonia for the Gamecube. Scott Melville voiced Lloyd Irving and Cam Clarke voiced Kratos Aurion. Can you imagine if they weren’t voiced? Would the game have been as memorable to those who played it? How about Persona 4 Golden for the Vita? Fire Emblem Awakening for the 3DS? I could go on.

Me, I support SAG-AFTRA.

I’ve met many English voice actors from both Anime and video games over the last 7 years, mostly at Anime Boston. If you met them, you’d find it hard to believe they voice some of Anime and Video Games’ most memorable characters. They’re humble, down to earth and most are gamers themselves. Even so, they don’t let it go to their heads. Well…except maybe Greg Ayers. I’ve met him several times so I can say that. LOL.

You could easily make the arguement I’m being partial but it stands to reason. I feel like the open hostility I see online sets a dangerous precident for anyone considering getting into voice acting at all. The advent of the internet and social media opened the door to fan dubs. As someone who scoffed at fan-dubs until last year, I have since come to appreciate talent when I see and hear it. When an Anime doesn’t get an official dub, it falls to dedicated fans to do an unofficial dub of the anime. They do it knowing they won’t get paid and will oftentimes have to content with a DMCA Takedown when they put it on You Tube. They do it for their fellow fans.

The way I see it, when you disrespect official English VAs you disrespect Fan VAs too. You’re basically telling those who Fan Dub they’re wasting their time trying. Most official VAs have alot of respect for Fan VAs believe it or not. They were there themselves at one point. One thing almost every single VA I’ve spoken to has said is if you wanna get noticed, you need to record yourself and post it online for feedback. Don’t try to sound like the character’s original VA, just be yourself.

I’ve been looking at recording some lines myself but everytime I seriously sit down and type some lines, I have an ailment that effects my throat and nose like a cold. It’s true I’ve recorded videos while not 100%. That’s different since I’m not reading from a script. I wouldn’t dare record something that’s meant to be scripted unless I have clear airways!

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