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Review: Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch) ~ Tactical Warplay

Fire-Emblem-Warriors-369674-Detail.jpgOfficial website

Back in 2015, I reviewed Hyrule Warriors. A game I liked quite a lot. I have finished the game and I have been playing it here and there on the Switch as well. But, another similar game has been released on the Nintendo Switch with Fire Emblem characters. That’s the game I want to take a look at today. Fire Emblem Warriors, it’s one of the games why I wanted to buy a Switch. Because I wanted to play this game. Was it worth the purchase or should I try to get a refund? At first I was a little anxious since I haven’t played a lot of Fire Emblem games so I was worried that I wouldn’t get a lot of the references in this game. Let’s quit stalling and let’s take a look at Fire Emblem Warriors and give my honest opinion on it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game in the comment section down below. Just one more thing to note: I played this game with all the DLC included. 

The Fire Emblem

Fireemblemwarriors

The story of Fire Emblem Warriors follows mainly Rowan and Lianna in their quest to restore the Fire Emblem after the attack on their kingdom. Like in Hyrule Warriors, the story takes you in a journey where you meet different characters from different games.

You learn how to restore the Fire Emblem pretty quickly. You have to find different heroes from other dimensions. Now, that’s a better story and explanation then how it happens in Hyrule Warriors.

Anyways, the story in this game is decent but if I may be very honest, extremely predictable. I enjoyed the story quite a lot but I was able to see the twists and turns coming from a mile away. Maybe it’s my bias for the Zelda series talking, but I felt that Hyrule Warriors had a better story.

Then again, the humor and writing in this game was quite enjoyable. I really liked the atmosphere between characters and the pacing of the game. While the story didn’t surprise me, it did entertain me. So, it was successful in it’s job. Now, something what I really loved was the voice acting.

After I finished this game, I really missed the voice acting in Hyrule Warriors when I started to play the HD remake on the Switch. The voice acting adds so much to this game. The characters came alive and I loved hearing their lines. While there is a Japanese voice pack in the eShop for free, I will stick with the English voice acting. Since I felt it added so much to the game.

Now, how does one cross the gameplay of the Fire Emblem series with the Dynasty Warrior series? Fire Emblem games are turn based and don’t mix too well with the action gameplay the Dynasty Warrior games are known for. Yet, the developers found a way to make it work. Before I talk about that, I would like to explain the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors first.

So, if you are unfamiliar with the Dynasty Warriors series or haven’t read my review on Hyrule Warriors, let me quickly explain how the game works. Know, that this are only the basics and that the mechanics go much deeper.

In this game, you take control of a warrior with specific abilities. The warrior is strong against some enemies and weak against others. Now, you control this warrior in the battlefield where you can kill multiple enemies at once with one attack. It’s a hack-and-slash game after all. On the battlefield, you have some important locations. These are called forts. If you conquer these forts, you can have a strategic advantage against your enemies. The more forts a player has, the more allies/army they can spawn and the better they can control the battlefield.

The game is lost when your main fort, your stronghold has been taken over. This happens when your general that defends the fort is killed. Of course you can also loose when all your heroes are dead or when the lose conditions are met. But that’s besides the point.

There is a second strategic point on the battlefield. Now, these are the outposts. There are little places between forts that spawn soldier for who controls it but doesn’t provide all the advantages a fort has.

So, in this game you go from one fort to the next until you are able to find the stronghold of your enemy and either take over their stronghold or defeat the main enemy general. This all happens in real time. Compare this to the slower gameplay of Fire Emblem, where you have similar mechanics of strengths and weaknesses but you take turns in attacking. You have a turn to move all your allies and attack and when everybody has moved, your enemy gets their turn.

The way that the developers combined this, is something I felt missing in Hyrule Warriors. you are able to order the other heroes to take over a fort, defend a fort, defend an ally, attack an enemy general or go to a location. And with the press of a button, you can swap between heroes. Something I felt that missed in this mechanic is that you are unable to order the AI to take over outposts. It seems that those aren’t important to conquer…¯\_(ツ)_/¯ … While conquering them actually gave me some benefits during some tense battles.

The frame rating

Fire-Emblem-Warriors-1

Oh dear lord, the frame rate. If you enjoy playing this game at a stable framerate, may I recommend that you don’t touch the multiplayer mode. I played this game several times with a friend and we both noticed the slowdowns.

Now, I don’t mind slow downs that much. After all, I enjoy playing old school retro games where some games only get 10-20FPS. If the game is still playable, I don’t mind at all. Yet, while playing this game in multiplayer, there were several moments where it felt that the game dropped in the single digits. Thankfully, this game runs quite smooth in single player and in docked mode. I rarely had slowdowns and when I had them, they fixed themselves in a matter of seconds.

Granted, I only tested the framerate on a couple of maps and one TV. It might be possible that the multiplayer frame rate is more stable for some people but beware of it when you decide to play this game in multiplayer.

That said, I love playing this game. I felt that I was playing through Hyrule Warriors all over again but this time with a Fire Emblem skin. I have put over 100 hours in this game and I haven’t completed this game at all. Now, you are able to play through the main story in a day or two. But if you want to unlock every character and get every upgrade for each character and finish all the missions and maps on every difficulty… Well, you have a game that can take over 200 hours.

During my summer holidays, I played this game quite a lot. All the different mechanics that this game has made the formula that I played over and over again in Hyrule Warriors new and fresh. I can understand that this game can get repetitive and boring for some players, but I didn’t have that issue.

Something I had an issue with is remembering all the different strengths and weaknesses of the characters. I knew that some characters where strong against dragons and other characters where strong against Pegasus characters but I wish there was a system where you could more easily see this. There are different symbols on the map giving you this information, but this can get quite confusing real fast.

For example, there is a certain sword that Chrom can equip that makes short work of Dragon enemies. In that case, those enemies appear with a red circle, white background and black “!” mark. Now, if I would check this for a character that’s weak against dragon enemies, this changes into a red circle. And to be honest, I’m not even sure it works that way.

I could look it up, but the point is that you shouldn’t have to look it up. You should be able to read it in a manual or in a tutorial somewhere in a menu. Now the tutorial that is in the game doesn’t explain everything. Changing the icon on the enemies you are weak against in a skull and crossbones would help quite a lot.

That said, a big positive of this game are the controls. I found the controls very responsive and easy to use. To a point that I even had trouble adjusting when I started to play Hyrule Warriors. Now, I played this game using the normal Joy-con combo, but the game also supports a lot of other controllers.

The controls are great. There is an overall control scheme for each fighter so you don’t have to remember special button combinations to execute a special attack of one character.

That sound

2017110623160300-3BE52CBB2C0B225168723895C1D1525Elarge

There is this mechanic I didn’t use a lot at the start but I learned in the mission mode was pretty strong, and that’s two characters pairing up. This helps to level up both characters and makes their special attack stronger. How it exactly works you will have to find out by playing the game.

Now, something I really liked in this game was the sound design and the soundtrack. I haven’t played a lot of Fire Emblem games but even I was able to recognize the various iconic sounds from the series like the level up sound.

The music also sounds like it’s a remixed version of already existing Fire Emblem music. The orchestral soundtrack has pieces that fight everything the story and setting throws at you while playing this game. From sad music when something tragic happens to melodic war music that encourages you when you are finally making great headway in the battle.

Another thing I loved in this game was a rather small thing but did quite a lot. One big annoying thing in Hyrule Warriors is that you had to wait and actually pick up special loot like weapons and materials that generals dropped. If you didn’t pick it up before the battle ended, you hadn’t collected it. In this game, you automatically collect it. This is such an amazing feature.

Speaking of the materials and special weapons, the UI to upgrade your characters in this game isn’t the best. Personally, I liked the UI of Hyrule Warriors a bit better. It gave a full overview of the whole tree so you could see more easily if there are any upgrades available. But, this is the only thing I can say that the UI does wrong.

A minor nitpick I have is that in the map screen, changing characters is a bit tricky in my opinion. It didn’t always work for me right away and I always had to search for the option. But, I quickly got used to it.

I’m glad I did, since this game is a visual masterpiece. The animations and the visual presentation of this game is really well done. The detail that went into some battlefields and animations is just jaw dropping. Personally, I love the map with the big bridge at the top. If I explain a bit more, I’m about to spoil parts of the story.

Now, there is a lot to do in this game. Outside of the story, you have the various maps where you can sort of replay famous scenes from the Fire Emblem series. I used these missions to try out all the fighters I didn’t use in the story mode and I also used it to level up certain characters. I have one negative about these and that’s the difficulty spike. On some maps, the level gap between some battles is too big. You have battles with enemies of level 30 and next to it, you have one of level 80. And when you finish the story on normal mode, you are give or take level 50. So yeah.

This isn’t representative of the difficulty. While the hardest difficulty really pushes your skills with the game to the limit, the easiest difficulty isn’t a cake walk on the later parts of the story and the later missions. This game can be challenging if you aren’t paying attention or if you don’t manage your resources right.

So, I could keep talking and talking about this game but I have said the most important things. It’s time for a conclusion, time to wrap up this article.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The framerate in multiplayer.

-Some UI elements could be a bit better.

The good:

+ Amusing story.

+ Great music.

+ Amazing visual presentation.

+ …

Final thoughts:

Now, I thought I would be burned out of the formula after Hyrule Warriors. But, that isn’t true at all. Fire Emblem Warriors brings a lot of new things to the table I kept enjoying the game until the final moments.

While I have beaten the story and a lot of the missions, I play the game from time to time to get myself closer to unlock the secret and hidden characters. Also, I enjoy hearing the music and getting myself through a lot of battles.

The biggest letdown is the frame rate when you play this game in multiplayer. The frame rate is so low, I felt it went into the single digits. Thankfully, this never happened in the single player game.

If you enjoy Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, I can highly recommend this game. If you enjoy playing Fire Emblem games, I highly recommend that you check out this game. This game is one of the better games I have played on my Switch so far and I can’t wait to completely beat this game.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to meet you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 99/100

First Impression: Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) ~ Zelda with a War.

WiiU_HyruleWarriors_Boxart

Official website

During my two week break, I got my hands on a Wii U. Honestly, it wasn’t really a break; I just didn’t had time due to various reasons. But let’s put that aside, since I think it’s time for a new article. Today, I’m going to give my first impression of one of the games I bought the Wii U for. Hyrule Warriors. It’s was so hard to not watch any video or read any review of it. Honestly, it paid off. The other games I bought are Zelda – Wind Waker HD and Bayonetta 1 & 2. Fun fact, when I told this to my buddy MiseryLC, he said: “Wow, I thought that those games were totally not your style.” Hehehehe. In any case, let’s begin with this article. As usual, feel free to write your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

It’s a blast

maxresdefaultI expected a sort of hack-and-slash game. I got what I ordered. But what I didn’t expect was the amazing story.
Minor spoiler here,  but it feels like it’s the story about the big Hyrule war for the triforce that’s often mentioned in other Zelda stories.

While Nintendo published this game, the developers made sure to use the Zelda lore to its fullest extent. Koei Temco Games & Team Ninja used a lot of Zelda characters and none felt out of place for me. The new characters introduced could as well be Zelda characters, they are that good designed.

The voice acting of the narrator is a okay at best. I like my stories told with a bit more emotion. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very  well done. What I really like about the game is that they didn’t give the Zelda characters voices. They used text boxes to tell the story. Very good job, since you didn’t disappoint the fans with possible badly chosen voices.

Also, when you buy the DLC for this game, it adds background stories to some characters. I haven’t played the DLC stories yet, but that will come soon. Since the game has it’s hooks in me. Since I bought my Wii U, I have played this game more then I like to admit.

Slash those enemies

WiiU_HyruleWarriors_57_Adventure_Mode_01The gameplay is easy to explain. You are in war with one or two other armies. You need to conquer keeps. You do that by first defeating the guards and then the keep boss. A keep spawns more allies. The more keeps you have, the better. In some scenarios, you have to avoid the death of some characters. This “defeat condition” made me seat on the edge of my chair various times.

The game uses some nasty tricks sometimes. When you think the character you need to protect is safe, a horde of enemies come and attack. Not only attack, but they charge towards the character you need to protect.

Various maps also have special situations that can occur. Like in Death Mountain, if you don’t conquer two keeps, the enemies throw rocks at your main base. When your main base gets destroyed, it’s game over. Same counts for the enemies. When you destroy their main base, it’s game over for them.

The only thing that they could improve on in the gameplay department is that the enemies might be a bit more intelligent or the allies for that matter. I encounter them sometimes just standing there. But truth to be told, writing code that would put AI to each and every enemy would be should a pain. You would think that the game is easy then. Well, if you keep paying attention and fight the right enemies or fight the right battles… this game isn’t that hard. Granted, I have only played on the normal difficulty now so I still have to play the “hard” difficulty.

In some other reviews I read a very valid point, this game can be repetitive. Honestly, it is. After a few hours, the game is repetitive… But I enjoy this game so much that I always want more fights and battles to play. So, I don’t mind the repetitiveness of this game.

Another complaint is that this game is a “mash buttons to win” game. Well, I have issues with that statement in general. The negative I see is that you have a way to win where there is no skill involved. But hey, using the combo’s makes a nice visual thingy too look at.

I want to talk more about the gameplay, but I will leave that up for the review when I finished the story mode and played a bit more of the other modes.

Is it good or is it great? 

maxresdefault (1)So, in the previous part, I touched upon the graphics of this game. And let me tell you, they are amazing. The areas you visit look colorful and/or have the right atmosphere. The battlefields are so well designed that the keeps are real strategic points that armies would use in a real life battle.

Apart from the game being eye candy, it’s really amazing how this game has such a fluent animation. Often, there is a lot going on, on screen but it rarely drops to a low framerate. And when it drops… It drops to 15-20 frames, which isn’t that bad. But in general, this game runs at a steady 60fps.

What blows my mind even more are the animations. There made me feel being a real bad-ass hero several times. I really like the combos you can pull off.

To wrap up, let me talk about the soundtrack. It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard this year. I adore the soundtrack of mainstream Zelda games and this game is no exception. The soundtrack is so well done, that I want to hunt down a CD of it.

So, I think I’m going to wrap up my first impressions here. I actually want to talk a lot more about this game but I’m leaving that for the review. And also, long time readers know that I often leave some parts out since I want that some parts are for you guys to figure out.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I also hope to welcome you in at another article on my blog. But until then, take care and game on!

Review #030: Legend Of A Ninja – A Shadow To Remember v1.5 (PC ~ Download) ~ Vapor Wills

Shad to Remember WebsiteOfficial website

So, this game will be my only exception on my theme of this month. Anyways, the developers of this game asked me to review their game. Before I start, I want to thank them for giving me this oppertunity. They praised me for my fair reviews. So, yeah. Let’s give this game a fair review. Also, feel free to leave a comment about what you think of this article and or the game. 

Bad omens

study-your-body

Before I start talking about the story, I want to talk about the menu. The option menu is a big disaster. Key rebindings don’t work and looking at the option menu, you get the impression that the game is controllable with a controller. I tried with my wireless XBOX360 controller, and it didn’t work.

The option menu is pretty confusing, and if people who aren’t very familiar with games like myself would try to work with this option menu, it’s just going to end bad. Terms like BGM (background music) and BGS (background sound) show up. Also, what’s up with the “reduce character flickering”? My final issue with the option menu is that when you launch this game in full screen, it doesn’t launch it in widescreen. So, prepare for black bars.

So, I want to start the actual game.  While I was creating the name of my character, I noticed that the background that is scrolling in the background is cut-off. You can clearly see when a new one starts. It takes you out of the experience.

 The person I mailed back and forth with said that the story is the most important aspect of the game. You play as a ninja who is about to meet a legendary ninja. Yet, as soon as you start talking, you have the impression that the guy is not what he appears to be.

The story is rather interesting, yet there are some flaws with it. There are some parts of dialogue that don’t sound very grammatically correct or have some flaws in them. Like words missing or plurals missing. Also, the writing isn’t really consistent. Some words sometimes appear in color, and sometimes they don’t. Also, at certain points it’s too consistent. Dear developer, if your character does something while he is talking, don’t write “*he looks at the door.*” Since, we already know that he is a he!

Also, the story has some holes in it. There are some inconsistencies in the writing. Another flaw of the writing is that all of the characters are forgettable. There isn’t much that is really memorable of this story. It’s just another ninja story. Because the developer used too many different terms, you don’t have time to emerge as a player.

RPG or adventure game?

punch-to-the-stomachSo, this game is marketed as a RPG. I know that the engine used limits the game. But I do feel like there could have been done a lot more then what I played. Why am I saying this? That’s because the RPG elements in this game are totally broken.

 The first enemies you encounter can easily kill you. But don’t worry, the game is programmed to be forgiving. So… you get your health restored like nothing happened? Sure. Okay, fine. That isn’t very broken isn’t it?

Oh, but I’m not done yet. The creator tried to make an interesting twist in the battling of enemies. After 3 rounds, the battle is over. If you win, you get XP and gold. If you loose, you get healed. Yes, you get healed. That’s way to forgiving.

Also, the amount of XP and gold you get is just laughable. When you level up, you aren’t able to defeat other monsters at all. If I counted how many battles I won compared to the amount I lost, I think there would be a 20 – 80 ratio. Yes, I lost more battles then I won them.

This makes me to believe that this game would be better if they dropped the whole RPG elements from the game. I honestly get the impression that they are just there to make the game be longer to beat. If only it was actually thought out, it wouldn’t be such a big issue.

Breaking the game

dangerous-mission

Sadly enough, I was able to “break” the game. What I mean by that is that I was able to make actions that stopped me from progressing. Yes, killing progress. If you kill either one of two characters, you can’t finish a side quest and you can’t finish the story. Meaning you have to grind and defeat the final boss. And this is pretty early in the game. Because you just left your own town.

There are some places where the triggers for some events are placed wrong. Like when you move up or down at the side of an area, you move to another area. It’s weird to explain but if you play it for yourself, you will understand what I mean.

I even had one time, in the northern woods, I was able to leave the map.  Speaking about the map, you aren’t allowed in some of the towns if you don’t have anything to be there for. “Port Town looks calm.” And you back away. Or “You need a guide to travel here” at the mountains. Such a real shame if the “dungeon” is easy enough to conquer in one try easily.

This game has more problems then what I have talked about in this article. The music is pretty interesting and there is quite a lot potential for this game to grow. But in the state it’s in now, it feels unfinished and broken. Weather without any sound effects, random encounters in towns? Yeah, those are two other issues.

In the summary I will briefly talk about the things I haven’t talked about yet in this review. But I have one question for the developers to think about. How are you going to give updates to your buyers? Are you going to mail them after you uploaded them to Amazon?

Conclusion

The good:

+ Turning the story of a writing into a game.

+ The music is quite nice.

+ The idea behind the game has quite a lot of potential.

+ You can choose different options that make each playthrough different.

The bad:

– Various grammar issues in the story.

– Generic design of the characters and enemies.

– RPG elements are broken.

–  You are able to get stuck with one action.

– …

Final thoughts:

Is this game worth it? Maybe, depends if you like homemade RPG’s. Is it worth the asking price? Honestly, I don’t think so. I played version v1.5 and I based my review on it.

I honestly think that this game misses a lot of polish. Something you can only achieve by play testing over and over again. Trying out very single thing that a player might do.

This game is one that has to grow. The website as well. The screenshots used in this review come from the website. That way I discovered that the website is running WordPress, and I know that you can do a lot more then what’s the current state of the site at the time of the review.

If the game gets an update and fixes some of the issues I have talked about, I surely would love to give it a go and write an update article on this. But the current state of the game is just a mess. There is so much potential here, but the negatives of the game are way worse then the positives.

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks again to the developers to send me a review copy for reviewing this game. I’ll look forward to any future updates that might fix the game’s problems.

Score: 35/100