Seeing as how I now have a smartphone, the idea of playing mobile games suddenly became a very real possibility for me, and I figured what better way to go about things than returning to Fire Emblem Heroes. After using up the orbs I accumulated on my Android tablet, I tried getting back into the established groove, and quickly remembered why I stopped playing the game in the first place. This game is bloated with content, time locks just about everything it can, and is designed to fuel obsessive tendencies while being built around a stream of constant grinding. It is suffocating and overwhelming how much time-gated content and rewards there are in this game, and I honestly could not tolerate it after a two days of playing it during my free time rather than doing anything remotely productive. Like playing Sushi Striker.
Fighting games are far from my forte, and rely on a stance towards game design and play that is more or less diametrically opposed to my own preferences and habits. I tend to play them for fun and completion, as opposed to develop skills and for competition. But EVO was this last week and brought forth a number of announcements that I at least feel as if I should acknowledge. From an updated rendition of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle that is refreshingly just called Version 2.0. An updated version of UNIST boasting a wide number of tweaks and a new character was announced under the name Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. While The King of Fighters XV was revealed with a logo, everybody’s favorite kind of reveal. Then there was another Guilty Gear announced, because Arc System Works is not putting out enough titles. Again, nothing for me, and I don’t know a good fighting game to save my life. But Press-Switch creator Skiegh does, and he put out a breakdown of the teaser for newly announced Guilty Gear game. Which I am sharing simply because nobody knows about Skiegh’s YouTube channel.
Jumping right away from stuff I don’t give a honk about to stuff I care so much about that I Rambled about it last month, the next periodic squirt of news about Pokemon Sword and Shield hit the world like… something I really shouldn’t reference. Things kicked off with the pleasant reveal of the much anticipated Galarian Forms, offering a new rendition of Weezing that doused the tumor-riddled wad of sentient pollution in gray, gave him a scattering of green smokey facial hair, while also featuring two outlandishly large spouts out of the top of their head, looking like both chimneys and top hats. Also, they’re part Fairy now and consume pollution rather than producing it. That’s nice.
But for those worried that only Kanto Pokemon would get alternate forms, Zigzagoon and Linoone were given Dark/Normal type revisions, painting the two in a striking black and white, giving them a cute punk stars over their eyes, long tongues, jagged teeth, and expanded the evolutionary line with an entirely new Pokemon. Yes, Obstagoon is the evolved form of Galarian Linoone, and I honestly love this edgy little grey werebadger-looking fluffball, though I don’t really get the visual logic behind giving them perpetually crossed arms.
Oh, but what about new Pokemon, some may be asking. Well, only one was revealed this time around, and it was none other than this generation’s electric rodent, the Electric/Dark type Morpeko, who really does look a lot like the original fat Pikachu. But that not being quite enough, they have a gimmick where they shift between a Full Belly and… “Hangry” forms every turn, altering their stats and appearance. Which is a pretty cool all things considered.
Okay, okay, but what about the waifus? Well, you get two more this time around between the serious and antagonistic Bede, who I assumed to be female at first based on their eyelashes and sharp outfit, but I guess I was wrong. And the child friendly punk rock wannabe champion Marnie, who comes with her own gaggle of rowdy fans dubbed Team Yell. I want to like these goobers as much as I did Team Skull initially, but something about their designated props and body type discrepancy strikes me as off.
That was all for the two minute series of announcements, but shortly thereafter Poke Jobs were revealed as a way for players to passively level up Pokemon outside of their active party, by completing a task within a set time in order to be given a burst of EXP, and for the player to maybe get a worthwhile item. Which is a mechanic that really needs a proper or catchy name. It was in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mass Effect Andromeda and Agents of Mayhem, and now it’s popping up in Pokemon. Passive Quests? Delegation Quests? Away Jobs? There’s gotta be something that works…
Any other hotness lined up? …No, I guess not. But I do have two follow ups I want to address. Firstly, Rockstar has, to a seemingly minor extent, began taking the litany of criticism levied towards them after details about their vicious working conditions came to life, with Rockstar Lincoln having considerably improved working conditions for testers. Not all issues have been fixed, and I do not think this is something worth congratulating, but at least it is an indication of progress and things being made better for game developers
Secondly, remember back when Steam was being puritanical and weird for a hot minute, especially with anime games? Well, I’m glad that we averted that bad future, and while Valve’s decision to let everything be released on Steam has resulted in a vast array of problems, it is permitting something like Saya no Uta – The Song of Saya to release on the platform. Yes, that incredibly messed up visual novel that I reviewed back in 2017 is being remastered and released on Steam… tomorrow. Technically this was announced during Anime Expo last month, but I only learned about this when I stumbled onto the Steam page. I’m not sure what, if anything, will be censored, as this game is rife with child nudity and sex scenes, but I certainly would not object to it. One because I actually prefer it when nudity and sex scenes are censored, especially when they involve children, and two, because it will allow the game to find a new audience.
Okay, that’s it for this week, but going back to the preamble, I bad mouthed the game but I really do like parts of Fire Emblem Heroes, namely its simplified SRPG character building gameplay loop, and would be all over this game if it were a finished product that let me do things at my leisure rather than worry about time limits, stamina, dailies, bad drop rates, and having good enough characters or enough resources. I actually am really hoping that the game dies sooner than later, because I know some crazy fans will pull a Sonic Runners Revival and create a playable version of the game, with all content, and a better character unlock system. That would seriously border on a dream game for me. …Even though managing duplicate characters would still be a colossal pain. No wonder most other Gacha games just buff up your existing characters when you get dupes…