Fire Emblem Catch All

Sundown wrote:

Austin Walker had some good things to say about Three Houses. The idea that they are replacing a hard weapons triangle with stats that accomplish a similar thing is an interesting concept. Spoilers for some of the story structure are in the later half of the review, but some of it has been in the marketing material already, so ymmv.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j...

Three Houses joins recent favorites Into the Breach and Slay the Spire as a game that is perfectly happy to tell you what your enemy is going to do on their turn. Gone are the days of wondering which character a brigand is going to swing his axe at. Now, you can move your cursor over any enemy unit and see which character they’ll target on their turn, what their percentage chance to hit is, and how much damage they’ll do. As you place your units, bright red lines will draw from enemies to your character, letting you know that you’re about to move them into danger.

Nice!

Also:

Second, because with the changes to the series’ longstanding weapons triangle, the outcome of fights is less predictable than in previous games.

He writes a couple paras about the lack of a weapon triangle and it sounds exciting to me. Best thing I've read on the game yet.

I'm shocked about Austin's take on the writing. I really thought Intelligent Systems was done writing interesting things, but perhaps they bit off a bit too much with Fates which is what led to such thin characters. Or, the writing was just bad in general.

Anyway, I really do think I might pick this up sooner than expected. Sounds like they still have some quality designers on staff. Good to hear!

Really liking the game feel and style in the beginning. Started over after the first tutorial today and switched to Japanese so the mouth movements would match up. I actually came down with a cold last night so I'll be playing this all day.

Yeah maybe my throat is a little scratchy and I should head home soon.

IMAGE(https://media0.giphy.com/media/6YL2Xku1u3neo/giphy.gif?cid=790b76115d3b3c1538634b6b418ad841&rid=giphy.gif)

I've been back and forth about picking Three Houses up many many times. Currently leaning toward making a stop on my way home to see if the Walmart discount is real in my area. It'll be my first FE game, and it seems like a good starting point.

Copy has been sitting in front of me since before lunch. Will hopefully have the house to myself this evening so I can just sink my teeth into it. Not reading any reviews so I can go in clean, but glad to hear all the positive on this one.

That's interesting there is no weapon triangle. I did the tutorial last night and noticed it was missing, but figured it would be a later concept introduced into the gameplay or something. Guess not!

I'm only past the prologue, but I'm most impressed by the characterization so far. Even in the character introductions you can instantly feel the amount of depth they put in each personality, each with distinct quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and backstories. Outside of maybe the Persona games I haven't seen anything like this before, so I'm very intrigued to get to know all these people better.

Anyway, it's a good first impression. I will be scrapping for all the spare time I can dump into this game in the upcoming weeks.

I can't believe you have to choose a house immediately after meeting the folks!

garion333 wrote:

I can't believe you have to choose a house immediately after meeting the folks!

If you're talking about what I think you are, that's not the choice. You get time to go around the school and meet every single person in each house, and ask the leader for a quick summary of each member, and view all their stats before you really choose.

Stele wrote:
garion333 wrote:

I can't believe you have to choose a house immediately after meeting the folks!

If you're talking about what I think you are, that's not the choice. You get time to go around the school and meet every single person in each house, and ask the leader for a quick summary of each member, and view all their stats before you really choose.

Yeah, I'm gathering that now. What was the point of that dialogue and "choice"? Just odd.

I’m surprised by the Fire Emblem characterizations so far. Normally I find modern FE characters mostly boring, tropey or creepy. Claude is legitimately charming, though, so far.

I really hope it's a sign that Japanese devs are moving out of their Otaku pandering phase.

garion333 wrote:

Yeah, I'm gathering that now. What was the point of that dialogue and "choice"? Just odd.

Take an early stab at developing them heart points, I guess.

garion333 wrote:

I really hope it's a sign that Japanese devs are moving out of their Otaku pandering phase.

I mean they're still trading a bunch of Otaku pandering for other Otaku pandering, though it might in some ways also be appealing to the sort of waifus and husbandos also popular among anime/JRPG fans in the West. I dunno. Regardless, this game really is improved in the writing department.

I played for about four hours today, I think. More than three. I saved before the third battle. It's so weird to be playing a Fire Emblem where I'm only just now getting to the third battle. And yet I'm not disliking any of it. I actually chose Blue Lions after Tuffalo made note that Axe of the Blood God recommended against Black... um... Black Eagles? first. The Empire. Edelgard. Which is weird because they seem clearly advertised to be your starter army. I saw they were mostly spellcasters and chose Blue Lions, but given how tough I found the first fight I'm wondering if spell casters are powerful early on, hence them being the seemingly recommended starter.

I have a feeling this is going to be a game where I do a lot of stuff and feel like I accomplished nothing at all.

Well, I guess I’m buying reading glasses tomorrow. The font in handheld is far too tiny.

Ah yeah, that was one of my first reactions. It really is tiny font. I can't help but wonder what the font looks like in Japanese because we seem to consistently get games from Japan with itty-bitty font.

You'd think after it was such an issue with the original Dead Rising people would have learned.

Yeah. I really want this to be a to-go game, but I don’t think it will be.

I've only played handheld so far. Are you guys old?

So I think the school mechanics are actually a secret tool to force more casual players of the franchise to "git gud".

In Awakening, Fates, and even Echoes, characters had all these unique attributes, and by playing the mating game you could spawn new units with combinations of these attributes that could result in more powerful, varied, and customized units. Dumb dumbs like me ignored all of that because front-and-center was the weapons triangle (well, less so in Echoes) and why would you mate characters for reasons other than subjective compatibility?

...or, more likely than not, it was just easier to have two characters in close proximity on the battlefield to execute certain strategies so I guess they're marrying now.

Regardless, the player was never encouraged to really see their units beyond a base class.

I've only done three battles so far but already Three Houses is actually forcing me to consider each unit's specific abilities and try to learn them. As I said, I'm Blue Lions, which means I have, say, Sylvanus or whatever his name was. Dude's a horny bastard, sure, but he gains stat bonuses when a woman is beside him in combat. Y'know what else gives him stat bonuses? Annette using Rally on him. He's hardly one of my stronger units for the time being, but I can increase his effectiveness by surrounding him with ladies because I took the time to study his info.

In studying Dedue's new combat arts, I discovered he's got a Gambit that can be super-effective on armored units. Now I have that in the back of my head for when armored units start showing up.

It's kind of genius. I'm starting to see each unit beyond base class characteristics and starting to ponder the other tactical possibilities that make up for the lack of the Weapons Triangle. I actually haven't really noticed its absence, if I'm honest, during these early battles. I'm playing on Normal Classic, and I honestly have found it "just right" in the challenge department so far. Granted, battle three took me 19 turns (though part of that was making sure I could open the chest before assembling everyone together to cross both bridges simultaneously).

I'm still having issues where some units more easily gain experience than others. Annette is thus far a spell-slinging beast that occasionally punctures people with bow and arrow. Meanwhile Ashe is kind of... um... alive? whereas Annette is somewhere in between. Same goes for the different warrior classes. Somehow I've used Dedue a lot in every battle yet it took him until the third to finally reach level two. I'm hoping I got him to level three?

Still, I'm already having a blast with it. I've also gotten to see some of the support conversations today, and y'know what? Yeah, it has some tropes in there, but the writing is so much better. They also have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the lengths of these support conversations, but like... Dedue's and Ingrid's was actually kind of interesting! The plot itself is kind of obvious if you're familiar with Japan's love of killing (false) Gods, but I'm hoping they have some other clever elements hidden up their sleeve. The opening cinematic was awesome enough that my first thought was "Lady Seiros for Smash Bros." partially in jest and partially out of seriousness (I mean, she does seem like a cross between Lucina and Palutena). Hopefully they can keep that level of direction, presentation, and execution running through so we can get a decent story. Y'know, as opposed to "Yep, that's a Fire Emblem..."

Also, because I'm a weeb I swapped over to Japanese voices. I'm not gonna harp on the localization, but man, do I appreciate Judgment having two separate sets of sub-titles based on whether you're using English dub or Japanese. There are some sentences that you can just tell are modified to try and match lip-syncing, or to try and reinterpret a gag or joke in a way that doesn't fit the Japanese vocal performance. It's not a major issue and clearly I can't speak to the actual accuracy of the translation (though I have faith it's solid), just that those moments where you can pick out the familiar words or the manner in which it's spoken -- or the length at which it is spoken -- doesn't line up with what's written on screen.

Anyway. Gonna go play some more, I think.

I think the font is fine. It’s bigger than the font these forums use on my phone. I wear corrective lenses 100% of my wakeful hours, though.

Stele wrote:

I've only played handheld so far. Are you guys old? :D

I played Docked, dunno if that'll make a big difference. I mean, I can read it, but occasionally it's just "Man that's some itty bitty text"

I think it’s also the font style and the fact that it doesn’t contrast as well with the backgrounds. It’s just aggressively inaccessible.

I have really good close up vision.

But then again, I found the Fates menus cluttered and frustrating. I think Intelligent Systems has been struggling with informational UX for a while now.

ccesarano wrote:

I'm still having issues where some units more easily gain experience than others. Annette is thus far a spell-slinging beast that occasionally punctures people with bow and arrow. Meanwhile Ashe is kind of... um... alive? whereas Annette is somewhere in between. Same goes for the different warrior classes. Somehow I've used Dedue a lot in every battle yet it took him until the third to finally reach level two. I'm hoping I got him to level three?

I'm a battle behind you but I've noticed the same. I even try to focus on some characters and use them for attacks every turn and nothing happens.

Also one of my magic users ran out of spells in the first school battle so couldn't do any more attacks with her. And after that battle I thought I'd get a 2nd tome for her but the weapon shop doesn't sell those yet. Argh.

I've only done the first two battles, but might've missed what it is that determines if a character is going to do a double attack or not. Is there any way of knowing?

I’m not far enough to say but generally in the series if a character’s speed is significantly higher than the opponent they’ll get a second attack.

Correct, there's a calculation involved which can be dredged up, if interested.

In re the text, try using the zoom function by tapping the Home button twice. Might have to enable it in the Switch system options. It...sucks, but better than nothing.

Double attack shows in the attack preview during battle too

Stele wrote:

Double attack shows in the attack preview during battle too

The preview that’s inexplicably tilted sideways?

As much as I’m enjoying this game there are so many actively hostile UX decisions in this game.