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MrPopo
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by MrPopo Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:23 am

Ultima IV has held up amazingly if you're willing to overlook the fact that every keyboard key maps to a command (rather than having fewer context sensitive keys). The combat is just detailed enough to be interesting without getting too deep into minutia, and the overall world is well realized and rewards exploration and note taking. And the whole premise of being about showing overall virtue, rather than being a murder hobo, is still pretty unique.
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Ack
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Ack Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:53 am

Ok, well, I am a Jedi now. I wasted a couple of feats early on as a Soldier, but I went with the tankier Jedi Guardian, so I will continue to get a decent number of feats to build around lightsaber combat. The game has also opened up, now that I'm done with training on Dantooine. I'm currently in Manaan and have just been asked to break into the Sith embassy to find a damaged drone. I have translated this to mean I must go full Jedi murder hobo. I look forward to the killing, because otherwise Manaan has been a dull planet.
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alienjesus
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by alienjesus Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:56 pm

I've been playing Fire Emblem 4 this weekend. It does a lot differently to both earlier and later Fire Emblem games that makes it quite unique. Here's a summary for you Fire Emblem fans who haven't tried it. A few of these mechanics showed up again in later games or were adapted or modified in some way, but they generally all began here:

1. Map size - the maps in this game are HUUUUUGGGEE. I played 2 maps this weekend and it took me between 10-14 hours in total. Each map feels like 4 usual Fire Emblem maps put together. This modifies the way you play a bit - the game thankfully adds mid chapter saves (permanent ones, not temporary like later games) and throws a lot ofmounted units your way . This is good because mounted units are by default twice as good on average because they get places way faster.

2. Skills - these show up in later Fire Emblems, but they started here. And they're kinda odd here too - some are fairly standard, like Luna ignoring enemy defence when it activates, or Paragon doubling exp gain. Some are more powerful, but similar, like Astra, which deals 5 attacks in a row when it activates. In later games, these are half the usual damage, but here they're full attacks. The weirdest ones are the skills that take traditional Fire Emblem elements and make them skill-dependent. They feel less like buffs to the units with them on and more like nerfs to the units without them. The skill pursuit allows you to deal a second attack if you outspeed the opponent. This is a standard element in every other Fire Emblem game, but here it's locked to units with Pursuit. About 50% of your units have the skill, but the units without feel quite weak and need to have some very special qualities to make up for it. Critical is another skill like this - if you don't have critical, you won't be doing critical hits. Mostly, anyway - we'll get to that later.

3. Weapon balancing - This is the first game with the weapon triangle mechanic, although it's weaker here - it just adjusts the accuracy and hit rate of weapons, not their damage. This is a good first step to making axes and lances better than they were in earlier games, although it's somewhat let down by the other qualities. Heavier weapons slow you down (there's no constitution stat to help) and lances are triple the weight of swords, meaning lance users struggle with sword units as they tend to be doubled. Axes are even heavier, about 5-6 times the weight of most swords, so they're even worse. Luckily there are some amazingly broken weapons in all categories which make the units usable, and you can fix weapons with money which keeps them usable forever. If you get 50 kills with the same weapon it also grants the critical skill when weilded.

4. Money - Every unit has their own pool of money, rather than you having a shared fund across your whole army. That means they'll need to each pay for their own weapon maintenance, purchases etc. You also can't trade weapons in this game - only sell them at the pawnbrokers for half the value then buy them as another unit for the full price, so keeping money high is keyto equip everyone appropriately. Luckily, there's lots of ways to do that - for a start villages can be worth up to 5000gold for rescuing them, depending how quick you get there. They take 10 turns to be destroyed and are worth 500g less each turn they're attacked. There are other ways too...


5. Lovers & siblings - Units can be paired up by keeping them closed to each other and triggering conversations on occasion - these are preset convos, not the support system seen in later games. When units are lovers, they can give all their money to each other - this isn't something you can usually do. They also gain a 20% chance of dealing a critical hit when next to each other in battle. Siblings also gain this 20% bonus. There's a few situations in this game where it's heavily implied that 2 units you can pair up are long lost siblings too, but unfortunately these incestuous lovers are still only worth 20% critical bonus.

6. Arenas - The Arena is very very different to later games. In those games, you have to pay an entry fee, get given the basic weapon for your class, and if you win you get the exp for winning plus double your entry fee back. You can fight once per turn, and can fight infinitely for exp grinding. If you lose though, you're dead, permanently. If you win or run away, you also still have the hp you lost missing. Here, each chapter has a set order of 7 fights that everyone in your team can fight. Visiting the arena doesn't use your turn, and you can fight all the fights in the same turn. If you beat the 7th fight, you can't challenge the area any more that chapter with that unit. You can bring whatever weapon you want in, but it will get used up. There's no entry fee, but there is prize money for winning, which is the best way to keep everyones money pool topped up. If you win, you recover all hp. If you lose, you don't die, but you do get left with only 1hp, so you have to be healed to try again. I like this arena better - it encourages some time ivnestment without utterly breaking the game. It's tough too, so not everyone will beat it every chapter. The onyl downside is it takes AGES getting everyone through it, and you'll want to, because:

7. You can use everyone - most games in the series make you start choosing a select few fighters to bring through the game once you have a certain number - choose 10 units for this map or whatever. This game just lets you throw everyone out on every map, and due to the enemy numbers and map sizes requiring you to spread out, you'll probably want to use everyone. Except Arden. Arden sucks.

8. Thieves & Dancers - Thieves don't steal items in this game, but rather steal money upon landing an attack. Like your units, all enemies have independent money pools, so you can snatch these with your thief. Honestly, they're not that great here - there's no doors to unlock or chests to open either. They can however give money to anyone, without needing to be their lover, so that's nice, I guess? Dancers are the same as later dancers only better, because they can refresh 4 units per turn instead of one.

9. Levelling & promotions - promoting doesn't require an item in this game, just that your unit reaches level 20. They can't promote earlier than 20 either. They also don't reset to level 1 upon promoting, but just keep levelling up. Level 30 is the cap. Promotion gains are nutty aswell - instead of +4 hp and +1 or +2 in other stats like later games, some units here get growths like +8 and +6 in all stats - essentially better than 10 level ups at once on average.


Anyway, those are my long thoughts on the game. I have a long way to go yet - there are 12 chapters apparently, so I'm only 1/4 through the game and probably have an easy 40 hours ahead of me yet. I'm in for the long haul...
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by MrPopo Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:24 pm

Yeah, the giant maps are my favorite part of FE4. Like you said, it's basically several maps stitched together, but it makes for this long epic battle. With a lot of the other systems it does feel a bit rough. They just tossed a ton of ideas into the game, and most of them come forward in one way or another in a more refined form. One thing I'll point out, while you can use all your units, the cap of units you recruit is only 15 or so, so you don't really control a larger force than you do in other entries by much.
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alienjesus
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by alienjesus Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:43 pm

MrPopo wrote:Yeah, the giant maps are my favorite part of FE4. Like you said, it's basically several maps stitched together, but it makes for this long epic battle. With a lot of the other systems it does feel a bit rough. They just tossed a ton of ideas into the game, and most of them come forward in one way or another in a more refined form. One thing I'll point out, while you can use all your units, the cap of units you recruit is only 15 or so, so you don't really control a larger force than you do in other entries by much.


I have 21 units right now, it looks like there's space for 3 more in the base. So I'd say your roster is a good 1.5 to 2x the size of your typical team. Like, most later Fire Emblems have 1 map or so that lets you bring in 16-18 units, but most maps allow between 8 and 12 typically, so that's roughly the size of the main team you'll use.
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pook99
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by pook99 Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:51 pm

Havent had the chance to play many video games lately outside of some random portable switch gaming, definitely want to get back into luigis mansion and I did start guardian legend and it is pretty awesome so far.
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Key-Glyph Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:27 am

Oh noes, Ack beat Ultima III! That has also been on my Summer Games Challenge list for two or three years in a row. Will the peer pressure get to me?!

alienjesus, I've never played a Fire Emblem game, but I like this mechanic of characters talking to each other in certain pairings. That's really cool. How would you pitch the series/gameplay to someone new to it?

And... Zelda II progress! I'm so excited. I found the freaking mirror.

This unfound mirror has been absolutely haunting me for several game sessions. Last week I spent a few hours mapping out the overworld and backtracking through caves, walking over every square of forests and deserts, and chatting up the NPCs in every town, hoping I'd either find this thing or a clue to it that I'd overlooked. No dice. So, I decided to sail off on my new raft and make progress elsewhere... and in doing so, I wound up giving a handful of filthy fountain water to a thirsty woman standing five feet away from it.

This was hilarious, but also a revelation. I had never dreamed that you could interact with objects in towns. So then I thought to myself, all right. The woman in Saria says she's lost her mirror, so it doesn't actually make sense to assume she lost it in a cave somewhere. What if it's... still in Saria somewhere?

When I actually found it, though, it still took me by surprise. I thought I was joking and being silly, checking in that spot. But no! Behold, the mirror!

After that, I continued mapping the new region to the east and turned a kidnapped child into a saved one by hoisting them over my head like an item, committed breaking and entering via chimney, learned to upstab, learned reflect, was told that Snorlax AKA the River Devil does not like noise, got half a hint from a brick wall, and jumped into a palace pit. Woohoo! We also leveled up a few things. Then we died.

Next week we'll be tackling the next palace, which most likely has water-walking boots in it, and from there... maybe the palace I see floating in the ocean? Who knows!

Loving the game, though. I feel so rewarded for being thorough, and I'm consistently surprised by new gameplay spins I discover through some kind of NES magic working on a subconscious level.
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MrPopo
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by MrPopo Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:24 am

Here's how I'd pitch Fire Emblem to you. It is a strategy series where instead of building an army of faceless units you recruit a team of unique heroes. While each character fits within a class/archetype, an individual member of each class will still have their own personal quirks; this one might be faster than the other one, but the other one is stronger. Which is better? However, just like in real life if one of your heroes dies you cannot bring them back; you must soldier on without them. The games have a heavy emphasis on positioning; because of the weapon triangle system (one weapon beats another) maneuvering your army in such a way as to have enemy units have to attack a target they have a disadvantage against is critical. The overall stories usually involve some betrayal and some fighting against overwhelming odds.

If you were to pick up the series, I'd recommend you start with any of the 3DS entries (Awakening, Fates, Echoes), as these are the most beginner friendly (they even include the option to turn off permadeath). After that, picking up the GBA games would be the next place to go. The Gamecube and Wii games (two parts of one story) are on the harder end (especially the Wii version), so save those for later. I'd skip the Famicom games if you aren't a completionist; they're quite rough and lack many of the defining features of modern Fire Emblem titles (which didn't start to be seen until Fire Emblem 4 on the SFC). There are superior remakes of the first three Fire Emblem games on the DS and 3DS (Echoes is a remake of 2, the remake of 3 is fan translation only).
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Ack
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Ack Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:02 am

Key-Glyph wrote:Oh noes, Ack beat Ultima III! That has also been on my Summer Games Challenge list for two or three years in a row. Will the peer pressure get to me?!


Yes.

I took a break from KOTOR to play a couple of retro FPS I picked up in the Steam sale, but I haven't put this away entirely. Rather, I wrapped up the Tatooine portion of the game and have now grabbed all but one of the characters. I headed back to Manaan but got recruited into a secret assassin guild, so I may go jetsetting. Not sure yet on my next move.
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Ack
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Re: Racketboy forums’ Summer Games Challenge 2019

by Ack Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:32 pm

Continuing along...

I have found star maps on Tatooine, Kashyyyk, and Manaan. Dantooine has been destroyed, and after a run in with the Sith in which I got to play an old naked guy, I now know the game's terrible secret. My characters are all around level 15-17. I have a ton of gear, but I've lost Bastila, and I was using her as a primary healer. All my Jedi are healers, but she was the best, so that sucks.

As for now, I've wrapped up almost all the side quests which don't involve me going to the Sith world Kaliban, so I'm heading there next.
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