Game of the year talks. People feel uncomfortable around me when the game of the year talks start. Let me tell you, these are tough, time-intensive conversations that involve a lot of yelling, getting angry, and having to leave the room in frustration. Despite all of that, the reason people feel uncomfortable around me when these talks start is because I don’t actually work with anyone, and am simply arguing with myself, at a very loud volume, like a crazy person. That is at least until someone forces those pills down my throat that keep me from screaming. Then the game of the year talks tend to get a lot quieter, which I am sure everyone around me appreciates. Now before I actually start talking about the games I found to be my favorite games of 2013, I should explain myself a bit beforehand, and the policies I adopted for this.
First of all, I am only going to talk about three games. Why three games, and not something like ten? Well when it really boils down to it, I am not a professional games reviewer, and as such do not have access to all the games, all the time. I could if I wanted to buy them all, but that is an expensive thing to do, and I have bills to pay. Usually I end up buying newer games when they’re on sale. Like I JUST bought Bioshock Infinite for ten dollars during the Steam Autumn Sale. I haven’t played it yet, and who knows if it would go on my list.
Second thing about this: I don’t play only new games. I have a huge backlog, and I find it hard to quit on a game forever. If I ever made a real list, on paper, and put it up on my wall, I would probably cry. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2 is still on my backlog, so that should be a good indication of where I stand. Next year…will hopefully be better using my free time more effectively. Maybe I will write an actual backlog list. I could use a good cry. Alright let’s talk about the games now. Also note that I don’t have a “Game of the year”. These are my three games, in no particular order. Continue Reading
I have always loved Fire Emblem, ever since the titles started coming to Western shores. It’s a shame knowing I could have been having those experiences way back on the NES if Nintendo had more faith in Western tastes, but really I will take what I can get. But the past is the past, and since those GBA games came to us, Nintendo it seems has been pretty good with getting us more Fire Emblem. This is a good thing, as the game are typically of a uniform excellence. Does Awakening keep to this tradition of rockin games? I think so, but we should get into why. Maybe…yeah. We will get into why.
First, let’s get into the most obvious difference. While previous Fire Emblem games had serviceable, if very bare graphics, Fire Emblem Awakening (Awakening) is a very different beast altogether. Foregoing the very stiff animations, Intelligent Designs has put a beautiful graphics engine in place in which the characters have a lot more personality to them. This visual upgrade is put into each individual encounter in the large-scale Fire Emblem battles we’re used to. While it looks nice, there are only a small set of animations available for combat scenarios, and those animations get shared over a lot of units, friend and enemy alike. Luckily, you can speed up individual encounters by holding down the A button, or skip them altogether by hitting start. Also I think you can just turn them off entirely in the options. So really you have choices available to you if it gets to be too repetitive.
These pretty graphics don’t just get shown off in combat however. In a series that almost always used static backgrounds and character portraits talking back and forth as its main means of exposition; seeing a fully 3D scene play out in a Fire Emblem title is a very welcome sight, especially since it looks so damn good. The characters even have voices! Usually these voices are used in short bursts of exclamation, which I quickly turned off. However, when the voices happen in the larger, fully spoken scenes, it was plain Intelligent Designs and 8-4 Play (who localized the game excellently) put a lot of work into making sure these voices came across as fitting the characters very well. Not once did I want to turn down the speakers during a speaking part, and I often found myself playing the game with headphones on, a first for a 3DS game with me. Continue Reading