Daily Archives: May 3, 2013

Two more deaths and a confession for Fire Emblem: Awakening

fea deaths olivia and mycen

I have a confession to make: I reloaded a previous save in Fire Emblem: Awakening last night after losing too many–in my opinion–key characters during Chapter 19 “The Conquerer,” which felt like a slaughtering in all definitions of the word. And by key, here is who died during that one battle: Kellam, Nowi, and Norne. Two main storyline characters and one downloadable archer from the Bonus Box section, but I was mostly annoyed with losing Kellam, as at this point in the game I’ve reclassed him to be a Great Knight, making him an efficient killing machine. So yeah, I felt a conflicting twist in my chest the entire time, watched the cutscene after the battle, and decided restart my 3DS before I got too far in and accidentally saved away my digital friends.

The irony is that after reloading my previous save, I lost two other characters afterwards while grinding in better preparation for a second stab at Chapter 19. I figured that this was the game’s way of punishing me for going against my promise of permadeath all the way through. I’m not the only one feeling that hurt; see ya, Olivia and Mycen–it’s been real.

Right. I was using Reeking Boxes in some of the later parts of the map–depending where you use the item, the stronger the enemies will be, which of course means more XP to be gained–and this map was inside a castle, which meant tight halls and limited movement. Unfortunately, I moved Olivia too close to Serra, my healer, who was too close to an enemy unit. Once it was the enemy’s turn, they immediately made a bee-line for Olivia, striking her down in two axe swings. A shame she couldn’t sexy dance herself out of that fight. As for Mycen, a magic user toasted his Fire Emblem Gaiden butt, and I had only recently downloaded, fought, and recruited him to the Shepherds a chapter ago.

So now I’m down two more characters, which means I’m not fighting with a full company of characters in Chapter 19. And I need as many peeps as possible to survive that ordeal, considering how many enemy units there are and how often the reinforcements get called in. I was able to get Stahl to propose to Panne, and they got married. I’m not sure how to go about getting them to breed and make kids yet, and I’d love to have their child in the fight. I’m also trying to pair up myself (the Avatar) with Say’ri in hopes of stronger stats and a child. But it looks like if I’m to get past Chapter 19 any time soon, with all my friends save and sound, I will need to dip back into the Bonus Box for some extra characters. Any suggestions on who to recruit would be appreciated, and for all intents and purposes, I won’t be bringing back dead downloaded characters again, even though you totally can.

Onwards, I struggle. I mean…march.

The gods will be watching to see if you can survive 40 days


Well, another Ludum Dare has come to pass, and the latest theme to build upon was “minimalism.” That is up for total interpretation, of course, and one game called Gods Will Be Watching focuses more on the gameplay aspect of it than anything else. By that, I mean you are limited in what you can actually do. First, the setup, which sounds something a bit like Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” but is not it completely. Either way, I dig.

The cyberfuture is now, and your research group–consisting of a dog, soldier, doctor, psychiatrist, engineer, and robot–has been ambushed and stranded on the paralytic landscape of Medusa, home to a devastating virus capable of surfacing one’s own madness. A broken radio is your only way of getting in touch with civilization, but it will take time to repair the thing. Days, actually. The main goal is then to repair the radio in 40 days, or sooner if you can. However, the biggest roadblock is that you can only take so many actions per day, and Sergeant Burden’s group is slowing starving and losing their minds. Hard decisions incoming, for sure.

I’ve played Gods Will Be Watching twice now. My first outing saw me succumb to the elements on the very first day, as I did not realize how vital a burning fire was to the group’s survival, though in retrospect it makes obvious. I was too curious with learning who the group members were that I spent my five actions simply talking to them. Everyone froze and died overnight. Okay, lesson learned. My second attempt saw me lasting eight days in total, losing the engineer on day six, but continuing on without him for two more days until…well, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong. I had plenty of food, some medicine left, and the fire still going. And that’s probably my biggest worry over this, that a lot seems determined by randomness. That might not actually be the case, but the game doesn’t present you with any indication you are doing things correctly or mucking it all up. You just live, talk, repair, gather food, struggle onwards. Sometimes if you do that in a different order or miss one element…you die. Hmm. Blame those fickle gods that are watching, I guess.

Graphically, it is what you see above: a single screen, with a line of characters around a lake that occasionally change postures, but otherwise remain stationary, depending on if they are still alive or not. If the fire gets too low, they begin to shiver. If the madness starts creeping in, they will show signs. For pixel art, the characters do come across as realized and unique, and strangely people you care about and want to see stick it out for 40 days. It’s more defined than Sword & Sworcery, but less captivating. I really appreciated the purple sky reflecting its color onto the frozen lake.

I did find some problems with the writing, mainly from a basic grammar perspective (several misspellings throughout, such as “wich” instead of “which” or “its” when they meant “it’s”). The dialogue between Sergeant Burden and his group changes based on the day and scenario, and it’s written in a way that leaves you guessing about where you should be spending your limited action points. The soldier mentions he loves his dog, the engineer says he himself should die before the psychiatrist, and so on. You even have the option from the very beginning to go on a slaughter spree and kill certain group members. It makes every action you take seem absolutely vital, and they might very well be. Or not. Again, there’s that behind-the-curtains randomness that can feel unfair at times.

I don’t believe I have the endurance to last 40 days, but you can give it a shot. Let me know if you and the entire group made it off Medusa safely and soundly, and don’t forget to tend to that fire.