Tag Archives: death

Fire Emblem: Awakening has claimed three villagers and a dude named Edward

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Despite some very early losses in Fire Emblem: Awakening, I’ve begun to turn things around with Chrom’s quest to…well, keep the kingdom safe from all things evil. And figure out who Marth honestly is. I’m on chapter 8 currently if that means anything to you, but I’ve actually been focusing mostly on side quests, such as Paralogues, and general grinding battles to keep those in my team healthy, strong, and, most of all, alive.

Because I’ve lost several key units, like Virion the archer and sword extraordinaire Lon’qu, I’ve had to dip into the Bonus Box feature and recruit some new members from other Fire Emblem games to keep me at a full roster for some fights. Nyna, a sage from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, has been doing phenomenal with her Elwind spells. Got Norne now on my side, a deadly archer also from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Lastly, I managed to trick the myrmidon Edward from Radiant Dawn to join my galavanting troupe. Since money doesn’t come easy in the Halidom of Ylisse and buying new individual members is crazy expensive, I was able to get all three of these folks to join my team by fighting them and then winning the match. The fights aren’t terribly difficult, and so I’m not only gaining a new fighter, but also leveling up along the way. It’s a pretty good tactic, if I don’t mind saying so.

Anyways, down went Edward and three “ally” villagers during the Paralogue 3 “A Strangled Peace” mission. May they rest in peace…a strangled peace, that is! Edward I saw coming as I let him venture too far out all by his lonesome, but it’s not like I knew the guy personally; this was his first battle, as well as his last. Also, since he comes from the Bonus Box and not the mainline story, his profile doesn’t appear in the Roster list, which leads me to believe that I could totally re-summon him again. Might have to try that some day, but not with him, as he obviously wasn’t a keeper. Probably will do so with Nyna, if ever comes the day.

This mission is pretty similar to an earlier Paralogue, wherein you have to do three things: make contact with the village, protect any roaming villagers, and still rout the enemy. The problem is that your army is spawned at the top of the map, and the villagers are in the middle area, and if you don’t get to them pronto–and I basically mean within one or two enemy turns–they will die fast and screaming. Looked like one attack from an enemy unit was enough to wipe a villager. I did not realize this initially, and so by the time I even had enough troops towards the middle of the map, all three villagers were dead. I did manage to get Sully over to the village though and protect it from further attacks. So, y’know, the greater good and all that.

I looked up what rewards you get if you do manage to save the three villagers, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. Look at this pile of whackadoo: a Seraph Robe, a log, and a spoon. Ooh boy. Granted, I don’t know the stats for the Seraph Robe, but the other two items are just astounding in their simpleness. A log? A spoon? Sorry, villagers, but you’re gonna have to offer more to Chrom and his compadres if you want to get saved next time. Until then, my fellow Shepherds!

Three more have fallen in Fire Emblem: Awakening

three more fallen in FEA

Well, this is all going downhill rather fast.

Played some more Fire Emblem: Awakening last night while Tara watched Back to the Future Part II. As Marty McFly ran around trying to fix his future kids, I did my best on the battlefield, but my best was not the best, as three more comrades have fallen. Two of them were brand-spanking new, and one was a rather quiet dude that I didn’t get to know in his short time with the Shepherds. Snartleblast, for sure.

Right, so…farewell Lon’qu, Ricken, and Maribelle. You three were too good for this realm anyways.

Here’s what happened with Lon’qu, which I take full blame for his death; on the Chapter 5 “The Exalt and the King” map, I tried sneaking him around the enemy’s side and was not paying attention to just how far and fast the opposing units could move. In short, he was slashed down rather swiftly, much to my dismay. As for the spritely Ricken and tinny-voiced Maribelle–her voice actor also plays Yuzu in Devil Summoner Overclocked, who I find very tiresome, what with her constant disbelief that the government could have anything to do with demons invading Tokyo–these two are dropped onto the northeast part of the map by themselves, about midway between my units and the enemy. From what it looked like, you have one or two moves at most to save them from downright slaughter, and I just wasn’t quick enough getting over to them.

Clearly, at this point in the game, having now lost six units (seven if you count not recruiting Donnel), any sane-minded gamer would have shut Awakening off and reloaded to fix this, but I finished the map without losing anybody else and recorded my progress. Stubbornness is driving me forward, as I want to know just how far I can go, and I’m also curious to see who will still be with me come the point of no more. Though a certain nervousness did slip over me, as I don’t want to stop playing any time soon, and so I recruited a new character to my team via the Bonus Teams menu in the Bonus Box. Specifically, Nyna, who I guess comes from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Anyways, she’s a Sage, so I gave her some magic like Elwind and Fire, but haven’t got to see her in action. Recruiting her, a single unit, was costly (around 3,500 gold), and so it’s not something I can do to simply replenish my team once enough people are dead and gone. Might have to look into finding a new archer though…

Let’s end this post with a quote from Plato, in honor of today’s fallen three: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Yup, that’s true.

Two more dead, or should I say “retired,” in Fire Emblem: Awakening

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Well, last night saw me complete the Paralogue (which is a strange new “word”) and Chapter 4 in Fire Emblem: Awakening, and from those events came more losses. Keeping up with my promise to embrace permanent death and soldier on, I am sad to announce that both Virion and Sumia are dead. Well, maybe not dead-dead, as the roster in the barracks says they “retired” whereas Vaike’s profile definitely says where and when he died. Evidently, this means that these two characters are important to some plot beats and will still be involved in cutscenes, but are no longer useable as units. Either way, gone.

For Sumia, she moved too close to an enemy archer, which took her down in one hit. Think I learned my lesson there.

For Virion…well, I don’t remember exactly what it was that killed him. Might have been a critical hit from an enemy wielding a throwing hand axe. Either way, he’s done, and so my number of archer units drops from one to zero. Boo.

Oh, and I totally did not get Donnel to level up during the Paralogue, which means he went back to the farm instead of joining the Shepherds and fighting alongside Chrom and company.

So, you know, off to a stellar start. What happens if I run out of useable units? Will the game give me more as I progress, or do I need to purchase new teams from the wireless features section? I guess time will tell. I joked with Tara last night that if I get to a point where I can’t complete the next chapter because I lost too many people prior, I’ll just stop playing the game, accepting that’s how the story concluded in my mind. Or maybe I’ll just start over on Casual mode and try again in a more leisurely fashion, but for now, it’s onwards and upwards, to death and glory, but mostly to death.

Vaike, the first of many permanent deaths in Fire Emblem: Awakening

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Shortly before heading off to MegaCon, I found a retail copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening. That may sound like a rather simple statement, but this 3DS game quickly became rare after dropping in early February in sort of the same fashion as Radiant Historia, with only so many copies shipped to individual retailers. The three GameStops I visited did not have any in stock, nor did the local Target or Best Buy. At last, I found it behind protective glass walls at Walmart. So, y’know, always.

Regardless, I’m glad I got a copy before they all poofed and disappeared, though sadly that’s probably the main reason I purchased Awakening. Not because I have a love for all things SRPG or even any deep experience with the franchise, but because it’s a game that will soon be hard to find, and I’d rather get it now then not and moan and groan later over how difficult it is to obtain, just like I did for Suikoden III and Katamari Damacy for many years. Yes, I’ve become quite a neurotic collector over the past few years, and I’d rather have than have not.

As evident from my bipolar time with Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked, I’m not very good at strategy-based RPGs. I don’t really understand why that is, as I’d like to think myself pretty decent at action RPGs and just fine with regular RPGs, knowing how to level and equip better armor and grind for XP before the next boss fight. But as soon as I’m tossed onto a grid-like battlefield with a number of units to control, I fall apart. Maybe there’s too much info to absorb and understand, and from what I’ve seen so far of Awakening, there is a lot of data to grok.

Where to begin? Well, I guess with the plot: Chrom, the prince of the Halidom of Ylisse, and his companions, must join together during a turbulent era. The neighboring nation of Plegia has been acting suspiciously as of late, and in response Chrom commands a band of soldiers–called the Shepherds–to keep his country at peace. He encounters an unholy force called the Risen plaguing the lands and a masked swordsman claiming to be Marth, the Hero-King of legend. You end up controlling a character with amnesia who joins the Shepherds by chance. It’s kind of both typical medieval fantasy fare and non-typicalness, with hints of time travel. I’ve only gotten up to the start of Chapter 4, so that’s all I know currently.

And yes, I’m playing Awakening on Normal difficulty…in Classic mode. That means dealing with the permanent death aspect the franchise is known for. When a character’s health is depleted, that’s it–they are dead. No amount of Phoenix Down feathers could possibly bring them back. So you best be prepared for each and every battle, for every minute change to the enemy’s tactics, for every possible scenario and decision. Matt Mason over at Obtain Potion has some strong thoughts on defending casual mode, and I agree that people playing Awakening on Classic, but reloading a save after losing a beloved squad member are doing it wrong. If you care that much, switch to Casual and go about your adventuring, knowing every one is safe and sound in their big boy/girl beds after each battle.

For me, I’m embracing perma-death fully and plan to make it a point to share each and every loss I suffer here on Grinding Down, no matter how grand or small. I’m not trying to play the game as best as possible, following a guide and keeping all the best characters alive and paired perfectly. This is war, and war never changes. There will be deaths, and many more to come, knowing my skills. First up, however, is Vaike, an axe-wielding soldier with fun hair, which is a shame, as he seemed like quite a funny guy. But as quickly as he was introduced in Chapter 3, he was chopped to bits by enemy soldiers. My fault for not paying attention to weapon types.

I played a little more into Chapter 4 last night, losing Sully and Lissa, but also then having my own character die, which brings up the GAME OVER screen. So I kind of get a mulligan on that one, and hope that I can mix up my strategy better to keep everyone, including myself, up and moving. But if I can’t, well…them’s the breaks.

If you have any Awakening tips, please, please share them here. I still don’t understand a lot of it, and only just opened up all the Wireless functionality, which seems to offer side quest maps, new items, other teams to use, and so on. Also noticed that you can forge new items in shops. Oh boy.

Experiencing the swift smack of death in Ni no Kuni

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I died three times last night in Ni no Kuni, and I’m only four hours into the game. To say the uptick in the combat’s difficulty caught me by surprise would absolutely nail it. I mean, yeah, Drippy warned me to avoid fighting monsters in the new area we just got to and simply make a bee-line for Al Mamoon out in the desert, but I didn’t think he actually meant that. Plus, with a Save Stone sorta nearby, I figured I could do a little bit of grinding and heal up for free before moving on. Um, that’s not how things went.

First, just like in Dragon Quest VIII and IX, death is not final in Ni no Kuni. There is no perma-death for Oliver and his familiars, and the Game Over screen offers you a choice: return to the main menu to load your last hard save, or lose 10% of your money, called Guilders, and pop back into the game wherever it last auto-saved. For me, that place was upon exiting the Golden Grove. And at this point in the game, I did not have much money, and 10% of not much is, shockingly, not that much, and so I chose to pay the pauper and restart each time. I wonder if you’ll be able to visit a bank later on and safekeep your earnings while you go out and live dangerously. It’s either that or spend a lot of it before you fight in dangerous locations since there’s a good chance you’ll lose a slice or two of your earnings.

Let’s talk about the reason behind Oliver and company’s unexpected crumbling: the monsters. Now, sure, I was feeling fairly confident leaving the Golden Grove, as I had just defeated a–well, in my eyes–fairly tough boss called the Gladiataur, which required a lot of switching between familiars and eating of sandwiches for HP regeneration and the heavy use of the Defend button. I can’t say for sure what level the non-boss monsters in the Golden Grove were, but I feel like they were around 8 or 9, which is level with where I had Oliver and two out of three of his familiars. However, once you exit the Golden Grove, you’ll find monsters seemingly around level 12 or 13, and they can completely take out the team in a few hits, especially if symbol alignment is in their favor.

The very first monster we ran into killed us. Maybe two or three hits to my level 10 Mitey. Then, heeding the words of the Lord High Lord of the Faeries, I avoided monsters until I couldn’t, as there is a sort of hound-like beast in the desert that is too fast for Oliver to avoid. It killed us fast. The third time saw me trying to take a new path over to Al Mamoon, only to have that hound-like monster stomp us flat. My fourth attempt at making it to the city proved successful, with no encounters at all, but now I’m seemingly stuck in Al Mamoon, and hopefully there are some ways to level up before I have to head back out into the wild. Otherwise, things don’t look good for the future. Sorry, Oliver’s mom.

I’m not sure if the appearance of these super strong monsters is deliberate from Level-5/Studio Ghibli or my fault. Should I have leveled Oliver up to 12 or 13 before proceeding on with the story, thus making these monsters more balanced? Though that might have then made the ones in the Golden Grove severely underpowered. And there wasn’t too much left to do in terms of side-quests in Ding Dong Dell or near it (from what I explored), so I felt it was time to move on story-wise. It’s hard to say, really. But now I expect Oliver and his battle-loving critters to succumb to Death’s call many more times; I just hope I won’t have to pay too high of a price to try again.

Dungeons of Dredmor hides its death behind doors

A new type of article is slowly going to be popping up over at The First Hour, and it’s called Indie Impression. I’m sleepy and still need way more coffee in me, so instead of describing it in my own words, I’ll just use Greg Noe’s:

Welcome to Indie Impression, a brand new type of article for 2012. As the name implies, these articles will be impressions on some of the numerous indie games that have been rapidly appearing recently. We here have built ourselves very large collections through cheap package deals via Steam, Humble Bundle, Indie Royale, and more. Some have amazing production values, some don’t. Some are incredibly fun, some aren’t. But without question, these indie games generally offer creativity vastly beyond anything you’ll find in mainstream gaming and will likely be the main driver behind industry innovation for a long time.

And as our indie backlogs have grown exponentially, we’ve decided to start sorting through our games and trying them out to get a good impression of each. To add credibility to our impressions, we will try to have at least two people play each game until they feel they have a solid, concrete opinion for writing. Impressions may be from ten minutes of gaming to ten hours, but in this case, we feel like it’s important enough to have multiple strong opinions on each game. With that out of the way, let’s continue to our very first candidate, Dungeons of Dredmor.

Basically, all those countless indie games we’ve been acquiring over the years are going to get some coverage, but not simply first hour reviews. Quicker coverage. A lump sum of impressions and thoughts. Fine by me, as I’ve struggled lately to sit down and take notes for an hour as I play new games. This was more off-the-cuff writing, which is to my liking.

However, I was saddened to discover that, upon the purchase of the indie bundle that contained Dungeons of Dredmor, I was unable to play it on my flailing Macbook. I recently blew my Christmas bonus (keep it clean, kids) on a new Windows-based laptop, and can now run a ton of games I once could not. It’s exhilarating and also kind of funny to watch me get excited over the fact that I now have a computer that can run Diablo II at a decent clip. Yeah. Which is good, because if I’m going to play a dungeon-crawler, I’m probably gonna play one that doesn’t kill me immediately after I go through a door.

Just read my impressions on Dungeons of Dredmor.

It’s been suggested that I give the tutorial a spin, which I might…but not in the near future. I can see why many like this type of masochistic RPGing, but it’s not clicking with me.

Crono and the gang help Lavos with his “destroy the world” Kickstarter

My head absolutely hated me yesterday. I blame it on a combination of sitting in morning traffic as the sunrise burned out my eyes, a severe lack of substantial foodstuffs, a lot of staring and straining, and then another drive, this time into the blazing sunset. Either way, once home for the night, I was drained, and I’m not afraid to admit I was curled up in bed by like 8:30 PM, my 3DS in hand. I figured I had some time before Mr. Sandman came, and a recent reminder in Grinding Down‘s comments section nudged me to pop out the cartridge for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked and drop in Chrono Trigger.

Now, I’ve not touched this game in almost a year. Shocking, sure, but unfortunately, sometimes I forget about games. Or, y’know, get distracted by…getting married around said time. Anyways, having no memory as to what I was supposed to do next, I took Greg Noe’s ancient advice and went under the ocean through a cave, popping up…kinda back where I started, with the Millennial Fair still happening and all the weird monster-people no longer running the shops and living in the houses. Hmm…all right.

I traveled around a bit more, fought some monsters back in dinosaur-time land, got Crono up a level, purchased a new sword for him and a new set of armor for Lucca, and then found myself unsure of where to go. Not feeling up to getting out of bed and abandoning my blankety cocoon of warmth and good feelings, I headed back to the hub known as the End of Time to see if anyone there could steer me in the right direction. Nope, but there was this one interactive section that asked if I’d like to go fight Lavos. Um, as in Lavos, the main villain of Chrono Trigger? Yeah, sure…why not. He’s the bad guy, we’re the good guys–I don’t see any reason to put this off for another dozen hours or so.

Crono, Robo, and Marle travel through time to…a desolate and wasteland-like scrap of ground. Looming before them is a giant, uh, tick monster, presumably Lavos. For some reason, Lavos made me think of a lava-based beast. Oh well. We do battle, and all seems fine for a while, with Lavos changing battle plans every now and then. But then our trio’s attacks begin to do less and less damage, and I missed an opportunity to have Marle combo-heal everyone back to full health. She quickly falls, then Crono, and then Robo. Curses. I figured that was it then, game over. Nope, instead it fades to a cutscene of some scientists monitoring the world map, now freaking out over the coming destruction. One man doesn’t escape the building in time, and a list of razed places are rattled off. Then the world faded with color, telling me this:

Dang. I guess that’s just one of the many endings in Chrono Trigger. Probably considered a bad one. Maybe I’m not meant to fight Lavos just yet (though a part of me feels like I still could’ve put up a decent fight if I hadn’t brainfarted out on keeping Marle ready for healing the team).

Well, that was that. Tara came upstairs and it was now time for more episodes of Cheers and then some good ol’ sleepy sleep. I promise to look up an online walkthrough later on and get our gang going in the right direction; I do like this game, especially its music and combat system and the way battles just happen on the same screen, and I don’t want it all to end with the destruction of Earth. I promise, I don’t.

FIRST HOUR REVIEW – Deus Ex: Human Revolution

A little later on this than I hoped to be, but my coverage of Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s first hour is now yours for the reading over at The First Hour. Either click the previous sentence or the image above to get there. Go ahead. I’d rather you read my article than the toss-able two paragraphs below.

I struggled–and am still struggling–with the game’s difficulty, even on that middle difficulty choice, which I guess some folks would call “normal.” A lot has to do with the in-game radar and how troublesome it is to walk creep the stealthy route. I have to imagine that going into a room and popping everyone in the head with a pistol shot before an alarm can be sounded would make things a lot easier…but that’s not how I like to play. Hopefully I get better as the game goes on and Jensen gets crazily customized, but I’m not holding my breath. Currently stuck on the very first boss battle, which I’ll save all ranting about for another post.

But yeah, Deus Ex: Human Revolution‘s opening sixty minutes. I died five times. Top that!

Hense, the Goddess of Pain and Pleasure, loves this blog post about Bastion’s difficulty

Suddenly, the Kid died three times in a row, unable to stop the swarm of Squirts and Gasfellas from overwhelming him with their lethal attacks. Up until that point, the Kid had never fallen in battle; sure, he’d come close, exiting the battlefield just barely, chugging his last bottle of health potion, wiping the sweat from his brow, quietly ignoring the narrator’s snide commentary. So, what had changed? Did the Bastion developers decide to ramp up the game’s difficulty without rhyme or reason?

Nope. What happened was that I built a shrine at the Bastion and turned on all of the god-like idols, thinking they were there to help and bestow great benefits on the Kid. Actually, they do the opposite of that. They make the game a whole heap-load harder, rewarding the Kid with more XP, but chances are that XP won’t be gained due to the fact that these enemies are now faster, stronger, and more deadly. Some even drop exploding bombs upon death, one last eff you before the darkness takes them. Because Bastion suffers from the tiny text disease, I couldn’t read the flavor text that went with turning on each idol and decided that surely they existed to help us on our journey to rebuild the Bastion. The idols also stack, meaning you could turn on a dozen and really wish your thumbs never existed. I believe I had turned on Acobi, Pyth, and one other idol before heading out to find Shards. Eep.

So, to help me and my bad eyesight out in future adventuring, here’s a table of all the idols you can unlock at the Bastion’s shrine, as well as what they do to ramp up the game’s difficulty:

Idol Description
Hense (Goddess of Pain and Pleasure) Foes are more ferocious
Acobi (Goddess of Oath and Abandon) Foes drop a live grenade when defeated
Lemaign (God of Hope and Despair) Foes’ attacks slow down the player
Pyth (God of Commotion and Order) Foes are quicker, both with movement and attacks
Jevel (God of Health and Atrophy) Foes are more resilient
Yudrig (God of Impulse and Bravery) Foes cause damage on contact
Roathus (God of Thirst and Plenty) Foes never drop Health Tonics or Black Tonics
Micia (Goddess of Loss and Longing) Foes have regenerating health
Olak (God of Chance and Whim) Foes occasionally turn to air, making them invulnerable to attacks for a short period of time
Garmuth (God of Purpose and Folly) Foes are more capable of deflecting attacks

Yeah, imagine all of those idols turned on at the same time. Can’t even stomach it. Thank goodness there’s no Achievement tied to utilizing these idols or anything; they are just there if you, the player, really want a different experience. I think I’m content with the default difficulty for now and will not be going back to the shrine any time soon.

Hard to say how far along in Bastion I am, but I’d wager either halfway done or a little more than halfway done. I’ve been using the machete and the scrap musket religiously, and haven’t really done much with secret skills. I constantly forget that I have a third attack. Oh well. Here’s to remembering things and reading important text then!

30 Days of Gaming, #9 – Saddest game scene

I’ve been struggling with this topic from the 30 Days of Gaming meme for a bit, and I didn’t want to just cop out and say that, obviously, the saddest moment in gaming for me is when my absolute favorite character unfairly sacrifices himself for the greater good. I already wrote about that. So I had to think, think, think, and all I kept hearing inside my head was a cold, solid thud. Over and over. Thud. It wasn’t inspiration falling down, giving up, calling it quits, ready to rest in eternal darkness; it was Nanami.

Suikoden was all about politics and war. Suikoden II threw a third ingredient into the mix, a healthy dose of friendship. This showed up in the form of the main character and Jowy, as well as the main character and his adopted sister Nanami, a fiesty, good-hearted girl that more than often spoke on his behalf. She’s a worry-wart, caring deeply for everyone she comes in contact with, as well as a highly trained martial artist; later on in the game, when she learns that her brother and Jowy are both commanding opposing armies, she pleads with them not to fight. However, love keeps her around, keeps her by her brother’s side, all the way to the end when, in Rockaxe Castle, she falls trying to protect those she cares about from being ambushed.

Thud.

You can hear the horrible noise at 1:30 of this video:

And the part that makes it so sad is just how sudden it happens. Nanami skillfully deflects every arrow but one, and then she’s down for the count. No stagger, no moment of shock–just a body giving away. There isn’t even time to comprehend what happened because Gorudo and his men shout “BOSS BATTLE!” and away you go, desperate to get back to your big sister, to try and save her. Which doesn’t happen.

It really doesn’t take long in Suikoden II to forgot that the main character and Nanami are not related to each other. Some of her last words touch on this, how she was so happy to have a family. To even be Jowy’s friend.

Just like with Gremio, Nanami can be saved. However, it’s a little more complicated than simply collecting all 108 Stars of Destiny so I’ve never seen it accomplished. And never will. Nanami has always–and will always–end with a spiritless thud.