Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fire Emblem Three Houses – Cindered Shadows DLC

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The main reason I got my Nintendo Switch was to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Sure there are other games that interested me, but I just really wanted to play Three Houses. Of course, it had been out a good 5 months when I got my Switch, so far too late for a review, but needless to say I enjoyed it.

My logic is somewhat flawed here, as evidently from the title this is a review of the Cindered Shadows DLC, which came out on February 12th, which is well over 5 months ago, but hey! Folks on Twitter said they didn’t mind reading reviews of older releases as it helps them decide whether to buy or watch something, so I’m pushing past the apprehension of writing reviews for older things and just doing it!

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Cindered Shadows is the first set of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and brings with it a new route and four new characters in their own house; the Ashen Wolves. The premise is that the Ashen Wolves live in Abyss, an underground town below Garreg Mach.

The whole campaign takes around 8 hours to complete and spans 7 chapters. Each chapter completed in the DLC nets you a benefit when you play the main game again, from Abyss becoming explorable to one of the four new characters becoming recruitable, and bonus items. Each character also comes with its own class which will also be available during the main game.

To assist the Ashen Wolves with their quest, the main game house leaders are sent along with Byleth, and bring along with one member of each house for assistance. The choice of characters for Blue Lions and Black Eagles is a bit strange, I won’t divulge who, but I would have thought it would make more sense to have different characters, given their roles within those houses. I have only played Blue Lions to date, so playing with characters from Black Eagles and Golden Deer was cool, and a good taster for playthroughs I have ahead of me.

Gameplay is obviously the same process as in the main game, but it’s much harder. I found there were some severe difficulty spikes as well, with many of the requirements for battles feeling borderline impossible at times. In my Blue Lions playthrough I didn’t really have to redo many battles, but the same definitely cannot be said of Cindered Shadows. It’s a good kind of difficult as it makes you think much more strategically about how you’re playing and forces you to think about your choices a lot more each turn.

Cindered Shadows is well worth the money. It’s a completely fleshed out story of it’s own, and the four new characters are well developed and fit in well with existing characters. It was all I could do not to start up a new route in the main game immediately to recruit them over. For fans of Three Houses, Cindered Shadows is a must.

8 stars

 

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: The Nonary Games

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I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to clear up platinum trophies on games I’d already started, and The Nonary Games collection was first on my hit list.

The Nonary Games is a collection of the first two games in the Zero Escape series; 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999 hereafter!), and Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR). 999 was originally released in the West on Nintendo DS back in 2010, with VLR following up on PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS in 2012. The remastered collection was released on Windows and PlayStation 4 and Vita in 2017.

I had played both 999 and VLR prior to The Nonary Games coming out, getting the platinum in VLR at the time. Judging by my 999 playthrough and how little I remembered, I think I only played one route at the time as I felt like I had forgotten almost all of the game, and my memory can’t be that bad, right? I often joke, “I wish I could wipe my memory so I could experience x for the first time again”, and this is probably the closest I’ll ever come to that!

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For reference to anyone who might want to attempt The Nonary Games platinum, it is given as a 2/10 for difficulty with 20+ hours as a guide time on Playstationtrophies.org.

I would tend to agree on the difficulty rating, but the time estimate purely depends on how good you are at puzzles, though solutions are easily found on the internet. It’s worth noting that sometimes though you might think you have solved a puzzle or have figured out the solution, you have to solve it the way the game want you to, but this is often the case with puzzle games.

999 and VLR both have really great (if somewhat confusing) stories. 999 is slightly more tricky to get the different routes on as there’s no visual map of what you’re doing, so you might need to look for a guide for that if you’re set on getting the platinum in the quickest time possible. Over on VLR’s side, the game features a handy flow chart so you can track back to route branches and fill out the whole map. It does get a little confusing as you have to hop around each branch to unlock certain bits of story to progress further on different branches, but that’ll all make sense when you play it!

Whilst The Nonary Games is a fairly straightforward and quick platinum, it’s really rewarding. As I’ve said, the story is incredible, and the series features some really wonderfully written characters. Once you’ve tackled The Nonary Games, you can move onto the sequel, Zero Time Dilemma, which is equally as great.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: My Hero One’s Justice 2

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My Hero One’s Justice 2 is the second fighting game based on My Hero Academia, arguably one of the most popular anime in the world. As its title suggests, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is the follow-up to 2018’s equally awkwardly titled My Hero One’s Justice — and it’s every bit as bland as its predecessor.

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My Hero One’s Justice 2 boasts a lot of different modes, each of which is enjoyable in its own right, if not a bit repetitive at times. Story mode focuses on retelling recent events from the anime, centring on the Provisional Hero License Exam and Shie Hassaikai arcs. This does feel somewhat like a double-edged sword; on the one hand it’s really cool to be reliving those moments and taking part in some truly iconic battles, but on the other hand, it all feels so recent — it would have been nice to experience some original content. Story mode does offer this to an extent, giving the option to replay it as a villain to get another perspective on the story, but still, it all feels like you’re retreading very familiar ground.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

Games

Interview with Kondo-san, President of Nihon Falcom

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If you know me, even the slightest bit, you’ll know that the Legend of Heroes series has taken over my life in recent months and has become my latest obsession. Thanks to being especially vocal about this on Twitter, and being lucky enough to work with Push Square, I was given the opportunity via Reef Entertainment to interview the president of Nihon Falcom, the series’ developer.

Read my full interview over on Push Square.

Game Reviews

Review: Chaos;Child

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Chaos;Child is the latest visual novel brought to us by developer 5pb, and the fourth main entry in the ‘Science Adventure’ series. Chaos;Child sits in that series with acclaimed titles like Steins;Gate and this game’s predecessor, Chaos;Head, but don’t worry too much about having experience with either. Ultimately, playing those will add depth to Chaos;Child, but it’s perfectly enjoyable and works as a standalone game if you haven’t played the others.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

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30 Days Of, 30 Days Of: Gaming

30 Days Of: Gaming, Day 20

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Day 20: Favourite genre

I’ll play most genres of games at least once, and there’s nothing really out there that I truly despise. I’m not fond of FPS’s, but recently I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch so I’m beginning to get past that.

My all-time favourite genre is the JRPG. I just love being able to sink into a huge world, devoting lots of time to something and seeing it through to the very end. Ironic for someone who always complains about having no time on their hands.

30 Days Of, 30 Days Of: Gaming

30 Days Of: Gaming, Day 19

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Day 19: Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in

I’ve talked about moving to Japan a lot, and I think most people with my sort of interests have a dream they lived there, so as a serious answer I’ll go with Tokyo as seen in Persona 5.

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As a totally non-serious answer (but still 100% serious), I’ll say any of the Pokémon regions purely so it would mean that I could be a Pokémon trainer (with a speciality in fire, if you’re interested).

30 Days Of, 30 Days Of: Gaming

30 Days Of: Gaming, Day 18

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Day 18: Favourite protagonist

Blame the stalling on this question. It seemed really easy from the outside, then the more I thought about it, the harder it became. I started thinking about my favourite games which naturally led me straight away to Persona 4. No dice there, Yu is kind of bland. The same can be said for most Persona protagonists in a way, opting for one of them feels like a waste. Next my mind jumped to the Danganronpa series. Again, it’s a no. Naegi, as much as I love him, is kind of annoying, and Hinata, though he has more levels than Naegi, is also a negative.

Eventually, this ruling out of basically every game I’ve ever played led me to looking at my trophy list and going through methodically. The choice I’ve picked may surprise those that know me, as I don’t think I’ve ever been a vocal advocate of this game, but here we go.

My choice for my favourite protagonist is Rhys from Tales From The Borderlands. I think this game is severely underrated. I initially just played it for the quick-fix Telltale platinum trophy, but I ended up really loving it mostly in part due to the incredible storyline and the well-developed characters, of whom Rhys was my favourite.

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Rhys is severely flawed, yes, but he has a lot of great qualities (if you choose the options that let them shine out). I suppose each protagonist in a Telltale game is what you make of them largely due to the choice element of the game, but I found Rhys to be funny, loyal, and just an all-round interesting character to play as.

Game Reviews

Review: Dark Rose Valkyrie

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Dark Rose Valkyrie is the latest Japanese role-playing game presented to us by developer Compile Heart and publisher Idea Factory. It’s set in an alternate version of 1929 Japan where Black Garnet, a meteorite, has hit the Earth and caused a virus that transforms the public into deadly creatures called Chimera.  The protagonist, Asahi Shiramine, is the captain of Task Force Valkyrie – a special unit created by a military agency in order to defeat these beings.

Read the rest of my review on Push Square.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Touhou Genso Wanderer

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Rogue-like role-playing release Touhou Genso Wanderer follows the story of adorable protagonist Reimu Harukei. Reimu becomes entranced by the ‘golden sphere’ that soon-to-be antagonist Rinnosuke Morichika is holding, and tries to steal it from him. Clearly under the sphere’s spell, Rinnosuke fights back, and Reimu soon finds herself away from her home, trying to find her way back and battling the clones which have been borne of the sphere’s dark power. The whole thing feels a little trope-y, and starting the game feels like setting off down a well-worn path, so it’s a good job that it has a lot to throw at you to try and keep you interested.

Read the rest of my review at Push Square.