Fire Emblem – An Overview – Part 5

Shield of Seals

It’s been a while since I added to this overview, but Nintendo keeps adding to the Fire Emblem franchise- so eventually I knew I would have to expand on the original overview series I had started!

In this fifth entry to the Fire Emblem overview, I cover four games.

Okay, technically.  Three of the games are part of one narrative, covering the Fates trilogy with Conquest, Birthright, and Revelation.  The second entry  after the jump elucidates on Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which was not only a remake of one of my personal favorites in the series but was also my pick for top game of 2017.

With the Fire Emblem series growing in popularity outside of Japan (and a slew of spiritual sequels, spinoffs, and other iterations appearing in every corner of the gaming world), this overview will probably be perpetually growing as times allows- which works because I honestly adore the series and researching it has been immensely interesting.
If you’d like to go back to the beginning of the series overview and Famicom days, feel free to look into the first part of the overview here.  Otherwise, kick back and check out my bird’s eye view into the gears of the remaining 3DS entries of the Fire Emblem series!

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Back and Forth, The Dance Goes On – Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom – 1991

Phantasy Star III Title

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Sega Genesis
Genre: Sci-Fi Role-Playing

There are elements that a series needs to hold its own after a number of iterations.  Looking at franchises like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire– and yes, Phantasy Star- there is always a need for new mechanics, more engaging stories, and overall higher quality content to justify to the fans that they should return to your series.  The first entry is an introduction; a work that needs to be pushed through its outward presentation before gamers will give it a whirl.  The second entry is a proving ground, where a series shows that it can deliver lightning in the same place again with a few upgrades here and there.

The third entry is the experiment.  With Final Fantasy, we got interchangeable classes.  With Dragon Quest, the ability to create your own party with their own quirks.  With Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom, there was a solid jumping off point with the improvements that the second game offered over the first, but there were still some mechanics that could use a little work for one reason or another.  Given the success of the series thus far and being the first RPG series on the Sega system, it was imperative for the third Phantasy Star to dig in its heels and stake its claim to continue on successfully.  

While we know that Phantasy Star IV released, leading one to believe that part three can’t have done too poorly, how exactly does Phantasy Star III stand up to the rest of the series?  Given how fondly people usually speak about the second and fourth pieces of the mainline series, it’s interesting to see the evolution into the third and where it hits and misses the targets set up by prior entries.

If you’d like, feel free to check out my prior analysis of Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star II before reading up on this entry!

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February in Review


February is a month known for a lot of things- Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, adding on a day every few years.  Despite being the shortest month of the year, it felt like there was plenty of content to fill out any other month from the gaming world and from the community’s efforts.

So far as reviews I got to in February, I managed to start back into checking out the Phantasy Star series, grinding through the first two games in the series- no easy feat.  Getting a look back into the origins of the series, it became clear that the ambition of the series and a number of the mechanics and plot points they used were ahead of their time.

Review – Phantasy Star
Review – Phantasy Star II

I also finally got to some of my modern systems, finally getting to White Day: A Labyrinth Called School, which I had been looking forward to for some time.  While I wasn’t as impressed as I had hoped to be, it was a pretty decent offering and well worth looking into for fans of the horror genre from the Playstation 2 era.

Review – White Day: A Labyrinth Called School

Throughout the month, I also had a few things to say regarding games I’m looking forward to in the year of 2018- and there are still more that are being announced that are making it harder and harder to budget with all of the fantastic sounding work coming out.  Recently, I also put together a piece on how video games have had a positive effect on me throughout the years.  Given the negative news and connotations that video games have been getting recently, I felt that putting some positivity out would be a nice reminder that gaming is meant to be enjoyed and can have some pretty amazing influence on people who play them.

Looking Forward to the Games of 2018
Let’s Think Positive! – A Retrospective on My Time with Gaming

Oh yeah!  I was also nominated for a Mystery Blogger Award by NostalgiaTrigger, which was a kind gesture and made for some fun question and answer time.

Responding to My Mystery Blogger Award Nomination

White Day:a labyrinth named school_20180203143229

What to Look Forward To

Already having dug into the first and second games of the Phantasy Star series and having had a review of the fourth and most famous entry from occasional contributor ShoggothOnTheRoof, I’ve already finished playing the third entry to fill in the gap.  The review is almost ready for publishing, so you can expect that soon- and probably a bit of an overview to go along with it sometime this month.

I also just finished Gust’s Blue Reflection, an fun take on a modern RPG with heavy influence from the magical girl tropes illustrated in anime like Sailor Moon and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  Gust’s offerings, in general, veer toward certain tastes, and for better or worse, Blue Reflection is definitely standard for a Gust release (and it was published by Koei-Tecmo, which is another bonus).

I’ve also been working my way through and into a few other games.  Romancing SaGa 2has reminded me that I didn’t write a review on Romancing SaGa 3– so it may be a SaGa filled month.  In moving onto some Playstation 3 games, I’ve also been working on getting back to the Atelier series, namely Atelier Rorona and the others in the Arland trilogy.  Keeping with the theme of Sega RPGs, especially since Super Nintendo seems to have all of the big hitters so far as anyone can remember, I’ve been working on Crusader of Centy, a Zelda-esque action RPG, and the Shining Force games, which I’ve been looking for any reason to play again.

So I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me, but no shortage of options!

Other Blogs and Posts to Check Out

Hosted on The Well-Red Mage’s page, a whole group of folks put up an immense project called ‘The Crystal Compendium’, sharing experiences and overviews of just about every entry in the Final Fantasy series and offshoots.  While I’m not even a third of the way through reading them yet, I’ve gotten to check out some of the work folks put into these entries and honestly, they’ve been nostalgic, heart-warming, and even hilarious (I’m amazed that iplayedthegame reviewed All the Bravest but glad that there this compendium is thorough!).  You can check out the hub page here, and I definitely recommend doing so.  Kudos to all of the contributors!

Red Metal over at Extra Life has always impressed me with the depth of their reviews.  A special mention this month goes out to their coverage of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, an entry I’ve always wanted to play through but had a hard time pushing forward in.  Reading up on this review and analysis, though, I might finally have the nerve to forge ahead once I get a copy up and running again.  I also kind of nicked (adapted?) this month review format from them, so- definitely worth checking into Extra Life in general!

Over at Dragon’s Tea Party, one ambitious blogger is taking their first Pokemon Nuzlocke Challenge– something I’ve heard about but never really knew how it worked.  I’ve been following the trials and tribulations of this challenge and through the laughter, the tears, and amazingly entertaining narrative, I’ve been looking forward to new updates whenever they pop up to see how it unfolds.

Honestly, if I sat here and listen every fantastic blog and piece I read this past month, I’d never end this post- but I’m definitely looking for a way to promote my fellow blogging buddies- because there really is a *lot* out there to check out and some quality work going on that I feel needs to be recognized.  

Here’s to a fantastic March to you all, and thank you for checking into my little corner of the internet every so often!

– Matt a.k.a. “The3rdPlayer”

Let’s Think Positive! – A Retrospective on My Time with Gaming

Think Positive

Much like many people who would call themselves ‘gamers’ that I know, I have been bewildered by the assertion that video games consistently have a negative effect on people.  I’ve surrounded myself with people who list video games among their primary hobbies since grade school.  Sure, I faked sick a few times to play Final Fantasy VI or lost a day to (insert name of game here, as they’re plentiful), but I’ve primarily seen and witnessed the positive side to playing video games for as long as I can remember.

Please understand that I’m not blind.  I know that you can’t turn and take a step in the gaming community without at least seeing a pocket of toxicity within spitting distance.  That’s not foreign in any community, though, and that can extend outside of media related pastimes.  The truth of the matter is that volatility can be inherent anywhere that passion exists.  If the masses can access a piece of work, a concept, or even a political ideal, a multitude of emotions can spring forth, be they inspiration, satisfaction, or even vehemence.

I’d rather focus, for a short time, on the positive.  The positive effects that video games have had on myself and others I’ve interacted with throughout my life.  It’s definitely easy to say that without video games- and plenty of other ingredients, but bear with me since this is, after all, a gaming blog- my life would probably have gone into a much different direction with much different people and results, many negative or unfulfilling.

I invite you to take a quick digital stroll with me through some memories to reflect on some positive effects video games have had on me (yes, even some violent ones) and hopefully, feel free to share your own in some way!

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A Gift That Gives Quite A Bit – Playstation 4 – White Day: A Labyrinth Named School – 2017

White Day:a labyrinth named school_20180202145814

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School
Playstation 4
ROI Games/Sonnori
Genre: Survival Horror
There are a thousand and one ways to scare an audience. In writing, you’re limited by the reader’s imagination- but the imagination is a powerful tool in this case. Filmmakers are limited by budget but with skill and creative angles and production, even the most mediocre offering has its moments. When it comes to video games, there are still limitations, but the sky is the limit when it comes to effects, locations, and most other elements. There are a variety of styles to be experienced from the years of exploring themes and methods of exacting terrifying encounters in electronic worlds.
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a remake of a game from 2001, but this is the first that the United States has seen of it on consoles or in a full translation. Between the county’s interest in foreign horror offerings and gaming, there have only been a few titles that were made originally in Asia and remade for worldwide distribution (Corpse Party being another recent example) but they have been appearing every so often to the excitement of horror fans.
Given the fourteen years the US waited for White Day to hit consoles, how did it transition into the ever-growing library of chilling games that we’ve been seeing over the past few years- and was it worth the wait in any case?

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