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Episode 465: Pump Down the Jams

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - February 28, 2016, 5:08 pm PST
Total comments: 12

Finally, we have found the true reason Nintendo's "voice chat system" is not workable.

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After recording this show for the better pat of a decade, you would think we've seen every way that Skype could intervene in the process of recording a podcast, and yet Microsoft's voice chat platform always finds new ways to surprise. Never let it be said that RFN isn't determined, so record a podcast we did! James starts it off with early impressions of Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. Did he start on the wrong difficulty setting? Absolutely. Should he have gone with Conquest? Probably. Yet, here we are - and the forces of Nohr are paying for his mistakes. Guillaume has thoughts on another "narrative experience" with broken computer-sim/database search tool Her Story. After that, he continues plumbing the depths of exposition with Virtue's Last Reward. Jon has an update on Witcher 3, and he now finds himself bewitched; I'm aware the exact same joke was used in last week's article. Greg has his hands on Europe's big 3DS JRPG of the month, Bravely Second: End Layer, although thought are quite early. He follows with thought on Stealth Inc. 2.

After the break, we answer a trio of Listener Mail questions. First up we are asked about the "hidden gems" of the Gameboy Advance; Drill Dozer is offered without any acknowledgement of the pun. Next we address the first manifesto sent to our inbox in months, Nintendo's abusive streak of sub-par games. Lastly, we brainstorm Nintendo-crossover games, in the style of Hyrule Warriors. Suggestions go to all the awful places you would expect of us. Send your manifestos to our mailbag.

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Bluffs Custom Music.

This episode's ending music is Pallet Town Theme, from Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. All rights reserved by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo.

Talkback

PlugabugzFebruary 29, 2016

This isn't coming up in my AAC feed :(

How am i supposed to hear the panicked hysteria of James Jones otherwise?

SorenFebruary 29, 2016

Damn, that email.


FWIW, amiibo Festival and Ultra Smash are technically good games. They look pretty, aren't buggy and the gameplay is generally very good. They just don't have any substantial content. They were eShop games masquerading as full title games. It's even more of an insult when you compare them to games like Pushmo and NES Remix.

KobeskillzFebruary 29, 2016

In playing birthrite on normal and classic mode and it's not as easy as James says. I'm playing to keep everyone alive and it's far more difficult than "self punish". Your decisions hold far fsr more weight. I restarted chapter 10 10 times last night cause I kept losing someone. That's not easy.

---

Obviously if I would grind more then it wouldn’t be a problem but still doing minimal grinding I find the game challenging especially trying to keep everyone alive.

So I guess if I grinded a crap load and didn’t care too much about troops dying then sure it would be far easier. So as it stands it’s a decent challenge even in normal playing classic mode and not grinding a lot. Which to be fair chapter 10 caught me off guard so I might have to raise some of these guys levels about 2-3 notches.

I guess everyone is different and while James seems to be Matt Damon in a beautiful minds when it comes to strategy games I’m finding the difficulty fine for sure def not a cake walk.

Also I’m digging my castle mode. Everytime a battle is over it’s great to take a breather and explore. I went into the hot steam bath and a girl was already in there and my avatar ran away all scared. Lol. Funny stuff. Gotta love Japan.

---

It sucks that Nintendo rushed Animal Crossing and Mario Tennis for the holiday season but that guy who wrote that email is forgetting something or overlooking it.

1 – he bought animal crossing thus answered with his wallet that yes this was ok.

2 – The holiday season is very important and Nintendo needed games out for it. No games out no money no money less games to pour into our beloved Marios and Zeldas we all love.

Nintendo is at a critical place right now where they are just holding forth until reinforcements come. Which means games like Mario Tennis and Animal Crossing are sacrificed in the short term for hopefully long term success.

Also I got Mario Tennis for my kids and not old enough to be super jaded angry internet people they actually enjoy the hell out of the game. Who would have thought!!!

Combined three posts into one - Shaymin

TOPHATANT123February 29, 2016

So what do we think is worse; Ultra Smash with it's complete lack of ambition although not necessarily bad gameplay core, or Amiibo Festival which tried to do something new but failed resulting in a game with very few redeeming qualities?

KobeskillzFebruary 29, 2016

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

So what do we think is worse; Ultra Smash with it's complete lack of ambition although not necessarily bad gameplay core, or Amiibo Festival which tried to do something new but failed resulting in a game with very few redeeming qualities?

I would say Ultra Smash which is unfortunate cause even at bare bones it's still funner to play than Amiibo.

K-S-OFebruary 29, 2016

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.


I find it amusing that Xenoblade X was released around the same time as Amiibo Festival and Ultra Smash and the former significantly outsold the latter two.  At least the gaming public can display good taste sometimes. (unlike with Wonderful 101, Codename STEAM, and Sin & Punishment 2)

SorenMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

So what do we think is worse; Ultra Smash with it's complete lack of ambition although not necessarily bad gameplay core, or Amiibo Festival which tried to do something new but failed resulting in a game with very few redeeming qualities?

No question Ultra Smash. At least amiibo Festival has some level of fun in a party night scenario. How many games of mega mushroom tennis can you play before you die of boredom?

OedoMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Kobeskillz

In playing birthrite on normal and classic mode and it's not as easy as James says. I'm playing to keep everyone alive and it's far more difficult than "self punish". Your decisions hold far fsr more weight. I restarted chapter 10 10 times last night cause I kept losing someone. That's not easy.

Those chapters where you have to reset a few times aren't really indicative of Birthright's overall difficulty. Chapter 10 was one of them, but I only ran into a handful of those throughout the entire game. Even on hard/classic it felt like I could get away with the "let the enemy put itself in a position to be destroyed" strategy too often, so I can see how James would think normal was a cakewalk playing that way. It comes down to how you approach the battles more than skill or anything else.

Quote from: K-S-O

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.

I've been curious about this for a while since I only really got into the series with Awakening. I'm assuming the older games also involve dragons, magic, and grandiose storylines, so I can't see them being that much less anime. It would be nice if Nintendo would release Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn on the eShop, as I'd really like to find out for myself.

KobeskillzMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Oedo

Quote from: Kobeskillz

In playing birthrite on normal and classic mode and it's not as easy as James says. I'm playing to keep everyone alive and it's far more difficult than "self punish". Your decisions hold far fsr more weight. I restarted chapter 10 10 times last night cause I kept losing someone. That's not easy.

Those chapters where you have to reset a few times aren't really indicative of Birthright's overall difficulty. Chapter 10 was one of them, but I only ran into a handful of those throughout the entire game. Even on hard/classic it felt like I could get away with the "let the enemy put itself in a position to be destroyed" strategy too often, so I can see how James would think normal was a cakewalk playing that way. It comes down to how you approach the battles more than skill or anything else.

Quote from: K-S-O

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.

I've been curious about this for a while since I only really got into the series with Awakening. I'm assuming the older games also involve dragons, magic, and grandiose storylines, so I can't see them being that much less anime. It would be nice if Nintendo would release Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn on the eShop, as I'd really like to find out for myself.

It could have been chapter 11. SPOILERS


The one on the ship with tons of flying enemies.


It's not that the game is hard on normal but one of your weaker guys can get ganged up on and they might die which will cause me to reset.


That's the challenge in keeping everyone alive not so much on the level it self. Sure on Normal I can destroy all the levels without much difficulty but will everyone survive? EVERYONE?


So he played it with the knowledge that they aren't dead even if he "self punish" himself. It still means he knows that he will eventually get that guy back which can lead to a bit more aggressive and maybe easier experience.


So yeah the game is as difficult as you want it to be but we know that a lot of Fire Emblem players try to keep them all alive or as many as possible and even on normal that can be a challenge at times if you didn't grind to brute force the game.


Though to be fair the rout the enemy levels do get a bit tedious. So much so that when I got to a level that was basically "ESCAPE" I kept losing someone because I was playing it as rout the enemy when it should have been more of a defensive and run strategy. That was cool.

Evan_BMarch 02, 2016

Quote from: Oedo

Quote from: K-S-O

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.

I've been curious about this for a while since I only really got into the series with Awakening. I'm assuming the older games also involve dragons, magic, and grandiose storylines, so I can't see them being that much less anime. It would be nice if Nintendo would release Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn on the eShop, as I'd really like to find out for myself.

Well, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are considered quite the pair, at least, by Fire Emblem fans I am acquainted with. I've experienced part of Path of Radiance and the entirety of Radiant Dawn, and if you think Awakening's story is good, you might want to check out those games to see the vast difference in tone the series has taken.

I personally could not stand the new support conversations and characters of the units in Awakening, which caused me to avoid Fates. Like I've said elsewhere, the mechanics of Awakening were also pretty broken, so it's nice to see they've fixed that with Fates, but the overall tone of the franchise is so alien to me now that I struggle to find a reason to play. It's odd that I'm immensely excited for SMTxFE, though the characters and setting of that game are so vastly different from Fire Emblem (not to mention, the setting is a place that I have some strong emotional ties towards) that I can overlook the weird tone. But if you're making a game about medieval style battles with magic and whatnot, I'd like the characters to be a bit more grim and grounded than the ridiculous anime tropes they've settled upon.

OedoMarch 02, 2016

Quote from: Kobeskillz

Quote from: Oedo

Quote from: Kobeskillz

In playing birthrite on normal and classic mode and it's not as easy as James says. I'm playing to keep everyone alive and it's far more difficult than "self punish". Your decisions hold far fsr more weight. I restarted chapter 10 10 times last night cause I kept losing someone. That's not easy.

Those chapters where you have to reset a few times aren't really indicative of Birthright's overall difficulty. Chapter 10 was one of them, but I only ran into a handful of those throughout the entire game. Even on hard/classic it felt like I could get away with the "let the enemy put itself in a position to be destroyed" strategy too often, so I can see how James would think normal was a cakewalk playing that way. It comes down to how you approach the battles more than skill or anything else.

Quote from: K-S-O

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.

I've been curious about this for a while since I only really got into the series with Awakening. I'm assuming the older games also involve dragons, magic, and grandiose storylines, so I can't see them being that much less anime. It would be nice if Nintendo would release Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn on the eShop, as I'd really like to find out for myself.

It's not that the game is hard on normal but one of your weaker guys can get ganged up on and they might die which will cause me to reset.

That's what I mean when I talk about it coming down to playstyle. Since the enemy will engage you no matter what when you're within the danger zone, you can use your stronger units to draw them in and pretty much never put your weaker units in a position to get ganged up on. On normal it makes the game a cakewalk because using that strategy, the enemies are going to die on approach a lot. Like I said, even on the hard difficulty that happened a little too often for my liking and in my rush to get to Conquest I generally avoided grinding altogether, so it wasn't a case of my army just being overpowered. I agree with you on the fact that keeping every unit alive is much more challenging than just punishing yourself if you a lose a unit and pressing on, but the issue is when you play it a certain way there's no real peril of even losing a single unit on normal.

Also, I don't know if you plan on playing Conquest after you complete Birthright, but if you're getting sick of "rout the enemy," Conquest is much better in that respect. I'm on chapter 11 or 12 and I think I've only had one battle with that objective so far. There's a lot more variety in that game.

Quote from: Evan_B

Quote from: Oedo

Quote from: K-S-O

Fire Emblem has always been like anime.  It just depended on what type of anime was popular at the time of each game's release.

I've been curious about this for a while since I only really got into the series with Awakening. I'm assuming the older games also involve dragons, magic, and grandiose storylines, so I can't see them being that much less anime. It would be nice if Nintendo would release Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn on the eShop, as I'd really like to find out for myself.

But if you're making a game about medieval style battles with magic and whatnot, I'd like the characters to be a bit more grim and grounded than the ridiculous anime tropes they've settled upon.

To be honest, as much as I loved Awakening, I was really hoping they would take the narrative in that direction with the next game. In that sense I can see where older Fire Emblem fans are coming from, cuz my impression of the series before Awakening were exactly what you described there. After playing through Birthright (which I liked, but doubles down on Awakening's tone and story) I'm REALLY wanting to play the GC/Wii games after hearing you describe them that way.

Evan_BMarch 02, 2016

Some may argue the characters lack distinguishing characteristics in the older games, but the localization was a bit more subtle then.

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