Game Producer Quest, Part 15

Just an update on the whole Ni No Kuni fiasco I blogged about a couple of weeks back, I received the free guide late last week, so Namco Bandai made good on their promise.  It’s a nice gesture for their Collector’s Edition screw-up, though as I said in a previous post, I sincerely hope they do not make any Collector’s Edition of Dark Souls 2 exclusive to their online store, as long as they continue to use Digital River e-commerce “solution” (I use the term loosely.)

I was wondering if there’d be any news this week about the upcoming Xbox, (aka Durango), in response to Sony’s PS4 reveal last week, but Microsoft continues to play things close to the vest, which I’m actually fine with.  Maybe some of my predictions will actually be more accurate about the upcoming next-gen consoles.

Lately, I’ve been playing Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS.  It’s a terrific game, well worth playing if you like or appreciate strategy games.  Of the top of my head, it’s the 13th game in the franchise, which is rather impressive.  Not all of them have been localized in North America, but enough of them have been to develop a fan following of sorts.

We're falling!

We’re falling!

There are some things about it that stick out for me, not the least of which is the experience of actually playing a Nintendo 3DS.  The battery life is, in a word, awful for a mobile device.  Especially with the 3D on, wireless on, brightness fairly high, etc.  Even if you turn all those things off, it’s still nothing worth bragging about.  I actually researched this, and the 3DS XL apparently boasts better battery life, but still not enough to warrant a $200+ purchase / upgrade, in my opinion.

Speaking of 3D, there are times when playing Super Mario 3D Land where it’s better to turn the 3D on, and other moments when it’s better off.  However, Fire Emblem: Awakening is the first game I’ve played on the system where I prefer the 3D on at all times.  From the seriously stunning anime cut sequences to the terrain maps that make up the bulk of your gameplay, the 3D actually enhances the experience.  With that said, due to the poor battery life, I actually turn it off.  It’s not my preference, but it’s a trade-off between a better experience vs. being able to play the game for longer periods of time before needing to recharge, which is much more often than I’d like.

As far as traditional Fire Emblem gameplay goes, one thing the franchise has done since its inception (I believe) is for units (the characters your control) to die permanently.  In other words, if they die in battle, they won’t return for the rest of the game.  However, for Fire Emblem: Awakening, they introduce two optional game modes: Classic, which sticks to the permadeath I described, and Casual, where if units due in battle, it won’t be permanent.  It can be argued that the game was meant to be played in Classic mode.  It’s an argument that I actually personally agree with.

With that said, I play in Casual mode.  Why?  It comes done to time investment for me.  With limited time to play games (work, family, friends, etc.), casual mode allows me to enjoy the game, forgive the mistakes I make, and allow me to continue with all my units in tow.  I can appreciate the challenge of classic mode, where you try to find the best way to keep your units alive, but it often involves replaying the same map numerous times, which eats up time like you wouldn’t believe.  Just one mistake, and you either find yourself needing to accept the death of so-and-so, or hitting home and starting over.  Depending in how much time you take building a unit up, or if you find yourself attached to a particular character, and this decision can be rather agonizing.  Also of note that there are two units in particular that, if killed, results in game over.  Additionally, It’s true you can save during battle, but battle saves are deleted when you resume them, so you can’t start over from a certain point in battle repeatedly.

For the record, I do have a second save (three saves in total are allowed) devoted to classic mode.  However, progress in that save is far less than my casual mode game, which I believe is close to…around the ballpark of 80% done.  Once I’ve finished the game story-wise, I’ll probably start devoting more time to class mode, frustration and all.

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