mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I was planning to write about pie but this has been bugging me.

So today I was thinking about what specifically grates me about Phila. I have downright negative feelings toward her-- not merely "meh," but more like, "Sucks." As in, I feel kind of slighted when people do like her. Stupid but true.

I mean, I understand liking an underdeveloped character; witness my soft spot for Norne even before FE12 came out and gave her a bit more dialogue. I have headcanoned Norne to a crazy extent. Her brief turn on FE11's stage charmed me. So yeah, I completely get latching onto a character regardless of development or dimensionality.

But then I circled back to an essay on Disney characters that I read a few days ago and mostly did like but had some misgivings about.

Long. Annoyed. )

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, last weekend I spoke at a local sci-fi con (about actual science) and attended some of the workshops before vegging out in the anime room and watching Bodacious Space Pirates.  One workshop I attended was simply called "Combat for Writers," whose appeal to me should be obvious.  Trained martial artists (Western, mostly) acted out various scenarios so we scribbly types could see things play out in 3D.  Pretty cool. One attendee wanted to know how an unarmed "street thug" or two would fare against any random person with a sword and moderate training.  In the opinion of the workshop leader, it was an easy answer.  Your stereotypical low-level thugs, he said, operate on the following principles:

1) They work in gangs to outnumber their victims
2) They don't expect anyone to actually put up a fight

It's not about actual combat, it's about numbers and terror.  They're bullies punching down.  A decently skilled sword user walking into a street tough scenario with the intent of giving them a fight has everything on his/her side.

That got me to thinking about the oh-so tiresome opening chapters to most FE games, which tend to consist of BANDITS!  and MORE BANDITS! and DIFFERENT BANDITS!!! (apologies to [personal profile] hooves ).  But even given FE's bandit/pirate/brigand thugs are armed with shitty axes, having them as your opening opponents really is ideal to ease the player and cast into the game.  Your OP crutch character (Seth, Evayle) can dispatch a BANDIT without breaking a sweat.  Your moderately experienced characters (Christmas Cavs, someone like Chrom or Sigurd) can take on bandits and triumph without much trouble.  And these unskilled bullies are ideal as a whetstone for your genuine nooblets like Eirika and some of the random kids you get in opening chapters (baby cavs, baby archers, baby peg knights).  Sure, your lordling might get killed in Chapter One (Leif, I am glaring at you), but overall your playable cast should fare well against no-name loser thugs who are used to pissing on unarmed civilians. They're punching back, even if some of them are punching up.

I think pondering this helped give me clarity on why the H5/Lunatic modes of the DS/3DS era feel so unfair and un-fun to me.  Why are these damn no-name bandits so ungodly hard that even someone like Jeigan or Frederick can't take them down in one hit?  Actually, even FE11's H5 I can kind of understand, since these particular pirates have overtaken an entire country.  But those stupid bandits in FE13's opening chapter?  Having them be anything other than a cakewalk for even a fraction of the Shepherds pits storyline sense against gameplay mechanics in a way that just doesn't sit right with me.  

IDK.  There's got to be some ideal "this is hard as hell but fun" balance that takes the good stat-based parts of FE11's H5 and the good bullshitty parts of
Thracia 776. Right?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So I picked up my original playthrough of FE13 (the m!Robin/Anna one) to collect all the remaining kidlets and then play the DLC I hadn't bothered with before.  This was tedious 'cause it involved leveling up AND pairing units that I'd left on the bench for basically the entire playthrough.  Fortunately there were weak-ass Spotpass teams to abuse.

Anyway, after a day spent grinding and collecting support points I managed to finally get:

Ricken!Yarne (my soul died a little for this)
Lon'qu!Brady

I just achieved but have yet to recruit Libra!Noire (yuk on that S-support, Tharja) and am one support level away from Gaius!Cynthia, though her parents need to collect some skills first.

So the complete kiddie team is:
Sully!Lucina and her accessory Chrom!Kjelle
Henry!Inigo
Frederick!Owain
Stahl!Severa
Gregor!Nah
Virion!Gerome
Anna!Morgan

And the aforementioned Ricken!Yarne, Lon'qu!Brady, and soon-to-be-added Libra!Noire and Gaius!Cynthia.  And that, I said to myself, was the entire set.

Oh no.  I forgot somebody.  I have a couple of somebodies languishing on the bench.  I never did nothin' with Miriel and thus don't have jack toward progress on Laurent.  So...

Vaike!Laurent or Kellam!Laurent?  These are difficult questions, people.  :/

PS: Those Ricken/Panne supports started off one brand of awful and concluded as another kind of awful.  And it just got worse when Yarne showed up.  :(
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
This article from Wired makes excellent points about Star Trek into Darkness.  It's ALL spoilers, so beware, but read it even if you don't plan to see the film because the core weakness of the Trek reboot is-- surprise, surprise, surprise-- awfully close to the core weakness of recent Fire Emblem games.

[I repeat.  I enjoyed the film.  I wouldn't necessarily see it again, but I'll likely see the next one when it inevitably comes to theatres.]

I was making comparisons between Trek 2009 and FE12/13 even before seeing the current Trek flick, but IMO the analogy is even stronger now.

ETA: Here is a very different critique which points out that reboot Trek is missing the whole literary angle that infused previous iterations of Trek.  If you don't wanna read it, I'll quote the final lines: 

I also recognized Kirk and Spock, and Picard and all the other good Trek folks had read way more books than me. And guess what? I wanted to be just like them.

That is an excellent point.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Technically speaking, "Infinite Regalia" contains a wealth of information that can be used for meta on Fire Emblem's bad endings, afterlife and resurrection meta, and stuff like this. I just can't bring myself to discuss it because it's presented in a manner that jacks the Disturb-O-Meter past FE5 levels of Fucking Disturbing.

And FE5's "Deadlords" are really, really disturbing.

The text is all here. Basically, the interaction with the Gen 1 characters is mostly funny while the interaction between the Deadlords and the Gen 2 characters is anything but, and the overall effect is more like the modern tongue-in-cheek self-aware zombie phenomenon. I don't even know where to begin applying this stuff.

Then there's the Lost Bloodlines series (the Marth vs Seliph stuff), and I don't really know where to begin with that, either. It's kind of all over the place. In some places the Einherjar show glimmers of awareness and I get the idea there's supposed to be something more to them than just puppets (Chrom and Co. also get that feeling-- it's pretty explicit). In some places they feel like one-dimensional actual cardboard figures they're purported to be (I don't like how Ethlyn's written, for a start). Some of the Einherjar feel pretty alive and, I don't know... themselves? I think the "new" characters from FE11/12 feel pretty vivid, which may be telling. They were, after all, made up out of whole cloth. Some of the Jugdrali sound more alive than others. IDK.

Good stuff and bad stuff )

Really the Einherjar are really the best weasel device in fandom. If something in the DLC bolsters your pet theory about a beloved NES/SNES character, you can point to the DLC and go "See? See? Word of God!" If you don't like their new speech quirk or personality transplant, you can wave it off with, "Eh, it's not really them-- it's an artist's rendering of the real thing."

And then, after all, this is merely canon fanfic, right? Some scriptwriting intern could've been plopped down with the 20th Anniversary Artbook and told to compile a three-to-five word description of every relevant character and then produce dialogue based on the lists. So you get a fairly bland Arthur without his moments of towering rage and this really wussy Nanna who doesn't match up to her FE4 counterpart. Not to mention an Ethlyn who apparently belongs in the kitchen. So yeah... they're artists' renderings.

Maybe.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, I made some new pals over on GameFaqs after some of us hijacked a troll thread on the FE13 forum and turned in into a debate over whether Sigurd, Eltoshan, or Cuan was the biggest dumbass in Jugdral.  (Hint: Sigurd.)  And one of these new pals compared the plot of FE4 to FE13 in that both start off very strong and turn into a "clusterfuck" (though s/he also took points off FE13 for blatantly riffing off FE4).
 
I think "clusterfuck" is a strong term for Gen 2.  It's dramatically flawed to the point where it both challenges adaptation and undercuts its own "aria" moments in the script, to be sure.  I've pondered before what precisely is so bad about it, and I had a handful of answers.
 
Spoilers and opinions )PS: Chrom's ultimately a bigger dumbass than Sigurd, too.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
OK. Enough about Robin, Chrom, and the FE13 storyline. I still have some grievances to air about the alpha-universe timeline, but that can wait. Today we shall discuss Deadlords.

Or Dark Warlords, if you prefer.

Details, Details...Plus Deadlord Spoilers )

Nota Bene

Feb. 25th, 2013 05:51 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Dear Chrom/male!Robin shippers:

I like this pairing.  Wouldn't mind reading 'fic for it.  However, if the "Avatar" you're writing about is not the character from the actual game, the one who has loads and loads of conversations with every playable character defining his (or her) personality, but is instead an OC in the Strategist role bearing the looks and name of "your self-insert," there is a special place in FANFICTION HELL for you.

k'thx'bai

PS: But thank you for admitting it up front so I don't waste my time with your Gary Stu.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
OK.  So I decided to do a new runthrough of FE13, with a female Avatar married to Chrom plus some other different pairings just to see what was up with some of the endgame developments if Chrom and Robin are married.  I made her look kind of like Deirdre because I could.

Brief and mildly spoilerrific thoughts )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 AKA the Leif DLC.

I have said my piece about the overall plot and characters of DLC, though I reserve the right to go back for timeline quibbles.  On to the DLC bonanza.

Yeah.  Attacking the Jugdrali with their own holy weapons?  Good fun.  Henry toasted Seliph with Valflame.  Chrom chopped up Arvis with Tyrfing.  Stahl one-shotted Finn with Gungnir.  And so on.  Mind you, this was the second time around.  The first time I played it I benched most of my A-team and tried to build up exp, wexp, and supports for my B-team on this Xenologue... and that wasn't a very good idea.  Libra, Tharja, Gerome, and even Lon'qu got trashed, and level-wise they on par from the Jugrali characters. There were too damn many of them, and they had skills and stuff.  I don't remember any of the earlier Einherjar having skills.  So I said the hell with that and brought in any of my A-team who weren't Level 20 plus anyone with dialogue I wanted to read.  Plus better weapons.

I see Eyvel is giving Leif bad advice at the beginning of this.  -_-

Anyway, my main takeaway from this is, I want Emperor Hardin on my team.  Good dude.  Kills crusaders and doesn't afraid of anything.


mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So.  We'll hear no more about Latka and Scrabblebits 'round these parts.

And not Luchtaine and Scathach, either.  Despite the mythological bent showed in the localization overall, Ayra's mini-me daughter has been localized as... Larcei.  I think I like it.  Meanwhile, NoA completely and utterly punted on the raving mess of a name that is Sukasha/Skasaher/Scathach and came up with... Ulster.  Despite the fact that they've been assiduously erasing real-life place names from the game script overall (x-ref Leonster, Silesse, etc).  I'm guessing this means that if Shanan gets localized in anything ever he will indeed be rendered as "Shannon" to go with his cousin.

"Ulster" is not a very good name but I have to laugh about it, as it just seems like NoA looked at "スカサハ" and went, "Fuck it. Where's a map of Ireland? Pick something!" 

The rest of the Jugdrali names are under the cut )

I'm reeling from "Quan" and "Arvis" and "Ulster" but I'll get over it. 
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Supposedly the Leif DLC is coming out tomorrow.

Get out your helmets and galoshes for the final tsunami of translation wank!  The final truth of Latka, Skittlebits, and all the rest of the gang shall be revealed.

And there shall be butthurt.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
That final chapter was strange.

Discussion of gameplay )

-x-

Discussion of storyline and morality )

Yeah. So when's that King vs King DLC coming out?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Welp. Not getting any fanfiction urges out of this game, yet. We'll see how I feel when I digest the entire plot. Right now I think the plot is A-S-S, but we still have a few chapters to go.

In terms of characterization, I don't really know what to say about this game.

Spoilers 'n' shit )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Double post because I'm annoyed.

Spoilers. Stay away. And stuff. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Oh.  So that's the end of the Valm campaign.  Color me unimpressed.

S-P-O-I-L-E-R-S )

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