Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

The Fire Emblem series has exploded in the last few years. The tactical role-playing series has been around since the 90s, but only in the U.S. since 2003. With Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia we’re already getting our third Fire Emblem game for the Nintendo 3DS – but it’s actually a remake of 1992’s Fire Emblem Gaiden.

Playing the remake of the second game in the storied franchise with updated sprites, 3D dungeon crawls, polished voice acting, and anime cutscenes is an incredible treat for any Fire Emblem fan.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

My Top Ten Games of 2016: #6

 My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Pokémon GO
#9 Skylanders Imaginators
#8 Stellaris
#7 Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

#6 Fire Emblem Fates

top five 2016

I was very much looking forward to the sequel to 2013’s Fire Emblem Awakening. I’ve been a fan of the series since it first came to the US in the early 2000s. They’re the closest thing to my beloved Shining Force games. Fire Emblem Fates managed to both exceed my expectations and deliver some unfortunate disappointment.

Fire Emblem Fates delivers the same brutal challenge and tactical combat the series is known for. The combat was improved in every way, shaking up the traditional formula just enough to add in some great new features.  Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2016: #6”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Another fun Shadowrun adventure, but overall weaker than Dragonfall as the series hits its gameplay limits.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Harebrained Schemes

Publisher: Harebrained Holdings

Release Date: Aug 30, 2015

Franchise Fatigue. It happens to the best of them. Many times it’s a “it’s not you it’s me” kind of situation. Maybe you played a bunch of entries in a row, or maybe a sequel simply doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself form its predecessors.

I didn’t think I’d start feeling Franchise Fatigue in the Shadowrun games. Shadowrun: Hong Kong is only the third game after Harebrained Schemes resurrected the series through Kickstarter several years ago. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong”

Nine Tips for Saving Your Kingdom in Fire Emblem Fates [Pixelkin]

Prepare yourself for an all-out war, and keep your new friends, family, and allies alive with these tips.

Read the full tips guide at Pixelkin

Whichever version of Fire Emblem Fates you play, the biggest in-game decision has already been made for you. Your next decision should be reading these tips. Fates maintains the strict difficulty of its predecessors. Prepare yourself for an all-out war, and keep your new friends, family, and allies alive with these tips.

fire emblem fatesExpanded Weapon Triangle

Fire Emblem’s combat operates on a simple Rock-Paper-Scissors system with Axes-Lances-Swords. Fates adds ranged weapons into the mix, condensing magic into just a single category: Bows-Shurikens/Daggers-Magic respectively. Know which units and weapons are most effective at all times. You can always pull up the Guide at any time for a refresher, and double-check those up and down arrows in the fight summaries.

Examine the Map and Plan Ahead

Before each battle you can View Map to get a full perspective of the foes you’ll be facing and the general layout of the battle. Later battles can easily last over an hour. Take your time and analyze each enemy loadout and prepare accordingly. Lots of archers in a small map? Leave the fliers at home. Tons of cavalry? Equip those beast-killer lances. A wise 80s cartoon once said – knowing is half the battle.

Read the full tips guide at Pixelkin

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West

A fun XCOM-lite in a dark Western setting hampered by its tight indie budget and odd campaign structure.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: CreativeForge Games

Publisher: Gamibitious Digital Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 18, 2015

hard west banner

Hard West had all the right ingredients that got me excited about its Kickstarter campaign: tactical XCOM combat, Western setting, supernatural elements, choice-driven gameplay. The end result is something of a mixed bag, mostly due to its shoestring indie budget and odd campaign structure.

Hard West mostly tells a classic Western story of revenge. Warren loses his parents, then his girlfriend, then his life (life was rough back then, man).  He’s given a second chance with a not-so-subtle Deal with the Devil, and begins his quest for vengeance. Also an ill-conceived quest to bring back his dead girlfriend.

Now I said “mostly tells” because that story represents only a fraction of the total campaign. And here we come to the crux of my issues with Hard West. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West”

Fire Emblem Fates Review [Pixelkin]

The tale of family, love, and war remains captivating throughout each tactical battle in Fire Emblem Fates.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Fire-Emblem-Fates banner

Fire Emblem may not be as recognizable as Final Fantasy or Pokémon. But it is one of the most prolific franchises in gaming. Fire Emblem Fates combines the series’ trademark chess-like battles with building up relationships between your soldiers. The tale of family, love, and war remains captivating throughout each tactical battle.

The immediate biggest difference between Fire Emblem Fates and 2013’s Fire Emblem Awakening is the split story and dual release. Early on your avatar is forced to choose between two warring factions. It’s a critical decision that determines whom your allies and enemies will be for the rest of the game. It’s also decided for you depending on which version you buy.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

New Video – Pillars of Eternity Dragon Fight – Cail The Silent

My 2nd attempt at battling Cail The Silent, my first major dragon fight in Pillars of Eternity.

I don’t get the chance to really live stream or record very many gameplay videos or Let’s Plays these days. I did manage to sneak in a quick little video showing off my first major dragon fight in Pillars Of Eternity, a massive, old-school tactical RPG Kickstarted by Obsidian Entertainment in 2012 and released in March.

I’m really loving the hell out of Pillars of Eternity. For fans of the Golden Age of tactical computer role-playing games (late 90s, early 00s) and games like Baldur’s Gate, it’s absolutely a dream come true. Divinity: Original Sin, another phenomenal tactical RPG (and also crowdfunded) was my Game of the Year last year, and Pillars of Eternity is a strong contender for this year.

In this video I battle the fire dragon Cail The Silent. This is actually my second attempt at battling the beast, the first time I came extremely close but ultimately lost. My team consisted of my PC (melee chanter), Edér, Pallegina, Durance, Aloth, and Sagani, all level 8.