Even after about forty hours of Fire Emblem: Engage, my opinion of the game hasn’t changed. If anything, I’m starting to feel like I signed up for a task and am personally obligated by my sense of propriety to finish it. Too much of that forty hours is puttering around in chores, trying to do the extra missions, and figuring out the hard way that I’m never going to complete the character support stuff I want to pursue. There’s too much of it and the methods of building support between non-player characters is too frustrating and exhausting to work with. I’ll admit I was pretty spoiled by Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but most of the games before this one also had a huge number of ways to increase inter-character support while the latest entry in the series has battles, meals, and the training stuff that randomly throws another character into a training match with the character you selected. Even thought they’ve added a new support building system since I originally wrote this (more DLC and a free update dropped after last week’s Nintendo Direct), it’s still a very clunky, slow system in a game that gives you a huge number of characters. All in all, it’s a bad system, for a lot of reasons.
I think a lot about quitting. I have a ton of other games I’d like to play, the money to buy them, and lots of motivation to try anything other than more FE:E. The main reason I’m still playing it is because I spent a month before the game came out planning to spend a ridiculous number of hours investing myself in the game. I was so excited. Now I can barely remember the plot and am absolutely uninterested in how the story turns out. I actually tried to just jam through story missions for a little bit, to make some progress, and I just did not care about what was happening on the screen. At this point, I should probably just look up the plot, watch videos of the support conversations, and then just move on with my life. The point of playing games is to have fun and I’m definitely not having fun right now.
As I propose this idea to myself, though, I find myself flinching away from it. It feels a lot like giving up on something I cared about and I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to push past that feeling agian. I’ve been dealing with that feeling and it’s sibling (the feeling of giving up on something I think I SHOULD care about) pretty consistently this year and I’ve had about all I can take of it. It genuinely seems like it would be easier to just power through this boring, unengaging game while listening to a comforting podcast than to put in the mental effort to set it aside without regret and self-recrimination. It would, admittedly, be a lot easier to do if I didn’t still need to buy most of the other games I want to play. It’s difficult to convince myself to spend more money when there’s still game left to play on something I just bought. The two things are teaming up to keep me playing this game and it’s frustrating to know that they’re more effective at that than the game is.
A significant part of me wishes I just hadn’t bought the game. That I’d paid heed to the reviews of the game and simply waited a week rather than bought it the day it came out. Then I wouldn’t feel waves of guilt every time I though about spending sixty bucks on this game. I mean, I’ve spent more money on games I’ve played less and way more money on Steam games that I’ve never played at all, so it shouldn’t be this difficult to move on in concept. It’s just the confluence of everything going on that’s making it difficult to muster up the effort required to move on.
I think that writing through this has helped, though. I don’t know if I’m going to entirely move on (there is, after all, some comfort in losing myself in the strategic battles of this game and that, thankfully, has been worth my time), but I do think I’m going to set aside Fire Emblem: Engage for tonight and spend some more time playing through Tunic (even if the difficulty of the game is more than my exhausted, frazzled, and drained mind can easily handle). Even if that game kicks my ass more often than Fire Emblem does, at least I’m enjoying myself while it happens.