Fire Emblems Warriors: Three Hopes Is More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

I’ve been playing a lot of Fire Emblems Warriors: Three Hopes lately. It has been a lot of fun, since it combines one of my favorite entries in the Fire Emblem series with a style of game I’m fairly new to (at least in terms of the lifespan of the game type) but definitely enjoy. I was introduced to the Warriors style of game by the IP crossovers they have been doing lately (again, an incredibly subjective term), namely the previous Fire Emblem game and the two Legend of Zelda entries, but I’ve never really finished any of them. I think I’ve gotten through the plot on one of them (the original Hyrule Warriors game), but I also didn’t play that one alone. My roommate and I took turns playing through it and I doubt I’d have made it through to the end without a friend along for the ride. I genuinely enjoy the games since a relatively mindless beat’em’up style game appeals to me when I’m tired or not terribly interested in being challenged, but I’ll admit the previous games didn’t really catch my attention in a way that made me choose them over any other game.

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Is It Worth Unearthing the Good Game Beneath the Bad Battles in Paper Mario: The Origami King?

I was recently struck by the urge to replay Paper Mario and, instead of going through the hassle of digging out my old systems or signing up for the more expensive Nintendo Online account so I could play it on my Switch, I’ve spent my time finally playing through Paper Mario: The Origami King. I bought it shortly after it came out two years ago, based on some reviews I read, started playing it right before I moved into my current apartment, and then never played it again after moving. I’d gotten distracted by getting my wisdom teeth removed and the PS4 I purchased with the moving and dental work budget I had leftover when those were all finished. Ghost of Tsushima was incredibly compelling and I had some other PS4 games I still hadn’t played. I barely even used my Switch for months.

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Let’s Game It Out is Video Game Hilarity To Die For

One of my favorite passtimes when I’m feeling down is to browse through videos on the YouTube channel “Let’s Game It Out.” A zookeeper friend introduced me to this creator (who goes by Josh in his videos) when one of his videos about an unethical zoo showed up in some of her zookeeper circles a few months before the pandemic kicked off in the US. It started a pleasant night of YouTube video watching, almost entirely focused on this guy’s videos, and had us all laughing so hard we were crying. It was a lot of fun for a single evening that eventually tapered out when we realized we were out of zoo-related videos to watch, and it wound up being one of the last times we gathered as a group for a long while. With everything that happened in the start of 2020 and then that happened as the pandemic revved up, I completely forgot about the videos until last summer.

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Chuck Wendig’s “The Book Of Accidents” Was An Amazing But Emotional Read

Content warning for discussions of abuse (non-specific) and cycles of abuse. While this post contains many of the elements of a review, it is also about my own experience with cycles of abuse and what this book means to me as a result. If that’s not something you’re interested in, or if it is something you’re going to struggle with, I suggest avoiding this post. Pretty much every paragraph includes some non-specific discussion of abuse and cycles of abuse, so there isn’t anything below this paragraph to read if you’re thinking of just skimming past those bits.

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Closing Thoughts On Death’s Door

I finished Death’s Door. I have officially completed 100% of the game on the switch, experienced all the game has to offer (unless there’s more secret stuff I have somehow missed), and am thoroughly satisfied. I have a lot of notes about how it could have been better, but honestly it’s like taking notes on how a pizza could be better to the granular level of “there were only 9 pieces of pepperoni on this slice, 1.7 pieces lower than the average per-slice pepperoni count.” A lot of it has to do with the ease of commenting on something already made than making something better from inside it. It wasn’t one of my top 10 games, it wasn’t something that hit me hard like Celeste, and it isn’t something I’ll replay for years like Breath of the Wild. It was a very fun, enjoyable game that I looked forward to playing, even after I completed the main story beats and was working on the fiddly, specific collection and secret-finding phase. Given how many games fail at being this thoroughly and consistently good, I feel like this should be taken as enthusiastic praise.

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Death’s Door is a Delightful Adventure

One of the games I picked up as a result of skimming “Top Games of 2021” lists is a small game called “Death’s Door.” It’s a cute, delightful adventure game featuring a Crow playing the part of a reaper of souls who travels through doors to various places to collect said souls. At the start of the game, you get sent to collect a cartain soul, defeat the monster whose soul it is, and then go off on a crazy adventure in order to finally collect this soul so your assigned door can be properly closed and you can return to being immortal. Armed with a dodge roll, a magic bow, and a sword (also an umbrella you can find pretty early and few other weapons you find throughout), you battle the various monstrous creatures that inhabit the worlds you pass through and use their soul energy to make yourself stronger for the challenges ahead.

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Music For Any Mood: Check Out Louie Zong

One of the artists I’ve been enjoying a lot over the past year or so is Louie Zong. As both a visual artist and musician, he brings a lot to the table. Between his youtube channel where he posts music he’s made–and sometimes little videos–and the various shows he has and is working on, he’s impacted three major parts of my life. Technically four, since I found out about the podcast “Wonderful” from a piece of art he shared on twitter and while he just did the cover art for the podcast, I wouldn’t have found it without following those threads despite following all the other major podcasts the McElroy family do.

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Playing At Righteous Wrath But Only Managing Indignant Pique

So, I finally beat (sorta) Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and started playing Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. P:K was a bit of a letdown because the alignment system actually factored pretty heavily into the decision-making process for running my kingdom and had some incredibly significant impacts on the “post-game wrap-up” storytelling of the playthrough I finished. I didn’t get the long ending, since my character was content to let things shake out the way they did and just be finished with the whole farce, but my freedom-loving chaos mage apparently was a terrible ruler despite promoting mercy above all else and created a police state using magical surveillance technology. Still not sure what that came from, though I do know some of my advisor meetings kinda glitched through the cutscenes because I was doing a lot of saving and loading to get good outcomes because I didn’t want to deal with that shit. Anyway. I finished that and started the next game.

Wrath of the Righteous starts out pretty intensely, with a decent helping of mystery and stakes that are amped up pretty much instantly, but that was a nice follow-up to the expanded character creator whose UI is… Well, parts of it are better, but not all of it. It’s difficult to get a full-picture of your character when creating them or leveling them up, information is hidden in weird places, and some choices aren’t terribly intuitive. The greater number of options is nice, but the fact that information like which attributes matter most for each class and class variation being hidden in different text windows makes trying to figure out where my points need to be spent a pain in the ass. Especially since some of the class variations change what your primary attribute is. But that’s mostly a problem for Pathfinder as a whole than something tied specifically to this game. They just don’t fix the problem in the game.

After all that, though, the improvements show up. Being able to rotate the camera is nice, though it is made necessary by the somewhat cluttered environment you find yourself in at all points of this game so far. Since things are only transparent in a small bubble around your character, you have to get used to rotating the camera on top of moving it around, zooming, and managing your party. It gets very onerous in large battles that involve multiple angles of approach, too. It is a necessary skill to learn, though, because an object being transparent doesn’t actually mean it isn’t there. Clicking in the wrong place (on the roof of a house that was rendered invisible by your party, for instance) can have nasty ramifications in battle because you think you’re attacking an enemy but really you’re sending your character through an entire mob of foes to be ruthlessly cut down as they walk to the nearest reachable point to the invisible roof you clicked on.

Camera gripes aside, I do enjoy the fact that being persuasive and having a high-charisma no longer feels absolutely necessary to the game. I still made a high-charisma character and didn’t change off it when I got the option to retrain them because I like playing that type of character, but I no longer feel like that’s my only good choice if I want to do everything. I could easily see myself playing a different class some time in the future. Maybe a fighter, barbarian, or something more melee-based than my usual style.

I’ll also say I’m a bit frustrated that so many characters seem to be good at rogue skills early on because I built my sorcerer to be good at those things as a fun build idea and it wound up being so incredibly redundant. Half the characters I got initially could do those things as well as, if not better than, my character could. And not one single character was smart until I got through the whole long introduction section and into the exploration section. I actually missed a bunch of stuff early on because none of my people had any of the knowledge skills. I even got a whole pile of magic items I couldn’t properly use because no one had a decent Arcana skill. Seems like a bit of an oversight to me, given the importance of magic items to this game.

Well, I’ve aired all of my grievances now, so I think I’ll wrap up. I’m a bit too early in the plot to really comment on that (I had some install troubles and started the game 72 hours after release, but I’m not sure I can blame the game for this one since one of my hard drives might be corrupting), but it seems interesting so far. Much more so than P:K’s was since that amounted to “become a king and find out who is fucking with your attempts to become a king!” It’s definitely worth playing and hopefully future patches will continue to iron out the problems. If nothing else, P:WotR is in a much better place at launch that P:K was. Solid progress.

Still, as the title suggestions, I’m not sure where “Wrath of the Righteous” enters into the equation. Sure, demons are bad and they shouldn’t be in our world, but that’s more of a “fighting off an invasion” type thing. Righteousness has nothing to do with fending off a murderous invasive species. So far, the only “Righteousness” I’ve seen is the kind that is Good twisted to commit acts of Evil that has me wondering how all these god-empowered assholes could still be granted powers by their gods when they’re torturing and executing people without trials.

DOOMed to Enjoy This Franchise

In the recent years of my life, I’ve grown to appreciate the run’n’gun style of games. I suppose you could say that it began with Halo back in the day, but I don’t think I really appreciate the genre/style until I started playing DOOM (2016). DOOM’s simple mechanics, fast-paced combat, and loose approach to storytelling made it a very fun game to sit back and play when I was too stressed or tired to invest in a game. Most of the story was told through codex updates and the occasional speech you couldn’t walk away from, which means it was mostly there for you to find if you wanted to look for it while it stayed out of the way the rest of the time. Doom Guy even leans into it, punching screens and breaking things rather than listening to exposition or operating instructions.

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Retreading Familiar Ground in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The first and only Animal Crossing game I’ve ever played longer than a day (I borrowed one in college but didn’t have the time to do more than make a character) was the original one on the GameCube. That isn’t a result of a lack of willingness on my part so much as a result of my disconnect from buying new games during college (I think the only new game I got while I was in college was Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) and my lack of free time as a post-college adult. I’ve always had something come up that make a time-intensive and daily play game like Animal Crossing prohibitive.

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