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Ovirew Blog

Child of Light: A Shining Classic RPG in the Rough

The other month I was pleased when Child of Light was given away for free on Games with Gold, since it was a game I'd been looking forward to since a few years ago on the PS3. I still hadn't gotten around to playing the game - needless to say I have a lot of options when it comes to video games I own. But finally my wife remembered that we had the game recently, and set about playing it.

And after like a day or two, she'd completed it, and had nothing but good things to say. I had been somewhat skeptical, having played my fair share of RPGs over the years, but seeing the game in action caught my attention. After all, it had been some time since I'd played the demo back when. When I started a save file for this game the other night, I expected a fairly casual RPG adventure. What I didn't realize was just how fairly meaty this game actually is.

In Child of Light you play as a young Princess named Aurora. According to the game's story she has died, following the separation of her parents, but somehow Aurora has continued living in a strange magical alternate reality where her kingdom of Lemuria is in shambles.

Aurora befriends a small teardrop creature, and sets out to help people and search for a way back home. Along the way she acquires a sword, and becomes capable of flying around after sprouting faerie wings.

You can control Aurora and fly all around the maps of each area, or walk on foot when necessary. Obstacles, such as thorny vines, will hurt Aurora and deal damage to her if she flies too close to them - providing an extra layer of focus to the gameplay.

The firefly/teardrop sidekick that follows Aurora around can be used to solve puzzles, unlock special kinds of chests, and gather some faraway restorative orbs with the right stick. As an added bonus, a second player can control this character on their own.

Monsters appear throughout maps, and when touched execute turn-based battle encounters. Battles are pleasantly more involved than in some simpler RPGs, restricting the player to two party members on the field at a time, though they can be switched out during turns.

The battle system reminds me a bit of Grandia in particular, since character turns are determined by speed, and can be canceled with well-timed attacks. There's also a pretty solid elemental system in place.

As Aurora and her comrades fight monsters, the firefly character can also aid the player by either healing characters or slowing down an enemy monster, at the cost of its energy supply. As battles wage on, he becomes depleted of energy, eventually having to gather more from a glowing 'wish flower', or else waiting for the energy to restore on its own.

Outside of battle, characters gain Skill Points, which can be spent to acquire attribute increases, new abilities, and more powerful forms of existing abilities. Planning out your characters' multiple pathways of skill growth is fun, and can change what is available to you in the present greatly.

You meet an assortment of party members as the game progresses, but during my playthrough so far I've met 3. Aurora is like your warrior, but she can also use Light offensive magic. Rubella is the party's resident cleric and healer. Finn is the elemental mage. And the rest of the characters fill familiar fantasy roles.

The game is quite endearing though, and I found myself genuinely liking the world and its characters. The fantastic art direction and rhyme-y dialogue also helps to make this an adventure any RPG fan can be fond of.

CoL doesn't feature character equipment, but does have an equipment system of sorts with Oculi. Oculi are these stones you'll sometimes obtain from chests and battles, which can be used to augment your weapon, armor and accessory slots for each party member.

Each oculi has an elemental affinity, for example Ruby is Fire, and has a different effect depending on which slot it is equipped to. The same oculi might grant you an elemental attack, an elemental resistance, or a chance to dodge attacks while you're casting a spell, depending on which slot you equip it to.

Furthermore, oculi adds a crafting system to the game. Adding three smaller versions of the same oculi together creates a more potent version, while mixing together different oculi produces different results entirely.

Even after playing the game for a few hours, I still have a lot to do in my save file of CoL. But I'm already very pleased with this game. I'd say it's one of the better RPGs of recent years, and it's certainly ambitious for being a downloadable title.

Though the game is still apparently short, it is still surprisingly good, and makes a fantastic example of just what a good RPG can be. From story and presentation, to battles and gameplay, Child of Light is pretty much a modern masterpiece of role-playing goodness.

Ubisoft found an oculi in the rough with this game, and I look forward to playing through it soon.

~ Ovirew

Planning for the Year Ahead

In case you missed any of them and would like to review any of my other recent blogs (since I've been posting so many recently), here are some links:

My E3 Opinions

Recent Buys

A few minutes ago I took the liberty of making some new stacks, specifically to keep track of many of the games I have my eye on right now, following E3. There's an average of 10-12 games I'm looking at for each game system, and as always I'm still not entirely sure which games I will definitely buy.

In total, there's roughly 40-50 games I'm following now - that includes games that are out and games that are in development that I want to get. Narrowing that down might be difficult, but maybe it'll come more naturally than I'm thinking it will.

In reality I will probably only pursue a certain number of games for each system through year's end. I will likely pick up many of the 3DS games I'm interested in over the coming months. I will probably buy a couple of indie games for both the ONE and PS4, and there will likely only be a few big games that I get for those systems by 2016. I can kind of try to map it out:

3DS: It seems likely that during Summer I'll get Majora's Mask 3D and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. It's hard to say if there will be any other pickups between now and August, though Smash Bros. may win me over sooner rather than later. The lower cost of 3DS games versus console games, along with my tendency to play handheld games more frequently than console games, means my 3DS wishlist might not take many hits.

PS4: The unfortunate reality is that not many new PS4 games are announced for late 2014. Tearaway Unfolded could be tempting, as it comes along at a fairly sparse time in early September, and only costs $40. I like Hotline Miami enough that I may want to purchase the original game in full, since I only own it now due to being a PS Plus member. Dragon Quest Heroes, which comes out in mid-October, is something I've been debating about ever since I first heard of it - maybe I will give it a chance since I am a fan of the series.

ONE: August pretty much guarantees I will be buying the Rare Replay - 30 games for $30, a tremendous value with an assortment of great games. Halo 5 comes out mid-October, and I may just have to day-one that as well. There are several indie games I have my eye on for the system, but a lack of concrete release dates makes planning purchases difficult. PVZ2 will apparently come along soon, but I'm not sure that I have time for one version of the game, let alone two. Until Gamescom takes place, it is unclear which other games will be released by year's end.

Wii-U: Admittedly the case for the Wii-U continues to look pretty sparse. Affording games for 3 consoles is challenge enough. 4 is pushing it way too far. At that point, passing on certain games just kind of happens. If I were to get the Wii-U, my first priority would be to get some games that my wife could play with me. I am not going to think about this any further for now.

Adding the total value of just these games, comes out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $350. That's already a pretty hefty investment, but who can say how things will go for certain? To look at the immediate future, I'd say I expect to spend $120 or so on games through mid-August. We'll see how that works out.

Decisions, Decisions...

After finally getting through route 5 on Pokemon Y with an Abra and a Plusle in tow, I decided that would be a good stopping point with that game for a few days. Now I'm thinking of finally hopping back into Ocarina of Time 3D, to experience that game once again.

On the PS4, I think that decision's pretty easy, I should resume my Final Fantasy X save file I started up recently. Haven't been in an indie mood lately, though.

On the XBO I'd really like to jump back into Dead Rising 3.

I guess that sounds like a plan. Now we'll see if I stick to that...

~ Ovirew

E3 2015 Thoughts

This year E3 was interesting for me because I own game systems from all three major companies. While I still don't have the Wii-U, and I have no plans of ever getting the Vita again, there was almost certainly something to look forward to on all fronts. There's no real debating that it was a good E3 event, all-around.

Of course, as usual, some of the shows went better than others'. I have my own opinions about what was good and bad, and what I'm looking forward to for the next year in gaming. So here is a rundown of some of the things I found interesting from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's camps:

Nintendo

Prior to their showing, Nintendo made it clear that the NX, Nintendo's mobile plans and Zelda Wii-U would not be discussed. We may not hear about any of those things again until 2016. Disappointing, to be sure, especially because mention of any of those things could have cemented interest in Nintendo during E3 this year.

Nintendo started off their event by unveiling Star Fox Zero, which Shiguru Miyamoto had announced he was working on a while ago, and which will undoubtedly be something for Wii-U owners to look forward to. I'm not a big SF fan, but one feature I did find cool is that your Arwing can transform into a bipedal chicken-looking land unit. All of the ships in the game can transform into a land rover of some sort, it seems. The Wii-U gamepad is also used as a cockpit camera and for navigation.

The problem is that Star Fox Zero, at least going off of the E3 trailer, really doesn't look that good - even by Wii-U standards. The graphics look like they belong to a Gamecube game, or at the very least something from the Wii. Platinum Games surely could have made a better Star Fox game... But maybe by the time it comes out it will actually see improvements. The bigger issue is probably that Nintendo had few surprises to show throughout the event.

Earthbound Beginnings was announced prior to Nintendo's E3 event, and is a port of the original NES game, translated into English. I applaud Nintendo for bringing their Japan-only games stateside, though this was one of few actual surprises at the event.

Yoshi's Wooly World was one of the highlights of the show, mainly because of the unique yarn and cloth inspired world of the game, much like Kirby's Epic Yarn before it. The game went on to score an average 6 out of 10 here on GS. On that same token, it really doesn't seem like it does much new for the series aside from its art style.

Fire Emblem If was renamed to Fire Emblem Fates, and new footage of the Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem Wii-U game were shown. But I didn't feel like there was much new stuff shown to really merit their being present at the event, other than to promise more good games are coming soon.

Xenoblade Chronicles X was shown again as well. I think it actually received a release date for later this year. This is good and all, but again not much else was really shown and it wasn't a surprise.

Probably one of the most negative notes of the entire thing, in my personal opinion, was the Animal Crossing Wii-U card game thing. You go out and buy these cards (Amiibo dead yet?) and scan them on your gamepad... And play Mario Party with the Animal Crossing characters? Why? I really don't know. It seems lousy and nonsensical though. The new 3DS Animal Crossing game is probably going to be alright, though it seems very redundant.

Equally as bad in my opinion was Zelda: Triforce Heroes. In addition to being another lousy Four Swords-style Zelda game, it reuses resources from A Link Between Worlds, and is set in a 'fashion-savvy' land where Link can change into different outfits to gain different abilities - including a dress.

One good bit of Zelda news was that Hyrule Warriors is being ported to the 3DS... Though that really probably isn't great news for Wii-U owners who need exclusives.

Two really great 3DS surprises came from the event. The first of which was Metroid Prime Federation. A lot of Metroid fans were unhappy with the reveal, but personally I am looking forward to it. Little is known about the story, but you play as a federation bounty hunter with a suit just like Samus', and the game has a co-op mode as well as a multiplayer soccer-like game where you use your blasters to shoot a large ball into the other players' net. The game also employs a super-deformed art style - something I don't take issue with, but something that a lot of Metroid fans would.

The other pleasant surprise was Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Mario & Luigi from that game series meet up with the Paper Mario versions of themselves, and team up with Paper Mario to perform various paper-themed attacks. Though I haven't given either of those series' enough attention, I think combining the two together was an unexpected stroke of genius. I may be interested in Paper Jam.

Probably the biggest thing at Nintendo's E3, again not a surprise but something that has been around since last E3, was Super Mario Maker. You can create your own Mario levels and use assets from Super Mario 1, 3, World and New, and mix and match them. You can have Mario flying around in a cloud shooting fireballs, you can have him wearing a spiny as a helmet, and you can make a totally impossible level if you'd like. The game was used to make the final challenge for the people who won the Nintendo Championship Contest at E3.

Thoughts: I don't want to call Nintendo's event disappointing, because for me there are quite a few games from the event that I am looking forward to. However, it simply was not a good E3 showing. Nintendo did little to inspire confidence in the troubled Wii-U, and in fact the best thing to look forward to on the system is Mario Maker... Which is essentially Nintendo giving you a tool and saying, "Make your own game."

The Big-N didn't have many surprises to show at E3, and those they did have were mostly aimed at the 3DS, or were already announced prior to the event. Nintendo also didn't have much in the way of big first-party games to show, certainly not anything with the reach of Zelda Wii-U.

At the end of the day, most of what Nintendo showed was games that they themselves are making, or are producing in partnership with other developers. And when you consider that, their showing was decent. Nintendo also has Zelda Wii-U in the works, as well as the NX and mobile games. So all things considered, there is still a lot coming down the pipeline from Nintendo.

Sony

Sony was the quietest of the bunch at E3 this year. I didn't watch their show, partly because I wasn't at home whenever it aired, and partly because after the fact I didn't see much reason to watch the entire thing. But Sony did unveil lots of interesting games, and had some surprises.

The biggest reveal of the whole conference was probably the Final Fantasy 7 remake. All we have to go on is a quickly-made, but still impressive trailer showing Cloud walking through Midgar with his buster sword on his back, but that was really all SquareEnix needed to really get peoples' attention. But let's not forget that this wasn't Sony, so much as it was SE.

SE also showed World of Final Fantasy, a game where you play as two twins going through an FF world and befriending monsters, and they can become chibi and ride upon the monsters or the monsters can become chibi and ride atop the twins. They showed Kingdom Hearts 3, which looks to end the series on a high note. They showed Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithfulness, which looks astonishing and, quite possibly, is the closest thing I'll have to look forward to a traditional JRPG for a while, turn-based goodness lacking. They also showed Nier 2, though only artwork for it, and it could be good though I've never played the first.... But it is connected to Drakengard.

Square Enix really did a lot for Sony's event.... And when you take that away, their show was somewhat lacking... But there were still plenty of other great announcements.

Shenmue 3, probably one of the most long-awaited games of the past decade, was announced by the series creator, surprisingly as a kickstarter project. Likely backed by Sony, the kickstarter was theorized to have helped show fan interest in the project, and ensure some extra content was made possible for the game. I have never played a Shenmue game before in my life, but I will say that I wouldn't mind doing so.

The other really big announcement of Sony's event, and one of the few that Sony really had something to do with, was The Last Guardian being shown and confirmed to be on the way for PS4. It's great that Sony finally made good on seeing this game through, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a game we've been waiting on for about 10 years - a game that lots of people bought a PS3 for, only to find that it kept going into development hell. This game's re-announcement, was really just long-overdue expected behavior.

Horizon Zero Dawn is being made by the Killzone developers and looks kind of decent, you play as a woman fighting robots with primitive weapons. Sony also showed more of Uncharted 4, which is worth mentioning. Street Fighter 5 is, of course, completely console exclusive.

For good measure, Sony is also making strides with its Vue TV device.

Thoughts: Sony had a good showing, but a lot of that is thanks to SquareEnix and a game that has been in development hell for a decade. Shenmue 3 being announced for kickstarter was a pretty unprecedented thing, and Horizon Zero Dawn does look like it could be an interesting new IP. The problem is that Sony didn't have a lot to show themselves, quite the opposite from Nintendo.

Sony needs to deliver on a lot of promises now. Creating hype is one thing, but following through is another entirely. A good example of this is No Man's Sky, a game which wowed crowds at last E3. In the game you can fly around to many proceedurally-generated worlds created by other players, and shoot at stuff in space. But little was really shown about what you do in the game, that makes it more interesting or even as interesting as a game like Minecraft. It is this lack of transparency that is hurting Sony in the long run.

That said, lots of great Sony games to look forward to. I didn't even mention Dragon Quest Heroes, Fat Princess Adventures, Hellblade or Tearaway Unfolded - any of which could also be decent.

Microsoft

The XBox team made an announcement ahead of E3 stating that several high-profile games would not be mentioned at E3, including Crackdown, Scalebound and Quantum Break. Also not mentioned was Phantom Dust, the progress of which is unknown at this point.

A lot of things were mentioned about Halo 5: Guardians, even right before E3. Locke and Chief are both playable and have their own teams of 3 comrades that follow them around as AI companions in the story. There was a HoloLens demo where holograms directed you to different waypoints. And then the biggest news of all was probably Warzone - big team multiplayer with a twist - you're also fighting against AI opponents! This frankenstein of a multiplayer mode will almost certainly be a welcomed thing.

A new IP was announced and a trailer was shown for Recore. It is the creation of the Metroid Prime team, and the creator of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune. Though no gameplay was shown, the premise is interesting already. You play as a girl who fixes up robots with blue 'cores' she finds, and they serve as her guardians and assistants whenever evil robots with red cores show up. The blue cores can be moved to different robot bodies. I am super-excited about this one.

Backwards compatibility was announced for 360 games. This extends to many downloadable games, and also DLC. I'm still foggy on the details, but I guess this means I will be able to play Toy Soldiers 1 and 2 again - possibly without paying another dime? Great news for people who want to play older games on their new console, I hope Microsoft continues to support this feature and make it work with every game, sans Kinect games. (It can't play them.)

Fable Legends, while lauded by the audience, still seems like a decent game to me. It is completely free anyways, so I don't see why people are whining!

Cuphead still looks great, and I think Microsoft intentionally kept the game from being released until now just so they could highlight their indie reel with the game. I also thought Ashen looked good, and would like to see more of that game in action.

Rare Replay was announced, and has 30 RARE games... For $30! Amongst the titles are all 3 Banjo-Kazooie games, Jet Force Gemini, both Perfect Darks, two Viva Pinata games, two versions of Battletoads, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Kameo: Elements of Power. It comes out later this Summer. And Rare is also making a new game called Sea of Thieves, which looks like a pirate MMO. ...Not really sure about that one...

Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was announced by EA. I felt like this announcement was sweet and sour - sweet because I like the first game, sour because it seems unnecessary and I'm not sure if I want to buy another one. I am kind of interested though. The game is likely multiplat, though.

Gears of War 4 was shown.... For fans of those games. Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is exclusive, was also shown. Forza 6 was also shown.

A new controller was shown that has changeable parts. It costs $150! I am not interested, but it's another hardware option for enthusiasts.

I felt like the Dark Souls 3 announcement made me kind of bitter. It's like there is a new one of these games every year now. Kind of over them.

The Hololens Minecraft demo was probably the biggest highlight of the event. It showed that you can play Minecraft in VR, on your wall. Then, you can load your minecraft world on a table, and move it around and zoom in and out of it while playing the game from the third-person perspective. HoloLens is probably going to change the world, and this really showed augmented reality being taken a step further than with the 3DS.

Thoughts: I honestly feel like Microsoft had the best overall E3, and hopefully I still feel that way when these games come out.

Halo 5 has gradually become more interesting with each year since its unveiling. And now Warzone makes possible CPU vs multiplayer battles.

I think Rare Replay shows Microsoft's value package of content for the year... And while I think it does little to show that Rare is still great, a point they should be striving to prove, at least it shows the majority of their best games in one place.

The backwards-compatibility announcement struck a clear blow against Sony, who has no real plans to make the PS4 backwards-compatible. It's true that any PS3 or Vita game I've already bought before that is made available on the PS4 is free to download, though, so Microsoft is only just catching up to Sony in some respects. But this really spells great things for the One, since the 360 was a very successful console with lots of memorable games.

Recore looks like a great new IP, and with the Metroid Prime team as well as the creator of Mega Man in tow, it is sure to be worth checking out.

HoloLens... Really just blew me away.

I felt like all of the bases were covered, for the most part. Was it the most amazing E3 ever? No, but it was very good. And I am excited about my XBox One again.

Final Thoughts

E3 2015 was big, and along with it came lots of games to look forward to. On my 3DS, PS4 and my XBO I have great games to look forward to, as well as the great games I already own. I am even still interested in the Wii-U, thanks to some existing and upcoming exclusives.

To be honest, I'm really not entirely sure where to go from that. For the time being, I think my focus is on collecting some of the 3DS games I want, but not even at a fast pace. I feel like Rare Replay and Halo 5 are going to be day-one pickups for me, and likely also Crackdown. Final Fantasy 7 and The Last Guardian are surefire day-one buys. I guess all that I really can do is get what seems most interesting first, and wait on the rest.

I don't mean to discount the Square-Enix, Bethesda, EA or Ubisoft shows... But I really didn't have time for all of that yet. As things stand, there are a lot of games fighting for my money. I have to use my head a bit.

Many indies will probably fall to the back-burner. Cuphead and Toy Soldiers 3 are two exceptions to this rule.

One thing is clear. Many of these games will probably fall by the wayside as others take up my attention.

~ Ovirew

New Purchases - 6-20-15

This past week I made a few new gaming purchases.

I managed to finally find a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for a fair price, and it arrived in the mail a few days ago.

Finding the game was a bit of a hassle, but I think it was worth the trouble. I remember owning it before, the time when I had my first 3DS, and it really was the highlight of that year for the handheld.

One thing I didn't notice so well the first time I owned the game, was just how impressive the re-master was. When you're away from a game for years and technology continues to improve, sometimes you forget the little things, like just how blocky a game used to be - or how dingy the lighting and textures were.

If there ever was a game that deserved praise for its excellent handling of game remastering - without changing too much of the original product - then Nintendo almost certainly brought home that award with OOT 3D.

Getting OOT 3D again really means a lot to me because it feels like it brings my 3DS collection full-circle, back to my first failed attempt with the handheld in 2011. It represents, to me at least, this new beginning with the New Nintendo 3DS. It's another chance to maybe actually beat Zelda OOT for the first time. And, it is also a great lead-in to Majora's Mask 3D, which I also plan on getting at some point soon.

I also finally caved in and bought the New 3DS charge cradle. I still feel like every 3DS should come with one of these - after they packed the launch 3DS with one, it has been strange to cope without one since.

I'd really forgotten how novel and efficient it is to just set your handheld into a charge cradle and then pick it up and go whenever you want to play. There's no cords to unplug and wrap up, and it gives my 3DS a stand of sorts, where I know it will always be whenever it charges.

It's maddening enough that Nintendo can't even pack in a handheld's charger, let alone the charge cradle these days. Best not to worry that company with too many other things...

Anyway, I think it was a surprisingly practical pickup.

But before all of those purchases, I made good on buying a new copy of Pokémon Y.

So far, this is what I've spent most of my time playing lately. It's been nice to jump back into Gen 6 after a year away from it, and relive some of those Kalos memories.

Pokémon Y is another game I owned but didn't get the chance to complete. It's funny, I was in the Shadow Dungeon on Zelda and on the final gym leader of Pokémon Y, before I gave up on those two games the first times around.

I must have restarted Y about 4 times since I repurchased it the other day, but I think I've finally settled in with my current save file. Just got Squirtle again, like old times!

I also picked up this bad-boy, the Midnight Forces Xbox One controller. It was entirely on a whim. I walked into the Microsoft Store minutes before closing time, and an associate was chatting with us. I felt like I had to buy something since I was there wasting their time, and then I spotted it... And I don't really regret the decision.

Way I see it is, I needed a second controller. I like blue. And now, I can maybe play some of those co-op games I have with my wife, if she ever wants to.

I'll probably want to buy a new charge kit at some point, but I really don't mind using batteries with these things. I have a bunch to use, anyways.

I don't really have enough time to talk about it, and I won't really get into it too much, but E3 2015 also happened this past week.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I still think that Microsoft had the best showing of the bunch. Like I still don't see how other people disagree with that, since I feel like Microsoft had a very well-rounded E3 and seemed to hit like every sort of checkmark on the list of must-haves for an amazing E3.

I will have to talk about it more next time. I also think some great games were announced for Nintendo and Sony systems, but I think Nintendo suffered from a lack of big surprises and third-party support, and I think Sony didn't have a lot of first-party stuff to show. Microsoft still has more planned for Gamescom, and I'm looking forward to it.

~ Ovirew

Catching Up - 6/13/15

This is really just going to be a quick blog entry, to bring everything up to speed.

So the wedding and honeymoon went well, and things have been back to normal for the past few days. Everything went by really fast, and things didn't necessarily go how I'd imagined they would, but it all worked out fine. Things don't feel like they've really slowed down though, life seems as busy as ever. This coming week I return to school, for starters.

I guess the main thing I'm looking forward to this week is E3. I'll probably make more blogs between now and the end of next week.

I did not have as much time to work on this blog entry as I'd figured I would, so I will end this for now. At least I have material for my next blog!

~ Ovirew

The Journey of 1000 Miles...

Tomorrow, in less than 24 hours, my fiancee' and I will officially be Husband and Wife.

The household has been abuzz for the past two days now with all manner of family, and tonight my parents and members of my family drove in to town. All things considered, it really hasn't been that bad - in fact there have been a lot of good moments interlaced throughout the busy-ness to make things flow pretty naturally.

I feel like everything is happening really fast. But at the same time, I don't really want things to drag on for too long. I guess I wish I'd had more time to spend with my family, doing things while they're in town - my fiancee's friends and family, also. Weddings give families a reason to see each other again, but unfortunately that doesn't guarantee that you'll have a lot of time to spend catching up or doing stuff together. It just means that they will be there for you. Of course my time spent with friends and family isn't over quite yet - there's the whole day tomorrow of the wedding and the reception.

Leading up to this wedding, I have had feelings mixed between nervousness and excitement. The last few days I'm happy to say that I've been more excited and joyful about the wedding than I have been nervous and anxious, though I still have occasional jitters.

I think the toughest thing for me, is that I'm not sure if I am the best person in the world for this girl. I'd like to hope that I am, but I know myself and I know that I am not perfect. Her family is throwing this event basically as a way to signify giving her away to me. ...To me - I'm entrusted to take care of her and make healthy choices with her in this relationship. That is a big responsibility, to be responsible for the person you love.

But the more I think about it... I don't think there is anyone else in the world who I would trust more to care for this woman, than myself. She is my best friend, and the person who has been there for me to talk to and grow with for the past 5 1/2 years. And I don't really want to imagine my life without her in it - I hope we can be a happy couple from here on out.

Maybe I'll never feel 'ready' to take this next step... But then maybe I already took that step, when I made my decision to be with this woman. : )

~ Ovirew

My Second Wedding...

In a little over a week, I'll be getting married.

It's something I'm simultaneously happy and worried about, and has given me reason to reflect on a lot of things in my life so far. And at this point, it seems like my only option now is to go through with it, and to see where my life leads me to after this big decision.

My real-life marriage is a big enough decision, but I'm facing something quite similar in one of my video games - Fire Emblem Awakening.

Up until recently, I hadn't given too much thought to who my character would marry in this game. Indeed, it wasn't until recently that I really even started looking into this feature of FEA, so I wasn't even fully sure whether my character could marry another character, or whom.

From the start of this play through, and during much of my play through when I owned the game the first time around a few years ago, I've been partial to marrying the character of Lissa.

Lissa has a lot going for her. For starters, she is an attractive character, and despite being labeled as a 'tomboy' seems to be an incredibly kind and feminine party member. She is Chrom's little sister, making her a member of royalty and important to the overall plot of the game. And, she joins your party at the beginning of the game, going on the entire journey from start to finish with your Avatar and Chrom.

I'm not entirely sure why I settled on this particular character, when there are many other options I haven't had the chance to consider! So, I decided to investigate, and see just how big the pool of female characters is, which I have to choose from.

As it turned out, your character can marry pretty much any character in the game. And this includes not only the initial main characters you meet, but also their children! Obviously, there are a lot of potential options, so deciding which character you want your Avatar to be in a relationship with (if any at all) requires a lot of forethought.

One thing that kind of bothers me about the game, however, is that despite your numerous pool of potential mates, certain choices don't really feel like fair options.

Take Sumia, for example. According to the game's canon, Sumia is Chrom's future wife. Every time you start the game and the opening sequence plays, you'll see Chrom and Sumia standing atop their castle with baby Lucina.

Sumia and Chrom don't have to get married, and Sumia doesn't have to be Lucina's mother. It's just one of many potential options. But when early missions suggest a hint of romance between the two characters (For example in Chapter 3 or 4, where Sumia saves Chrom's life by swooping down to catch him on her pegasus.) it makes it slightly difficult to imagine them not being together.

That isn't to say I wouldn't ever try to marry Sumia in some future play through. I think her character looks quite attractive as well, and I like her shy, clumsy personality. And if Chrom doesn't marry any other character by a certain mission, I'm told that he automatically marries the dancer who has been with the party the shortest amount of the time by that point, Olivia.

Looking at some other options, another early female character that stood out to me was Sully. From Chapter 2 or 3 onward, she is there pretty much for the entire journey.

Sully is essentially a tomboy, much more so than Lissa. She is tough, strong-willed, and bottles up a lot of her emotions because she is one of the heavy front-lines fighters in the party and likes to project a sense of independence and strength.

But deep down underneath that hard armored shell, resides a warm and welcoming woman that would be happy to find love just as much as any of the other female and male characters. And, she is quite the hottie.

I think Sully is a pretty cool character to have in the game. Actually, I think she reminds me a little bit of my fiancee', especially in the way that she will only really open up to those she cares most about.

Sully's doubles-attack battlecry is also one of the most entertaining (and perhaps revealing) I've heard thus far in the game. I can definitely appreciate a woman who likes it, "Quick and dirty!" now and again.

Another character I'm considering is Anna, the mysterious trickster and merchant from one of the paralogue missions I've completed.

She hasn't actually joined my party yet - I'm not currently sure when that will happen. But even without knowing much about the character I think she has an attractive design. Much like Sully, she is a redhead, so that is certainly a plus!

Anna is interesting because she has appeared in pretty much every Fire Emblem game. Okay, technically I guess it wasn't her - she has 'Nurse Joy' syndrome and every lady member of her family looks uncannily identical - and is also named Anna. And, all of these Anna ladies are exceptional business ladies, who act as merchants in FE.

Trickster Anna is a thief and a cleric, and seems to have a sneaky side hidden behind that cute face. Regardless, she has a good sense of right and wrong, as demonstrated when she turned on her associates and protected a town from being ransacked.

Lucina is yet another character who I could have my Avatar marry. I don't know Lucina's character very well, but any girl that dresses up like Marth and runs around protecting her ancestors is pretty awesome.

The kind of interesting thing about Lucina as a marriage option is that the Avatar already has a bond with her father, Chrom, so there's no weird "Meet the Parents"-esque introduction.

...Of course it gets kind of weird when I consider that a lot of my top contenders so far include Chrom's sister, his canon wife and his daughter.

It's probably surprising that a female Marth isn't my number one choice, but maybe that's partly because I have yet to recruit the character. I'm thinking, maybe on a future play through?

If I end up liking Lucina a lot, that's pretty cool since she is playable in Smash Bros. and Code Name: STEAM. I can even get her Amiibo! ...But it's kind of unfortunate that Robin is Robin, and not the Avatar that I created.

There are a lot of 'children' characters your Avatar can marry. And indeed, marriage in this game effects many things - the stats and inherited traits of children, the hair colors of children, and even what their class options are.

One character stands out due to having special dialogue options with the Avatar, which no other characters in the game have. They also stand out for numerous other reasons. That character is Tharja.

Tharja is most notable for being censored in the US version of FEA, simply because a buttocks in a bikini is too much for NOA to handle I guess. Their solution? Drape the player's cloak over her bum, so that way you can still see her bum and barely notice that she is even wearing any undies at all.

What makes Tharja attractive is that she has that sexy goth chick thing going on. She is also, according to the game, one of the characters with the nicest assets in the game world. Tempting, no doubt. Especially when coupled with the extra special dialogues.

Tharja could be the canonical wife of the male Avatar. That is a tempting enough reason to want to get to know her character better.

I've talked a bit about children characters with Lucina... There is also a villain character you can get to join your party and marry, named Aversa.

Aversa is tempting because... Well... Look at her, she is seriously just sex.

She is also apparently not a fully evil character, as she joins your party late in the game, and was really just a victim of the game's antagonists like all of the other protagonists.

At the end of the day, I will probably just stick with Lissa for my first play through of the game.

There are a lot of women to consider for marriage in this game, many more than I've mentioned here. And really, there is a lot to think about. Especially when you consider that in addition to marrying off your Avatar, you also have to marry all of the other characters to someone else. Or not. But you probably should.

Maybe Lissa is like that girl I knew as a child, the one that seemed like relationship material early on in life, but who I lost contact with over time. Or, maybe she is my chance to have a first crush that works out. I'm not sure. But for whatever reason, I want my character to be with her. It just seems... Right.

...And, ahem! If that is also going on, it really only makes my decision a whole lot easier. ^_^;

~ Ovirew

Out of my Control

Something I got to thinking about a few minutes ago, as my mind wanders in the wee hours of the morning, is about my general interactions throughout life with other people.

I'm not sure why, but there have been a lot of times in my life where I felt like people kind of ignored me and looked over me. Granted, I probably didn't do much to make myself stand out, but then I usually didn't want to. Maybe I put myself on a pedestal sometimes, and expect that I have this special something that people are looking for. But then maybe I also get disappointed when someone gets chosen over me, and I can find something about them that bothers me.

Then there are times where, and this kind of happens a lot these days, people kind of assume I know more than I actually do... And start to assume I have answers to certain things that I really have no clue about. Maybe that's because I'm getting older, and I've earned some of that leeway due to my age. Maybe it's because I can write well and have a fair basic grasp of English. I guess I wish I did have all the answers.

But then all too often, I just feel like my thoughts don't really impact other people. That's okay, everyone is entitled to having their own opinion and not mine. I just run into these situations where two sides are arguing over some issue, and I can try to give my input, but it doesn't really change anything about how the two sides feel. It's like people are just gonna continue to think how they think, they don't really look at things logically or try to empathize.

Occasionally, I say and do things I regret. I just don't always know what I want at any given time. Life is a lot of things, insert just about any adjective. It is easy to get caught up in your feelings, and not give enough thought to the entirety of yourself.

Anyway, that is just what's on my mind right now.

I sometimes think that I would change a lot of things I've said and done if I could, but then I know I did what I did because at the time it seemed like the right solution. And there are always more barriers to doing anything than you'd initially think. If I could go back in time with the knowledge I have now, there's still the challenge of school and peers like there always was, and there's that whole new aspect of the unexpected whenever I would decide to pursue some alternate course. There's still other people, and the environment, and your own mental barriers as well.

Good news is, I am not doing horrible. Things are going ok. This quarter of school is winding down, and the wedding is only a few weeks away. My relationship and my friendships seem to be going well. But other people are really difficult to deal with, because they are factors that I definitely can't control.

Quick Update - 5/11/15

I've been fairly busy lately, with my 4th quarter of college winding down and the wedding coming up right behind it. I'm getting pretty eager for the wedding to come, so it can be over with and so I can have a little vacation away from school and work to reflect on my life right now.

Since my last entry, I got my New Nintendo 3DS!

It's really been great, though I haven't gotten to play it nearly as much as I'd like to. I just reached a part in Xenoblade where it feels like the game is beginning to come together and the battle system is showing its awesomeness. I gotta say, the battle system is actually pretty refreshing, and not even quite what I'd expected. That game is packed to the brim with quests though - like so many quests that I'm not entirely sure how many I still have waiting for me to start them. And hopefully, I'll still be able to complete all of them.

I still wish that I could get my hands on one of those Japanese charge cradles for the N3DSXL. I don't really want to risk it though, in case I buy it only to find out it's not for the XL, or that it won't work because of some localization revision. It's beyond me why Nintendo stopped including charge cradles after the launch 3DS's, but then I also don't understand why they'd cut the much-needed charge cable from the package.

I also started a new save file on Fire Emblem Awakening, of course, but was surprised to discover that I've been skipping over a useful mission where you get a villager to join your party. It will be nice to get past the showdown at the arena mission already, so I can really dig into the meat of this game.

Yesterday was stressful, but I finally managed to finish a paper and slideshow for an assignment. My grade is still poor in the class, but I'm hoping that by finishing the last couple of assignments by next week, I can pass. I've discovered that general-ed classes are really my least-favorite thing in college. I know I'm a little behind in my programming class, but at least that is interesting and could be highly useful.

The next four weeks might not be easy, but I hope that they'll at least be positive for me.

~ Ovirew

On My Flip-Flopping...

Today I kind of wanted to do a 'general update' sort of blog, but also kind of touch on a topic at the same time.

So anyone that has followed me for a while, or who has seen me around the forums over the months, is probably really confused by my behavior. I know it's probably not easy to follow such a flip-flopper:

For almost a year I've owned the XBox One. Prior to that, for a few months, I owned a 3DS XL. Not too long before that, I got the PS4. At the beginning of that year, I got the PS3. The year before that I got the Vita. The year before that, I picked up the launch 3DS. And in 2010 I picked up an XBox 360 and a Nintendo DS Lite - for the second times.

And of course, that doesn't really count my bouts of interest in certain PC games: WoW, RuneScape, Bloons Tower Defense 5.... And mobile games, and the like.

The unfortunate reality is that I react emotionally to everything without really looking at things logically, and I have a difficult time imagining things beyond the present. Were I a little smarter with my money, I probably would have held off buying my first 3DS until it had a great library of games established for it. Were I a little more patient, I could have been content with the enhanced port of Ocarina of Time on the 3DS.

Not to excuse my own stupidity, but maybe part of the reason for my behavior is I really just have to see what's going on across all fronts, before deciding which game system I enjoy the most. I had to find out for myself firsthand what the ups and downs were of this or that game system. And I had to see time unfold, and realize which recent games I enjoyed the most.

It's probably not such a huge surprise that I keep coming back to Nintendo, after time with other systems. Simply put, they make some of my favorite game IPs and view games probably more the way I do than any other developer and publisher. They have nostalgia to draw from, but also push themselves to maintain a certain level of quality, and to innovate in ways that other game companies usually don't think to.

It's obvious that there's some problems there. I realize that Nintendo has dated policies, and really could use some modernizing. I realize that the company makes a lot of backwards or questionable decisions. And I'm fully aware that they haven't made many new, successful IPs in a while. Believe me, I think it's straight-up redonkers that the New 3DS XL doesn't include a charger.

But despite all of that, I can still overlook all of those negatives in favor of the great things Nintendo is doing. And I don't think there's much of a question that I value Nintendo more than XBOX and Playstation. Sure, maybe they don't always make sense, but I can get behind Nintendo. I don't think graphics make the game, and I don't think games should be these throw-away things that we produce each year and then move on from.

I wasn't a big fan of the Wii, but I think their goal with that system was to make a game system that appealed to a more diverse group of people. And maybe for one hot second Nintendo accomplished that goal. For a while you were seeing people from all walks of life become inspired by the Wii and its implementation of motion control, and concepts like being able to create your own Mii.

The Wii did many things wrong, but it sold well and accomplished that feat.

And really, if you think about it, the Wii was literally a picture of Nintendo's company values.

It wasn't powerful, but power and graphics don't make a great game. It couldn't play DVDs, but multimedia wasn't the focus of gaming. It was backwards-compatible, to promote the idea of games lasting the test of time. These are all things I can agree with, even if the result was lousy.

Today I got thinking about the upcoming Wii-U game Splatoon. A lot of people are on the fence about the game right now, because it was announced that the game won't support voice-chat and it won't have custom multiplayer options. That's among other things. It's also a non-violent online shooter.

I never really thought about it til now, but Splatoon is probably everything I want in an online game. I don't care if it's realistic or bloody, and I 'get' the cartoony atmosphere they're going for with squid-ink battles.

I don't care that there's no voice-chat, since I rarely use voice chat in online games anyway, and I tend to dislike how people talk on mic. Bear in mind that in recent games it's actually a pain in the ass to even mass-mute other players, so I get irritated having to listen to them.

I don't care too much about customization of matches for online play, since it divides up the community and makes it harder to find a match. It's the same reason why that kind of stuff isn't allowed in SSB's online mode, if I'm not mistaken. (Even though that game has two incompatible versions...)

Maybe I'm a little interested in Splatoon. Another possibility should I ever buy a Wii-U. We'll see.

Otherwise, all systems still seem to be go to pick up a New Nintendo 3DS XL this week. I am excited about it! I guess we'll see what other expenditures I have to cover.

~ Ovirew