Prelude to the Review: Quest to Acquire the Game on Launch
Subtitle: Another Reason to Hate GameStop
If you are up on your gaming news and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this game, then you already know about the shipping error that occurred with FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING’s release. But I didn’t…and got up 2 hours earlier than usual to grab a copy before work on February 4th. I planned out my route to hit GAMESTOP stores on the way to work. The first two were closed when they should’ve been open…guess someone was late. The third one had a single employee in there. I went in, scanned the wall briefly, and noted there was no FIRE EMBLEM on the 3DS wall. Whatever, maybe they put new releases in a different stack – GAMESTOP hides the real copies of games behind the counter, anyway. The sales girl at the cash register was well put together, with her hair done, makeup on, and a glittery halter top under her brown cardigan. I asked her about FIRE EMBLEM, and she said they didn’t have any because of a shipping error – which was the manufacturer’s fault, and NO stores had this game. Not even Amazon or Best Buy, just…no one. GAMESTOP would have it tomorrow.
And that’s all fine…bad news, but it’s alright…..if it had stopped there.
She asked me if I had pre-ordered the game.
The saleslady went on to lecture me…full on lecture me for several minutes (if you’ve ever done public speaking, you know how long 5 minutes can feel) about how it was stupid of me not to pre-order and how I will not be able to find a copy of this game for WEEKS. Not unless I buy the FIRE EMBLEM bundle with the 3DS console. That bundle is a rip off anyway! I looked in to it several weeks ago, and it’s the regular 3DS, not the XL. The real dealbreaker to me, aside from that, is this: FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING is pre-loaded on the system. You don’t get a cartridge! That means I can’t ever share it with my friends, plus the added paranoia of having only a digital copy that I can’t easily back up. I don’t know how to navigate my 3DS the way I can navigate a PC; at least on Steam, they said they will give you 2 years to download and burn an install disc for your games if worst comes to worst for the company. Not that I believe Nintendo will go under while I am still a gamer. I just have better peace of mind with a physical copy…and if I’m expected to drop $200+ on something, I ought to get what I want for that price.
And what is up with trying to shame me for not pre-ordering? There is just no point, it’s not like that changes anything in this situation right now. Everyone with a pre-order is still not getting their game. Places like Target and K-mart are still gonna have copies of Fire Emblem….I don’t think it’s nearly as popular as she was making it out to be here. Moreover I don’t fully care about waiting. Or at least…I didn’t till she infuriated me.
That lit my fire, but I am trying to be a good person in 2013. “Thank you,” I said to the lady, after her long-ass spiel, and left the store.
I rage-texted my boyfriend about what had transpired; he got on the internet and gave me the greatest news ever…
Yes, no store in the US has FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING on it’s official launch date of February 4th.
No store….except NINTENDO WORLD!!!!! That amazing place!!! Hahaha. It was already time for me to go to work, but he called them and everything for me to see if there were copies in stock. I raced over, literally running on the streets, during lunch time to pick up a copy. Undoubtedly they have more copies in the back, but when I grabbed one it was the 2nd to last. Some other girl from the Netherlands came in, also asking if they had Fire Emblem. Just thought it was cool that 2 non-ugly girls were shopping for a war game :)
The hardest thing that day, besides not jumping the counter and ripping apart the GAMESTOP girl for lecturing me about pre-orders and Power Up loyalty cards (seriously, they do this to me every time I step in to that store and I’m so sick of it!! One employee even tricked me in to signing up for their loyalty card when I didn’t say I wanted to…he just asked for my email while ringing me up, I thought it was for a newsletter)……was not playing this game as soon as I got it. Had to wait to get home, after work….hours and hours later…!!
FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING is the most awesome game ever. Kotaku.com had it right when they said, “If you have a 3DS, you should play Fire Emblem: Awakening. If you don’t have a 3DS, you should get one to play this game. It’s that good.” That link, by the way, certainly has some good tips for those who have never played the F.E. games. Like I mentioned in my hyped up excitement post from before, they ironed out all the kinks in the gameplay! Smooth transitions to everything, no waiting around between animations and executions. There’s a ton of information on the 2nd screen of the game, and that may overwhelm those who are new to the game. But it’s also not a mandatory thing to pay attention to. It’ll certainly make you play “smarter” if you read all that stat info there, but you don’t necessarily need it to plan out your attacks.
The graphics are amazing during the movie sequences; the hair, the eyes – everything about bringing anime-style to 3D characters has finally evolved in to a thing of beauty. Nintendo has mastered it, and this feat deserves much praise if you have seen how bad anime-style 3D characters have looked from 10 years ago. Sometimes I can hardly believe it’s 3D; it’s just toon shaded SO well. The 3D characters (non toon-shaded) during regular dialogue and during 1-on-1 battle animations are alright. Still a bit chunky with rough edges, but I am alright with it. I didn’t expect PS3 graphics from this handheld console. The 2D graphics show up during dialogue boxes, in traditional JRPG style – talking heads that sometimes are drawn with different emotions for the characters.
It’s hard to get my iPhone to take a good picture of a 3D-stereoscopic screen when it only has one “eye” :P But I assure you, the 2D drawings look CRISP and beautiful, with rich colors. When I played the ADVENTURE TIME game – another 2D game in stereoscopic – it was also absolutely crisp and beautiful. What’s neat about the 3DS is that even though the actual amount of pixels on the screen is pretty poor…especially when compared to Apple retina displays…everything appears SMOOTH and beautiful when you turn up the stereoscopic 3D. This is because you aren’t looking directly at just the pixels, you’re looking at a blend of two projections…hence the smooth lines… It’s really awesome….that’s my theory anyway. The voice acting is very good as well. I was hoping they would leave the Japanese audio track in to switch to, like Ni no Kuni does, but most likely a small 3DS cartridge simply doesn’t have the space…I’m theorizing again. But the American acting sounds great, and you lack for nothing. The music is good, exactly what you’d expect from the F.E. series, but after a while I started to just turn down the music on my 3DS and listen to my own “battle” songs on Spotify. When you restart as much as I have been, the “Level Up!” sound effect loses a bit of luster, haha.
Last thing I want to talk about is how difficult this game is…in true Fire Emblem form. And I love it for that reason. It’s definitely been a long, long time since I faced a real challenge of the mind in a game…and it has nothing to do with gameplay kinks and frustrations – since AWAKENING has none! Any hardship you face is purely because you yourself suck at playing! Hahaha. I’m playing with permadeath on (“Classic mode”), which everyone should do for the true Fire Emblem experience, and on the mid level difficulty. The choices are NORMAL, HARD, and EXPERT. And wow, I can’t imagine what Expert is like….Hard is really freaking hard :( I’m struggling and I’m only on Chapter 5…which I’m assuming is about 1/4 in to the game. This level is particularly tough because I have 2 hostages/refugees to save from the middle of the map, with the enemy flanking me from two sides, and enemy reinforcements are constantly flowing in. I know what I have to do in theory, that is easy enough to see. The trouble is executing it with my units.
I’ll post again with my overall feelings for the game once I finish it, but wow. I am SO happy I got a 3DS, I am so happy to be playing FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING. I haven’t been this excited for a game in a really long time, and the abuse it gives me makes me feel so deliciously masochistic….it’s wonderful. Even though I keep having to soft-reset to save my units from permadeath, this game is so good I do the opposite of hating it. If Fire Emblem is the only game I ever buy for the 3DS, I have no regrets. WORTH IT.
Last pic to end the post… My semi-failed zipper bag from Sewing Class, which I didn’t post about before out of disappointment. It was my first time putting in a zipper, and zippers are fucking hard T__T And I don’t swear lightly. I accidentally sewed too close to the metal and thus the zipper doesn’t open all the way…and it’s a little deformed…but turns out it’s perfect to keep my 3DS, the power adapter, and my headphones clean! Plus a microfiber cloth for me to wipe down the dual screens…they attract dust and hair a lot. I’m just happy this bag didn’t end up to be a waste.