Game Journal Crawling through games Page 2

Started by Devalue February 21st, 2021 5:55 PM
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Trashed some less necessary attachments on Page 1. Should load better now. Learned to be more sparing with images.

Grim Fandango: Remastered
Entered this game with uncertainty. Enjoyed Monkey Island as a child. Acquired a distaste for puzzles since then. Handled Day of the Tentacle's puzzle without much issue, though. Remembers Monkey Island fondly due to humor, also, not gameplay.

Praises it for the unique setting. Occurs in the land of the dead. Acts as a travel agent to the newly-dead. Sends people to their final destination on a train...if they were good. Handed a cane with a compass to one bad skeleton.

Contains various complexities as well, including a criminal element. Kills skeletons by "sprouting" them with a flower bullet. Highlighted exploited laborers and prisoners throughout the game. Never felt too dark. Would have preferred something a little more lighthearted, though.

Fared okay on the humor front. Liked most lines where the other characters cut in outside of conversation. Example: Looked at Eva. "It's my boss's secretary, Eva." Responded, "It's my boss's whipping boy, Manny." Informs you of your place in the story right out of the gate. Cannot recall any amusing uses of items, unfortunately. Wanted to hold onto the Robert Frost balloon animal far longer, though.

Felt a little mixed on characters. Warmed up to Glottis, your driver, as a constant, faithful companion. Viewed Manny, the main character, with a bit of sideeye. Seemed unnaturally fixated on Mercedes Colomar. Understands wanting to help, especially with few other options. Felt forced before long. Spoke together for not even five minutes. Waited for a year at Rubacava. Smacked Manny with a bottle and left after that year. Seemed undeterred by this.

Dropped the ball hard on gameplay, unfortunately. Names the Petrified Forest as an awful place. Committed missteps there seen throughout the game.
1. Tasks you with toppling a petrified tree. Hooked machinery up to it. Tricked Glottis into climbing up it. Threw the switch to send them spinning. Was insufficient, however. Needed to pinch the lines to the equipment with a wheelbarrow. Visably changed the timing of the device's four pumps. Caused no other indications of progress, however. Knew what to do solely thanks to a walkthrough.
2. Presents you with a forest clearing. Shows many paths. Goes nowhere. Needed a signpost from a screen earlier. Noticed it due to knocking it over. Could not interact with it at all while driving, however. Never changed the cursor. Assumed it to be background. Had to exit the vehicle.

Grabbed the signpost. Dragged it to the clearing. Set it down. Spun around. Pointed towards one path. Ran down it. Reappeared from one of the other paths. Tried again. Pointed the same way. Carried the signpost along. Same result.

Moved the signpost around. Pointed to different caves. Sprinted down them. Produced no clear results. Wondered if it was correct, but not giving any indications. Does that with mazes sometimes.

Tries to hint at the correct solution. Says, "Well, it's pointing somewhere." Set up the paths as a huge red herring. Actually pointed to a spot already visible in the clearing. Dips downward when you hit the very small magic spot. Opens a huge trapdoor. Must have planted the signpost very close before. Never registered.

Solved some puzzles without understanding the reason behind your actions. Traps you in a ship during one section. Stacked explosives at the door to blow you up. Figured out how to twist the anchor lines together. Reeled one anchor in. Thought it would cause the ship to do a barrel roll and dislodge the explosives. Tore a huge line across the ship instead. Sailed out with that half of the ship.

Brings up one more bit: bugs. Crashed twice. Locked up the computer completely...six times? Lacks an autosave feature too. (Arguably wasted more time hard resetting than from lost progress.) Cannot recall any other game causing issues like that.

Overall thoughts: Considers this game okay with a walkthrough or as a spectator. Would not describe the story and characters as particularly memorable, however. Stands out more for its awful puzzles, poor interaction points (to the point of completely missing several locations and items, despite clicking over there), and rough crashes.
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Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Spoiler: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Blue Lions Maddening Chapters 1-6

Completed Fire Emblem: Three Houses twice. Finished Black Eagles (Crimson Snow) and Golden Deer, both on Hard. Skated through Golden Deer's route, thanks to New Game+ and game knowledge. Naturally wanted to try Maddening with the Blue Lions.

Distrusts Fire Emblem games on the hardest difficulty since Awakening. Pinned hopes on New Game+'s advantages to cancel out a potentially rough early-game. Some major benefits:
1. Ridiculously good battalions. Notes Immortal Corps (+8 Strength, +4 Defense, +10 Charm), Supreme Armored Co (+7 Strength, +6 Magic, +6 Defense, +5 Resistance, and +10 Charm), and Holst's Chosen (+7 Strength, +7 Defense, and +3 Charm) at C-rank Authority. Competes with A-rank battalions.
2. Saint Statues at maximum. Appreciates faster skill ranks immensely. Cuts down grinding time.
3. Instant A+ Professor rank. Could completely ignore fishing. (Will not, for meal ingredients. Reduces the necessary amount, however.)

Planned to use almost all the Blue Lions. (Feels right to do so on their route.) Dropped Sylvain due to using them before (and not liking them). Team plan: Byleth (male), Dimitri, Dedue, Felix, Ashe, Annette, Mercedes, Ingrid, Leonie, Petra, Hapi, and Yuri.

Chose Petra for being Black Eagles's all-star and good in Golden Deer. Remembers Leonie being similar, stat-wise. Wanted to include downloadable content characters this time. Found Hapi and Yuri more interesting than Constance and Balthus.

- Chapters 1-3 missions: Lacks much to say. Crushed them with raw battalion stats and the handy Chalice of Beginnings (counterattack at any range). Turned Annette into an invulnerable axe machine, also. Reached Authority Rank C. What can enemies do against Holst's Chosen and a Silver Shield (+11 total defense)?

Witnessed two 1% enemy criticals on a single Skirmish map. Please get that out of your system now.

Grinded up skills like Axe and Faith. Squeezed Heavy Armor and some Reason in too. Why? Minimum class stats. Jumps that unit's stat up to that class's minimum stats permanently. Cannot resist that. Recorded some Armor Knight promotions:
- Mercedes: +2 HP and +3 Def
- Annette and Ingrid: +1 HP and +4 Def
- Hapi: +3 Luck and +6 Def
- Felix: +4 Def
- Ashe: +2 HP and +5 Def

Understands this being too grindy for people. Did not feel too bad, though. Sped it up New Game+'s bonuses. Stalemated enemies with a broken weapon and overwhelming defense. Sniped any problem units (see: mages). Turned on No Animations and Action Skip. Ended turns immediately, without acting. Laughed at the seven enemy units with broken weapons on turn 90.

- Chapter 4 mission (Rite of Rebirth at the Holy Mausoleum): Defeat the boss within 25 turns. Plunked down the Death Knight in the middle. Whatever. Will steal the Dark Seal on the last turn. Blah blah bla-wait. Why is there a red line going to Felix? Moves on Maddening difficulty?

Hung on from the Death Knight slash with 2 hitpoints left. Thank you for not getting your ~28% critical chance. (Occurred before Felix's Armor Knight promotion, for the record. Was not saved by that.) Knocked the Death Knight off balance with Ingrid's gambit (A-rank Cichol Wyvern Co). Sealed the battle—and the map, honestly—with some rallied punches from Byleth.

- Chapter 5 mission (Miklan in the tower): Insisted on saving Gilbert. Expected reinforcements later, however, not on Turn 2. Rescued Gilbert with Dedue's Impregnable Wall gambit. Resulted in Dedue melting to all four 83% hit chance Fires and a finishing 45% hit chance gambit (~21.4% of all hitting). Rewound time to monkey with the rolls.

Sidenote: Really showcased how mean reinforcements are. Appeared from behind and rushed Gilbert (the slow armor knight) in the same turn. Praises and despises Divine Pulse on this note. Thanks Divine Pulse for preventing a dumb death and restart. Allows the developers to create nonsense like this without blowback, though.

Dogpiled Monster Miklan at the end. Annihilated it in a single turn, thanks to Annette's finishing critical.

...Oh. Should not have given the Lance of Ruin back. Whoops. Oh well. Tends not to use weapon relics anyways.

Recruited Petra, Leonie, and Yuri in Chapter 6. Enters with a promoted class's average stat growths, as a result. Beats out levels from earlier classes with weaker stat growths. Briefly lamented how much training the newcomers need. (Bypassed the slowest part for Petra and Leonie. Regained skill levels from a previous playthrough with Renown.) Stopped grumbling after comparing Petra and Ingrid in the same class (Armor Knight).
Petra / Ingrid
- Level: 11 / 13 (+2)
- Strength: 15 / 11 (-4)
- Magic: 6 / 14 (+8)
- Dexterity: 13 / 11 (-2)
- Speed: 16 / 10 (-6)
- Luck: 12 / 11 (-1)
- Defense: 17 / 19 (+2)
- Resistance: 3 / 12 (+9)
- Charm: 11 / 18 (+7)

Practically mistakes Ingrid for a caster.

Scanned downloadable content classes for good base stats. What lazy person designed Dark Flier? 8 Strength and 6 Magic base stats? Why is a level 20 Magic-based class on par with a level 10 Strength-based class in Magic? Why are these the exact same numbers as Pegasus Knight?

- Dedue's Paralogue (War for the Weak): Was never in danger. Felt smart for Repositioning Felix over to the left side of the map with Ingrid. Crossed a wall of rocks which separates them.

Met the qualifications for Fortress Knight on all characters at this point, by the way. Waits on Yuri for the final Warlock/Bishop skill qualification.

- Chapter 6 mission (Death Knight's basement): Loves the Chalice of Beginnings. Littered this area with archers (a strange choice for an underground area, in retrospect). Weakened them enough to ensure easy clean-ups.

Reached the final room. Wanted to beat the Death Knight. Completes the map if all other enemies (one remaining cavalier) die, however. Plugged the hole with Dedue. Ate the Death Knight's 21 damage critical and 7 damage normal hit. Pummelled the Death Knight with an encore of rallied punches. Easy.

- Sylvain's Paralogue: Placed six thieves with loot in the middle of the map. Flees to the four exit points unless that exit point boss dies.

Tackled all the exit point bosses at once. Soloed the archer and caster sections with Byleth and Mercedes, respectively. Started off sketchy with one of the larger teams. Stabilized with a large area effect gambit. Reclaimed all the loot and the Lance of Ruin. (Rectified the earlier mistake.)

- Lorenz's Paralogue: Not much noteworthy here. Flattened the right side of the map with Byleth. Kept healthy thanks to Healing Focus (50% heal Combat Art) and the occasional Crest of Flames heal.

- Dorothea and Ingrid's Paralogue (Volcano Marriage Proposal map): Grew irritated from 4 of 6 ~35% hit chance enemy gambits landing. Tempered those complaints a bit due to Ingrid's critical hit parade. Awarded MVP to Yuri, however, as the new Chalice of Beginnings owner.

Uses awful surprise reinforcements on this map too. Forgot about the ones that appear behind you. Slaughtered Dorothea in a single combat.

- Balthus and Hapi's Paralogue (Black Market Scheme): The grossest map so far. Grabbed the starting conditions from a Wiki. Forces Byleth, Balthus, and Hapi in the blue Sword, Fist, and Tome circles, respectively.
Black Market Scheme Initial Labeled.png
Forces a lot of solo or duo situations. Manages okay with good pairings, though, right? Complicates things with reinforcements. Spawns three reinforcements if you move Leonie or Yuri from their starting spot. Turned the bottom left into a 2v6 and the bottom middle into a 1v5. Weathered the storm, thanks to those Armor Knight promotions. (Tickled Leonie with 1x4 50% hits while on a bush tile. Becomes a very different story with 3 less Defense.)

Did not end there, however. Defeated every enemy except one axe and the boss group. Started to breathe again. Ticked over to Turn 5. Screenshotted the start of the turn.
Black Market Scheme Turn Five.jpg
Spawned 19 units at once. Did not immediately move, mercifully. Note how injured everyone is. Could not risk a spellcaster on the left side. Barely reached Yuri with Hapi's Physic.

Proved stronger together than alone. Carried the left side with Yuri on the healing tile (although still dodging a ~30% hit chance that would have killed) along with Axebreaker tanking plus chip damage from the others. Formed a protective wall around Annette (or as well as possible versus Pass Swordsmen) to dole out heals. Rescued Hapi after rushing back with the Brawler duo of Byleth and Balthus.

Considered the boss the easiest part of the map by far. Was not troubled by the monster transformation. Brought a lot of bows this map.

Reached level 20 on several characters after these paralogue maps. Pushed students towards the exam room.

Fortress Knight
Byleth: +2 Defense
Mercedes: +3 Hitpoints, +7 Strength, +3 Defense
Yuri: +2 Hitpoints, +3 Defense
Felix: Not taking it. (Technically would have gained Resistance. Earns more below.)
Hapi: +3 Hitpoints, +4 Strength, +4 Defense

Byleth: +2 Magic, +4 Resistance

Felix: +3 Magic, +11 Resistance (Introduces you to the original reason for this grind. How can you turn down an eye-popping 11 Resistance?)

Mercedes: +2 Strength (Occurred after Fortress Knight. Failed Warlock. Spent the 2000 gold for fun. Chuckles at the idea of Mercedes with Wrath.)

Will cut it off here. Promotes more next time. Recorded everyone's stats in the next spoiler. Farewell for now.

Spoiler: Character Stats

Avoided images. Looks far better with screenshots. Slows the page to a crawl with enough image dumps, unfortunately. Labeled each stat's stars (according to the Mysterious Teacher) in parentheses.
Level: 20
Class: Brawler
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 41 (3)
Strength: 23 (1)
Magic: 15 (2)
Dexterity: 23 (5)
Speed: 22 (5)
Luck: 18 (1)
Defense: 17 (4)
Resistance: 14 (2)
Charm: 24 (5)

Level: 19
Class: Cavalier
Overall Rating: C
Hitpoints: 43 (3)
Strength: 23 (0)
Magic: 13 (5)
Dexterity: 15 (0)
Speed: 15 (0)
Luck: 10 (0)
Defense: 17 (3)
Resistance: 6 (0)
Charm: 23 (3)

Level: 18
Class: Brigand
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 47 (4)
Strength: 22 (1)
Magic: 9 (4)
Dexterity: 13 (3)
Speed: 9 (0)
Luck: 10 (1)
Defense: 21 (4)
Resistance: 6 (3)
Charm: 12 (3)

Level: 20
Class: Archer
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 39 (2)
Strength: 20 (0)
Magic: 17 (5)
Dexterity: 17 (2)
Speed: 26 (5)
Luck: 15 (2)
Defense: 17 (5)
Resistance: 15 (5)
Charm: 14 (2)

Level: 18
Class: Thief
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 34 (3)
Strength: 12 (0)
Magic: 11 (2)
Dexterity: 22 (5)
Speed: 22 (4)
Luck: 15 (2)
Defense: 14 (5)
Resistance: 14 (2)
Charm: 15 (5)

Level: 20
Class: Priest
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 35 (2)
Strength: 19 (5)
Magic: 19 (0)
Dexterity: 18 (3)
Speed: 21 (5)
Luck: 12 (1)
Defense: 17 (5)
Resistance: 24 (5)
Charm: 17 (1)

Level: 19
Class: Mage
Overall Rating: C
Hitpoints: 32 (2)
Strength: 10 (0)
Magic: 25 (5)
Dexterity: 13 (0)
Speed: 12 (0)
Luck: 12 (0)
Defense: 12 (3)
Resistance: 13 (4)
Charm: 17 (4)

Level: 19
Class: Pegasus Knight
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 36 (1)
Strength: 13 (0)
Magic: 16 (4)
Dexterity: 16 (3)
Speed: 18 (0)
Luck: 15 (0)
Defense: 15 (5)
Resistance: 17 (2)
Charm: 22 (5)

Level: 18
Class: Thief
Overall Rating: C
Hitpoints: 36 (2)
Strength: 17 (1)
Magic: 8 (1)
Dexterity: 19 (3)
Speed: 26 (5)
Luck: 14 (0)
Defense: 13 (3)
Resistance: 5 (0)
Charm: 14 (0)

Level: 18
Class: Pegasus Knight
Overall Rating: C
Hitpoints: 34 (0)
Strength: 19 (3)
Magic: 8 (0)
Dexterity: 18 (1)
Speed: 24 (5)
Luck: 15 (2)
Defense: 16 (2)
Resistance: 7 (2)
Charm: 18 (4)

Level: 20
Class: Archer
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 35 (3)
Strength: 24 (5)
Magic: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 16 (1)
Speed: 22 (1)
Luck: 18 (2)
Defense: 17 (5)
Resistance: 14 (0)
Charm: 24 (5)

Level: 20
Class: Mage
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 35 (1)
Strength: 17 (4)
Magic: 22 (2)
Dexterity: 17 (0)
Speed: 12 (0)
Luck: 12 (4)
Defense: 17 (5)
Resistance: 18 (2)
Charm: 14 (5)

Spoiler: Character Impressions so far

As of Chapter 6. Viewed most of the supports available for this section on the game. Lists personality in the first paragraph and performance in the second.

- Dimitri: Positive. Treats others well. Acts patiently (if exasperated) towards standoffish people like Felix. Expresses less for soldiers talking poorly about Dedue (which is great). Knows very little about Dimitri, though. Recounted a story about being shoved out to "go catch a deer" in the cold at night. Described the event, but little of the emotions behind it. (Implies being frightened, though.)

Frets about Dimitri's effectiveness. Tried Great Knights before. Feels like that. Struggled to kill anything while still suffering a lot of damage.

- Dedue: Dull. Began every support about being shunning because of Duscur. Understands why a personality trait or event would dominate first meetings. Makes for dull reading, especially back-to-back-to-back. Winds up being similar to Bernadetta, in that respect.

Manages okay in combat. Acted as a good physical wall. Fires off some decent damage on player phase.

- Felix: Mildly positive. Recruited Felix before. Came off as an ill-tempered grouch to everyone. Provided a little more context in the Blue Lions supports. Loathes the knighthood ideal that most of the house ascribes to. May not intend to sound disgruntled all the time either, such as in Annette's support.

Excels on the battlefield. Runs counter to the first playthrough of being underwhelming. Combines good strength and speed. Worries about Mortal Savant ruining things again. May stick to Assassin and magic weapons.

- Ashe: Positive. Skipped most of the supports here, as a regular team member. (Likes Locktouch.) Behaves kindly towards everyone. Upholds the ideal of knighthood without it overtaking every support.

Holds little hope for Ashe. Usually turns out weak. Feels exceptionally low on Strength this time. Planned for Ashe to be utility as the team's dancer, though. Spent the downloadable content boots on them already. Crosses so much ground with that and the March Ring.

- Sylvain: Negative. Passes on the womanizer. Recalls some okay supports. Still no.

Managed to not die in their paralogue. Good job.

- Mercedes: Okay, but a bit boring. Appeared in the Golden Deer run. Pushes the motherly personality a bit too much. Could be a voice thing as well. Does not hate them, by any means, though.

The best spellcaster on the team by far. Sports good all-around stats, unlike Annette and Hapi. Outperformed the 40% base speed growth, in particular.

- Annette: Marriage candidate. Sees a different side with nearly every support. Becomes protective with Mercedes, scatterbrained with Dedue, studious with Ashe and Sylvain, make-up artist with Ingrid, and goofy with Felix. Strays far from being a single character trait.

Lags behind in terms of combat. Functions okay. Lacks any standout spells and stats besides Magic. Hopes for improvement when Bolt Axes become readily available. Plans to go Wyvern Lord later.

- Ingrid: Pleasant. Shows off a firm side in ideals and knighthood, but also a softer side when apologizing for being too harsh. Hammers knighthood too much, however. Enjoys their voice, also.

Sees an uphill battle for Ingrid. Grew in defensive stats and Magic, but not much else. (Tanked shockingly well in Black Market Scheme, though, so...maybe not too terrible?) May have to rely on Frozen Lance. Synergizes with the Crest of Daphnel (extra might on combat arts), on the plus side.

Overall Blue Lions thoughts: Maybe the best of the three for characters? Rivals the Black Eagles. Relies the least on gimmicks, despite a central theme of knighthood.

- Yuri: Intriguing in Cindered Shadows, but very muted in the main game. Supports with Byleth, Bernadetta, Dorothea, Ingrid, and the other Ashen Wolves only. Will see three of those.

An exceptional unit. Stands among the best on the team. Combines good Strength, Speed, and passable defensive stats.

- Hapi: Same as Yuri, but with a side of kidnapping (and the resulting anti-church sentiment) dominating everything. Mirrors Lysithea's story too much.

Underwhelming. Faces a lot of the same problems as Annette. Loses to or ties Mercedes in every stat except Magic.

- Byleth: Too much of a blank slate.

Tops the list for combat capability. Edges out Felix and Yuri by a bit. (Compares quite closely, though, due to minimum class stat boosts.)

- Petra: Skipped most of the supports. Read them before. Liked them (to the point of marriage) for the lore behind Brigid, the difficult circumstances around it, and the pleasant personality.

Sits in the middle of the pack for combat. Cannot handle hordes of enemies like Felix. Will not flail ineffectively like Ashe.

- Leonie: Ditto on skipping supports. Remembers these a bit worse. Worships Jeralt too much, at least outside of supports. Sticks more.

Again like Petra, although perhaps a bit less effective with the bow. Awaits Point Blank Volley.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Besides that one paralogue map, it sounds like your Maddening run hasn't been too bad so far, which is good. I also played Awakening on Lunatic and while I did finish it+Apotheosis, it was kind of a rough ride. tbh I don't think that I want to try Maddening, that's probably beyond me.
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Understands being uninterested in Maddening. Becomes a bit tiring optimizing every little detail or finding precise unit configurations to not lose someone. Struggled so much on Chapter 2 of Awakening, where you first get Stahl, Vaike, and Miriel. Did not want rely solely on Chrom and Robin for the playthrough. Cleared the map eventually. Describes winning as more relief than fun. Encountered nothing as bad as that so far, fortunately.

Considered Hard difficulty with anti-grinding restrictions instead of Maddening. Undoubtedly progresses much faster without skill grinding, fishing, tea parties, lost item hunting, and so on. Makes Seminars worth considering.
Spoiler: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Blue Lions Maddening Chapters 7-10

- Chapter 7 mission (Battle of the Eagle and Lion): Breezed through it. Even handled the fliers well. Missed the opportunity to steal Evasion Rings, apparently. Oh well.

Went horribly for the Golden Deer. Stacked two morale boosts on the Black Eagles from kills. Reflected the battle's name accurately, though.

- Sothis's Paralogue (Huge Monsters from Nowhere: The Map): Not bad, surprisingly. Remembers being swarmed in other playthroughs.

Chuckled at a line from Dimitri too. Engaged the boss. Ended the turn. Spawned more reinforcements on Dimitri's northern group. "Blast! More hawks! We should probably take those out before we approach that beast..." Too late for that.

- Felix's Paralogue (True Chivalry): A dumb map, but for (mostly) different reasons than Black Market Scheme. Must rescue all five villagers (green, although indistinguishable from allied guards) for the best reward, including Felix's relic shield. Cannot let Rodrigue die either.
True Chivalry Map.png
Presents two major problems:
1. Rodrigue dying Turn 1. Flops over to two full health enemy swords, and sometimes two injured enemy swords. (Hits with white magic 50% of the time.) Starts within range of three enemy swords.
2. Suicidal villagers. Hides in a corner for a turn or two. Runs towards the enemy force after that. Sprints past their guard without a care. Why? Is this why Felix is so surly?

Struggled on this one. Saw no clear way to save one villager at one point. Leapt in front with Yuri. Would have worked, if not for four enemy swords (with Pass) spawning and pulverizing the villager. Fully restarted the battle to equip positioning combat arts, reclass two units to more mobile classes, and bring Ashe with the Blue Lions Dancers battalion. Lacked more conventional tools like Warp, Rescue, and an actual dancer.

Almost routed the map. High-fives the allied guards for landing three 9% criticals. Realized later that the win condition is to kill the boss. Makes the map more manageable, but no less stupid.

Heavily questions MVP going to Byleth on this map. Beat up...two people? Three? What about Ingrid? Soloed the boss. What about Yuri and Leonie? Must have gotten more kills on the south side.

Smiles at Ashe, also. Stacked the downloadable content boots, March Ring, and Riding's +1 movement skill for a total of +4 movement. Zips around at 8 movement as a Fortress Knight. Outruns all the fliers and cavalry.

- Ignatz and Raphael's Paralogue (Death Toll): Overextended a few times. Grew too accustomed to rushing. Bristles at another 30% enemy gambit landing (which dragged out Petra and forced a rewind).

- Yuri and Constance's Paralogue (A Cursed Relic and Map): Dreaded this upon seeing the main map condition: do not let the Duke die.
A Cursed Relic Starting Map.png
Begins on a positive note: decent stats for the Duke. Survives a hit or two. Scored...two criticals? At least one, anyways.

The bad news? 15 reinforcements upon either killing the boss OR getting within two spaces of the Duke. Deals with enemies near the Duke transforming into monsters too.

Beelined to the Duke with both fliers. Dealt with the right-side enemies with a small, slow group. Killed the boss with everyone else on the way to the Duke (not knowing about reinforcements). Screenshotted the resulting mess for Leonie and Ingrid.
A Cursed Relic Struggle.png
Estimates this to be the start of Turn 4. Arrived at Turn 3. Rewound back to before killing the boss.

Wishes to speak about this map for a moment. Punishes you for defeating the boss quickly OR warping a unit in to help immediately. Revolves entirely around the reinforcement trigger. Might make this map easier by doing nothing for the first few turns, rather than help the Duke. Views that as terrible design. Ought to reward you for defeating the boss quickly (with fewer/slower reinforcements or in disarray) or warn you about the trigger beforehand.

Take two. Directed more northward instead of at the boss. Dealt with the boss regardless, due to that group moving. Delayed impending doom by a turn or two with Mercedes's weakest magic, while also attempting to get within Physic range. Directed Yuri + slow team to the western archer reinforcements and Felix towards the northeast archer reinforcements. Tasked Petra and Byleth with supporting the fliers.

Spiraled into another wild mess. Spammed gambits with Ingrid and Leonie to ultimately buy time for Byleth and Petra. Recalls the four of them fending off the three mage team, the four cavalry team, and 3-4 monsters at the same time. Rescued them just in time with Mercedes's Fortify (area effect heal). (Lagged behind. Froze in place for a turn because of the boss's dark magic.)

Notes one final hazard of the map: the Duke. Cannot understand what their destination was. Reached the circle spot, just south of the fountain in the above screenshot. Refused to cross the bridge south to safety. Scooted up and down 1-2 squares several turns in a row. Must have been running to a friendly unit...or something.

- Chapter 8 mission (Remire Calamity): Suffered from the rushing mindset being drilled in. Scattered in every direction to save villagers, unlock chests, and defeat the Death Knight. Rewound a few times from overextending once more. Nabbed all the rewards, though.

Revealed Dimitri's dark side in this chapter. Wondered when it would show up. Manifested in gameplay too. One-shot the Death Knight with the Crest of Blaiddyd.

- Ashe and Catherine's Paralogue (Fighting Fog and Fliers): Defend Rhea in a fog map. Rewards you for Rhea not taking damage. Baited out the immediate threats on Turn 1. (Rewound once due to fliers finding Hapi.) Demolished them after seeing them. Finished in 3-4 turns. Not too terrible. Finally started dodging 30% enemy gambits too.

- Flayn and Seteth's Paralogue (An Ocean View): Stormed the beach with Yuri to get MVP (for motivation to finish the Bow budding talent and Deadeye). Picked off the island-dwellers with fliers. Simple.

- Hanneman and Maneula's Paralogue (Oil and Water): Rescued Maneula with fliers. Skirted around archer ranges to stay safe. Bigger question: Why would you fight the Death Knight again? Beat up the Death Knight three times already. Escaped via silly plot magic every time. What do you expect to happen this time, even if you find them?

- Anna's Paralogue (The Secret Merchant): Loaded every enemy unit with a drop. Flees with warp magic in groups. Struck out with the main group up the middle and a few units on the right side. Met stiff resistance in the form of raw stats. Struggled to one-round any enemy without a critical, even when doubling.

Called in reinforcements all along the edge of the map, as expected of a downloadable content map. Heard about awful Bow Knights popping in. Tended to be far away, though. Spawned in all the reinforcements in singles, rather than groups of 3-4. Cut down on the frustration.

Went surprisingly okay. Spun time back only once, and not due to reinforcements. Missed out on a few rewards (6000 gold and a Venin Lance?), but nothing huge. Continued the positive trend of avoiding low chance enemy gambits.

- Chapter 9 Mission (Monster Students in the Cathedral): A simple mission. Follows the lead of many paralogue maps with rewards for saving students. Pales next to said maps. Threatens students with a single monster, while standing on a healing tile with healing items. No issues at all. Maintained the streak of allied criticals with one from Jeralt.

Knew Jeralt was going to die the first time around. Sighed at all the promises to tell Byleth everything soon. Teased too much information.

- Hilda and Cyril's Paralogue (Dividing the World): Save more people. Splits your army in two.
Dividing the World Starting Conditions.png
Plugged the northwestern chokepoint with Petra. Tasked Leonie with saving the northern allied unit from the two Wyvern Riders. Pitted Dimitri versus fellow cavalry for the southern allied unit. Charged down the middle with everyone else.

Required a few rewinds. Failed to realize how fragile these allied armor knights were. Dies instantly versus a single Wyvern Rider. Drops very low from two archers (6x2 at 50% in woods, 80% otherwise) with Poison Strike. Tossed Yuri from the western bridge to the central allied units with a dance from Ashe on Turn 2. Probably prevented a death by doing so.

Suffered from success in Petra's neck of the woods. Criticaled a few too many enemies. Allowed more cavalry to pour in (likely with Swordbreaker, given 100% hit chances). Threw out a gambit just to freeze enemies and wait for help. Loves how much ground Ashe can cover with 10 movement.

Names this as the best map so far. Presented a definite challenge in saving everyone. Never needed to worry about allied units killing themselves. Called in zero reinforcements. Knew exactly what was coming.

- Chapter 10 mission (Where the Goddess Dwells):
Kronya: "Hello! You're here! Welcome to the forest of death!" Should have said for whom. Noticed good critical rates, especially from Petra (50% sometimes). Counted criticals partway through Turn 1's enemy phase.
Hit 1: Critical. Nice.
Hit 2: Critical. ~25% chance for the double crit.
Hit 3: Critical. Wow, again?
Hit 4: Critical. Uh...good job, Ingrid.
Hit 5: Critical. Um. Sure, Byleth too.
Hit 6: Critical. UM. Dudue also?
Hit 7: Critical. (Player phase now.) Is this okay?
Hit 8: Normal. Finally.
Hit 9: Critical. From Annette. Vicious.

Shamed that mission. Evened out somewhat throughout the rest of the map. Compensated for all those 30% hit chance enemy gambits.

Other bits
- Won the White Heron Cup with Ashe (2 votes). Competed against Hubert (1 vote) and Claude (0 votes). Apparently never expected Ashe to win. Said this in a story cutscene a few days after winning the White Heron Cup: "Actually, I'd much prefer if someone could just teach me how to dance."

- Entered the Bow Tournament with Yuri. Slaughtered the competition. One-shot everyone but Claude. Activated the Crest of Aubin (no counterattack) for a flawless victory.

- Felix at a Tea Party: "Some people like to snack when they take a break. No willpower." Smirks at one of the correct answers being "Sip Tea".

- Recorded more stat gains from promotions. Earned most of these after the Chapter 7 map.

- Hapi: +2 Speed
- Annette: +1 Speed, +3 Resistance
- Yuri: +5 Magic, +1 Resistance
- Ingrid: +1 Magic

- Dimitri: +1 Magic, +8 Resistance
- Dedue: +6 Magic, +7 Resistance
- Ashe: +3 Magic
- Petra and Leonie: +7 Magic, +7 Resistance

- Ingrid: +5 Strength
- Hapi and Annette: +2 Strength
- Dedue: +5 Speed, +2 Resistance (Would have been +9 Resistance above, if not for doing this first.
- Petra: +2 Strength, +3 Resistance (As above, but +10.)

Fortress Knight
- Annette: +3 Hitpoints, +7 Strength, +5 Defense
- Dimitri: +1 Defense, +1 Resistance
- Ingrid: +1 Defense (Why was a Pegasus Knight's Defense as good as Dimitri's?)
- Ashe: +3 Strength, +3 Defense
- Leonie: +1 Hitpoint, +1 Defense, +2 Resistance
- Petra: +2 Defense

- Leonie: Resistance +1

Ends this lengthy segment here. Approaches the timeskip and Hunting by Daybreak. Feels quite strong after that last map. Credits all that skill grinding. Farewell for now.

Spoiler: Character Stats

Shot up in stars from class minimum stat boosts.

Level: 25
Class: Grappler
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 47 (5)
Strength: 26 (2)
Magic: 16 (2)
Dexterity: 26 (5)
Speed: 25 (5)
Luck: 19 (0)
Defense: 19 (5)
Resistance: 15 (2)
Charm: 33 (5)

Level: 24
Class: Paladin
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 49 (5)
Strength: 28 (2)
Magic: 17 (5)
Dexterity: 18 (0)
Speed: 17 (0)
Luck: 10 (0)
Defense: 23 (5)
Resistance: 17 (5)
Charm: 28 (5)

Level: 24
Class: Grappler
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 53 (5)
Strength: 26 (2)
Magic: 15 (5)
Dexterity: 18 (5)
Speed: 18 (5)
Luck: 10 (0)
Defense: 27 (5)
Resistance: 15 (5)
Charm: 18 (5)

Level: 25
Class: Assassin
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 44 (4)
Strength: 23 (0)
Magic: 18 (5)
Dexterity: 21 (4)
Speed: 35 (5)
Luck: 18 (3)
Defense: 18 (5)
Resistance: 15 (5)
Charm: 19 (5)

Level: 26
Class: Dancer
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 40 (5)
Strength: 20 (3)
Magic: 16 (5)
Dexterity: 29 (5)
Speed: 27 (5)
Luck: 18 (2)
Defense: 21 (5)
Resistance: 17 (2)
Charm: 25 (5)

Level: 25
Class: Bishop
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 37 (3)
Strength: 20 (5)
Magic: 22 (0)
Dexterity: 18 (1)
Speed: 23 (5)
Luck: 15 (3)
Defense: 18 (5)
Resistance: 29 (5)
Charm: 20 (2)

Level: 25
Class: Dark Flier
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 37 (5)
Strength: 20 (5)
Magic: 26 (3)
Dexterity: 18 (0)
Speed: 20 (5)
Luck: 15 (1)
Defense: 18 (5)
Resistance: 21 (5)
Charm: 21 (5)

Level: 25
Class: Wyvern Rider
Overall Rating: B
Hitpoints: 41 (2)
Strength: 25 (5)
Magic: 19 (5)
Dexterity: 17 (1)
Speed: 20 (0)
Luck: 19 (2)
Defense: 21 (5)
Resistance: 16 (0)
Charm: 30 (5)

Level: 25
Class: Swordmaster
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 43 (4)
Strength: 24 (5)
Magic: 15 (5)
Dexterity: 22 (3)
Speed: 29 (5)
Luck: 17 (0)
Defense: 20 (5)
Resistance: 15 (5)
Charm: 18 (4)

Level: 25
Class: Wyvern Rider
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 38 (1)
Strength: 25 (5)
Magic: 15 (5)
Dexterity: 23 (2)
Speed: 29 (5)
Luck: 20 (4)
Defense: 20 (3)
Resistance: 15 (5)
Charm: 24 (5)

Level: 26
Class: Sniper
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 35 (2)
Strength: 27 (5)
Magic: 18 (3)
Dexterity: 25 (5)
Speed: 26 (1)
Luck: 22 (4)
Defense: 18 (5)
Resistance: 19 (3)
Charm: 31 (5)

Level: 25
Class: Valkyrie
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 38 (2)
Strength: 20 (5)
Magic: 28 (5)
Dexterity: 17 (0)
Speed: 13 (0)
Luck: 14 (5)
Defense: 20 (5)
Resistance: 19 (1)
Charm: 19 (5)
Current Virtual Pokemon Pet: Unown (Y)
Level 100 at 12647 posts
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Spoiler: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Blue Lions Maddening Chapters 11-17

Finally delves into Blue Lions exclusive sections. But first...

- Alois and Shamir's Paralogue (Sword and Shield of Seiros): Defend the city from pirates. Delayed this map for a battalion you receive if you recruited Alois. (Messed that up with Balthus earlier.) Remembers this map for vicious fliers. Tore it apart this time. Points to playing it later than usual.

- Chapter 11 Mission (Protect the Crest Stones): Nothing exciting on this map, other than the Flame Emperor moving on Maddening. Saved all the Crest Stones. Leveraged mounts and dancing to grab them all.

Amped up Dimitri's dark side a bit. Extended behind just words...sort of? Crushed a few heads. Wore a big slasher smile too. Hardly moves the needle on bloodthirst, honestly. Killed a lot of people on the path here.

Always paints Dimitri as the bloodthirsty one. What about Rhea? Views them as worse, honestly. Executed people multiple times so far. Ranted about Edelgard being a permanent stain on history. Presented a calmer demeanor, but no less dark.

Grins. Finished the cutscene of Dimitri raging at Edelgard. Awarded MVP to Dimitri. "Dimitri's motivation has been maxed out!" Fitting. Coincides with finally setting up Battalion Wrath + Battalion Vantage too.

Skipped two weeks, for whatever reason. Poor Ignatz. No birthday for you.

- Chapter 12 Mission (Defense of Garreg Mach): Throws problems at you very quickly. Charges with a few named characters. Dealt with the Death Knight on Turn 2, probably. (Marks their fourth defeat. Please die.) Threatened to do some harm with a critical, sure. Worried far more about Ladislava in the center, however. Vaporized an allied mage with a 40x4 damage Brave Axe attack. Lacks some of the fancier skills (see: any range counterattack) to be a threat on Player Phase, fortunately.

Handled the map quite well. Benefitted from allied NPCs. Looked juicier than people like Mercedes, for whatever reason. Reduced the amount of important hitpoints lost. (Good thing too. Hates archers with Poison Strike on ballistas.) Rewound once because of Miracle activating on Hubert.

Shouts out the allied reinforcements. (Appears upon defeating Hubert and the Death Knight.) Scored one critical with an archer and four on a Swordmaster with a Killing Edge. Funneled some healing into them for their good work. Injured Edelgard badly with an 11 hit and 33 critical.

"Loses" the battle. Learns about dragon Rhea. Fell into a pit and slept for five years. Blah blah blah. Happened in Golden Deer's route too. Questions why Edelgard is more effective in Blue Lions and Golden Deer than in Crimson Flower. Requires your help to break a stalemate into Faerghus in Crimson Flower. Already steamrolled Faerghus's capital in Azure Moon.

Understands why Dimitri is the dark one. Revenge kill revenge worthless scum revenge.

- Chapter 13 Mission (Hunting by Daybreak): Begins with just Byleth and Dimitri. Heard about a trick to make this map more manageable: do not stand in the northern bush. Aggros both sets of archers, which are the reinforcement triggers. Ran south first instead.

Gives you Annette and Mercedes in the south. Appreciated a healer and Dark Flier for sure. Dropped to half-ish on Byleth and Dimitri before they came in.

Gee, thanks for Ashe and Gilbert in the northwest. Paired weak damage output with no accuracy. Opted not to potentially ruin their lives by attracting trouble. Hid in the corner until the south side was done. (Wanted to keep Gilbert alive. Was not worried about Ashe. Dodges like a boss. Picked up Lethality for fun too.)

Thrust Felix, Ingrid, and Sylvain in the northeast. Sufficed as a team. Promoted Sylvain to Fortress Knight from all their time as an adjutant. Weathered hits okay. Swooped in with Annette for a little more help.

Likes the extra touch of Pallardo being the boss. Appeared as the boss of Anna's paralogue. Escaped back then.

- Chapter 14 Mission (Defense of Garreg Mach 2): Begins split, with Byleth + two others on an overgrown path to escort an NPC for a fire trap.

Missed Dedue here. Fought a lot of lance cavalry and lance pegasi. Farmed axe skill on everyone. Designated Dedue and Annette as the two axe users. Awaits a consistent source of Bolt Axes for Annette. Relied on Dimitri instead.

Prepared to whine about the fire trap messing things up. Moves all the enemy units to preset locations, but not your units. (Caused several enemy armors to sprint three or so turns worth of movement between phases.) Freezes the enemy in place, thankfully, much like with a gambit. Picked them off effortlessly.

- Mercedes and Caspar's Paralogue (A Cursed Relic 2): Launches the map with Caspar and Mercedes far away, staring down a passive Death Knight. Must rescue them from enemies coming in. Cannot easily move them away without one getting destroyed (level 18 Caspar in a suggested level 33 map, in this case).

Conquered the left and right sides simultaneously. Warped in help to save the imperiled pair at the last second...until a gigantic jerk move: reinforcements. Spawned three snipers near the Death Knight, three Dark Knights on the left, and three swords on the right. Ranges most of the top part of the map. Moved upon entering, of course. Smashed Caspar. Forced a Divine Pulse. Sighs.

Fine. Must have been too slow. Rewound to the beginning. Stormed the left side exclusively. Reached Mercedes and Caspar a turn earlier. Great, right? No. Reinforcements. Dead.

Looked up the dumb reinforcement trigger: turn 10 or an allied unit within three spaces of Mercedes or Caspar. Practiced some social distancing. Had to come close to defeat some enemy swords incoming, however. Exited the incoming snipers' range. Ought to be fine. Wrong. Three range Dark Knights straight for Caspar. No chance.

Blew more Divine Pulses to clog up the stairs. Dealt with all the reinforcements. Sauntered up to the Death Knight. Whittled them down with gambits. Gave the final blow to Caspar with a Silver Axe + Helm Splitter. (18 damage at 91% hit chance. Not bad for Caspar's only kill.) Received the Scythe of Sariel for that extra flex.

Only planned to play Maddening once ever. Sealed the deal. Do not misunderstand. Remains motivated to continue. Enjoys seeing how units pan out, as well as the rest of the story. Just...never again on Maddening. Will add difficulty another way.

Hm. Realized which paralogues were coming up: another awful reinforcement map and two fog maps. Upgraded Steel weapons to Silver. Accumulated enough gold from auxillary battles. (Favors Iron+ weapons. Needs more power sometimes.)

- Linhardt and Leonie's Paralogue (Legend of the Fog Turtle): Fog with occasional reinforcements? Joy. Smoked Linhardt twice between those two conditions. Managed some revenge, at least. Scored a kill on a cavalier and a health square from the boss (1 damage) at (initially) level 10.

Let Dimitri loose on this one. Pumped them up with a "counterattack at any range" gambit and a Killer Lance. Ripped through everything but the boss with Battalion Wrath and Battalion Vantage active.

- Petra and Bernadetta's Paralogue (Foreign Land, Familiar Tactics): Not much to say here. Hated the surprise reinforcements, despite knowing roughly about them. Unwisely sent both cavalry through the wooded area. Managed to escape the reinforcements on that side after a rewind and a Reposition.

- Marianne's Paralogue (Forgotten Hero): Oh, hey. Just played this map with Petra and Bernadetta. Added fog and monsters everywhere. Stranded Marianne in the center too, relatively safe from harm. Directed Marianne to a fort with entrances too small for monsters once the map began. (Rewound once after moving to a bad square along the way.)

Triggered Ashe's Lethality here. Finally happened in a real battle. Necessary? No. Amazing? Yes. Outshone the rather routine monster slaying.

- Chapter 15 Mission (Valley of Torment): Travels to unhappy fiery death land to meet allied reinforcements. Mirrors the Golden Deer route, except with Rodrigue instead of Judith.

Muscled through this. Dodged and countered archers fearlessly with Petra on pegasusback. Exploded the right side with Dimitri's Battalion Vantage+Wrath. Kited the boss for time to reach both chests. Distrusted Rodrigue's ability to survive more than one turn after Felix's paralogue. Ended the battle immediately after the last chest.

Unlocked Dimitri's Great Lord class upon winning. Was confused, at first. Thought Dimitri was that class already. Started as High Lord post-timeskip, however. Should have named these differently.

- Annette and Gilbert's Paralogue (Weathervanes of Fodlan): Nearly missed this paralogue. Requires a C-rank support between Annette and Gilbert. Enjoyed the dialogue coming into this map.
Gilbert: "It is entirely possible that we shall be captured in the Dominic region. In anticipation of that... I would ask that you wait outside the region, with an army at your command."
Option 1: "Of course." (Begin paralogue.)

Felt jarring, but humorous.

...Here again? Fought here for Felix's paralogue and Sylvain's paralogue. Recycled this map hard. Bites harder, given all of them are in Blue Lions.

Imprisoned Annette and Gilbert behind four armored guards. Threatens them with units moving towards them. Sound familiar?

Encountered the downside of Dimitri's build. Missed (with a 100% critical chance) from extra avoidance on the enemy's tile. Knocked out the battalion, and in turn, Battalion Vantage+Wrath. Crumpled to the dogpile (unsurprisingly) without those tools.

Acknowledges one helpful, under-the-radar combat art: Reposition. Learned to like it (and other positioning arts) from Fire Emblem Heroes. Lifted Gilbert out of a reinforcement cavalry's range this map. Occasionally uses it to move units closer too.

- Rhea's Paralogue (Eternal Guardian): No reinforcements, no problems. Highlights two Miracle activations by a single Bishop. (Healed between turns.)

- Chapter 16 Mission (Rose-Colored River): Mimics the lead-in for Golden Deer's route, once again. Crosses the Great Bridge of Myrddin into the Empire. Battles Ladislava there. Dropped the Brave Axe for a less intimidating Silver Axe, apparently.

Welcomes Dedue back. Came as a surprise. (Knew some details, but not when. Figured at the end of some chapter, not mid-battle.) Served little purpose this battle between no battalion, still in Warrior class, and ~4 levels lower than everyone else, sadly.

Panicked when reinforcements warped in. Includes the armors in the upper-left, literally at the army's back.
BL Chapter 16 Reinforcements.png
Did not move upon appearing, thankfully. Applied to Lorenz's force also. Totally missed Lorenz not being in the army.

Acheron: "As they say, if you can't beat them, join them. I'm not in for a beating, am I?" Well...yes. Choose a better warp location next time.

Noticed a different cutscene after the battle. Met Fleche, the sibling of the Empire's general from Chapter 14. Wanted to join the army for revenge. Probably meant revenge against Dimitri. Should have been the one who actually scored the final—wait. Makes no difference. Remembers the cutscene of Byleth mercy-killing Randolph over letting Dimitri torture them.

- Ferdinand and Lysithea's Paralogue (Retribution): Considers the map's name quite fitting. Benefitted quite a bit from the Retribution gambit (counterattack at any range for five turns). Tasks you with saving NPCs without saving units on the map. Thank goodness. Simply required you to kill a threatening enemy unit or visit the house.

Leaned hard on Dimitri and Petra. Plugged the north side spewing reinforcements with Dimitri. Secured the far houses with Petra. Dove straight into a mass of enemies. Emerged completely unscathed. (May have been scratched by a magic attack. Dodged literally everything else.) Acknowledges Felix's solid work on the northwest side too.

Frets a bit about Dimitri's hit chances. Saw several in the mid-eighties and a couple in the seventies. Missed two 84% hit chances in a row (and died) at one point. (Whiffed on a 97% hit chance on some map also.) Runs Lance Prowess Level 5 and Hit +20. Hm. Could switch out the Aegis Shield for an Accuracy Ring. Thought about giving the shield to Dedue anyways.

- Chapter 17 Mission (Battle of Eagle and Lion Round 2): Forgives this map for being recycled. Exists to show how things have changed.

Showed how little has changed too. Sent Petra in to capture the center. Apparently triggered Alliance reinforcements from behind. Very close behind. Spliced a map fragment together showing your army's initial placement and the enemy reinforcement spawn location.
BL Chapter 16 Reinforcement Map.png
Occurred on Turn 2's Enemy Phase. Barely left the starting locations. Just began crossing the bridge with the main army.

Fine. Rearranged the formation to protect people. Redirected Dimitri to the Alliance side.

Claude (to Dimitri): "Calm down, Dimitri! What does it achieve, us killing each other here?"

Yes, what does it achieve? Worked with you to cross the Great Bridge of Myriddin. Marches towards the Empire. Planned to leave your side alone. Changed when you sent a nonsense rear attack and killed Byleth and Mercedes. Will exterminate the Alliance after dealing with the Empire now.

Provoked Edelgard with Petra. Expected a gambit at 20-30% hit chance. Nope. 49 damage, 100% hit chance. What? ...57 Charm on Edelgard (and Hit +20). Okay then.

Wishes for more consistency on what you can steal. Ladislava's equipped shield? Sure. An unequipped Sword of Seiros? No.

Won the battle. Revealed an opening for Fleche to get revenge. Failed their assassination attempt due to Rodrigue taking the blow. (Managed to die at the drop of a hat once again.) Asked Dimitri to stop living for the dead and instead go for what he believes.

Snapped Dimitri out of the revenge mindset. Felt too sudden. Deals with a very complex web of guilt, trauma, and perhaps low self-esteem. Blasted through that all in one night. Missed the mark on personal impact. Suffers none of what Dimitri does, fortunately. May hit someone who lives with some (or all) of this more squarely.

Other bits
- Qualified for Trickster with Dimitri for +2 luck. Ran into a small surprise in doing so. Requires passing the Thief exam before Trickster. Why? Never did that for any other classes.

- Other minimum class stat boosts: +2 Speed for Annette (Wyvern Lord), +1 Speed for Ingrid (Falcon Knight) (ouch), +2 Speed for Dimitri (Wyvern Lord), and +1 Speed for Dedue (Wyvern Lord).

- Poor Ingrid. Ties for the second highest Speed growth in the game at 60% (below Yuri's 65%). Stands at 25 Speed at level 30 as a Falcon Knight. Falls well short of Petra's 36 Speed (level 31) and Leonie's 34 Speed (also level 31) in the same class. Mentions Felix leading with 41 Speed (level 31 Assassin, +2 Speed over Falcon Knight).

- Pieced something together while exploring in Chapter 18. Heard about Caspar's uncle. Never knew that was Randolph. Makes Fleche Caspar's aunt. How old are these people?
Von Bergliez Family.png

Cuts it here. Backtracks to reclaim Fhirdiad next time. Should be a shorter update next time, in terms of missions. Cleaned out all the paralogues except Dimitri's. Thanks for reading.

Spoiler: Character Stats

Best Total Stats: 293 (Byleth)
Best Total Stats without Charm: 247 (Ashe)
Best Hitpoints: 67 (Dimitri)
Best Strength: 39 (Dedue)
Best Magic: 32 (Mercedes)
Best Dexterity: 44 (Ashe)
Best Speed: 45 (Felix)
Best Luck: 28 (Ingrid)
Best Defense: 31 (Dedue)
Best Resistance: 32 (Mercedes)
Best Charm: 54 (Byleth)

Worst Total Stats: 248 (Hapi)
Worst Total Stats without Charm: 218 (Hapi)
Worst Hitpoints: 41 (Mercedes)
Worst Strength: 24 (Ashe, Mercedes, and Hapi)
Worst Magic: 16 (Dedue)
Worst Dexterity: 19 (Dedue)
Worst Speed: 21 (Hapi)
Worst Luck: 14 (Dedue)
Worst Defense: 20 (Mercedes)
Worst Resistance: 16 (Dedue and Felix)
Worst Charm: 25 (Dedue)

Listed individual stats below. Placed Mysterious Teacher star rankings in parentheses.

Level: 38
Class: War Master
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 59 (5)
Strength: 35 (5)
Magic: 20 (1)
Dexterity: 29 (3)
Speed: 30 (5)
Luck: 25 (0)
Defense: 22 (3)
Resistance: 19 (2)
Charm: 54 (5)

Level: 40
Class: Great Lord
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 67 (5)
Strength: 37 (2)
Magic: 24 (5)
Dexterity: 25 (0)
Speed: 28 (1)
Luck: 16 (1)
Defense: 28 (5)
Resistance: 16 (4)
Charm: 43 (5)

Level: 36
Class: War Master
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 66 (5)
Strength: 39 (5)
Magic: 16 (5)
Dexterity: 19 (3)
Speed: 22 (5)
Luck: 14 (0)
Defense: 31 (5)
Resistance: 18 (5)
Charm: 25 (5)

Level: 37
Class: Assassin
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 51 (5)
Strength: 29 (0)
Magic: 22 (5)
Dexterity: 27 (5)
Speed: 45 (5)
Luck: 23 (4)
Defense: 25 (5)
Resistance: 16 (5)
Charm: 34 (5)

Level: 47 (Not a typo)
Class: Dancer
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 51 (5)
Strength: 24 (0)
Magic: 19 (2)
Dexterity: 44 (5)
Speed: 36 (4)
Luck: 26 (2)
Defense: 25 (5)
Resistance: 22 (0)
Charm: 37 (5)

Level: 39
Class: Gremory
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 41 (3)
Strength: 24 (5)
Magic: 32 (3)
Dexterity: 25 (2)
Speed: 32 (5)
Luck: 21 (5)
Defense: 20 (5)
Resistance: 32 (5)
Charm: 34 (5)

Level: 38
Class: Wyvern Lord
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 46 (5)
Strength: 26 (5)
Magic: 31 (1)
Dexterity: 22 (0)
Speed: 29 (5)
Luck: 22 (3)
Defense: 27 (5)
Resistance: 22 (5)
Charm: 37 (5)

Level: 38
Class: Falcon Knight
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 46 (2)
Strength: 27 (5)
Magic: 24 (5)
Dexterity: 24 (3)
Speed: 30 (0)
Luck: 28 (5)
Defense: 22 (5)
Resistance: 27 (4)
Charm: 46 (5)

Level: 38
Class: Falcon Knight
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 53 (5)
Strength: 29 (5)
Magic: 19 (5)
Dexterity: 32 (3)
Speed: 42 (5)
Luck: 23 (0)
Defense: 21 (5)
Resistance: 20 (5)
Charm: 35 (5)

(Screenshotted a glorious report with 5 stars for all of Petra's stats except Luck at 0. Expended zero stat boosters on anyone thus far, for the record, not counting the +movement boots on Ashe.)

Level: 37
Class: Falcon Knight
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 44 (2)
Strength: 30 (5)
Magic: 19 (5)
Dexterity: 35 (5)
Speed: 40 (5)
Luck: 25 (5)
Defense: 22 (1)
Resistance: 19 (5)
Charm: 39 (5)

Level: 38
Class: Bow Knight
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 42 (4)
Strength: 31 (5)
Magic: 23 (4)
Dexterity: 27 (5)
Speed: 32 (0)
Luck: 26 (2)
Defense: 21 (5)
Resistance: 25 (5)
Charm: 42 (5)

Level: 39
Class: Valkyrie
Overall Rating: A
Hitpoints: 44 (3)
Strength: 24 (5)
Magic: 31 (3)
Dexterity: 28 (3)
Speed: 21 (0)
Luck: 19 (5)
Defense: 23 (5)
Resistance: 28 (1)
Charm: 30 (5)
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Spoiler: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Blue Lions Maddening Chapters 18 - Endgame

Resumes at Fhirdiad, the capital of Faerghus.

- Chapter 18 Mission (The King's Triumphant Return): Defends the center with three beefy Titanuses. Criticaled Byleth for 114. Backed them up with three archers (with longbows and the +5 range Deadeye combat art). No thank you.

Directed the main force up the left street with a single Titanus. Disabled the magic turrets with the right side's force (and maybe the Titanus's extra armor?). Prepared to converge the groups at the top of the map to tackle the four Titanuses sprinkled around. Triggered a reinforcement upon doing so: a single thief with a fancy bow. Sent Yuri to deal with it. Struggled to catch up, despite being mounted, due to the thief's large lead. Warped Petra in to help and successfully nab the bow.

...Suspects someone at Intelligent Systems (or a localization team) is giggling madly at slipping "Titanus" in. Noticed after spelling it a few times.

Cut down Cornelia. Blathered about Dimitri's stepmother (Edelgard's biological mother) causing the Tragedy of Duscur. Came off as a way to enrage Dimitri, rather than the truth. Shrugs. Recaptured the capital.

Um. Leveled up Gilbert as Dedue's adjutant during Battle free time. Reached level 35 as a Fortress Knight. Had 3 Speed. How is that possible? Checked promotions. Would gain 11 Speed permanently by passing the Wyvern Lord exam. Wow.

- Dimitri's Paralogue (Penta-Bolting Land): Entered a fortress in an attempt to retake it from the Empire before getting reinforced. Nope. Plunked down five Bolting mages in the north. Loves the Retribution gambit so much. Defeated all five on Turn 1 Enemy Phase.

Offers great rewards for the map: three stat boosters via stealing. Proved to be the major challenge. Appears in three of the map's corners. Took a while to move Felix around. Dealt with a slow, predictable trickle of lance cavalry reinforcements the whole time. Pried all three items from enemy hands successfully before defeating Hubert (who also had Meteor).

Discovered something interesting about the map. Evidently faces Hanneman and Manuela here, if not recruited. Did not expect both to side with the Empire. Always imagined professors following their house.

- Chapter 19 Mission (The Golden Deer's Plea): Received a message from Claude. Requests help. ...And? Appreciates others acknowledging what Claude did a few chapters ago.

Walked into a mess of a map. Overran this place with enemy units. Isolated Judith near the entrance. Notes some enemy cavalry to the side. Wishes to hand-deliver fancy weapons, apparently.

Credits the Empire for wising up. Prepared countermeasures against Dimitri: battalions on 75% of enemy units. Spread out the opening turn's Enemy Phase attacks a bit.

Clogged up the route to Claude. Fended off seven enemy units with a War Master and Sniper at a chokepoint. Backed it up with Elixirs and a Physic healer. Nice. Gave the Alliance allies enough stats to withstand it, thankfully. (Ditto for Judith.)

Planned to assault the chokepoint enemies until Lord Arundel moved. Moved Dimitri into position. Failed to one-shot Lord Arundel with a critical. Responded with a critical of their own. Rewound that. Called in Annette to rally Dimitri's strength. Replayed that turn for the win. Rescued Claude's jerk face. Expects heavy thanks.

...Handed over Failnaught. Dissolved the Alliance. Plans to head into exile. Accepts your peace offering. Technically succeeded at destroying the Alliance.

Hm. Forgot a lot about the Golden Deer's route. Remembers Claude talking about being an outsider, though. Met a lot of prejudice. Wanted a united Fodlan free of that. Feels a bit sad that their path ends in exile in this route. ...Oh well. Do not kill your allies next time.

Hands over information too. Locked up Rhea in the Imperial capital. Wondered why Rhea is captured in Azure Moon and Verdant Wind, but not Crimson Flower. Remembered the cutscene just before the timeskip. Swoops in to (try to) save you. Makes some sense.

- Chapter 20 Mission (The Impregnable Fortress): A more difficult map than expected. Rushed the middle. Ran into trouble on the sides as (fair) reinforcements flooded in. Was a bit restricted in movement due to the ballista and fire orbs scattered around, but not mention the increasingly standard Bolting and Meteor mages.

Stabilized after a few gambits and a few rewinds to reverse Dimitri's failure on either dodging gambits or one-shotting. Probably the latter. Became a slow, methodical push as roughly two reinforcements came in every other turn. Assaulted the ballista with Petra, because why should flying units fear bows?

Punched the Death Knight into oblivion. Only took...five tries(?) to make it stick. Prefers this map's version far more than Verdant Wind's. Chased down a fleeing Death Knight in that one. (Er...why did Those Who Slither in the Dark not nuke this city? Did killing Lord Arundel last chapter in this route change things? Seems so.)

Smirks. Looked at the dialogue for this map. Gives you special dialogue for Flayn against the Death Knight:
- Flayn: "So it's you, Death Knight! Remember me?!"
- Death Knight: "You again. Here to lose more blood?"
- Flayn: "Never! You will not lay a hand on me ever again!"

Interesting. Met with Edelgard to discuss the reasons behind this war. Was unconvinced by both sides, based solely on this exchange. Never explained the victims before the war on Edelgard's side. Ranted about power on Dimitri's side. Spoke on entirely different wavelengths. Enjoyed the history behind those two all throughout the story. Remembers hearing only a smidgen in Crimson Flower.

Approaches the endgame. Calls for doling out all the stat boosters. Knows how to distribute them better now. Tallied up the number of stat points from items. Recorded who they went to.

HP: +33
Strength: +19
Magic: +14
Dex: +26
Speed: +15
Luck: +41
Defense: +22
Resistance: +19
Charm: +21
Movement: +1

Byleth: +4 Strength, +2 Dex, +3 Speed, +6 Def, +1 Movement
Dimitri: +4 Strength, +6 Dex, +8 Luck
Dedue: +6 Dex, +8 Luck, +8 Def, +6 Charm
Petra: +5 Strength, +8 Luck, +2 Def, +2 Res, +3 Charm
Ingrid: +5 HP, +4 Strength, +4 Dex, +9 Speed, +2 Def
Felix: +1 HP, +2 Strength, +3 Luck, +2 Def, +4 Res, +4 Charm
Mercedes: +5 HP, +3 Magic, +3 Luck, +4 Res
Annette: +5 HP, +5 Magic, +4 Dex, +3 Luck, +4 Res
Ashe: +2 Charm (solely to cap it)
Leonie: +7 HP, +2 Def, +2 Res
Yuri: +5 HP, +4 Dex, +3 Speed
Hapi: +5 HP, +6 Magic, +8 Luck, +3 Res, +4 Charm

- Chapter 21 Mission (Our Chosen Paths): Chose the center path, straight to Hubert.

Functioned much like the previous map. Fended off the initial burst of enemies. Sent Petra and Ingrid after the long range weapons. Dealt with the boss after emptying the map. Fought a lot more monsters this time, though. Was surrounded by six monsters at one point (four in a perfect horizontal line). Ripped them apart with gambits.

Noticed the stat difference immediately on Ingrid. Rivals Petra now. Worries a bit against Lancebreaker axes, though.

Was not fond of the reinforcements on this map. Lucked out on a rear attack against Yuri. Canceled out a follow-up attack with their crest. Wheeled out more reinforcements near Hubert too. Thought Hapi was toast. Must not have been in range of a second enemy or something.

- Chapter 22 Mission (Oath of the Dagger): Begins right after the previous mission. Shows Edelgard doing a partial monster transformation. Never tipped their hand on anything like this in Crimson Flower.
Scanned the battlefield for long range magic, as usual. Noticed an unfamiliar weapon: Bohr X. Range 3-10. Leaves the enemy at 1 hitpoint if it hits. Fun. Remembers a tome like that in Echoes too.

Sized up Hegemon Edelgard. Stands on a super healing tile (+40% evade, +5 to defenses, +30% heal). Has four health bars total. Main attack: range 1-32. Oh boy. Does not look forward to Vantage either. Seems to have a spammable ranged gambit. ...Twin Crests skill: Allows unit to act twice. Why does this seem far harder than the other final bosses?

Carted out a bunch of fancy weapons: Areadbhar, Crusher, Failnaught, Luin, Thunderbrand, Vajra-Mushti, and the Inexhaustible. Saved up all this for today.

Choked the left doorway with Felix and the center-left with Petra. Placed Dimitri in range of Myson, the Bohr X mage. Grouped up everyone else to race down the center.

Smashed Myson immediately. Appears to be with Those Who Slither in the Dark. Caused several of their units to leave the field. Cannot recall every seeing Myson in Crimson Flower. (Googled it.) Oh. Was the boss in Yuri's awful paralogue to save the fleeing duke. Shows up in one Verdant Winds map, but not in Crimson Flower.

Worried when the camera panned to Edelgard to attack on Turn 1. Never counted out the tiles. Figured the opening room would be safe. Covers the entire map except some of the far corners. Targeted two different people, fortunately: Mercedes for 27 damage (60% hit) and Dimitri for 12 damage (25% hit). Whittles away at Dimitri's battalion, however. Must take advantage of it now.

Hey! Warns you about the central stairs and reinforcements. Good job, game. Only took you until the last mission to be more transparent.

Met surprisingly few problems on the way to Edelgard. Cleaned the left side with Felix, minus the monster. Never bothered with anything on the right side. Did not appreciate four Boltings popping in near Edelgard to zap Byleth, however.

Important update: level 41 for Gilbert. Still at 3 Speed.

Gathered up everyone near Edelgard. (Blocked off the sides spamming reinforcements with Petra and Felix.) Prevents armor breaks. Does that still allow the barrier to fall? Yes. Okay. Feels winnable. Fired off Dimitri's Atrocity, Annette's Dust, and Yuri's Falling Star Heroes' Relic combat arts. Chipped in with others. Closed it out with Byleth and some dancing.
BL Final Boss Finisher.png
Downed Edelgard in a single round. Handled that so much better than expected.

Found Rhea. Crowned Dimitri as king of all Fodlan. Declared Byleth the new archbishop. Married Annette. Yay victory.
No Nose Annette.png
Where did Annette's nose go?

Final thoughts on Azure Moon
Rates it as "okay". Hinges on how much you connect with Dimitri, similar to other routes. Never resonated with Dimitri's struggles. Fell a bit flat. Felt like the war was almost a subplot also. Served more as a roadmap of Dimitri's mind. Never questioned a dragon's appearance at Garreg Mach. Served up an unsatisfying explanation for the war at the end.

Enjoyed one part of the main plot barely present in others: the connection between Edelgard and Dimitri. Propped up Dimitri's defeat in Crimson Flower as an emotional moment. Provided almost none of the necessary backdrop. Filled it in during this route.

Liked the story and investigation behind the Tragedy of Duscur. Melded with several Blue Lions supports well. Takes center stage more than the war, honestly. Would have preferred a more satisfying conclusion than implicating Dimitri's stepmother. Engaged with the current situation of Duscur too little too. Saved some Duscur people in Dedue's paralogue. Did nothing else.

Considers this the best house for characters. Discusses knighthood and ideals a lot in their supports. Presents the shining knight ideal with Ingrid and Ashe. Pushes against that with Felix and arguably Dimitri (with Dedue). Probably falters a bit with people outside their house, however. Viewed Felix as very critical and standoffish in Crimson Flower. Paints a better picture with Glenn's death in the Tragedy of Duscur and throwing your life away. Definitely considers Felix to be the best surprise in this playthrough.

Final thoughts on Maddening
No. Entirely comes down to reinforcements moving immediately. Hates that in any Fire Emblem game. Adds the wrong kind of difficulty. Would rather play on Hard and introduce restrictions.

Welcomed the extra stats and skills of enemies. Got off the ground easily enough, unlike some high difficulty modes. (Could have been the New Game+ benefits.)

Concludes this playthrough. Thanks for reading.

Spoiler: MVPs, Kills, Playtime, and Final Stats

Recorded all the MVPs in order. Did not catch the maps, other the the timeskip's place.

By total number of MVP awards:
Byleth: 15
Felix: 10
Dimitri: 8
Yuri: 6
Petra: 5
Dedue: 2

Expected more Byleth MVPs than that, honestly. Forgot how good Felix was early. Regained some of that glory after grinding out a few skills late.

Character: Battles/Victories
Constance: 0/0
Balthus: 0/0
Anna: 0/0
Cyril: 0/0
Catherine: 0/0
Manuela: 0/0
Hanneman: 0/0
Flayn: 0/0
Hilda: 0/0
Ignatz: 0/0
Lorenz: 0/0
Bernadetta: 0/0
Ferdinand: 0/0
Shamir: 1/0
Alois: 1/0
Gilbert: 1/0
Lysithea: 1/1
Dorothea: 1/1
Seteth: 2/0
Marianne: 2/2
Linhardt: 2/2
Caspar: 3/2
Raphael: 6/2
Mercedes: 764/157
Felix: 812/330 + Sylvain: 8/3
Hapi: 995/187
Leonie: 999/241
Petra: 999/298 + Ashe: 999/131
Ingrid: 999/307 + Yuri: 999/298
Dimitri: 999/383 + Dedue: 999/254
Byleth: 999/354 + Annette: 999/279

Order by victories of the main team:
1. Dimitri: 383
2. Byleth: 354
3. Felix: 330
4. Ingrid: 307
5. Petra/Yuri: 298
7. Annette: 279
8. Dedue: 254
9. Leonie: 241
10. Hapi: 187
11. Mercedes: 157
12. Ashe: 131

Aw. Stops counting after 999 battles. Cannot believe Felix got so few battles.

Gleans only so much information from this, sadly. Spent tons of free time battling. Fed Ingrid kills. Sped through some with Dimitri to end it quickly.

Still gives Petra the overall MVP, despite not being highest on anything. Handled objectives and tanking more reliably than Dimitri (the honorable mention). Could not use Dimitri's gimmick much around monsters (possibly uncrittable and too much health) or ballista/fire orbs (not counterable). Outweighs Dimitri's killing power.

Notes a strong anti-marriage bias in these random pairings. Generally selects even numbers of male and female units (6/6, in this case) for supports. Is not sad about Dimitri + Dedue. Did not see Felix + Sylvain coming. Sank most marriage opportunities between those two pairings. (Wishes for a few more same gender pairings, solely for more paired endings. Probably would have gotten Annette + Mercedes, though, if not for marrying Annette.)

Total playtime for this route: 91 hours, 3 minutes. Completed Crimson Flower in 65 hours, 13 minutes and Verdant Winds in 81 hours, 18 minutes, for comparison.

Grabbed everyone's stats at the start of the last mission.

Level: 45
Class: War Master
Hitpoints: 64
Strength: 43
Magic: 22
Dexterity: 35
Speed: 36
Luck: 29
Defense: 32
Resistance: 21
Charm: 66

Dominated the early game with the Chalice of Beginnings. Could not keep up with enemy stat gains, however. Fulfilled the role of monster slayer exceptionally late-game. Appreciates a strong gauntlet user.

Level: 47
Class: Great Lord
Hitpoints: 74
Strength: 48
Magic: 25
Dexterity: 35
Speed: 29
Luck: 26
Defense: 33
Resistance: 18
Charm: 53

Spent most of the early game being fed kills. Became monstrous after finally setting up Battalion Wrath and Vantage. Felt like a very bad Dimitri. Estimated a few stat averages. Performed reasonably close. Moral of the story: never go cavalry. Drops your Speed like an Armor Knight.

Level: 45
Class: War Master
Hitpoints: 75
Strength: 45
Magic: 18
Dexterity: 27
Speed: 23
Luck: 23
Defense: 44
Resistance: 20
Charm: 44

Began as a weak to middling unit. Earned little in Dexterity and Speed. Absorbed hits okay. Compared poorly to those dodging it completely. Turned it around with Quick Riposte. Leaned more into Defense too. Became a viable tank. Would have been a good gauntlet user as well.

Reached S-Rank after the stat boosters, also. Was one of two units to do so.

Level: 45
Class: Assassin
Hitpoints: 57
Strength: 39
Magic: 25
Dexterity: 33
Speed: 51
Luck: 30
Defense: 29
Resistance: 16 (5)
Charm: 34 (5)

Followed a U-shaped curve, in terms of power. Began strong. Dropped off without Alert Stance. Wanted a more mixed-phase unit. Never materialized. Grinded out Alert Stance and Weight -5 near the end. Improved massively.

Hm. Base value of 46 Speed without the Assassin modifier. Begins with 9 Speed at level 1. Earned 35 Speed level ups in 44 levels (79.5%). Beats Felix's average, even when assuming Assassin for all 44 levels (Felix's base 55% + Assassin's 20%). Spent the first 19 levels as a Commoner (0%) or Thief (10%), plus a few odd levels while grinding skills.

Level: 54
Class: Dancer
Hitpoints: 54
Strength: 25
Magic: 22
Dexterity: 48
Speed: 39
Luck: 29
Defense: 28
Resistance: 24
Charm: 43 (Capped)

Salvaged a very poor unit. Zipped to anyone with ease with the +movement boost and a March Ring. Dodged the rare threat reliably.

Base 24 Strength without the Dancer class. Starts with 8 Strength. Earned 3 Strength from Fortress Knight. Picked up 13 Strength level ups in 53 levels (24.5%). Figures a 30% Strength growth (Ashe's 35% - 5% from Dancer) at worst. Absolutely chose the correct person for Dancer.

Level: 45
Class: Gremory
Hitpoints: 47
Strength: 27
Magic: 39
Dexterity: 29
Speed: 36
Luck: 25
Defense: 22
Resistance: 39
Charm: 43

Healed for the majority of the game. Filled that role well. Ran across too few groups of mages to be handy for combat.

Level: 45
Class: Wyvern Lord
Hitpoints: 56
Strength: 33
Magic: 40
Dexterity: 28
Speed: 32
Luck: 27
Defense: 29
Resistance: 28
Charm: 43

Underwhelming. Hit very hard at the end. (Remembers some 72 damage normal hits on Fortress Knights.) Fell short of the kill often, however. Struggled on the defensive. May have been better off as a Dark Flier.

Level: 45
Class: Falcon Knight
Hitpoints: 56
Strength: 36
Magic: 25
Dexterity: 31
Speed: 44
Luck: 32
Defense: 25
Resistance: 34
Charm: 56

Terrible before the stat boosters. Distrusted Ingrid against swords, even with Swordbreaker on. Faced a lot of high damage double attacks at 50-50 odds.

Level: 45
Class: Falcon Knight
Hitpoints: 58
Strength: 38
Magic: 21
Dexterity: 37
Speed: 49
Luck: 35
Defense: 25
Resistance: 22
Charm: 47

Reclaimed the title of All-Star (and the literal All-Star of S-Rank with five stars in everything after the luck boosts). Completed every task asked of them. Flew in the face of arrows and ballista multiple times. Cannot recall Petra ever dying. (Probably did once or twice.)

Level: 44
Class: Falcon Knight
Hitpoints: 55
Strength: 32
Magic: 20
Dexterity: 36
Speed: 47
Luck: 26
Defense: 28
Resistance: 22
Charm: 47

Eh. Planned to use Point-Blank Volley. Rarely did. Lacked reliable defenses, especially without Alert Stance+ in the build.

Level: 45
Class: Bow Knight
Hitpoints: 51
Strength: 35
Magic: 26
Dexterity: 35
Speed: 39
Luck: 31
Defense: 23
Resistance: 27
Charm: 51

Excellent in the early game. Middling in the late game. Dropped off hard in Speed. Expected better of the highest base Speed growth in the game (65%). Received no favors from Bow Knight, admittedly (-5% growth).

Level: 45
Class: Valkyrie
Hitpoints: 52
Strength: 26
Magic: 39
Dexterity: 30
Speed: 23
Luck: 27
Defense: 25
Resistance: 35
Charm: 42

Amounted to magical artillery. Stacked +4 dark magic range from Valkyrie, a skill, and Thyrsus. Failed to shine with such terrible Speed.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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I take it since Hanneman and Manuela teach a different house depending on the route, they didn't want to bother having varying post timeskip scenarios depending on which house they were with if not recruited. There's plausible reasons as to why both of them would side with Edelgard/the Empire if not recruited I think. also took me a moment to get what you were saying about the mech names lol

But anyway congrats on making it through a Maddening playthrough
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“No, I... I have to be strong. Everyone expects me to."


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Pokemon Moon Challenge Run
Recorded a custom challenge run of Moon here. Short explanation of the challenge: Begins with heavy restrictions. Buys (semi-random) Pokemon and lighter restrictions with in-game money.

Enjoyed the playthrough. Made some tough calls between getting more Pokemon, lighter restrictions, and saving for better odds/deals. Outpaced the prices in the last third of the game, unfortunately. Fixes that easily enough for future runs, at least. Succeeded at forcing different Pokemon than usual too.

Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (Demo)
Was drawn in by the aesthetic. Suggested decent combat mechanics. Deserved a shot.

Controls a party from the Ivory Order. Tasks you with retrieving an important vial. Chases the thief to a cave. Recovers the vial. Ends the demo with the titular Isle Dragon...roaring.

Fizzled badly from a story standpoint (for a demo, anyways). Introduced three completely different people in the Direct. Presumably plays as them for the entire game. Ought to draw in your audience with them. Never appeared once. Understands nothing about the looming conflict either.

Gives the combat some sideeye. Seems simple. Lists your hero's attack and the enemy's defense. Assumes "Attack + Modifiers - Defense = Damage". Cannot trust that, however. Found an example from a video:
Hero: 11 Attack
White Light: "Deals ATK + 10 Light damage"
Enemy: 2 Defense
Result: Strikes for 9 damage, then for 10 damage. Worded that attack a little poorly. Expected only one hit. Makes sense still.

A little later, versus some mushroom monsters...
Hero: 12 Attack
White Light: "Deals ATK + 10 Light damage"
Enemy: 4 Defense
Result: Strikes for 10 damage, then again for 10. ...What? Should be 18 total damage, not 20. Signaled no kind of weakness, resistance, or critical on that attack. Is there a hidden damage variance? If so, then why present the information? Undermines it.

Hoped for more complexity via different equipment or skills. Holds little hope on that front.

Refrains from complaining about difficulty. Expects none from a demo. (Blazed through. Probably never fell below 75% health on anyone.)

Passes on this. Commends it for style. Utters little praise beyond that.

Earthbound Challenge Run
Returned for another playthrough. Probably broke into double digits for playthroughs of this game. Describes it as a comforting experience. Wishes to add a bit of new life into it with restrictions. Tried to disincentivize strong abilities or tie them to unused strategies. With that in mind:

1. Ness's restriction: Must eat a Bag of Fries (with Ketchup upon reaching Twoson) before every use of PSI Rockin'. Slows down the move on top of clogging up inventory space. Made "Fries" Ness's favorite food, of course.

2. Paula's restriction: Must Pray before every use of PSI Freeze or PSI Thunder. Allowed free use of PSI Fire, as the least used offensive move.

3. Jeff's restriction: Cannot use any kind of Bottle Rocket, Bomb, or Bazooka. (Applies to other characters too.) Sees Bottle Rockets banned commonly. Joined the bandwagon.

4. Poo's restriction: Must use Mirror before every use of PSI Starstorm, PSI Freeze, and PSI Thunder. Permits free use of PSI Thunder two ranks below their maximum (minimum Alpha). Never uses Mirror. Slows down more powerful PSI too, much like the other restrictions.

5. An unofficial restriction: Cannot despawn enemies to clear a path. Avoids more dangerous enemies with this trick. Turns longer dungeons back into tests of endurance with this rule. Decided to add this shortly after starting up the game.

Notable bits:
- Died to the first or second enemy. Landed maybe one hit on a Spiteful Crow in four turns between Ness and King. Tried to run for a few turns. Nope. (Tip: Do not attempt to run. Increases your odds for each passing turn. Depends on your speed too. Gave Spiteful Crows 77 Speed for some reason. Beat the game with 56 Speed on Ness, for comparison.)

- First kill for the "no despawn" rule: two Ramblin' Evil Mushrooms outside Onett. Stuck a mushroom on Ness's head. Beaned himself for over half his health.

- Curses these Spiteful Crows. Stole some of Ness's fries and ketchup. So much for PSI Rockin'.

- Remembers why Pray is so bad again. Made everyone feel strange on the first one. Tried PSI Freeze anyways. Resulted in a self one-shot (easily).

- A great case of all the rules in tandem: the Gold Mine. Ran far lower on PP than usual. Left the dungeon twice to replenish, rather than one attempt. Discovered how vicious the Guardian Diggers are as well. Usually drops them with PSI Freeze on turn 1 (or nearly). Dealt with multiple Smaaaash hits that take out Paula or Jeff in one blow.

- Hates Pray so bad. Confused everyone on the Kraken fight en route to Scaraba. Could not land Lifeups on the right people. Wound up with Paula alone at 9 hitpoints at one point. Clutched a comeback with more prayers. Eventually got the one that resurrects everyone. (1 in 16 chance for the Resurrect Pray. Equals the Confusion Pray's odds, supposedly. Got the latter a lot more often.)

- Tossed a PSI Flash Beta at the Plague Rat of Doom (Sanctuary 5 boss). Turn 1 insta-kill. Nice. Compensates for some of the bad Flash luck from enemies doing the same.

- Remembers why Mirror is garbage. Knew about the bad odds of success beforehand. Did not know about it removing current shields or breaking from Neutralizer-type moves. Finished several fights before accomplishing anything.

- Picked up a Sword of Kings. Only took 15-20 Starman Supers. Not bad for a 1 in 128 drop. Helps Poo considerably, given how much Bash will be used.

- Soured on PSI Freeze with the Starman Deluxe fight (Stonehenge base boss). Confused everyone with Pray again. Healed Starmen multiple turns in a row. (Dealt with Homesickness too.) Lost after the party killed themselves without breaking confusion. Never even saw PSI Starstorm from the boss (on that attempt). Calls it a restriction success, on the plus side.

- Lost a Packet of Ketchup on the road to Giygas. So much for PSI Rockin' again.

Gives the challenge a thumbs-up. Slowed down battles. Allowed mean monsters to do their thing. Tried uncommon tactics more, such as PSI Brainshock, Defense Shower, and PSI Defense Down. Met some success with Brainshock. Noticed no difference from defense changes.
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Commander Keen (Episode One: Marooned on Mars)

Chose this game for this month's Game-Along. Played it as a child, along with several others in the series. (Probably fiddled more with the fifth game. Guesses this to be second-most played in the series.) Revisited it a few years ago as well. Released it in late 1990. Shares a release year with the original Monkey Island, King's Quest V, and Super Mario World.

Describes this as a very basic platformer. Jumps and enters stages with Ctrl. Whips out the pogo stick with Alt. Fires a ray gun (with limited shots) with Ctrl + Alt. Pauses with Spacebar. Nothing else. Contains enemies simple enough to walk into death pits.

Commander Keen 1 Monster.png

Seeks four ship parts to repair your "Beans with Bacon Megarocket": Everclear, a Joystick, a Vacuum Cleaner, and a Car Battery. Scattered the pieces across Mars. Appears next to the exit in certain levels. May opt to skip multiple locations, as a result. Probably only requires you to beat about half the levels.

Discovered one big hazard with the pogo stick. Bounces higher by holding Ctrl while on the pogo stick. Held Alt and an arrow key at first. Flips your screen by holding Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Key, however.

Blazed through the game without too much issue. Beat it in maybe an hour. Hits you with a few tight, dangerous jumps from time to time, but not many. Died once or twice to a monster (surprisingly) lunging or getting locked down by a robot's push before getting fired upon. Booked it for the last level after running low on lives, also.

Highlights one part of the last level. Grabbed a level map from a wiki for better visibility. Cropped it to the relevant part.

Commander Keen Last Level.png

Provided a hint about this earlier. Told you your raygun was needed at the end, but not for the commander. Looks identical to the guards in earlier levels, however. Bet on some way to make the cement block fall. Could not see much of the ceiling. Missed the solution.

Lacked the shots to defeat a normal guard. (Good thing, too. Takes four shots for normal guards, but 105 for this commander.) Risked jumping over the boss (who randomly jumps also) instead. Escaped death. Snagged the Everclear before automatically exiting too.

Preserved one amusing bit in the Steam collection: the advertisement for the other two games in the trilogy. Lists instructions for how to order them. Sounds strange to mail a game company nowadays.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Played Celeste for this month's Game-Along. Heard positive things about it. Lost interest upon learning its genre: precision platformer. Caught glimpses of games like Super Meat Boy. Never looked particularly fun. Received Celeste as a gift, however. Prompted a try.

Controls Madeline. Decided to climb Celeste Mountain partly to overcome mental health issues and partly as a self-challenge. Encounters strange occurrences on the mountain, such as a reflection of Madeline becoming real. Quickly realized how everything is a metaphor for Madeline's struggles. Finds feather power-ups after learning a calming trick involving a feather, for example. Enjoyed watching the story unfold. Always awaited more dialogue.

Cared less for the gameplay. Lays no blame on the controls. Worked as expected. Planted checkpoints everywhere too. Retried portions with minor time loss. Simply never felt any pleasure from grabbing a tough strawberry (a collectible), ferreting out secrets, or moving forward. Would not call it unpleasant either (generally). Describes it in duller terms: jump, dash left, hold neutral, fall into stamina gem, dash up-left to wall, climb, and then jump to safety.

Nearly forgot one bit, fittingly: the music. Supposedly features a great soundtrack. Remembers none of it. Definitely had sound. Likely tuned it out from concentration. Happens fairly often in games. Experienced little downtime during levels to hear anything. Focused on figuring out how to move forward, actually moving forward (with a plan or not), or searching for breakable walls/secrets.

Seems like a good precision platformer game. Recommends it to people who like that genre or wish to try it. May not change your opinions if you do not, however.

Final stats
Strawberries: 104/175
Deaths: 812
Time: 5:46:54.477

Acquired three B-Side tapes and a yellow, circular gem. Missed all the crystal hearts. Saw two crystal hearts (one at the hotel and one behind six gems).
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


Grass dinosaur extraordinaire

Age 32
Madrid, Europe
Seen 38 Minutes Ago
Posted 1 Week Ago
21,067 posts
15.9 Years
Commander Keen (Episode One: Marooned on Mars)
I'm super-late but seeing this has a ridiculous nostalgic value for me... even if I did play the game once I already was a PC member, so like, a decade and a half after it was released. Still, I did not expect to hear about it anywhere in the internet I visit nowadays!


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Posted 7 Hours Ago

Themed this month's game along on ships. Followed it with this roguelike spaceship game. Helms a spaceship with information vital to the rebellion's defeat. Travels through eight sectors in space. Culminates in a final battle versus the Rebel Flagship.

Played this game before. Always gravitated towards one of two strategies: stacking lasers/flak or boarding crews. Offers so many weapons and ship systems, however. Sought a different experience. Banned laser and flak weapons (until able to defeat a ship otherwise) and boarding crews.

Attempt 1: Drone Focus
Tetragon Ship.png
Set off on Tetragon (Engi Ship Layout C). Begins with a Beam Drone and a laser weapon. Selected this ship for its augment: Defense Scrambler. Prevents enemy drones from disabling your offensive drones or shooting down missiles. Counters the drone counter, essentially. Viewed this as essential, given drones as the primary damage source.

Could not escape using the laser weapon, due to the Beam Drone being unable to pierce shields. (Bought an Ion weapon at the first chance. Excels at disabling systems, such as shields.) Tore out across the vast expanse of space in search of more scrap (currency) and drones.

Notes one shortcoming of drones: limited resources. Expends one drone part per deployment. Costs 8 scrap each at the store. (Comparison: Sells laser weapons for 50-95 scrap, depending on power.) Lasts the whole battle, barring getting shot down. Loots drone parts from defeated ships, however. Winds up with tons on non-drone playthroughs.

Quickly discovered another flaw in the drone tactic. Controls what the ship's weapons target. Cannot command drones beyond attacking the ship. Buzzed around without any sense of priority, such as damaging weapons or shields. Suffered a lot of damage as a result. Reached Sector 7 before exploding from a severe lack of good drones and weapons.

Hates the Clone Bay, as well. Rarely played with it. Was caught offguard by the Clone Bay getting hit. Purges your clone banks very quickly until repaired. Preserves them with a specific augment. Did not have that. Lost three crew between two battles.

Attempt 2: Missile Focus
Bulwark Ship.png
Captained the Bulwark (Rock Ship Layout A) next. Begins with two missile weapons and a massive stockpile of 28 missiles. Beats all other ships on the starting number of missiles.

Never used missile weapons for a reason. Ignores enemy shields, which is great. Expends a missile for every shot, however. Occasionally misses too. May have come out negative in scrap from missile costs for the first sector dogfights. Risks running out as well. (Spent maybe four missiles per ship. Receives some back from the enemy ship's remains, though.)

Bought a very important upgrade in the shop: Explosive Replicator. Saves a missile 50% of the time. Cuts down on both consumption and ammunition costs.

Aced the middle sectors. Realized a burgeoning problem too late: increasing enemy ship health, but not a corresponding damage increase. Cost more and more missiles to win each fight. Earned more than enough scrap to pay for missiles. Became a problem of ammunition scarcity now.

Reached the final sector. Engaged the Rebel Flagship. Blasted off a chunk in Phase 1 (of 3). Pursued for Phase 2. Ran dry on missiles. Never bought any non-missile weapons. (Considers other weapons useless without planning around them.) Broke off in hopes of resupplying. Found none. Lost as the flagship captured the Federation Base.

Attempt 3: Beam Focus
Nisos Ship.png
Soured on missiles. How about beam weapons? Sat in the command chair of the Nisos (Federation Cruiser Layout B). Features an Artillery Beam. Rips across ships every 40 seconds (upgradeable down to 20 seconds). Ignores shields, unlike other beam weapons.

Avoided beam weapons in general. Requires the enemy shields to be down to work, usually. Packs on a lot of shield charges late-game. Works okay in tandem with ion weapons. Winds up with poor damage because of filling most weapon slots with ion weapons, though. Could improve with drone support. Costs a lot of scrap to set up a mediocre payout.

Begins with a laser weapon, a weak missile weapon, and the Artillery Beam. Banned the laser weapon. Costs maybe 7 missiles to take down an early-game ship with just the missile launcher. Pays scrap to down a ship, essentially. Waited on the Artillery Beam instead. Literally got up and walked around while waiting for it to charge. Went further south as weapon upgrades failed to show up. Nope nope nope.

Attempt 4: Back to Drones
Torus Ship.png
Dropped the difficulty from Normal to Easy by this point. Returned to drones. Seemed the more reliable (and less infuriating) method of success. Switched to The Torus (Engi Ship Layout A). Sacrifices the Defense Scrambler. Begins with a solid ion weapon and a Combat I drone. (Fires lasers with the Combat I and II drone. Allows that.) Launches with a much more solid start.

Was starved so hard. Absolutely refused to sell any offensive drones or ion weapons until over halfway through the game. Finally bought another Combat I drone and two more ion weapons. Rejoiced as hope dawned.

Ran into disaster shortly after: a stream of enemies with Anti-Drone defensive drones. Shot down the combat drones immediately. Fled from one fight to the next. Exploded from the tsunami of hard counters.

Attempt 5: More Drones

Stuck by The Torus. Hoped to translate better luck into lower operational costs. Received some in the form of a second Combat I drone.

Foresaw a potential problem: the ship's drone part reserve. Threatened long-term success by deploying all drones every fight. Held back to prevent a catastrophe like the missile run.

Flitted from store to store. Desperately sought the Defense Scrambler augment. Bought a second ion weapon and the final Combat I drone. Happily forked over 50 scrap for the Drone Recovery Arm. Recovers your drones (and thus, the drone part) at the end of battles. Unleashed the ship's full potential with that. Never found the vaunted Defense Scrambler or even the Cloaking system (a short-term damage dodge).

Reached the final sector. Stumbled across no Anti-Drone drones thus far. Remembered the Rebel Flagship popping out drones for Phase 2. Might include Anti-Drone drones. Upgraded Weapons to allow bringing the Fire Bomb online. Teleports a fire bomb onto the enemy ship. Serves as a possible way to disable any Anti-Drone drones.

Cannot recall ever fighting the Rebel Flagship without Cloaking. Prioritizes it on this battle in particular. Fires tons of weapons in Phase 1, a temporary swarm of drones in Phase 2, and a 7-laser burst in Phase 3. Dodges most of that with a well-timed Cloak.

Disabled the Rebel Flagship's major weapons in Phase 1. Suffered maybe 15% damage only. Caught up for Phase 2. Never sent any Anti-Drone drones out. Perfect. Took a bit more damage--perhaps 20%--mostly from the drone swarm ability. Pursued the fleeing ship for Phase 3.

Struggled versus Phase 3. Forgot to repair some systems damage between phases. Still went well...until the laser burst. Carpeted the Torus's systems with laser fire. Damaged the shields, weapons, and drones. Became a standstill as both ships raced to repair weapons, drones, and shields. Won that on the back of four Engies (faster repair speed crew). Endured another laser blast at the cost of more hull and systems damage. Finally brought the Rebel Flagship down.
FTL Torus Victory.png
Scored 3224 points. Wound up being a good challenge. Really emphasizes how weak this build is to others, though. Supplements a traditional build, sure. Works poorly by itself.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis

Dug up this old Gameboy Advance game a few years ago. Never played it back in the day. Probably belonged to a sibling. Paid less attention to tactics-style games then.

Opens with a Fortune Teller. Asks questions to develop your character. Answered the following:
1. Bear which burden? Truth.
2. Walk which path? Longevity.
3. Design which plan? Wisdom.
4. Swear which oath? Fruition.
5. Share which vision? Bliss.
6. Shape which future? Peace.

Resulted in a Water-elemented, Chaotic main character with balanced stats and a starting Ninja and Cleric. Uh...okay. Tried to pick good-oriented decisions. Evidently chose all Chaotic answers. Should have walked the path of Wealth, swore an oath of Purity, and shared a vision of Peace or...Terror...for a Lawful alignment. Whatever, game.

Set off on the first few missions. Expected something like Fire Emblem between recruiting most enemies and permadeath. Turned to X-Com vibes after discovering friendly fire and 60% hit rates. Influences hit rate heavily by angle of attack. Suffers hit rates like 60% (and worse) for head-on attacks. Fares better on side attacks. Jumps up to 99% for most rear attacks. Will not counterattack on rear attacks either.

Hunted for basic information quickly. Felt starved on knowledge. Presented things like this:
Tactics Ogre Terrain.png
Indicates the element adjustments for the tile. (Gave you some information in the tutorial and in a Tips section. Did not realize Select brought up a tooltip either. Cycled through item information like Physical/Magical Attack without tooltips. Figured that was it.)

Proceeded further. Noticed two worrying trends:
1. Underleveled. Bumped up enemy levels by 2 every map. Earned that much experience on maybe one character per map. Recruited higher level enemies on the battlefield to try to alleviate it. Simply reset the problem.
2. Low funds. Costs 540 Goth for Hard Leather Armor, the most basic. Charges 400 for basic damage and healing spells. Forked over ~1500 Goth for a low level Hawkman already. Gives you 3600 Goth before the 9th map. Struggled just to outfit units.

Solved the above two problems in curious ways.

- Training Battle: Accesses this at any time on the overworld. Pits your own units against each other. Grants experience like a normal battle. Cannot die here. Might as well call it "Grind Mode".

- Quest Mode: Picks this before choosing "Story Mode" on the main menu. Unlocks this after Battle #4. (Good luck fighting level 15 units with your level 5s when unlocking this, though.) Fights a 5 on 5 battle. Earns rewards based on the objective (Defeat All / Defeat Leader) and a self-imposed turn limit. Turned off perma-death here too. Replays this as many times as desired.

Rewards stupidly good items in Quest Mode. Beats some equipment sold in endgame shops. Awards even stronger items with later Quest Mode maps also.

Praises this game for containing some meaningful story choices. Missed it so much. Features one very outsized decision at the end of Battle #6. Discusses trying to find the home of the mermaids. Suggests capturing one, then following it home. Your choices:
A: "I've no better ideas..."
B: "It doesn't seem right."

Amounts to Fire Emblem: Fates's decision between Hoshido and Nohr. Sends you down one of two routes from here. Sides with entirely different people.

Progressed onward. Noticed more flaws with more familiarity.

1. Map and encounter design
Designed most of these maps with the highest elevation in the top-left or top-right. Understands this decision. Eliminates blind spots in the map. Created most maps with a few levels of elevation.

Becomes problematic when you almost always start at the bottom of the map. Increases attack range for ranged units (or maybe just bows) by 1 for every elevation level. Hurts your back row while significantly boosting theirs. Effectively turns archers into an enemy-only class. Stitched together some screenshots to convey this.
Tactics Ogre Bow Range Complete.png
Sniped the bottom-left fairy from the top edge of the castle ramparts. (Probably could have hit the fairy a few more tiles away too. Plinked the healers ~4 tiles further back from a center rampart position.) Shows the fairy's attack range in brown. Comes nowhere close. Often lacks the defense to approach the battle. Compares their defense to spellcasters.

Adds one more point on encounter design: repetitive objectives. Recalls two "Protect X" maps. Defeated the leader or all enemies for the remainder. Supplements this one bit of praise: decent AI on protect maps. Ran away from enemies. Screws this up in so many games somehow.

2. Underused and hidden mechanics

Favored weapons: Will simply quote the in-game tip.
Weapon Proficiency:
Some characters have particular weapons they are good at using. They may be able to damage an opponent more severely with that weapon than with a more powerful one. Since this information will not be displayed, you'll have to experiment in Training Mode to discover the best weapon for each character.
Tells you a class's favored weapon in the class's tooltip. Simply chooses not to display the damage boost on your character's stats page. Acts similarly obstinent with weapons matching your character's element.

Elemental mechanics: Devoted time to these. Showed the terrain elemental advantages earlier. Developed spells to affect weather. Burns away snow with fire spells. Amounts to little difference in damage. Noticed a possible difference in receiving damage from, say, Fire on Fire versus Fire on Water. Swings from maybe 110 damage on a weakness to 90 on a resistance? (Knows no damage calculations.)

Mental Gauge: Ranges from -2 to 2. Affects hit rates and damage slightly. Influences this via emblems. (Emblems: Sort of like character achievements. Allows you to access other classes too.) Never even noticed it. Typically affects units within three spaces. Displays no lens for this.

Biorhythm: Goes through ups and downs in Luck. Discovers your character's spot in your biorhythm through fortunes.

Luck: Finds no good information on this. Never tells you your Luck directly. Affects a lot of things, supposedly, from stat gains to finding better items. Includes hit rates without telling you. May say 99% accuracy for an attack. Could be actually less than that with bad luck.

Leads to a serious question: what is the point of giving information if it is wrong?

3. War Trophies

Places a bag at the feet of most defeated enemies. Contains unique weapons, armor, and spells sometimes. Cannot discern its contents before picking it up. Must stand on that space to do so. Automatically receives any war trophies remaining on the battlefield after the fight.

Loses these war trophies if picked up by an enemy. (Sounds familiar to Triangle Strategy players, at this point.) Will not drop it if defeated either. Effectively deletes it. Missed out on a best-in-slot(?) spear and Petrifying Cloud because of it. Could have missed out on Resurrection and some set piece armor too. Hates this mechanic a lot for including unique items.


Rambled enough about the finer details. Deviated from the usual map-by-map description of a game. Remarks on little else regarding that, though. Ran out of steam for interesting bits after the first third of the game. Threw a curveball twice by forcing you to split your army. Turned into a slog between tanky enemies (with healing spells), fewer strong units, and extra caution against high-range archers.

Ended the game on a sour note as well. Barely called in reinforcements all game. Reared its ugly head against the final boss. Combined two awful problems: randomly-placed reinforcement units which act immediately and an instant-death chance weapon. (Never saw any other enemies with such a weapon. Could have gotten this weapon in Quest Mode, however.)

Sees no "good" ending in this game either. Winds up with a major character sacrificing themselves to save the evil angel in every ending. Wound up an exile in the A route ending. Missed the A+ ending by not beating the game in under 25 hours. (Only adds an extra scene. Calls back to an earlier Tactics Ogre game.)

Final verdict: Calls this an okay game, despite the complaints above. Appreciated the different class options and emblem system. Added great replayability with two separate routes. Flubbed too many mechanics to seriously consider a second playthrough, however.

Final stats:
Tactics Ogre End Stats.png
(Savescummed deaths away, for the record. Happened very rarely outside the final boss and trying for Angel Knight. Credits running two healers.)
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


Owl + Bear =

Age 26
Clan of Fools, Waterdeep
Seen December 14th, 2022
Posted December 14th, 2022
I remember playing Tactics Ogre back in high school. I don't recall the level curve being that steep (but then again, I played it like a decade ago), but I do indeed remember how repetitive the game was, to the point that I got bored and dropped the game entirely. A shame, really.

I loved reading your in-depth thoughts btw!!

2. Underused and hidden mechanics
Ugh, I hate it when games do this. What even is the point of showing stats and numbers if nobody ever explains what any of it means???


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Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
Rune Factory 5

(Mentions a few spoilers. Deals mostly with completion times and unlocking stuff.)

Entered this game with tempered enthusiasm. Loved Rune Factory 4 Special (as evidenced by multiple posts here). Heard about various framerate issues. Dreaded the jump to 3D too. Favors the graphics and control of 2D games. Tends to be rough on the initial transition too (see: Sonic's camera, Golden Sun's worse graphics, less colorful Pokemon models).

Found a lot of familiarity. Functions under many of the same systems at 4: crop leveling, soil stats, tons of little skills, crafting (including most inheritance rules), taming monsters, and request progression. Introduced a few new things, like the Catching Skill, Farm Dragons, and three large, open areas not unlike the Wild Area in Pokemon. Retained what made 4 great...kind of. Might be easier to go through positives and negatives.

1. Combat. Easily tops the list. Provided far more movement space in boss arenas than in 4. Added two more crucial bits: attack warning areas and invincibility frames to dashes. Gives the players the ability to react and react meaningfully.

2. Camera. More of a relief than a positive. Never really fought with the camera. Mentions one good use of the camera: hidden items. Stuck fruits in trees and farm dragon crystals in non-obvious spots (sometimes). Rewards you for looking around. Would have been plainly obvious in 2D.

3. Better Town Events. Hated resetting to obtain a specific town event for marrying someone. Made it far easier to pick and choose.

4. Taking multiple requests at once. Why was this not a thing before?

5. Giving human companions more of an edge. Dominated with monsters throughout most of 4. Probably holds true here too. (Stuck with humans whenever possible.)
Added special Link Attacks for humans in 5. Deals good damage while also interrupting a boss's attack.

6. Some other little nice things: easy weapon skill farming with punching bags, extra drops from wood/stone, and auto-pick-up.

1. Pacing. Highlights this as the top issue. Beat the main story in Summer 9 of Year 1. Vanquished the postgame boss on the morning of Summer 19. Played this on Normal difficulty, admittedly. May turn out differently in Hard.

Contains plenty of content. Breezed through the majority of it. Enforced a wait time or a jump in enemy difficulty in 4. Allowed you to jump from dungeon to dungeon in 5. Wore some equipment for a long time. Focused on weapon and body armor when crafting. Sufficed.

What is the problem, then? Gated farming progression behind time. Waits for crops to grow. Unlocks new crops with that. Stockpiles useful cooking materials from tamed monsters. Beat the game before those came to fruition (as with fruit trees, ironically).

What does this mean? A loss of one of 4's strengths: the usefulness of many skills. Always felt like a balancing act of what to focus on in 4. Why bother with Medicine in 5? Provided nearly zero benefit. Why bother with Cooking? Never got enough materials to really make money with it. As a useful is the actual farming part? Not entirely useless, but not that important. Only started dating someone until postgame too.

Missed some mechanics entirely, as a result. Never experienced a typhoon or meteor shower.

2. The late flower shop. Unlocks it maybe a third of the way into the game. Gates you from building up flowers for Medicine's benefits: faster, better, and larger crops. Pushes you into buying from the vendor instead. Lengthens your time to obtain 4-Leaf Clovers for a Happy Ring (increased drop chances) as well. Missed this particular item very badly.

3. Monster items. Lodges two complaints here: drop chances and high skill difficulty. Struggled to get many of some items (like Poison resist Insect Carapaces) for upgrading. Outpaced Forging and Armor Crafting skills very quickly. Turned to crops for cheap upgrades. Stockpiled plenty of them.

4. Item Sizes. Why are dropped items so small? Does not apply to every item. Really squinted to find some, like the aforementioned Insect Carapaces. Relied on the drop noise and running around blindly for auto pickup most of the time. (Does not feel like grabbing a screenshot. Apologies.)

5. Framerate issues. Was not bothered by this as much as others, most likely. Chugged quite noticeably with all villagers at a festival spot, however.


Verdict: A good game, but not as good as 4. Enjoyed the longer-term thinking and more balanced skills of 4. Wants to play 5 again on a higher difficulty, however. Featured enough differences from 4 (notably combat) to feel like a different game instead of Rune Factory 4.5.


Rodent's Revenge

Filed through the list of games for this month's theme of animals. Passed on Spore. Could not find ChuChu Rocket for the Gameboy Advance. Brought another, far older game to mind: Rodent's Revenge. Played this a loooooong time ago. Did not care for it much then. Held some nostalgia, though.

Rodent Revenge 1.png
Plays as a mouse. Moves in all 8 directions. Pushes blocks by running into them. Aims to completely trap cats. Turns cats into cheese (for points) when all cats cannot move. Adds more cats after a certain amount of time of not clearing all of them.

Seems easy. Turns grim quite fast. Screenshotted level 4 above. Shows level 5 below. (Added more cats or so from the original set.)

Rodent Revenge 2.png
Hinges on creating repeatable cat traps, most likely. Did not feel like figuring out an efficient method of doing that. (Cannot pull blocks, for the record.) Continues on for 50 levels, also. Declined to pursue this game further. Got a dose of nostalgia, at least.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Posted 7 Hours Ago
Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation

Played Birthright and Conquest a few years ago. Liked them mechanically-speaking. Improved on some of Awakening's features, like pair-up and children. Dropped the ball on story and sometimes map design.

Heard about Revelation not being great. Wanted the complete experience, though. Held off for a sale...for several years. Never happened. Pulled the trigger with the 3DS E-shop going down soon.

Played on Hard/Casual. Chose a +Skill / -Magic Corrin with a Samurai talent. Worked fairly well in one run. Yields a much stronger growth rate in Skill (+25%) for triggering skills and a solid hit rate, plus a small amount of Strength. Dropped Magic for being the most useless. Selected Samurai mainly for Swordfaire.

Thoroughly enjoyed the first few chapters. Beat them in the other routes before. Simply felt refreshing to jump from chapter to chapter without fiddling with base stuff. Promptly ruined that by beating every "challenge" map available. Whoops. Fuels the desire for a minimal grind run of Three Houses later, if nothing else.

Realized two problems with this route quickly:
1. Sticks you with Corrin, Felicia, Azura and Gunter for a while. Planned to keep Corrin and maybe Felicia. (Spoiler: Dropped Felicia. Sorry, Tomebreaker.) Finished Chapters 6, 7, and 8 with largely just them. Kept an eye out for planned team members. Added Kaze and Sakura at the end of Chapter 8. Waited until the end of 12 for Beruka. Flooded in after that: Elise + Effie at the start of 14, Silas at the end of 14, three in 16, and Leo in Chapter 17.

2. Heavily varying recruitment levels. Gives you Effie at level 8 in Chapter 14. Picks up Silas at level 18 at the end of that same chapter (a few levels under Corrin the level leader...probably). Gifts you with Shura at level 10 in a promoted class in Chapter 15. Why is there, essentially, a 22 recruit level difference in a game with a normal level cap of 40? (Increases that with seals, but shh. Costs a fortune.)

Planned the team out beforehand for children and skill inheiritance. Mixed Hoshido and Nohr characters for interesting combinations of skills (such as combining both healer classes on Forrest). Forgot about one problem: not being able to marry everyone with anyone. Grew too accustomed to Three Houses. Flipped around pairings to make it work. Resulted in more Hoshido/Hoshido and Nohr/Nohr pairings. Oh well. Accepts fault on that one.

Encountered one nice surprise: new maps in Revelation. Rehashed the same maps between Conquest and Birthright. Figured the same. (Still recycled several maps.)

Reports no particularly interesting new maps. Prepared to hate a certain snow map. Blanketed a town in snow. Digs out a small section by attacking it. Uncovers enemy units with droppable items. Becomes tedious, certainly, but not as annoying as the Wind Tribe map (also in Revelation) or the kitsune level in Conquest.

Neither loved nor hated the story. Stumbled across spoilers about the betrayal and identities of the shadowy Vallites from playing Fire Emblem Heroes. Likely lost some of their impact. Criticizes more pointless plot deaths. Seriously chooses male Corrin to not deal with female Corrin's screeches after deaths.

Completed the game without too many issues. Trashed Anankos pretty hard. Demolished every part except the final piece (2 hitpoints left) in one combat each. Likens the game to Birthright far more than Conquest in terms of gameplay. Dealt with relatively few map gimmicks. Leans very hard on Corrin throughout the whole game. Recorded stats.

Spoiler: MVP and Victories Stats

MVP Appearances by Amount
1. Corrin (23)
2. Kaze (9)
3. Felicia, Hinoka (7)
5. Effie (6)
6. Beruka (5)
7. Elise, Mitama, Midori, Silas, Sakura (2)
12. Forrest, Leo, Rinkah (1)

MVP Appearances by Map
2: Corrin + Felicia
3: Corrin + Felicia
4: Corrin + Rinkah
5: Kaze + Sakura
6: Corrin + Felicia
7: Corrin + Felicia
8: Corrin + Felicia
9: Corrin + Felicia
10: Corrin + Kaze
11: Corrin + Felicia
12: Corrin + Kaze
13: Kaze + Beruka
14: Corrin + Effie
15: Corrin + Effie
16: Silas + Hinoka
17: Corrin + Hinoka
Paralogue 1: Sakura + Leo
Invasion 1: Kaze + Beruka
18: Kaze + Beruka
Para 16: Corrin + Effie
Para 6: Corrin + Elise
19: Corrin + Hinoka
Para 5: Corrin + Hinoka
Para 12: Corrin + Elise
Para 2: Kaze + Beruka
20: Corrin + Mitama
Invasion 2: Midori + Forrest
21: Hinoka + Mitama
22: Silas + Hinoka
23: Kaze + Beruka
24: Kaze + Hinoka
25: Corrin + Effie
26: Corrin + Midori
27: Corrin + Effie
Endgame: Corrin + Effie

Look at all those Corrins. Appears in 23 of 35 possible maps (65.7%).

Battles/Victories by character
Jakob: 0/0
Hayato: 0/0
Kagero: 0/0
Arthur: 0/0
Odin: 0/0
Niles: 0/0
Nyx: 0/0
Camilla: 0/0
Selena: 0/0
Peri: 0/0
Benny: 0/0
Charlotte: 0/0
Fuga: 0/0
Mozu: 0/0
Hana: 1/0
Setsuna: 1/1
Scarlet: 1/1
Saizo: 2/1
Orochi: 2/1
Oboro: 2/1
Laslow: 2/1
Kaden: 4/1
Shura: 4/1
Rinkah: 6/1
Azura: 7/1
Subaki: 8/1
Reina: 2/2
Hinata: 4/2
Xander: 4/3
Keaton: 8/4
Gunter: 10/5
Takumi: 14/5
Ryoma: 6/6
Felicia: 108/48
Leo: 45/36 + Sakura: 95/57
Sophie: 94/67
Kana: 94/68
Mitama: 114/83
Azama: 21/11 + Hinoka: 182/110
Forrest: 78/54 + Midori: 128/78
Silas: 186/91 + Elise: 123/114
Kaze: 290/213 + Beruka: 290/161
Corrin: 421/244 + Effie: 240/105

Somehow managed the same number of combats on Kaze and Beruka. Wonders if Kaze's 213 is correct. Wrote all of these down quickly. Shrugs. Recruited Kaze earlier than most. Countered casters for quite a while. Capped Strength before promoting.

Credits all the challenge maps for the battles and victories. (Spent a load of cash on Heart Seals for skills.) Notes a commanding number of both battles and victories for Corrin. Tends to happen, though. Won the top spot in every other Fates playthrough except the very first (Birthright, 4th place behind Hinoka, Silas, and Setsuna).

Verdict: An okay version of Fates. Holds a similar niche as Birthright on low impact map design (for better or worse). Allows more options of skill combinations, weapons, and character choice than Birthright. Comes at the cost of later recruitment and levels all over the place. Views it like a sidegrade, or perhaps a slight upgrade, of Birthright.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Knights of the Old Republic

Elected to play Knights of the Old Republic (KoToR 1) for the month's theme of Choices. Cleared this game once before. Invested more time into the second game by a considerable margin. Seemed time to revisit the original.

Was greeted by technical issues. Displayed a black screen upon loading. Heard game sounds while moving the mouse. Assumed a graphical error. Snapped into a correct state by alt-tabbing in and out.

Brought another graphics issue to mind. Crashed reliably in the Undercity the first time. Discovered the cause to be the computer's "graphics card". Places that in quotes due to being an integrated graphics chipset. Fixed it by doing...something. (Probably changed two lines in a text document.) Transferred everything over to a new laptop since then. Should be good, right?

Back to the actual game. Chose a melee-focused, Light Side character last time. Wanted a Force-oriented, Dark Side character this time. Named the character Hei. (Originates from Darker than Black. Wields electrical powers.)

Next up: choose a class. Breaks down into three options. Quick versions of all three:
- Soldier: Heavy armor. 10 Vitality (see: hitpoints) per level. Lots of feats. Weak on skill points.
- Scout: Medium armor. 8 Vitality per level. Middle of the road for feats and skill points.
- Scoundrel: Light armor. 6 Vitality per level. Low on feats. Earns lots of skill points. Picks up Sneak Attack (extra damage under certain conditions).

Settled on Scout. Likes decent skill points. Also gives you Implant (another equipment slot) feats for free. Did not matter too much, honestly. Will go into why later.

Prompts you to select a portrait next. Offered nothing close to Hei. Settled on the one with the most hair and kind of dark hair. Compared the two side-by-side below.
Hei Side by Side.jpg
...Yeah. (Sidenote: Tried taking several screenshots. Captured a black screen most of the time. Fixed it much later. Loaded saves for some screenshots.)

Assigned stat points next. Ought to feel more familiar to Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition players, as well as other systems, from here on.
- 8 Strength. The minimum amount. Shuns melee combat.
- 12 Dexterity. Helps blaster attacks and defense.
- 12 Constitution. Never neglect your Vitality too much.
- 12 Intelligence. Deviated from a build here. Suggested 8. Wanted more skill points. Turned out to be a bad move for reasons explained much later.
- 14 Wisdom. Boosts force points and save DC (see: difficulty class). Becomes harder to resist your force powers.
- 16 Charisma. Also boosts force points and save DC. Affects different skills than wisdom, but otherwise similar.

Filled in skill points and feats next. Invested in Awareness (for traps), Persuasion (for dialogue choices), and Repair (for a party member later). Chose the Toughness feat for more Vitality.

Ends the character creation phase. Note the lack of force powers. Learns none for a while.

Endar Spire
Acts as the game's tutorial. Finds little to say about it. Felt ineffective in combat, though. Missed a lot. Piloted an escape pod to the next planet.

Minimized the game automatically upon playing a movie. Describes the struggle against the game itself to be more tense than any of the tutorial ones. Stopped the movie by hitting Escape. Removed the black screen with a few alt-tabs and blindly picking dialogue. (Disabled movies entirely later, due to an unavoidable crash.)

Hei Taris.jpg
The first real section. Plops you into a city's apartment building with Carth, a soldier from the Endar Spire. Tasks you with finding Bastila (a Jedi on the Endar Spire) and escaping the planet overrun by Sith. Kinda wanted to join them, but whatever.

Looted the apartment building. Hit the streets. Ran into debt collectors for the Exchange harassing a merchant. Barreled down the path of the murder hobo. Killed the debt collectors and extorted the merchant for credits. Resulted in some more valuable Dark Side points. Reduces the force point cost of Dark Side powers (and raises the cost of Light Side powers).

Terrorized the local population some more. Become buddies with some Sith at the cantina. Attended a really dull-looking Sith party. Seemingly agreed as they drunk themselves into unconsciousness. Stole some of their armor to look official.

Praises the game for changing the dialogue when equipped with the Sith Armor. Reacts to you like a Sith member. Sadly traded it away for identification papers to progress the plot.

Sidenote: Also thanks this game for the "Return to Base" button. Teleports you back to the apartment. Fully restores your health for free. Returns to your previous spot instantly by hitting "Transit Back". Leaked Vitality like a sieve with such poor combat capabilities. Saved a lot of medpacs.

Dove into the Lower City. Died to Calo Nord a few times. Read about them having good armor somewhere. Referred to a later time. Instakills you with blaster pistols currently.

Crept into the Undercity next. Did not crash, thankfully. Met up with Mission, a Twi'lek companion. Used Mission frequently in the first playthrough. Brought good skills with acceptable damage. Desires darker companions this run, though. Kept them in the party for now, due to having no one else. (Party composition at this point: all ranged.)

Reached level 4 somewhere around now. Explains an earlier point about the class not mattering too much. Opted to not level up for a while. Saves those levels for after becoming a Jedi. Earns neither Force Points nor Powers as a Scout. Accepts weakness now to become much stronger later. Will be stuck at 40 Vitality for a while, however.

Rescued Mission's friend, Zaalbar, in the sewers leading to the Black Vulkar's base. Gladly accepted a melee companion. Shoved Carth out.

Interjects two combat annoyances here.
1. Initiates combat with a blaster attack. Seems to struggle with line of sight every so often, more so in the twisty sewers. Ran right up to some enemies to shoot them. Really hurts on a weakling like Hei.
2. Apathetic party members. Started the fight! Do something! Usually waits a combat round before engaging. Sometimes decided to twiddle their thumbs the whole fight (unless prompted).

Infiltrated the Black Vulkar's base (see: slaughtered everything moving) to grab a Swoop bike part to eventually save Bastila. Met some slimeball offering a deal to betray the person you were getting the Swoop bike part for. Naturally agreed to clean out a second gang's base. Yay for murder.

Participated in the Swoop bike race on the Black Vulkar's side. Won with no problems. Turned to violence when Brejik refused to hand over Bastila. Looted Brejik's Belt. Grants 5 damage resistance to bludgeoning damage. Amaz...wait. Bludgeoning? Only lists "physical" on melee weapons. Consists primarily of swords. Is this a troll? Looked into weapons. Sees stun batons (a very low damage weapon) and quarterstaves. Who even uses those? Might affect some monsters, perhaps?

Worked on the next task at hand: escaping Taris. Meant "infiltrating" a Sith base. Really started to feel power deficit against the Sith Governor. How is a 40 Vitality Scout with a 1-8 damage blaster rifle supposed to compare to a 7-21 damage melee swing and 148 Vitality? (Technically only missed out on roughly +2 Attack, 30 hitpoints, and a feat or two from not leveling.) Packed a secret weapon, however: grenades. Hits for a flat 20 damage (10 on a save) with a Frag Grenade. Backs those up with a stun chance from Concussion Grenades. Defeated the Sith Governor after a few reloads.

Saw the end of the chapter coming. Strolled over to the arena. Used the power of money grenades to emerge victorious. Gladly accepted a new blaster pistol (and cash and experience).

Closed out the chapter by hijacking the Ebon Hawk. Invited Candorus, a Mandelorian skilled in melee, along the way. Definitely wanted them. Suits a Dark Side character's lust for battle.

Left Taris and the fleet demolishing it far behind. Landed at a Jedi place. Finally reached the promised land. Selects a second class here. Cannot gain any more levels in your old class (and good riddance). The options:

- Jedi Guardian: Melee. Initiates a Force Leap on targets within 10 meters. 10 Vitality and 4 Force Points per level. Weak on skills. High on feats. One Force Power per level.
- Jedi Sentinel: Hybrid? Gains Fear immunity. 8 Vitality and 6 Force Points per level. Medium on skills and weak on feats. One Force Power per level.
- Jedi Consular: Caster. Raises the DC for force powers. 6 Vitality and 8 Force Points per level. Weak on skills and feats. Learns one Force Power per level, plus one extra every four levels (1, 5, 9, ...).

Dumps on Consulars hard this game. Trades a rough early game with little relevance to your primary stats for...poor skill gain, poor feat gain, low hitpoints, slightly better (and more) Force Powers, and good Force Points? Gross.

Became a level 4 Scout / level 5 Jedi Consular. Doubled from 40 Vitality to 80. Discovered the error on Intelligence here. Gains 1 + (INT mod / 2) skill points per level. Equals 1.5. Rounds down. Gains almost nothing from 12 Intelligence.

Forgets all the Force Powers selected. Took Dominate Mind and Force Lightning, at minimum. Whines a bit about Force Lightning. States "enemies up to 16 feet in front". Expected something conical. Passes right by enemies between Hei and the target far too often. Illustrates this with a screenshot from later in the game.

Force Lightning Hitbox.jpg

What is the hitbox on this thing? Literally went through someone's head. (Oh, one more thing. Cannot wear armor while using Force Lightning. Permits Jedi robes and clothing. Nothing else.)

Sends you into a grove twisted by the Dark Side as your first Jedi task. Battled Juhani there. Begins a conversation upon getting them low on Vitality. Provides an opportunity to bring them back to the Light Side and become a (handy tank) companion.

...Successfully lied to the Jedi Council about killing Juhani being the only solution.

Describes the conversation with Juhani as odd. Hoped to convince them to remain on the Dark Side, but fool the Jedi elders. Will copy/paste some choices and answers (from various parts in the dialogue tree).

Hei: "I just want to talk."
Juhani: "Talk?! You who have beaten me so easily just want to talk? I do not believe it. Kill me now, while you still have the power."

Hei: "I suppose there is no hope. I must kill you then."
Juhani: "What? No! I will not let you take me now!" (Resumes combat to kill Juhani.)

Juhani: "I do not know what to do. Now that I have caused such suffering to my Master and those around me..."
Hei: "Life is suffering."
Juhani: "Life is suffering, yes... but it was by my conscious choice!"

Would have liked better Dark Side responses. Wants to be a Sith Lord luring others down the path of the Dark Side for fame, power, and/or glory. Usually just results in a pile of corpses, such as with the family feud sidequest on this planet. Cannot exploit the dead.

Entered a mysterious ruin. Learned about the also mysterious Star Forge. Needs four additional mythical Star Maps to find it. Creates some welcome freedom in the game.

Debated between this and Kashyyyk. Sought the other likely companion first: HK-47 the assassin droid. Also wanted to stop putting points into Repair. Forked over a hefty sum of 4000 credits. Immediately repaired them fully for the extra Dexterity and regeneration.

Describes HK-47 as kind of bad, power-wise. Invested quite a bit into Strength, a useless stat for a character unable to equip melee weapons. Begins with an underwhelming 14 Dexterity (+2). Boosts up to a respectable 18 (+4) after full repairs. Only affects to-hits, though, and not damage. Gains none of the sneak attack damage that Mission does. Learns some useful skills (unlike Candorus and Zaalbar) along with the Dark Side lean, though.

Hunted down the Sand People (see: Tusken Raiders) for Czerka Corporation. Grew a bit irritated about wearing a Sand People Disguise. Turns all Sand People to neutral. Broke the disguise by getting too close (or talking to?) a Sand Person, switching some of them hostile. Fair. Warned about that. Activated the defense turrets on the next map, however, which instantly kill you. Recovered the chance to eradicate them by loading a save.

Found the Star Map next. Dealt with Calo Nord's ambush. Marveled at their amazing armor for Candorus (after upgrades): 12 Defense, damage resistance 10 for Cold, Fire, and Sonic, immunity to critical hits, and immunity to mind-affecting. Wore this armor for the rest of the game.

Pushes Zaalbar into the spotlight here. Details their backstory about being exiled. Becomes unavailable here for the majority of the planet, sadly.

Hid the Star Map in the Shadowlands. Erected several forcefields on the path to it. Laughed at how pathetic it is.
Kotor Shadowlands Forcefield.jpg
References this impenetrable defense in Jolee's dialog. "There are others, each blocking similar points on certain paths. It is all very calculated. Very precise. It would have been effective if it hadn't relied on the creatures to be walking. Climbers don't have much trouble getting around it."

Slaughtered the old Wookie ruler of Kashyyyk. Grabbed the Star Map. Agreed to the current leader's way of enslaving Wookies. Hightailed it to the next stop.

Yavin Station
Supposedly acquired this as downloadable content on the Xbox. Comes as a part of the game on every other platform. Shrugs. Sells expensive, high-powered wares here. Bought three main things:

1. The best armor for HK-47 in the game (a straight 13 defense).
2. The Baragwin Assault Blade for Candorus. Replaced the 1d10 + 1 damage blade with this monster's 2d6 physical + 2d6 energy + 2d6 sonic damage. Expanded the critical range from 19-20 to 17-20. Tops that off with a +5 to-hit modifier, versus the old blade's +1.
3. Tossed aside some wimpy 1d6 + 2 damage pistol (probably) for the Baragwin Ion-X Weapon. Doles out 3d6 ion + 1d10 physical damage, as well as +2d6 versus droids. Serves as a backup in case of running out of Force Points. (Sorry, HK-47. Will give you it later.)

Really likes this planet's schtick. Produces kolto, a vital resource for healing. Sells to both Republic and Sith. Enforces a strict neutrality policy. Threatens to cut off one side for violating that.

Stole a transporter into the Sith Base. Blasted every living thing there (except for the Selkaths trying to become Sith. Gave them a thumbs-up). Prevents you from leaving the way you came in, for some silly reason. Walked out the front door like a dunce. Met a lot of angry Selkath guards there.

Cue the first trial. Note: Will kill you if they find you guilty. Handed the reins to the assigned defense lawyer, for fear of Dominate Mind not working. Did a poor job of it. Stepped in with the Sith's plans to overthrow the Selkath government. Got off scot-free.

Dealt with Jolee's character quest next. Investigated Jolee's friend, Sunry. Discovered video footage of Sunry killing the Sith.

Cue trial number two. Acted as Sunry's lawyer. The first move: show the judges the video footage. Guilty. Easy.

Back to the main quest: the Star Map. Went on a non-yellow submarine to a secret Republic kolto harvesting facility. Involves a sloooow-moving section wearing diving equipment and big sharks. Gives you a handy sonic emitter to one-shot the sharks.

The problem? A very short range. Matches the shark's aggro range. Used it one-tenth of a second too early. Closes the entire gap between you before you are able to act again. Will one-shot you back if it hits. Was sweating bullets while spamming that sonic emitter. Fired it off before the shark hit. Only died once in that section.

Discovered the Star Map behind a gigantic shark. Vented poison into the waters to kill it. Contaminated the kolto, but who cares? Jotted down the Star Map.

Turns out the Selkath care. Cue trial number three. (Got a lot of use out of the courtroom.) Cared even more about their mythical shark god dying. Suffered a planetwide ban from taking too much credit about killing the giant shark. Eh. Finished all the sidequests here anyway.

Oh, right. Also encountered Darth Bandon while completing said sidequests. Realized the importance of Force Breach. Cancels the enemy's Force buffs, which includes "Force Immunity". Did not learn that yet. Struggled pretty hard in that fight. Picked up Force Breach at the next opportunity.

The Leviathan
Captures your ship after completing three of the four planets. Chose T3-M4 as the one to free everyone. Expected a skill-based challenge for them. Was proven correct.

Reveals you to be *gasp* Darth Revan at the end of the section. Loses Bastila at this point too. No real loss there.

Strutted around this Sith planet. Yeah, hey, Darth Revan here. Did not impress anyone.

Entered their academy to join up with the Sith. Competed against a few other chumps. Scared one away. Killed the rest. Won by default.

Brings up an extremely annoying bug here. Breaks something about companions on this planet. Suspects a cutscene setting up the usual flag for companions to halt, but failing to remove it. Resulted in companions doing nothing and typically not following you. Became a slog from having to "gather your party before venturing forth" from map to map. Essentially doubled the walking time on the planet. Fixed it with a later cutscene, thankfully.

Wandered into the tomb with the Star Maps. Had an epic battle versus two Terentateks. Resists Force powers very well. Survived by using Plague on both, then alternating Force Choke to lock them down.

Wrote down the final Star Map. Killed the Sith teachers. Told everyone at the Sith Temple about it. Failed to convince them to bow down before their new head teacher, Darth Revan. Wiped all the Sith out. Sighs. Such a waste of talent.

Yavin Station
Returned here for more stuff. Bought another blaster rifle. Deals better damage to all creatures, but less to droids than the Ion-X. Passed off the old weapon to HK-47.

Star Forge System
Jumped to the Star Forge, only to get downed by a disruptor field. Spoke with the locals. Agreed to eradicate some hoity-toity lizards in exchange for entrance to a temple to turn the disruptor field off.

Demands for you to enter the temple alone. Backs off over Jolee's insistence on tagging along. (Would have been Juhani as well, if not for dying.) Sure. Swept the temple easily.

Met evil Bastila at the top. Raved about how amazing the Dark Side is and how the Jedi Council was a bunch of elites using you. (Actually sounded a lot like some people talking about politics today.) Smacked Bastila down. Convinced them to come along, defeat Malak and the Republic, and rule the galaxy.

Unnerved Jolee. Refused to swear loyalty to the glory of Darth Revan. Cut them down there. Welcomed back Bastila.

Was actually blindsided by this. Usually knew what was coming between memory and some Wiki browsing. Thought Bastila would only ever rejoin you through a Light Side romance thing at the end. Did not know about Jolee dying period.

Kept the surprises coming. Told the rest of the companions what was up. Upset Carth and Mission. Could not kill Carth. Gave Zaalbar the honors of killing Mission with a little Dominate Mind. Niiiiice.

Star Forge
Forces Bastila in the party. Was not too sad about that. Performs better than HK-47 in combat. Brought Candorus, as a nice non-energy damage source. Regretted not buying fancy Lightsaber crystals from Yavin Station.

Harasses you the whole way to Malak. Sends groups of 3-4 Dark Jedi and Sith Troopers in constant waves. Reached level 20 (the maximum) on the companions. (Hit 20 on Hei somewhere in the Star Forge System.) No longer needed experience. Sliced through all resistance.

Ends the game with a one-on-one duel versus Malak. Hits quite hard, on top of strong saves and Force powers (including Force Immunity). Heals by draining captured Jedi throughout the room.

Prevailed with the use of Breach, Plague, Wave, and Storm. Sucked the Jedi dry before Malak could, also. Caused a bug, unfortunately, which rendered Malak unkillable. Darth Malak Bug.jpg
Mwah. Saved just beforehand, thankfully.

Displayed the credits in a very fitting way: bugged.

Kotor Ending Credits Bug.jpg
Enjoyed playing through once again. Was not without flaws, however. Suffered from bugs and two separate hard crashes (one from a movie, one randomly in Manaan). Feels a bit weak on build variety also. Technically increases when separating Light Side Consular and Dark Side Consular.

Felt a bit let down by the Dark Side choices most of the game. Redeemed itself a little at the end. Describes the final results as fairly evil, upon reflection. A rundown:
- Endar Spire: Destroyed
- Taris: Leveled by Sith bombardment
- Dantooine: Destroyed by Sith
- Tatooine: Committed genocide against an indigenous people
- Kashyyyk: Furthered the enslavement of Wookies. Gained some in-roads to its governing body.
- Manaan: Killed a god, ruined the planet's reason for existence, and got banned
- Yavin Station: Perfectly fine.
- Korriban: Killed most people there.
- Star Forge System: Killed half of the indigenous people. (Could not kill the other half. Needed the experience less then anyways.)

Defeated the Republic and became the overlord too, of course. Sounds like a proper Dark Side ending.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Kirby and the Forgotten Land

[Kirby Rant]
(Provides some background into personal history with Kirby games within the rant. Talks about the actual game at the close of this tag.)

Played a lot of Kirby games over the years. Stormed through most of the mainline games, dating from the Super Nintendo to the 3DS. Loved Kirby Super Star, back in the day.

Waned in interest over time, however. Identifies one possible reason: shifting the focus away from completing the stage. Challenges the player to find all the hidden doodads nowadays. Cannot really call hidden objects a new development. Appeared in the Super Nintendo era Kirby games too. (Never liked The Great Cave Offensive either.)

Turned up this trend over the years. Tasks players to sniff out about three secrets per stage now. Applies to games besides Kirby too. Uses a similar template for newer 2D Mario games. Hated some newer Donkey Kong games for stuffing their numerous secrets behind solid-looking walls.

Why is this bad? Loses the "action" part of the game outside of boss battles. Rolls over enemies like the level 3 Rattatas on Route 22 on the way to Indigo Plateau. Might as well not exist. Spends the entire stage poking at suspicious-looking corners and watching the edge of the screen for a hint of a platform.

Arguably lost what made secrets great in the first place, also: rarity and purpose. Becomes far less special when regularly expected. Accessed things like a room of copy abilities or, to use a Mario example, Star Road and alternate paths for the older games. Doles out a piddly Secret Bit #104 nowadays.

Might hate Kirby games now, if not for one redeeming factor: The Arena. Brings the "action" part front-and-center with a boss rush. Remixed some bosses and even adds new ones solely for this mode sometimes. Describes Planet Robobot's True Arena as the best gaming rush in years.

Often comes with one unfortunate catch: 100%ing the game. Are those amazing 2-3 hours worth 20-30 hours of slog? Becomes harder and harder to answer "Yes" to that.
[/Kirby Rant]

Was not hyped for this one, consequently. Tried the demo. Threatened the usual problem. Borrowed this from a sibling, though. Lowered the bar of entry.

Begins with some praise.
  • Stepped up their game on scenery. Snapped two screenshots.
    Kirby Forgotten Land Opening 1.jpg
    Kirby Forgotten Land Opening 2.jpg
    Typically appears at the start of a level. Provides a good introduction.

  • Made the secret hunting less irritating. Usually gave you an idea of its location based on the position of the missing piece. (As in, look before Piece #2 to find Piece #1.) Retained that (mostly), on top of also telling the player what to do. Reduces some frustration. Also permitted you to retry some parts to try to grab a secret again.

  • Enjoyed the upgraded powers. Buffed Fire and Ice to their best performance possibly ever with the damage over time and massive full freeze damamge, respectively. Highlights Chain Bomb as the real doozy, though. Could be the best designed power in the franchise. Links nearby bombs. Explodes for more damage with more bombs linked together. Becomes an interesting challenge of stacking up bombs for a massive explosion.

  • Hands out one more bit of positivity: the guard dodge. Allows you to dive while guarding. Grants invulnerability frames on top of slowing time on a close dodge. Feels great to swipe at an enemy in this timeframe.

    Captured a movie of it using the Switch feature. (An actual use for the Switch video? Yes, really.) Tried converting it into a GIF. Dropped the quality and made it larger in file size. Hopefully lags the thread less than a GIF.

    Kirby Forgotten Land Guard Dodge.mp4 (Warning: Contains a spoiler for the final boss.)

And now for the bad.
  • Undermined the great scenery with secrets everywhere. Immediately enters Secret Hunting Mode at the start of a stage. Bamboozles you like that sometimes otherwise. Never spent much time taking in the scenery. (Admits possibly not doing so without the secrets, though.)

  • Multiple pointless secrets. Scare off a few seagulls for a Waddle Dee. Do not touch the mud in some stage. Touch the glowing spot hidden between three cacti.

  • A bit too easy, including in the Colosseum. Died a total of seven times: once legitimately to Silly Armadillo, three times intentionally for a secret in a postgame area, and three times to the final boss in the hardest mode of Colosseum.

    Made the guard dodge a little too strong. Discovered it right after the Silly Armadillo death, coincidentally. Avoided guarding until then so as to not miss the Waddle Dee for taking no damage.

End verdict: Rates it negatively overall. Did not pay out enough at the end to compensate for the long, dull run-up. Met expectations, more or less.

Finished the game at 98%, also. (Could have avoided some of those Waddle Dees, apparently. Whoops. Never moved onto the next stage without grabbing all the Waddle Dees.) Fell short on full completion because of the gotcha capsules. Would be a long star coin grind for zero reward.

Ultimate Cup Z times:
  • 21:20.78 with Homing Bomb (fully upgraded). No deaths. Left two normal tomatoes uneaten before the final fight. Ate the stocked Maxim Tomato on Leongar or Primal Dedede unnecessarily.
  • 50:36.88 with Morpho Knight Sword (base power). Extended that time a lot because of deaths. Recalls being around 24 minutes on the first attempt of the final boss.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (Enhanced Edition)

Begins with some background of this series. Played both Dungeons and Dragons (2nd Edition) and Baldur's Gate 1 as a child. Was dazzled by the starting town of Candlekeep. Provided very little fluff in games like Castle of the Winds, Moria, and Diablo('s demo). Would have called it the first RPG with voice acting, if not for Diablo. Never completed Baldur's Gate 1 for years. (Waned in interest after the kobold mines.) Enjoyed the first few towns, though.

Fast-forward to Baldur's Gate 2. Opens with you in a mage's prison. Tortures you and your other companions. Watched someone explode too. Was turned off by this much grimmer first impression. Probably never exited the dungeon. Never liked dark games. Holds fairly true today too.

Created an Evocation-specialized Wizard as the main character. (Consists of mainly elemental damage spells like Fireball and Lightning Bolt, but also useful spells like Web.) Considered going Enchantment for stronger Hold Persons and Charms. Killed Dynaheir (Evocation Wizard) in this game, though. Planned to just take some other wizard. (Did not look too deeply into companions on purpose.)

Cleared the first major hurdle of the game: weathering the dungeon atmosphere. Also contained a bunch of creatures in tanks. Powered up their tanks to resurrect them and listen to their mad babbling. Never went far in this game for a reason.

Stepped out into the big city. Looked around for new companions. Met Aerie in a twisted circus of deadly illusions. Bumped into Nalia next. Asks for your help on an urgent quest to save a stronghold under attack. Worried about quest timers rendering someone inaccessible. Took her along.

Glanced at the party makeup at this point.
  • Minsc (Ranger)
  • Jaheira (Fighter/Druid)
  • Yoshimo (Thief)
  • Sebitza (Evocation Mage)
  • Aerie (Mage/Cleric)
  • Nalia (Mage/Thief)

Exceeded the tolerance for squishiness. Bid farewell to Nalia, as well as Aerie. Looked up good-aligned companions. Settled on this as the final party:
  • Minsc (Ranger. Melee damage.)
  • Jaheira (Fighter/Druid. Tank.)
  • Keldorn (Paladin. Melee damage.)
  • Sebitza (Evocation Mage)
  • Neera (Wild Mage)
  • Imoen (Mage/Thief, when available much later.)

Will not defend this as a balanced party. Likely led to some extra difficulty. Liked no one else as the tank, barring maybe a Fighter/Cleric. Runs into the same problem as Jaheira of making in-combat casting difficult, though. Ultimately chose Jaheira for one reason: the voice line "Nature take the life she gave!" (~19:25). Sounded nice. Always had good lines.

Declines to give a blow-by-blow of each quest. (Tries not to ramble too much on the little details.) Will give a few highlights and more general thoughts.
  • Seems like a better game than Baldur's Gate 1 in some respects. Tromped through tons of forests and mines in the first game. Spent most of this game in buildings or caves. Preferred this game's variety. Led to lots of pathfinding hugs in those narrow corridors, though.

  • Allowed multiple paths to the same goal. Example: Chapter 4. Enters Spellhold (a wizard asylym) by convincing someone you are dangerous, taking a wardstone, or casting Protection from Petrification on your party at the screen transition. Gives you a choice later that chapter to chase someone by boat or go to the Underdark. Winds up in the Underdark either way. Completes a whole extra area by picking the boat. (Chose Underdark straight off.)

  • Accomplished some things by not fighting (or could have). Guarded some treasure in a stronghold with golems. Activates upon taking the treasure. Could have yoinked it and bolted. More or less did that for the Hammer of Thunderbolts. Could not defeat multiple Mind Flayers. Sent in Minsc hasted and invisible instead. Aggroed the Mind Flayers upon grabbing the treasure. Sprinted far enough away from the Mind Flayers to separate them. Handled one Mind Flayer + one Umber Hulk, resurrected Minsc, and left with the prize.

  • Brings up the next point: ridiculously nasty monsters. Fought groups of Level Draining monsters constantly. Dies very, very quickly to Mind Flayers stunning you, draining your Intelligence, and devouring your brain (upon hitting 0 Intelligence). Hated all golems, particularly the first Stone Golem. Who thought 100% Magic Resistance, 100% element resistance, 20% physical resistance, and immunity to weapons with less than a +3 enchantment to be a good idea? (Made Clay(?) Golems immune to all but bludgeoning damage. Ratcheted Adamantine Golems' physical resistance to 90%.) Counted on all enemy wizards having Contingency Globe of Invulnerability + Stoneskin ready.

  • Whines about Magic Resistance and layers of immunity. Exists for a reason, though: 2nd Edition's broken spell effects. Incapacitates someone with Web, Hold Person/Monster, and Polymorph Other. Usually amounts to "Save or Die". Killed an overwhelmingly powerful dragon thanks to Polymorph Other connecting. Had no business winning that fight. Lowered its Magic Resistance a few times. Tossed in a Greater Malison to lower its saves. Eventually hit the winning number after a few reloads. (Took a while without Resist Fear. Found that spell very late.)

  • Another bad part about 2nd Edition: really boring levels. Screenshotted one of Jaheira's Fighter levels. Lowered THACO by 1. Gained 1 hitpoint (even with 17 Constitution). Nothing else. Sort of looked forward to weapon proficiency levels, though. Granted better THACO, damage, and extra attacks on a weapon type.

  • Obtained some fancy weapons. First weapon of note: Carsomyr. Dispels magic on hit. Tore through magical defenses so well. Second weapon: Crom Faeyr. +5 enchantment. Bumps up the user's Strength to 25. Effectively gave Minsc +10 to hit over an unenchanted war hammer (...or something like that. Forgot how THACO works). Also deals some electric damage and insta-kills some lesser golems on hit.

  • Completed the game in 46 real-time hours. Defeated the final boss at 69 days, 0 hours in-game. Kids you not. Does not even like the obsession over 69. Still screenshotted it.

  • Checked the Steam global achievement stats. Shows only 31.7% clearing the first dungeon. Sounds very low, even by first achievement standards. Must not have been alone in that first impression. Reports a relatively impressive 9.6% game completion, however. Apparently really struggles to get going. Retains players quite well after that.

Feels very torn on whether the game was good or not. Bases this on the desire to replay it. Probably would have been a great game using a more recent edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Hated all the immunities. Still enjoyed some of the quests and dungeon crawls. Left enough unexplored to justify an evil playthrough easily. Would it be fun? Shrugs.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Dragon Warrior Monsters

Always smiles at seeing a game by Square. Hammers home how old a game is. Caught the other side this time. Produced this one under Enix's watch.

Starts out with your sister getting kidnapped. Chased them into a drawer. Wound up in a giant tree, fighting to win a tournament for some king. Moves this plot fast.

Slowly remembered bits and pieces of playing this. Recognized some of the town and the different meats for taming. Screenshotted one of the locations, the Bazaar, below.
Dragon Warrior Monsters Bazaar.png

Laid out the battle menu in both familiar and odd ways to Pokemon. Gives four options: Fight, Item, Plan, and Run.
- Fight: Continues fighting as they were last told. Cannot choose targets or skills.
- Item: Uses an item. Does not consume your monsters' turns. Leaves you unable to Plan, though.
- Plan: Splits into Charge, Mixed, Cautious, and Command. Selects a general idea with the first three. Chooses specific skills and targets with Command. May disobey any of these four options, in ways similar to Pokemon.
- Run: Run.

Read the instruction booklet. Only learns so much from talking to NPCs. Hoped to find more information on stats, type matchups, and so on. Describes each family of monsters (Slime, Plant, Dragon, Bug, and so on) briefly. Ran into a mechanics clash with Pokemon.
Bird Family
Fast in speed and fast-growing, they are strong against thunder magic spells and special skills. Dracky, Wyvern, and Blizzardy belong to this family.
What is this upside-down world?

Met someone who needed to light a grill. Asked for a monster. Worded the request like a gift. Saved the game. Called on Axew the Dragon (a boss monster) to light the grill. Stole Axew and opened a new gate. Sorry, what? Helped you out. Repays that by just taking the monster? Reloaded that nonsense.

...Is the king the antagonist? Seemed really pushy about winning this tournament. Hid the queen in a room behind the arena. Spoke with her. Definitely implied her to be your sister.

Progressed through more arena matches. Reached the breeding part. Read some short reviews. Praised this part of the game. Planned to stumble through it and talk to helpful NPCs. (Pushed it in-game pretty hard. Said to go breed a few times.) Ran into issues with that:
  1. Loses both parents by breeding them. "Returns to the wild".
  2. Saves as part of the breeding process. Cannot see the resulting monster beforehand when breeding with NPCs.
  3. Could result in creating a monster with better starting stats for its species, but be a terrible species worse than both parents.
  4. Starts off the newly hatched monster at level 1 (unsurprisingly)
Punishes experimentation while demanding it, essentially. Could get around some of the issues with save states. Cannot differentiate good monsters from bad, though.

Expected to have more fun from making deliberate decisions. Dug around for some kind of stat list. Found growth rates (and maximum levels) instead. Sufficed. Added it all up like Pokemon Base Stat Totals. Looked to benefit from the existing monster team (Dragon, Golem, SpotSlime) as well. Decided on:
  • Divinegon. Led the table in growths among "normal" monsters with 146. Also chose it for the highest possible level cap (80, versus an average level cap of 43.6 among dragons, for reference).
  • WhipBird. Strong growths (124) and a good level cap (60). Was less of a pain than RainHawk (133 growth, 80 level cap).
  • Unicorn. Seemed like a support kind of monster. (Looks very angry in its sprite, however.) Picks up Vivify (revives dead monsters). Still had good growths at 104, the second highest among the Beast family.

Messed up two things early, unfortunately.
1. Bred Healer with an NPC beast before looking up information. (Yielded Spotslime.) Did not learn HealUs (group heal). Only passes on skills that it learned, forgot, or declined to learn. Bred Spotslime with a Pillowrat to get another Healer. Releveled it for HealUs. Transitioned to Unicorn from there.

2. Misread the breeding table. Created a SkyDragon instead of Divinegon. Already had one of those. Was not wasted time, though. Needed a SkyDragon for Divinegon. Merged the WhipBird into this behemoth, along with some other monsters.

Spent a loooooong time breeding Divinegon (partially because of mistakes). Illustrated it in text below. (Hopefully formatted it okay. Looks fine in the preview.)
            SkyDragon <          (Some Bird)
           /            Phoenix <          (Some Beast)
Divinegon <                       Grizzly <
	   \         MedusaEye             (Some Devil)
            Orochi <           BattleRex
		     Andreal <            Golem
                               Whipbird <           Bullbird
                                          LandOwl <
                                                   (Some Beast)
Totaled sixteen creatures. Used monsters on-hand or easily available whenever possible. Wound up being a +9 Divinegon. (Adds pluses after breeding, depending on the previous high and the parents' levels. Increases stats slightly at later levels.)

Decided to breed a RainHawk after all. Pulled it together relatively quickly with some wild monsters.
Dragon Warrior Monsters Team.png
Created an amazing party of top-tier monsters. Great. Should be ready to stomp everything after a little leveling, right? Overlooked something crucial: experience curve.

Uses different experience curves in Pokemon. Points to them as references. Will look at Slow and Fast, rather than the more unusual Erratic and Fluctuating. Reaches level 2 with 6 experience and level 100 with 800,000 experience on Fast's curve. Hits level 2 with 10 experience and level 100 at 1,250,000 experience on Slow's track.

Could not find an experience table for Dragon Warrior Monsters. Supposedly contains 32 different curves. Seemed to break down into four different amounts to reach level 2. Fast: 2 experience. Normal: 5 experience. Slow: 10 experience. Very Slow: 100 experience. Jumps way up from Slow to Very Slow.

May have spotted the problem. Placed both Rainhawk and Divinegon in the Very Slow category. Levels at an agonizing pace. Effectively makes them weaker on offense than Unicorn (Normal speed), the "healer", until well past Unicorn's level cap. Definitely beats the game before that. Likely would have been better off not breeding them.

Notes some upsides to Divinegon and RainHawk. Accumulated a lot of skills. Combines them into stronger skills like GigaSlash eventually. Supposedly hits really hard. Learns additional strong skills for being these good species. Gifted these monsters with a ton of resistances and some immunities too.

Pushed onwards. Shoveled all the +stat seeds into the teams' hungry mouths. Alleviated some problems, like low hitpoints. Farmed a few Bards for random +20 stat gains too. Still suffered from low levels. Discovered a level requirement on top of a (previously known) stat requirement for the good skills. Sighs.

Entered more tournaments. Pulled out some mean tricks, like K.O. Dance (instant death chance). Had a similar move, albeit single-target, on RainHawk. Was not too big of a problem, however, thanks to some resistance (and straight immunity on Divinegon).

Remembered struggling with Metal Slimes in a tournament. Kept an eye out for MetalCut (+50% damage to Metal monsters) while breeding. Found its place versus a Metally spamming Explodet. Squashed the 10 hitpoint Metally with a critical MetalCut for over 100 damage (if not over 200). Managed the rest of that fight with no trouble...after losing the first time.

Appreciated resistances as time continued. Hit Unicorn hard with skills, in terms of percentage health. Generally viewed Divinegon as the sturdiest on the team. Should have considered tanking moves like Guardian. Oh well.

Reached the final tournament. Battles your sister (who is not the queen) in the last match of three. Does not play nice. Ripped Unicorn and Rainhawk to shreds with Megamagic and other multitarget damage. Lost really badly the first time.

Tried a second time with the same stats, not expecting much. Hung on with enough health to deliver a sorely needed HealUsAll (full party heal). Landed Beat on the enemy Rainhawk (twins!) and Coatol before going down. Left Divinegon and Unicorn to take down the remaining MetalKing two hitpoints at a time (with MetalCut).

Ended the game with:
          Lvl Atk Def Agil Int  HP  MP
Divinegon  21 278 268  220 200 284 267
Rainhawk   22 286 265  205 215 271 322
Unicorn    38 345 350  302 233 351 349
Looked back up at the earlier screenshot. Gained 8 levels on Divinegon, 13 on Rainhawk, and 9 on Unicorn between then and the end. Illustrates the leveling curve quite well.

Ends the game conflicted. Likes the idea of passing on stats, skills, and resistances to create a really good monster. Involves a lot of effort with monsters going back down to level 1 and no Undo button, however. Penalizes you for doing it blindly or badly. Seems far too easy to do either. Added to the grind.

Was not overly taken by the combat system, also. Wandered through a lot of semi-randomized maps. Describes every map but the last of an area as a slog. Spammed "Fight" a lot. Micromanaged attacks on boss fights like a normal Pokemon game. Took away that option during arena fights, strangely.

May be expecting too much from a Game Boy Color game. Dealt with many limitations back then. Bears some of the same ugly sides as early Pokemon games. May have improved in the later games.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Metal Gear Solid (GBC)

Continues with old games. Dusted off Metal Gear Solid for this month's theme of Stealth.

Remembered fists being effective. Resolved not to use firearms as little as possible. Feels more stealthy.

Recognized bits of the first stage. Forgot about the Five-Seven...somewhere in the level. Placed none later in the game. Permanently missed a weapon in the first five minutes. (Found plenty of ammunition for it, though.) Never planned to use it much, but still.

Cleared the stage without killing anyone or being spotted. Received a rank of "Poor". ...Okay, game. Sorry for being stealthy and a pacifist? (Learned afterward about time being a big factor. Moved too slow. Deducts points for killing.)

Enjoyed some of the dialogue. Wanted that "E for Everyone" rating. Clearly frowned upon swear words. Used a French one and also a "damm".

Pressed on. Found other weapons. Saw something boomerang-like in the skies. Connected it to Boomer Kuwanger Slasher Hawk from the image of all the major baddies.

Called Weasel on the Codec. Mentioned being knowledge about enemies and especially mercenaries. Talked about the virtues of using only your fists, with no mention of Slasher Hawk. Sure, okay. Grabbed the cache of weapons and entered the boss area.

Placed Slasher Hawk up on a cliff. Cannot reach them to use your fists. ...Thanks, Weasel. Happens to be immune to guns too. Lobbed grenades as the only option. (Worried about running out. Resupplies you with weapons for other bosses, at minimum.)

Entered a barracks next. Consisted of three floors: B1F, 1F, and 2F. Scoured B1F and 1F for anything. Contained nothing of use. Existed to waste your time, mostly. Took the elevator to 2F. Encountered the cardboard box maze.

Basic premise: Sneak along the conveyor belts as a box. Sends you different directions, based on your box's color. Swap between colors to influence where you go. Search for more colors to go where you want. Created a "low-effort" (close to accurate?) map in Paint.

Metal Gear Box Maze.png

What is this monstrosity? Spanned...eight screens for the conveyor belts alone? Considered the minimap useless. Meant tracking where you had been mentally. Often trekked back through the pointless floors after acquiring a new item. Spent wayyyy too long here. Colored the rest of the game, no pun intended. Made the backtracking in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door look decent by comparison.

Rates Marionette Owl as okay. Forces you into keeping Thermal Goggles on. Swapped places with the puppets to trick you into attacking the wrong one.

Metal Gear Owl Boss.png
Complains about an action section slightly later as well. Opens up on you with artillery rounds. Sprints back to the start to escape. Indicates the shell's trajectory with a single yellow pixel on your minimap going towards a second, stationary yellow pixel. Means "pixel" literally.

Metal Gear Artillery.png
(Also featured: mines. Same yellow pixels.) Effectively hit you at random for half your health. Plus side: Set a continue point at the start of this section. Tried again with minimal delay.

Fought Flame Stag Pyro Bison a few stages later. Talks about Snake trying to be a legend.

Metal Gear Fire Bison Kill.png
Blames backtracking for those deaths. Stuns on the first punch combo. Kills on the second.

Did not like Pyro Bison's fight, either. Seemed just as immune to guns as Slasher Hawk. Absorbed a Nikita Missile with no damage. Grenades again, then.

Another irritation: Flooded a base with water. Left electrified puddles around. Warns you about this...and then forces you to cross a non-electrified puddle, identical in appearance to the electrified ones. Checked for thermal changes. Nada. (Also on the same level: instant death pit traps.)

Beat Black-Arts Viper in a strange battle of running around an electric maze. Took damage from guns, at least.

Finally reached Metal Gear. Took out the legs. Switched phases to the main body. Identifies three pairs of weak spots: gun turrets, circular fireball turrets, and the missile launchers in the back. Started on the gun turrets, as the closest target. Dumped tons of grenades and missiles into it. Took out maybe half of Metal Gear's health, with both gun turrets still up. Tried angling the guided missiles into Metal Gear's missile launcher. Zero damage. Game? Hello?

Had the wrong idea, apparently. Intended you to poke the gun turret. Provokes the circular turrets into popping up. Deals the most damage to them. Cannot harm the back. Screenshotted the game pointing out the missile launcher. Used the same indicators for the other targets.

Metal Gear Boss Target.png
Finished off Viper and the game from there. Snapped a picture of the stats.

Metal Gear Final Stats.png
Notes 4 kills here. Said 6 at Pyro Bison. Counted Slasher Hawk and Marionette Owl for the latter, evidently.

Final verdict: Terrible. Awards its own ranking right back at it. Misleads or poorly conveys what the player is intended to do. Handed out weapon immunities willy-nilly. Wastes your time in the box maze.

Acknowledges the game's nice graphics and sound (for its time). Gave you generous Continue points. Does not redeem this game in the slightest, however.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Silver Snow)

Wanted to complete the fourth route. Already recorded this game here, though. Why do it again? Created challenge restrictions for it this time.

Grinded multiple things in every run thus far: fishing, skills for class qualifications, tea parties, lost item hunting, and random battles. Decided to skip all that this time. Stuck in a few extra bits here and there too, but for ease and for difficulty.

Route: Silver Snow
Difficulty: Hard Casual
Downloadable Content: Yes
New Game Plus: Allowed
Character Restrictions: Cannot recruit Golden Deer, Blue Lions, Yuri, or Hapi

Class restrictions:
1. May only qualify each character for one class per tier (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced + DLC, and Master).
2. Forbids more than one person per Advanced + DLC class and Master class at a time. (Example: Allows two people to become Assassins. Cannot both be Assassins at the same time.)
3. Cannot qualify Petra for Pegasus Knight, Falcon Knight, Wyvern Rider, Wyvern Lord, Assassin, or Swordsmaster. Threatens to steal the spotlight again otherwise. Used Petra in all three prior playthroughs to good effect.
4. Cannot qualify Ferdinand for Dancer, Fortress Knight, Paladin, or Great Knight. Used Ferdinand twice before. Mostly wanted to lock out Dancer. Avoids the others like the plague.

Explore restrictions:
1. Cannot do anything requiring Activity Points. Exception: White Heron Cup dance lessons and for any quest below. (May or may not cost an activity point.)
2. No Fishing, Gardening, Advice Box, or returning Lost Items. Allows feeding animals, because why not?
3. Allows only mandatory quests and unlocking quests (such as for shops, battalions, and so on).

Battle restrictions: Paralogues, mandatory Battles, and unlocking quest fights only.

Other restrictions:
1. Finish battles in a reasonable timeframe. Means not fighting for 90 turns for skill points. May still dawdle to grab all the chests and/or defeat all enemies.
2. Cannot use the C-rank Lord battalions or any B/A-rank battalions until after the time skip.
3. Cannot purchase stat levels, support ranks, or mastered skills from past playthroughs.

Notable permitted things:
- The Chalice of Beginnings, Crests, and instant A+ Professor rank
- The altar in the Abyss
- A full battalion barracks. Includes several Paralogue rewards involving restricted characters.
- Save-scumming exams


Mapped out everyone future at the start. Added Anna and Flayn midway through to fill deployment slots. Wound up with the leftovers for class picks.

Byleth: Enlightened One / Assassin
Dorothea: Warlock > Gremory
Ferdinand: Wyvern Rider > Wyvern Lord
Bernadetta: Sniper > Bow Knight
Caspar: Grappler
Petra: Bishop (for the stats) > Dancer
Linhardt: Bishop
Balthus: War Cleric > War Master
Constance: Dark Flier
Anna: Trickster > Mortal Savant
Flayn: Valkyrie > Dark Knight

Noticed the lower levels on occasion. Met the Death Knight in Chapter 4 with no Thief in the party. Was not high enough level to qualify. Still struck down the Death Knight with the help of Blessing (survive lethal damage at 1 hitpoint).

Favored Seminars over Resting. Usually bumped up two skills for five units, plus some motivation for more skills.

Fell way behind in supports compared to other playthroughs. Did not marry anyone. Was not aware that was possible. Probably missed grabbing the ring on an Explore phase.

Was not impressed by this route, narratively-speaking. Followed a lot of Verdant Wind's path, but with Seteth leading instead of Claude. Felt divorced from the war, possibly from having beaten the game three times already. Basically chased Rhea the whole time. Ended unsatisfactorily, at that. Appreciated a different endgame map, though.

Felt like a good challenge. Fought real battles much more regularly. Relied on gambits far less for monsters (due to weaker Charm). May have been too restrictive on classes. Placed some, like Anna and Flayn, in undesirable classes. Became irrelevant. Could allow Byleth to receive skill tutoring in Explore too.

Asks an important question: how much time did this save? Calculated the time for each playthrough, based on Save Clear files. Played on Hard for all of them, except for Azure Moon.

Crimson Flower (First run): 65:13
Verdant Wind: 81:18
Azure Moon (Maddening + first DLC): 91:03
Silver Snow (Low-grind): 27:04

Completed this playthrough in one-third the time as the second playthrough.

Quick individual unit thoughts:
  • Byleth: Same Byleth as always. Dropped off towards the end, but never bad.
  • Ferdinand: Ridiculous this time. 41 Strength and 33 Speed at level 42. Beat everyone by like 8 Strength before stat boosters. Would have been a stupid good gauntlet user.
  • Caspar: The late game hero. Packed the Speed Balthus lacked. Delivered a lot of vicious blows to monsters.
  • Bernadetta: Possibly the best showing for an archer yet (more than Claude?). Treasured that Deadeye range with great Dexterity.
  • Dorothea: High power, but too slow.
  • Linhardt: A fine healer, as always. Only serves as that role, though.
  • Petra: The early game monster. Took a backseat with dancer abilities. Propelled Bernadetta and Caspar forward. Still a great dodge tank.
  • Flayn: Worse Dorothea. (-2 Magic, -7 Speed.) Smiled at making Flayn a Dark Knight, though.
  • Anna: Least valuable unit. Did not cut it with 21 Strength and 27 Magic at level 38. Decent Speed, but nothing else.
  • Balthus: The biggest disappointment. Barely had more Strength than Caspar. Cost a ton of Speed and Dexterity.
  • Constance: Nothing special, close to Dorothea. (+2 Speed, -2 Magic.)

Spoiler: Stat Comparison, MVPs, and Battles/Victories

Compared Petra from two playthroughs: Golden Deer (second playthrough) and this.

Petra on the Golden Deer before the final battle
Class: Falcon Knight
Level: 48
Strength: 33
Magic: 20
Dexterity: 40
Speed: 56
Luck: 29
Defense: 30
Resistance: 21
Charm: 41
Also two skills (Sword and Flying) at S+ rank, plus Authority and Bow at A+. (Did not check equipped items.)

Petra in this playthrough before the final battle
Class: Dancer
Level: 38
Strength: 24
Magic: 17
Dexterity: 31
Speed: 35
Luck: 23
Defense: 16
Resistance: 16
Charm: 29
Did not screenshot skills, but nothing higher than S for anyone. Guesses A in Swords and A+ in Flying for Petra, based on skills. Still managed that much Flying skill without setting foot in a Flying class.

Look at that difference: 10 levels, 9 Strength, 9 Dexterity, 21 Speed, 14 Defense, 12 Charm, and a few others. Was not even super impressed by Petra in the Golden Deer playthrough.

MVPs (in order)

Cyril: 0/0
Shamir: 0/0
Catherine: 0/0
Seteth: 4/2
Linhardt: 60/38
Flayn: 89/49
Dorothea: 91/58
Anna: 124/65
Constance: 137/93
Balthus: 152/65
Ferdinand: 212/107 + Petra: 161/56
Caspar: 196/116 + Bernadetta: 234/134
Byleth: 249/160

Stuck Byleth at the top of the heap, once again. Scored tons of those victories early with the Chalice of Beginnings. Was very surprised to see Bernadetta at #2. Did a great job, though.

Notes none of the mages doing well. Lacked the Speed to double. Recalls fairly few wizards for them to tank. (Usually tasked Ferdinand or Petra with that job.) Missed Thrysus too.

Tallied total Battles/Victories for this playthrough: 1709 battles and 943 victories. Also added up the Golden Deer's numbers: 9280 battles and 2465 victories. (Capped battles on one person too.) Won with about 1/6 of the battles and 2/5 of the victories as that Golden Deer playthrough.
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Game Journal Thread
Most Recent Entry: Rune Factory 5 (Again)


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Rune Factory 5 (Revisit)

Managed to squeeze in a Rune Factory 5 playthrough before Scarlet/Violet. Never took advantage of some things the first time, such as spell sealing mosnters for drops or receiving gifts from villagers.

  • Hard difficulty. Beat it really fast last time (Summer 19, Year 1) on Normal.
  • Cannot use villagers in combat. Stressed villagers the first time. Wanted to go heavy on monsters this time.
  • Cannot enter Rigbarth Maze (postgame area), except to use as a teleport point. Could potentially subvert a lot of progression with early Orichalcum.
  • Cannot wield Hammers/Axe late-game or Dual Blades at all. Crafts an amazing hammer with basically just Orichalcum.

Came into this with a gameplan:
  1. Capture all the 3-star Wanted Monsters for the crest to see invisible chests.
  2. Stay below level 20 to take advantage of free baths.
  3. Gift items to Terry to get a Heart Pendant (bonus skill experience)
  4. Use the high-level recipes from invisible chests to powerlevel crafting skills by failing recipes.
  5. Create some amazing equipment with high difficult boss materials...or something like that.

Caught all the Wanted Monsters without too much trouble, thanks to Failed Dishes and Object X. Died a few times from one-shots, but nothing too bad.

Went less than great on Heart Pendant. Apparently gifts items based on your relationship with the person. Started at 1 LP. Received mostly Charms and Cheap Bracelets. Took the Star Pendant (bonus experience), though.

Bumped up the relationship to 2 LP. Saw reports of getting one then at low odds. Probably gifted over 500 items through reloading. Saved a Field Pendant (stronger monsters) and a Fluffy Scarf before finally grabbing the Heart Pendant. Estimates this to be around Spring 13.

Wants to talk about the Fluffy Scarf for a moment. Requires about level 96 Crafting to create (max Crafting level: 99). Found the recipe for it in the final main story dungeon, coincidentally. Completely negates the rune power cost for offensive spells, weapon attacks, and some non-combat farming/mining stuff (uncharged). Usually considers magic-based builds bad because of the drain on rune power. Sidesteps that problem. Also combines great with the high level magic spells from invisible chests.

Ran into a snag on the high-level recipe. Misremembered where it was. Thought it was in town or somewhere similarly easy. Picked it up in the fifth dungeon (Atohl's End). Approached level 20 during the second dungeon. Turned off experience gain to keep free baths. Became a bit scarier towards the end, particularly with enemy casters hitting for 80%+ health. Grabbed the recipe in the end (and also the Cooking one in the next dungeon, just because).

Next up: powerleveling. Cleared out inventory space. Failed the recipe in batches of 30 (dependent on inventory space). Managed maybe 150 "attempts" before needing a bath. Rinse and repeat, no pun intended. Yielded 3 levels per 30 craft attempts at the start. Dropped to 1 level per bath at the end. Made it to 95 in Forging, 95 in Crafting, 90+ in Cooking, and 60+ in Medicine (for fun).

And finally, make something amazing. Knew exactly where to go for this: Sirens at Lake Yumina. Finds low-level Sirens at one specific spot. Accesses this from the start of the game. Farmed Sirens for Melody Bottles, a 94 difficulty material with a high drop rate. Yields the second highest straight Magic Attack increase in the game. (Technically. Lands around #9 after factoring in Intelligence from other materials.) Forged a simple Ice Staff (level 31 recipe) with 80 base Magic Attack. Crammed four Melody Bottles into it, bringing it up to 760 Magic Attack. Literally doubled the base Magic Attack of the best staff craftable before postgame (Crimson Staff with 380).

Also combined the accessories from Terry together. Decided on 0 rune power spells, bonus experience, bonus skill experience, and stronger monsters. Upgraded it with a Melody Bottle for good measure.

Followed the plan to fruition. Came time to drown the world in Delta Lasers. Turned experience gain back on. Transformed into an unstoppable force of nature. Doubled in health from levels just from cleaning up the most recent dungeon. Ripped everything apart with a glance.

Did not even bother with creating other pieces of superpowered armor. Beat the game with:
  • Unupgraded Sneaking Boots (6 Defense)
  • Really good unupgraded body armor from a chest (385 Def + 320 MDef)
  • Unupgraded White Ribbon (28 Defense)
  • Turtle Shield (20 Def + 16 MDef) upgraded with a Big Bird's Comb + Double Steel (100% Faint Resistance).
Added a Double Steel onto the accessory for another 340 Magic Attack also. Sufficed (barely) until halfway through postgame.

Replaced the weapon and shield for the final push, as well as upgrading the current accessory further. Catapulted from ~2200 damage per Impact Laser hit to ~16000 damage. Hit the phase change (50% health) on some bosses in a single Gatling Comet. Turned the final postgame boss to ash in seconds.

Cleared the main story on the morning of Summer 1 and postgame on the morning of Summer 4. Beat the final postgame boss on Summer 19 in the first playthrough on Normal difficulty, for reference.

Wrote about some shortcomings in the last entry (such as being done way too quickly). Realized one of the game's flaws with this playthrough: monster scaling. Wore trash gear, defensively. Took hits, but barely any damage...most of the time. Identifies a few outliers. One example: Rigbarth Maze dragons. Spawns as a normal monster. Hits harder than the final boss.

Found some stats. Chose a dragon and another normal enemy only in Rigbarth Maze.

Yellow Dragon
Basic level: 130
HP: 24905
Atk: 5464
Def: 3802
MAtk: 4824
MDef: 2602

Basic level: 150
HP: 7500
Atk: 1194
Def: 810
MAtk: 1373
MDef: 780

Look at the difference in stats. Quadruple the offenses. Triple the hitpoints and defenses. 20 levels lower. Might as well compare Hoppip to Mega Mewtwo X. (May actually be a little less lopsided, in terms of stats.)

Actually proved more dangerous than the final postgame boss. Rematched that boss with the old staff and shield (although boosted considerably with the upgraded accessory). Won with those.

One more shortcoming: kind of trash offensive spells.
  1. Huge delays between casting for some spells. Locks you into a 5+ second spell in some bad cases.
  2. Bad range. Designed quite a few melee range spells.
  3. Terrible damage. Why use Light on something weak to Light when neutral Water hits harder?

Wonders if a no-armor run is possible. Removes some of the fun of making your own gear. Maybe weapon + accessory? Seems more than doable with (fully geared) villagers. Perhaps another playthrough.
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