Over the last several years I've noticed that popular gaming trends have been moving in a direction that largely doesn't appeal to me. That's not to say I don't still get excited for new game. I am beyond thrilled for the release of Persona 5
in a few days. Injustice 2
looks like a stellar follow up to the first game. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
seems like it's going to improve on the previous game in every way. Ni No Kuni II
is sure to live up to the pedigree of the first Ni Nu Kuni
. And Bloodstained
already has my money and is working hard to impress.
There is a lot to be excited about even if 90% or more of the AAA releases are for a different audience these days. One thing that is very new to my "Day 1" purchase list is the exclusion of Nintendo franchises. Usually I'm 100% on board for the next Mario, Zelda, Fire Emblem and more. But my world got a lot darker on March 17th.......
Back in February I wrote a blog about how I had a positive experience playing Pokemon Sun/Moon
with my Son. I didn't have a positive experience because I loved the game based on the new direction Pokemon was going. I was very disheartened with the game as a whole. It was wonderful seeing my son find so much enjoyment, because I was struggling to find much. This was a little blow to my long time Nintendo love. I've always liked, not loved, the Pokemon series. I could live without more Pokemon in my life if it left me behind.
Within the last 2 weeks, I started digging into a much more beloved series with Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
. After getting to Chapter 15, in what so far has been a middle of the road entry in the series for me (That's not to say bad. As I've said before even bad Mega Man is better than everything else and that same logic applies to Fire Emblem). There have been a few annoyances such as spending time building up my unimportant castle, the new options to unlock better buildings in my castle before being able to purchase or forge the weapons I want, and new options that have no relevance to the game, such as collecting food or accessories that simply change your appearance. I'm also not a fan of the character creation at the start. Since the game tells a very linear story, I'd much rather play as a character designed specifically for that story to revolve around. There are items that can be found and purchased that temporarily boost your unit's stats for ONE battle in an attempt to make the game easier. The default mode is casual mode in which your unit's don't suffer from permanent death after being defeated in battle. Many of the missions are full of random elements that make the game far less strategic and more of a slot machine.
But the biggest issue came with a mid-game relevlation......pun intended! After playing up to around mission 13 it sunk in that I had no idea how to access Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
to finish the story after I had played through both Conquest
. After a quick Google search, it seems the only way to play Revelation
after finishing the standard releases is to download the DLC........ something I'm not willing to do. The alternative is to purchase the Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition
. Yeah that one that sold out in hours and was never once restocked. That one that was almost immediately jumped up to scalper prices and barely available to purchase at retail. That one has a special cartridge that includes the Revelations
chapters on it. So the dozens of hours I've sunk into the game is now meaningless as I have to drop around $200 USD (which is about $270) up here. I'm grateful it has a physical version at all, but this is a scary trend for me. What if the next release doesn't? That doesn't seem very far fetched considering what limited supply they put Revelations
out in this time.
And don't get me started on Fire Emblem Awakening
. Easily the worst in the series by forsaking nearly everything that makes Fire Emblem Fire Emblem. With the trilogy of experimental games in the series (Awakening
), it's obvious Nintendo is trying different things to see what connects with consumers. The problem is that it is working. The last three releases have easily been the most successful in terms of sales with the worst of them still doubling the sales of the most successful previous release.
That brings us back to March 17th. The day that I beat Zelda: Breath of the Wild
with my Son. On my scale of Zelda enjoyment, it sits very closely to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
as one of the least enjoyable entries in the series. This was a similar experience to playing Pokemon Sun/Moon
with my son, with the small exception that the further we got, the more my heart was breaking. Zelda is far more important to me than Pokemon and it was truly devastating to get further and further into this new game and not be given any scraps of a Zelda game to satisfy my desire to play some damn Zelda. No dungeons, no new items to excite me, no heart pieces to collect, no direction, and no story to be told. Surely they added new stuff to make up for that, right? They sure did! Tons of unimportant side quests, 120 shrines, 900 Korok Seeds (think skulltulas from Ocarina of Time
, but to increase your inventory capacity), crafting system, destructible weapons/shields, armor upgraded through item collection, catching and boarding horses. I need baby steps to ease me into change. They just flat out went Skyrim
on me and I fell for it. These are all modern gaming trends that I despise and look to Nintendo to be my shining beacon of contrast.
As much as people have complained about Nintendo's choices since the N64 days, they've always been able to put out more than enough software on each console to thrill me. It's the reason I've keep sticking with them and throwing money at them like crazy. And seeing such nearly universal praise for all three of the series that I've recently been spurned by blows my mind. These aren't the games I want anymore and it makes me fearful for their other flagship titles. Mario Odyssey
went from something that excited me to something to be weary of. There is a ton of backlog to ensure I'll never run out of games to play, but it's a bit sad to think I'll keep finding less and less in the modern arena that speaks to me going forward.