Skip to main content

Chrom Blocked

chrom blocked fire emblem awakening 3

One of the best parts of Fire Emblem: Awakening is the support system. Many tactical RPGs have a system in which various team members can team up to either do more damage or take less damage or somehow help each other out in battle. It’s a pretty simple system here: when attacking, or performing any other battlefield action like healing or dancing (yes, there’s dancing), you place the active unit directly next to another unit. That’s it! Pretty simple, right? Then, based on the depth of the relationship between the two units, or however many units the active unit is adjacent to, bonuses are conferred. Maybe you get a bonus to hit, maybe to dodge, maybe to damage. The same bonuses can be conferred when on the defensive too, with the occasional instance of your battlefield partner pushing the attacked unit out of the way of the enemy’s attack. Thanks Frederick!

chrom blocked fire emblem awakening 2

The need to build support in battle so that you can better support each other in future battles adds a nice tactical wrinkle to a combat system that already has plenty of tactical options. Many the time have I positioned a unit so that it couldn’t attack but instead allow another unit to get the kill and set up a support relationship. Some times you have to take whatever opportunities the battlefield affords and move on, but sometimes, particularly in the skirmishes that litter the world map in between story battles, you can take the time to be a little more specific in your unit placement. Sure, it’s just another form of grinding, same as letting less experienced units get kills over higher leveled units, but I don’ t mind grinding so much when the grinding is teaching you good tactical habits along with raising stats.

Outside of battle, you build these support relationships by heading to the barracks and watching the interactions between your team members. but the main way to build support between units is to have them fight alongside each other. Once they’ve battled together enough, their support level increases, but only after you’ve watched a conversation between the two units. These conversations not only allow the relationships to blossom but they also help illustrate the various personalities at play. It’s usually one note stuff, Anna likes money, Frederick likes work, Miriel is very analytical, but there’s some really endearing stuff in there too.

chrom blocked fire emblem awakening

Every relationship goes from C to B to A and then, for members of the opposite sex, it gets to S as this is a Japanese game and the letter S holds a special significance to Japanese game makers that I am too lazy to investigate. Once members of the opposite sex get to an S level support relationship, the fireworks start up.

I was working towards such a relationship. Her name is Sully. She’s a cavalier and along with a no nonsense approach to battle, and life in general, Sully is a fearsome warrior, constantly improving and looking to show the world that she shouldn’t be discounted on the battlefield simply because of her gender. Plus, she appears to be a redhead and her name reminds me of Scully and everyone knows that Special Agent Dana Scully, as portrayed by the superb Gillian Anderson, was one of the bravest, most intelligent and sexiest women on network television.

And so I maneuvered our units together on the battlefield, but not in that way, you pervert, doing my best to cultivate a relationship that would eventually grow into something beautiful. Then, after a certain story battle that I won’t spoil, Chrom, the game’s main character, gave a speech about the importance of life and love and spending your life with someone and who did he pick but my beloved Sully.

chrom blocked fire emblem awakening 4

It was as if he used the +10 Atk, +10 Hit, +10 Dam and +10 Lck that our A class support relationship afforded us to rip my heart out and stab it with his falchion. I had been Chrom blocked.

It’s not Chrom’s fault. He had no idea the glowing timbers of love burned within my chest for Sully. Apparently, I had been building up Chrom and Sully’s support relationship as much as I had been building up my own relationship with Sully and the game picked a bride for Chrom from whichever female he had the best relationship with.

I thought about declaring my love for Sully right there but then the game jumped like two years into the future and they had a kid together. I don’t want to be a home wrecker.

So now, with time and distance having healed the wound in my heart, I look to the other women in my squad to see who might bring back the spark of love I once held for Sully. Anna seems like a good fit, but she’d need to be a little less money oriented before I started a family with her. Kids need to know that there’s more to life than just money. On another note, Miriel and could pool our arcane resources and produce a child who could possibly rend the world asunder with their magical arts, but she’s so analytic, I’d fear that the children would miss out on motherly warmth. There are other prospects, but one is a rabbit lady and one turns into a dragon so I’m not sure how that would work out from an offspring perspective. I’m not saying that I have to have kids, but it’s something that can happen in the game and I don’t know what kind of genetic screening is available to the Shepards to make sure that a rabbit dragon doesn’t pop out.

I do wish that the support system allowed for S class relationships to extend to same sex partners, even if I understand why that would be a bear from a logistical standpoint. You either have to assume that everyone is bisexual and allow all people to marry all people and then write the resulting dialogue choices or you have to segment your squad into gay and straight, a practice that has lots of potential pitfalls for stereotypes, insensitivities and the like. Still though, I think it’s important to do. Given that the relationships here are focused on supporting your partner and not who you can have poorly rendered sexy times with, it would be an even greater statement on how same sex relationships can achieve the same level of support between partners as heterosexual relationships than anything BioWare has ever done.

Not Much to Say

games of q1 fire emblem awakening

I’m usually of the opinion that if you don’t have anything to say, there’s no need to talk. Unfortunately, regular posting schedules and not having an opinion on things don’t mix well, so here we are. I’m playing a lot, more than ever thanks to Fire Emblem worming its way into my usual evening routine of iPad entertainment but I don’t feel like I have a lot to add to the conversation around the game. Me starting it several weeks after everyone else certainly doesn’t help. It’s good! You should buy it! There’s a lot to it, a lot I’m still discovering.

fire emblem awakening farmer

Take the level cap, for example. There is one. I didn’t know that. If one of your characters hits it, they don’t get any better. That’s a bummer. Luckily, you can get around that by using magic seals and not the seafaring mammal type, to either promote them to a better version of their present class or switch their class entirely. When you do this, they revert to level one, but still keep all of their present stats. That’s important. You don’t want to bring a level one character out to the battlefield and have them get smacked around, possibly dying forever. Instead, you get to keep your current stats and go back to earning experience towards getting even better. Classes can only change to a subset of all classes, so you can’t make your cavalier a cleric, but you can let your cavalier change up mounts and ride a wyvern, which is pretty cool. Well, until you come across a bowman. Then it’s not so cool. It’s actually rather painful.

I’m about 60% of the way through Tomb Raider, although I have no idea what that statistic represents. Level completion? Collectibles collected? Skulls staved in with my climbing axe? I’m quite enjoying the game, even if some of the story beats alternate between aggravating and predictable. When Dante trolled DMC fanboys by not appreciating his temporary platinum hairstyle, I laughed as it was appropriate to the character and served to flip off people at the same time. That’s who Dante was at that point, a dude who didn’t care what others thought about him. When Lara enters her first tomb and says that she hates tombs, it feels like the writers are trying too hard to say, “Hey, we’re doing something new here!” The fact that I had already plundered two optional tombs at this point certainly didn’t help. I could have also done without the obligatory “lose all of your weapons” level, but at least they ripped off The Descent during the level, so I appreciated that we have the same taste in scary movies.

tomb raider combat

The farther I go in the game, the more I’m feeling how your skill choices matter. I think that by the end of the game, I’ll have everything, so I’m betting this is a temporary feeling, but now that I’m getting to more combat heavy areas, dumping all of my skill points into melee combat seems less and less like a good idea. Granted, the higher level weapon skills all involve finishing moves, moves you have to get in close to perform, but you also get a headshot reticle, something I could use right about now. More often than not, me rushing forward to brain a dude with my climbing axe ends up with one of many death animations either because the guy I was trying to kill was armored, armed or both.

On the flip side, picking so many skills that had to do with scavenging ammo and salvage was pretty smart. I mean, sure, the skill system sort of funnels you into that early on, but I could have picked the skill that makes it easier to find animals to shoot and I resisted. You’re safe from me, rat boys and girls! Auntie Lara couldn’t hit you if she wanted to! Now that I’m shooting a lot more, being able to find more ammo on dead guys is very important. Granted, I don’t know how a brilliant archaeologist managed to get through higher education and not learn how to rummage through a pocket but maybe pants in England don’t have pockets. I’ve never been.

tomb raider wolf

I’m finding the combat to be both satisfying and maddening, satisfying when I finally get through a rough spat, maddening with how much they harass the player. You can’t just hang back behind cover and pick guys off. Between the machine gun fire, the molotov cocktails and dynamite and the melee guys, staying in one place is a good way to get killed. Trust me, I know! At this point, I would be surprised if there’s a death animation that I haven’t uncovered. My favorite is a tie between “debris spike through the neck because you didn’t dodge correctly during the river rapids sequence” and “impaled on the armored brute’s makeshift pole-arm thingy”. Both are pretty gross. I should know, I’ve seen them a lot.

I’m also quite enjoying the collecting of things however I think that you can probably ignore 90% of it if you don’t care about experience and maxing out your skills. Sure, Lara knows her way around Japanese artifacts, but their descriptions don’t do anything to explain what’s going on or to set up character interactions. The documents, on the other hand, are very good for that and shouldn’t be ignored. Granted, years of achievement hunting have trained me to spend hours poking around for things, time you may not want to spend, but I think in the case of the documents, some extra time taking in the sights is worth it.

On the ukulele front, I’m practicing a lot of chords and chord changes. It is boring, challenging, frustrating work, but it’s important and will pay off down the line. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. At least now I have an excuse when what I’m playing doesn’t sound like music.