Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice for Nintendo 3DS

I was quite excited to download a new Phoenix Wright game; it’s a series I’m rather fond of and have been for a long time. What I didn’t expect was to play one of my favourite games of the year and one of the best in the series. I absolutely loved Spirit of Justice.

Spirit of Justice shakes up the formula by moving most of the actions to Khura’in, a small and beautiful country in Asia which is the original home of spirit channelling, an element of the series missed in the last couple of games. Khura’in is not as idyllic as it first seems, with an oppressive government enforcing the ‘Defense Culpability Act’, which sees the defense attorney sentenced to the same punishment as the accused if found guilty, often death. This has led to there being no working defense attorneys in Khura’in, with all trials being shams. Opposing the ruling Queen of Khura’in are the rebel group known as The Defiant Dragons. Into this mess arrives Phoenix Wright, who has travelled to Khura’in for a holiday and to meet up with his former assistant Maya Fey, who has spent her time since her last appearance training to master her spirit channelling powers. It is not too long before he sees an innocent party charged with murder and so, predictably, he heads to the Khura’inese courts to do what he does best, but now with his own life on the line.

I enjoyed the last Ace Attorney game, Dual Destinies, but neither it nor Apollo Justice came anywhere near grabbing me to the extent the original trilogy did. It turns out the change of scenery was just the shot in the arm this series needed as I was pretty much enraptured in Spirit of Justice. This is the funniest, strangest, most complex and epic of the Ace Attorney stories in a long while, all culminating towards an intense final case. The best character of the game is Apollo Justice, who you could make a strong case for being the real protagonist of this game. He’s the player character for the final case for example. Where Dual Destinies felt in some ways like a soft reboot, Sprit of Justice fully embraces the previous games. I was very disappointed when Dual Destinies completely ignored the interesting revelations about Apollo’s parentage in his titular game, but Spirit of Justice makes up for it by delving deeply into Apollo’s backstory and, surprisingly, building much of the game around his past. I ended up finding the whole thing quite moving and I won’t deny that this game brought a tear to my eye; not a first for this series, but definitely the first since the original trilogy. The new characters are great too, such as the Khuar’inese Princess Rayfa and the new prosecutor foe Nahyuta.

Of course, this is a Phoenix Wright game so the core mechanics are pretty much exactly the same as always. This game features the widest range of protagonists and sidekicks in the series history, meaning that pretty much all gameplay gimmicks re-appear at some point. We have the Psychelocks detected with Phoenix’s Magatama, we have Apollo’s lie detecting bracelet, Athena Cykes’ mood matrix, Ema Skye’s luminol blood tests. I was very happy to see all (the latter excluded, it’s just not fun) return, giving Spirit of Justice a ‘greatest hits’ feel. Joining these gimmicks is the Divination Séance from the Khura’inese Princess Rayfa, which allows the court to see the final moments of the victim’s life. It’s fun and another neat little twist on the formula. Obviously, you’ll still mostly be pressing court testimony and presenting evidence to highlight contradictions. It’s easy to knock the simplistic and linear gameplay of this series, but the thing to remember is that these mechanics exist pretty much exclusively as a tool for storytelling. The genuine heart pounding excitement of the final stages of a trial create the illusion of control and some will always be put off by the lack of player agency, but if you just surrender to it I honestly find very few games for satisfying.

Spirit of Justice is a lovely looking game, retaining the art style from Dual Destinies. Once again, everyone is brimming with character and charm and the divination séance visions are all fully animated and look wonderful. The music is great, although I still miss some of the great themes from the original trilogy. I was very amused to see the Steel Samurai theme tune play a vital role in one of the murders again. There are a handful of fully animated and voice acted cut scenes, which are good but so rare as to feel a little superfluous. They don’t add much. The writing is obviously the best part and the translation team did a great job. Translating Japanese games for Western audiences has become something of a poisoned chalice of late. A lot of people (idiots) think that a good translation is simply achieved by hewing as closely as possible to the original Japanese, which always just ends up coming across as stilted and awkward. A good translation, which this is, captures the original spirit of the characters and the dialogue whilst putting enough of their own spin on it to make it flow well for an English speaker. The localisation team did a wonderful job here.

Spirit of Justice is the best Ace Attorney game in years, through a combination of seeking the new and embracing the old. As ridiculously excited as I am for the Nintendo Switch, I’m a bit worried that uniquely handheld games like this will slip through the cracks and simply die out. If you can play Skyrim on your handheld how do you market Ace Attorney? That would be a crying shame as handheld game development has led to some wonderful games and series, including Ace Attorney. Here’s hoping that there will one day be a 7th game.
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Rise of the Tomb Raider for PS4, Xbox One and PC

I was quite excited to finally get my hands on this game after a year of Xbox One exclusivity; I really liked the last Tomb Raider game and it got good reviews at the time. Oddly enough, the year delay in release may very well have affected my enjoyment of this game for one simple reason; Uncharted 4 came out since the Xbox One release and outdoes this very similar game in pretty much every way.

Rise of the Tomb Raider sees Lara Croft trekking into the mountains of Siberia is search of the Divine Source, a fountain of youth of sorts which provides everlasting life. Lara’s father Thomas had been obsessed with it before his death, which had seen him ridiculed in the press. Lara’s experience on the island back in the last game has opened her mind to the possibility that her father was right and so she sets out to salvage his legacy. She is opposed by the sinister Trinity, an ancient group who seek the Divine Source for their own nefarious ends.

Put simply, the story in Rise of the Tomb Raider is unbelievably boring. The narrative of the first game worked because it was fundamentally a survival story about someone learning to harden themselves to the horrors around them. This element is naturally missing in the sequel and all the Divine Source nonsense had my eyes glazing over. The biggest feeling was that I’d seen all of this before; the villain Konstantin is so stunningly generic that it’s a wonder the writers felt comfortable to use him and Trinity are like any other evil organisation we’ve seen in any number of games. None of the characters, perhaps excepted by Lara’s friend Jonah, are particularly likeable, communicating almost entirely in portentous and dramatic dialogue. There’s none of the lightness or humour or charm of the Uncharted games in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Lara needs to be quipping every 10 seconds like Nathan Drake, but everything is so po-faced and serious and lacks a sense of fun. Exciting treasure hunting stories can’t really get away without a sense of fun. I had close to no investment in what was going on.

Thankfully, the core mechanics are strong enough to mostly make up for it. The term ‘game feel’ has come under some ridicule lately, but I don’t know a better way to describe the ineffable feeling of something just feeling good to play. Perhaps it’s the frame rate, perhaps it’s controller sensitivity, perhaps it’s the animations, or maybe all three and more, but this game just feels good to play. Leaping around the Siberian wilderness as Lara never really got old, with good core platform mechanics. Much weaker is the combat; I don’t know if it’s gotten worse since the last game or if my standards have simply got higher, but the shooting in this game simply isn’t good. Stealth fares much better, but it is not uncommon for the game to deny this as an option and to throw you into a shooting gallery. Dodgy shooting mechanics in stealth games is fine as they are meant to incentivise stealth, but by so regularly denying you even the chance to use stealth you’re left with them just being bad because…well, they’re just bad.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is just as guilty of all the open world tomfoolery you get in everything these days; namely an infuriating map filled with collectible knick-knacks with no discernible purpose. The most interesting parts would be the audio logs which fill in the back story if…y’know, the story wasn’t crap. The main story stuff is actually really fun and I’d recommend just focusing on that, with one notable exception; the Challenge Tombs. These are the best part of the game and left optional, which is interesting. I wonder if they expected audiences raised on the simple gleeful joy and scripted platforming found in the Uncharted games to resent puzzling and exploration based interludes. Either way, there are 9 in total and they’re undoubtedly worth seeking out and doing. The puzzles are never particularly difficult or anything, but they’re neat and satisfying and actually make Lara feel like a proper tomb raiding archaeologist than just another marauding adventurer.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is helped immeasurably by just how bloody lovely it looks. The icy setting works very well and offers a nice change from the lush jungle of the last game. In the incredibly dull PS4 Pro announcement, this game was shown prominently as one which shall be boosted by the extra power of the console. Well, Rise of the Tomb Raider has had the opposite effect on me because I realised that I don’t need games to look better than this. I’m sure there are people who will notice little drops in frame rate and visual niggles, but for me who’s not observant about that stuff, Rise of the Tomb Raider already looks close enough to perfect. I very much appreciate the team behind this game resolving my decision on the PS4 Pro, although I doubt Sony would see it that way. The environments are gorgeous, the weather effects hugely atmospheric and the character models expressive. This is s sumptuous and gorgeous game. The music is entirely forgettable and the voice acting bland, although that could be the writing, but those visuals were honestly enough for me to keep coming back.

I really expected to like this game more than I did. It is good but I couldn’t shake the niggling wish I was playing Uncharted 4 again instead. When the sequel hits (and this game makes abundantly clear there will be one), I hope that a lot of the niggles are fixed, although I doubt they will be. Excellent general ‘game feel’ and stunning visuals only get you so far when core mechanics like combat are so poor and the game seems so willing to waste your time with pointless collectibles and a bland story. Unfortunately, Rise of the Tomb Raider never lives up to its potential.
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Destiny (2016) Re-review for PS4 and Xbox One

So, I’ve been playing Destiny on and off since it first came out back when I was a wee lad in 2014. I played the Taken King expansion and more recently, Rise of Iron, but I never felt like I had enough to say to justify a review. Instead, I’m going to look at where Destiny is now and my experiences with the game as a complete package in 2016.

Destiny was a familiar story in gaming, a victim of its own hype. Bungie aren’t blameless here; they promised something which wasn’t delivered. We had been led to expect a massive Mass Effect style story driven open world RPG MMO with the gun play of Halo. In retrospect this seems like a bit of an insane proposition, but this is what was arguably marketed and faith in Bungie as a company was high enough that lots of people thought they could pull it off. When Destiny released in 2014 it was a competent shooter/MMO with not enough content but excellent FPS mechanics. Two years later Destiny is unburdened of the hype and able to be appreciated for what it is and it turns out that what it is is excellent. I know that sentence was bad but I like it so I’m keeping it.

The story of OG Destiny was so incoherent that I still can’t quite believe it; it wasn’t even bland bad, it was an epic Phantom Menace/Batman v Superman level disaster. I don’t know how this happened but, well, it did. Taken King and Rise of Iron improve things somewhat; it’s clear what is actually happening and I know what’s going on, even if that doesn’t actually make either story particularly interesting. People still insist that the Grimoire cards contain some fascinating lore but that simply isn’t good enough, especially considering that they still can’t be read in game. I never rated the Halo story nearly as much as some, but at least it made sense. The characters were clearly defined and had relationships with each other, there were stakes to the action, Destiny still takes place in this weird ethereal void where nothing you do seems to matter. I really hope this is something Bungie touches up in the sequel, because whilst the storytelling has improved in later releases it’s improved from ‘unmitigated nonsense bollocks’ to ‘boring, bland bollocks.’

Now, before I go any further I need to explain what kind of Destiny player I am, because there are people who play Destiny and people who play Destiny. I’m the former; I’ll play each mission once and all the strikes maybe twice. I’m not into grinding for the best loot, or taking on ridiculous challenges, or mastering the PvP. I’m not going to talk in massive detail about Engrams and strange coins and Exotic Gear. I will say that levelling after 40 has gotten faster, with better loot drops to raise your light level meaning that the grind is significantly curtailed, which I massively appreciated. If you’ve bought every expansion you’ve paid a lot of money on Destiny, and a lot of people certainly got their money’s worth, but I’m not sure I did. That said, if you were to buy the complete package at full price today, you absolutely, undeniably would. It’s definitely worth picking up now.

The thing is, for all these problems, I just love playing Destiny. I love the gunplay, I love the way it looks, I love the music, I love the boss fights. The strikes in Destiny have provided me moments of gaming bliss only rivalled by Bloodborne and some Nintendo games. The weirdest thing is that I haven’t even touched what most call the best part of the game, the raids. They’re still locked behind matchmaking which simply isn’t an option for me. Out of my circle of friends around 2/3 aren’t active gamers and most of the remaining are PC master race types. Getting together six people for a Destiny raid just isn’t an option for me. Game journos have hyped these up, but they by the nature of their profession will have nowhere near the trouble getting these groups together than a normal person with a full time job will. Some of these raids take hours apparently; the most I can game in an unbroken period is maybe an hour sometimes. It’s a testament to how much I bloody love Destiny that I enjoy it so much whilst bypassing what is unanimously considered its best feature.

The Taken King and Rise of Iron certainly make improvements, but they are held back by the somewhat creaky framework of the main game. The mission design improves significantly across the releases, particularly the final story mission of Rise of Iron, which takes clear inspiration from Halo. If the inevitable full sequel can build on this, I honestly think Destiny 2 will be something incredible. Destiny remains the maddening contradiction it always has been, but riven of the hype we can now see the remarkably solid underpinnings of the whole thing. It remains a flawed experience, but I really do love it. I genuinely have faith in Bungie to learn from its mistakes and make Destiny 2 the best game it can be; I for one cannot wait.

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The Vital Abyss by James S A Corey

The Vital Abyss is the most recently published instalment in The Expanse, another novella and possibly one of my favourite bits of writing in the setting. The authors try something a bit different here and explore the backstories of a group of characters who had seen pretty much irredeemably evil.

The Vital Abyss is told, unlike anything else in the series, in the first person, from the point of view of Cortazar, a researcher for Protogen who was partially responsible for the protomolecule test on Eros all the way back in Leviathan Wakes. After their capture by the OPA, they have been held for years in a small dormitory, entirely cut off from the outside world, desperate for any change of scenery and dangerously competitive for any potential opportunity. Alongside the main narrative, flashbacks fill in Cortazar’s backstory and explain how a seemingly affable young man reached the point of being able to slaughter an entire space station in the most horrific manner imaginable.

The titular ‘Vital Abyss’ is the necessary ability to separate yourself from other people to be capable of the kind of horrors Cortazar and his group are guilty of creating. They may have ambitions to save humanity from all future illness and suffering, but to put even a single human through the agony they do requires a mental re-adjustment and a sacrifice of basic empathy; the abyss of the title. The backstory for Cortazar is unlike anything else we’ve really seen in the series and is movingly told, although the actual jump from the sensitive young man seem in the flashbacks to the calculated and cold scientist in the present is done in a rather clunky and convenient manner.

There are some gorgeous turns of phrases in The Vital Abyss, which certainly feels like an experiment and a deviation from the usual formula. It’s the most floridly written piece in the entire series and this is actually done very well. With the main series tending very much towards being stale, it was a breath of fresh air to read Abraham and Franck doing something so different.

The Vital Abyss is joint with Gods of Risk four my favourite Expanse novella and one I definitely wouldn’t recommend skipping. Arguably the series has never really topped the horror of Eros Station so seeing this event returned to is a macabre pleasure.

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Nemesis Games by James S A Corey

There was a lot to like about the fifth book in The Expanse, but ultimately it repeated the structural flaws of the previous book pretty much exactly. It is saved by strong characterisation and a breezy writing style, as many of these later books in the series have been. As I have felt previously with this series, I liked it enough to keep going but not enough that I’m massively enthused about it.

Nemesis Games picks up not long after the Ilus incident, with Holden and the crew of the Rocinante unwinding on Tycho Station. Personal issues pull the crew of the Rocinante apart, with this book rather excitingly following all four crew members of the Rocinante, allowing us to get in their minds (apart from James Holden), for the first time. Alex Kamal returns to Mars to try to patch things up with his ex-wife, but finds himself dragged into a conspiracy involving missing Martian warships. Amos Burton heads back down to Earth following the death of a woman close to him in his previous life as a Baltimore gangster (see short story The Churn for details) to either pay his respects or set out a bloody swath of revenge if her death is unnatural. Naomi Nagata is summoned by an old OPA connection back to Ceres Station, pulled by a deeply personal connection as her mysterious past is finally unveiled. Finally, a bored and lonely Holden on Tycho is asked to investigate colony ships which appear to be vanishing at the gates to the other worlds.

It is a proper treat to finally follow these core figures of Alex, Amos and Naomi as full point of view characters, which means that this book is not too worried about throwing lots of new characters our way; we already know them pretty well from the previous four books. Digging inside their heads is interesting, particularly in the case of Naomi who has held the most back so far. Cibola Burn has a major issue where the first half was very slow but the book was saved by a major event at the half way point; unfortunately, Nemesis Games has pretty much the exact same problem. There are pages upon pages in the first half which are almost immediately rendered pointless by a game changing moment in the second half. I don’t mind slow build characterisation stuff, but we don’t really gain anything from these scenes. For example, Amos’ storyline in the first half is essentially a mini-sequel to The Churn with very little to do with the rest of the book, which feels a little self-indulgent. When things get going they really get going and there are lots of moments towards the end which are breathlessly exciting.

The book suffers slightly for the lack of development of the protomolecule/ancient alien civilisation storyline, focusing almost entirely in the politics of the Sol system and the delicate power balance between Earth, Mars and the OPA. It’s not that this stuff is bad necessarily, but the balance between the two seems to be fairly key to this series. The first two books, Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War struck this balance best and they are the two strongest books in the series. There are some hugely exciting action scenes and some which are a bit incoherent as has long been both the boon and curse of this series.

Naomi probably had the strongest storyline as we see a very different side to the Rocinante’s XO than anything we’ve seen before. Bobbie Draper and Chrisjen Avasarala play slightly bigger roles in this book, which is nice as they really were two of the best protagonists that this series has had. With the exception of Holden, we’ve yet to have a single repeat PoV between books, but I can’t help but hope that these two come back in a big way. Holden is a bit static in this book, largely reacting to everything else going on, which is a bit of a change of pace from his usually position at the centre of every major event in the system.

Nemesis Games is definitely enjoyable, Abraham and Franck are too talented as writers for it to be anything but, however it has not quite succeeded in pulling this series out of the slight rut it has found itself in. The next book, Babylon’s Ashes, is actually coming out pretty soon. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it and I hope I love it.

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Lego Dimensions: Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

Due to me being a SJW libtard feminazi cuck, I actually quite liked the new Ghostbusters movie. It’s no masterpiece, but it had plenty of laughs and I liked that it wasn’t a straight remake of the original, with new characters who didn’t simply feel like analogues for the original cast. In Lego Dimensions, Ghostbusters 2016 as I shall henceforth call it is the first ‘story pack’, a more substantial offering than the level packs, containing six levels along with a new buildable frame for the game portal.

This pack follows the story of the movie pretty closely, but doesn’t really work as a Lego-ified story. Part of the charm of the Lego games is seeing franchises which aren’t comedies, like Star Wars or DC, made silly and goofy when put through the Lego lens. Ghostbusters 2016 is a comedy, it already is silly and goofy, so this story pack ends up mostly feeling like a heavily abridged version of the actual movie, without the unique Lego spin which is so great elsewhere. Still, I liked that the core four Ghostbusters returned to record new dialogue; as with the movie, Kate McKinnon is the highlight. The best moments are where elements from other franchises bleed into the Ghostbusters world, with one particular scene involving giant balloons that I won’t spoil.
The six levels are strong so far as these Lego games go. Since there’s no real challenge in these games, a lot of the charm is following the clear instructions and seeing how everything comes together. It’s an oddly passive and relaxing game experience. People may knock it, but in the moment I can’t deny that I find it very satisfying. In the pack you get Abby from the movie, who predictably has a proton pack useful for busting ghosts as well as the new Ghostbusters van, which functions much like every other car in the game; badly.

The most disappointing element is the adventure world, which is bland, flat and dull. Coming off the awesome Ooo in the Adventure Time pack, the New York of Ghostbusters feels cramped and repetitive. This is the downside of adapting such a recent release, locations such as ‘the university that Kirsten Wiig is fired from’ and ‘that Chinese restaurant they use as a base for a bit’ don’t exactly feel iconic enough to be particularly exciting. The love that was pouring out of the Adventure Time world simply isn’t present here.

The first story pack for Lego Dimensions is certainly decent, with some very strong levels, but doesn’t quite justify its existence. All three story packs are tie in to new films, which makes me a bit nervous as I feel like that is what held back the Ghostbusters pack. Still, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours than busting your way through this pack.

 

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Lego Dimensions: Adventure Time Level Pack for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One and Xbox 360

Year Two of Lego Dimensions is here and kicking off with one of my favourite franchises, Adventure Time. Adventure Time is a perfect fit for Lego and produces what is, of the three I’ve played (the other two being Doctor Who and Portal), my favourite level pack so far.

As with all of the other level packs, the Adventure Time pack gives you Lego figures of a character and two vehicles. In this case your character is Finn and your vehicles are Jake transformed into a car and the Psychic Tandem War Elephant. The latter is one of the coolest Lego figures I’ve built for this game yet. On the digital side of things you get one linear story level and then access to the open Adventure World. The level is a fairly straightforward retelling of the Enchiridion/Lich arc from the show and is pretty much exactly what you would expect. It’s a level in a Lego game, you know what’s going to be there. As always with this game the charm comes from seeing your favourite franchise transferred into Lego form and I was left wanting a full-fledged Lego Adventure Time.

The highlight for me was, surprisingly, the Adventure World. The open worlds in Lego Dimensions have never been my favourite part; I’ve found them generally janky and annoying but the Adventure Time one is wonderful. To be honest, it’s still pretty janky, but the attention to detail makes up for it. Lots of locations from the show are here, from the Candy Kingdom to the Badlands to the Ice Kingdom to Castle Lemongrab and they’re all represented beautifully. Alongside the usual fetch/escort quests available here, there are some lovely parts which directly reference the show, such as the crying mountain who will only be calmed down if everyone in the village below him stops fighting. A highlight for me was travelling through a recreation of the digital computer world from the episode ‘Guardians of Sunshine.’ Since I have the Doctor and the TARDIS, I was also able to travel back in time to the post-apocalyptic Earth that makes up Ooo’s pre-history and do a quest for a pre-insanity Simon Petrikov/Ice King. Sure, the actual gameplay is no better than ever, but these games don’t really need to be anything more than functional, with the mechanics essentially being a delivery method for humour and charm,

The presentation in the Adventure Time pack is wonderful, with the art style transferred pretty much flawlessly. This is possibly the prettiest level I’ve played so far. The music is wonderful too, particularly in the Adventure World which loops between versions of classic Adventure Time songs like Bacon Pancakes and Finn’s buff baby song. The voice actors all seem to be in place for the major characters and I was particularly happy to hear the dulcet tones of my absolute favourite character, Lemongrab. The attention to detail here really is what sets this game apart and makes the rather steep price tag feel justifiable. As a downside I experienced several very irritating glitches of the hard crash to dashboard variety. Traveller’s Tales need to get a patch out for this sharpish.

If you own Lego Dimensions and like Adventure Time this one is a no-brainer. I didn’t spend long with it, but the time I did spend was really really fun. Sure, I was being fan serviced, but who cares if I’m enjoying it?

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Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation for Nintendo 3DS

After over 100 hours, my trusty little Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright card is now my most played 3DS game, although that is largely because there’s pretty much three full Fire Emblem games worth of play time on there. Revelations is the third path and definitely the one you should save for last, combining game elements from Birthright and Conquest to come together into an exciting finale.

In Birthright, Corrin chooses to side with her birth family of Hoshido against the conquering Nohrian Empire. In Conquest, she sides with her adopted family in Nohr and takes the war to Hoshido. In Revelations, Corrin takes the most interesting choice of all; refuse to take sides and flee. It isn’t long before Corrin discovers that the war between Hoshido and Nohr is simply part of a larger plan by a terrible entity and so must set forth to unite the two nations to have any hope to save the world. One problem; a curse means that Corrin cannot speak of the terrible being and so she must gather an army based on trust alone.

The finale of the Fates games probably has the second best story of the lot. It’s much better than the bland Birthright, but I don’t think it ever achieved the emotional resonance and compelling darkness of the Conquest path, which remains the best story of the three. That said, it is hugely satisfying seeing the Hoshidan and Nohrian characters come together, which makes for some interesting encounters. Having the sworn enemies from Birthright and Conquest team up feels pretty exciting and this is backed up in the gameplay; a Xander/Ryoma dreamteam pair up is pretty much unstoppable. In the end though, the actual main plot of Revelations isn’t that interesting, particularly in the final 8 or so chapters which all began to blur into one from a plot perspective. The best writing is still to be found in the support conversations, which are often laugh out loud funny and charming. This doesn’t really make its way into the main story, which is overburdened with portentous and cheesy dialogue. Revelations is billed as the instalment which reveals the great truth behind the Fates games, but the great truth winds up not being so…er, great.

Revelations probably slots neatly down the middle in terms of difficulty between Birthright and Conquest. Unlike Conquest you are allowed to grind between missions, although the sheer number of child mission paralogues available here rendered that pretty much unnecessary. Revelations also has the mission variety of Conquest, with lots of interesting little mechanics at play, such as stealth. Some of the map designs here are really clever and this definitely feels like a team which has got itself properly warmed up and ready to experiment. There’s little to say about Revelations that doesn’t also apply to Birthright and Conquest so I won’t repeat myself; this is still one of the best turn based strategy games around.

Revelations is a worthy conclusion to an excellent trilogy of games. On balance, I think I would prefer Nintendo to go back to a simple one game release for this series, both for the sake of my wallet and overall cohesion. As good as these Fates games were, I still preferred Awakening over all three of them. Although each individual story is worth the price, repeated dialogue in the support conversations and the same paralogues across all three games meant I spent a fair bit of that time repeating stuff. All said though, Revelations is a very good conclusion to a mostly successful experiment from Nintendo.

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