I think I’ve found my new second favourite Fire Emblem!
Shadows of Valentia does so much well for the type of fan I am. There is a total of 33 recruitable characters across 2 parties, making it much more manageable to focus on and level up. Every character is great in their own right, with several aforementioned standouts - Mae, Leon, Mathilda, Clare, Sonya and Est were all wonderful. Almost all the characters are viable to use, which is a bonus - some of these games can have some dud characters, but here I had more than enough to round out 2 top notch teams.
Echoes sure feels like it is meant to be played on “casual” mode though. Even on the easiest difficulty, you will lose people. Thankfully they return after the battle when played this way, so strategically it’s smarter to go casual - using some characters as kamikaze units towards the end of a fight saved me on a number of maps.
The 3rd person dungeons are a neat addition. Not that much can really be done on a 3DS graphically, but hunting down weapons and silver for upgrades was a great distraction. Plus, it serves as a way to allow grinding if you feel the need - though the game is pretty well balanced, so it’s not required. There are also a couple other changes that may seem off to series fans - the lack of the weapon triangle seemed odd initially, and the changes to magic are a big departure - but the changes are well implemented, helping the game feel fresh despite it being a part of a long running series (and a remake of a 20 year old game to boot.)
I finished the main campaign this arvo, which wrapped up nicely, though to my surprise there is a postgame element present. It doesn’t really feel too meaty so far, but I’m keen to delve in a little deeper. A good sign that you enjoyed a game is that you want to keep going when it’s finished, which is definitely true here.
Games Left to Play: 106
Budget Remaining for 2018: $300