Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Android Triple Hit: Because Blaster can actually do more with his phone now

Pretty on the nose, but yeah that's the reason I haven't done a lot of ios and android games. My iPod touch and phone I got back around 2011, they were out of date, my iPod still is. And before anyone asks, I like dedicated equipment, something designed to do one thing is going to do that one thing better then something designed to do 100 things. I also admit that yes that probably has affected my judgement on these three, I know it has for at least one of them. I ask you hear me out, so that you might be able to see where I'm coming from. As to what those three games are? They are Transformers Earth Wars, Transformers Forged to Fight, and Fire Emblem Heroes. Like with every solo review I do, I will be having images that split up each review so that if you only want to see one, then scroll down until you see the image for the one you want. With that out of the way

Transformers Earth Wars: So this is what its like in between episodes...

The plot for Earth Wars is pretty basic (spoiler, all three of these games have simple plots). The Autobots and Decepticons are fighting on earth, and in order to achieve dominance. To do this, you as the player must build up your base and army, and then use your army to destroy bases of the opposite faction. What's the difference between the factions? Almost nothing in terms of gameplay, the biggest difference being who you have easier access at getting. I sided with the Decepticons, so my base structures have more of a Decepticon look to them, and while I can get Autobots, I have 5 Autobots to around 47 Decepticons. The character selections have been designed as well to make as many characters have the same powers on both sides, which is probably the only reason Octopunch is in the game as he's a clone of Seaspray (look them up, I have to keep moving). The roster itself also has some questionable choices, as I can think of some far more well known characters to go in then the afore mentioned Octopunch, with another being Viper.

Designs themselves, while they try to make them look as close to each other as possible, its a hogpoge of designs from the CHUG era (Classics, Henkei, Universe, Generations. Basically the current size scale) along with Masterpiece/ original generation 1 toy. You've got Megatron who has his Combiner Wars design (granted each of these are tweaked so they aren't one for one) along with the combiner limbs that are in the game as well as the two complete combiners (like I said, I picked cons, so most of my examples are going to be cons). You've then got ones like Bludgeon and Seaspray that have their Hunt for the Decepticons designs back from movie 2, Optimus Prime and Star Sabre who have their Masterpiece designs, though granted Prime's is a little different, borrowing some cues from his combiner wars repaint of Motormaster). It is interesting to see, but what does make it distracting is the model reuse. While some are expected like Nemesis Prime being Optimus like he always is. The afore mentioned Octopunch because Seaspray, along with Slipstream because Windblade, Nightbird because Arcee among maybe more are other examples of it, I can only talk about what I've seen because... well...

All three games covered here are free to play, pay to win, so we have some of my all time favorite mechanics in games including "multiple currencies with the only one you can convert into others being the one you get the least of and the one directly connected to real life money", "timers that mean you might only play a game for 10 minutes before being told "wait or pay", "random number generation that determines what you get and don't get making it harder to get the thing you want, making you want to pay real money" and "no roof for payments before features get unlocked so you can pay every cent you own into a barely rewarding game". Real talk, if you actually do like these mechanics (the lines before meaning to be sarcastic as I absolutely hate them), then you're part of the problem as to why the F2P model is a piece of money grubbing scrap. How does it work here? Well, one part of the game is base construction. You build a base that will get you resources, being Energon, Alloy, both of which are needed for construction and upgrades, and eventually Ore-13, for combiners. You will also, on average, get two crystals daily which will give you power ups to use in battle (more on that later) or low star units. Higher the star count, the stronger the character. If you get a double (which I swear should not be as common as it is), then you can get shards for a crystal that is a star up from the one you get the double of, and other things mainly for powering up units. If you need more of any of these, you need "Cyber Coins", which is the thing you can pay for.

As you build your base, you attack other bases to get boosts in resources, but if you can attack others, others can attack you. I've had 10 people attack me, only successfully two attacks so far. It's very easy to attack, a lot harder to defend because the combat is all automated. You can choose when to use special moves and where units start at, but apart from that, its a cutscene. Considering you need to be online to play this, I'd rather be spending my time with something else now that I've cleared the, at times brutal, campaign to get the combiner lab that I can only use if RNG lets me get the right Constructicons and Combatacons. Moving on!

Transformers Forged to Fight: Transformers goes Street Fighter

"How do we mash up as many continuities as we can into one game?" Apparently the answer was street fighter with micro transactions and a hexagon rock paper scissors mechanic. Ok then...

I admit this is the game I've put the least amount of time into, more due to technicals, in terms of plot, Optimus Prime has crashed onto a planet that is in a state of spacial and temporal flux, bringing characters, both autobot and decepticon to the planet and making them fight each other. To unlock more characters, you go through the same RNG system as Earth Wars, but what makes this one more annoying is the variety. I've only just taken out Starscream again, but for that, I had to fight Movieverse Grindor, Ironhide and Bumblebee, I could have fought Windblade, I did fight Rhinox, and there's more in the game, and probably a lot more to come. I'd be down for some Unicron trillogy love, though that's more transformers general. The character collection is basically the same as what it was for Earth Wars, so I won't dwell on it here.

My issues with the game come down to performance, and controls. This is a fighting game, but the controls don't feel very precise, not very detailed, all the fights I've done so far, and this is coming from someone's who's main experience in fighting games is Super Smash Brothers, I've won by tapping the touch screen at random, overpowering my opponents with speed and luck over skill. What also doesn't help is that my actions could lead to the move I didn't want to do because its a combination of taping, swiping and holding the screen for your light, heavy, ranged, shield, dodge and super move. The game also chugs at times in terms of a solid frame rate. What that rate is, I don't care about, but it does noticeably drop and stutter. I don't know why, it shouldn't, my phone's as up to date as possible in terms of hardware, so it comes off as "optimized for tablets" which makes me wonder why it wasn't, if possible, locked to being just for tablets. Presentation's also pretty bleak. In Earth Wars, the characters had animations during dialogue, whereas here, its still portraits, which does feel like a downgrade by comparison. The art style also goes for a "realistic" approach, in that every colour looks depressingly dark. Was it because of the Beast Wars and Movieverse characters? Regardless, I personally would have preferred a lighter colour pallete. But, to each their own. If they can get the technical side to the game sorted out, I'll give it another try, but until then, if you want a new fighting game, probably not the best place to look if you're into the Street Fighter/ Mortal Kombat/ Tekken ect style.

Fire Emblem Heroes: Chibi powers, activate!

Might as well get this quickly out of the way, as people are going to ask, I didn't get into Super Mario Run, it just didn't hook me.

Fire Emblem Heroes, the third in house Nintendo game on phones, bringing the stratergy from Fire Emblem to the phone. As a short answer to if they did it, I'd say yes. The plot for it is that two kingdoms are traveling to the realms of the main games, from the original Fire Emblem, all the way to Fates, siding with the playable characters from each game. You have the power to summon random heroes, and you're tasked with breaking the contracts of each of the heroes to stop the villain army, or rather one spoiled little kid and her army. From where I stand in it right now, its a veil for the game, and an excuse to get the characters, which to me, is interesting because most of my experience with Fire Emblem is limited to Awakening and Fates (along with Smash, but that goes without saying), so getting a feel for each of these characters, almost all of them I had either forgotten about, or had never heard of before. All of the characters do have English voices too, so for the first time ever, Marth and Roy have an English voice.
I was lucky enough to get her early on, she's one of the strongest in my team right now thanks to her Dragonstone. I also participated in the Easter event, so I do have Bunny Lucina, I just don't want to risk that genie getting out. Will say though that Bunny Lucina is cute, not as rediculous as Chrom or Xander, and not as... expected, as Camilla

The gameplay is as close to Fire Emblem as you can get when taking into account the mobile format. Permadeath's disabled because of the F2P parts of the game (but more on that later), characters only have one weapon to them, and special moves are easier to pull off, but the trade off is a 4v4 environment for combat, and maps limited to the one screen, so what you see in map size is what you get. This takes some getting used to because there's not much safe room to move, and some characters got a nerf for the sake of balance (I liked it when mages didn't need to be a space away to attack), but it is Fire Emblem on a handheld. The F2P model also feels more player friendly here. It might be because I'm not very far into the game, but the play session timer hasn't run out for me yet, orbs that are needed to summon heroes are plentiful, and while I have had double ups, they haven't been as ridiculously common as earth wars where 47/130+ means I keep seeing characters I already have. If we have to have the F2P model, I'd rather a version of it that is player friendly in some form rather then punishing because you haven't paid them everything you own for the sake of that rare item.

I do really like the presentation for the game though. I'm assuming the soundtrack is a mix of original and remixed/ reused songs from past fire emblem games, I cannot confirm that though, but what I do like about it is the new artwork. Each of the character portraits is well done, and their in battle/ overworld chibi sprites are very cute. I'd love to see this style used in the main games for things like FE 2018, as I think its safe to say they're not in Shadows of Valentia or Fire Emblem Warriors.

Hard to do a full summary for each of these games, they may be worth looking into if you're looking for something new to play, but for the next two reviews, what should they be? The strawpoll can be found here and before I'm asked, Heart Gold and Soul Silver arc will be after these two. I haven't forgotten... Ok I completely forgot about how much time was left in the month, but I'll stick to it.

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