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  • You can shine the Engage rings. Skinship with your real Engage rings!

I was wondering how much of a joke you were making here so I watched the trailer. The footage here is really short so I don't feel comfortable making a definite call, but it definitely gave me a skeevy impression that it's a thinly veiled replacement for the fondle your subordinates game from if/Fates that was cut in localization. You brush "the ring," but at least in this short clip they react similarly to the party members you call into your room to molest in if/Fates, as if you're touching somewhere sensitive on their body. It's like they replaced the skin to skin molestation mini-game with a mini-game of tele-dildonic molestation via brushing a magic ring.

Maybe they chose a voice clip that doesn't represent the majority of cases, but...
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I've never really understood what the appeal of the face touching minigames is supposed to be, even from the perspective of a horned-up pervert. It's not even sexy, and more awkward than intimate. Who's it even for? Was it some strange chain of reasoning starting from "Well, we want to attach some gameplay mechanics to the model viewer..."?
 

Juno

The DRKest Roe
(He, Him)
I've never really understood what the appeal of the face touching minigames is supposed to be, even from the perspective of a horned-up pervert. It's not even sexy, and more awkward than intimate. Who's it even for? Was it some strange chain of reasoning starting from "Well, we want to attach some gameplay mechanics to the model viewer..."?
Well, if you are interested in reading a genuine argument in defense of touching minigames, there was this guest column on Giant Bomb on the subject back in early 2016 shortly before Fates came out in North America.
 
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Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Ring polishing is extremely funny in an absurd “so this is we’re at huh?” sense. Fire Emblem, the acclaimed strategy series where you have proxy sex with anime jewelry.

Not surprised that base mechanics have become a core feature of the games but disappointing to see regardless. Having a huge map with a checklist of tasks and npc dialog to go through between every battle drained all my enthusiasm in three houses. Even though I loved the teaching and battles, I dreaded the Garreg Mach loop. It killed the game for me.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Perhaps my impression of the concept has been soured, perhaps irrevocably, by the fact that the implementation in Fates used the God damn microphone. There's never been a case where a video game asking me to blow into the mic felt anything like what the developers seemed to have wanted it to feel like, and you'd think that after a decade they'd have learned their lesson.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
A bigger focus on managing a fortress is the last thing I’d want, especially since, like Loki, Garreg Mach wrecked my enthusiasm for Three Houses.

I’m still holding out hope that it’s streamlined *at least* as much as it was in Three Hopes, or better yet like in Fates where it was basically a menu you had to run around in.
 

Dark Medusa

Diamond Crusader
(He/they)
I really, really want this video game to be fun, but the more I learn about it the more my fears are becoming true! But I guess we'll know for sure when it comes out for real.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I actually loved the Garreg Mach loop, but that feature list has still left my enthusiasm decidedly dampened, as someone who hates gacha and would prefer the first FE that my partner sees me play to not be uncomfortably horny. Sure would be cool to not be ashamed of one of my favourite series!

(...That said, I'll make out with my TV full on the lips if it gets me a Hector... >_>)
 

Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Polishing might be obscuring the horny enough that it comes across benign to people unfamiliar with the series' history. It all depends on if the rings do an ahegao.
 

WildcatJF

Red After Image
(he / his / him)
I'm imagining that the localization will mellow out the ring polishing to be a little less horny for NA and EU, but we'll find out. I'll probably just not ...er, engage with the mechanic if I can help it.
 
I'm imagining that the localization will mellow out the ring polishing to be a little less horny for NA and EU, but we'll find out.

Yeah I do too. At least in the trailer, the JPN voice is suggestive of foreplay, and that's almost sure to be scrubbed out of the way it's presented in other regions.

A bigger focus on managing a fortress is the last thing I’d want, especially since, like Loki, Garreg Mach wrecked my enthusiasm for Three Houses.

I liked Garreg Mach, but it was because the setting really appealed for me in a way that this so far does not. That being said, my favorite recent FE is the Conquest route of if/Fates, so basically I wouldn't ask for any of this gacha/minigame/grinding cruft in the series.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
It does give the impression of looking more like Fates' base than Three Houses' monastery, just a place to chill between fightin' rather than the nexus of a bunch of busywork. We'll see, though.
 
It does give the impression of looking more like Fates' base than Three Houses' monastery, just a place to chill between fightin' rather than the nexus of a bunch of busywork. We'll see, though.

I think that's hard to judge from the trailers, because a lot of it depends on how much talking to each individual party members between missions you're expected to do and how much empty space traversal that involves, which seem to be open questions at this point. If you're supposed to be moving a 3D avatar through big spaces to talk to every party member and also play gacha games and also do ring brushing tele-dildonics and also a probably bad version of Panzer Dragoon between each mission, I could see it easily being much more tedious.

In if/Fates, all the side activities at the base (except for the molestation mini-game in the JPN release) were necessarily perfunctory due to the minimalist graphical presentation, while this seems to be packed full of extras that are going to be relatively more detailed (and so time consuming) in their presentation.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Man I guessed I missed a lot of the subtext in the trailer, dang. On a rewatch I'm definitely less thrilled with the weird ring interactions. Boo.
 
It's possible that the voice clip they included is unrepresentative, and even if it is almost surely it will not be as "don't touch me there (but also no means yes)" type horny in English, after they cut the whole thing from Fates.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Kind of put all my apprehension to bed really.

I was already definitely picking it up but now I’m much more jazzed
 

Regulus

Sir Knightbot
In fact, looking back, Three Houses now feels less like a blueprint for the series going forward, and more like an aberration from its previous trajectory.

This line is interesting. I feel like FE games have never really had trajectory defining "blueprints", so this isn't that surprising. In many ways, Fates hewed pretty closely to Awakening (largely to its detriment, I think), but for the most part the games branch out in their own ways. Three Houses is structurally pretty different from Fates/Awakening, which have little in common with the Archanea remakes, which differ significantly from the Tellius games (both of which have their own identity as well), which don't really have much in common with Sacred Stones, which almost had a Gaiden-like relationship with the Elibe games, which were somewhat pared back compared to Thracia 776, which is a huge departure from the other Jugral game, which was much more involved than Mystery of the Emblem, which is something of a "Link to the Past" to Gaiden's "Zelda II".

Though I suppose that the way that "avatar" characters have been handled since New Mystery definitely has a trajectory.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Every Fire Emblem game except for New Mystery of the Emblem has been an aberration. Change is the only constant.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Going whole hog on a nauseatingly excessive amount of support conversations and a matchmaking side game well suited Awakening's "grand finale" sort of aesthetic where they took everything memorable about the preceding twelve games and went over the top with them, and Fates did the same because Fates' whole thing was copying Awakening badly. Three Houses, believe it or not, significantly scaled things back, taken in the context of just having more out-of-battle activities: by the end of a typical playthrough, you're likely to have maxed out the supports between every character you recruited without particularly trying to, and it's all in service of contributing to the expected power curve with the support bonuses. Three Hopes further refines the concept by doing things like having support ranks without corresponding conversations.

Engage looks like it's not attempting any kind of naturalism in its setting: the world map is a giant ring, and when they announced it they were immediately talking about a pair of good and evil dragon gods. It doesn't look like it seeks to derive drama from a layered political situation like in Three Houses, the Radiance duology, or Thracia 776, nor does it have a structural gimmick that would justify a heightened emphasis on interpersonal relationships like Three Houses, Awakening, or Genealogy of the Holy War. Given that, lighter characterization is to be expected, and probably more directly linked to each character's gameplay role.

Meanwhile, although they've shown some avenues for customizing characters' builds, it seems more along the lines of delicate tweaks to a basically fixed core, rather than the wide open-endedness of Three Houses. On top of that, they're heavily telegraphing the big power plays you can pop off with in battle, which will smooth over a lot of the differences in overall power that can accumulate from how consistent the player is at micro-optimizing. It seems set up to give the game a more predictable power curve, and to make the hypest moments take place on the battlefield rather than off it.

So all in all it seems like they want the tactics to be this game's crown jewel, rather than the cast.
 

Pajaro Pete

(He/Himbo)
i hope the characters around the base still have dialogue about current events like they did in three houses - for all the issues with the monastery bloat, party members having actual thoughts and opinions about the storyline was a huge leap forward for the series
 
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