Today is not really a translation or localization thing! More just a fandom shout out and general blog post.
I wanted to talk a little bit about this nifty FE fan game named Vision Quest. Created by Pandan! Please see details and a page over here about it. Everything you need to know about it is there.
I have slowly been making my way through this game over the last few months, and finally completed it today! It is actually the first time I have played an FE fangame. I found it when searching fangames on a whim due to wanting to play a GBA FE again yet also experience something new. I certainly got that!
Writing in a kind of stream of consciousness fashion, I wanted to write some thoughts out here just for a kind of informal post, I guess a “retrospective” of sorts. This is by no means any kind of review and has no real structure. It goes without being said, this is purely opinion on just the kind of thoughts I had.
I am not really sure where to begin, but I do highly recommend the game for fans of the GBA FE games, yet it also brings a lot to like from the Tellius games and the like. Of course, this is purely a matter of preference, but I would urge you to give a few chapters a shot and see how you feel. That’s the best way to really see if you’d like it or not, after all!
If you’d rather read my rambling thoughts on it, then read on!
I was pleasantly surprised with each character I came across in the game. I found myself looking forward to who the next recruitable character would be each time, much like I do for the mainline games. Having gone in blind, it really paid off not knowing what kind of characters I’d get or what kind of classes they would be, or who would fit what archetype (if any).
There was definitely a sense of familiarity in the “types” of characters, yet the new coats of paint were certainly unique!
Of course, beyond the pretty sprite work was the character themselves. I quite liked how there were many opportunities for characters that even the story doesn’t focus on to interact. Not just with the usual supports, but with the “Talk” option on maps for certain unique pairs. It really helped you remember the characters exist and continue to be relevant in some fashion.
The use of sidequests really drew out certain groups of characters, too!
Without naming specifics, there were a lot of interesting grey zones for each character, actually it was one of the most interesting things about one of the main characters. It certainly made for an enjoyable trip!
Speaking of grey zones, beyond the player characters, there were a lot of fun enemy sprites and characters too.
**Character Spoilers** Please be wary.
Pandan helpfully uploaded a spritesheet of the playable characters. If you like to sail blind as I do, then please do not click the link! But for those who like to get a glimpse of characters ahead of time, please take a look at the fun variety.
I wonder if we can rally up FE fans who are also artists to draw “official artwork” of each of these characters…
My Endgame team consisted of the following:
Storch, Titus, Waluyo, Larisa, Sigrid, Surya, Michael, Anisa, Naia, Helga, Esfir, Marlen, Dewi, Bulan, Stina, Sri, Cassius, Kir, Ketut, Lori
Of them, Sigrid with her Estesque stats growth just about blew everyone away, including the final boss… with Soma Thera. Pandan, I thought you said no single thing would be OP! (Oh, wait I think that was about skills… thank you for making this awesome character! Wish she had more supports!)
Sigrid, Helga, Waluyo, Kir and Cassius were probably my favorites of the bunch.
Though, I think it should be noted that Kir (and Arckady)’s sprites started to hurt my neck after a little while… are their heads constantly turned… or on backwards…?!
The Story / Writing
I was not sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story took a little bit to start up, but did kept me pretty engaged to see how things would go with some of the characters. Knowing it was made by a fan meant that it would either stay close to an FE formula or veer into a territory that is somewhat unfamiliar. Thankfully I think it did a bit of both. I definitely got a good taste of the political intrigue and struggles.
It certainly got a little strange at times, but never into completely nonsensical territory. There were some good moments in there. Part 3 certainly gave me the same vibes as Radiant Dawn and was a completely unexpected turn in terms of characters to control given what we had been doing up to that point. I came close to wondering if we would face certain units we had raised up until that point. Actually, I wondered if the final boss would have anything to do with that too…
I quite enjoyed the variety in writing styles for all the different characters. Whenever Storch and Titus would interact, the stark contrast in their mannerisms and words was always something to behold.
I did notice an abundance of references to ale, wine, and …cheese? There was that conversation that was pretty amusing. I suppose that is what I would think nobles talk about as well… It definitely left an impression!
My main complaint would just be the lack of closure. I know this was purposeful, both mentioned in-game and out of game, and is just a personal preference. While it certainly does not have to be a happy ending or a neat bow to top off a knot, I certainly prefer having most things resolved. The ending raised some questions, perhaps for a sequel? The story had been building to that point for sure, but having some of the baddies essentially be able to “get away” with it or not having more of that strange cult group explained left a little to be desired. Again, probably just a personal preference, there must be justice! As Titus would say. Or something like that, anyway.
Yet, I was not entirely disappointed as I felt a lot of the important things wrapped up. Not to mention the epilogue for some of the characters. So many disappearing into the unknown… so sad!
For those in it purely for the game, there was a lot to look forward to on the classic GBA formula. The added twists, of changed indirect weapon parameters, new classes, variety of effective weapons, and especially the AI using said special weapons, added quite a bit to the strategy. (Thank you so much for having the “!” appear over enemies who had said weapons… that would have caught me off guard so much otherwise…)
Skills appeared in the game, and I did enjoy each character having their unique set of skills that did not really feel broken in any particular way, as was an objective listed on the page.
Classes were fun, such as seeing the Halberdier appear. The Baron class was also definitely a new favorite! And, re implementing the “summoner” as a unique skill was fun to see. Especially the end result.
Some maps, and their objectives, were quite challenging to get a perfect run. I had to replay maps a few times to visit every home within the limits given in the game. There were quite a few types of objectives which kept things fresh.
There were a few bugs I encountered. The page had a list of known bugs, and it seems like a lot of it was down to hardware limitations of the GBA I assume. It got weird when character sprites started changing in the menus when scrolling. It got a little creepy! But thankfully, the main game was mostly unaffected by bugs so it never prevented any progress.
The most detrimental bug I encountered was on the very last level where I was unable to “Check Map” (and thus reposition any of my units) since it would always reset the game if I tried. It was strange and made that challenging map even more challenging… but that only happened for the final chapter.
A final note is the music. It featured some music from through the FE series, but then also songs from other games and series. I was rather surprised when I heard songs from Windwaker in the store, or Astral Observatory. I think hearing Mission Street, Cosmic Wall, Flying Battery, and other music from the Sonic series also was quite a pleasant surprise. At some point it was not just the characters I was looking forward to, but at what other song they actually put in the game.
The choice of music, certainly good taste!
However, the drawback to this is that it did take away from some of the immersion –only because some of the songs (Windwaker) are so iconic one cannot help but disassociate them from their source franchise.
I wonder if these are available anywhere to listen to. Listening to these on the FE soundfont was really nice and would love to give it a full listen! (Beyond the in-game soundtrack… and the download on the main page, I don’t know what I can do with that format that comes up).
So this was a bit of a ramble on thoughts of the game. Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit, with its flaws not really taking away from the overall experience. Thank you, Pandan and friends, for making this awesome fan game! It was certainly up there with the main line FE games, and I actually enjoyed it more than a few of those!
To wrap this up, here is a silly doodle I threw together upon completion of this game. I couldn’t find any fan art or references for these characters, so just sort of guessed. Thank you all!
It was really fun playing a game made by a fan for the fans. I’m interested in trying out some other FE fan games now. The next one I’m looking at is “The Four Kings.” Do any of you have any recommendations? Let me know below!