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Thracia 776 is not an easy game. I quickly found out that this game's reputation as "the hard one" of the Fire Emblem franchise was not to be taken lightly pretty early on, as it does not hesitate to throw some really difficult map design at you almost immediately.
Thracia constantly forces you to adapt and break your Fire Emblem habits in order to think of a new way to win, and you often have to do it fairly quickly; endless droves of enemy reinforcements, destructive ballista, and bosses that can seriously alter the playing field are commonplace in this unforgiving game. Your units are gonna die. Your best weapons are gonna break. You're gonna get hit with status spells. It's gonna be an uphill battle pretty much the entire time. The desperation and obviously unequal odds that Leif and his liberation force face as they look to free their homes on the Thracian peninsula are woven spectacularly into the gameplay. While not quite the best in the series, Thracia's story and characters approach the upper reaches of the Fire Emblem series as a result.
The gameplay had me frustrated at times, but the frustration was nearly always followed by the euphoria of overcoming the challenge that was staring me in the face. Whether it be hard earned, like in chapters 16, 17, or 22, or quickly bested via clever strategy, such as some warp tactics I used in chapters 23 and 24, there was always some great satisfaction waiting for me at the end.
Ultimately, the reward of finishing Thracia is no more than a simple pat on the back, with Leif exclaiming that "we did it" as the final map concludes. There's nothing even that ceremonious about it other than the fact that the game is over; some concluding dialogue is said and the credits begin to roll. No, the real reward for beating Thracia 776 and all of its seemingly unfair, unforgiving, punishingly hard maps is the fact that you conquered it. This game threw everything it had, cryptic weirdness and all, right at you and you bested it.
This is some of Fire Emblem's finest content. While not perfect due to a bevy of weird recruitments, weird gaiden chapter requirements, weird gameplay quirks and generally including a wide array of bullshit, this is a brilliantly fun and wickedly challenging entry that is one of the best in the series.

Mind Control Delete is a bloated mess, and it's my fault for asking for more.
The original SUPERHOT was a unique and innovative shooter, as much as the writing desperately tried to turn you off from saying that out loud. It was a game that encouraged a lot of fun, stylish gun and swordplay; fire a magazine into someone until it clicks, lob the empty pistol at another guy's head, pull a katana off the wall to slice up an incoming bullet, and watch another foe's face explode into shards of red polygonal glass as they get hit by friendly fire. It was incredible, dumb action. The narrative of "wow video game addiction sure is a problem, huh" was so incongruous with the actual gameplay that it was impossible to take seriously. It's like if Arnold turned to camera during the final scene of Commando to ask the kids at home what they thought of American foreign policy.
Mind Control Delete looks at everything that SUPERHOT did right (the gameplay) and what it did wrong (the writing) and then decides to amplify the bad and dampen the good. There are maybe ten levels that constantly get reused over and over thanks to the new rogue-lite gameplay loop, forcing you through dozens of same-y combat encounters before stating that you finished the node and unceremoniously kicking you back to the level select. There's no sense of climax or payoff for endlessly going through these motions; your reward for beating fifteen boring fights with multiple level repeats is another fifteen boring fights with multiple level repeats. Once you've played ten minutes of Mind Control Delete, you've played the remaining seven or eight hours. The scant few characters you can unlock are just fragmented versions of the player character from the original SUPERHOT, with all of the abilities that you had in that game being split up amongst them. What you're left with are fewer tools to engage with the same combat on more repetitive maps with less intent behind their designs.
This is to say nothing of the writing, which is embarrassing. I hate, hate, hate using the word "pretentious" to describe a piece of media, because a work is a static, unfeeling thing. The game is not pretentious, because it cannot be. This does not stop it from trying. Asking your players to sit through an eight-hour long "recovering data" sequence before they're allowed to play the game again is silly. Backing down and compromising by shortening the length to two hours betrays all remaining artistic integrity. It screams of a creator who desires nothing more than praise, even if it means taking back whatever statement they tried to make; if all it takes for you to renege on something so blatantly intended to be a waste of player time are complaints on the Steam forums, then you shouldn't have even bothered including it in the first place. Have the spine to inconvenience your players, or don't try to inconvenience them. Flip-flopping between the two in the pursuit of some ethereal, happy middle ground is — and I don't state this lightly — pathetic.
The bones of SUPERHOT are still here, but Mind Control Delete is just a worse version of a game that already came out. Worse gameplay, worse writing, same price. Don't bother.


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