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Aircalipoor

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  1. Chapter 19 This chapter deals with the actions of the different races of the bird tribe. The ultimate resolution is in chapter 28. Janaff and Ulki discuss different styles of leadership with Ike, which emphasizes the laguz culture. It forshadows Ashnards motivation and even the duality of chaos and balance in FE10. Ironically, the naive Ike agrees with it. Subsequently another army of Daein is to be fought, but the ravens join them again. To settle this, the hawks can talk to Naesala, who will talk with Reyson then. He is asking Reyson, why he hates him. I'm lost for words. Reyson reconciliates with him and his reasoning is, that they wouldn't have woken and found Leanne. While this is true, it was mereley accidental and never part of Naesalas plan. To enhance my weird analogy from the last part: That guy who intends to sell you to a slave driver crashes in front of a hospital. Your missing sister is there by chance and the noise wakes her up from her longstanding coma. Later on, after you were recued, you find your kidnapper again and are thanking him, because he was responsible for waking your sister up. Screw you, Naesala. Reyson Herons are fairly boring creatures, who present the pure good and are responsible for sealing and activating the Fire Emblem. Unlike his silblings, Reyson has a totally different temper. It isn't explained, if his nature changed because of the trauma or because of the hawks lifestyle. Maybe not all hero's are as melancholic as Leanne and Rafiel. It raises the question, how much of their mindset is limited by their race and if it is possible to change it. On the one hand, he has a different temper and was tempted by using some omnious seid-magic on humans, that would be chaotic, aggressive and deadly. On the other hand, his body is unable to eat meat or be violent, so he can't change everything about him either. The game doesn't expand on this, but it was effective having Reyson be a distinguishly untypical example of his race. Otherwise he would by the typical pure dear prince and just there to seal the Fire Emblem. His support with Ike gives us information about the characteristics of herons and the influence of chaos-energy and the medaillon during war-time. I wonder if Leanne and Rafiel would fail to withstand the medaillon at the end of this war. Maybe Reyson living with he hawks gave him additional willpower to hold of a bit longer than the average heron. Aside from Naesala and his issues with the bird tribes, the plot also informs us about Greil and Elena's death. Volke tells Ike, that the medaillon harbours a dark goddess and by touching the medaillon one gets fueled with chaos magic, driving those insane who don't have enough balance force. Balance and chaos are supposed to be inherent in each lifeform, but this vague concept is never fully explained. Have Mist and Elena so much balance for genetic reasons? Can the amount of balance and chaos change and grow? What are those two forces doing anyways, besides reacting on the medaillon? Why isn't the medaillon better protected, like through another container? The backflash is well done, though. FE9 is cheap in the graphical area, but the illustrations are presentable and are used well. In this case, the camera slides slowly from back to top, first showing the dead soldiers and finally showing Greil and his dying wife for a dramatical effect. Ironically, Greil died in the same way. Also Greil and Ike handle this event reasonable and aren't mourning their tragic fate and bemoaning their suffering. Just like in chapter 10, Volke presents us another choice. Refusing to join him doesn't give us any favors, so it is a useless one sided choice again. Ike hearing this from Volke now is a good coincidence, because the medaillon gets stolen now. More of that in the next chapter.
  2. Chapter 18 The Daein campaign begins. Begnion offers a regiment. Of course it isn't stated how large this army actually is. FE is almost always holding back with numbers. But the tasks and usage of said regiment isn't concretisized either. After they conquer the capital, Sephiran arranged to give them an even larger unit under Zelgius. That unit seems to do a bit more work: But what is the current regiment doing? It's not like they are only subordinates of Tanith, we do see some male soldiers. This hints that those battles we see and play aren't the only ones happening. My next point is about the size of the army. The past chapters were all about skirmishes, small confrontations between the mercenaries and a small enemy force. Their weren't hundreds of bandits in chapter 1-3. While fleeing in chapter 5-11, the mercenaries were merely fighting one small unit after another. The laguz pirates and laguz liberation army weren't assembled by hundreds of people as well. Olivers army may be a bit small, but one can exuse it by explaining that it could have been scattered and didn't had enough time to assemble at their full force. But now Daein is attacked and the first battle is in a fort. The enemy number is around 22/33/45, depending on difficulty. This is obviously way too small. How can this be explained? 1. Usually the writers point out that the battle on-screen is just a fraction of the whole conflict. The rest of the soldiers are fighting elsewhere. The above quote points out, that the surrounding area was seized. Especially in FE10 this is done most of the time. Ike's group has special tasks and the large laguz army is at the front. Maybe the fort ithis chapter is only a small part of a larger area and hundreds of soliders are fighting. 2. This isn't the case here, but FE5 mentions in chapter 14x, that there are six hundred refugees that have to be protected. How many NPCs appear on that map? Six. Especially in the larger battles one could say that a unit represents hundred units. The FE6 manga also showed that the heroes were acompanied by a bunch of nameless subordinates Not only Fir and Rutger, but a bunch of other Myrmidons were in their group. Other strategy games like Advance Wars are already doing this and Three Houses seems to use this feature as well. I doubt it will turn out to be a failure (there should be enough testing), but I don't get why it has to be introduced in the first place. Is the current gameplay broken and needs to be fixed? But I considered Pair-up to be useless and a good number of people probably love combining two units, so what do I know. Back to the matter at hand, there are other inconsistencies why this doesn't apply here. Utility units like thieves or dancers can't really be presented as a hundred units. In narrow corridors in indoor maps it is unlikely to have 200 units. Tibarn isn't giving us 200 soldiers, but his two best soldiers. 3. There isn't a plausible explanation. The former ones are excuses. FE is an unrealistical videogame in which ten units defeat thirty units and this occurence counts as a battle of epic proportions that decides the outcome of a worldwide war. To enable Ike being a commander, he has to be ennobled. This fits Begnions etiquette und Ike is laying of the title later on anyways. Ashnard and the Black Knight comment on Ike's progress. They also refer to their spy, a plot point that comes back to our attention at the end of the chapter. Ashnards endgame is also indicated. He isn't concentrating his army to fight off the invasors, instead he is letting them confront small parts of his army one by one. The troup in this chapter wasn't even informed about the mercenaries and is overconfident. And it's not like Ashnard puts much faith in the ravens in the next chapter or the foreigners in the chapter after that. This is another attempt to explain why a mercenary group and a single Begnion regiment are able to conquer Daein. Only at the second part of the war after chapter 22 Crimea is using their whole army, which is supported by a larger regiment of Begnion and the laguz army as well. The Black Knights swipe at Ike is always catching my eye. I rate Ike after his large promotion bonuses and him getting Aithir fairly strong. But the Black Knight cooly states that Ike is nothing compared to his father. This again underlines the level of threat the Black Knight ist, as his opinion is even above the player ones and as a matter of fact even true. He knows much more about who is a threat than we do. Over the course of the chapter Shinon is recruitable, I already responed to that dramatic event in lenght. His stats aren't so impressive anymore. Compared to Ike ones, he is much weaker. This shows Ike's growth and rise to a commander step by step, while Shinon hasn't improved at all and was stuck in his life as a soldier. It gives him some needed humility. On top of everything, the ravens join Daein. Naesala doesn't seem to be afraid of having a potential war with the other laguz. Dheginsea even told him that he shouldn't make enemies with every nation there is. Tibarn's punishment has yet to come (and will be postponed for eternity). Naesala probably knows about his plot immunity. He is that kind of guy that sells you off a slave trader and marries your sister a few years later. Janaff and Ulki Not bothering to give each of them a separate column. Unlike the beast laguz, the falcons are introduced much later and they aren't doing too much, as they aren't affected as much by the war to begin with. While Gallia is trying for peace, the falcons are a bit more rough and refractory. Janaff and Ulki get more characterized by their abilities if anything. Those abilities are mentioned and used in the next two chapters. They are obvious counter parts of each other, but unlike Lethe and Mordecai, there is no controversial situation in which they can show their integrity or doubts on each ones unique perspective. E.g. we aren't told or shown which one of the two is more friendly to humans. They help in the next chapter to settle the disput with Naesala and Reyson and show some minor communication roblems with Ike in their base conversations, but it is mostly harmless and tamed. Otherwise, they deal with some sceptic Beorcs in their supports, but unlike the serious ones with Lethe and Mordecai, they have harmless ones that are funny if anything. If I had to pick one, the support with Lucia invokes my curiosity the most, as they flirt. I guess this isn't taking seriously at all and the topic changes more to the relationship of both races, but playing around with the taboo is much more intriguing. There is no human-laguz romance in the present, all known pairings were in the past and usually it is more about the results of those unions (the branded). Supports with Reyson, Haar and Sothe were cut. Maybe they would've served dealing with racism matters, as Haar and Sothe are part of Daein. But then again, maybe they would just play with their gimmicks, like Haar sleeping the whole time and Sothe being a young child. Tanith Tanith is another unit that is characterized by contrasting her with an obvious counter part. Sigrun is diplomatic, mild, warm, lauding and I found eleven synonyms for gracious. Tanith is obstinate, snarky, cold, critical and rough. This are fitting attributes for soldiers, but I found it intriguing how those two act as soldiers and commanders in one moment and change to more diplomatic knights and servants in the next moment. And if the situation doesn't ask for her military role, Tanith can even defrost and become approachable, which is shown in her supports with Oscar and Marcia. This helps not making her a one-dimensional, blindly obedient butch. It is common clichee of the strict, shouting manly army women that is thankfully avoided. Maybe the cut supports with Astrid and Volke would have underlined this as well.
  3. Fire Emblem has a villain problem as well. Usually they are absent and are just represented by their incompetent minions and they themselves only exist as a vague threat. And if they appear, they fail or are incompetent, because they aren't allow to beat the heroes. It's why I can't take Berkut seriously. He fails in every moment he is on-screen. It's also the reason why Alvis and the Black Knight are the few villains whose deeds and crimes made an impact. The former has screen time and is competent in every scene, the latter wins and kills the heroes. I hope they give the villains more screen time AND make them more successfull. I also consider Sephiran a spin of the Gharnef archetype in the regard that he tries the whole game summoning the evil god. But that what it is: A spin. And the Gharnef archetype isn't exactly well defined. Is Lyon the Gharnef? Is Riev the Garnef? Finally, I don't think the series is too formulaic. The Heroes Journey is simple and works well, if they put effort fleshing out the world and making the protagonist relatable. FE9 shows this. Doing a confusing and ambitious plot like in Radiant Dawn or Fates is much more difficult and with a videogame that is about building your army to conquer countries an driving of the evil empire making things too grey is is just an obstacle.
  4. I assumed that the enemies on the Trial Maps have higher stats if you chose an epilogue on hard mode. But it doesn't seem to be the case, right? I only have a save file that is hacked, so I'm asking you people with genuine save files, in case my save file is corrupted. Just in case.
  5. - Ike promotes after capter 17, so have him at a high level at this time. - The final boss is only vulnerable to Ike and some other units. Ike is the best way to go, so keep having him enough strength and speed. -Chapter 27 has an optional boss, who is difficult to beat and requires luck as well. Thats why the game gives you the option to flee.
  6. @Etrurian emperor: Thanks for pointing out Tormods backstory. I forgot about the lore books and spend an entire afternoon reading them. Not too much new information, but a neat detail here and there. Chapter 17 This chapter tries out a new concept. It is divided in four parts. After every part it is possible to save and call for reinforcements (and thus items). It isn't entirely something new. FE4 already had large chapters where huge parts of the map were seperated and only unlocked by seizing the enemies castles one after another. What's the point of this? The player is challenged, for once. The army is used for a long time span without access to the base. There is no overview of the total map. The enemies numbers and classes are unknown, the victory conditions as well. It is a test of endurance, as the ressources are limited and it's unknow which items and weapons are useful for the next maps and which aren't. And the items aren't accessable at once, they are belated and gotten through reinforcements. On the other hand, it is a new method of storytelling. The plot is advanced before and after the chapter for most. Of course, events within the chapters are common, like Greil, Shinon and Gatrie appearing in chapter 7 after entering certain areas. Chapter 17 has no limits, though, as it changes the point of view of Ike, Tibarn, Leanne and Oliver and tells the events within the chapter after each map. Again this is reminiscent of FE4. Though unlike FE4, it isn't possible to sequence break by playing to fast. The events are divided clearly. Each one of the four map offers a different victory condition and different groups of enemies to keep making those maps diversified and exciting. The dreary forest and the eerie music (which is out of place in chapter 16) serves the atmosphere. Compared with other chapters that could tie all four parts in one chapter, it is more tedious and uneventful. But even that negative aspect underlines the long fighting and stressfull mission. We are tested and know that, this concludes a part of the game. After starting the next chapter, we are refreshed and are rewarded with a promotion, four new units and a bunch of BEXP. Elincia has the opportunity to fight with Daein at last. I can nitpick about some minor things regarding the gameplay. It isn't possible to swap items and slots at the start of each map after the first one. 17-2 can be completed a bit too quickly, while 17-3 can't be speed up. The NPCs can be annoying in 17-4. But the chapter fulfills its purpose. It isn't an issue to include here and there a chapter that limites the use of base, world map etc. It was done in FE8 and in FE10 (1-6). Fates did it too, though it wasn't possible to save. They won't want us too long away of MyComfortzone. Of course, the chapter has its share of convenient coincidences to advance the plot. Oliver searches Reyson for days. Reyson is found by Tibarn and they decide to hunt and punish the intruders. Ike searches both Oliver and Reyson. It is still his job to arrest Oliver, even though it is obvious that Oliver won't listen to him. It was already shown in chapter 16. Olivers reasoning for going against the apostle is being mad, though I doubt his army would be as daring as he is. They have to act as the enemies, we have to fight something here, after all. Regardless, all parties will met in this chapter at a convenient time by accident. Would one of them appear a bit later or sooner, everything could go wrong. After 17-1 the laguz hear Leanne calling. Nasir uses the opportunity to explain the magic of heroen's. It is diverse healing magic that can penetrate and break some spells and diseases, but some of it only get's important in FE10. It is pointed out that the heroen's balance and order are important. Reyson, by contrast, wants to use the magic for destruction, which chould hurt him, though it isn't elaborated on. I wouldn't mind an explanation why the heroen's can be so structive, when they aren't physicaly able to hurt others. It may even explain Sephirans high stats in 4-F-5. He should be much weaker, being a heroen. In 17-3 Ike finds Leanne. It is unclear why she woke at this time. Maybe it was Reyson, maybe the medaillon. Finding her will turn out to be very convenient, as it helps later on to placate Reyson. He and Tibarn are more open for a civil talk and they even forgive Sanaki afterwards. It wouldn't be that smooth if they hadn't found Leanne before. After chapter 17-3 there is a short dialogue and I was so bored that I read more into it than it is worth it. Ike estimates Mist's weight is the double of Leanne's. Boyd compares Mist's weight with an armor. It's just there for the humuor, but we have measuring units and numbers to check these claims. Leanne has a weight of 2, Mist has a weight of 5. She is even more heavier than two Leannes. The armors weighs 4 (e.g. Gatrie has 12 Con and 16 Wt), so they weight less than Mist. The weight system is unique in Tellius: They use two stats. The constitution seems to be the inherent physical strength, but the weight is composed of constitution and armor, mounts or transformation bonuses. It is what counts when shoving and rescuing. The heroens and ravens even have less weight than constitution. It is explained with their birdlike physique. Anyways, Tibarn and Co. join the battle in 17-4. They recognize Leanne and enable a talk with Sanaki. Sanak isn't doing much else other than asking for forgiveness, but one can't expect much else of her. Leanne can read her feelings and honesty behind her words. With that, the relationship between Begnion and laguz has supposedly improved. It doesn't do much in FE10, but Ike gets Tibarn's and Reyson's respect. This part of the plot is concluded. It's back to the main story in the next chapter. Summary at the half-way mark Eighteen of thirty chapters are completed. The later chapters take longer than the early ones, which is why we this could be the half-way mark. The following chapters deal with the liberation war against Daein for the rest of the game. Only five chapters are in Daein, the other seven are in Crimea. Fitting, as it isn't about conquering Daein and more about liberating and reconquering Crimea. What happened in the past eighteen chapters? We were introduced in the first four chapters to Ike and the mercenaries. For six chapters the fled from the Daein's to Gallia. For four chapters they traveled to Begnion. They stayed there for another four chapters to win them as an ally. Ike lost his home, his country, his father and two of his companions. He took his fathers place as a commander and made friends with regents of all nations (Elincia-Crimea, Caineghis-Gallia, Kurthnaga-Goldoa, Sanaki-Begnion, Phoenicis-Tibarn, Serenes-Reyson). He showed his inexperience, but grew in every chapter and many new allies proved to be new mentors. Aside from Titania and Soren he met Ranulf, who enlightend him of the laguz. There is Nasir, who points out the difficulties of human and laguz relationship. Stefan, who replaces Greil as a mentor for Ike's swordtechnique. Even Sanaki showed him the methods of ruling with intrigue and manipulation. The game tries to prevent Ike being too successfull and popular, he is failing sometimes. I already critized that Ike mets some of the important people in the plot by chance. Especialy the Begnion arc suffers from it, as it doesn't have a concrete goal. The other parts are clear about that: Fleeing to Gallia, fleeing to Begnion, conquering Daein, conquering Crimea. But this is offset by the obtained experience of meeting all these people. Free laguz like Lethe and Mordecai, enslaved ones like Muarim. The citizen of Crimea and soldiers of Daein, a colorful mix of new recruits that enrich the many perspectives of the people of Tellius. Some civilists of Crimea welcome the Daein soldiers and hunt laguz. Some laguz are pirates, other were enslaved and defend themselves. The soldier of Daein, slavetraders of Begnion and corrupt senatores, everywhere we met antagonists with different motives and backgrounds. The samy way we met new allies and friends. Brom and Nephenee aren't racist and want to protect their homeland, Ziharks fights for laguz. While the raven wanted to plunder the ship, the dragons take the ship back to the sea. Most Daeins soldier are following orders, but Jill and the Sothe question their bond with their homeland. The slavetraders are contrasted with the laguz liberation army, the corrupt senatores are contrasted with the obliged Sanaki. FE9 manages to create a fairly complex world that shows the war and its consequences in an authentic way, because it is shown in so many different perspectives. It goes beyond just showing us the culprit and the victim.
  7. Chapter 16 The chapter in itself is straightforward and self-explanatory. It is merely a lead-up to the climax in chapter 17. Muarim explains the slavery of laguz to Ike. Stefan becomes one of Ike's mentors in sword-fighting. Nasir stays with the group and raises his voice sometimes. He is quite mediating and diplomatic. At this time, I mention that I appreciate his role as a spy. He isn't an obviously cowardly traitor, partly he is on Ike side and agrees with many of his goals. He too serves as a mentor-figure, though more regarding politics and human-laguz relations. It is less obvious and nuanced than the spies in Fates, for example. As mentionend, Sanaki searches the senators villas for laguz. Had she send her own men, she may be more successfull rather than sending foreign mercenaries that are easier to dispatch. Oliver himself probably wouldn't stop it, but I question how loyal his soldiers would be, if they are confronted by the Apostel and her knights directely. But it's not the only issue I have with this chapter. I use the opportunity to rant about everyones motive in this arc. Regarding Oliver I'm more lenient. At least he gets what he derserves in this game. And while he is a cold-hearted cruel bastard, one could argue he is more insane. He presents the corruption and decadence of all senators. Though he is slightly more eccentric and less threatening that his friends that are instigating a war in the next game. His childlike avarice, decadent vanity and obsession with all that he deems "beauty" show his eccentric and leave room for interpretation. Ironically, it makes him more humane, approachable and comprehensible than the other senatores. There is a reason why he was created as something that we call a "meme" nowadays. Naesala tricked Reyson and sold him to Oliver. It's nothing strange for a pragmatic raven that has the bourden of a poor kingdoms crown. But the lack of consequences is disappointing. Tibarn points out that Naesala would have recued Reyson after a while after getting the money. Though the game misleads us by having Naesala saying lout to himself that Reyson should be happy with his new life. As much as his deed is explained, it is no excuse. Tibarns threat to punish Naesala is never played out. Even Reyson just sulks a bit in chapter 19 when meeting Naesala. Naesalas escape and retreat of him and his soldiers is considered a good thing, but no one points out that he was joining with Daein, which was in war with Gallia at this time. Naesala was indirectely in war with Gallia and no ones cared! But Naesala gets away with everything and the other laguzkings and his fans forgive him. FE10 is giving him the ultimate ticket of innocence, that most of the other antagonists get as well: They are all tragically misunderstood and were led by the evil senators. At the end of the chapter they inform us about the past crimes of Begnion. They commited genocide and haven't even admitted it. I'm not bothered by the crime itself, but more so why they aren't admitting it and why they did it. What sort of image did the heroens had that the common folk suspected them of killing the apostle? The heroens don't appear to be devious creatures, compared to the ravens. They are the worst possible suspects and scapegoats. If the current apostle at that time was pro laguz, then there should have been some sort of education. And even if it was in the heat of the moment, the hunt seem to last for days. What sort of mob acts that way? And Begnion is supposed to be fairly civilized, yet they are act so inhuman and evil, that it is exaggerated and implausible. But just like with Naesala the answer why the common folk acted so evil is like always: It's not their fault, the evil senators made them do it. This is dumb and takes every potential that the characters, nations, politics and cultures in this game have. The whole set of antagonists are affected by this. Naesala? The senators blackmailed him. Sephiran? The senators angered him to the point of despair and madness by doing genocide. Ashera? Because of the senators she decides do deem everyone unworthy and attempts to destroy or recreate the world. Dheginsea? The senators proved him that Ashera is right. Ludveck? The senators may oppress Crimea, which is why it needs him as a king. Jarod? He only took orders from the senators and made him a scapegoat, he is just a honorable soldier. The Black Knight? The nobility of Begnion would have shunned him sooner or later, so he bitterly took the way of a soldier and swordsman with no other goal in life. Ashnard? The senators class system (it existed in Daein as well, as Daein was a former part of Begnion) was in the way of him obtaining power. Even within the senators there is Hetzel, who is portraid as not evil, but simply scared by the other senators. Almost every antagonist in the Tellius series refers to those faceless, onedimensional villains. At worst the game expects us to forgive them. I can give every antagonist some sort of ambivalence, portrait them as anti-villains or anti-heroes and I acknowledge that they have some valid points. But nothing of this sort can be done with the senators like Lekain and Numida. Whenever we are expected to sympatize with a character, the senators are called up and are made out to be the real reason for their bad aspects. Every character is inherently good, some are just corrupted by the senators. The perfidious of all this is, that the senators become scapegoats in the plot. Lekain is so evil and bad, he couldn't, isn't allowed to be anything else than something else. Many of my problems with the plot of the Tellius games like the white-black racism, the retconing and change of characters like Naesala and the Black Knight from evil to tragic characters, the reliance on plot devices like the blood pact or the medaillon, everything of it is traced back that the ultimate antagonists are so weakly and badly presented as some decadent old farts. And after this rant I finish this chapter which something entirely different. Devdan Here and there we get units that confuse everyone with their peculiar and weird behaviour. But at the same time they show some wisdom through their flippancy. Treck and Gregor come to mind. Despite some of his brighter moments Devdan is mostly there for the humour. He wants to cheer up Nephenee to integrate her in the army, but she is scared of him, so nothing comes out of it. He gives Tormod some trite nuggets of wisdom. He is making a fool out of Largo. Ike gets a platitude as well. He can't be a successfull commander if he is always stressfull. Not wrong, but obvious. In a game about racism the first black character in the series has thick lips, an afro-cut and is a clown with the tendency to act moronic and entertaining. He is also enslaved by a priviliged white man. It is either unintenionally ironic or it is intenionally cynical. Bonus points for Nephenee screaming and wanting to run away for him. But that's just me reading too much into things. The most obvious aspect of Devdan is his mannerism and not his appearance. Just saying that it wouldn't be hard to pull a Jynx or Mr. Popo on that. Not that anyone knew or cared about Fire Emblem those days.
  8. Chapter 15 Ike's next mission is to find the "bandits" that are responsible for stealing property of the senators. As it is revealed after the battle, those bandits are actually liberating laguz slaves. It's just the senatores that call them that way. Sanaki aims to abolish the slavery. That's why she is using Ike to get on the senatores. Her plan has a lot of holes. Elincias mercenaries have to do the work. This is unpractical and risky. It is much more simple to use servants of your own army. Units that you can trust. The foreign mercenaries aren't loyal to Begnion. The mercenaries aren't let in on the plan. Sanaki is letting Ike in the dark regarding her aims. He has to kill bandits in chapter 14 to get the enslaved laguz back. Those feral ones are dangerous. Ike wasn't informed of this specific danger. It's even worse in this chapter. Sanaki knows that the bandits aren't real bandits and sends Ike to then. Ike could have killed the laguz, the laguz could have killed Ike and Co, since Ike isn't prepared for that confrontation. Muarim or Tormod could have died, it wouldn't lead to a peaceful solution. This chapter end with Ike sparing Muarim. But what about all the other laguz? Were they all ignored and avoided in battle? This is possible in gameplay and rewards us even accordingly, but in the story Ike had to make them all unconscious. It's as stupid as Fargus test chapter 17x in FE7 or Ferax fighting with Chrome in chapter 3 Awakening or the eight chapter of Conquest. The plan only works, because coincidentally Olivers gets Reyson. This has nothing to do with Tormod and Muarim. The missions in chapter 14 and 15 were a waste of time, Ike just could have worked as an agent for chapter 16. Finally, the plan has no consequences. Begnion didn't change one bit in FE10. The racicsm is prominent, the senatores didn't changed. The things that changed weren't part of the plan: Tibarn and Reyson trust Sanaki after they rescued Leanne. But Sanaki couldn't expect to meet them. The plan wasn't about making peace with the laguz, rather than just rounding up all senatores. Despite of this, this chapter is unique. Desert chapters have typical restrictions regarding movement and offer hidden items. In this game, all the enemies are laguz, even in four different classes (unlike chapter 12). The victory condition is boss kill, but a "civil" playstyle nets BEXP. Stefan can be recruited. To fullfill his conditions is only managable if using the internet or a guide. He is a secret character. I'm used to this chapter, but going in there blind and without preparation make this chapter not a succesfull one. Stefan Until now the recruitment of units went by the books. Units are more or less obviously recruitable (Jill had to survive the chaptter beforehand). The starting level resembles the progress in the game, though there are some exceptions like the laguz or Astrid. Stefan's recruitment resembles his role as an enicmatic eccentric. We are just meeting him randomly and only laguz can recruit him. His level, base stats, weapon level and skills are above average. He serves as one of Ike's many mentors. If used against the swordmaster in chapter 19, he is stating his superiority, unlike Ike and Zihark, who seem to be more or less equal with that boss. Stefan has few supports, but both are revealing and explaining his state as a branded. Only he and Soren are talking about this in FE9 at all. He doesn't really have a character and is more defined as being a branded, special and shunned. He is probably the descendant of the beastking who fought Yune with Dheginsea, Altina and Lehran. It explains Stefan's strenght. For a blind player that stumbles of Stefan by chance, he could make an incredible impression. We don't get this nowadays, having free access to guides through the internet. Tormod Maybe I was missing something, but exactly why has Muarim raised Tormod? Why wasn't he raised by humans? That way, Tormod has something almost wildlike, as he lives in the desert with his laguz friends. Someone had to teach him magic, which is why he couldn't be completely shut off of human society. And I don't understand how a child like him is supposed to be the leader of the liberation army. All it does is making that army seem incompetent, since they listen to a child. I thought at first that it's just a joke and Muarim is the leader, but they never proved this. His supports are diverse. He is acting like a child in the ones with Sothe and Devan. Calill informs him about the lore of magic and spirit channeling. The latter is unique for Tellius and only Pelleas in FE10 is a known user. It is similar to dark magic in other games. it also gives it's user forbidden power, but can drain him, make the user obsessed and corrupted. With Reyon, Tormod discusses some of his goals, but the support isn't going anywhere. Muarim Muarim is the only known slave and this is his trademark. In his supports it is treated warily and considerate. Neither he as a deep scarred slave nor the proud soldier Lethe are becoming reckless. Instead, they try to understand each ones perspective, without being afraid to stand for they own views of life. In the support with Zihark, Zihark gets more of it. Muarim manages to penetrate him, since Zihark has a soft spot for laguz. Muarim is touching to Largo as well, which let's one forget how trivial the support is. And since I couldn't mention it elsewhere: One of the base conversation informs us about the Zunanma, an ancient race. It is only mentioned in FE10, but it shows that a lot of, if not the most of the plot in FE10 was already thought out in FE9.
  9. Chapter 14 This chapter sets the subplot in Begnion in motion. Begnion has issues with corruption and racism, It goes on for four chapters and escalates with the events in the Serenes Forest. Ike and his group are bored. Aren't they allowed to view the city? Aren't they in the largest metropole there is in Tellius? It seems comparable to Archadis or Coruscant. We get to know surprisingly little about this nation. The base conversations don't provide much information either. Anyways, Sanaki gives them a job. Ike doesn't complain. He reasons his readiness to compromize with helping Elincia and getting on Begnions good side. Their targets are slavedrivers. They introduce the feral ones, caught laguz which were drugged to become mindless monsters. They give us an excuse to fight laguz later on without having too much remorse. Th chapter also features fog of war for the second and last time. Fairly frugal for a FE game. And it offers a new recruit. Makalov The base conversation in the next chapter points out that his debts are paid and that he is now working for Ike. It's clear after that talk that Makalov is a no good and opportunist, who uses everyone. This is shown in every support, but he never succeeds, as it is played for laughs. Despite of his simple character he is a welcome relief, as he is one of the few characters in the series that don't serve the lord on they own will and for solidary reasons. Unlike professional mercenaries like Volke he doesn't even do it for profit, he would flee if he has the chance. I like scum like him that give the soldiers motivations more variation, rather than just have a one sided group of mindless minions that follow their lords every order. At the end of the chapter the scene of events is changed and we are shown the first meeting of all laguz kings for decades. One may expect new and exciting information, but for the most part they summarize the past event and decide to observe and wait. Laguz usually aren't tired of critizing the humans tendency to discuss and be diplomatic. Ironically the kings are doing exactly this. No one is acting, instead they point out the political consequences of each possible action and urge to be discreet and cautious. They do intrigue each by withholding information, though. Mainly the chapter serves to introduce all important laguz and it foreshadows some of the events in the following chapters. The wise Dheginsea (only in this game), who wants to prevent a war and the release of the dark god. The hot headed Tibarn and Reyson who are out of blood and revenge and the ambivalent Naesala. Each one of them has a slightly different approach of how to rule. Dheginsea and Caineghis are looking in the long term. Tibarn isn't shy of starting a war, but is honor bound and glory seeking. Unlike Naesala, who is the most pragmatic one and isn't shy of cooperating with the humans. Though the kings are much more shown in FE10 than in this game. And yes, this chapter is my low point of my analysis. It gets better in chapter 16 or 17.
  10. Chapter 13 The group has reached Begnion. But before Elincia is able to seek an audience, there is another sea battle, because something has to happen. The reasons are flimsy: Apostel Sanaki hid herself on board and sets seal without her guardians. She is risking her life for nothing. The game could have easily ended here, as not only Daein soldiers, but Naesala and Tibarn as well are there more or less randomly. Tibarn isn't attacking them for honors sake, supposedly, though he is known for plundering the ships for revenge . Naesala is a bit too greedy for his own good and the Daein Captain isnt' willing to pay him. Surely I'm finical, criticizing every convenient plot point. After all, Ike has to have some adventures, it is the best way to face new enemies and threats. Making this through contrived circumstances is easy and effective. Still, most parts of the story you can plan, since it is mostly about war and battles. They are usually not happening by accident. Instead, one part plans to attack someone in advance. The Daein soldier following Ike's ship is fine, them getting the wrong ship through Naesalas misleading to introduce us Begnion is less plausible. The second to last defense chapter pulls out all stops. The own units, two new units and a certain area have to be protected, but the treasure lures to act aggressively. Flying thieves prevent this from being a simple task of blocking three chokepoints. Regarding the two units, we get Gatrie and... Astrid There are alway some noble ladies that join the army in Fire Emblem. Usually they get contrasted with the common, poor and uncivilized folk. Astrid stands out with her naive ways as well. She strives to leave her protected and privileged life to be a soldier. I'm wondering why she isn't simply able to join the Begnion army, like the Pegasus Knights division. But the support with Tanith that may explain this was cut. The one with Osar was cut as well, though he would have provided to be a more reasonable mentor than Gatrie. Even though Makalov is mostly a joke character, the support works, because Astrid doesn't have a healthy views of life either. She is too naive and romanticized. Considering her upbringing and dreary fate, it is reasonable that she wants to escape the reality and wants to be mercenary eloping with a thug. Just like in Lady and the Tramp. Only at the end of the chapter we see the audience. Elincia and Ike have to fight with the eccentrics of Begnion. Communicating with the Holy Guard worked, as they are used to military tone. But Sanaki and her lapdogs are all about etiquette. I'm not blaming Sanak, as she is a puppet leader on purpose and accordingly raised and used by the senators and Sephiran. The burden and responsibility of the crown would make every child mad. The senators have to few facets to be more than one-dimensional obviously corrupt villains. Considering that they are the main antagonists respectively responsible for the main antagonists becoming evil, it is even more disappointing. Their motives could have been made more reasonable and fleshed out. They are responsible for managing the country and have to protect it from laguz, who are notorius for being wild and dangerous. Considering that Daein spawned a mad, fanatical warmonger, they could be the voice of reason as well. But clericalism, expansion, colonisation and nationalism is simply evil and decadent. The good ones are the tolerable primitive people who live in harmony. Those who critize Ike like to point out the scene, in which he critizises Sanakis arrogance and vanity. He is only avoiding his excecution because of his naivety and sincerity. All too often his words and deeds are always right and what seems to be character flaw is just another noble point of him in the end. He is too good for the world. Almost all character like him and his critics and those who are wary of him are usually antagonists. He is a typical FE-antagonist and they keep getting more righteous and perfect with ever game to the point of being insufferable. Still, it is moderate with Ike. He would be good with a few more mistakes and poor choices, but he has to earn his victories through blood and sweat. And he is only able to do so by using his large inventar of allies, advisers and mentors.
  11. Chapter 12 While sea traveling to Begnion, two months pass by. The main plot with Daein is interrupted for a while. The game dedicates themself to something, that is filler in the worst case. Filler can ruin a series or a game, if the presented content doesn't match up with the main plot. Hopefully it enriches and complements the main story. As the sequel was partly planned during the developement of FE10, the mid game here plays in the main setting of FE10, Begnion. But the other laguz nations are tackled as well. Nasir gets shipwrecked and it is implicated that the raven pirates draw them to the coast on purpose. They want to plunder, which makes them the first and mainly only clearly antagonistic laguz with evil intentions. It gets white washed in FE10 a lot. It is a bit too much for the ravens to be the sole represents of all evil laguz. They aren't even the highlight of this chapter, as later on the dragon folk appears. They refuse to help the stranded humans and leave them to die. Nasir and Soren are missing, strangely. Thankfully, prince Kurth isn't as archaic and strict as the other ones and more open to the outside world. His subordinates take the ship to the sea. And that's it. The chapter focuses on our new character Nasir. He doesn't make a secret out of his laguz inheritance, though he doesn't mention being a dragon. He serves as an advicer for a large portion of the game. The base conversations with Volke, Zihark and Ilyana don't give new information. Instead, we get Soren and later on Jill recruits herself. At least something I can write about. Sothe Young thieves are common in FE, but Soren appears fairly late in comparison. He never can become good either, just his lack of a promotion proves this. But it is all on purpose. Sothe is presented as dead weight, just to surprise everyone in FE 10 with his experience and strenght that comes with being a fully trained Jeigan. It's effective there, but it makes him superfluous in FE9. He is searching "someone", but this character has no role in this game and won't be revealed. Maybe Micaiah and her character and being the true heir of the apostle wasn't even thought out yet and they just gave Sothe someone to search. Cut supports with Haar, Volke and Janaff could have give him more, but he is just the young thief with a poor background. There isn't much going on about his relationship with Tormod either, Sothe is too withdrawn. Aside from his thieving utility ( a second thief helps in chapter 13 and 15, in chapter 16 he is even more useful than Volke due to being able to recruit Devdan), his best usage is in his support with Astrid. He doesn't do much, but draws out her slightly polished backstory and motivation. Jill One of the few characters, who grow and change throughout the game. She is presented as an unsymphatical, fanatic and glory seeking soldier, young and naive. By meeting and traveling with Ike and the laguz her world view is shattered. Her journey goes full circle by reaching Daein as a changed woman. The fairly high number of base conversations and her two supports deal with this extensively and aren't sparing her. As reckless and brutal Jill hunts the mercenaries, as intensively the truths and atrocities are revealed towards her. She hears the suffering of the laguz, the negative part the humans played in it. She realizes being indoctrinated and lied to by her father and nation. She questions her calling as a soldier, a daughter, a servant of Daein and ultimativley decides to fight her once allies. She is confronted with this permanently, through soldiers, civilists or her father. Even her king can reveal his indifference for his people and everything Jill judged worthy. The game isn't giving her room to breathe and gives her more attention and screen time than most other units, making her one of the more famous and authentic character of this game. Not everything goes smoothly, though. Her recruitment is contrived. She follows Ike's ship for a while with the aim to kill the whole crew. Is she sane? By her confrontation, she joins them to fight the laguz, but there are laguz with Ike as well. And she is supposed to be a fanatical loyal soldier, but she is disobeying an order of her commandor. This questions her integrity in the military, but her person as well. Haar is the trusted friend of her father as well. In short, her recruitment and reason to stay is contrived. Her support with Haar shows their familarity and role in FE10. They becoming a couple comes out of nowhere. There are a number of parings like this like Fee/Oifaye, Miranda/Conomore or Serra/Oswin. Commenting on this seems a waste. The support with Mist is straightforward and emphasizes her bond with the mercenaries the most. This support can prevent Jill later on to be "re-recruited", which is neat by the way. The support with Lethe is one of the more iconic one. In it, Jill's tentative willingness to overcome her racism is shown in levels. And while Lethe isn't shy showing hate and resentment, she starts to understand and accept Jill. Maybe one of the best supports in the series, because it not only describes and explains a character, but exemplifying her growth and maturing process as well.
  12. Chapter 11 Place of action is a port town. Daein is only here, because they are searching for the group that broke in the prison camp in the last chapter. It proves that this side trip truly was a waste of time. At least they got saved by the very person they saved there, so it evens out. It only comes to a battle, because the villager tell the soldier about the laguz. Their motives are appreciable shown in this chapter and are worth discussing. Even at the beginning Soren is pondering about the civilists behaviour in times of war and how their distress removes their virtues and is revealing their selfishness. The cynism it too much for everyone, but there lies some truth in it. How responsible has the common folk to be towards the nobility? While the king is supposed to protect his nation, he is only doing it with dues and taxes. It's not far off from exploitation. How competent were the regents of Crimea anyhow? And how much of a difference does it make, if the regime falls and is replaced by a new one? It can improve the life conditions, if we look at the expansions and colonisations of the roman empire. Maybe a united and prepared Crimea could have drive off Daein. But the way it happened, being cooperative for the moment and giving up is more reasonble than resisting against a military superiority. In that case they get the blame later, that they betrayed their country and were opportune. All of this shows the injustice and inexplicability about war. There isn't an obvious right and obvious wrong decision. Sadly, in this case the moral greyness is ignored and the greed, racism and cowardice of the villagers is prioritized. Rather than ignoring the laguz, they call out the Daein soldiers to ingratiate themselves and expecting a reward. They get one: Forced labour. A bit of a shame that the conflict ended black and white. I found the apathy of the villagers towards their ruler not unfounded. But Fire Emblem loves the triumph of good. Nephenee and Brom are commoners as well and don't care about the intrigues of the nobility, but they recognize them and know, that they protect them. They reason their duty to fight for them and themselves. The base conversations help to highlight the racism and mentality of the villagers. The scene with Ranulf being attacked is one of the more iconic one, since it is one of the few times where racism and violence is openly and physically displayed. Otherwise it is just hear say or insults. The chapter is already dealing with enough themes, but goes beyond that and gives the Daein army some faces and humanity. Jill and Haar are introduced, which becomes important in the next chapter. The commander Mackoya is more civil and savvy then the other ones we fought. He distrusts Nasir for good reason and tries to interrogate Ike in their battle conversation. He is giving plausible reasons, why his men aren't prepared for battle and why he is refusing to let someone specific entering the battle. The Black Knight We are used to incompetent enemy commanders and now we experience the first and most successful attempt of the FE series to integrate a felicitous antagonist over the course of the whole game. The right hand of the main villain, as much as Ike is the right hand of Elincia. He gets the focus, representing not only Daein, but is acting on his own, we know as much about his true motives and loyality as we know his identity. And Ike doesn't care about someones political attitude. He wants to fight the Black Knight not only because he is part of Daein, but for personal revenge. Very few conflicts of the lords of the series are personal. Even Alvis was more interested about rising to power than stealing his rivals wife (this happened sort of accidentally on Alvis part). The Black Knight appears soon in the game, snatches our security net, disperses the mercenaries and makes a appearance in this chapter to hunt us. It's not a new concept by any means, Gharnef did it, as did Hardin, Julius or Galzus, but the Black Knight gives more attention for killing Greil on screen and displaying his power against Ranulf. His stats that lead every try to battle him to a game over convey the fear veryone has in the plot. None of his actions are a mistake or incompetence, every one of his action has a deeper meaning that we aren't even able to understand yet, that's how much he is beyond the reach of Ike and us. The more satisfiying his defeat can be, which isn't even guaranted and a challenge on his own (sadly more of a lucky game). The Black Knight is by no means a great villain beyond the FE series, few outside of the series know or are impressed by him. But within the series he sticks out lonely, more iconic and presented than any other antagonist. I made an essay once about successful villains. Not translating everything, but I carved out 4 factors. The Black Knight fullfills 2 of 4 points, threat and dominance. Not bad at all. Overall, this chapter is one of the best in FE9, as it offers many side missions and obstacles, time pressure and many different enemies in a well created map with many choke points, but some space in some places as well. The enemies have a wide variety of classes. Soldiers and knights, wyvern riders, cavaliers, mercenaries, thieves, mages and healers. Not harming the vigilantes, recruting Zihark, visiting three houses (not with laguz!), beating the boss, arriving at the protected space, escaping from the Black Knight, being out of Jills reach, getting full BEXP, stealing staves (and even the boss laguzslayer). The best FE chapters are defined by such a variety of goals and side missions and the different approaches. Which way? Breaking through and fleeing as fast as possible or letting the enemies come to your units? Splitting the group being united? Leaving everthing to Titania and the laguz or training the new ones and average units? And finally, because I couldn't include him elsewhere: Zihark He is less edgy than other myrmidons, much more nicer and at best only slightly guarded. Maybe he was always an odd one that couldn't associate with his environment. He sees through Ilyana instanteniously and not everything went smooth when forging a friendship with Brom. Maybe he saw a resort or alternative in the way of life of the laguz, which is why he got in a relationship with one. The cut support with Ike might have shown more, regardless, Zihark keeps being an under-developed, withdrawn, but clever and thoughtful character with the melodrama of loving a laguz.
  13. Chapter 10 For the period of five chapters, Ike and Co. fled from Daein. They are finally safe. Caineghis is offering asylum and gives a valid reason for why he can't help Crimea. The Crimean people wouldn't appreciate the support of laguz, as it will be shown in chapter 11. Begnion may join Daein to fight Gallia. The politicial aspects of this crisis and the frail state of Tellius are emphazised. Every move has consequences and so does the actual move: Elincia will ask Begnion for reinforcements. This will work, but there is payback in FE10: Crimea is in Begnions debt and Begnion is occupying Daein. By fighting a tyrant, we have created a new, even more dangerous one. Ike decides against living a peaceful life. The Black Knight serves as a personal motivator, but saving his homeland through a risky move is more appealing to him than giving up, too. The chapter starts now. We get to see the world map to see the difficult routing. The true antagonists of Tellius are the mountains. They isolate each country and there are very few roads to travel. Daein just needs to block a small part of the country and there is no way out.Ranulf gives them gold and the two soldiers Lethe and Mordecai. Ranulf serves for the exposition, but I find him too nice and unpretentious. Lethe She and Mordecai show us most of the laguz and their way of life. Mordecai acts intermediate and optimistical, but Lethe questions everything with her aggressive behaviour. She isn't short of criticsm and arguments, though she is less open to counter arguments, unlike Mordecai. She give us more information about the laguz, their history of enslavement, resentment and animosity. Sadly, her deeper aspects aren showing as much as with Mordecai. Her catgirl image and tsundere traits make her appear less seriously. Often when she is showing signs of overcoming her racism by mumbling some under handed praise, it has less to do with character growth, rather than just being a tsundere. I found the information she gives us more interesting than her character. After all those preparations, we start the journey and are stoping by... a prison/ labor-camp? Chapter 10 resembles the typical gaiden chapters in FE5 and FE7. There is no real reason the be here (rescuing prisoners, really?). Coincidentally, this random visit is of most importance for the plot, as no one else is sitting in a cell than the mastermind of both games, Sephiran. Where else could he have been? Sephiran Mayby the writers found it clever to introduce Sephiran this soon in the game with an omnious appearance? I'm clapping sarcastically now. But he is reserved and not doing as much as later in FE10. The Black Knight is doing all the work, Sephiran remains passive. It may make sense that Sephiran travels Crimea to spy or something, but Ike meeting him by chance is contrived. In the next chapter, he saves Ike. Perhaps because he expects that Ike and Elincia can hasten the war, I don't know. As dull and little he appears in FE9, on paper his intrigues are an welcome change to the otherwise straight-forward Gharnef archetyp. Gharnef's usually act less subtle. Sephiran isn't obviously mad and evil. He appears as a benevolent naive ruler, who is overestimated by the good ones and underestimated by the evil ones. He tries to save his people of the conflicts he created in secret. Palpatine in the Star Wars prequels had a similar carrier, though an experienced actor is much more charismatic than Sephiran and his bishounen look. Anyways, Ike and Co. think about an alternative way to rescue the prisoners, stealth. Though the victory condition is fleeing, it isn't their goal in the plot. They located this place after all to rescue prisoners. It is the goal of this chapter, even though it is possible to ignore them. It an unique chapter with a creative gimmick. The implementation isn't great, though. There are only a few number of turns when it's possible to slip through the guards. It is even more troublesome on Maniac. Stealth-BEXP, full turn limit BEXP and recruting all units isn't possible. One has to compromize somewhere. At least there are alternatives, like just fighting. To help with opening the cells and chest, Volke appears and is offering his help. At least he has a reason for being here. Volke It isn't explained how he found Ike, but he has the excuse of being a top assassin. He also spied on Greil for 10 years, which seems unrealistically. He states that he is searching for Greil. In truth, he is there to tell Ike about his fathers secret. It is a bit long-winded that Greil was trusting a middleman with this task, rather than just telling Ike directly, but the plot isn't allowed to be resolved this quickly. Greil has the excuse of being hunted. And since he ordered Volke to kill him if things went down, then he may just ask him to care for Ike at the same time. The 50.000 gold are just some sort of test thought out by Volke. They reveal how Volke is a greedy bastard, but he can afford this audacity, since he is a professional. Or one is on Titania's side and condemns him rightfully so. His support with Bastian isn't really a support at all, more like a teaser for FE10. Three other supports had been cut. They include Sothe (maybe some master-pupil relationship or a discussion about being thieves?), Tanith (the benefits and problems regarding the usage of spies?) and Mist (I doubt she can reach him). They could have given him more depth, but what we see of him is enough. The decision to accept Volkes help or not is an intriguing concept. We can even ask for advice and both Titania and Soren make valid points. But it isn't executed well. Refusing his help doesn't give any alternative reward. Western RPG's are more experienced with some sort of aligntment system, in which the heroes do good/lawful or evil/chaotic decisions and unlock other paths and endings. Refusing Volke and getting a reward (like the boots) and an alternative scene later on would be more rewarding for the experimental player. Instead, they just lose an useful unit and get nothing in return. At least it is implemented properly, because we have to decide twice. Once for the specific task of opening doors and chests in this chapter and then again to have him for the rest of the game. It is striking that we can refuse both thieves in the game for different moral reasons, but it is a shame that there is no other reward, making it a one-sided affair. It gets even worse later on: Do we want Reyson and two other units or one worthless healing skill? After the chapter is completet, Ike speaks with Sephiran. Kieran serves Elincia once again and Brom and Nephenee fight for their homeland. How to be loyal to your homeland is something that is discussed in the next chapter. Kieran As the red cavalier he is the loud and boisterous part to contrast the cool Oscar. But instead of pointing out the knights virtues like loyality and bravery, they exaggerate Kieran and make him a howling, overly eagerly dramatic buffoon. He is annoying in every one of his three supports and usually his counterpart is just complementing a very banal trait of Kieran. It is made out to be important, but it only seems so because Kieran is incompetent otherwise. I found Geoffrey to be much more exemplary for a knight with some temper and fiery, but we are coming too him much later. Nephenee Another unit that is more remarkable through her desing and class, rather than her character. Her support with Brom is touchingly and a nice talk of two countrymen and their perspective of the war. Otherwie, Nephenee depends too much off her gimmick being a shy country girl. It is more obvious in her other supports, where Devdan and Calill are doing most of the talking. With Calill she is upholding the tradition of having a commoner being teached by a proper lady of etiquette. At the end it is revealed that it's less about the social background, rather than self-confidence. Maybe the cut support with Elincia would have improved Nephenee's character? Brom The older FE-games weren't shy of having older units in the army. They can share their wisdom and experience with the younger ones in the supports. But quit often the older ones were defined by their trait of being old, so it is highlighted how old and out of touch they are with the present and the younger generation. Despite having some humble moments a a family father, he is some sort tof a joke character, who is is little too doltish and cries over every little thing. The cut support with Geoffrey intrigues me, but maybe it would just end like the one with Zihark, which is fine, but nothing special either.
  14. The detail about Marcias loalization can be read here: https://kantopia.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/fe9-path-of-radiance-localization-marcias-colorful-language-jpn-vs-eng/ I can't edit my post, strangely.
  15. Chapter 9 At the start of each chapter Ike gets the report of his strategist. It underlines his role as a commander. The information isn't useful, but it let the mercenaries seem more involved in the war. Ike's reaction to fallen unit's is especially authentic. More base conversations with Soren, Mist, Oscar, Mia and Mordecai solidify the mercenaries comradeship. Oscar's conversation leds Ike to studying the fighting style of knights. At the start of the chapter, he decides to fight, rather than fleeing, because he calculated a win. Maybe his judgement resulted of his lessons with Oscar. I go into his talk with Mordecai later, is is worth talking about in more detail. Racism Before arriving to the palace in Gallia, the Daein army is on the move once again. Only three chapters in FE9 are on laguz ground (it is unclear with chapter 12). And in all three of them, Daein is the enemy. The main events aren't playing in laguz nations (for most Crimea, Begnion and Daein) and the laguz are usually not the threat or antagonists. With the exception of chapter 15, which is a misunderstanding, it's only the ravens in 12, 13 and 18. And they become neutral anyways. I'm missing some benevolent, mad, war-hungry or decadent greedy counterparts to Ashnard and the senators on the laguz side. They can refer to the right of the strong and kill or slave the inferior humans. As for the main reason for the racism, the game refers to the otherness of laguz: They are wild, animal-like, untamed and uncivilized. Living together seems impossible. On the other side, they are no less civilized and cultured in their human form than the humans. I'm not convinced of this racism because of this discontinuity. Sometimes the laguz are different and slaves to their instincst. Distinguishing them from humans (=being racist) is most appropiate and reasonable. But sometimes they behave exactly like humans, which suggest that racism is wrong and unjust. Another problem that doesn't let us neither distinguish between laguz and humans, nor equalize them with us, is how the laguz are created. They are not so much an original and unique species, but superhumans with extra abilites. The human creature serves as a basis, they merely have specific animal-like quirks and some other advantages like slower ageing. If they intercourse with humans, they lose most of their abilities and are more or less demoted to humans. On the other hand, humans don't lose their abilities. I wonder if they absorb some of the laguz power and get stronger. This may explain Ashnards and Altinas power. It is mentioned that laguz slaved humans as well, but they never get more deep into it. It would add to push the laguz aside from their role as victims. Overall, they appear to me like superhumans. They have every reason to oppress humans, to controll, kill or slave them. We do the same with animals, which we regard as lesser beings. I suspect that my main reason is why I consider the racism for well meant, but implemented poorly, that our definition of racism contradicts with the one in this game. Racism is all about the interacting with other people. We are all equal and are just different by ethnical factors. But laguz are fantasy creatures, humanlike beings with unnatural abilities. We can't be racist towards them, because they are a different species and not part of our race to begin with. It's even more contradicting, when the game constantly give us the message, that both races have to be threated equaly. Presumably, the laguz were integrated in the game and the plot, to differ from the classical story of the fallen good kingdom and the evil empire. They strengthened the role of the mystical creatures. After all, laguz are just more multifarious variants of Manaket's. Finaly, marketing could habe been a factor as well. Nowadays, we are familiar with furrys. Over 10 years ago, we weren't infected with catgirls and wolfmen. Well, we already were, it's just that Fire Emblem decided to go along with this trend to sell itself more. The battle in this chapter is mainly used to introduce a bunch of units. Lethe and Mordecai are becoming more team-minded and are willing to act as allies. It is a new status that is between a fully controllable unit and a NPC. Mist and Rolf join the fight too. Marcia can be recruited soon. Two villages have civil laguz. And not only the Daein soldiers, but pirates as well enter the battle field to hinder the side-mission of visiting the villages. After the chapter, the plot continues with the meeting of Caineghis. I'm dealing with him the next chapter. For now, I'm writing about the other characters in this chapter, starting with the less important ones. The pirates are just there to make the side-mission more difficult. The boss even has an unique portrait, but is too goofy to take seriously. One of the two laguz that can be visited in their houses is cooperativ and informs us about the weakness of beast laguz, fire. The other NPC is overly scarred and hostile. It's is written badly and makes us recall that FE9 only has in some places superior writing. In many aspects it is as stupid and weak as every other FE-game. As I mentioned, Ike deems the Daein soldiers as defeatable and fights them rather than fleeing. The boss conversation underlines this. Ike refers to their arrogance and ill preparedness. It is remarkable that the game tries to estimate the chances of success and increases them every time Ikes army grows larger and larger. Chapter 11 gives us another view in the army of Daein and another reason, why they lose against Ike's mercenaries. Marcia Her way of speaking is outstanding. It likely doesn't have anything to do with the original lines in japanese and a matter of localization. The Kantopia-Blog shows that Marcia spoke much more plainly and maybe the localization tried to spice her up, since she is a bland character otherwise. I question why a soldier and knight speaks that loose. Marcia gets a side-plot about her searching and finding her brother. It is straightforward and has no twist. She is dealing in two of her four support conversations with stupid hotheads, which is why there isn't much going on in them. Her support with Tanith shows her past, but it is pretty straight forward as well. FE10 sort of retcons the ending, as she joins the Crimea knights, rather than the ones in Begnion. Finally, she has a support with... Rolf Rolf is the tagalong kid in the group. His role is weakened by the fact that Mist already fullfills that role. He is a kid in his supports as well, that wants to prove himself before his support partners. This doesn't improve him, but the others: By having them deal with a kid, they are forced to behave mature and wisely. It brings the best out of Shinon and Marcia. Tauroneo opens up to Rolf and reveals his past and troubles with his quarreling family. Just like in Home Alone. Mordecai If I had to say something negative, it would be that the archetyp of the gentle giant is overdone and doesn't touch us anymore. But Mordecai is more than the contrast of his fearfull wild appearance with his gentle meekness. For an unciviled laguz he is extraordinary reflective and self-critical. His conversation with Ike about the importance of language to communicate with strangers is revealing. He reminds me of uneducated people that have a poor social background. They suffer from it and get to know the power of language, art and science through a dramatic event. They become aware of their own limited world view, are embarrassed and try to get access to eveything new through education and curiosity. All to become an enlightened human. That such a laguz was chosen to serve as a diplomat between his king and Ike, is as effective as it is him contrasting with Lethe. She represents the view of the laguz directly, open, judgmental and radical. He is restrained, considering, acknowledging and respecatble to other view points and more suggesting than dictating. In his supports his restrained nature is almost a shame. Ranulf points out that he is no warrior by heart, with Ulki and Ilyana it's all about the humor. He and Mist are dealing with fear of contact as a subject. It is indicative that the seemingly big Mordecai was scared of scarring Mist. The support with Stefan give us more lore and it anticipates one of the themes of that game. The duality between order and chaos: Overall, Mordecai is that laguz who refers to the differences between the races the most frequently. He is making valid points and asks decisive questions. All of this makes him the best characterized laguz in the game. Maybe with Naesala or Lehran there is more to discuss, but Mordecai has presence.
  16. I found it weird as well, that Ike is spending 17 years of his life without knowing about the laguz. Greil had to shelter him extremely. Ike likely never left their home and was just around the forest and some villages. Of course, this is used to let the player inform about the world.
  17. Chapter 8 The plot continues with Greils death or rather with the mourning of his mercenaries. It is another opportunity to get in touch with the other members. I was surprised by Boyd, since I'm used of him being an oaf. Instead he is showing his anger towards Shinon and Gatrie. He explains then to Ike why he keeps following him and even accepts him as the leader. Shinon only left after the succession was finished. Maybe this isn't a decision, but an inheritance. He wouldn't have a chance to voice his doubts. But maybe Shinon is just using his jealousness of Ike as an excuse. He has many reasons to leave them. He hates Gallia and doesn't trust the laguz. He doesn't want to make himself an enemy of Daein. Elincia isn't able to pay them. Gatrie has as much reasons as he has a well developed character. Maybe he doesn't trust Ike yet. His faithfullness to Shinon may be a deciding factor, but they are splitting up later anyways. While I don't miss his character, his lack of presence is noticable in the gameplay. The next map is a defense map. Three spots have to be proctected and Gatrie would be quite valuable. The chapter succeeds showing us that Shinon and Gatries absence is weakening the group a lot. But there are good news as well. The title isn't called Despair and Hope for nothing. The former may refer to the forlornness of the group, since Greil is dead, Shinon and Gatrie left and Daein is besieging their fort. The latter may refer to the laguz that come to the rescue and grant them asylum. Or that Ike is the new leader. Or it means that he is now able to use best feature of Path of Radiance. The base. Base The base isn't an entirely new feature. There was always some sort of preparation menu to let your unit swap their items. The games added new elements with each title. We could visit weapon and item shops or store and sort items. FE4 used castles which can be visited. They include the itemshop, the church to promote, the arena and the fortune-teller (to rate the love points). Other features like the tactic rankings or predictions were introduced and disappeared. The base in FE9 includes the merchants, who join the mercenaries. The item and weapon merchants resemble the past merchants (though the female one has a couple of humorous scenes with Ike and Soren). A new addition are the twins. I don't get the point of having them. One is responsible for selling items, but every merchant was able to sell your items. The other one makes forges, but I find it more believable if the weapon merchant Guston does it. He looks more like a rough, tough smith than the lean, thin twin. I guess the merchant group would be too small, so they added them. Skills have their comeback from the jugdrall games. Skills are more of a gameplay thing, but they can characterize our units as well. Tempest and Clarity mirror their temper. Provoke and Shadow indicate their appearancce. Elite refers to a noble heritage. Insight and Viligance refer to specific characteristics. Stefan has his master skill already unlocked, which underlines his experience and inhuman skills. Bonus experience is shared here. As much as I appreciate them as being a reward, I question the usage of it, as every unit can gain as much levels as possible. There isn't a hint of a story reason for this. Even with stat boosters we have the explanation that they enforce it's user, which (sometimes) makes sense. Supports are unlocked here, rather than in the battle. This takes the location of support conservation to a more suitable place. People are rather talking here than on the battle field in the heat of the battle. Some past support conservations were just silly in that regard, like Neimi and Amelia having a picknic. But other FE games have this stuff as well, so why the excitement? Because of the final option, the base conversations. Being different from support conversations, they give life in the multifaceted ways to the world of FE9. Ike confronts old and new allies, civilists, soldiers, merchants, servants, new recruts, mercenaries, humans, laguz, discusses with them their daily routine, regardless if it is in the base, in the country, in town or in some specific nation. The base can be in a palast, a fortress, a ship, a tent. Topics can be current threats or something peculiar of the following chapter or they can be a matter of ethnic, culture or politics. Sometimes they offer rewards through new units, weapons, items or skills. All of this shapes the world of Tellius and conveys us the consequences of battles and war, since they are shown directly and from more than one perspective. The perspective can be of a culprit, a victim, one who makes decisions, one who follows then. The heroes journey, that changes Ike and his group and let's them grow is expanded through them and is more comprehensible. Later games have a base, but the conversations don't refer to a specific chapter. Instead they are generic and have the problem that they are not allowed to refer to actual or future plot points. So like the support conservations, they have to be trivial. If I could give every Fire Emblem game just one feature, it would be the base conversations of FE9. The actual chapter is straightforward and leaves little for discussion. The reinforements are used quite cleverly. They show that the mercenaries are overwhelmed. They even appear at the end of last turn, when they are not possible to fight. The mercenaries are cornered, as they are weakend from fleeing the whole time. They are also three members short and Ike is new with being the commander. Once again, the laguz save them. Then a confusing scene follows, that I disregard as a waste of time. Lethe is a bit too hostile to the mercenaries she is supposed to help. This invokes Soren to provoke them, which gives Mordecai the idea to kill him. Ike barely manages to save the day. Sorens insult is uncalled for. It contradicts his character as a withdrawn, objective and cool-heaed strategist. The laguz saved his group twice. Maybe they want to give us a hint that he feels discriminated by the laguz (being branded). He calls out Lethe hypocrisy. But provoking his rescuers and insulting them is stupid. Mordecais attempt to kill Soren is contrary to his character as well. He is the idealistic one, compared to Lethe and all about settling the bad relationship with human and laguz (unlike Lethe). Not only is he gentle and only fight if he needs to, he is ordered by his king save the mercenaries. Ike explains Sorens outburst by being tired and frustrated. I don't get why they have to make such a dramatic near death conflict out of this. Maybe the chapter would be too boring or they want to point out that humans and laguz aren't on good terms. Thankfully, my discussion partner called me out on it and gave plenty of input. Ilyana She has a similar role like Mia had in the last chapter. They aren't important characters, they make some remarks (Mia informs Ike about his fathers whereabouts, Ilyana tells Ike of the reinforcements) and they are part of some group (Mia goes with the mercenaries, Ilyana is part of the merchant group). And Ilyana is a character that is defined by a gimmick as well. Contrary to her frail appearance she is insatiable and always hungry. There is never an explanation or resolution for this. It is just there to make the reactions of her support partners hilarious. I only like the support with Zihark, if only because he seems the only one to call her out of her scheme. He is rasing the question, how dependant Ilyana truly is and how much of her sickness is just an act to egotistically exploit her allies. But since her illness is never explained and just there to be humorous, nothing comes out of it. At least she has a melancholic grace and that's usually all that matters to get a bunch of fans.
  18. Since you mention Ziharks epilogue now: The way he phrases this doesn't say that he is a citizen of Daein. Yet he is in FE10. I suspect that this is a retcon. Maybe it's different in the japanese version.
  19. Gawain fled Daein and had token a new identity. It is understandable that she doesn't know him. Zelgius obviously knows his face. I also suspect that Mia's search for Lucia was a sidestory that would have gotten it's conclusion late in the game or in FE10. As the list shows, she is missing supports with Marcia and Nephenee as well. So much was cut.
  20. Chapter 7 In this chapter the meeting of many different people is crucial. Now, this is painfully obvious, every plot is based of this premise. The issue I have with the characters clashing together is that they met together at the same time without intervals and agreements. I start with the fight between the mercenaries and the Daein soldiers. Ike and Co. are in front of a fortress and decide to go on, rather than waiting or searching for Greil. The rest of the chapter wouldn't happen, but in the next moment they inevitable do search for Greil and risk getting caught by Daein soldiers. Titania sees a shadow and the group enters the fortress. They get cornered immediately and the battle begins. They can't avoid the battle, which is even weirder by how it is shown: Ike and Co. stand at the exit first, then two soldiers push them in the corner. They start the battle from this point. Eventually Greil enters. He scolds Ike, even though it was Titanias fault. He is challenging Petrine to a duel elsewhere, because they can't enjoy themself in a crowded place. I fail to see how this room is cramped. There is enough space where Petrine is and the soldiers can just get out of the way. Regardless, Petrine goes along with it, we can't have them both here in this room. After the fight, Ike and Co. join Greil. Titania is already with him, I don't recall seeing her going ahead. Petrine ends the duel and calls her soldiers. Those soldiers enter from all four entrances. Were they there the whole time? How couldn't Ike saw them on his way to Greil? But this isn't the only army with good timing. The laguz forces enter just now. They meowl a bit and all enemy units move, with the exception of Petrines unit. But she leaves the battle field as well, because just at this moment the Black Knigt enters. He stares at Greil which is all it takes to let Greil know that they duel later in the forest. Or something like that. It is never specified, how Greil and the Black Knight found each other later on. Greil only recognizes him over the course of the duel, so it's not like he could know it now. After the duel the Black Knight escapes just before killing or hurting Ike. Because just in the nick of time Caineghis is approaching them. Of all those amateurs, he is the one truly master of timing. He enters late enough to let Greil be killed, but soon enough to save Ike and not let us know what the medaillon truly is. His timing is so legendary, even his underlings use it and show up in the next chapter just in the nick of time as well. My finickiness doesn't diminish the quality of this chapter. It is very good, it's just that too much happens at once and the string of events is too convenient. The group has to have a skirmish, Greil and Petrine have to duel themselves, the laguz have to be introduced and Greil has to have his fatal duel with the Black Knight. And of course we cant have Ike being killed, so someone like Caineghis has to be there as well (just not before Greil dies). A lot of characters are introduced and they have a more or less huge impact on the story. Mia Being a mercenary, she is being placed in this chapter fairly neatly. The situation is chaotic and hectic, but she manages to inform Ike about his father and her decision to join him within a few lines, which fits her temper. FE10 tells us that she is the only one staying with the mercenaries. Sadly, this game doesn't point this out. We are getting fewer briefings from now on and instead we are proceeding as usual: New units introduce themselves with a few lines and maybe get one or two scenes, otherwise they are quite and only talk in supports. All the mercenaries mourn the death of Greil in the next chapter in their own special ways, but Mia is nowhere to be seen and doesn't say anything. After all, we can't assume she recruited and lived, if we are using the standard FE logic. Her last resort are her supports, but this just gives me the first opportunity to adress one of FE9s issue: It's an unfinished game. Let's compare the the number of supports of the first 16 units. Ike: 7 Titania: 4 Oscar: 4 Boyd: 4 Rhys: 5 Shinon: 3 Gatrie: 4 Soren: 2 Mia: 3 Ilyana: 5 Marcia: 4 Mist: 5 Rolf: 5 Lethe: 4 Mordecai: 5 Volke: 1 Volke, Soren and Shinon have only 1-3 conversations. They have the excuse being unsocial. All the others have 4-5 (Ike has 7). Mia only has 3, even though she is open-minded and social. And only two of her supports include characters that arrive early in the game. Until chapter 26, Mia only has 2 support partners. Mia already lacks in support in quantity. And her actual support only show her one-dimensional character with her gimmick to train and compete with everyone else. I can't call her support with Rhys anything else than stupid. In the support with Ilyana it's only about Ilyanas gimmick and only the one with Largo shows a spark of potential. Mia takes a stand against society and wants to prove with her way of life that women are capable of fighting. The spark isn't igniting, because there are more than enough combat women in FE. In the minority, sure, but still. The bandits in the earlier chapter feared Titania. They aren' refering to her gender on one single line, instead it is her combat ability. Petrine fits just fine in the male dominant military. No one is judging her gender, just her authority or lack of thereof. Her subordinates fear her not for her being woman, but for her being a ruthless commmander. Greil, Ashnard and the Black Knight aren't looking down on her because of her gender, but because she is inferiour to them combat wise. The very reality that woman are physically weaker, is loosend in the world of fiction, video games and Fire Emblem. Often it is even abrogated and some female units are stronger than male ones in base stats, growth rates, but plot wise as well. That's why it isn't convincing when Mia is adressing those issues and tries to sell it as a motive. If Largos opionion is the mayority, then why weren't Greil, Ike or Rhys commenting on this? Instead, we took her combat ability for granted. It's something we always knew in the FE-games. Petrine SRPGs have a difficult time integrating an antagonist over a long span in the game, at least in comparison with RPGs. This is because the plot and characters are mostly shown in battles, while we can explore cities, dungeons and the world map in RPGs for more cut-scenes etc. If FE does it, their villains become quickly become boring and unthreatening, because on one side they have to appear frequently to make an impression, but on the other side they aren't allowed to win. How many people know the names of the bosses in chapter 4-7? Those antagonists die in the very same chapter they are introduced to us. That's why FE uses more significant commanders, who aren't at the top, like Kempf or Narshen. They are in control of the whole area the heroes are busy for a couple of chapters and all the bosses are their underlings. If they show themself, they flee though extern circumstances. We can't defeat them on our own after all. Our allies or mentors do it instead. And if we are finally confronting them in the late midgame or endgame, our strenght and experience is demonstrated. Petrine and Co. are the link between the normal bosses and the real antagonists of the game. They appear to be weak in front of the latter ones, which only undermines those dangerousness. She also serves as the point of view of the antagonists to let us realize how Daein is going forward with their conquest and hunt for Ike. She is acompanied by Ena, who has her own substory in the later part of the game. Though Petrine doesn't have much of a personality and she is forced to play the part of the fearless cruel commander, she get's some sort of backstory. She is branded, which leaves her motivation and willingness to serve Ashnard up for interpretation. Some additions of my discussion partner: She has a comicaly evil side as well. She is known for taking her bad mood out of her underlings, is apathetically regarding civil casualties, leans to a violant temper and is a racist. This is exemplary for a skilled, though mentally instabil upstart. But it forces her to be one-dimensional as well. Greil The mysterious mentor- and father figure keeps getting more mysterious with each chapter and his involvement in the plot only gets solved near the end of the game. As I mentionend, the game doesn't explain how and when Greil and the Black Knight arranged their date. It also doesn't explain how much of Zelgius intentions (getting the Fire Emblem) Greil could realize and if he knew he would die or not. After all, he was near Cainegis, who could have protected him. I assume that Zelgius made an ultimatum somehow. Greil was deep in thought already when Ranulf talked with them. Caineghis mentions later than Greil and Elena were followed, so Greil could reasonable concluded that the Black Knight was one of the hunters. I guess that Greils only goal was to distract Zelgius so that Ike and Mist could reach Gallia. Otherwise, Zelgius may have attacked the fortress and would be near Mist and the Fire Emblem. It's also possible that Greil assumed that he could win the duel. His last advice to Ike (living peacefully in Gallia) is curious. It's reasonable to not hunt the Black Knight, as it would bring him near the medaillon. But wouldn't Gallia be the next target of Daein? Did Greil trusted the Laguz King to defy Daein? Maybe his final order was his final test for his son. His son has to go his own way, become a leader who doesn't take orders from everyone (considering advice of others is fine). Ike has to defy his father, to win where he failed. And if he is going to search for the Black Knight, at the very least he should keep his fathers advice in mind and be careful about it.
  21. Chapter 6 For the first time we are introduced to a narrator in conjunction with the worldmap. I suspect that those intros are meant for those who took the game aside for a period of time, because this one just summarizes the events of chapter 4 and 5. At least it mentions Gallia, the current goal for our heroes. It also indroduces the laguz. We only heard one single time of them in chapter 5. Shinon makes a sidenote and says something about a "stinking beast country", which is a mystery for us. Now we are introduced by the laguz through illustrations, but they are only shown in animal form. The impression that Shinon gives us is right for now, only later it is revealed that laguz have more similarities to humans. The laguz are the topic of the fleeing Greil mercenaries as well. One may assume that Ike has heard of them in his past 17 years, but he asks what laguz are in place of the player. Shinon and Soren explain it in their typical way. I'm dealing with the laguz and racism later, for now I'm dealing with Shinon for good. There are still many things about him unresolved, like his supports, base conversation and appearance in chapter 18. But at this point of time we would have forgotten about his current role in this group, so I'm going ahead. Shinon He is far off being a one-dimensional static character. We perceive him quite differently with every chapter. He saves the day in chapter 2, he is justified in critizing Ike in chapter 3 and 4. But onwards chapter 4 he is increasingly destructive and more dubios as well. They want to tell us this by his plundering of a corpse, but his racism is prominent too. All of it peaks in him leaving the merenaries for good, despite them being in a state of emergency. If one doesn't consider this as a betrayal, then maybe they do it in chapter 18, when he has joined the enemy and is willingly to kill his old friends. I recommend reading the battle-conversations. They characterize every member and show they different relationship to Shinon. It ranges from disgust to respect. One may reason his low number of supports with his state as a loner. They aren't exactly great either. His best one is with Rolf, but only because it is revealed in their A-support, that he only partly decided to be cynic and opportune. He blames the ugly world for making him ugly and despite of that he doesn't give in completely surrendering to it. In Rolf he sees an innocent and more honorable way of life, comporaring to his own life. Together with Janaff, he shows an exemplary confrontation of two racists. Unsurprisingly for us, they surprisingly overcome some of their prejudices. He is genuinly interested in Janaff. He isn't seen to be that open to laguz in FE10. In that game, he has cemented his role in the group as the grumpy but harmlessly crabber. In his support with Janaff and a base conversation he also reveals his envy to Ike. It explains a lot of his behaviour, but doesn't go anywhere otherwise. His support with Gatrie is more comical. Gatrie seems more than a loyal dog than on equal terms with Shinon. He is unable to challenge Shinon. And Shinon can't really question Gatrie's character, since Gatrie doesn't have one. Though he has to serve as the devils advocate in a plump way to contrast the obviously pure and rightful Ike, Shinon does it in an effective way, proving why he is a fairly popular character without becoming an overly complex one. He plays an important role for the Greil mercenaries, as they arent just a homelike family, but professional mercenaries as well. Death is part of the job and Shinon reminds us that it isn't rosy at all. Back to the plot: Dain is on the move, which is why Greil has to improvise and asks Soren for advice. Greil, Shinon and Gatrie distract the enemy. A good scene, if only because Titania, Oscar and Shinon have the oppurtunity to comment on this in this hectic situation, rather than Greil just making a decision without anyone asking and commenting on it. Subsequently, the rest of the group is facing another part of the enemy army. The strategy is to split up again. The fighters distract, Elincia and the two children flee. Irritatingly enough, Elincia is supposed to flee over a bridge. But the only shown bridges are occupied by soldiers. And the mission is not so much about distracting, rather than fleeing as well. I suppose that Elincia and the children were taking another route and only Ike and his team crossed the bridges to strike through the enemies forces. Chapter 4-8 offer some new victory conditions. They underline the main goal of these chapters, to flee to Gallia. We have two defense chapters and one with the object to flee. Even the boss kill and routing chapters show that the mercenaries are rather defending themselves, than attacking on they own like in chapter 13. Chapters with escape as the objective are rare. FE5 introduces them in a radical way: All units who don't escape before the lord does, are left behind. They never went that strict anymore after that, but it created a new problem: If only the lord has to flee, then why going through the trouble of making all the other units flee? Giving proper rewards is difficult as well. In comparison, by saving villages or NPCs they can give us items, gold and so on, but how should our own units thank us if we were going through the trouble of letting them flee? FE9 uses a new way of rewarding, the bonus exp. This tries to make fast and skilled play more attractive. The bexp can also be considered compensation, because we get less combat experience. Perfectionists or greedy players obtain the incentive to beat as much enemies as possible, but have to do it through an easy and efficient way. The turn limit exists to prevent slow players from getting the full bexp. Rewards like rescuing or sparing certain units give the player more possible ways of playing the game and challenge them to survey and revaluate their own playstyle. Though I'm only prasing that we are rewarded by bexp. I'm not praising bexp in itself, as it isn't a great reward. Incidentally, this chapter and the following one are difficult, because ressources are scanty and limited. Chapter 3 and 4 enabled us to trade all items in the battle preparation. Now, Shinon and Gatries items aren't in reach. Having free room for weapon and item slots can be tight as well. Item drops may force one to discard one item. At the same time, weapon start to break if not used wisely. As annoying as it is, the more liberating and rewarded we feel after we have access to the base. Petrine appearde in this chapter and the last, but I will discuss her in the next chapter, which will be her finale one for now.
  22. While this is true, no one of them takes advantage of this at any time. They either don't know about their heritage or don't care. It is the opposite: Ike takes off his peerage, Mist leads a peaceful live, Titania works as a mercenary and Soren joins Ike or does whatever. He isn't joining either Daein or Goldoa to take the throne. Ike inheriting the leadership is an interesting detail, though. I expect the mercenaries to be less hierarchic, but Greil does seem to be the law. Still, he isn't leading it because of being a former general and being married to a noble one(IIRC). He was abandonging this life and took on a new identity. His underlings recognize him because of his skill, not his heritage. That's why Shinon and Gatrie left. In short, they are practically commoners.
  23. @Baldrick: Character growth and developement can improve a character indeed. I only point out that it isn't required and we can have static, well written characters that don't change throughout the course of the story. It's not that most characters grow. Limiting the good ones solely to Jill, Lethe, Ike and Elincia is strict. But don't get me wrong: I don't think Soren is an amazing character. He is on of the more fleshed out out of the bunch, though. I wanted to acknowledge that. Chapter 5 Last chapter ended by picking up Elincia. Soren had one of his two harsh remarks I mentioned. His first remark refers to the war and how the mercenaries should involve themselves in it. He was against helping their country and pressed to be on Daeins good side. This decision would be of very importance for the future of the mercenaries. By contrast, in the second situation the question was raised how do deal with an unconscious stranger in need. This decision seemlingly isn't important for the mercenaries, it ony seems to inflict one life. Sorens nature is solidified as it is shown that his views are shown both in larger and smaller matters. And he has views and a system of values at all, which isn't naturally for a video game character. I also forgot to mention the fact that Shinon steals from the dead. This was because she scene was short and had little to do with the rest of the chapter. I'm no expert about ethical behaviour in war, regardless: I don't understand why the others, even the pragmatic Soren, demonize this. I find this very reasonable. The residues would rot or the enemy is reclaiming then. The own ressources are scarcely. In gameplay we are able to steal enemy units and some of them drop items. Are we supposed to throw every droppable item away because it isn't honorable? We can also loot treasure. In chapter 19, Ike uses war funds and why shouldn't he do it? The only point that can make sense is that they have no time to waste and Shinon should hurry. But stealing something doesn't take long at all. The scene is supposed to show Shinons ruthlessness and pragmatism, instead the other mercenaries act idioticaly. They are probably to be seem noble and good, but the writers fail to show this reasonable. Anyways, Elincia is saved and she happens to be the scecret princess of Crimea. How convenient. I would have prefered it if Elincia looked for the mercenaries on purpose. The whole plot is only working because of this random coincidence. Elincia matches the role of former princesses which are deprived of their power, like Nyna and Guinevere. Strangely enough, she also has the role of a lord. Ike doesn't match that role at all, he hasn' lost anything yet. It is Elincia who has lost her kingdom and who builds an army over the course of the game to reclaim it. And at the end of the game she ascends to the throne, lik many other lords. It's a bit like having the likes of Ogma, Dieck or Gerik as the main characters and in the focus in the story, while Marth, Roy and Ephraim are secondary characters. FE9 moves the focus. The main characters aren't the noble regents who bemoan their fate and dwell on how to rule their country. Instead, the focus is on the common man and common folk and about how they react on the wars that the noble ones created. This new perspective adds to the game, as the contact with Ike to the common folk, villagers, merchants and soldiers is more direct and open than with a lord. The latter has to keep his distance, lives in another world and is masking his behaviour and feelings through etiquette. He can't relate to problems of his people. Delegating the lord to a secondary character still enables the game to show his view points and political intrigue, but we get a much better sight at the common world. FE9 is better than the usual FE-game, because it shows more and better the different views and ways of life. This is shown with the Greil merenaries. They aren't similar in their moral at all. It is shown in the politial intrigue, like when Elincia is confronting Caineghis or Sanaki or the meeting of the Laguz Kings. The game contains those different views and ways of live through his variegated cast. Support and base conversation strenghten them, but chapter intros and outros do the same. They let poor people confront rich people, cultured met illbred and persons of different nations and races are placed together. Regardless, the nobles keep Elinicias identity as a secret in the fear of a inheritance battle. Reasonable? Would the nobles or Renning do this? And Elincias goal is to flee to Gallia. But why exactly? To seek asylum or to ask for reinforcements? And why isn't she chosing Begnion instead? Isn't it a stronger ally? And are the Greil mercenaries doing the clever thing by protecting her? Or would they be rewarded by delivering her to Daein? I'm not asking these questions to have them answered, but to showcase that the game has managed to build a passable political world. In that world there is more than one political possibilty. Every action would have snowballed and create different situations, that effect every character, said characters environment, his nation and other nations. The Daein soldiers tracked Elincia down. It isn't mentioned how. Were there survivors in chapter 4? Has Ena sick skills? Greil is asking again for the opinion of others and this time every ingle member of the group is asked. We get all the opinions, the more and less reasonable ones. “The blame for this war rests on Daein. If we ally ourselves with them,the company’s reputation will surely suffer. Conversely, if we deliver Princess Crimea safely, our stock will rise in the eyes of our primary employers. Our road is clear.” “There’s nothing to think about. We must deliver the princess to Daein immediately.We are mercenaries. Our actions are dictated only by self-interest. If we want to ensure our future, we need Daein in our debt. They will win this war, after all, and nothing else serves us better.” “Soren’s a pompous, superior whelp, but he’s got the right idea. Besides, the destination’s Gallia, so it’s a moot question. I don’t care how much we get paid; there’s no way under the sun I’m going to stinking beast country.” “Princess Elincia…She does possess a certain regal beauty… There’s a lot to be said for that, you know. However I do prefer country girls…A bit cuter, and not quite so standoffish…Oh! Forget I said that.Whatever you decide is good for me, Commander. Yep, uh-huh, yep…” “I agree with Captain Titania. If we turn the princess over to the Daein army, we’re essentially giving them permission to kill her.” “I’m in favor of helping her. That’s what heroes are supposed to do.” “I believe…that none of this hinges on whether she’s a princess or not. Refusing to aid someone in need is not something we should ever do. That’s what I think.” “That’s right! Let’s help her!” “Please! We have to help her!” “I agree with Titania. I say we help her and take her to Gallia.” The point of this dicussion is diminished by the fact that Daein wouldn't give them the chance anyways. Still, every character gets the oppurtunity to raise their voice, pointing out their opinion and showing their relationship to the group. Respect is a thing, everyone listens, they listen to everyone. They convey us their different ethical, racist and political view points and just like in chapter 4, Greil just seems competent and exemplary. In other games, those scenes would be cut and Greil wouldn't ask, he would simply make a decision. I didn't comment on the Daein military in chapter 4 and I have trouble doing so. They are reckless and one-dimensional, almost comically evil. It sort of makes sense if you are part of an aggressive war of conquest, but there isn't much to tell us that way. We can't question the moral and virtues of the enemy and compare them to the heros. Later on there are a few moments and opportunities to humanize the enemy commanders, like in chapter 11 and 20. But overall, I have trouble taking the people of Daein in FE10 seriously, the way they are shown here. You can explain it, but only by going out of your way. Maybe Ashnard taugt his commanders and raised them accordingly to his designs. And after the war ended, most of them were dead or were keeping low profile. Probably we only met the common soldiers and folk in FE10, it is the only explanation why they aren't as one-dimensional evil as in FE9. The chapter is the first defend mission and the first of having fog of war. There are only two fog of war chapters in this game, strangely enough. The chapter does it job. You can put all units in a corner or you can make an effort, if you want the item drop of the boss and EXP. There is even an easy way to go through this chapter by abusing the bad AI. Basically you lure archers first and then retreat your fragile units from their range. The archers won't move if other enemy units are behind them. And those can't reach because the archers are in the way. Over the course of the series, they fix those AI issues. There are still and probably always are ways to abuse the AI, but I give Awakening and Fates praise that they fixed some of the larger issues. At the end of the chapter Greil is organizing their departure. Titania, Shinon and Gatrie secure the road. Mist, Rolf and Elincia are packing supplies. Greil and Rhys secure some documents and burn the rest of their library. Especially a small detail like the last one let me forget for a second that the Grieil mercenaries aren't a real mercenary group. I'm so immersed in the world of Tellius that it convinces me. It' not like FE9 is realistically, it's more like that it tries and does some serious efforts to be so. In many moments there are small, seemlingly trivial details about the medieval and military life. It can be about Shinon plundering a corpese or Greil burning documents. In such moments I take FE9 seriously. Something I didn't do for a second in, say, Fates.
  24. I don't have that impression. He is this throughout the game. He is harsh to Elincia in chapter 13: He is suspicious of Nair in chapter 18. He objects to Ike and Elincia about helping Daein in chapter 20: He keeps his harshness in chapter 21: In chapter 21, he is immediately suspicous of Begnion: And he doesn't understand Ikes and Titanias reasoning in chapter 27: Maybe he appears to be more harsh in the early game, because they are in a much worse situation. He wants to abandon Elincia, which is rather cruel. Him starting a fight with Lethe and Mordecai in chapter 8 is completely unnecessary and he risks his life needlessly.
  25. Chapter 4 The game continues having different lines in the script, depending if someone died. A the beginning of this chapter, Shinon comments on Ike. Soren gives advice depending on the difficulty and if Rhys is dead, he will not find Elincia (instad Titania will find her). They may also lament on units that died in this chapter. I'm not going to list every variation and to point out how it effects the game. It declines over the course of the game anyways. In this chapter the plot starts. Soren is introduced and we are engaged in a little combat with Daein. It is surprisingly trivial and inconsequential. The Daein soldiers attack for an insignificant reason and the mercenaries are merely defending themselves. The soldiers are a bigger threat than the bandits prior. Even in numbers. But Ike is joined with Greils three best mercenaries und we have Rhys and Soren in the back as well. So it is reasonable that his group comes out as the winning one. Titania mentions casually how Ike has the command for the first time. So if me move the cursor over the map, we are playing as Ike. This is often unexplained in Fire Emblem. Sometimes there are special strategist who are assigned this role. But Sorens reports at the end of every chapter (later on) confirm that everything what happens in the chapter was Ikes command. E.g. Jill doesn't attack her father because she wants it, but because Ike gave her the order. No unit is independent. This doesn't make sense at all. Like how can Ike order units around that may be miles away in the heat of the battle. But we have to accept it, since it serves the gameplay and we don't have a SRPG without it. Soren I'm not to fond of him, mainly because of his overhyped popularity. Some fans went overboard and praise his character too much. They even overrate his use in combat, which triggers me especially. Female users exaggerate his boylove with Ike and male outsiders identified with him. But all of this is just my subjective bias, le't see how he is the game. His most important support lays out way too thick. He has no parents, his foster mother doesn't love him, his mentor is using him, he is unable to communicate as a child, he is branded, he has nor friends, Ike will betray him, nobody loves him. There is a small gap between reasonable pity and insufferable self-pity. A part of his life isn't as terrible as he makes it out to be. Ike, Greil, Titania, Mist, Rhys, Oscar, Boyd and Rolf give him support, comfort and a place to stay and work for years. There are much poorer people in both our world and Tellius. And for having such a cruel childhood he developed quite well and is healthy enough. Sorens character would have improved from less melodrama. He has another support as well, which isn't as detailed. It tells us that he is branded and different in his aging. But even this issue is provided with a solution: Stefan invites Soren to his village, whenever he faces a new period of life. So even the curse of slower aging isn't one in this setting. But again, if I ignore my bias and look at the game, then I notice how this chapter shows Soren in another way. He acts natural and is threated by everyone normaly. He acts and speaks factual, level-headed and unobtrusive. Two of his comments are cruel, but it's nothing too outraging. He isn't annoying me. Maybe his character is first ruined in FE10, but perhaps Soren is simple a decently written character. He serves well as a counterpart to Titania and is an intriguing adviser for Ike with his own view points. The writers give him many great lines throughout the game as well. His backstory is a little contrived and melodramatic, but they aren't shoving it down our throats outside of his Ike-support. I guess it was small minority of fans that warped his image. He is one of the most polarized characters in the franchise, so it is inevitable that he loved and hated. Back to the plot. We still aren't introduced to a omnipotent narrator, who is describing the events with the help of a world map. In this chapter this is Sorens job and he does it to Ike, Geil and the others. He informs them about the open war. Then Greil is doing something, that Mr. Plinkett pointed out recently (23:10 to 24:24): Greil doesn't make a decision or is thinking about it off-screen. Instead, he is asking for opinions. Something similar happens in chapter 5, in which he is asking everyone. In this case, it is only Soren and Titania. Titania answers ethical, Soren pragmatic. Both are right or wrong per se. The "right" answer isn't clear yet, as they don't know how Crimea is fairing against Daein. They don't know how Daein would treat mercenaries of Crimea either. Greil doesn't make a decision and orders everyone to obtain more information. In other games we are usually told the decision how the protagonists act after the disaster happened. The negotiations were off-screen or we just see how the leader is maing his decision. This is why in comparison, this briefing seems increcible legitimate and Greil seems more incredible than any other leader in the franchise. He isn't but it seems that way because they showed us the briefing and his way of decision-making, rather than just tell us what he decided to do. We also find Elincia, but how they deal with her is discussed in the next chapter, so I delay her for today.
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