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Aircalipoor

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. @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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Chapter 2 Those who read the gamescript notice how it varies, depending if units died or lived. If Titania dies, she notes in chapter 3 that Shinon, Gatrie and Ike have to do all the work, as she is wounded. Never thought about the possibility of Titania dying in chapter 2. This means that the plot includes other characters and is letting them talk and being involved. This effort in the writing can be worthwhile, as it makes the characters more relevant. One could think that with every FE-game we have more budget and save space to make their units more detailed, but it is either not the case or all the effort dedicates itself to the wrong places. Like all the attractions in My Castle to let the characters swim, dress and cook. This chapter continues the fighting of the bandits. They want to take revenge for the events of chapter 1. The execution is quite contrived. They kidnap Mist and Rolf and... write a letter. Okay, you can't really met the mercenaries face-to-face, but I have trouble imaging that toothless barbarian writing something. An ambush would be more exciting. But they wanted to create a situation where Ike is in trouble because the decisive act in this chapter is his decision to ignore Titanias order, to refuse to wait and to act arbitrary. This is to show his character strengths and flaws, being stubborn and heroic. It's plausible, what annoys me is how Rhys, Oscar and even the hotheaded Boyd first hold Ike off, just to join him anyways. I'm buying that Boyd joins Ike and Rhys may just be too weakwilled to defyy Ike. But Oscar does little to calm Ike, even though it would correspond with his nature and character. He has the role of a big brother and is an experienced mercenary. He even was trained as a knight. Does he not recall to remain calm, diligent and listening to his superior? The game should have one or two lines indicating that he doesn't agree with Ike. He only catches up with them when it is already too late to backtrack. Even the gameplay shows us that Ike was making a fatal decision. The bandits are the majority and would have killed the mercenaries. It is a hopeless situation which only strenghthens Titanias entrance. I have said it numerous times: If Gameplay and plot complement each other, they are creating a narrativ method and effect which is unique for a video game. Other media like books or movies can create this in a similar way, but not the same. If a videogames let you face a minority against a mayority with higher stats, you may feel scared and overwhelmed. A book would describe the high number of enemies and elaborate on the feelings of hopelessness. A movie would show the large number of enemies, maybe with a certain camera angle. If reinforcement arrive in the videogame, it can create similar feelings like the arrival of the Rohirrim in The Lord of the Rings. Well, if it is done right, it's nothing to exciting in this chapter. After the routing of all bandits one remaining plays a hostage scenario with Rolf. It is passable, but executed clumsy in one or two places. After the mercenaries surrendered, he announces to kill Rolf. Doesn't he expect that they will take their weapons afterwards? Does he think that they will let themselves be killed one after the other? Wouldn't it be more plausible in his position to negotiate and flee? Sadly, most of Fire Emblem enemys are stupid and evil, just to make it clear that our own units are good and heroic. Sometimes I'm hoping for more reasonable villains with more vision, because otherwise I feel insulted in my intellicence. And since I'm occupying myself extensive with a childrens videogame, it is clear how demaning my intelligence is. Anyways, Shinon saves the day. Gatrie is there as well, but all he does is making dumb comments. He is slow in his armor, is sweating and couldn't catch up. It foreshadows his class gameplaywise. The next conversation is in chapter 3, but here it is more fitting. Ike is ashamed of himself, which is authentic and understandable. He is young and stubborn. Leaders, successfull people, they are defined by how they are willing to take risk, trust they instincts, question everything and push their beliefs through everything. If Ike would be faithful and well-behaved, he would never become a leader. He needs a number of mentors who scold him if necessary. Only then he can triumph over them. The scene annoys me slightly, because not only Ike, but Rhys, Boyd and Oscar as well are all willing to take the blame on their own. This is an anime-thing which is refering to the exaggerate apologizing of the Japanese, I guess. Personally I would blame Oscar, since he should have been the one in charge and with the responsibility over the others. Regardless, Greil punishes Ike by grounding him. Maybe he even forbade him the use of the Nintendo Switch. Aren't there more plausible punishments like cleaning the stable or the house? But there are no bad consequences for Ike. The punishment is canceled before it even began. Ike is needed for the next mission. Rhys They may emphasize a bit too much that he is sickly, but it cements his role as a priest, both story- and gameplaywise. On top of that, Rhys has a passive nature which makes him one of those characters who are't polarizing and annoying. But they aren't memorable either. Male healers (even young ones) existed way before FE9, which is why I can't even bring sexism into place and ask if he is unmanly and how important that question would be. His supports with Titania and Rolf are fitting, but with the other two the authors trap themselves by using Rhys fragility to higlight the eccentricity of his partners. Mia and Kieran distress him in a idiotical way with their rough natures, just for the sake of comedy. And in the support with Ulki Rhys is suddenly a child with the wish to fly. Ulki is just baffled, probably as much as we are over Rhys behaviour in this support. Chapter 3 The mission in this chapter is a similar one as in chapter 1. we get two new units. Gatrie A failed character. Well, gameplaywise his class and availability is cleverly combined: Knights are usually only in the early game useful. So they make Gatrie available only then. When he returns, he is less useful, but the player can notice this easier, because the contrast of chapter 7 and 13 is immense. Would he be obtainable in chapter 8-12, he would only lose slowly in usefulness, which is easier to muss. In the end, only those people will use him again, who want to use him despite his shortcomings. Everyone else knows he isnt needed and they won't be disappointed. His character serves as a contrast with Shinon and he is a womanizer. This isn't bad per se and one can make something out of it, but it isn't done. Gatrie can't catch up with Shinon, he is unable to counter Shinons cynism and pragmatism. It is an one-sided relationhip in which Gatrie never has the upper hand or gives Shinon clear moments of insight and letting him rethink his behaviour. Sadly, this is his best support. All the other three support begin and end the same way: Gatrie makes a fool out of himself trying to impress them and they ignore him and refuse to give him attention. Let's compare this with Sain from FE7. Rebecca falls for him out of naivity initially, scolds him and give him a second chance. Fiora doesn't know how to handle him, Serra sees through his behaviour and plays him for a fool herself. Priscilla refers to their difference in social status and the love ends tragic-melancholic. Sains supports are bad, but they are diversified, the ladys are threating him different, the result is always different. Gatrie lacks this. In the plot, he occasionally asks Shinon something for exposition purpose. Leaving the mercenaries when they are in a crisis is fitting for Shinon, but Gatrie seems almost callous. He doesn't have much motivation (at one point he mentions that he feels unchallenged). He wants to protect Elincia, because she is a beauty, then he leaves her and is working for Astrid, because she is a beauty. He isn't leaving the mercenaries on his own, but because Shinon does. But they part each other as well, so it's not like Shinon means Gatrie more than the rest of the mercenaries. What a mess. Speaking of Shinon, I'm dealing with him in chapter 6, because we aren't shown all of his aspects yet. At the moment he is similar to Titania and Greil. xperienced, strict and rebuking Ike for his mistake in chapter 2. Back to the chapter. The side mission is to rescue Marcia. It is well meant and getting rewarded with her recruitment later on is nice for the gamer, but the implementation has its flaws. Marcia can die in the very first turn, if all of the three enemies hit her. Not probable, but possible. I'm not 100% sure if you can prevent this with some tactics, but the casual gamer can get frustrated easily without doing anything wrong. Furthermore, rescuing her is contrived. The pirates happen to threaten her just the exact moment the mercenaries arrive. Marcia plans to kill them all, which is an incredible overestimation. The pirates even make some good points about how her brother cheated them. Her main target is the boss, but she backs off and fights other pirates. The big question is why she simply doesn't flee. Normally, persons are cornered, but she is on a pegasus and can simply fly away. In fact, she just does that when Ike talks with her. But then why doesn't she flee in the first place? Why does she need Ike to tell her that? The short answer is: Because of gameplay. We are supposed to be introduced to talking with an NPC. The situation is just badly contrived. The victory condition is a bosskill, even though routing would be more appropriate. I suspect that they want to introduce the player to the different victory conditions even in this early point of the game. That's why in the first three chapters we had three different victory conditions. Playing with the victory condition in mind an change the style of playing tremendously. Players may understand to ignore the main force of the army in the next chapter, because all what matters is defeating the boss. In the following chapters with Daein the victory condition change everytime as well. Nasir appears in the village. It's not important, it could be a random NPC. So why is he there? The boring reason is, because he is a ship captain. He fits in the port and maybe we trust him more when we meet him again. I had a speculation that he is there as a spy. He could be searching for Gawain or the Fire Emblem. At the end of the chapter the villagers thank Titania and point out how special Greil is. If even simple villagers know Greil, then it is possible that Nasir figures out who Greil is and informs Ena and thus Ashnard. Ashnard may start the war with Crimea at this time, just because he is told the location of the Fire Emblem. But this is just wild speculation. It is more likely that Ashnard planned the war over years. His army meets the Greil mercenaries more by accident. At the end of the chapter Shinon and Gatrie complain about their work, which foreshadowes their separation. Ironicaly, the work won't be boring anymore starting with the next chapter, when Daein arrives. Is either one of them dead, Titania explains to Ike that the surviving one mourns the death of the other one. Another small detail that improves the script. Chapter 3 is similar to chapter 1. The game get's away with it, because it ends the bandit arc, before it gets too monotonic. They also introduce two new units and remove the three old ones, which shakes things up. And Ike not only saves a village/port, but a single individual. Ike does the same thing in every chapter, but it varies: He risks his life for strangers who pay him (villagers), he saves his relative and friend (Mist, Rolf) and he rescues a stranger without demanding payment(Marcia). It shows his naivety and unexperience, but it is realistic. Every task demands more of him and we see him grow with his tasks. This makes him more approachable than other lords. Thankfully, the plot begins with the next chapter. FE9 is already stretching it with the bandit chapters. It ends them before they become boring.
  21. I don't mind being able to support everyone in one playthrough. Removing the limits would break the support-boni gameplaywise, though. I find it more important that supports can be dependent of the progress of the story. E.g. Xander is unable to grow as a character, because in his supports he judges his father in chapter 26 the same as in chapter 7. If his supports could be only be unlocked with story progress, then he could have conservations that reflect his growing doubts and internal struggle. And even in Awakening/Fates you only unlock a small part of all supports. It's not like you grind supports, unless you use DLC. But in that case you may just read them in the internet. In both cases you don't progress in the game.
  22. Chapter 1 Even though the plot is still not beginning, it is the first classical chapter. The targets are bandits and they are destroying a village in the first turn, like in many games. The "throne" has to be seized, which strikes me as a less fitting victory condition. I would find routing to be more appropriate. Then again, some bandits have to survive to inform their leader, who is taking his revenge in the next chapter. Different from the other games we aren't playing a lord saving his own countrymen with the help of his knights. Instead, we control some mercenaries who drive off bandits for payment. Other FE-games underline with those save-the-village-missions the heroism of the lords. Or they are gaiden/filler chapters and we have to save NPCs or new recruits. But in this case we not only point at the goodness of the Greil Mercenaries (they do protect innocent just people from bad bandits), but at their political neutrality and pragamtism as well. I'm anticipating Soren and Shinon's stance now, but want to point out that Ike and his squad have a more realistic view and moral greyness than the do-gooder and self-righteous lords of some of the other games. In past games we got more way more units at the beginning. Marth and Sigurd already got all of their knights and subordinates. But over the course of the series the units are less likely to come at once in a whole group. Instead, they join later, even if they are introduced sooner. Maybe this was to not overstrain new players if they had to control 7 units in the first chapter. FE9 only gives 5 of the 10 Greil Mercenaries at an early rate. They also change and sit out between the chapters. Mist and Rolf join not until chapter 9, Gatrie and Shinon not until chapter 13/18 for the final time. Greil is so special and powerful, the player doesn't even get the right to control him. The main reason for this non-linear increase of units is connected with the diverse strenght of the units. Unlike other FE-games, we don't have the Jeigan and all the other units, who are between level 1 and 4. We have with Greil a unit that is implied to be overpowered (hacking reveals his level to be 10 and promoted), Titania serves as the experienced Jeigan, but Shinon and Gatrie are highly above the rest of the team as well. Ike, Boyd, Soren and Rhys are fairly new. Rolf and Mist are theoreticaly on the same level as Ike in the beginning, but by the time they get recruited, they appear to be even on an even lower level. The difference in level are comparable to the life- and battle experience. Greil, Titania and Shinon instruct the newcomers and not the other way around. All of this makes the Greil Merenaries to a more multifaceted group than the other armys, in which everyone is equal in level and experience (with the exception of the Jeigan). If the shepherds argue, everyone is equal, comparable with a struggle between Ike and Boyd. But if Shinon lectures Ike, we don't have something comparable in other FEs. Since FE9 they try to replace the classical small army with a sworn in group (Dawn Brigade, Chris Platoon, The Shepherds), but because those never met all criteria (more than one chapter to introduce and present each character, different ages/level/times of recruitment), they aren't as remarkable and successfull. Back to the chapter. Ike gets support. He isn't the commander in the strictest sense, but the game is acting as if. The leader is Titania, Ike is her subordinate, as well as Boyd and Oscar. The chapter even is designed the way that Titania should regulate everything, while Ike, Boyd and Oscar have to act way more carefully. Titania is even nice enough to mention this and it is neat, that each ones role is in accordance with the gameplay. Titania is the babysitter and Ike and Boyd are the pupils. Oscar is slightly more robust and experienced, but not to the point of him being able to overtake Titania. Even the bandits point this out in the next chapter: They blame the "redhaired demoness" and denote the other three as her underlings. Even if one soloes the map with Ike on easy mode, the story tells us that Titania did most of the work. I don't have much to say about Oscar. Just like Ike he bypasses being polarized by having a calm, composed and boring personality. If we are looking for eccentricity, we won't find it in either his supports or in the gameplay (he has no skills and average stats and growth). Abel-like characters can entertain with their stoic, stiff attitude, but with their seriousness and disciplin as well. Especially with a fitting Kain. But with Oscar the authors played either very safely or they weren't even trying at all. Titania The first female Jeigan (Evayle begs to differ), though her sex plays no role at all. Her gender slightly, since she plays part of the mother of the mercenaries. Since FE7 Jeigans aren't able to die anymore (though they can't be used after they retreat), as it would be to difficult to let the protagonist run through the story without a mentor, aide, critic, parent replacement and strategist. Though they had civil strategist like Merlinus or August before FE7. Regardless, Titania shares these duties with Soren. She is the idealistic, honorable if slightly naive part to contrast Soren's pragmatism and cynism. The way this is shown is sometimes clumsy, but still effective. This is because Titania isn't always right, but not always wrong either. She suggest to help Crimea with their fight with Daein, though later it shows that fleeing and asking for help in Begnion was the smarter move. She is against the recruitment of Volke, though he proves to be useful. She also insist of Ike fighting the black Knight on his own, which is questionable as well. None of her support partners is external, they are all members of the mercenary group and the supports only deal with them and their role in the group. At this point I'd like to mention the speed rate of the supports. The speed rate can implicate the characters affinity to each other. Different characters find quicker friendship with others than other ones. This is shown in other games through different growth rates and starting points in their support system. The big difference is, that supports in FE9 are dependent of the number of chapters and not of a number of support points obtained. The latter can seem more plausible, especially in Awakening was the focus on the pair-up mechanics. Those who paired up and used more actions while paired up, supported each other quicker. But FE9 builds the supports strictly by chapters, without minding how much the supporting units work together in a single chapter. But the fixed points of time have an important effect: Supports can be unlocked in accordance to the plot. Ike's and Titanias A-Support reveals her love to Greil. It can only be unlocked in chapter 27 onwards. Ideally this support adds to the atmosphere of the chapter, since it deals with Greil and revenging his death by confronting the Black night. The chapter not only concludes this part of the plot, but Titanias character as well. Another example would be the Jill-Lethe A Support. This one can't be unlocked until Jills father died, because it deals with his death and leads to Jill and Lethe forging and streghthening their friendship. Generally some supports have variants. Makalov speaks with Astrid about his sister in two ways, it depends if she lives or if she had died. Older games did had fixed supports like in FE4 or Pent's and Louise's three talk opportunities at certain points of the game. But normaly it is impossible in other games to have those kind of supports, because supports can be maximized within a span of few chapters (and it is wanted to unlock children early). That way, their supports aren't allowed to have important or plotrelevant topics. The supports of those game can't relate to the plot. That's why they have no other choice but to be inconsequential, random and why they never mention current or past events. So that they could be plausible at any time and to not potentially spoil or contradict the current point of the story. In short: abolish the current terrible support system. Bring back the support system of FE9, because that way supports can complement the plot.
  23. In this thread I discuss the plot of Path of Radiance chapter by chapter. I analyse the plot, the characters and the events. I may compare them to other Fire Emblem games. I criticize and praise accordingly. Boring foreword and rambling incoming. Feel free to skip to the Prologue. Prologue The videosequence and the short dialogue surprise me. I didn't remember at all, how quite, peaceful and unspectacular FE9 begins. Compare this with FE10, which tries to make the most conflictual story of all games. It shows Ike and Greil training, Ike dreaming and finally Ike beats Boyd and his father tutorial-style. Past FEs began with a view of the world map, introducing us to the political escalating tensions of each single fraction or nation. Later games foreshadow their plot with ominous and interactive dreamsequences. But in FE9, nothing gets explained, specified and foreshadowed, with the exception of a very vague dream. Instead, we are introduced to four characters. Three of them have an important role in the story. Greil is similary to former fathers of FE-Lords like Cornelius, Byron, Cuan, Eliwood, Elbert/Uther and Fado. He too exists just for a short time to remember his kid, how to be a hero. Only to politely resign permamentely to give his child his chance to prove himself. Awakening fancies himself with a negative father model, but sadly it doesnt carve it out either politically or morally (wasted opportunity). Fates is quite daring with this approach through Ganon. Though both games offer the traditional good parent through Emmeryn and Mikoto, who fulfill the same role as the past male fathers. But Greil has something, that is everyone else lacking (excluding Garon): Presence, which lasts more than one chapter. If the prologue is so unspectaular, then because the games takes it time. And while the other fathers were merely has-beens with no role in the actual conflict, Greils deeds will only be explained over the course of the story. He is well-known force like a king or lord, but a mysterious commoner with existing, yet unknown relationships to other chessplayers like Zelgius, Caineghis, Lillia and Ashnard. Mist is the anime-typical little sister who is there to activate her Onii-chans protective instinct. She does is four time in the prologue, for crying out loud. She brightens up the remaining military group with her childlike innocence and purity while giving us diabetes. Surprisingly enough she is the first little sister type in the Fire Emblem series. They keep this trend up with Lissa, Elise and Sakura and will probably never stop from doing so. Past female companions were princesses and not inferiour to the lord like Nyna or Guinevere. Or they were independent lords as well, like Lyn or Eirika. The usually useless little sister will be dosed with plot relevancy in Mist's case, as she can wield the Fire Emblem. It also helps that the Greil mercenaries are some sort of family, which is why it isn't too strange if she is chatting with Ike, just before the battle begins. Boyd is naturally the irrelevant character and has to serve as a punching bag for Ike. Fighters in the FE series are defined by how much their muscles have replaced their braines. Accidentaly I thought that the game mentions how Boyd forgot his axe by his first mission. Instead they talk about how he broke it full of ethusiasm. Well, both things require an amount of stupidity. My mistake was made because the negligent handling of ones axe is a frequent running gag in the series. Lex can fail to get a Brave Axe in one event, if he does't wield one. The game aknowledges it accordingly. Othin has to visit his own house to get his personal axe. Bartre can duel with Karla, but the duel is called off if he/the player forgets to equip him with an axe. Vaike forgets his axe as well. Miriel appears one turn later and wields it. But Boyd is more moderate and is less an idiot than a hothead. This shows in the first chapters with his family, but later on in supports with strangers as well. And him being mentaly challenged is understandable, giving the tough situations he has to face in his supports. How do I become friend with a laguz without unintentionally insulting him? How is seeing a peaceful farmer someone like me, a murdering mercenary? Which complicated feelings do I hold for my substitute parent? What do I have to do, to get in Mist's pants? Then there is Ike. He is one, if not the most popular lord. There are many reasons for that, but the most important and probably most disappointing reason is, that he is unique. Former and later lords are defined by their nobility. They inherit their kingdom and have to protect and reclaim it. Under them are knights and mercenaries. Not only because of faithfulness and acknowledgement of the lords moral fiber, but because the lords have the status. Their allies are nobilty as well, who only join because the lords themselves are the commander. At the end of the game, they have defeated the tyrant and are rewarded with the throne. Not only because they conquered their country (that alone would be unmorally), but as legitimate heirs.They have shown their moral highground through the course of the game. But Ike is almost a nobody. He is the son of someone that is supposed to be important, but we don't know yet what's up with Greil. Despite Ikes potential and moral fiber he won't be praised by his companions as much as with other lords. He won't get picked on and teased by everyone as well. Unlike the other lords, he isn't really dependant of his heritage and he doesnt get raised to be a regent, who has to act accordingly. Ike's choice of live includes much more freedom. His father would allow him to lead a peaceful live and over the course of the game Ike does get some opportunities to escape from battle. This gives him a few more oppurtunities to show character growth than other lords, who can't quit at all. Ike's ambition to train, fight and act is a bit more authentic, because it is the result of his own choices and less than the result of some romanticized obligation of some peer. It is Elincia who bears this burden, not Ike. Ike is more pragmatic and frugal, especially if compared to the blood and glory seeking Hector and Ephraim. After all those dutiful, predestinated protagonists Ike stands out with a certain down-to-earthness attitude (his affinity!), who rises from self-made-man to godslayer. He is probably the result of the line of rebellic lords (Sigurd->Hector->Ephraim), who were always contrasted with the classical lord. But only Ike wipes all rules and etiquette aside and was never forced to place his status and his obligation before himself - Even Hector and Ephraim had to do so, if most begrudgingly. Nowadays fans don't remember his role in FE9 as much. But only through that game he could get the status of the cool badass with a giant sword and somersault attacks, who differentiates himself in Smash from Marth. Finally, I mention the tutorial. Starting with FE6, the game starts with mini-chapters, in which only a boss and 1-2 lackeys are to beat. FE9 continues this trend and not only Awakening and Fates use those tutorials, 11, 12 and 15 even include new chapters in their remakes. In those chapters you just learn how to attack an enemy and that waiting and healing can be an option as well. Awakening and Fates get some points in my book, as those absurd disputes (one or two own units and one to three enemies hardly make up for a real chapter) are designed creatively and aren't real conflicts anyway, but forboding and dreams. As much as those chapters are a waste of time, some of them show plausible mentor-student relationships (Ike-Greil, Chris-Jagen, Ronin-Xander).
  24. I think you can get Shinon in range so that one of them goes for him, since he has Provoke. Otherwise it is RNG, Marcia usually survives one round.
  25. - Units autopromote at level 21, with the exception of Ike, Volke and Sothe. The first two have fixed promotions, the latter has no promotion. You can still promote early by using a master seal. - Have Ike at around level 20 around chapter 17. Don't have him underleveled and don't have him strenght or speed screwed. He is one of the few characters able to damage the final boss and can do it the best. - Starting with chapter 8, you can forge once every chapter. It is optional, but increasing the weapons might of 5 and 25 hit is pretty useful and worth a few thousands of gold for the cheaper weapons (Steel Axe, Steel Lance, Hand Axe, Javelin, maybe Steel Sword). - Stefan has a nasty recruitment in chapter 15. Look it up. - No inventory until chapter 8. So droppable items can force you to throw one item away if your units inventory is full. - The Knight Ward increases your Cavaliers/Knights/Paladins/Generals speed growth of 30%. In combination with BEXP, it is totally ridicoulous. - Chapter 19 offers a tricky way to deal with one part of the enemy forces. They give you hints and you can just kill the Daein boss to end the chapter, but consider looking it up in the Hints and Secret section. - There is a specific fight you can flee from. It is optional and difficult as relies heavily on luck and skill distribution. Losing means replaying a large chapter again, which is why many just consider to skip the fight and flee. - You can give Ike his mastery skill, but for the final chapter, a combination of Wrath and Resolve is more effective. You get both skills only once.
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