Hello all! I stumbled across Order of the Crimson Arm because of Mangs youtube channel and thought sure why not. I was pleasantly surprised! Not only was it the first *complete* hack I'd played, but it was really, REALLY well done! I noticed this forum and that the original creator was on this thread, so I thought I'd post feedback!
Gameplay was excellent. Everything felt balanced. For not having multiple difficulty levels, it was perfect. It was challenging enough that I had to restart a few times but not so hard as I couldn't beat every level and get mostly every character/village/extra whatevers with only a few retries. In some ways, I actually felt it was more balanced than some of the other Fire Emblem games out there. FE games tend to suffer from very difficult beginnings and very easy ends. I thought the beginning was doable and I felt more challenged in some of the later levels than I have in games like FE7 and FE8. I also thought the XP:Chapter ratio was spot on- all the units I was training were around level 18-20 promoted by the final chapter, and none of them hit 20/20 any earlier than 2 chapters before the final. Sometimes with FE games you don't get the time to train your units to 20/20 and it feels like a waste, or you hit 20/20 WAY too early and it feels pointless, so I was really glad neither of those happened in this game. One aspect that was easier than most Fire Emblem games: very few of the maps had chests/villages that could be destroyed. Normally in FE games there is always some thief or bandit lurking to pilfer, so I felt like it was a little easy in that regard (but I also didn't particularly mind that being easier lol).
I really loved the maps and thought they were very well designed and unique. Really my only actual complaint about gameplay was that the descriptions for how to beat the chapters were incorrect and displayed chapter goals from FE7. So a lot of times I'd be aiming to kill a boss or something and expecting the chapter to end and it wouldn't and I'd have to try to figure out what I'm supposed to do instead. But that's literally the only thing I would change. Overall, for gameplay I was very impressed.
This is a tough category for me because I came across quite a few bugs that inserted Fire Emblem 7 dialogue in instead of Crimson Arm dialogue. From what I read, it seemed like a solid plot. I think I had some confusion at first with some of the NPCs and felt like the beginning was a little 'side-questy.' It would have been nice for some of the earlier plot to tie in with the later plot. I read some of the comments people mentioned about the ending but I can't add any input because in my version (which I'm now wondering if it is an older version), after I beat the Final: Jormund chapter, it went straight into FE7's Unfulfilled Heart. So I have no idea what happened after we killed Jormund. But ignoring the gaps because of bugs, I'd say it was a solid plot line and kept me interested the entire time. I also really liked the characters and thought there was a lot of personality gleaned from the major characters, but of course without support conversations all of the minor characters are a bit bland. I think I'd read that you were planning on adding support dialogue? I think that will help a ton.
I was impressed with the portrait art! Most of it looked about as seamless as a regular Fire Emblem game! Same with the custom sprites too. I don't usually watch the battles (I leave it on overview map), but from what I did watch they looked good! The only time I thought a sprite looked particularly odd was Algimas' promoted overview map sprite, as he looks bald in it. Otherwise, art was really good, seamless, and unique. Well done!
* Did anyone else run into the problem of Unfulfilled Heart popping up after the final chapter? Is this a bug that's been fixed/is there a more recent version I could download?
* Will there be any kind of chapter or character guide added? I'd love to know if I missed any sidequests or characters. I know I missed one character (pegasus boss with the Delphi shield) but I'm wondering if I missed others too and how I'd go about recruiting them?
I saw several comments of people not knowing what to do with the UPS file and therefore unable to play. I've added a word document 'How to Convert UPS to GBA' to help anyone who doesn't know how to get the UPS file into playable form. If there are any further posts with this question, feel free to direct them to this post. Note: you need an FE7 file to patch the UPS file and the word doc I made doesn't explain how to get FE7 or a GBA emulator
How to Convert UPS to GBA.docx