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Doctor Robert

Fire Emblem Fates: An attempt at an unbiased review [with spoilers]

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I'm sorry? Being able to marry a pair, have them get pregnant and give birth, have time for the kids to grow up (even with the even stupider time dilation), then have time to go recruit the kid in a large battle... all between beating Iago on the stairs and reaching the top of the stairs to meet Xander... is somehow less stupid than people having character flaws?

The plot doesn't acknowledge the kids' existence because they are might as well not exist; by all accounts, they are non-canon and are a rushed addition made in order to try and capitalize further on Awakening's success. As such, they are little more than a gameplay mechanic and should be viewed as nothing more.

Meanwhile, the plot not addressing Azura's laziness being the only reason as to why there are three games instead of one is a tad more important, and I would hardly sum it up to a character flaw.

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The plot doesn't acknowledge the kids' existence because they are might as well not exist; by all accounts, they are non-canon and are a rushed addition made in order to try and capitalize further on Awakening's success. As such, they are little more than a gameplay mechanic and should be viewed as nothing more.

Meanwhile, the plot not addressing Azura's laziness being the only reason as to why there are three games instead of one is a tad more important, and I would hardly sum it up to a character flaw.

An explanation is given for the existence of the children, and each of their Paralogues has its own mini-plot. It may not be canon, but it's still a plot element that I can criticise as such.

As for Azura, passivity is definitely a character flaw. Having thought about it, she reminds me of myself a little. The way I see it, she thinks that she doesn't need to bring up Valla and Anankos, because Corrin is already going after Garon, the centre of Anankos's influence on Hoshido/Nohr. I often find myself not pointing out an obvious solution because someone else is already working on a different solution, so I guess I can just empathise with Azura more than a more proactive person would.

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Hahahaha.

No.

What you mean is that you weren't patient enough to find the reliable strategies. Now, if you'd said "Awakening's Lunatic mode is shit Robin- and Nostank-spam", I'd agree with you. But luck-based? No more than any other Fire Emblem ever.

To be entirely fair ch1-3 (the only time you ever really need to interact with the game) are pretty aids in terms of random rng just absolutely shitting on even the most reliable strats on lunatic or L+

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An explanation is given for the existence of the children, and each of their Paralogues has its own mini-plot. It may not be canon, but it's still a plot element that I can criticise as such.

As for Azura, passivity is definitely a character flaw. Having thought about it, she reminds me of myself a little. The way I see it, she thinks that she doesn't need to bring up Valla and Anankos, because Corrin is already going after Garon, the centre of Anankos's influence on Hoshido/Nohr. I often find myself not pointing out an obvious solution because someone else is already working on a different solution, so I guess I can just empathise with Azura more than a more proactive person would.

I never said you couldn't; I disagreed with its importance. I find it a despicable attempt at pandering, myself, but the game doesn't try to insert them in the main story, and can thus be ignored.

I'm sorry, but that explanation makes zero sense. Azura's role and lack of agency is not treated as a flaw in the main story, and it's most certainly not attributed to her personality; hell, she's the one who says she's been unable to talk about Anankos and Garon, not that she didn't want to. Of course, this makes no sense, since we never see her trying to get Corrin or the royals to the Bottomless Canyon aside from in Revelation, and she doesn't tell Corrin about Anankos in Conquest even though they're actually in Valla.

The problem is that Azura already knows everything worth knowing about the conflict, and as far as we know, she wants to put an end to the world and bring peace. The fact that she's actively ignoring the real villain in two out of three routes makes no sense, and Birthright and Conquests are effectively bad ends since Sumeragi and Anankos are still around, and the latter can no longer be killed.

Fates' plot is barely held together effectively by this single plot contrivance, and it's horribly explained, and that's why I consider it offensively bad. However, like I said, nothing points to this having anything to do with Azura's personality, or rather lack thereof, since she's a cold calculating exposition bot in the main story. If you find yourself identifying with such a character, then you're free to do so, but don't try to project your personality on a character in an attempt to justify their (lack of) actions that has no basis in the writing.

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I never said you couldn't; I disagreed with its importance. I find it a despicable attempt at pandering, myself, but the game doesn't try to insert them in the main story, and can thus be ignored.

I'm sorry, but that explanation makes zero sense. Azura's role and lack of agency is not treated as a flaw in the main story, and it's most certainly not attributed to her personality; hell, she's the one who says she's been unable to talk about Anankos and Garon, not that she didn't want to. Of course, this makes no sense, since we never see her trying to get Corrin or the royals to the Bottomless Canyon aside from in Revelation, and she doesn't tell Corrin about Anankos in Conquest even though they're actually in Valla.

The problem is that Azura already knows everything worth knowing about the conflict, and as far as we know, she wants to put an end to the world and bring peace. The fact that she's actively ignoring the real villain in two out of three routes makes no sense, and Birthright and Conquests are effectively bad ends since Sumeragi and Anankos are still around, and the latter can no longer be killed.

Fates' plot is barely held together effectively by this single plot contrivance, and it's horribly explained, and that's why I consider it offensively bad. However, like I said, nothing points to this having anything to do with Azura's personality, or rather lack thereof, since she's a cold calculating exposition bot in the main story. If you find yourself identifying with such a character, then you're free to do so, but don't try to project your personality on a character in an attempt to justify their (lack of) actions that has no basis in the writing.

Eh, fair enough. I agree that Fates's entire plot is shot, and that the characters are bad (and that Azura's an exposition bot). But I wasn't talking about plot importance; just about sheer stupidity. I still think the explanation for the children is the stupidest part of the plot.

To be entirely fair ch1-3 (the only time you ever really need to interact with the game) are pretty aids in terms of random rng just absolutely shitting on even the most reliable strats on lunatic or L+

L+ Prologue has one specific skill combination that will end your attempt. C2 and C3 have a couple each. Outside of those, there's nothing that nullifies proper tactics other than the same hit and crit issues that have been causing rage quits in FE since the very first one.

Edited by Seafarer

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This touches on one of the other things Fates does really badly: plot deaths. Flora dies for no good reason; Scarlet is killed offscreen in Conquest and stupidly in Revelation - talk about treating her badly! - but Lilith really is the worst. The trouble Fates has is that it doesn't do enough to make us care about the characters who die. Especially Lilith.

But, to be balanced, let's talk about the one death it does well. Elise's death looks a whole lot like Lilith's: sacrificing herself by jumping in front of a blow meant for the Sue Corrin. The difference is, we've had Elise chirping in our ears for several chapters. We know she loves her family. We know she cares about people. And her sacrifice isn't just for Corrin; it's an attempt to save Xander, too, as well as all the Nohrian soldiers you'll otherwise have to go through to reach Garon. That makes the player care for her; care that she's gone (unless you have a heart of stone, of course).

Elise's death is probably the only well done death in the story. I'll give Birthright!Azura's (though it's diminished if you played Revelation and know she didn't need to die) and Mikoto the silver and bronze medals, respectively. The emotional impact of other plot deaths were completely unearned.

I'm sorry, but that explanation makes zero sense. Azura's role and lack of agency is not treated as a flaw in the main story, and it's most certainly not attributed to her personality; hell, she's the one who says she's been unable to talk about Anankos and Garon, not that she didn't want to. Of course, this makes no sense, since we never see her trying to get Corrin or the royals to the Bottomless Canyon aside from in Revelation, and she doesn't tell Corrin about Anankos in Conquest even though they're actually in Valla.

Plots can happen because people were stupid or reckless (Robb Stark breaking his vow of marriage in GoT, for example) but a good story will point out the flaws and failures of their characters. Fates' problem (I mean, one of the core problems) is it doesn't want to acknowledge that its major players are horribly flawed and the only thing driving the plot.

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Elise's death is probably the only well done death in the story. I'll give Birthright!Azura's (though it's diminished if you played Revelation and know she didn't need to die) and Mikoto the silver and bronze medals, respectively. The emotional impact of other plot deaths were completely unearned.

While it's certainly the best done death in Fates, I can't say I felt anything really since right after, Xander just ignores everything Elise said to them and fights anyway just to give an excuse to start a battle map.

Also I've seen too many shows where people take the hits for someone else and while others may be more poignant, this one just felt like it came out of nowhere in order to fill in a two siblings dead, two siblings alive quota.

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Plots can happen because people were stupid or reckless (Robb Stark breaking his vow of marriage in GoT, for example) but a good story will point out the flaws and failures of their characters. Fates' problem (I mean, one of the core problems) is it doesn't want to acknowledge that its major players are horribly flawed and the only thing driving the plot.

I agree. I just find this particular choice to be one of the worst explained in Fates, and that's saying something. Azura knows everything worth knowing about the conflict, yet in two out of three routes she doesn't even try to explain what's going on. Since it's so poorly written, we have no idea why she wouldn't want to save the world when, as far as we know, her top priority is ending the conflict and bring about peace.

While it's certainly the best done death in Fates, I can't say I felt anything really since right after, Xander just ignores everything Elise said to them and fights anyway just to give an excuse to start a battle map.

Also I've seen too many shows where people take the hits for someone else and while others may be more poignant, this one just felt like it came out of nowhere in order to fill in a two siblings dead, two siblings alive quota.

I agree with this. Honestly I'm surprised so many people got so sad here, but then again, I guess her supposed cuteness makes it worse for some. Her death, like pretty much every other one in the game, is skimmed over and not mentioned again, and it has no bearing on the plot because Xander is too busy being one of he worst characters in the series.

Like Raguna mentions, it feels like it's trying to fill a quota, and I've mentioned many times in the past that Fates is obsessed with balance. They want four siblings on each side even though they can't characterize that many, and Conquest and Birthright each have two sibling deaths, two stages of the Yato, one destruction and reconstruction of the Yato, one trip to anime limbo, etc. Elise feels like little more than a victim of a formula.

Edited by Thane

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I agree with this. Honestly I'm surprised so many people got so sad here, but then again, I guess her supposed cuteness makes it worse for some. Her death, like pretty much every other one in the game, is skimmed over and not mentioned again, and it has no bearing on the plot because Xander is too busy being one of he worst characters in the series.

Like Raguna mentions, it feels like it's trying to fill a quota, and I've mentioned many times in the past that Fates is obsessed with balance. They want four siblings on each side even though they can't characterize that many, and Conquest and Birthright each have two sibling deaths, two stages of the Yato, one destruction and reconstruction of the Yato, one trip to anime limbo, etc. Elise feels like little more than a victim of a formula.

Well, I'd say she had the best death in the game, not that it was exceptional. Like Seafarer said before, there was actually some plot build up before it happened and she was one of the few Nohrians who got off the crazy train when shit starting getting bad. The sibling death quota might be part of a formula but the execution (sorry Elise) of the event was done well enough. Compare this to Suzukaze or Lilith who were mostly irrelevant to the plot before dying pointlessly.

I'd agree that Xander's...terribleness detracted from the scene.

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I'm going to throw in my 2 cents on that scene

to me it looked like Xander wanted to die, after killing Elise his tone changed to that of someone who was ready to die, he just couldn't take it anymore

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Well, I'd say she had the best death in the game, not that it was exceptional. Like Seafarer said before, there was actually some plot build up before it happened and she was one of the few Nohrians who got off the crazy train when shit starting getting bad. The sibling death quota might be part of a formula but the execution (sorry Elise) of the event was done well enough. Compare this to Suzukaze or Lilith who were mostly irrelevant to the plot before dying pointlessly.

I'd agree that Xander's...terribleness detracted from the scene.

Well when you put it that way, finding exploding crystals because you're pals with the main character or just taking a hit from a redshirt when you've had no story presence are not really comparable, no.

I'm going to throw in my 2 cents on that scene

to me it looked like Xander wanted to die, after killing Elise his tone changed to that of someone who was ready to die, he just couldn't take it anymore

Which, again, gives credit to my argument that Xander is the mentally weakest character in the entire series. He's supposed to be a hero and a prince, yet his "way out" includes spitting on someone's sacrifice and forcing someone he supposedly cares about to take his life. He had no reason to not join Corrin there since he knows they are right and that Garon needs to be stopped.

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Which, again, gives credit to my argument that Xander is the mentally weakest character in the entire series. He's supposed to be a hero and a prince, yet his "way out" includes spitting on someone's sacrifice and forcing someone he supposedly cares about to take his life. He had no reason to not join Corrin there since he knows they are right and that Garon needs to be stopped.

have you ever heard of Camus

if you've read some of his supports he admits to just putting on a brave face, he's flawed. it's better than having another Mary Sue who can do no wrong

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have you ever heard of Camus

if you've read some of his supports he admits to just putting on a brave face, he's flawed. it's better than having another Mary Sue who can do no wrong

Support Xander and main story Xander are such different characters that I consider them two separate ones. Also, "flawed" is a serious understatement. I'll just regurgitate what I wrote the other day when asked about the most offensive characters in Fire Emblem, since I just woke up and soon need to be on my merry way to do boring grown-up stuff.

[spoiler=My Xander rant]Xander - I mentioned earlier that I feel like Xander is two characters: the support version of him is a taciturn, disciplined prince with a nation's weight on his shoulders, yet in spite of it all is kind and caring. His main story counterpart is a sniveling coward completely lacking in morals who only cares about being able to sleep at night; the rest of the world can burn for all he cares.

The narrative tries so hard to make us see Xander as a reliable older brother, but that's just not how he comes across in the main story. He is okay with blindly following orders even when he knows them to be wrong. He needs no reason to do what he does so long as those around him are safe.

Let's take a chronological look at Xander here. In chapter 6, he tells the prince of the innocent nation he's invading to essentially eat shit and die; already we have a problem seeing him as a hero. He then tries convincing Corrin to come back to the family that has lied to them all their life and to the country that's ruled by the obvious madman that killed their parents and themselves twice already and help out with the invasion so that as few people as possible have to die - this is important, remember that. If you choose Birthright, he'll play a minor role until you kill him - of course, first he spits on his sister's sacrifice, ignoring what she wished for him to do and then he tells Corrin that he had no choice as the crown prince of Nohr, showing us what a gutless idiot he is for not being able to do the right thing even when the opportunity is served to him on a silver platter.

He doesn't fare much better in Conquest where he's once again fine with killing people left and right. This is also where we see the hypocritical side of him, since he objects to Zola's plan of killing the four Hoshidan royals, effectively ending the war right then and there with minimal casualties - he goes back on what he told Corrin, because this is not the "honorable" thing to do - Xander wants to kill them when they have a chance to defend themselves and can sacrifice far more people instead. This is made even worse when he says what may be the second stupidest line in the game, "justice is an illusion", in a pathetic attempt at telling himself that what he's doing is right. Of course, justice is an illusion, but he still felt the need to save the Hoshidans so that the war could continue, because his honor called for it - I'm trying so hard to see the writers' logic here, but I'm drawing a blank. Even after the war is over and they have won, he still suspects the avatar of treason when they say they need to kill Garon (which is another massive, massive issue, but we're only focusing on Xander as a character here), and he doesn't see anything wrong at all with what they've done until Garon turns out to be a literal monster rather than a figuerative one - the thing is, that doesn't change that Xander did what he thought was right, unable to see that a massacre might not be such a good thing. As a final insult, the player is supposed to be excited when he's crowned king of Nohr. Personally I'd be worried about being ruled by a guy so completely lacking in morals and spine who has shown that he's easily manipulated and willing to go to extremes to do something that's not beneficial for anyone. I suppose this is irrelevant, however, since Birthright and Conquests are bad endings where Sumeragi and Anankos are still alive, and the latter is now unable to be killed since a few of the siblings are dead.

In Revelation, he needs a literal evil monologue to be convinced that his father may not want what's best for Nohr after all. After that he pretty much disappears from the story, like every other character.

I've said this a lot recently, but it does bear repeating: Xander is very similar to Hetzel, yet the way the narrative treats these two characters couldn't be more different. Hetzel is treated like a sniveling opportunistic coward who could've stepped in and stopped tragedies from occurring. Xander, on the other hand, backed by the entire Nohrian royal family plus Corrin and Azura, is incapable of seeing the horrible things happening in front of him, yet the game treats him like a hero. Xander is even worse than Hetzel in that he's got more power than the senator and more allies, yet he not only watches as things unfold around him, but rather takes an active part in making sure they occur.

Xander is a villain in two out of three routes, saved only in the golden path because of a plot convenience, yet he's treated as a hero, and that's why I can't stand him.

Edited by Thane

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Thane is absolutely right about Xander. Heck, when he killed Elise and still didn't back down, I just wanted to make the dastard eat his own sword. But, really, it all boils down to Fates being a gigantic Mary Sue story.

The Head Sue (or Sues, in this case - Azura counts too) is Always Right. Anyone who panders to the Head Sue's whims is also Always Right. The Scary Sue (Takumi) who criticises the Head Sue is always Wrong, until they see the light and are saved by the Head Sue's divine aura. So, so much of why Fates's plot is bad comes down to none of the characters ever calling each other out for stupid behaviour - unless said behaviour has a direct bearing on the happiness of the Head Sue.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to call it an Idiot Plot. If the characters got their heads out of their arses for more than ten seconds at a time, the whole thing would be solved in like five maps.

EDIT: Something interesting I noticed: if you play Birthright first, you're likely to miss that Leo ends the game knowing about Valla. After C18B, Azura gives Leo the Crystal of Showing Corrin Gooron's True Form, and after C25B, Leo mentions going to the Bottomless Canyon...

Why did he go there? Azura just told him he'd have to work out how the crystal worked on his own. The only reason he would go there would be to reach Valla. He's coy with his retainers about what he learned from the crystal, presumably because of the curse of Valla. And then he says that there's going to be a major battle... So does Leo know about Anankos, too?

Edited by Seafarer

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Thane is absolutely right about Xander. Heck, when he killed Elise and still didn't back down, I just wanted to make the dastard eat his own sword. But, really, it all boils down to Fates being a gigantic Mary Sue story.

The Head Sue (or Sues, in this case - Azura counts too) is Always Right. Anyone who panders to the Head Sue's whims is also Always Right. The Scary Sue (Takumi) who criticises the Head Sue is always Wrong, until they see the light and are saved by the Head Sue's divine aura. So, so much of why Fates's plot is bad comes down to none of the characters ever calling each other out for stupid behaviour - unless said behaviour has a direct bearing on the happiness of the Head Sue.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to call it an Idiot Plot. If the characters got their heads out of their arses for more than ten seconds at a time, the whole thing would be solved in like five maps.

EDIT: Something interesting I noticed: if you play Birthright first, you're likely to miss that Leo ends the game knowing about Valla. After C18B, Azura gives Leo the Crystal of Showing Corrin Gooron's True Form, and after C25B, Leo mentions going to the Bottomless Canyon...

Why did he go there? Azura just told him he'd have to work out how the crystal worked on his own. The only reason he would go there would be to reach Valla. He's coy with his retainers about what he learned from the crystal, presumably because of the curse of Valla. And then he says that there's going to be a major battle... So does Leo know about Anankos, too?

(Yay! Late reply!) I feel like "catering" to the "selfish snowflake generation" really crippled this game. In my gaming experience, I don't feel it necessary to have a main character I whipped up be such a pwecious wittle perfwect Sue, but, y'know, I could just be INSANE, which is a possibility... Fire Emblem is probably permanently crippled by the idea of "inflating the Millennial's Egos" (I put this in quotes because this is what their chart says. Results may vary).

It's a shame, really, because after all is said and done, I actually liked most of these characters (per their support flavours). I kinda wish they were in an actually well written game that isn't stroking somebody's ego... I wonder how long it'll take us to figure out how to do 3DS hacks....

Ah, yeah... Leo in Birthright. It's a rare occurrence in Fates: a character acting off their characterization (imagine that!) and also using sense over Camus Syndrome. I kind of feel like what he did was entirely within his character: he knew there was more to the whole deal than everyone thought, he found out, but he didn't bother to tell Xander or the others... because he's pragmatic. As the situation gets worse, he gets even more pragmatic, to the point that given the choice between telling his idiot brother (by this point with terminal Camus Syndrome) that Nohr's a sinking ship and just sitting back to let Avatar clear the country out of fools (and this way Leo can then set about opposing Anankos without TarMonsterToadDragon and his idiot son in the way). Is that evil? I'd classify it as True Neutral. I definitely wouldn't put him up for the night (though I might invite him to dinner)...

On the other hand, maybe Leo found out that Xander was already in the early stages of being possessed himself and that if Avatar just killed TarMonsterToadDragon, Anankos (or whoever was actually possessing Garon instead) would hop into Xander... Of course, this still doesn't excuse Leo from being a douche and not telling anybody about what he found out. Maybe Leo knows what we all also know: The Avatar is an idiot and just wouldn't understand...

Wow, could this story element have actually been well done? I'm almost in denial... Most eloquent of you to point this out, Seafarer.

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Rev spoilers ahead of course.

I wish we had more chapters to allow more world building, things really feel disjointed. A lot of things could have easily been solved if it wasn't "For the plot!" Heck, Corrin could have just gone "Yo! If I tell you this stuff I'll vanish from existence due to the curse of the actual bad guy, please meet me at the canyon!"

There just could have been so many chances to do more world building, heck Garon is ignored in Rev until the very end! Why not summon him to battle the group? We could have him snap back to sane Garon (Makes as much sense as half of this story) and then get eaten after the fight.

Why not explore Valla some more, go to some destroyed shrine for some exposition at least! Corn doesn't even know who his father is and we don't know unless we play the DLC, imagine how different the final fight in Rev if Corn had knew! There was a lot of potential in the story that it's frustrating!

Edited by Berret

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I must say, I found the plot and the worldbuilding lackluster. And Xander...I feel they gave him the short end of the stick in characterization. Thane is spot on with him. He's supposed to be a hero yet...isn't. Definitely not a hero. I like his supports, they make him seem better.

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