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CappnRob

Let's Discuss Judgral's Story/Lore

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So while browsing the various threads in this subforum I cam across some quotes that struck my attention.

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Genealogy is really ambitious, but it's writing is not as uniformly good like some people claim- It has it's share of Radiant Dawn level "blood pacts". Chapter 2 and Chapter 9

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Also, we might need to talk about how Manfroy is the flashstep champion and fix that possible mess.

Now this is not a call out post mind you, but it did make me think some on FE4 (and to a lesser extent FE5's) narrative. It's one of my favorites in the franchise (if not my most favorite, storywise), but I do fully admit it is flawed. But flawed in what ways? I know the infamy of the Blood Pact plot twist in Radiant Dawn and how many plot holes that opens up, but nothing in FE4 really struck me as THAT glaring personally. So, let's discuss then! What do we like and dislike about the Judral Saga? What would you like to personally fix or change and why? I am curious to know.

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Genealogy has a very ambitious story, and I think it fits the rather large scale of the game even from a gameplay standpoint.

What I like: I like that the setup makes Sigurd just as much of a villain as he is a hero. Sigurd has good reason for everything he does, but he's still going around conquering two kingdoms. The theme of inheritance and legacy also makes the story feel like it's an epic, making me want to root for Seliph's liberation thanks to all the effort that Generation One put in and all the suffering that came of their failure. I also like that every kingdom and house has it's own individual identity with many having exclusive classes that meld to form some interesting formations such as a mix of Thunder Mages, Mage Knights and Knights. The villains also are very varied and effective. I like how there's minor villains like Clement and Ishtore who aren't entirely bad and just are in the way, it feels much more realistic that way. Really I have so much good to say about Genealogy from a story and world-building standpoint that I can't help but get invested.

What I dislike: The biggest misstep that I feel reoccurs a bit too much for my liking is the selective knowledge of the protagonists. Sometimes they can know everything about a situation on the map, sometimes they just hear rumors, and sometimes they just flat-out don't know, and it can be pretty inconsistent. I'm also not a fan of the Deirdre and Julia kidnapping. For the former it just feels like Deirdre is making a boneheaded move for no discernable reason, and Manfroy getting plot convenience powers. For the Julia one Manfroy basically just breaks the rules of the game and kidnaps Julia while she's in the home castle because he can just do that apparently.

Thracia 776: Felt this should get it's own little segment. Story wise I just don't care for it, it's riddled with all sorts of retcons and plotholes to Genealogy and very rarely focuses on Leif's personal struggle with Raydrik and Veld. It's neat to see the reclamation of Leonster, but the retelling of Chapter 7 of FE4 and rewrite of Chapter 8 just feels wrong to me. Honestly the game probably should have been more directed at Leif's struggle against the both Thracia and the House of Friege rather than the empire as a whole. Have Leif deal a blow to the former then focus on the latter, after all that's much more consistent with the events of Genealogy, not to mention it'd give a greater purpose to Bloom since he is the one in charge of the occupation of the Manster district. Honestly I just can't shake the feel that Thracia's story is wasted potential. It had interesting ideas for a story and some fitting themes, but it feels like things are a bit TOO personal for a story that takes part within something grander.

Anyways, that's my little praise/rant over, That's what I like and dislike about the Jugdral story.

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I believe @Integrity started a whole thread about its flaws as they went through the story. It doesn't mean it was a bad game, but the story itself (translated) is very rough and unpolished.

One of my grievances during Gen 1 is how it sort of spoils who the bad guys are. For example, in the Prologue, Alvis is already calling Sigurd a fool, so we already know they're not on good terms. And at the end of Ch.3, before Claude tells us what St. Blaggi had told him in the temple, IIRC the chapter ends with Taitliu's dad (Reptor?) basically coming up with an evil plot associated with Alvis. And then Claude tells us this in the following chapter. And it's just repeated information. They could keep the prologue scene but the Reptor scene spoils too much, IMO.

Lewyn also has a huge exposition dump during Ch.6, and that could've been spread out more.

Beowulf's recruitment is also dumb. Why him? Out of all the people he was with? Why would they just stop and talk to some random enemy and pay only him to join your side? To be fair, this has been a problem with almost every "pay to recruit" character.

Also, Deidre's and Julia's kidnappings are stupid. But Great Dane already covered it.

As for characters, the amount of dialogue and screen time is definitely not equal. Not saying they all have to be equal, but it certainly seems unfair when someone characters are getting shafted on things most other characters have.

In Gen 1, Beowulf is the most shafted, as he only has 2 convos after recruitment, and they're both with Lachesis. He and Dew are the only guys that don't have 2 "predestined lovers" unlike all the other guys. They only have 1: Lachesis.

In Gen 2, Diarmuid/Delmud is the most screwed, as he has no Lovers conversations. He at least has an Oifay conversation. Faval also gets screwed out of a ton of convos- and his only lovers is with his cousin (genetic sister too). Out of all the girls, Lene is the most screwed over because she doesn't have a lovers conversation, not even with Ares, who game sets her up with primarily. Meanwhile Daisy has twice the amount she has. DAISY. The Jobros also get screwed over from having any stat booster convos as well.

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4 hours ago, CappnRob said:

Also, we might need to talk about how Manfroy is the flashstep champion and fix that possible mess.

Oh hey, I got quoted in another topic. Though this was a joke, it's true that Manfroy seems to have all the power to get away with stuff until near the end where he gets Tyrfing'd. Thing is that he seems able to both manipulate Grandbell and then proceed to easily grab what he needs by teleporting in and out on a whim. While it is made important for this story, it is admittedly plot convenient for the villains to be able to teleport freely.

I might come back to this topic later, just wanted to get on that point in particular.

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I think the issue with Manfroy's kidnappings could be solved by just adapting the manga version of Deirdre's capture.

Rather then her foolishly running into a warzone on her own Manfroy goes after her in the home base when he's sure Sigurd is away, easily wipes the floor with Shanan and takes Deirdre. This would make her less stupid and give some added motivation for Shanan to turn from helpless shota into the wargod that can solo chapters. 

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4 hours ago, Dandy Druid said:

I believe @Integrity started a whole thread about its flaws as they went through the story. It doesn't mean it was a bad game, but the story itself (translated) is very rough and unpolished.

 

i did! the game is amazing, one of my faves despite its flaws, but the plot is hot garbage and i'll type up an effort post as to why when i'm done handling this spam

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I mean I'm a little hyperbolic about this story, but IT is rough around the edges-for all that it's better than later games

The time spent in Verdane-Agurstria-Silesia- 

 

all follow the basic structure of "evil relative with shaky claim to the throne is finally emboldened to threaten the formerly peaceful ruler". This  wouldn't be too bad, but... you visit these countries all in a row in gen 1 (only Agustria can be called fleshed out, and even that is a stretch). It becomes much staler than it would have if they were spread out by a few chapters 

The pirates in Agustria-

 

They control their own castle and state a literal intent to rout the foregin army and then seize the capital- This is ludicrous for a mercenary group, even the Black Fang didn't claim to be able to do this and even the excuse that they aren't educated doesn't cover why they think this is feasible. It's time's like these across Jugdral when "the plot's primary function is to justify conflict for the player" becomes really apparent 

most video games games do this, but they aren't on discusion here.  

 

The spirit forest in Agustria basically represents a third religion- 

 

While a SFAC game that isn't SMT can't address religion directly, nonetheless, we can broadly establish "orthodox" charathers, the lopto cult, and then ... these people. I find it problematic for this order to exist if there are so many conventions in orthodox society around dealing with people with major lopuous blood (witch hunts, but less controversially, the Maira decree)  To any orthodox charather, there should be pretty strict views only xenophobic from our 20th century perspective projecting backwards on how to deal with these people, and honestly they should treat these people as equally heretical as the lopto cult solely for harboring Major blood holders regardless of their other intentions. 

They seem benevolent and before Sigurd interrupts seem to believe in some kind of "contrition/chaste life"  being able to either purify her lopto blood or to simply keep her isolated until she dies of old age. This is stupid and while "every video game religion is a stand in for modern day for tolerant modern-day humanism regardless of what it claims to be" it is never exlained before the plot forgets about them- If they lean toward isolation>purification, then the risk is too great from a utilitarian point of view of keeping her alive, especially in a lifestlye described IN-SETTING as not being fulfilling. If they lean toward purification>isolation, that would either involve a new way of transforming major blood into minor blood besides the  established male hereditary method available to the player or to breed a male out of deirdre in isolation, allow grandchildren, and kill Deirdre and her 1st generation children There is really no other way for this benelovent order to justify its claims to opposing the disaster of lopto to a degree on par with the orthodox society. [/spoiler]

Atheism in Judgral- 

 

There are two kinds of atheism in Fantasy settings- 1: The atheists acknoledgws that gods exist, but does not think that human's are indebted to them / should worship them. 2: The atheist literally disbelieves in the supernatural.  

Their are two big points this comes up in Judgral- 1: Claude's divination from St. Blaggi is rejected. 2: Sigurd to Deirdre's caretakers in C1

Claude's failure is explained as being some mixture of the king being too grief stricken to reason / the corrupt nobles manipulating the king/simply preventing Claude getting close . However... the king is able to recognize religion well enough when explaining the importance of his blood to Alvis .... If he is holds that in mind, even if Claude's news is distasteful to him he must act on it. giving up Sigurd as a scapegoat.   

Sigurd:
“That sounds like superstitious nonsense to me. No one should be forced to live like that. Diadora… we must meet again.”

Sigurd being an atheist raises an infinite number of problems- For one, how does he justify people with holy blood, including himself, as nobles.  

As a minor point- Obviously every gen1 noble who collaborates with the lopto cult, even granted their greed, would realize that the "victory would be too Pyrrhic" - UNLESS they don't believe the lopto cult is actually capable of resurrecting Lopulou. gen2 collaborators at least have their fear of lopto's now recognized political power.

-

 

Sigurd and Deirdre's marriage-

This is the core conceit of the plot, but it kind of violates the setting- he is conveniently shielded from ever having a three way scene with Deirdre, so we never know how he breaks her major lopto blood to others- presumably he hides it- We know from Alvis' s point of view that Sigurd publishes(or spies know) that he is married to someone and that his wife has disappeared, but he has apparently not published to whom.  However, Sigurd is a noble- his bloodline isn't as important as the king's but it's pretty unlikely that wanton marriage to - as far as anyone else knows- peasants is respectable .  Further Sigurd went ahead with this marriage without a parental blessing (he still thought his father was alive at this point) .

Worst of all, Deirdre even opens up one of the ways Lopto could have been removed from the plot- Marrying (or even sleeping with) a heir to the throne, even ignorantly, is clearly a major breach of rights, and Sigurd could legitimately be seen as a traitor and social climber for this- We should know from countless examples in England and France that the Princess does not get her emotionallity respected and secret husbands do not become recognized as rightful successors. Alvis (or even the goon squad) would be fully justified putting Sigurd down. If Deirdre wasn't responsible for carrying on the future of mankind and the king apparently past the age neccesary to have more children, he would actually be entitled to execute/disinherit her as well.

 

 

Deirdre and Alvis-

Alvis doesn't know that Deirdre's mind has been wiped prior to her conversation with Sigurd at Barhara- (in the manga he seems to suspects it though). However after the battle, He definitely knows- and yet still believes in true love with a woman whose agency is  limited. Even with this aside- Alvis actively endangers Deirdre- when he allowed the assassination of Prince  Kurth, as far as he knows, he has already removed the lopto's cult obstacles  as he has no way of knowing if they have any major blood holders other than him... logically, given his opposition of them,  he must expect Deirdre to be prepared to take up the book of narga and enter combat at any time between their marriage and his own descendant becoming of age to do so-  

So even if we accept that true love is possible with someone who is drugged up, we are faced with him putting her in a military situation (especially as he is proven to know the location, seal, and use of the book of narga)

 

Evil by birth alone-

Game waffles on this- Alvis/Sigurd disgusted by child hunts, comment on C6 lopto ruins- but  partly refuted by  c10 village convo on Lopto members causing oppresion by their very existence and the actions of all lopto charathers themselves. The idea of lopto empire descendants being driven to extremism because of persecution and not birth doesn't work as well given their actual objectives. Also most members of the cult don'tt have minor blood so what even defines a lopto empire descendant besides ideology?

 

 

Will of the common people-

Stressed in village conversations thoughout the game... but kind of contradicted in Silesia, since Levin doesn't really have special moral qualities and yet is seen as the only reasonable successor 

I mean before the civil war which makes his uncles look stupid for throwing away something they were near guaranteed to get if they had patience-. Also people with  holy blood, with like one (possible) gen 2 marriage, are the only rulers in all countries after the game, which kind of implies that moral qualities do in fact come with holy blood or that it is part of a higher divine reality..

 

Levin- 

is the strongest mage charather in-setting (barring Julia,Julius,etc), but does not uses his Athos-tier responsbilities well- Dies and is resurrected (and arguably possessed) by Forseti , at which point he grooms Celice into becoming a hero (while still witholding information to a greater degree than Athos/Boah/Nagi,etc) Is implied by August in Trhacia to be sole reason Celice is able to raise army because of his social engineering his  folk-hero status as "child of light". I consider his gen1 charather despicable and irresonble more than anything (besides problems having to deal with the importance of divinity/holy blood versus capacity of non-nobles for good) and his gen 2 character - I admit that their is an argument in his favor, but personally to me he will always be a worse Kris as regards stealing credit for other's actions. Even with that aside, Forseti!Levin again makes the nature of the dragons in the setting blurry, since he essentially acts as an avatar for "sentient good" and it's bizarre that the other 11 crusaders don;t- Other than the 12 country thing, there is no real time that the 12 ever act distinctly from one another.. 

Of dragons and Gods- From levin. we learn that the 12 crusaders were members of other dragon clans that took on human form to fight the thirteenth dragon (lopusou) and his empire. In this context, the dragons seem to operate like Norse or ancient Iranian gods- being mortal despite their divinity- However, in almost every other context, the dragons are treated as immortal but can have their ability to enter the human dimension limited.  Finally Lopusou and Narga specifically seemingly don't require the larger pantheon because they are the literal life force of Evil and Good respectively, which is a semi-gnostic idea at best. The nature of the gods actually makes a lot  of the game's epilogue  determinate- is the capacity for evil in humankind gone? Is the class system based on demi humans holy blood still justified? Does  loputou being of a similiar "kind" as the other gods open up some or all of them also turning, or does he work like Morgoth in the Similiarion?

 

Lopto Cult-

Manfloy-  One of the most badly handled antagonist forces in any FE game ever. In Gen1 him  being the only thing able to embolden "relatives with shaky claims to the throne" to finally act on their desires (despite all three countries having good reasons for seeing their current ruler as incompetent) The fact that he is used for exposition in the laziest way (underling comes up to him and does the "dur what were we doing again routine" prompting a lecture from manfloy to his own men). His ability to blackmail Arvis that only works if Arvis thnks that Manfloy has no other major blood user. The stuff he's able to do as a "weakened sect driven underground" in gen 1.  He even manages to find a dumber way to lose the final battle besides the traditional "so self confident that he doesn't see the player forces as a threat"- His claim of trying to find a "use" for Julia amounts to nothing more than personal satisfaction of his ego at the irony of making her fight for lopto- He's already gotten his antichrist and has no strategic reason for taking this risk given that Julius would presumably defeat Celice's army without her intervention- He even goes to great lengths to capture her in the first place- BEFORE he asks permission from Julius not to kill her.  Charathers like Berdo are created to support the idea that he doesn't achieve everything alone- and yet he is still magically present to instruct them and therefore indirectly take credit for their crimes. 

Julius-  I find Julius to be disapointing as an antagonist- While the "competition" he has with Ishtar is fun and gives him some personal exposure to the heroes/player, it is also the building block toward the player assuming that the has a child-like personality. He allows Leaf to succeed in FE5 C13 by basically "boy who cried wolf" his own army.Him actually being sick is just as stupid as FE7 theory of Nergal lying about his invincibility This is compounded by him showing up to "collect" various gen 2 bosses, which by itself, means that chapters like C8 have their closure delayed for no good reason, and at the end of the day, make the Final map into a melodramatic mess that tried to call back to several earlier chapters AS well as closing the overall story- No tactical reason given Julius's personal power- he just sees their support as an added layer of fun for yet another game-  The only time we hear of an "adult" personality from him, is when talking to Ishtar or people not willing to child hunt about a rudimentary program of survival of the fittest / re-education, and even that is mixed in with either a childlike or a detached personality trait (he usually takes them for a walk into a beautiful garden afterwards). I consider it canon- lore wise that he was defeated by Julia despite the gameplay possibility of whacking him to death in between heals from a physic staff user

 

 

 

On Thracia 776-

I find most of the game after C20 to be less interesting narrative- It is disapointing that one of Leaf's major political enemies (king Blume) is dealt with by Celice offscreen- Defeating Redrick is made less of an achievement than it should be because he is emasculated by Berdo- Similiarly, how Thracia handles  C7/8 genealogy and never getting closure with Travant / leaf's sister. Finally, the game's excuse for most of its original characters leaving at the end instead of particpating with Leaf in the latter part of genealogy is kind of weak -

the world might end but at least we stopped those bandits 

Honestly, I think that the strongest ways for Thracia to end would either be a much crazier chapter 20 (he has been foxholed in the castle for 6 months after all ) since meeting up with Celice and having the pressure lifted changes the tone of the story due to balance of power of the remaining enemies / Or else to make the maps after C22 into a recreation of the latter half of C8 from Genealogy (bonus points if Celice's army is present in Green  form to make a real two pronged assault).IAside from a few major points like these I tend to prefer Thracia retcons over Genealogy originals  

Edited by Reality
Missed one F*** /spolier tag

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@Reality About your point about Sigurd not believing/ignoring Deidre's "curse", I don't think it makes him an atheist- so the problem about how he justifies his bloodline is not really a problem. This is my take on the event; tbh, I think Sigurd was also thinking with his other head  and just wanted this girl so badly that he'd risk fate/destiny for her. I don't think it makes him an atheist, rather it's more about a foolish youth in love, who boldly gets into things on a whim.

But I pretty much agree with the rest of your write up for.

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I'd have to replay FE4 to speak more in-depth about its story and characters, but I remember the narrative is a bit lacking. You have a huge exposition before the chapter, then an enormous chapter where those plot important places are merely castles you conquer and there's a bit more of exposition before you continue to move from A to B to conquer more castles, as if dondon himself was the tactician of Sigurd and Seliph's armies, low turning the whole continent and skipping story details.

A system where the maps are separated into smaller versions could detail those places you conquer better and make them more than villages your units get gold and items from and castles that Sigurd/Seliph seizes. The cutscenes between them aren't quite enough for that.

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Wow, that's some hella replies. I've my own responses to get to, I'll post them later when I have more time to muse over them all.

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hey i dropped the ball and went to work and came back home and now i have a brewski and i can make this happen

d00da08bba0528aafbc867ebeb3ecb05.png

 

hello sf blog i'll make capital letters for this one

 

I'll open this by saying that I FE4 does try to do something different, and it is a really cool game despite everything I'll say.

 

First thing that comes to mind is the villains. FE4 has one of the worst rogues galleries of all the FEs, except for the two guys everyone remembers (Travant, Arvis). Look through it:

P/1: Verdane - manipulated by the Loptyr cult.

2/3: Shagall - manipulated by the Loptyr cult.

4: The two guys who want to take over Silesia, Because

5: Hey! Arvis and Travant! Both are being manipulated by the Loptyr cult, by the way.

6: Evil governor of Isaach.

7/8: Blume, and shoutout to the Leen guy who was written, arguably, by a human.

9: Travant's back!

10/F: Hilda, Julius, Ishtar, and Arvis' redemption.

 

I don't think much needs to be said about Verdane - the whole game is kicked off because a kingdom of bandits (allegedly not all that bad, except for all the ones we meet) "randomly" decide to invade. It's not a bad start - hell, on its own it's kind of Fire Emblem Classic. Shagall? Everything he does onscreen is pretty much just straight up Evil. The Silesian guys? The one you kill second calls his dead brother or cousin or whatever a pawn and scoffs about it. The governor of Isaach? I don't even remember his name. He was probably comically evil, though. Blume? Sweet Lord. The guy who molests Leen? He's pretty minor but shoutout to him, yuck. Hilda? Psychopath. Ishtar? Portrayed in game by everything except a post-her-death conversation as her mother's daughter, just less obvious about it. Julius? Eugh. That's not even attacking the minor random villains who aren't as notable as Leen Guy - remember how some Grannvalean lord's troops are looting Grannvalean villages in chapter 5, and that this is actually mentioned to you by a villager? On the other hand, chapter 5 gives us the most excellent line in the original translation:

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She won’t stop crying, and… um… none of the men know quite how to handle a child. Should I off her?

All of that is just kind of tending to symptoms, though: the root of the problem is Manfroy & Co. They pull the strings of the entire game, to a really ridiculous degree but I'll attack that in a bit. For now, I'll focus on their relation to the villains: except for the two guys who want to take over Silesia, Because, Manfroy & Co are explicitly behind all their antagonistic antics. In the second generation, it makes sense - after all, the evil empire has Won - but in the first generation, it's a cult that nobody really believes still exists, pulling the strings of half of the world's governments simultaneously. Also, Manfroy can teleport. Anywhere. Julius can too, actually!

 

Teleportation is a good segway into another big thing: your party, in both generations, has essentially zero agency whatsoever in the plot. In the first generation, it's kind of thematic - you're responding to crises as the pop up, and eventually Sigurd goes too far and gets excommunicated, etc. If the Loptyr cult hadn't been behind everything, there would have been seeds of a really cool and good cautionary tale about pursuing justice too far. What about the second generation, though? You kill Julius, after all! Entirely by accident. Please remember, Julius is narratively invulnerable to mortal weapons. I don't remember the official stance on Tyrfing/the other baby holy weapons, but as I loosely recall the only possible way to hurt Loptyr's Avatar is to have the Book of Naga, which you don't. And you don't know where it is. And you're given it, by the villains, ten minutes before you finish the game.

To compound that, Julius is all three of: aware of your location, immune to mortal weapons, and able to teleport anywhere at will. Hell, he appears in front of your party at least twice (when you kill Ishtar the first time and when you 'kill' Arion) and chooses to take no action besides teleporting away. This isn't a scrappy story of your mercenary band evading patrols and striking at targets of opportunity, this is a story of Julius deciding not to give a single shit about you while you dismantle his empire, and he's fully aware and he's fully able to stop you and doesn't. Manfroy does this too, stealing Julia from you in the stupidest moment of chapter 10 (particularly since Oifaye already had this happen on his watch with Dierdre), but at least he's not established, canonically, as invulnerable.

I mentioned it earlier in bold and want to also draw more attention to the point of how you get the Book of Naga. If you imagine the entire plot of FE4 as a line, you have absolutely no ability to win the campaign for 98% of the line. It's the Hail Mariest of Hail Maries - even if Lewyn gets these blokes to the gates of Belhalla and calls Julius down from his tower to fight, there is nothing you can do to him. Your campaign's actual destination is failure. Except, in the final chapter, Manfroy just hands you the Book of Naga for, uh, some reason. It's his final Fuck You; he controlled the plot of the entire game, including the means to foil all of his plotting. And then, as a final display of dominance, he gives it to you. Eleventh hour superpowers aren't a bad thing - hell, all good anime is driven by the main character finding some inner strength - but this isn't an eleventh hour superpower. This is getting to the twelfth episode of your super robot anime without a super robot, and while the main villain is bearing down in his super robot, you find out that his Jeeves left the keys to the spare super robot in the ignition, and also it's parked nearby, so you hop in and stomp on him. There's no buildup. There's no pressure to find a solution. It's just sort of ...ignored, and then solved by chance.

 

Digging in to a more micro level, arc subplots are super hit and miss. The plot of the game doesn't even get started until the end of chapter 1, really, with the Loptyr cult's appearance and you getting Dierdre. From there, you start an arc that's characterized by every lord of a country being corrupt except two ("let's wait and see"man and Eldigan) and you kill all of them except Eldigan, because the new king (the only one was assassinated btw, with help from the Loptyr cult) doesn't like him and he was thrown in jail, but also you don't kill the new king because Eldigan tells you not to. Eldigan, despite over a year of abuse from a new king he knows nothing about, gets thrown in jail twice by said king and dies fighting his two best friends for him. This is meant to inspire pathos. Eldigan is meant to be a tragic character, and not a complete fucking muppet.

Now, I'll drag off a bit to point out that I'm being a little unfair. This is the nadir of the arcs. The progression of chapter 8 and Leif's related bits in chapter 7 are, largely, pretty excellent. Chapter 9 barely misses the mark of being really good; chapter 5 similarly. Both are still Good instances of Fire Emblem storytelling. I'd say over half the game's story, overall, is inoffensive to good - the problem is the other less than half is present through most of the game in small ways and large.

 

Back to a grander note, the game also has zero sense of time and awful pacing problems. Sigurd's whole journey is punctuated by year+ long waits between chapters in which absolutely nothing changes - you realize he shows up to Silesia in a period of unrest, nothing happens for a full year in which the Two Guys tell Grannvale about him, and then spontaneously all hell breaks loose as if Sigurd shook it up? Pacing is more a fault of the game's format than anything; most of the game's exposition is either given in long between-chapter talks, or huge expository dumps from Lewyn (the game would be better without Lewyn. entirely.).

 

I'm not going after the writing at all because, hell, we all know the original translation was kind of a hack job and not meant to stand up for the like ten years that it did. Some parts of the SF script were translated from JP to French, and then from French to English. We've all played the Google Translate game. We all know what funniness that can make happen.

 

Now that I'm tired and have drunk two beers in the time it took me to type this, let me end this positively:

FE4 does do a good job portraying scale, even if it fumbles the politics pretty badly. There are things happening, small revolts and such, around the world that you're not privy to and frankly don't care about. There's a war going on in Isaach in the first generation, and you never see it, because it isn't relevant to what you're doing. For all its flaws, FE4 never shoehorns things in because you have to be involved in everything, and that's a very good thing. The game also does a pretty good job drawing parallels between children and parents subtly, something that video games are pretty bad at. Ares with Leen Guy and Eldigan with Shagall are very parallel stories - the difference being, Eldigan blindly followed Shagall to the grave out of duty, while Ares cast off his duty once it started to threaten his loved ones. Lewyn abandoned everything and everyone to follow his path, Ced clung to his mother until the end and then sought Lewyn out to accuse him, while Fee actually found solace in her duty as a knight out of her resentment of her father. Arvis wanted the empire to be a united place; Julius just wanted the empire. Taking god-possession or what the fuck ever out of it, there are a lot of really good micro-stories told in FE4 and they're not given any spotlight and that is good.

 

More broadly, FE4's story has a lot of potential. With surgical cuts to the Loptyr cult and, hell, the presence of holy blood in the story at all, Sigurd's and Seliph's stories could form an amazing tale of fall from grace and redemption without too much effort. The script is entirely fixable, and I firmly believe that if it got an Echoes treatment it would be an Actually Good Story, and not just a Good Videogame Story.

 

I think I'm typed out. Whew. I wanna address one more thing, unfortunately:

16 hours ago, Great Dane said:

What I like: I like that the setup makes Sigurd just as much of a villain as he is a hero.

That's actually something I think FE4 really drops the ball on - Sigurd isn't made out to be a villain at all, except in universe. All of his actions are completely justified, and the only reason he's painted as a villain is because of a slander campaign from Arvis/Manfroy and an inability to get the facts to light. To wit:

Invading Verdane: they literally invaded first and abducted a sovereign lord of Grannvale.

Invading Agustria: Agustria declared war on Grannvale. Like, there's no two ways about it, Agustria just declared war (after the Loptyr cult made sure the good king died).

Chapter Three: one can argue that Sigurd's actions aren't necessarily heroic, but he's not motivated by himself.

Quote

[Sigurd] persisted in negotiations aimed to return administrative control back to Agusty.
However, the directive from Barhara to ‘maintain a presence’, and ‘govern the people’, never changed.

He stays on governmental order from Grannvale. Nothing more.

Silesia: the gracious queen who let him stay there had a civil war happen. Sigurd's options were to fuck off out of there or fight the civil war down.

Grannvale: Sigurd is fighting through Grannvaleans to get to Arvis to clear his name.

 

Nothing Sigurd does is at all villainous. He's honestly, mannerisms aside, about as boringly heroic as any other Fire Emblem hero in deed. FE4 would benefit a lot if Sigurd's actions actually took him too far and there were consequences, rather than the consequences being because Manfroy convinced Arvis that Sigurd is actually evil.

 

whew third beer cracked it's already a night and it's just started

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Um..... :mellow:

 

The plot is generally seen as the saving grace of Genealogy, it's rare you see that much thrown against it on SF. But, I can see the logic behind the criticism, and admit to noticing beforehand the Loptyr Cult is a little too perfect in the 1st Gen in string pulling. And that Sigurd and Deirdre are rushed. And that, as someone else pointed out, Manfroy blackmailing Arvis doesn't make sense, since Manfroy is the head of the Loptyr Cult. Even if Manfroy let out the news of Arvis being Loptyrian, Arvis could point out "well look who's spreading the news!" and Manfroy gets roasted along with him, and I don't think the Loptyr Cult would want their leader looking a little ashen.

Genealogy is grandiose and ambitious, it does have a lot going for it. But being a video game that isn't a VN in the 90s, it's expected it'd fall short, sadly.

As for agency, if you don't like no heroic agency, don't play Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, and FE Conquest probably. Still, it might be better than the opposite extreme where the hero has full agency and the villains none, see Shadow Dragon and Alm's half of SoV. But ideally, both good and evil should have agency that fluctuates over the course of the game.

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tbf i feel like "the plot of fe4 is good" is a thing we convinced ourselves as an sf hivemind when we were teenagers (because it was Cool) and we never examined it afterwards. for many years, jeigans were repulsive to the community because the THEY LEECH XP mindset was the assumption, that didn't make it correct.

 

that said, even the games you're citing i'm familiar with (the fires emblem, i never did a golden sun in my life) have nothing on fe4 as far as agency goes. even in conquest, arguably the worst story i've ever experienced, corrin does have an endgame - getting Mud Dad to that chair is a goal, it will reveal him as evil and convince your powerful siblings to help you. it is an attainable goal with realizable consequences. seliph does not have an attainable goal. "beat julius" is literally impossible, with no way out of it, for 98% of the game. the part of the game in which julius is narratively beatable is measured in turns, not chapters.

 

even in the worse of those (i disagree on echoes being included among the others, but fe11 and conquest), the plot is moved along by the heroes with villainous attempts to stop them. you do clash with the mustered military of rigel and put them on the back foot. you do clash with the dragons of medeus and beat them. the only thing you ever fight in fe4 is provincial enemies - the garrison of isaach, the garrison of leinster, the garrison of the merchant state whose name escapes me immediately, the southern border force - the only time julius pulls in reinforcements from the capital is when you're invading thracia, otherwise he's a completely static boss. for the entire second generation. the first generation looks better at a quick glance - but again, everything you do is !!shockingly revealed!! to be orchestrated by the loptyr cult, and manfroy in particular.

 

i agree that it's unreasonable to hold a video game from 1994 to high standards of storytelling, but the way you heard it around here five years ago, genealogy of the holy war had a superb story that ought to be applauded. the fact that genealogy's story is complete shite is a mark against it, not a judgement of the entire game - it's a product of its times, both fully able to be updated and to be excused, but that doesn't make it necessarily good.

Edited by Integrity

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17 hours ago, Integrity said:

First thing that comes to mind is the villains. FE4 has one of the worst rogues galleries of all the FEs, except for the two guys everyone remembers (Travant, Arvis). Look through it:

I....don't really get such a complaint. The game has villains from all flavors. Its got your generic bandits and cultist, a decent Camus, corrupt nobles,  but somewhat decent nobles, complete monsters, a SNES Neasalla and Arvis.

 

17 hours ago, Integrity said:

All of that is just kind of tending to symptoms, though: the root of the problem is Manfroy & Co. They pull the strings of the entire game, to a really ridiculous degree but I'll attack that in a bit. For now, I'll focus on their relation to the villains: except for the two guys who want to take over Silesia, Because, Manfroy & Co are explicitly behind all their antagonistic antics. In the second generation, it makes sense - after all, the evil empire has Won - but in the first generation, it's a cult that nobody really believes still exists, pulling the strings of half of the world's governments simultaneously. Also, Manfroy can teleport. Anywhere. Julius can too, actually!

I don't believe Manfroy is personally involved in the antics of Reptor and Langobalt. He takes advantage of it but its never said or hinted that they have any involvement with each other. Manfroy and Arvis probably engineer their defeat precisely because they aren't allied to the lopt cult. 

Its more likely that those two are just evil nobles who don't need help acting like evil nobles and that Arvis and Manfroy just make use of their antics. 

Teleporting and Julius not finishing the heroes despite being invincible are indeed weak points but they aren't unique to this game. Its a commonly stated flaw of Nergal and Gharnef too fails to make good use of his teleporting and invincibility. I think that's more of a problem with FE writing in general.

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16 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

Teleporting and Julius not finishing the heroes despite being invincible are indeed weak points but they aren't unique to this game. Its a commonly stated flaw of Nergal and Gharnef too fails to make good use of his teleporting and invincibility. I think that's more of a problem with FE writing in general.

Gharnef comes within walking distance of killing the heroes during the Khadein fight, and unlike Julius who can, as the script acknowledges, be defeated with Seliph with the Tyrfing, Imhullu is impossible to penetrate save for Starlight.

Tellius then gave us the Black Knight, whose Warp Powder might weaken him according to plot, but that doesn't stop his armor from being immune to all but blessed weapons and the strongest Laguz + castles. That he doesn't murder Ike's crew and Elincia outright is because his Master and Ashy wouldn't like that. Lekain can Rewarp from Begnion to Nevassa in a second, but doesn't since he lacks the same strength as the BK and Nergal and such, and he has no reason to slay Micaiah, just the opposite her wants her to live so he can get Daein to kill the Laguz Alliance.

Even SS has overpowered villain teleporting as C6 shows. Novala warps in to Eirika, and then warps away willy nilly. Have Valter or Riev warp to Eirika in the dark of night, and bam! Instant bracelet get. But they don't. I think Awakening and Fates might be the only cases of all cases of worlds where teleporting villainy doesn't exist.

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6 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Gharnef comes within walking distance of killing the heroes during the Khadein fight, and unlike Julius who can, as the script acknowledges, be defeated with Seliph with the Tyrfing, Imhullu is impossible to penetrate save for Starlight.

Well, that's exactly what I mean. Gharnef could have ended things then and there....but didn't, even when the cost of not doing so was losing his personal kingdom. He could have warped into any stage after Khadein and finish the job too.

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2 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Even SS has overpowered villain teleporting as C6 shows. Novala warps in to Eirika, and then warps away willy nilly. Have Valter or Riev warp to Eirika in the dark of night, and bam! Instant bracelet get. But they don't. I think Awakening and Fates might be the only cases of all cases of worlds where teleporting villainy doesn't exist.

Actually in Fates, Iago, depending  on how he is feeling, can teleport or not. In Birthright chapter 8 he can disguise the Wind tribe as Faceless, and say hello then leave. Compared to Conquest chapter 7 after Corrin and company defeat the Faceless he walks in to says that he failed this time. Maybe he wanted to stretch his legs in the woods?

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1 hour ago, Kalken said:

Gharnef not finishing Marth's army back in Khadein is addressed when he fought for the last time in Shadow Dragon. He was using Team Marth to kill off Camus and Michalis.

That bit him in the ass didn't it? He could've killed them after killing Marth. He then could've gotten Elise the Aum Staff to use Marth against Medeus. I mean, he was well and truly invincible, and with a mind-controlled Marth, he'd be untouchable, as any attempt made by Medeus to kill him would be met with Falchion. Instead, he in his hubris let Marth do the dirty work, only for him to realize that Marth managed to get Starlight.

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On 10/6/2017 at 5:27 PM, Interdimensional Observer said:

The plot is generally seen as the saving grace of Genealogy, it's rare you see that much thrown against it on SF.

tbf addressing its shortcomings and critiquing it doesn't mean we hate it or even that we all think its bad. I have a reply building up in the works to counter some points, but either way I think a lot of this conversation largely comes from love for the series and the game, not hate. If we hated it, we wouldn't care so much. Besides, FE4 -is- an old video game in the long run of things, and even when it was unconditionally praised it still had/has writing weirdness and caveats (like plot being dumped in chunks every castle taken is just the Fire Emblem standard back then).

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Just now, CappnRob said:

tbf addressing its shortcomings and critiquing it doesn't mean we hate it or even that we all think its bad. I have a reply building up in the works to counter some points, but either way I think a lot of this conversation largely comes from love for the series and the game, not hate. If we hated it, we wouldn't care so much. Besides, FE4 -is- an old video game in the long run of things, and even when it was unconditionally praised it still had/has writing weirdness and caveats (like plot being dumped in chunks every castle taken is just the Fire Emblem standard back then).

I get that. I totally understand critiquing out of love. Absolute loyalty = the one true definition of patriotism is soooooo wrong. Not to say radical destructive opposition is right either. Somewhere in between!

Integrity and Reality didn't hold back the slightest. The first impression was overwhelming strong and I was just reacting to that, but even then I could see the understanding and appreciation in Integrity's critique. 

After all, why else does Fates get so bashed? Because it could have been so much better than it is based on the core premise.

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2 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

I get that. I totally understand critiquing out of love. Absolute loyalty = the one true definition of patriotism is soooooo wrong. Not to say radical destructive opposition is right either. Somewhere in between!

Integrity and Reality didn't hold back the slightest. The first impression was overwhelming strong and I was just reacting to that, but even then I could see the understanding and appreciation in Integrity's critique. 

After all, why else does Fates get so bashed? Because it could have been so much better than it is based on the core premise.

I'm sorry if I gave the impression that the story deserves to be condemned. My impression of when the OP quoted me  was that it was a thread for the storyline's problems and thus, I didn't really talk about things that I liked or when the game's theme's  did work together- If I didn't show appreciation of the game, it was because, I find that far larger than any of the actual story's problems, is the problem of the fan's reception of it as so holy that it is either no longer written as a game, and that it totally/nearly transcends genre boundaries.

However, I'm not willing to chalk the game's problems solely up to the time period it was made in. Yes half the game is pre-chapter narration or Levin, but even if the script's presentation were changed - it does have problems of unity regarding certain themes in addition to a handful of badly used characters and events. 

New stuff-

It's mentioned by Integrity that most of the minor villains in this game are not very nuanced, but this is actually kind of inevitable based on how the game is designed. A lot of people comment on how the Arachnea games suffer from character bloat and hence many characters having no chance at being fleshed out, but Genealogy  manages to suffer from a kind of villain bloat- Yes, a lot of fire emblems will have 3-5 bandit chapters, and lots of opportunistic low-level generals and regents to mow over, but Genalogy has the basic problem of having to write for the villain of each castle- Hence instead of 1 boss each  for 25-30 chapters (give or take a few for rare chapters with 2 bosses in them or defense maps), Genealogy has 6+ bosses each in 12 chapters for a total in the 70s- There is really no help for a lot of them being flat characters without much bearing on the plot. Perhaps the translation went a little far with "familiar language" making some of them sound like rapists and "take no prisoners" generals, but even with that aside, not TOO much can be expected from a great many of them, even in a high-quality remake. 

RE: Sigurd's Agency-  I kind of have to side with Integrity on this. Sigurd as a lord, pretty much always does what's put in front of him with only two major exceptions 1: Not taking Shanan captive 2: Marrying Deirdre. I don't really think this makes him a bad character, he loyally does what the king orders in Verdane/Agustria, and then he makes his way towards the capital to sue for his innocence, mostly acting against antagonists on the way that he doesn't need to decide for himself are worth fighting, but mostly when they coincidentally commit actions that help them fit better into a framework that justifies him fighting them (especially the Silesia Uncles, Reptor,Langobolt). It does mean for me that Sigurd's loyalty to the king is less interesting than Marth's loyalty to Hardin, but that doesn't disqualify Sigurd from being a good character. 

The only time I have a problem with Sigurd's "lack of agency" is when dealing with fan interpretations that explain him as having antihero qualities or going too far, etc.. i do not find that the bulk of his turning point in  Chapter 2-3 supports this very well. 

The kind of minor nitpicking I would consider unfair is attacking Sigurd's decision not to use Shanan as a hostage- There is the argument that by doing he prolongs the war and thus puts two people he is stated to love/respect in danger for a longer amount of time (Prince Kurth and his father)- But the game is clearly using this purposely to show Sigurd's humanist character. Also he seems fairly confident that their country is winning  anyway.  While I would praise a game like King of Dragon Pass for going all out to maintain the in-setting value system to the point of rewarding the "hill tribe" ethics system and the necessity of stern actions that would never be done by "good" charathers in other games... That is more a case of a game going above and beyond, and I cannot complain about FE running into common pollution. It does create a little dissonance compared to how he treats Eltshan though

 

RE- killing the heroes- Personally I think power level arguments aren't too big of a problem with video game stories, otherwise there wouldn't be a game. While I don't really like Manfloy, I don't  worry about how his demonstrated potential influence/power could translate to doing even more to hinder the heroes. (Same with Gharnef/Nergal) Julius might be one of the rare cases where it does detract from the story, but mostly because Celice and company aren't told that the book of Narga exists in Chapter 6 or when Celice first finds Julia... it might be a trope to know that the Mcguffin exists as a motivator for going on their rebellion, but not being told kind of makes the heroes look like they have a death wish. At the very least the player should be aware of it from the narration earlier. As far as Julius not "acting" on his power to blow them away, that is no more of a problem than  WoR Kefka/Ganon waiting patiently in their towers while the heroes mow down their followers and power up.

Big argument about gen 2 Levin on the discord server- Caution- not formatted!

 

Also I've been typing up a post on why Levin is my least favorite charather in FE4 for the past 30 minutes
look forward to that
Dandragon - Today at 10:27 PM
pretty sure ike might have already done that
Reality - Today at 10:28 PM
Ike did it taking FE4 as evidence only
I'm using FE4 and FE5 together
Like I find the whole abandoning country thing together
annoying on its own
but in FE5 August tells Leaf something like " I've been grooming you for success, and someone else has been doing the same with Celice"
And the main difference is
August is forced to withdraw this statement and admit that Leaf became more than what he made him
While Levin continues to treat Sigurd like the unintelligent partner in their "need to know basis" relationship
Implying that everything Celice accomplishes was really the result of Levin socially engineering Celice's folk hero status as the child of light
Therefore Levin is actually a bigger thief of charather than Kris in FE12  ever was
Tryhard - Today at 10:33 PM
to be fair
he is resurrected by Forseti at that point
who is kinda a god dragon
i'm not sure if it's implied that forseti possesses lewyn or not tbh
Reality - Today at 10:36 PM
yeah the resurrection does play up levin's special status
Tryhard - Today at 10:36 PM
lewyn pretty much ceases to be a character after gen 1
i can't really get mad at him being a douche after that
Reality - Today at 10:37 PM
Also in FE5, Sety claims that Levin was the only person who could cure his wife-
I don't known how to take that
unless it's elevating him to be the strongest mage (or at least helaer) in the judgdral setting
At least lore-wise
MCProductions - Today at 10:40 PM
Considering he probably legitimately IS the strongest mage who isn't a cultist or fucking Arvis himself in Jugdral... I fail to see the issue
Reality - Today at 10:40 PM
well being the strongest mage would kind of put him in the position of Athos-
and that would make him withholding information/not using his powers to do the most good even more irresponsible
he doesn't even really have Athos's trope of giving eliwood the time to prove their worth as heroes ither
Tryhard - Today at 10:41 PM
yeah but
Forseti possessing Lewyn
seems kinda like a dick
MCProductions - Today at 10:42 PM
As for the character stealing thing, if Lewyn stole Seliph's character, then Jagen stole FE3 Marth's Character, Merlinus stole Roy's character, Seth stole Eirika/Ephraim's, Soren stole Ike's, Sothe stole Micaiah's.. I could go on
Reality - Today at 10:44 PM
I mean it's more than him simply being a tactician
otherwise I don't think they would have pointed it out with FE5's tacticians being that manipulaative
CappnRob - Today at 10:54 PM
Forsetti has every need to cultivate Celice into a hero
the literal end of the fucking world was kind of at stake :V
IF YOU DONT SHAPE UP SON AND SUCEEED THE EMPIRE EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE DEMON DRAGON FOOD KID
Reality - Today at 10:55 PM
I mean if ou look at it that way it's fair
But I don't like the loss of agency and human self-determicy
CappnRob - Today at 10:56 PM
it really isnt loss of agency?
i mean celice didnt have to listen to levin
and moreover he chooses to be the hero because i mean
fucking child hunts
celice has a very personal legitimate reason to kick the loptos dicks in
ForsettiLevin just makes sure he doesnt get in over his head and die doing so
all while putting him on the path of RIGHTEOUS HERO
Pokedude729 - Today at 10:58 PM
Magic Sword/10

Reality - Today at 10:59 PM
But it kinda removes the possibilty of Righteous heroes existing outside of this artificial grooming
And like it would mean that Celice doesn't attract the people to the army himself
CappnRob - Today at 10:59 PM
except it doesnt because all the other righteous heroes deff stepped up on their own accord
Reality - Today at 10:59 PM
it's the "legend" that Levin has been spreading
CappnRob - Today at 10:59 PM
Shannan, Ares, Faval, Sety, Altenna? they count.
CappnRob - Today at 11:00 PM
and Levin mightve been rumor spreading but he wasnt exactly lying.
Celice IS heir to the empire
he IS the firstborne son of empress dierdre
and he was a local hero in Issach either way
Oifey and the others were all protecting him because they knew the empire would bust in if they found him
Levin was deff pulling strings and making shit happen or expanding it but he wasnt a one man rumor machine
and Celice accomplished everything he did on his own power
like, all the grooming in the world wouldnt help Forsetti save it if Celice fuckin died fighting Dannan : V

 

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12 minutes ago, Reality said:

Big argument about gen 2 Levin on the discord server- Caution- not formatted!

Didn't Forseti!Lewyn also teach Arthur/Amid magic? He did instruct August on top of this. Forseti loves Jugdral and wants to defend it from his own kind's failure to notice Loptyr had ran off and conquered another continent, inflicting terrors on humans who had nothing to do with dragonkind. 

I like to hypothesize that Forseti didn't completely replace Lewyn right away, since otherwise Forseti was the one who probably conceived Coirpre, Tine, Phee, maybe the other younger kids. Lewyn was given a little more time to be himself, but then Forseti took over as time passed and went globetrotting to set the stage for Operation: Jugdral Liberation.

If we assume the 99% canon LewynxErinys pairing, I like to imagine that Lewyn told Erinys about his death, resurrection and possession before he left Silesse. She probably accepted it, was thankful for the time she got with her beloved husband, and then let him move on to his world-important mission and leave her. Knowing he was already dead likely added to Erinys's willingness to accept death, since her husband was already kinda dead. Obviously, he couldn't tell his kids. How would they wrap their heads around "Well I died years ago and have to prepare the world for liberation, so I can't spend time with you or mommy. Goodbye."?

As for T776 Ced saying his father was the only one who could save his mother, he was just worshipping dear old dad. Not without reason though, since the other Magic-oriented Major Holy Blood users were Claud (if he is still alive- that is unclear), probably Coirpre (nope!- he's a little kid), Julia (nope!- she's an amnesiac kid), Saias (did even Lewyn know about him?) and the villains.

 

33 minutes ago, Reality said:

The kind of minor nitpicking I would consider unfair is attacking Sigurd's decision not to use Shanan as a hostage- There is the argument that by doing he prolongs the war and thus puts two people he is stated to love/respect in danger for a longer amount of time (Prince Kurth and his father)- But the game is clearly using this purposely to show Sigurd's humanist character. Also he seems fairly confident that their country is winning  anyway.

Agreed, you don't need a hostage if you're winning with raw force. Negotiations (which include hostages) are only begun by the weak, the merciful, those inclined to save resources, and those who have want of the enemy once they are defeated (e.g. as economic pawns, as local tributary rulers in an imperial/colonial setting), and Grannvale wasn't any of these.

 

38 minutes ago, Reality said:

Julius might be one of the rare cases where it does detract from the story, but mostly because Celice and company aren't told that the book of Narga exists in Chapter 6 or when Celice first finds Julia... it might be a trope to know that the Mcguffin exists as a motivator for going on their rebellion, but not being told kind of makes the heroes look like they have a death wish. At the very least the player should be aware of it from the narration earlier. As far as Julius not "acting" on his power to blow them away, that is no more of a problem than  WoR Kefka/Ganon waiting patiently in their towers while the heroes mow down their followers and power up.

Julius has less of an excuse than Ganondorf and Kefka you could argue. Kefka has lasers he can shoot the heroes with from the summit of his tower. Julius displays no massive area nuke powers despite being Loptyr's victim, the best he can do is Meteor. If Julius tried to singlehandedly wipe out everyone (though he doesn't have to, just the leadership will suffice), it'd take him a long while to do so.

Lewyn not telling Seliph about the truth of Julia and Naga is done for no good reason. Why leave the amnesia girl in the dark? It'd make Seliph want to protect Julia even more knowing she's that important and his half-sister.

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I rather agree with the criticism on FE4's story (the issues with the pacing, the teleportation Deus Ex, some holy blood shenanigans), but I disagree with calling it a bad story, as well as with other extrapolated points.

I don't think the villains of FE4 are bad, actually. It is true that most of them are directly (and sometimes indirectly) manipulated by the Loptyr cult, but save for the Verdane King, who has no reason for such a random face-hell turn, it is understandable and believable why Manfroy had success playing with those figureheads. It is understandable why Shagal would agree to a plan where he kills the former king and takes Agustria for himself, it so fits his greedy, blind character. It is also understandable why Alvis would fall for Manfroy's antics, and for the entire duration of their interactions he thought he was actually the one outsmarting Manfroy - because Alvis seemed to be gaining everything from his side of the bargain on a silver plate and he could flip Manfroy at any time without any repercussion, or so he thought until the Book of Loptyr happened and brainwashed Julius. Manfroy knew how to tug those people's desires and turn their vices against themselves too well.

As for the rest that aided the Loptyr Cult indirectly, they all had their reasons and something to gain from their actions. They weren't just blindly following the Loptyr cult, and some of them didn't even show knowledge of their existance. It's perfectly believable how they were outplayed in their own game. Leptor and Langobalt had their own game going without any partnership with Manfroy, although the later influenced Alvis to get rid of them in the end. Trabant came close to claiming Lenster for himself and reuniting both countries for the first time in history before being outsmarted by Alvis.

It's also wrong to say that it was impossible to defeat Julius without the Book of Naga, nowhere is it stated or shown that only it can defeat Julius, also saying it is effective vs Julius is not the same as claiming it is the only way to defeat him. I'll agree anytime that Manfroy's plan to brainwash Julia to use the Book of Naga against Seliph's army is idiotic though, even more so for someone who outsmarted everyone from the last generation. Julius was already pretty much invincible at this point, so having another weapon of mass destruction is redundant and more dangerous to his side than to his enemies.

All of it only makes me want a FE4 Echoes-esque rewrite of its story, because it has far too much potential. FE5, save for the retcons and the silly end game boss, was going on the right track. I want FE4's world to be explored in the same way, there's far too much missed content due to the rushed progression of the story. What makes me relutant is the absence of Kaga. Missing the own creator's touch in a possible remake or exploration of his own story is troubling.

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I actually really like the background Jugdral sets up with the Loptyr Empire - which had a lot more potential than characters such as Manfroy in the actual game - under a total rule of tyranny and foreshadowing that the events in the game could very well lead to this occurring again. Kind of uncommon to have an entire continent controlled by a complete totalitarian iron-fisted rule, in a very bleak way for a long period of time. In some ways I think the preceding events in Jugdral could have ended up more interesting than the game itself, even if it is very grimdark - but in some ways FE4 is already that with Sigurd having no way of succeeding.

Edited by Tryhard

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