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GlitchWarrior

Birthright, or Blazing?

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YO! I mean, hello,  people of the Web. I'm here today to ask a question about which Fire Emblem game is better; both of which I have played through to the very end. 

Spoiler

Or, in the case of the former, I saw the ending and plot. So what?

I'm asking, from personal experience, which Fire Emblem game, between Fire Emblem: the Blazing Sword and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, which is better! Keep in mind that these aren't the only games in the series I've played through- I'm also partway through Sacred Stones- but personally, before I even make the list, I think it's going to be the latter. Now, let's start with the actual plots of the game...

Category A: Chapters

This is already looking bad for FE7's case. We've only started the list, and we already have an 11-chapter tutorial. Fans of the series know what I'm talking about. You know my pain. And if you don't, then here's the rundown; Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, or just Fire Emblem, as stated in the West, is the seventh game in the series, and boy, does it make a bad first impression. At the start of the game, you meet Lyndis, a nomadic girl from the plains of Sacae. She's one of the game's three Lord characters, and the main character of the prologue through  chapter 10.

Lyn-Portrait-small.png.ae7d06e611a6fde0938830ef21ec0d7c.png 

However, what Lyn fails to realize is that ten of these eleven chapters will take you through portions of themselves to teach a new player how to play the game. That's all fine and dandy, but why learn the ropes if you already know the basics?

I asked myself that question HARD. And when I realized I only got 13 units throughout the whole tutorial, two of which couldn't even fight, I knew I was in for a rough ride. And none of them were either of my two favorite unpromoted classes, Myrmidons or Mercenaries. Luckily,  Lyn is designed to almost BE a Myrmidon,  so I can partially excuse this.

So basically, the game makes you do so much that it's possible to soft-lock yourself if all but Lyn dies by the end of Chapter 3. It basically forces you to make specific moves. And while all modern F.E. games do this in some way, THIS game takes it a step further and makes you make specific moves for TEN CHAPTERS. Not for the whole of all of those chapters, but for most of it. And during this time, your units CAN fall and won't be available again until later chapters (Dorcas being the earliest re-recruit in chapter 11), after which they might DIE.

But, there IS a plus side to this. These eleven levels were one of my best tutorial experiences EVER. And don't get me started on Sain. Sain is the whole reason I kept playing- he was like a fourth Lord- but more on that in a later section. And the satisfaction that came from felling Lundgren was too good to be true. Of course, the game wasn't OVER yet, but STILL.

After that, the game branches off to the plots of the OTHER TWO Lords, Eliwood and Hector, who are re-joined by Lyn in either Chapter 15 for  Eliwood's story  and chapter 16 in Hector's. And, as to conceal spoilers as much as possible, I'll only say right now that the plot is about some bad guys trying to open a portal to a dragon, and... I'll stop there.

As for Birthright... where do I BEGIN?  The story's so well-written, that I'll probably have to play Awakening to beat it, although I'd have to save quite a bit for that. And the TWISTS... Especially the two HUGE and sad casualties Nohr suffers in chapter 26... And if you don't know THAT, then, well, PLAY THE STINKING GAME ALREADY. No need to say that Fates wins this one.

Category B: Characters

Let's get one thing straight. I REALLY don't like losing my units. In particular, there are two units- Kaden and Sain- who I will treat as pseudo-Lords for what it's worth. What? I like the showoffs. So what?

Real talk though, Kaden was my first S-rank (albeit with FemCorrin, who I still treat as canon). Plus, he's SO powerful late-game. Birthright didn't try to make a legend. It just... happened. And the day Kaden is added to FE Heroes is the day I buy a fancy tablet just to play that game.

Sain, on the other hand, is more or less, stats-wise, the same as Kaden. Hits hard, dodges fast, doubles constantly. This is why I like these two! They're evasion MASTERS. The Cavalier class is my third-favorite un-promoted class PURELY because of Sain. And as for Kitsunes, they'd be up there too if you didn't only EVER get two.

In the meantime, the main characters are WAY more stale than these two. The most interesting Lord, in my opinion, would have to be Hector. And he's a Tank, too, so he can take AND deal huge hits. Personally, I suggest giving a Brave Axe to him until he receives Armads, the Legendary Battle Axe. Also, he's totally the best "Axe Lord", end of story.

Corrin was fun, too, mostly because she felt like... a more girlish incarnation of myself. Heck, when she fell for Kaden, I actually felt a little jealous. Her kindness factor is quite high, and she can support LITERALLY EVERY OTHER UNIT IN THE GAME, AND S-RANK ANY BOY WHO ISN'T HER SON! And YES, the male variant CAN S-rank every female who isn't his daughter.

But in all honesty, Birthright's characters felt a lot more bland than those of FE7. Take Hana and Subaki, the royal retainers to Princess Sakura. Did you, in all honesty, ever actually CARE for them? Their supports are the only thing they have going for them, and I feel like even THOSE aren't anything interesting. And as for the only Cavaliers in the game, Silas and his daughter, Sophie... I honestly forgot Silas existed by the end of my first Birthright playthrough, even though I ADORE having a good Cavalier. His own DAUGHTER, whom you aren't even guaranteed to RECRUIT, is more personal to me than him. (Of course, that may partially be because she can strip her enemies :D:)

The last characters in Birthright I actually LIKED were Kaden's daughter, Selkie, and Corrin's son, Kana. And the biggest reason I LIKE them is that... it almost felt like they're my ACTUAL CHILDREN... But yeah, apart from Corrin, Kaden, Selkie and Kana, the cast of FE7 feels better to me than Birthright. I don't know why.

Category C: Game Mechanics

Two words: Pair. Up. These two words were the entire foundation for Support Grinding in Fates and Awakening, and quickly became my personal favorite way to fight. I would pair up my couples so they would always fight at their best; actually, I think Takumi and Oboro are paired up right now, as a matter of fact, let me check... No, I'm actually at My Castle right now. Oh well.

But for whatever, Fates totally screwed up the weapon triangle. You know how swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords, while tomes and bows are usually neutral? Yeah, apparently they wanted to add shurikens and knives, so those beat swords now and lose to axes. But that means tomes and bows have to be ADDED to the weapon triangle; tomes are basically a counterpart to swords, and bows join axes. And  I almost ALWAYS deploy wizards to dispose of Knights, so that's a small problem there.

FE7 had a different weapon setup; bows and tomes are neutral to the other three, but there's a different thing for tomes; the Trinity of Magic. Anima magic beats Light magic, and then there's Dark magic, which beats Anima, but loses to Light... And this was surprisingly less complicated than Fates!

Fates had Dragon Veins as well; special tiles that, when one of a select few units stood on them, would trigger battlefield traps or open new paths. FE7 didn't have that, but it didn't need to.

And remember when I said that Pair Up is my favorite way to fight? Well, to add that, they removed the "Rescue" command, which pulled a unit out of danger. And don't get me started on the fact that Cavaliers don't get their second move if they didn't fight or move all the way!

FE7 also had breakable weapons. I honestly don't know why Birthright took this away, and nerfed the silver weapons. Now I almost only ever use Steel. In FE7, silver weapons are VALUABLE.

Basically, gameplay-wise, Fates is nowhere near as simple as the original. Actually, it wasn't simple in the first place. But still, they tried!

Category D: Difficulty

Do I really need to go over this? Games have been getting easier and easier as time goes on. Birthright has endless grinding time,  ridiculous amounts of gold for better weapons, and even a method to recruit enemies if they're felled by Orochi using the "Capture" skill. And it also has two ways to make the game easier: Casual mode, to simply retreat your units, and the ridiculous Phoenix Mode, for players who don't want their units to die AT ALL and want them back EVERY TURN. Needless to say, it tries to make the game easier.

Despite this, playing on Classic mode REALLY takes some skill that I don't seem to have much of. In fact, by the end of the game, I only had eight units, only seven of whom made it out of the endgame! And I know that Fates' characters technically retreat more than die, but I'm talking from an FE player's perspective.

FE7 is a lot rougher. It doesn't have Casual mode, so you'll have to make each decision count. And remember when I said Birthright had infinite grinding time? Yeah, FE7 has  none of that. So you only have the chapters in the game to train your units to max levels. And they are TOUGH. And you know how in later games, your units can go beyond Lv. 20? Not in FE7. This means that pre-promoted units, such as Marcus, can only level up 19 times before running out of level. And for most, they don't even get THAT many.

But, as I said before, the first 10 chapters are like a tutorial, which you can use to power-level those aforementioned 13 units. Even Nils the Bard.

Of course, because of a HUGE difficulty spike in chapter 14, I wound up losing unit after unit in FE7. Then I tried again, and actually lost more of my army in Chapter 13. Overall, I would rate FE7 as generally harder. I really don't give a crud about the difficulty anyway... unless it's Hector's Hard mode. Lord, do I hate Hector's Hard Mode.

Results

What? Do I like playing FE7 more than Birthright? It's actually a stalemate! I don't prefer one game over the other after all! I'm actually pleasantly surprised.

Now, the Sacred Stones... That's a whole different story.

Fire Emblem 7 vs. Fire Emblem Birthright: Indifferent. They're BOTH Fire Emblem!

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6 hours ago, GlitchGabe said:

Take Hana and Subaki, the royal retainers to Princess Sakura. Did you, in all honesty, ever actually CARE for them? Their supports are the only thing they have going for them, and I feel like even THOSE aren't anything interesting.

Subaki allows Selena to have the one Support in the game I will never stop harping on if you play Revelations, though - Selena-Caeldori A Support. I never let Subaki marry anyone other than Selena so I can watch Selena break down and cry go through probably the only moment of true growth she EVER goes through in Fates.

Also go Sain!

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Having just beaten Conquest for the first time, I'm currently playing through my first-ever run of Birthright, on Hard. Man... Birthright on Hard is still absurdly easy compared to Conquest on Normal - or even compared to FE7 on Hard, for that matter - and I don't consider myself any sort of pro (*shakes fist at Ninja Hallway of Death in Conquest's Chapter 25*). And I'm using Subaki... so count me in the "cares about him" tally! I'll probably eventually replace him with Caeldori, though.

 

I second your love of Sain. I would buy a Sain-centric spin-off.

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While I'm not fond of Sain, I can definitely see your points (and I agree with most of them, too).
Though guilty as charged on account of being a Hana fanboy (I have a thing for female swordfighters, don't you know. This is entirely Mia's fault!), I can't agree with her being an uninteresting character. 

I find myself replaying Birthright more than FE7, because I'd rather play a game lying comfortably in my bed than sitting at my desk (emulators, yay!), but I think both games are fine for what they are.
Though I'd give Birthright the edge in terms of replayability, because of all the different things you can do each playthrough (no-grind, multiple difficulties, children or no and different pairings etc).

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I'd say Blazing sword wins in most areas. 

Blazing sword easily wins in the story department since Birthright has the worst of both worlds, its a very bare bones story while still being dragged down by the whole story of Fates being a mess. 

Which cast of characters you prefers depends on your tastes or your mood. The characters of Birthright are more charming and expressive while the ones from Blazings are deeper and more nuanced. The group of characters were Blazing sword has a very easy win are the villains. The villains of Blazing sword easily blow that of Fates out of the water because no group of villains are worse then the ones in Fates. Even the ones who dislike Nergal probably finds him a far better villain than Garon. 

In gameplay blazing swords wins out as well because things are just a lot more interesting. Fates only has route missions in pretty dull maps while Blazing sword has all sorts of missions. You have route maps, siege maps, defence maps, anti magic zones and a boss gauntlet at the very end. Blazing sword is by no means the hardest Fire emblem out there but it isn't an eternal walk in the park like Birthright either. 

Music is where Fates has an edge. Birthright has a really great soundtrack while that of blazing sword is good but not much more than that.

Contrasting blazing sword with conquest might be a more interesting exercise since its gameplay is so much more varied than that of birthright. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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