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Alastor15243

Alastor plays and ranks the whole series! Now Playing: Birthright!

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11 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But durability is such a massive deal. May I remind you the Binding Blade can only be used to one-round ten enemies before it breaks?

28 with Hammer Time.

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Path of Radiance Day 26: Chapter 28

Alright, time to forsake the chance to have some dumb, stupid fun with Ragnell Ike in favor of training four units as close to level 20 as they can get on a veritable sea of mad laguz.

The narrator reveals that since Ike managed to beat the Black Knight, he's managed to sleep soundly for the first time since Greil died. Which is a nice touch.

Okay, so, something just occurred to me about this chapter...

...This... this is Crimea. And the reason I bring this up is...

...So Gritnea Tower, the eponymous “Twisted Tower” of this chapter... the horrific site of all of those brutal feral drug experiments... all of that was done to this place in the last year. Like, this isn't some ancient building with a long history of evil. Every cruelty we're about to see is a year old. Which makes me worried that the history of this isn't going to make sense. Like the writers are going to forget they're in Crimea for a moment.

I'm very confused as so why Nasir and Ena are still being so secretive about what they know. Like, do they actually have a reason for it?

Moving on to gameplay, Soren and Zihark are both level 15, and Oscar Jill are both 5 experience away from level 19. Given that all of our opponents are going to be the high-exp laguz, from what I remember of my last time playing this chapter I think we should be fine.

I decide to give resolve to Zihark, because he's a physical unit who's way closer to being able to rely on dodgetanking to survive. He'll get more out of it, even though I still won't rely on it with him.

Also, now that Ike literally only needs one sword, I've decided to use his other 3 weapon slots to stock staves.

So, the one info conversation is Tanith, Elincia and Marcia very, very indirectly implying they can now use the triangle attack. Probably not gonna be very useful, but I'll keep it in mind.

Okay, so, I've forged a new tome for Soren called Thunderblade (Dire Thunder finally gave out), and with that, it's time to be off.

...Huh. Okay, I wonder what this tower was originally used for. Judging by the direction we're approaching the capital from, this forest path makes it really out of the way for anyone approaching from the castle by anything but air.

Wow Izuka looks different here. It's... kinda creepy how different but still disturbing he looks. He looks like ten years younger, at least. Bizarrely youthful compared to his Radiant Dawn version.

And then Naesala shows up in Daein armor, and I do not fucking buy this for one instant. There is no fucking way he was able to fit his raven wings into that fucking suit.

So, the game seems to be suggesting due to story dialogue about it getting dark soon that fog of war will happen if we wait too long, but I remember taking a while on this map and don't remember anything of the kind happening. Does it happen in Maniac Mode?

At any rate, laguz are a great way to train Zihark, ironically, since they're all meleelocked like him.

Tibarn is an ally unit, and were we in a hurry, fuck yes we would be using him. But we're just gonna have him keep to the side so that we can get some valuable experience for the others.

Nasir has some pretty damned impressive stats, honestly. Especially considering he's not even transformed yet. But I've no interest in using him, since Ike makes him wholly unnecessary.

I accidentally forgot to bring Elincia, but with two healers we should be fine.

So then Naesala reveals himself, but the dialogue seems to suggest Leanne isn't in any condition to fly, because he tells her to “hold on”. Weird, they didn't make it seem like she was in that bad shape.

The stars aligned to grant Mist a near-perfect level up. Everything but res.

It's weird how terrible Zihark's resistance is. It's actually pretty dang good in Radiant Dawn, from what I remember, but right now it's like 7.

Zihark is actually managing to handle these feral ones really well. He's managed to practically solo the map so far, gaining two levels, and we're barely even a quarter done. I'm going to milk this place for all of its reinforcements, and feed as many as I can to Zihark, Soren, Jill and Oscar, in that priority.

On principle, I don't like how this map hid birds in the trees, seemingly in the hope that you didn't notice them. Seems to just be hoping you'll screw up and just forget an enemy's there.

Zihark's nearly level 20, meaning it's time to try and put more focus on Soren. I'll have him bait this dragon in, just as soon as I confirm that dragonfire doesn't completely pierce defense like it does in FE3 and FE8 (I'm paranoid, okay?).

Yes, it is indeed reduced by defense, which is good, because I don't even have many guys who have 45 HP.

I've been slowly baiting in enemies using Soren, and Soren's at level 18 too. I think I should be able to cap everyone important in time for the final battle, where I won't have to worry about it.

This map has been... kinda boring, but in fairness that's entirely for self-imposed reasons. Though it does remind me yet again of how much I value hard incentives to keep moving forward, so that maps can't be cheesed like this.

Zihark just hit level 20. He's got strength, skill and speed capped, which is the best I could hope for. Near as I can tell, stat boosters aren't going to help him cap anything else, so he was a nice low-investment, high-reward transfer unit.

Now the next priority is Soren, because Oscar and Jill are without a doubt reaching level 20 next chapter without any babying.

Soren reached level 20 too, and to my pleasant surprise, it looks like I was wrong! Soren and Jill each only need one speedwing to hit max speed! Joy!

I kill the boss with Oscar, netting us Rexbolt, which Soren isn't nearly good enough at thunder magic to use, but which also drastically reduces his speed, making it kind of pointless compared to a normal maxed forge. So, no loss there.

33 Turns. That's, I'm pretty sure, the longest I've taken on a chapter in this game. But the game let me, and it was worth it. Ironmanning Radiant Dawn, even on normal, is gonna be a test and a half.

So, time for the ending cinematic, and then we'll be done until tomorrow, when the finale arrives.

So, this tower seems to be well-equipped with cages and cells. Was this a prison before, or is this stuff that Daein did to it in the past year?

Alright, this tower apparently has a hidden staircase. To the basement. That can't have been added in post-construction, can it? So how did Daein learn about it?

...We don't learn too much about it, but apparently there was a secret hidden torture chamber in the basement, and... yeah, I'm starting to get concerned that the writers have forgotten we're in Crimea. What the fuck did the Crimeans use this tower for? Has the game ever said?

Okay, so, the way Ashnard's behavior is described here... it's starting to call my “Ashard would be just as awful to beorc if it were worth it” theory into question. He's described as having tortured these laguz and turned them into monsters... just to test beorc to see if they were worthy, rather than intending to use them for their strength directly. But I've also heard other stuff from him that makes that kind of confusing... Fuck it, we haven't actually fought him yet, I guess I'll just read all of his boss quotes tomorrow and see if I can make some sense of what the fuck his deal is.

And then we get a weird line that isn't expanded on where a random Crimean soldier says that some of the soldiers are moping about the chances for promotion drying up now that the war's nearly over. Not... really sure what that was supposed to show. It's dark and callous, to be sure, but in service of what? They didn't even dwell on it long enough to make it an interesting scene, so...

But anyway, that's it for today. Tomorrow, we finish this game, and I update the rankings.

And then on Monday...

...We start Radiant Dawn.

Stay safe, everyone.

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31 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Okay, so, the way Ashnard's behavior is described here... it's starting to call my “Ashard would be just as awful to beorc if it were worth it” theory into question. He's described as having tortured these laguz and turned them into monsters... just to test beorc to see if they were worthy, rather than intending to use them for their strength directly. But I've also heard other stuff from him that makes that kind of confusing... Fuck it, we haven't actually fought him yet, I guess I'll just read all of his boss quotes tomorrow and see if I can make some sense of what the fuck his deal is.

 

Bear in mind Hitler wasn't solely responsible for the holocaust. By that I mean Ashnard isn't the sole reason Daein is bad. There's tonnes of other people who want this war for entirely racist reasons and torturing laguz is far more politically correct then torturing beorc.

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Now that we're getting to the end of this run, I'm admittedly kind of curious about some of your choices for transfers. Especially considering for most of this run your intent was to transfer into RD hard mode, transferring Soren and Zihark whilst dropping Titania's easy knight ward speed transfer(at least it feels like this is the case since you mentioned dropping her a lot, if I am mistaken never mind this one) seem like curious choices. Considering you tend to be averse to early promotion, the Soren choice especially(and Oscar while that point is in the air) seem quite odd. 

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12 minutes ago, Ether said:

Now that we're getting to the end of this run, I'm admittedly kind of curious about some of your choices for transfers. Especially considering for most of this run your intent was to transfer into RD hard mode, transferring Soren and Zihark whilst dropping Titania's easy knight ward speed transfer(at least it feels like this is the case since you mentioned dropping her a lot, if I am mistaken never mind this one) seem like curious choices. Considering you tend to be averse to early promotion, the Soren choice especially(and Oscar while that point is in the air) seem quite odd. 

I picked Zihark because he's insanely useful to the Dawn Brigade basically from the moment he joins, especially since a support pairup with Nolan makes him nigh unkillable. Jill for similar reasons, making her better is just really in my best interest. It made sense to me to baby Zihark in the easier game where he sucks, to make him even more useful in the harder game where he's good. Soren was more because he can be useful but definitely needs a boost from my experience. I mostly just wanted to use him, so I wanted to make sure he was good. Oscar because he's gonna be Ike's ticket to double earth support boosts, just like Zihark and Nolan, so I wanted him as good as possible as quickly as possible.

Titania... honestly, in hindsight, I am regretting not using her more. I just really wanted to give the laguz a shot and make room for them, which turned out to be a massive mistake because they just do not scale. By the time that became clear though... I kinda completely forgot about her, honestly. But on the bright side, she's good in Radiant Dawn whether you do transfers or not.

Edited by Alastor15243

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1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

I picked Zihark because he's insanely useful to the Dawn Brigade basically from the moment he joins, especially since a support pairup with Nolan makes him nigh unkillable. Jill for similar reasons, making her better is just really in my best interest. It made sense to me to baby Zihark in the easier game where he sucks, to make him even more useful in the harder game where he's good. Soren was more because he can be useful but definitely needs a boost from my experience. I mostly just wanted to use him, so I wanted to make sure he was good. Oscar because he's gonna be Ike's ticket to double earth support boosts, just like Zihark and Nolan, so I wanted him as good as possible as quickly as possible.

Titania... honestly, in hindsight, I am regretting not using her more. I just really wanted to give the laguz a shot and make room for them, which turned out to be a massive mistake because they just do not scale. By the time that became clear though... I kinda completely forgot about her, honestly. But on the bright side, she's good in Radiant Dawn whether you do transfers or not.

Fair enough. I think that playing on normal will really help those characters, though I can't recall exactly how much normal eases the speed creep. As a fun... or not so fun piece of trivia,  a speed capped tier 2 Soren fails to double all but the slowest enemies as early as 3-4 on hard mode, and Oscar only lasts a map or two longer as a paladin. The main reason I questioned Zihark was that his damage output isn't where he falls off, so much as getting mulched if he ever fails to dodge a tiger in p3, so a transfer does relatively little to help him. Jill obviously loves transfers and is probably the best recipient in the game for them.

If I might offer an opinion though, I think doing double earth for the mercs is generally overkill. Half earth still gives a meaty 23 avoid at the quick to build A rank, and Ike especially is so bulky that he doesn't need to hard invest in avoid. I usually find having two sets of half earths a lot more useful, especially since Ike and Oscar's move types sometimes get in one another's way. Those are just my thoughts though.

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3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I accidentally forgot to bring Elincia, but with two healers we should be fine.

The game pulls a massive dick move here and kicks Elincia out for the chapter.

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26 minutes ago, Cheetar said:

The game pulls a massive dick move here and kicks Elincia out for the chapter.

Oh shit, right! I remember that conversation! No wonder I didn't notice her when scanning who to bring!

Edited by Alastor15243

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6 hours ago, Cheetar said:

The game pulls a massive dick move here and kicks Elincia out for the chapter.

 

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Oh shit, right! I remember that conversation! No wonder I didn't notice her when scanning who to bring!

Isn't this because she's in a war council for prep for the assault on Melior?

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7 hours ago, Cheetar said:

The game pulls a massive dick move here and kicks Elincia out for the chapter.

Oh really? Damn her avilability sucks. And she'd be pretty good in this map too. I do get plot gameplay integration, but Elincia's available for what, like four maps in the game? Definitely should have had her playable halfway through the game with reuniting with her bros being a story based promotion instead.

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Path of Radiance Day 27: Endgame

Alright. So. Looks like, at long last, we're at the end.

I can't exactly say I'm “relieved” to be done with Path of Radiance, certainly there are other cases where I've been “relieved” to move on and this isn't one of them, but I am definitely more excited to start Radiant Dawn next week than I would be to do another chapter of this game.

...Speaking of which, you guys want me to do any of the trial maps? I don't feel it's particularly necessary to get a feel for this game since it's such a minor part of it, but... thought I'd just put it out there.

Moving on though, I like how this opening narrative builds up this epic final confrontation. If I remember correctly, the battle itself is gonna be kinda boring, but storywise, this is pretty damned satisfying.

I apparently somehow gained exactly 1300 exp last map.

Right, so, this is where I use the stat boosters, to make sure that these guys cap the right stats. I've used a speedwing, energy drop, and dracoshield to get Jill to the point where she's capped strength, skill, speed and defense. Totally worth not using those things before now, especially considering... how utterly mindless most of the game became. I totally did not need those stat boosters at all.

I also manage to get Oscar to cap strength with the other remaining energy drop, making me grateful I kept that wyvern band on Jill so religiously that she didn't need both of the drops.

The secret books are basically useless because of the five transfer units I've got, all of them have capped skill. For Zihark it's strength, skill and speed, for Oscar it's also strength, skill and speed, for Soren it's magic, skill, speed and resistance, for Jill it's strength, skill, speed and defense, and for Ike it's HP, strength, skill, speed and defense.

The talismans and goddess icons, however, are going on Ike just for the hell of it. No one really needs them, and nobody can use them to cap anything, so I might as well just dump them on Ike to make him even stronger.

...Actually, no. I'll be giving the stat boosters to Oscar, since while he's still a badass, he's definitely the weak link in this duo, with inferior luck and resistance (and lacking Ike's immunity to crits).

I wound up giving Oscar all of the stat boosters remaining, except for the secret books, which I sold, and the spirit dust, which I gave to Elincia so that her sorely-underleveled ass can do some long-range staff work next chapter. I know her magic growth rate is ridiculously high, but there's no way she's getting 19 levels here. What was I gonna do, let Oscar make better use of the bolt axe?

...Which incidentally I am packing with him just in case, along with two tomahawks. He's not gonna need all of his weapons.

Also, with more than enough money to spare, I go all out giving Zihark a ridiculous silver sword forge with everything but weight set to the max, called the White Tiger.

Looks like I managed to get Volke and Bastian's A support. Go me.

Okay, so, this seems to be implying that Bastian's gonna hire Volke to... deal with Renning, I think? I'm not sure what Renning's status is right now, whether he's in Bastian's custody and barely alive, or he managed to fake his death and flee and run amok on the countryside, or whatever. But given what these two are up to in the sequel, I have to assume that this is what he's talking about.

Man, I wonder what happened in those three years.

Fuck it, it's the last map, let's just check out some of these miscellaneous random supports I've unlocked.

So it's this... weirdly awkward conversation between Lucia and Janaff where Lucia's ridiculously formal and Janaff doesn't know how to respond. And then Lucia... how old is Lucia? She's asked if she wants to go have a night on the town, and Lucia's like “Oh, I could not. My father would not approve of me going out without a chaperon.”

Like, I get that she's nobility, and a woman, in medieval times, but like... the fuck? Like where the fuck even is her father? Is he with our company? Is he even still alive? And how would any father simultaneously approve of their daughter risking their life in war, but also not approve of them going out with a coworker to a fucking bar!?

And then Janaff makes a “I can never tell how old you beorcs are” joke, which... makes no fucking sense, because beorc... wait... the plural of beorc is beorc, right? It's not beorcs? He's just being weird? Because I know I've seen beorc used as a plural. But anyway, how is it harder to tell how old beorc are than it is with laguz, when laguz are the ones who show way fewer signs of aging!?

Then there's a talk between Ranulf and Mordecai about laguz growling, and... that makes me wish I had tried to get more of it, because that seems to be hinting at some exposition about language, and... okay, I'll check it out. But before I do, I just wanna comment that Ranulf says only the beorc would have trouble understanding the nuances of cat growls, and... like... no, Mordecai already made it clear that literally only cats can understand cat growls, and there's more laguz than just cats here.

...Nope, the support set doesn't touch on that again.

Then Ranulf and Lethe talk and... yeah, Lethe's grumbling about “beorc limitations” and the like, and I am well past done talking about laguz worldbuilding until the next game, so yeah, let's go.

Alright, two info conversations, both one star and labeled “friend”. The first is just Nasir and Ena apologizing to Mist for stealing her medallion, and Mist just being the purest thing.

...Looks like I was wrong, looks like I have to discuss laguz worldbuilding again. Yep, so this makes it clear, Giffca outranks Ranulf, Mordecai and Lethe. He was the only one of the four known lions I was iffy about, where he was sometimes treated as some kind of extremely humble servant used for his strength, but no, this pretty much solidifies that the lions are just straight-up the noble bloodline of the laguz. We never see a single one that isn't in a highly, highly respected position. Which as I said, makes all of this criticism of classism as a uniquely beorc issue... frustratingly, objectively wrong.

So I put stun on Jill for the hell of it since she has no skills, and it's then that I notice that the game lists “Falcon Rider” and “Wyvern Rider” as the classes it's awardable to, and not “Falcon Knight” and “Wyvern Lord”. I wonder why it would be translated differently there?

Alright, let's get out of here. It's time for Elincia's speech.

...Yeah, this would be a lot cooler if the writers weren't so amazingly terrible at iambic pentameter.

...Which means that... there has never been a single time in Fire Emblem history where they gave a shit about lyrical rhythm.

...That is sad.

...I am sad.

But this “poetry” also yet again seems to confirm that Daein was originally intended by the localizers to be pronounced “Dain”, not “Day-in”. Yet again the syllables only add up if you pronounce it with exactly one syllable.

Apparently Ike and Ranulf have grown close enough for him to be able to call Ranulf a “stupid cat” after some teasing from him and not suffer any consequences. That is... oddly adorable, though odd.

So then Titania suggests that Ike add on his own speech right after Elincia's, which... I can't tell if that's rude or anticlimactic or not, but fuck it, I wanna wash the taste of bad iambic pentameter out of my mouth. So sure, we'll do this. Apparently it has some gameplay advantage having to do with biorhythm or something? I don't care. There's literally no reason not to.

And then we get this absolutely awesome reprise of “His Father's Son” with much more epic and intense instruments, and I love it.

OH, AND HE REPEATS HIS DAD'S LINE! “So if you don't want to cause your family any grief, then live!”

Oh god, wow, this is just... I love this. This is so much better than Elincia's speech.

And so then we get this absolutely awesome scene I remember between Bryce and Ashnard where Ashnard basically roasts the shit out of Bryce's stupidity in his loyalty to the Daein crown. He admits to Bryce's face that he personally killed every single person in line to the throne, and that it wasn't a plague (whether this is to mean he used the blood-pact-induced “plague” as a cover story to poison everyone in the way and then got rid of the pact before it could kill him, or if he actually did just rely on dumb luck to be the last legitimate heir alive, it isn't clear), and he just laughs as Bryce still goes of to die for him. “Yeah, that's right, you go and do that, you little Camus bitch.” I love it. It's like they finally decided to lay bare how pathetic this archetype has become.

And then Ashnard just fucking body-checks Elincia with Rajaion, smiting her two spaces away, because he doesn't give a shit about her, he's only interested in Ike.

...You know what I'm ashamed to admit I only just now noticed about Ashnard? He literally looks like an evil Hector. Hell, actually, for that matter, have we ever had a blue-haired main villain before?

...Aw, I was expecting new battle prep music for this map. I forgot that that didn't happen until Radiant Dawn. But knowing it happens in Radiant Dawn, it feels so weird and out of place that it isn't the case here. The music just doesn't feel climactic enough for the occasion. Anyway, time to do some quick errands and be right back.

Alright, back. Time to finish this.

I gave Nasir the demi band just for the hell of it. However, the stat penalties for dragons using it seem to be fairly nasty. His defense boost is totally negated, and his strength penalty is a massive five. He still should be manageable though. He's only 3 slower than Oscar, and only 4 slower than Ike. Aaaanyway...

I broke out the really fancy staves for Mist and Elincia, and had my laguz units stock more of them, just in case.

I'm going to be using all three uses of Hammerne to repair some nearly-broken forges: Jill's Jillhammer, Oscar's Trashtaker, and Soren's Thunderblade. Soren also is gonna be carrying both remaining siege tomes with him, just for the hell of it.

Everyone who matters seems well-stocked, and this map doesn't actually have all that many enemies. Apparently it actually has fewer enemies than it does on normal mode for some reason, maybe some misguided attempt to “compensate” for Berserk Ashnard, as if you'd need to compensate for a harder mode being harder.

I gave Jill the full guard since she doesn't need the wyvern band anymore, and... hello, what's this? Bryce has a third speedwing? Is there anything I can do with that?

...Nope, all five of my transferring units have capped speed. Oh well.

Let's go then.

Edited by Alastor15243

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Endgame Continued

Alright, Soren starts us off great by bolting-critting a tiger, but unfortunately the cat on the other side needs to be dealt with on enemy-phase. Also, apparently the Ashera staff is always usable from the menu... whether it would do literally anything or not. Which bites.

Alright, mental note... Nasir in the combat scenes is about twice as large as the beorc enemies he fights. Now I'll have to make a note of how big Rajaion is in battle.

Man, if only Nasir had 1-2 range like in Radiant Dawn. He would be so much more useful here. Nearly all of the enemies on this side have 1-2 range, which is... unfortunate. As it stands though, he's basically unkillable with that demi band, so it's just a matter of time assuming the enemies don't just straight-up move past him.

Jill activates stun, rendering an enemy she couldn't kill helpless for the next turn, which is... convenient, I guess? Not that he would have survived another round of combat with Jill... but it does give her more flexibility this turn as to who she needs to kill to keep them away from the main group, so... getting stun paid off, I guess?

Anyway, yeah, this is pretty mindless. None of these enemies have any chance of killing my best units, it's just a question of how long it's going to take for the enemies to die, which in some cases is “more than one turn”.

These feral ones are a cut above the usuals, though. Zihark actually needs to use the white tiger to be guaranteed to kill one who's already wounded. Honestly, the balancing of laguz units is just all over the place in this game. It seems like nearly every single laguz unit you get is just objectively better than the last one you got in every conceivable way, but more importantly, they just... aren't better than beorc units when in beast form, which... I mean, at that point, what's the point of giving a unit that kind of handicap?

According to the combat forecast, stunned units will still counter-attack, though it may just not be taking stun into account. Pretty poor display regardless though.

Alright, Oscar's capped, and Jill is soon to follow. Ike is making a beeline towards Ashnard, and will be in his range shortly. I'll try to take out the enemies nearby first though, just in case they somehow manage to kill Ike with Ashnard's help.

I'm not sure, but the enemy AI might be smarter in this game. It might have been a fluke, but when Ike was guarding a bottleneck, the one in front of the bottleneck attacked first, rather than going by some predetermined movement priority list and wasting their turn.

Nasir has a skill that's activating against some of these enemies. I'm gonna have to see what it is and why it's only activating on them.

Jill's capped. And just like Oscar, it's celebrated with a magic level up. That means we're in the clear. It no longer matters who fights who.

It looks like Nasir has nihil, and the reason I saw it activate was, as I suspected when I saw the color of the skill flash, the game is just randomly putting skills on generic units. That's... annoying. You can't just pull that on me last-minute and expect me to be paying attention to that screen! Especially not if the reward for any player diligent enough to do that before now was to just waste their time and make them feel like an idiot!

I've decided to help Nasir out by having Soren go full ham with the siege tomes. Elincia has one use of Hammerne left I decided not to use on the Jillhammer, so there's no way he's running out as long as he only uses it when there would be a point.

As soon as the coast is clear, I'm gonna try to migrate my units over to somewhere where any rear reinforcements wouldn't be a major problem. But I think I have time before anything like that hypothetically happens.

Anyway, we finally get to have some fun with Ragnell Lord Ike. I really wish we got more than two fucking chapters with this guy and this weapon at once. It's so much fun, and using it in Radiant Dawn when Ike looks so different... just isn't quite the same.

Apparently the texture used to create the cobblestone tiles of this palace... doesn't loop properly. I saw a pretty hilariously nasty seam during a combat scene.

I don't know why, but the enemy phases seem... longer this time than they usually do. The time I spend writing commentary is usually enough to keep me occupied, but now... I just find myself waiting through tedium and tempted to oh wait here's Bryce!

Okay, that conversation was nothing special, but oh well. Just general “worthy opponent” politeness.

One thing I dislike about Ragnell is that, while the “shockwave slash” method of ranged swords is by far my favorite type, when Ike does it, he often does horizontal slashes even when the shockwave is vertical. Radiant Dawn fixes this by having all of the shockwave attacks be vertical, which I do appreciate. But really, this is making me think... how fucking difficult would Ragnell be to dodge in real life? Seriously, think about it. These massive energy slashes coming at you at high speed, looking like they're twice as tall as a man? How would you get into a sword fight with this guy?

Okay, so with his death conversation, Bryce reveals that he knows that “Greil” is “Gawain”. Ashnard didn't seem to see him as important enough to tell that. Did he just piece it together from seeing his fighting style, and just assumed that “Greil” was actually “Gawain” when Ike said his father “Greil” taught him how to fight?

But anyway, I think that means it's time to have my group retreat to the now-cleared western area so Ike can fight Ashnard.

...Okay, Rajaion does look like he would maybe be about Nasir's size if he stood fully upright. But no taller.

I find it interesting about Ashnard that he's so true to his philosophy that he'd stand by it even if it meant he'd lose. He's almost happy about the idea of somebody having the strength to defeat him and shape the world through that strength. And if I remember, even when he dies, he's just like “More! More! I want more! This is too good!” like some kind of combat sadomasochist.

So yeah. Looks like this fight is gonna be just how I remember it. A whole lot of Mist healing Ike from afar with physic while he fights Ashnard and keeps him from getting near any of my other units who can't fight back. It's a pretty slow and tedious affair, especially without the added tension of being timed that the Black Knight fight brought to the table. It's just a waiting game now. But thank goodness that I have such a good Mist, because her amazing staff range is really making this easier. Even if her magic weren't so amazing, having canto would really help too. But her magic added in means she can fully heal even Ashnard's devastating blows.

Alright, phase one is down. Let's see if the game brings in anything to make this interesting.

Oh shit. That's a pretty badass visual. They convey his transformation into Berserk Ashnard... with almost a corrupted version of the promotion screen, with that same skyward shot of the heavens... but the heavens are blood red.

...That said...

Ashnard: GGGRRAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!! GGRRAAAHH HAAA HAAA HAAA!!! ...It...feels...so...GOOOOOOD...

Ike: He's touching the medallion! But he's still sane...

Ashnard: YAAARRRRGGGHHHH!! GGGWWAAARRRHHHHHH!!!

...Ike, what the fuck is your definition of sane?

Anyway, I'm prompted by Nasir to call one the of the battalion commanders, and Giffca immediately arrives. I chose him because he's the only one who gets transfer bonuses when you summon him, so... might as well.

WOW. ASHNARD'S MODEL IS TOO FUCKING BIG FOR THE INFO SCREEN. THAT IS HILARIOUS.

But I won't be using Giffca to help Ike. He can't counter-attack, so he'd actually be a net negative on the amount of damage I'd be doing per turn, once you factor in the lost chances to proc aether. Not to mention he'd put greater pressure on my healers.

It looks like Berserk Ashnard has his own battle theme, which is interesting. Didn't hear enough to know if I like it.

...I might be able to get Mist transfer bonuses if I can get her two more levels and then use the Ashera Staff's remaining two uses. Because I just used the first one and learned it gives you 100 exp. Awesome!

...Jesus Christ, I don't know how Ike would manage this without Aether. It would take forever, only doing 10 damage per turn after you factor in Ashnard's renewal.

But at any rate, that works fine for me. I need to stall some time to let Mist reach level 20, because she's still pretty useful in Radiant Dawn once she promotes yet again, so I might as well get her a bit of a boost to make it slightly easier to get her to that point.

This is such a boring final battle though. There really should be reinforcements to keep this from being so ridiculously mindless. It's just one badass fighting another and exchanging one hit per turn.

...Of course, I say this, and then reinforcements do show up, including a bishop with physic. Meaning I have to have Ike run up there to take him out if Ashnard's ever going to go down. So be it. That gives Mist more time to reach level 20 I guess.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the AI has improved marginally. The bishop moved before Ashnard to heal him, despite all of the other reinforcements moving after Ashnard.

Yeah, Mist's utility here is absolutely insane. Being able to heal Ike from an absurd distance while steering well clear of Ashnard's range as he follows Ike around... yeah, crazy useful. If it weren't for her, this battle might have almost been hard.

...Oh shit. I could get Mist to cap speed if I gave her the speedwings Ike's lugging around in his inventory from Bryce. I can probably manage that too, if I'm careful. Not that it'll matter much. Boosted speed might help her a bit, but there's no way she's getting much combat done.

...But if I can get in some combat with her, then I can do that thing I did last time I played both games, that thing I'm intentionally being vague about so I can reveal it later during Radiant Dawn...

...Yep, alright, I'll do it. I'll cap Mist's speed. No real reason not to anyway.

Yep, I did it. I had Ike trade it over to Mist while she was near the edge of his movement range, then had him use an elixir so that Mist could skip healing that turn to use it. All she needs is one more physic use and two more Ashera Staff uses, and we're golden. Then I can really work to bring Ashnard down rather than stalling for time.

Oh, and it seems that no, Berserk Ashnard doesn't have his own battle theme. I was mistaken due to a different part of it playing for some reason.

Okay, Mist has reached level 20. Now I can, with Elincia's help, attack on both player and enemy phase with Ike.

In hindsight, if I knew I was gonna do this, I would probably have given the talismans to Mist so she could cap res. But oh well, it's not like having more res will help Mist much.

Anyway... yep. It's done. And now we get the big reveal that Ashnard's mount is actually Prince Rajaion.

Okay, so... Nasir says that “as death nears, he has regained his sanity.” But I thought that Reyson and Leanne do that in a seciond with their song. I thought that was a big deal, this thing that convinced Deghinsea to show them mercy when they accidentally landed in Goldoa?

...Hahaha. Okay, I'm clearly taking too long with this cutscene, because the music is swelling in triumph when the herons haven't done anything yet. But I've gotta check what Leanne's saying.

Fuck. Okay, the script seems to be lying to me about this galdrspeak line from Reyson. There's no way that that three line piece of text is just saying “If he is a laguz,”. But I don't think I can figure out what it actually says. Alas.

But yeah, they use their magic to bring Rajaion back to his human form, and then... the game really, really, irresponsibly subtly implies his death just after he asked Ena to return to Goldoa with him. Really it's just a closed eyes mugshot, since this isn't a full-portrait scene where his portrait could vanish or something. Ike uses past tense to refer to him (“He was one of the dragon tribe?”), but that could easily have referred to them walking off somewhere and no longer being present in the conversation. If you read really, really carefully, you can see that he died, but it's really easy to get the wrong idea, as I did as a kid.

Hahahaha! There's something strangely cute about the mugshot of Mist constantly switching sides of the frame as she's searching around for the medallion. Then she gives it back to the herons, since her mom was “only holding it for Lillia”. I think that's a cute moment that shows her maturity.

Right then, time for the epilogue.

...Fuck, and Ike's changed out of his lord outfit for some inexplicable reason. I love that outfit so much, and that was the last I'm going to see of it for the entire rest of this marathon.

Anyway though... hopefully I can make my commentary on this brief. I'm nearing 10 pages and I want all of this in one part, with the rankings coming after.

(Editing note: I failed)

Yeah, nothing really special happens. Everyone talks, I'm reminded that Mia exists, Shinon's a dick, Bastian's still astonishingly terrible at iambic pentameter...

...Wait, Marcia does return to the Begnion pegasus knights? Then why was she... did she just randomly run into Elincia in that sky map in Radiant Dawn, then?

Guess I'll find out.

...Makalov's going to Begnion too?

...Okay, I'm gonna have to pay very close attention to this, because I know for a fact he winds up in Crimea.

...And Astrid too. She winds up in Crimea too, despite saying she's going back to Begnion. The fuck is going on here?

Devdan goes to Begnion too, but that's totally not a plothole, because Danved is obviously not Devdan, and there's no reason to think that Danved couldn't be in Crimea while Devdan is in Begnion.

Reyson and Leanne go to Gallia just so they can be somewhere with trees. They're not ready to move back to Serenes, which... I like. It walks back some of the absurdity of that Chapter 17 finale.

Okay, well at least Ilyana and the merchants' presence in Daein is explained. So it looks like that was planned, if not the characters in Elincia's group. Was Elincia's section a last-minute addition or something? I'll have to check this out when it happens.

Ena refers to Rajaion as “saved”, and... yeah, what the fuck kinds of choices of words were they thinking about there? Also saying they need to return “Rajaion” to Goldoa, and not “Rajaion's body”.

Oh, also... I just realized... I... I can't pause this shit.

And now it's time for the final sequence, where I have to make my commentary quickly because the game's not letting me stop dialogue anymore.

No matter how harsh the winter, spring will ever follow.”

Ah. So the Crimean motto is basically the opposite of House Stark's.

...That's... curious. A CG shows the laguz helping rebuild Crimea... in human form. If they're that strong in human form, that they can carry massive stone blocks over their heads... then wouldn't they be better than humans at wielding weapons if they tried? Meaning that if they had the capacity to swallow their pride and use some fucking weapons instead of their animal forms, they'd be objectively better than humans in every conceivable way?

So... they're just... suicidally arrogant. Awesome. Gotcha.

Yeah, yet again... I'm not a fan of how this game writes the laguz. It's just so bizarre how their power levels compared to beorc are just all over the fucking place and fluctuate as the plot demands.

Right, so now Mist and Ike are discussing loose ends, and I'm so pissed off that I can't pause this. But we finally learn who Altina is, from Sephiran.

Okay, so... yeah, Ike tells Sephiran about various shit regarding the Medallion, and Sephiran claims he didn't know any of it, and... fuck it, every time I turn to write, I'm missing something... but like... what the fuck did Sephiran know and not know? HOW COULD HE NOT KNOW THAT USING A HERON TO SING THE GALDR OF RELEASE WOULD BE POINTLESS!?

Fuck it, let's wrap this up.

One last thing though: I'm pretty sure that when referring to seeds, the past tense isn't “sewn”. It's “sown”. So... Sephiran is bad at spelling.

So yeah, one more corny cinematic with lame voice acting, with an admittedly charming set of diegetic musicians playing the Fire Emblem theme in the unseen crowd outside, and... we're done.

...The producer's name is written as “Thoru Narihiro”. That's... did they just mis-spell Soru as Thoru like some kind of Aeris/Aerith nonsense? With a non-romanized name?

A quick look at the “cast” list reveals that this game did the same thing Three Houses eventually did: having the narrator and the hero's father be voiced by the same person.

Ah, now we get the ending music, “Life Returns”. The meaning of the opening lyrics are more morbid than I thought they'd be. It's not until later in the song that things get upbeat. The part everyone sings is actually pretty dark. ...And the melody of the hopeful part is, ironically, pretty negative-sounding.

But anyway...

...Oh. Looks like there are no ending statistics? I just saw the “fin” screen.

...Nope, here they are. Lemme see if I can get them down real quick:

Prologue: 4

Chapter 1: 7

Chapter 2: 10

Chapter 3: 8

Chapter 4: 10

Chapter 5: 6

Chapter 6: 19

Chapter 7: 11

Chapter 8: 8

Chapter 9: 18

Chapter 10: 23

Chapter 11: 8

Chapter 12: 9

Chapter 13: 8

Chapter 14: 7

Chapter 15: 18

Chapter 16: 20

Chapter 17: 31

Chapter 18: 11

Chapter 19: 5

Chapter 20: 8

Chapter 21: 17

Chapter 22: 11

Chapter 23: 16

Chapter 24: 8

Chapter 25: 14

Chapter 26: 11

Chapter 27: 16

Chapter 28: 33

Endgame: 20


 

Top kills:

Marcia: 67

Jill: 80

Titania: 87

Zihark: 115

Soren: 123

Oscar: 140

Ike: 169

And... That's as much as I could capture.

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The Verdict on Path of Radiance:

Alright. Let's do this. One thing: I've decided, to make things a bit easier to follow, I'll be adding up the score tally (remember, lower is better) as I go, so that you can see how each game is doing overall. Hopefully that'll make the winner less of a curveball for everyone involved.


 

Difficulty: While it certainly had a better start, by the end this game managed to somehow lose even to Sacred Stones. Ike and Oscar could just wade scalp-deep into enemy forces with literally no regard for the consequences. I don't think I checked enemy stats even once before sending those two in, at least not after, like, Chapter 18 or so. It was utterly, comically mindless. Meanwhile, Sacred Stones managed to throw enough danger at me that I actually managed to lose quite a few units, at least on Ephraim Route, whereas here, there was only one casualty, which wasn't even due to me making a stupid tactical decision. This game's difficulty just does not scale well, and the enemies in Sacred Stones, by the end of the game, were way more intimidating, especially when it came to offense. And given how low I ranked that game... that's saying something. I don't feel comfortable putting it below Book 1 or Dark Dragon, but it's definitely going pretty damned low.

1: Binding Blade (1)

2: Thracia 776 (2)

3: Blazing Blade (3)

4: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (4)

5: Genealogy of the Holy War (5)

6: Gaiden (6)

7: Sacred Stones (7)

8: Path of Radiance (8)

9: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (9)

10: Dark Dragon (10)


 

Ironmannability: Now this is something PoR does much better in. I think it still loses out to Genealogy due to shit like the pitfall bridge and the dearth of new recruits towards the beginning of the game, but it beats out Sacred Stones' infamous fog of war maps blindsiding the player rather unpleasantly. The ambush spawn in Chapter 11 is... unfortunate, but... I don't think that single instance is quite enough to tip the scales. So yeah. Second place.

1: Genealogy of the Holy War (6)

2: Path of Radiance (10)

3: Sacred Stones (10)

4: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (8)

5: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (14)

6: Binding Blade (7)

7: Blazing Blade (10)

8: Dark Dragon (18)

9: Gaiden (15)

10: Thracia 776 (12)


 

Usability: Yet again, we have failed to unseat Genealogy, after nine years worth of games. I'm frankly impressed at this point. Path of Radiance may introduce range highlighting, but it's in such a primitive form that it's barely good enough to tip the scale in the game's favor in any way, and in exchange the game does things like not telling you what ballista stats are, not letting you see how far your units move on terrain in the prep screen before you finalize their positions, and giving you no means to see what the stats of laguz units are going to be between transformation phases. Genealogy has none of these problems, and so its weirdness eliminating the need for a lot of features that wouldn't be in the games for years seems to win out yet again. But PoR does win out over the GBA games, I'll grant it that.

1: Genealogy of the Holy War (7)

2: Path of Radiance (12)

3: Blazing Blade (13)

4: Sacred Stones (14)

5: Binding Blade (12)

6: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (20) and Book 2 (14)

7: Thracia 776 (19)

8: Gaiden (23)

9: Dark Dragon (27)


 

Depth: Well, the skill system is honestly kinda shallow. Not as shallow as Sacred Stones', to be clear, but barely any better. It also doesn't have Sacred Stones' branching promotions, which is a shame, and while the weapon choices on promotion are a cool idea... it's hampered by being utterly idiotic in execution. Mages never want to pick knives, and with cavalry, axes and lances are generally the way to go. But there's also shoving, and bonus experience, and gimmicky transforming classes... and also the best support system in the series so far...

...Ugh, this is a tough one. But I think it's going above Sacred Stones just due to sheer scale and feature variety. And... ugh... I think it's going above Gaiden too. Gaiden's got a lot of weird shit that definitely increases its depth, but it's also lacking a ton of modern advancements to the formula in terms of mechanics and the like. I think Path of Radiance beats it.

1: Genealogy of the Holy War (8)

2: Thracia 776 (21)

3: Path of Radiance (15)

4: Gaiden (27)

5: Sacred Stones (19)

6: Binding Blade (18)

7: Blazing Blade (20)

8: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (28) and Book 2 (22)

9: Dark Dragon (36)


 

Balance: Christ, this is the one I'm having the most difficulty with here. This is the moment I seem to run into with every ranking past Thracia where I take a look at one of the categories I've ranked so far and question whether I even knew what I was doing when I made this.

Well, let's start with something concrete: the mastery skills are all fucking over the place. There are like three that are worth the 20 points: sol, luna and aether. Everything else feels like people were just grasping at straws trying to make one of these things for every class archetype. I think the fact that sol, luna, astra, aether and lethality are the only ones we've ever seen again (only one of which this game actually invented) should be testament to how for-the-hell-of-it and phoned-in a lot of these were.

The laguz are a complete joke. They started out promising but depended on being drastically overleveled in order to be useful. They just cannot match up to your beorc units at equal levels, and it's absolutely depressing that that is the case.

Also, as usual for so many damned games in the series, there is no reason to use anyone who doesn't have 1-2 range. Ike at least was tough enough that this was merely a nuisance, but I only went to the trouble with Zihark because of him being worthwhile in Radiant Dawn. Paladins and wyvern riders still absolutely own the world in this game.

Meaning, obviously, we're diving straight into the pool of mediocrity that is everything beneath Binding Blade. ...And let's be honest: Binding Blade's probably only out of the pool because it's the scum on top of it.

...It's become readily apparent that this category is going to feel very similar to “writing” in terms of none of them really feeling like an unqualified, no-problems-here passing grade.

But anyway... I'd say this goes just below Blazing Blade. It's got all of the same problems as Blazing Blade, but with the added complication of having some rather poorly-implemented gimmicks on top of it.

1: Binding Blade (19)

2: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (30)

3: Gaiden (30)

4: Blazing Blade (24)

5: Path of Radiance (20)

6: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (28)

7: Sacred Stones (26)

8: Thracia 776 (29)

9: Genealogy of the Holy War (17)

10: Dark Dragon (46)


 

Pacing: Ultimately I've decided I have to put this beneath the GBA games but above Thracia. While I'm concerned I may have had my perception skewed by my lack of access to the staples of emulation like fast-forwarding, I do genuinely feel the animations are generally more sluggish in this game, and take longer. However, while technically the base system does increase the time you spend not playing maps, there are enough genuine strategic decisions you're making there that I don't feel it qualifies as padding or fluff, but rather more gameplay. So really, while it's a bit slower than the GBA games, it's definitely faster than the one remaining “passing grade” I've given in this field, what with Thracia's numerous tedious escape maps and that obnoxious final gaiden chapter.

1: Blazing Blade (25)

2: Binding Blade (21)

3: Sacred Stones (29)

4: Path of Radiance (24)

5: Thracia 776 (34)

6: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (36)

7: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (35)

8: Gaiden (38)

9: Dark Dragon (55)

10: Genealogy of the holy War (27)


 

Writing: Okay. In spite of all of the incessant complaints I've given this game throughout the entire thing, between some confusing elements in its worldbuilding and the categorical failure to make laguz remotely logical or fleshed out in any way...

...Let's be real. I've done that to all of the Fire Emblem stories I gave a rat's ass about. And the stuff this game does right is frankly more than enough to make it the new winner. The sheer amount of effort put into this story and its universe, while not flawless, is mind-boggling, and this game takes all of the stuff I liked about Blazing Blade's storytelling, aside from its multiple lords, and cranks it up to eleven. I find myself at a loss for words even to summarize. I still vividly remember my flabbergasted amazement at the number of writing contingency plans they had for the first eight or so chapters of the game, the way it made damned near every minor boss fleshed out and memorable, the way it gave even the most minor of characters a spotlight from time to time thanks to its info conversations... the only sore spot is its rather underwhelming support conversations, though it honestly feels like I've just had a ton of bad luck with them, because the ones I've gotten on other playthroughs have been really memorable and good.

While Genealogy's part 1 is still hands down the best concept that the series has ever had... we've officially found a story whose execution is sufficient to overcome that one thing that Genealogy's writing has been riding on this whole time.

1: Path of Radiance (25)

2: Genealogy of the Holy War (29)

3: Blazing Blade (28)

4: Thracia 776 (38)

5: Binding Blade (26)

6: Sacred Stones (35)

7: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (42)

8: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (44)

9: Dark Dragon (64)

10: Gaiden (48)


 

Music: This is another category that Path of Radiance performs well in, though I'm torn about where specifically to place it, as its strengths are so different from the strengths of other Fire Emblem games. This is the only one where all of my favorites are on the story side of things, with basically none of its map or battle themes being true winners. In this sense, while I feel it's enough to put it over the GBA games (especially with its full orchestra compared to those games' substandard midi instruments), I don't think it brings it above the SNES games, with their generally more well-rounded set of catchy songs in all departments.

1: Genealogy of the Holy War (30)

2: Thracia 776 (40)

3: Path of Radiance (28)

4: Blazing Blade (32)

5: Sacred Stones (40)

6: Gaiden (54)

7: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (49)

8: Binding Blade (34)

9: Dark Dragon (73)

10: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (54)


 

Presentation: New winner, but not by as much as you'd think. Those GBA combat animations are still easily the gold standard of this marathon, but the animations here were... decent. A little sluggish at times, but still. And while not every aspect of the transition to 3D was a success... I still think it's got enough of an edge over Blazing Blade to be the new winner.

1: Path of Radiance (29)

2: Blazing Blade (34)

3: Sacred Stones (43)

4: Binding Blade (38)

5: Thracia 776 (45)

6: Genealogy of the Holy War (36)

7: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (61) and Book 2 (56)

8: Gaiden (62)

9: Dark Dragon (82)


 

Replayability: I think this game is gonna suffer here. Literally no gaiden chapters, no branching promotions, no reason to experiment with the branching weapon system of paladins and sages, no reason to make different story decisions from those stupid choices you get... I mean, there are some trial maps that you get more bonus units for if you beat it a ton of times, but, like... for real, I never unlocked those even when I was an obsessed child. I think that says all you need to know. Really, all the replay value comes in the form of stuff that Radiant Dawn retroactively added in terms of how it can affect those saves. But should that really be counted?

No. Of course it shouldn't. That would be ridiculous.

All that remains is the usual stuff of trying different characters. Which means it goes above Dark Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem... and nothing else.

1: Genealogy of the Holy War (37)

2: Sacred Stones (45)

3: Blazing Blade (37)

4: Binding Blade (42)

5: Thracia 776 (50)

6: Gaiden (68)

7: Path of Radiance (36)

8: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (69)

9: Dark Dragon (91)

10: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (66)


 

...Which means...

...The new ranking is...


 

OVERALL:

1: Path of Radiance (36)

2/3: Blazing Blade (37)

2/3: Genealogy of the Holy War (37)

4: Binding Blade (42)

5: Sacred Stones (45)

6: Thracia 776 (50)

7: Mystery of the Emblem Book 2 (66)

8: Gaiden (68)

9: Mystery of the Emblem Book 1 (69)

10: Dark Dragon (91)

One of these days, I'm going to come up with some kind of weighted ranking system to get rid of that sinking feeling that something is “off” about these rankings, but until then, unless my math is wrong, this is how things stand. Which means it looks like Genealogy and Blazing Blade have gotten into a tie, and Gaiden has finally won out against Book 1 like my intuition has insisted for so long, due to Path of Radiance messing around with their relative point values. Congrats, Genealogy!

...The tie is a little awkward though. Hopefully that doesn't happen again.

...But... with that... I'm done! Ahh... sweet relief. Another chapter in this journey has finally been completed. Which means that it's time to get excited to start a new game yet again, before I inevitably become jaded with its assorted flaws as well and start bitching about the game incessantly like a spoiled child before suddenly giving it a high ranking at the end anyway like some kind of game tsundere.

...Jesus Christ, I never feel more incompetent at this than I do at the finale of each game.

But enough of my petty issues. I can talk all I like about how frustrating some parts of this can be, but I'll be real with you guys: that break last week showed me just how important a part of my life this little project has become, especially with all the shit that's been going down for the last several months. It's my one bit of normalcy. The one part of my life that was there before Covid, and will be there when Covid is gone. The part of my life that gives my days structure while my job's hours have been cut into oblivion until further notice. I didn't realize, until I stopped doing it for five whole days, exactly what my life right now might be like without this thing. And I have to say... while I did enjoy the break... I cannot even remotely imagine living like that for months.

...So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I really, really appreciate each and every one of you guys reading this, for helping to make this feel like a halfway-worthwhile use of my time.

And I can only hope that you'll stay with me on this journey...

...as we put down Path of Radiance...

...and move on to Radiant Dawn.

Stay safe, everyone.

Edited by Alastor15243

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On 7/20/2020 at 11:17 AM, Alastor15243 said:

Okay, so Ashnard doesn't know that herons can't sing the galdr of release, only the ones descended from Altina. So then why the hell would Lehran give Ashnard a heron if he would know full well it wouldn't work? Was he really involved with that? I'm really starting to question that.

Depends if Sephiran understood that only his descendants (all descendants of Altina are descendants of Lehran- it allows for a true statement while concealing the truth) could sing the Galdrar of Release at the time, or if he learned it after handing Lillia to Ashnard. RD's flashback regarding this leaves room for this misunderstanding open:

“I know. You sang the galdrar to save Yune… and since you, of the Heron tribe, are an avatar of order, you are able to control Yune’s emotions within the medallion. If you are in need of us during these thousand years… you may sing the galdr of release and awaken us both. Sing to awaken us, and tell us your tale. 

Why would it be bound to Sephiran's line? Well, Sephiran appears to be immune to aging due to the unique blessings granted to the highest servant of the Goddess, and because Branded didn't exist yet, there was no need to consider if he could lose his powers. Yet, why another highly talented Heron can't sing it, but a Branded descendant can (I wonder, could Micaiah sing all Galdrars? Refresher lord would make her better!)? An unstated incidental genetic lock to prevent someone from randomly breaking the seal?

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

He admits to Bryce's face that he personally killed every single person in line to the throne, and that it wasn't a plague (whether this is to mean he used the blood-pact-induced “plague” as a cover story to poison everyone in the way and then got rid of the pact before it could kill him, or if he actually did just rely on dumb luck to be the last legitimate heir alive, it isn't clear), and he just laughs as Bryce still goes of to die for him. “Yeah, that's right, you go and do that, you little Camus bitch.” I love it. It's like they finally decided to lay bare how pathetic this archetype has become.

Bryce and Bertram are lacking for presence, undermining Ashnard's Four Riders as a good whole, even if Petrine and the Black Knight may be good members within it. Not that the three games' prior cliques of elite commanders: the Wyvern Generals, the Four Fangs, and the "Gemstone Generals", were perfect either. After PoR, I'm noticing they ditched this concept, RD's "Senators" are a bit more vague as a group and not as militarily-centric, and New Mystery's assassins are the closest thing to come since.

I wish we got reports or something of Bertram being used a merciless reaper to hunt down hidden Crimean resistors, it'd make him more imposing and stain his hands with his people's blood.

But what I half-don't wish for, is for Bryce to appear more. Bryce if you didn't notice, never appeared outside of the final chapter in spite of being a Four Rider residing right alongside Ashnard all this time. I like this, on the one hand, his lack of saying anything suggests, in the absence of the contrary, complete trust in what Ashnard is doing is sound and right. On the other, it suggests how little Ashnard values Bryce, the hanger-on of an old regime he kept around was worth in a way less to him than Petrine if he never sought to consult him.

Bryce may be realistic, radical regimes like shooting dissidents dead or "reeducating" them, but they won't always murder the old traditional guard on their end of the values spectrum if they peacefully go along with the regime, and Bryce was too blind to even see the values shift in the political system.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But yeah, they use their magic to bring Rajaion back to his human form, and then... the game really, really, irresponsibly subtly implies his death just after he asked Ena to return to Goldoa with him. Really it's just a closed eyes mugshot, since this isn't a full-portrait scene where his portrait could vanish or something. Ike uses past tense to refer to him (“He was one of the dragon tribe?”), but that could easily have referred to them walking off somewhere and no longer being present in the conversation. If you read really, really carefully, you can see that he died, but it's really easy to get the wrong idea, as I did as a kid.

The Japanese writing I'm told is better at being less subtle about this, through a lot more ellipses:

Spoiler

ENA

ラ・・・

・・・ラジャイ・・・オン・・・・・・?

RAJAION

・・・・・・く・・・っ・・・

ENA

・・・ラジャイオン・・・・・・

私が、わかりますか・・・?

RAJAION

・・・イ・・・イナ・・・・・・?

ENA

はい・・・

・・・・・・やっと・・・・・・

お目にかかれました・・・・・・

RAJAION

・・・おまえには・・・・・・

苦労を・・・かけたな・・・

・・・・・・すまない・・・・・・

ENA

あなたのためなら・・・

私の苦労など・・・・・・

RAJAION

・・・・・・イナ・・・・・・

・・・ゴルドアへ帰ろう・・・

ふたりで・・・・・・ともに・・・・・・

ENA

はい・・・

私は、どこまでも

あなたといっしょに・・・・・・

RAJAION

イナ・・・これから・・・・・・

・・・・・・ず・・・っと・・・・・・・・・

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

ENA

・・・・・・・・・・・・

う・・・・・・

・・・・・・う・・・うぅ・・・

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Although, it must be added that compared to English... Japanese.... likes ..its ..... ellipses, it even has one-dot ellipses. .

 

---

Mightily Easy FE.9 is done! The simpler side of Tellius is complete, let the ambitious take the stage (when you feel like it, don't force yourself if you ever need another break- RD is so long it usually makes me want to take a breather around 4-P), for better or worse- whichever you'll think it is.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Speaking of which, you guys want me to do any of the trial maps? I don't feel it's particularly necessary to get a feel for this game since it's such a minor part of it, but... thought I'd just put it out there.

I've never felt any desire to play the trial maps, and mostly forget they exist. If you particularly feel like playing them, then it might be interesting to hear what they're actually like, but I'd honestly be more interested to dive straight into Radiant Dawn.

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

So it's this... weirdly awkward conversation between Lucia and Janaff where Lucia's ridiculously formal and Janaff doesn't know how to respond. And then Lucia... how old is Lucia? She's asked if she wants to go have a night on the town, and Lucia's like “Oh, I could not. My father would not approve of me going out without a chaperon.”

Like, I get that she's nobility, and a woman, in medieval times, but like... the fuck? Like where the fuck even is her father? Is he with our company? Is he even still alive? And how would any father simultaneously approve of their daughter risking their life in war, but also not approve of them going out with a coworker to a fucking bar!?

It could easily be an excuse of the "I'd love to but I'm washing my hair that night" variety. She does have priors on fobbing men off with inane excuses when said men won't take no for an answer, from her supports with Bastian. I'm not sure I'm willing to give the writing team quite that much credit here, but it feels plausible to me, at least.

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

And so then we get this absolutely awesome scene I remember between Bryce and Ashnard where Ashnard basically roasts the shit out of Bryce's stupidity in his loyalty to the Daein crown. He admits to Bryce's face that he personally killed every single person in line to the throne, and that it wasn't a plague (whether this is to mean he used the blood-pact-induced “plague” as a cover story to poison everyone in the way and then got rid of the pact before it could kill him, or if he actually did just rely on dumb luck to be the last legitimate heir alive, it isn't clear), and he just laughs as Bryce still goes of to die for him. “Yeah, that's right, you go and do that, you little Camus bitch.” I love it. It's like they finally decided to lay bare how pathetic this archetype has become.

We do also get Shiharam in the same game, who is of a similar-but-not-identical archetype and who I think works rather well as a chracter.

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Fuck, and Ike's changed out of his lord outfit for some inexplicable reason. I love that outfit so much, and that was the last I'm going to see of it for the entire rest of this marathon.

He does talk about wanting to give up his fancy title and go back to being a mercenary. If the change of outfit is tied to that, then that's actually a really neat touch.

3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Really, all the replay value comes in the form of stuff that Radiant Dawn retroactively added in terms of how it can affect those saves. But should that really be counted?

Overall, how did you find that playing with transfers in mind affected your experience of PoR on its own? Did having something specific to work towards make the game more fun, or was this outweighed by the extra limitations it put on you (like not getting much use out of Ragnel) or the extra grinding it encouraged?

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7 hours ago, lenticular said:

It could easily be an excuse of the "I'd love to but I'm washing my hair that night" variety. She does have priors on fobbing men off with inane excuses when said men won't take no for an answer, from her supports with Bastian. I'm not sure I'm willing to give the writing team quite that much credit here, but it feels plausible to me, at least.

She has a history of doing this? Does she do it other than with Bastian? If so I'll check it out. Certainly won't affect the ranking with something so minor, but it would be good to know for the record.

7 hours ago, lenticular said:

He does talk about wanting to give up his fancy title and go back to being a mercenary. If the change of outfit is tied to that, then that's actually a really neat touch.

True, but he said he'd do that after things have calmed down in the restoration efforts. My guess? They didn't want to make another Ike model to use in those fancy CGI cutscenes. You'll notice every one of those happens with Ike in his normal outfit.

7 hours ago, lenticular said:

Overall, how did you find that playing with transfers in mind affected your experience of PoR on its own? Did having something specific to work towards make the game more fun, or was this outweighed by the extra limitations it put on you (like not getting much use out of Ragnel) or the extra grinding it encouraged?

Honestly, any time a game rewards me with better stats for doing weird shit, I wind up having less fun, and yet I'm compelled to do it anyway. Star shards, crusader scrolls, transfer bonuses, Radiant Dawn bonus exp minmaxing... I feel compelled to do it, and yet it always makes the game worse. I don't know why I can't stop, it's just that constant feeling of making my characters worse by playing the normal way frustrates me. I honestly prefer it when shit like that doesn't exist.

Edited by Alastor15243

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37 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

She has a history of doing this? Does she do it other than with Bastian? If so I'll check it out. Certainly won't affect the ranking with something so minor, but it would be good to know for the rescord.

I only know for sure of the conversations with Bastian, but my knowledge is spotty and comes from a single recent play through and a lot of vague memories, so who knows?

40 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Honestly, any time a game rewards me with better stats for doing weird shit, I wind up having less fun, and yet I'm compelled to do it anyway. Star shards, crusader scrolls, transfer bonuses, Radiant Dawn bonus exp minmaxing... I feel compelled to do it, and yet it always makes the game worse. I don't know why I can't stop, it's just that constant feeling of making my characters worse by playing the normal way frustrates me. I honestly prefer it when shit like that doesn't exist.

Yeah, I have a lot of the same problems. I'm better at stopping myself these days than I used to be, but I still find myself slipping back into the same patterns of behaviour sometimes, even though I know damn well that I'm happier if I don't. Back when they made Radiant Dawn, I wonder if they intended for people to play through Path of Radiance with the transfers in mind, or if they figured everyone would use their existing save files and it would be a nice little bonus but not something people would care about too much.

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Huh so you just have Ike solo Ashnard. Personally I trap him in with four units, the three that can damage him plus Jill who can tank his hits. Then gang up on him by attacking three times per player phase. Healers are perfectly safe healing from close range then to compensate for the increased damage you take overall. I think Ashnard might automatically attack Jill on his phase since she can't damage him, but still attacking thrice on player phase is probably quicker, unless you get really lucky with Aethers.

Of course the real players use Resolve Wrath Ike to kill him in a single turn. But I'm not a real player. Glory to Aether!

..But... with that... I'm done! Ahh... sweet relief. Another chapter in this journey has finally been completed. Which means that it's time to get excited to start a new game yet again, before I inevitably become jaded with its assorted flaws as well and start bitching about the game incessantly like a spoiled child before suddenly giving it a high ranking at the end anyway like some kind of game tsundere.

Ha. That's such an accurate description. I was secretly disheartened by how much shit you were giving Binding Blade only for you to turn around and praise nearly every thing I liked about it in the final tally.

 

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Hey, so I've been secretly lurking for a while now and finally decided to come out of the woodwork because RD! Just wanted to say I look forward to your playthrough of RD and, though I may not comment much, I am enjoying your playthroughs and rankings. 🙂 

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8 minutes ago, Silver-Haired Maiden said:

Hey, so I've been secretly lurking for a while now and finally decided to come out of the woodwork because RD! Just wanted to say I look forward to your playthrough of RD and, though I may not comment much, I am enjoying your playthroughs and rankings. 🙂 

Glad to hear it! Hoping to hear more from you for this one!

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Okay, I'm pretty sure this qualifies as an update:

The deeper in we get, the more concerned I become that I may have overlooked some aspects of certain games, or that I may be mis-remembering relative qualities due to how much better or worse they were compared to their immediate successor. As such, I'm thinking that it might be prudent to "re-visit" at least some of these games in a much less structured fashion, just replaying them in my free time with no documentation aside from general comments I'd make in this thread as they happen. Were I to do this, are there any games in particular you'd like me to take a fresh look at?

Edited by Alastor15243

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This thread always moves so fast, if I am distracted for a few days and I have over a page of responses to get through. I think I will just comment on the final, rather than fill it with a lot of older comments.

 

20 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

It looks like Nasir has nihil, and the reason I saw it activate was, as I suspected when I saw the color of the skill flash, the game is just randomly putting skills on generic units. That's... annoying. You can't just pull that on me last-minute and expect me to be paying attention to that screen! Especially not if the reward for any player diligent enough to do that before now was to just waste their time and make them feel like an idiot!

Yeah I don't think I've ever had to pay attention to skills generics have in this game. It kinda reminds me of Thracia in how out of the blue they are, but skills are actually dangerous in Thracia.

 

20 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

So it's this... weirdly awkward conversation between Lucia and Janaff where Lucia's ridiculously formal and Janaff doesn't know how to respond. And then Lucia... how old is Lucia? She's asked if she wants to go have a night on the town, and Lucia's like “Oh, I could not. My father would not approve of me going out without a chaperon.”

Like, I get that she's nobility, and a woman, in medieval times, but like... the fuck? Like where the fuck even is her father? Is he with our company? Is he even still alive? And how would any father simultaneously approve of their daughter risking their life in war, but also not approve of them going out with a coworker to a fucking bar!?

This is some old medieval sensibilities which really doesn't make sense to a modern audience, and doesn't work well with the far more egalitarian version of vaguely medieval
fantasy the game presents. An interesting contrast to Astrid whose arranged marriage to Lekain is foiled by her joining the military, a concept far more medieval foiled by the more egalitarian sensibilities of a more modern audience.

 

20 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Ena refers to Rajaion as “saved”, and... yeah, what the fuck kinds of choices of words were they thinking about there? Also saying they need to return “Rajaion” to Goldoa, and not “Rajaion's body”.

I take it this is a theory that he lived long enough that Ena hasn't been pregnant for 3 years and isn't showing yet in RD... then again after that weird Kurthnaga is the youngest dragon talk, it makes me think the multiyear long gestation period might be an explaination for why there haven't been baby dragons in centuries...

 

21 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...Wait, Marcia does return to the Begnion pegasus knights? Then why was she... did she just randomly run into Elincia in that sky map in Radiant Dawn, then?

Guess I'll find out.

...Makalov's going to Begnion too?

...Okay, I'm gonna have to pay very close attention to this, because I know for a fact he winds up in Crimea.

...And Astrid too. She winds up in Crimea too, despite saying she's going back to Begnion. The fuck is going on here?

This makes me think there were originally plans for a Begnion part of RD which mat have gotten scrapped.

 

20 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...Speaking of which, you guys want me to do any of the trial maps? I don't feel it's particularly necessary to get a feel for this game since it's such a minor part of it, but... thought I'd just put it out there.

If you don't think you will get anything extra out of it don't bother. Just out of curiosity do you have the trial maps  you unlock by connecting the GBA to the GC unlocked?

 

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21 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

If you don't think you will get anything extra out of it don't bother. Just out of curiosity do you have the trial maps  you unlock by connecting the GBA to the GC unlocked?

 

Unfortunately no. I've long since lost that hardware.

22 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

This makes me think there were originally plans for a Begnion part of RD which mat have gotten scrapped.

That's exactly what I was thinking!

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I've been waiting for you to reach RD, and now that you did, I'm suddenly scared you'll dislike it lol. At least you'll be playing it on Normal Mode, so hopefully it will be a more enjoyable experience. 

Also if my memory serves me right, I do believe the game gives a reason why Marcia ends up in Crimea? I remember I was also a bit confused how that happened when I first played RD.

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