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Alastor15243

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

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3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Alright, I see the conversation that gets us a “new platoon member”, and it's labeled two stars. I'm reading one labeled three stars, and it better be pretty goddamned important.

...It was just a recap of the previous game, specifically explaining what the Fire Emblem is.

We didn't get a character. We didn't get an item. We didn't even get strategic advice.

This would have been a one star conversation in the Tellius games.

Did they invert the star system or something? Why is this shit three stars when a new character is two stars?

I don't think base conversations give you anything (other than the bond items at the end of support chains), and the star system is a bit more vague. There are things that link what is in each star type, but its not the same as in Tellius.

 

3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

I'll be honest: I'm starting to really fucking hate these tiny maps. They're so tiny that at times you can practically be attacked by every enemy on the map at once if you don't retreat as far back as you can go from the moment you start, and even then you'll still probably be in range of like half of them.

You are not going to like the gaiden chapters then...

 

3 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...Which reminds me, I don't think we even saw soldiers after the prologue in the original game. I hope they're a bit more willing to add in new classes to pre-existing maps in this game. I don't want the final chapters to be berserker, dark mage and Manakete city again.

They mix things up a little bit, like the last couple chapters having more dragon type variety, and some Sword Masters thrown in as well.

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New Mystery Day 5: Prologue VII

Curse my hubris in assuming I'd be eager to do a weekend, Halloween update. But I guess I'm committed to it at this point.

Time to do the second to last prologue chapter, and then maybe do Chronicles 4. Maybe. I make no promises this time. I'm sorry, but this game's beginning is kinda driving me batshit.

Christ, another tiny, claustrophobic map that can barely scroll, and which looks like it was made for Fire Emblem Heroes.

p07b.jpg

I mean christ, look at this fucking thing. This isn't the version I got, but it's the only version I could find, and they're basically identical except for unit placement. Look at that...

Usen_EV023_001_001.png

...And then look at this.

SAME ENERGY.

And apparently according to the site I got the first image from, there are fucking ambush spawns from those forts on turn 3.

Why!? Why on a map this fucking tiny!?

...Christ, let's do the talks.

...Huh, so apparently there was a talk between Marth and Hardin in Shadow Dragon that I somehow missed twice? Weird.

Unless of course they're making this up. But it doesn't feel like it. It's clearly an incomplete excerpt of a larger conversation.

Ah yes, and here is where we're properly introduced to Cecil. She, uh... she's one of those characters. A female warrior with a chip on her shoulder due to being a woman in a male-dominated space, a trope this series has used several times, sometimes even with a complete character attached to it!

Okay. Lemme sum up my thoughts on this as best as I can.

Women, in real life, are weaker than men, both on average and at peak. In nearly every competitive sport imaginable, top female athletic performance is inferior to top male athletic performance. This is due to a wide variety of anatomical differences, including heart size, lung size, the hormones going through their bodies since puberty, and the makeup of their skeletal structures.

But that's boring as shit, just like the reality that guns are better than swords, or the reality that falling in a barrel of radioactive waste probably won't give you superpowers. So yes, by all means, gimme universes where men and women alike can suplex were-beasts four times their size and ten times their body weight.

Just don't pretend that gender politics would be completely unaffected by this.

Look at Cecil for example. She's got an identical strength base and growth to Rody, and is only 2 levels ahead. She can basically go toe to toe with the guy in an arm wrestle. Hell, not just Rody, but Dakota too, at least as far as growth rates are concerned.

If, since the very dawn of time, women have been able to go toe to toe with men in all feats of physical strength, then the cultural beliefs about how being a woman affects your ability to do dangerous work, if they even still existed at all, would take forms that would be completely unrecognizable to us.

As I've said elsewhere, I find it incredibly lazy and obnoxiously preachy to try to apply real-world gender aesops to a world that doesn't even follow real-life gender rules. Also, it promotes an unhealthy message that the obstacles women face in places like the military have everything to do with sexism and nothing to do with the limitations of their own bodies, because it's indirectly implying that if women were just as strong as men and had been since the very dawn of time, that would change nothing about how men in the army would treat them.

...That said...

It has of course varied as to how much this “men and women are statistically equal” thing actually happens. While Awakening and especially Fates basically have men and women being equal, with several female characters having some of, if not the, highest strength growths and caps... the GBA games had that whole annoying gender constitution thing where female characters perpetually struggled with wielding heavy weapons basically without exception, and examples of exceptionally strong women were... rather thin on the ground, shall we say, until more recent entries. Arguments about exactly to what degree the writers of these stories actually respect the female casts they've created can be had basically all day.

And on that same other hand, I'm not really convinced that Cecil is meant to be taken seriously. From what I remember, later conversations are going to reveal that she's not really as tough and gung-ho as she claims to be, and she has this sort of very particular “weakness” that I'm highly confident was designed to invoke patronizing reactions of “awwwww, so cute!” from the player.

And from what I've seen of the series' support conversations (and I've seen a lot), all of the sexism that happens to these characters tends to, almost without exception, happen offscreen, or even well in a character's backstory, with unnamed and unimportant characters. Which, while it's a pretty big stretch, might be intentional in some cases to make them look like drama queens complaining about a problem that basically doesn't exist in the work environment they're actually in (Sully and Kjelle come to mind, who constantly accuse characters of sexism when it's always something else that's going on).

But that makes me hate the archetype even more: Either they're obnoxious, preachy Soapbox Sadies fueled by gender stereotypes that shouldn't exist and we're supposed to sympathize with them... or they're obnoxious, preachy Soapbox Sadies fueled by gender stereotypes that shouldn't exist and we're supposed to laugh at them.

I don't like either one of those outcomes. It's obnoxious and cringey no matter what the person making the character is trying to say. Just make female badasses and have the guys respect them. Or if you wanna show sexism happening, have that sexism manifest in a way that still makes sense for the setting. Is that so hard to ask? This isn't the place to make statements about gender politics that by all rights shouldn't exist in the world you've created.

Let's... please move on then.

(Split because SF is being weird)

Edited by Alastor15243

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Day 5 Continued

Luke apparently knows about Cecil and apparently she's “infamous” for being “violent”.

And she immediately takes offense to Luke's insinuation that she's some crazy “violent girl”... by starting to attack him.

Christ, it's like she's a tsundere love interest from a 90s anime.

Alright, then we get a quick scene where Dakota caught Katarina after a huge cry she had about what she's about to do, and Dakota inadvertently rubs salt in the wound by caring about her.

Aaaand Marth talks about all the people he couldn't save, and unfortunately since everyone canonically survived this game, those deaths were all nameless faceless nobodies we don't care about.

I do like the dark version of the Book 2 map theme playing though!

Anyway... that's it for prep. Time to get going.

Same strategy as always: turtle up and let the first wave come to us, slowly bait in the others, and hope the ambush pegasus knight isn't too strong.

...Actually, I'm gonna have Caeda sit on the fort that peg is supposed to come out of, since it's safe for now. If that changes I'll obviously have her fly back.

And now Cain warns us about ambush spawns as a thing, and... holy shit. Whoever's idea it was to put ambush spawns on these tiny fucking maps was completely out of their goddamned mind.

But Luke gets a great level up of strength, speed, luck and defense, which is really encouraging.

And then Dakota gets HP, skill, speed and defense. Another good level up, though I wish he also got strength.

Shit. I remembered the reinforcements I saw on that site, and the new one was an archer from a different fort. But thankfully Caeda still wasn't in range of him.

Merric leveled up and got HP, speed and luck, which is good enough for me right now. I really wanna get this guy doubling.

Alright, we've won, with ease.

Anyway, Katarina talks about her... simultaneously really fucked up but also really generic dark past, and that a woman saved her and Katarina's loyal to her as a result. Little does Dakota know what that woman has tasked Katarina with doing...

...But honestly, yeah, you need to make her backstory more interesting than “I was treated like an animal and beaten constantly”. I know that's horrible, but just saying those two facts... doesn't really make me feel for her. It's too remote and vague and impersonal.

But her theme, “Puppets Don't Cry”, is really good. I especially like that name. That song title just says so much with just three words.

And I do like how she's using the fact that Dakota also has someone he's undyingly loyal to as sort of a way to justify to herself what she's about to do, and Dakota doesn't even realize it. This relationship could have been so much better if they tried a little harder. There's a lot of potential here that was just completely wasted.

Ah yes, and here, completely inappropriately given the gravity the scene's supposed to have, Katarina gives us a headband from Cecil, and this is the first time we're given an optional costume change. And they let you try it out for a chapter before making it permanent. This time it's a headband, as I said, and I think I might go with this one. Depends on how it looks.

Anyway... we're done.

And I'm sorry, but doing the Archanea Chronicles chapters to pad things out was a terrible idea. They're kind of exhausting, and talking about the prologue chapters is already exhausting.

I've already written four pages about a chapter that was barely bigger than the screen it was played on.

I am frustrated, I am exhausted, I didn't get much sleep last night, and above all else, I am not having fun. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm playlogging this shit, but this feels like one of the worst things they could have done to remake FE3. These maps are terrible. I don't understand how anyone thought this was a good idea!

...Ugh.

Well, tomorrow's Halloween, and hopefully this final prologue will at least have been worth the buildup I naively prematurely assigned it.

...Stay safe, everyone.

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17 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

But that's boring as shit, just like the reality that guns are better than swords, or the reality that falling in a barrel of radioactive waste probably won't give you superpowers. So yes, by all means, gimme universes where men and women alike can suplex were-beasts four times their size and ten times their body weight.

Just don't pretend that gender politics would be completely unaffected by this.

For my part, I would assert that there's a little more that goes into it. Like, suppose we consider a hypothetical world where average and peak physical capabilities are roughly equivalent between the sexes. There's still one fairly significant distinction, though, that should be considered - that of pregnancy. Now, the Fire Emblem series engages with pregnancy and childcare in a few cases - Dierdre and Lycina's mother come to mind. But it never seems to make a gameplay impact, to the extent that Fates has the gall to handwave away something that should take 9 months, as happening instantaneously. 

Pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, would affect a woman's (even a skilled warrior's) ability to fight. Moreover, the fact that women need to survive, and avoid serious injury while pregnant, would discourage women from going to the front of battle. This applies after birth, too, considering breastfeeding - post-birth care that the father isn't capable of. So even in a hypothetical "equal-strength" world, I think there's a solid case that most soldiers would, nonetheless, be men. And that fighting ability would receive more cultural favorability in men than in women.

Of course, this whole discussion is assuming a strict gender binary (no intersex or trans people), so it's a not-totally-realistic approximation. Admittedly, though, for all we know, such people might not exist in the various worlds of Fire Emblem.

31 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

And from what I've seen of the series' support conversations (and I've seen a lot), all of the sexism that happens to these characters tends to, almost without exception, happen offscreen, or even well in a character's backstory, with unnamed and unimportant characters. Which, while it's a pretty big stretch, might be intentional in some cases to make them look like drama queens complaining about a problem that basically doesn't exist in the work environment they're actually in (Sully and Kjelle come to mind, who constantly accuse characters of sexism when it's always something else that's going on).

Very fair point. It seems the developers are reluctant to make their characters - especially playable ones - hold personality traits widely seen as negative. The couple that do come to mind - Shinon's anti-laguz racism, Ingrid's anti-Duscur racism - earn their bearers some backlash. But I think they're great for threshing out the world and its characters, and reinforcing that the "good guys" are nonetheless flawed people.

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6 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

For my part, I would assert that there's a little more that goes into it. Like, suppose we consider a hypothetical world where average and peak physical capabilities are roughly equivalent between the sexes. There's still one fairly significant distinction, though, that should be considered - that of pregnancy. Now, the Fire Emblem series engages with pregnancy and childcare in a few cases - Dierdre and Lycina's mother come to mind. But it never seems to make a gameplay impact, to the extent that Fates has the gall to handwave away something that should take 9 months, as happening instantaneously. 

Pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, would affect a woman's (even a skilled warrior's) ability to fight. Moreover, the fact that women need to survive, and avoid serious injury while pregnant, would discourage women from going to the front of battle. This applies after birth, too, considering breastfeeding - post-birth care that the father isn't capable of. So even in a hypothetical "equal-strength" world, I think there's a solid case that most soldiers would, nonetheless, be men. And that fighting ability would receive more cultural favorability in men than in women.

Of course, this whole discussion is assuming a strict gender binary (no intersex or trans people), so it's a not-totally-realistic approximation. Admittedly, though, for all we know, such people might not exist in the various worlds of Fire Emblem.

Yeah, I was debating whether I should bring that up, but I already didn't feel that great about going as far into it as I already did. There's also the fact that a decimated community with 100 women and 5 men would recover much more quickly than the reverse, which could certainly result in the idea getting popular that women shouldn't be warriors because it's in a primitive community's best interest to keep as many women alive as possible. But the idea that they make poor warriors I honestly don't feel would get much traction at all, due to the sheer number of opportunities these women would have even in civilian life to demonstrate their comparable strength to the average man.

Edited by Alastor15243

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11 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Yeah, I was debating whether I should bring that up, but I already didn't feel that great about going as far into it as I already did. There's also the fact that a decimated community with 100 women and 5 men would recover much more quickly than the reverse, which could certainly result in the idea getting popular that women shouldn't be warriors because it's in a primitive community's best interest to keep as many women alive as possible. But the idea that they make poor warriors I honestly don't feel would get much traction at all, due to the sheer number of opportunities these women would have even in civilian life to demonstrate their comparable strength to the average man.

That's kind of what I was getting at, without stating it directly - the concept of "expendable men". As for the notion of women as "poor warriors" - perhaps it could still take hold in an equal-strength world? In that, pregnancy may be the justification for women being dissuaded from fighting, but to reinforce this, the notion that "women are worse warriors" gains currency. And it sort of creates a negative feedback loop - the fewer women there are in war, the less "suited for combat" they appear to be. Nuns and warfare do not mix, after all.

Regardless, I think the topic of how men and women are treated differently by the games is an intriguing one, to say the least. In most games, it's worth keeping in mind, male and female classes have different bases and caps (you mentioned already the Con difference). And, save for Fates, certain classes are exclusive to one sex or the other. Would a nation inhabited by pegasi have a sunnier outlook on female fighters than a pegasus-free land? Is a "bandit kingdom" more likely to look down on women in war than one with a more cavalry-orientation? Honestly, this could make an interesting thread in its own right.

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1 minute ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Regardless, I think the topic of how men and women are treated differently by the games is an intriguing one, to say the least. In most games, it's worth keeping in mind, male and female classes have different bases and caps (you mentioned already the Con difference). And, save for Fates, certain classes are exclusive to one sex or the other. Would a nation inhabited by pegasi have a sunnier outlook on female fighters than a pegasus-free land? Is a "bandit kingdom" more likely to look down on women in war than one with a more cavalry-orientation? Honestly, this could make an interesting thread in its own right.

Sure, as long as they actually justify why these classes are gender locked. Personally I really dislike class gender locking because it just limits options and almost invariably fucks one sex over when they don't have the broken class du jour.

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

For my part, I would assert that there's a little more that goes into it. Like, suppose we consider a hypothetical world where average and peak physical capabilities are roughly equivalent between the sexes. There's still one fairly significant distinction, though, that should be considered - that of pregnancy. Now, the Fire Emblem series engages with pregnancy and childcare in a few cases - Dierdre and Lycina's mother come to mind. But it never seems to make a gameplay impact, to the extent that Fates has the gall to handwave away something that should take 9 months, as happening instantaneously. 

Pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, would affect a woman's (even a skilled warrior's) ability to fight. Moreover, the fact that women need to survive, and avoid serious injury while pregnant, would discourage women from going to the front of battle. This applies after birth, too, considering breastfeeding - post-birth care that the father isn't capable of. So even in a hypothetical "equal-strength" world, I think there's a solid case that most soldiers would, nonetheless, be men. And that fighting ability would receive more cultural favorability in men than in women.

Of course, this whole discussion is assuming a strict gender binary (no intersex or trans people), so it's a not-totally-realistic approximation. Admittedly, though, for all we know, such people might not exist in the various worlds of Fire Emblem.

Very fair point. It seems the developers are reluctant to make their characters - especially playable ones - hold personality traits widely seen as negative. The couple that do come to mind - Shinon's anti-laguz racism, Ingrid's anti-Duscur racism - earn their bearers some backlash. But I think they're great for threshing out the world and its characters, and reinforcing that the "good guys" are nonetheless flawed people.

Do we even know pregnancy exists in the Fire Emblemverse? I mean, we sure do know males and females hooking up result in babies, but like they could just appear out of the ether for all we know. I don't think see or ever see referenced a pregnant woman in Fire Emblem. Though Ena must have been pregnant in Radiant Dawn (and possibly Path of Radiance depending on where you fall on the plot point of "Did she fuck her fiance to death") to have a child more than three years after the father died. Still she aint showing at all. So babies being born through some non pregnancy means that will never be elaborated on until a pregnant woman eventually appears in the series is a possibility.

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20 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Do we even know pregnancy exists in the Fire Emblemverse? I mean, we sure do know males and females hooking up result in babies, but like they could just appear out of the ether for all we know. I don't think see or ever see referenced a pregnant woman in Fire Emblem. Though Ena must have been pregnant in Radiant Dawn (and possibly Path of Radiance depending on where you fall on the plot point of "Did she fuck her fiance to death") to have a child more than three years after the father died. Still she aint showing at all. So babies being born through some non pregnancy means that will never be elaborated on until a pregnant woman eventually appears in the series is a possibility.

Louise does as far as I remember. Though is only mentioned very late in the Game to avoid being forced out of the fight.

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Hey everyone, Given that I've been doing this for more than a year, I thought it might be fun to do a survey to get some insight on what people like and don't like about the marathon, to see if I can work out how to improve or maybe get back something I might have lost along the way. Hope you don't mind, and I'll see you guys tomorrow with the Halloween update I'm obligated to do at this point!

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14 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Women, in real life, are weaker than men, both on average and at peak. In nearly every competitive sport imaginable, top female athletic performance is inferior to top male athletic performance. This is due to a wide variety of anatomical differences, including heart size, lung size, the hormones going through their bodies since puberty, and the makeup of their skeletal structures.

But that's boring as shit, just like the reality that guns are better than swords, or the reality that falling in a barrel of radioactive waste probably won't give you superpowers. So yes, by all means, gimme universes where men and women alike can suplex were-beasts four times their size and ten times their body weight.

Just don't pretend that gender politics would be completely unaffected by this.

On the other hand race politics are/were as awful as they are/were even with science pointing to the races being on a fairly equal playing field from a biological perspective. Biology backing up the discrimination of women makes it unusual as far as discrimination goes, and having dumb nonsensical pseudo-science (like about women supposedly being weak) would put it more in line with how many historical forms of discrimination.

 

14 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Shit. I remembered the reinforcements I saw on that site, and the new one was an archer from a different fort. But thankfully Caeda still wasn't in range of him.

There are two thing going on here, first off the archer only appears on difficulties higher than normal (Fire Emblem Wod lists it as one of the "Lunatic only" enemies, as they have only documented Normal and Lunatic), and what the reinforcements are depends on which version of the map you are doing (whether Cain or Est is the boss, the archer is a Cain exclusive as far as I can tell).

 

15 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

I am frustrated, I am exhausted, I didn't get much sleep last night, and above all else, I am not having fun. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm playlogging this shit, but this feels like one of the worst things they could have done to remake FE3. These maps are terrible. I don't understand how anyone thought this was a good idea!

Hopefully the full sized maps of the non-gaiden chapters helps to alleviate some of that frustration.

 

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1 hour ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

On the other hand race politics are/were as awful as they are/were even with science pointing to the races being on a fairly equal playing field from a biological perspective. Biology backing up the discrimination of women makes it unusual as far as discrimination goes, and having dumb nonsensical pseudo-science (like about women supposedly being weak) would put it more in line with how many historical forms of discrimination.

 

There are two thing going on here, first off the archer only appears on difficulties higher than normal (Fire Emblem Wod lists it as one of the "Lunatic only" enemies, as they have only documented Normal and Lunatic), and what the reinforcements are depends on which version of the map you are doing (whether Cain or Est is the boss, the archer is a Cain exclusive as far as I can tell).

 

Hopefully the full sized maps of the non-gaiden chapters helps to alleviate some of that frustration.

 

We can invent any kind of scenario we want in regards to how the sexes are treated differently, but unless Fire Emblem actually makes that an explicit part of the setting (ie more than on tough girl complaining support) it will be hollow. Because no matter what people in-universe claim to think every Fire Emblem game since the very beginning has had tonnes of female characters in the roster (I'm pretty sure Fates it's close to a literal 50%). If Sully is receiving sexism for being a female warrior then why aren't Sumia, Cherche and Flavia receiving the same flak? Sexism divergent from our own is a perfectly fine (and dare I say it untapped) aspect to explore in a fantasy setting, but Fire Emblem isn't actually exploring it, it's just giving lip service to the idea because it's an easy way to make a character without a tonne of effort.

Now I know you're not actually saying Fire Emblem is exploring these topics, you're just positing different ways in this issue could be addressed. So this isn't a rebuttal so to speak, just a reaffirmation of the op's opinion on the subject.

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New Mystery Day 6: Prologue VIII

Happy Halloween, everyone! Been a bit of a pain getting here, and I probably wouldn't have tried for it with the power of hindsight, buuuut let's do it!

Time for a spooooooooky chapter!

Ehhh... Okay, the headband hairstyle looks okay, but it takes away from what made him look like the original Dakota, so... yeah no, I'm going back afterwards.

Anyway, yet another avatar dick-stroking session, this time with two women getting in on the action, then our knighthood ceremony, and then...

it's interrupted by a nameless soldier who basically goes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5kPUFxXYLs

Yep, we're under attack. But not by a troll. By an army of assassins.

Let into the castle by Katarina.

Or as she reveals herself to really be called...

Eine.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN!

And she drugged all of the castle guards so badly that they won't be able to move properly for days... though strangely she didn't drug any of us.

Whatever, I'm tired of expecting the story to make sense, and I don't want to be negative on Halloween. Let's focus on the positives. The ones that made me actually initially want to do this on Halloween in the first place.

...Okay, no, sorry, I've gotta be negative here. Putting talks on the preparation menu instead of at a proper “base” can really undermine the sense of urgency that plots like this would normally instill. This is part of the benefit of having a “base” in the first place, so you can do non-urgent but still interesting shit between battles. Whether that base be the Tellius style base, My Castle, or hell, even Garreg Mach, they all have that benefit that this sorely lacks. Conversations feel tacked on here, and it's a bizarrely lazy implementation of a feature that must've taken a lot of work.

I wish they were clearer about what happened after Katarina revealed herself to be a traitor. Like if she just ran off and we were left with an atmosphere of “we're all alone in here now, and the enemy is coming”, maybe these base-style conversations would work. But we've still got a view of the enemies that are here, which... ugh, it kinda feels like FE5-6 (and Three Houses) all over again, where the story scene that takes place at the actual battlefield you're going to fight in... happens after you prepare, and you're left half story-spoiled, half confused while you prepare.

...Yeah, the other issue is that... both of these talks we have right here are just... things that could've been part of the introductory cutscene. There's no reason for these things to be on a separate menu that doesn't have the creepy cutscene music playing.

Also, fun fact not really related to this game: my DS emulator lets you assign a button to the DS lid so you can play games that require you to close it as a gimmick (I think one of the DS Zelda games is an example) and apparently the screen goes white when the screen is closed, instead of going off. That... can't be right, can it? That's gotta be a weird quirk of the emulator itself, not how the original DS worked... because that sounds like it would waste a lot of power to keep the screen on and have it be full white.

CHRIST!

THESE GUYS HAVE SOME FUCKING GOOD WEAPONS!

BANDITS WITH FUCKING SILVER AXES HOLY SHIT!

I mean, obviously, they're here to assassinate Marth, but like holy shit does this look like it's gonna be a difficulty spike.

And yet again we're forced to let the enemy come to us, because every single enemy is overlapped by like three other enemies. Maybe Dakota can handle taking the fight to them, but for anyone else it would be basically suicide. Which means that yet again... the plan is to retreat and form a defensive wall and let the enemies come to us.

I'm swapping Caeda out for Cain (apparently all of my conquered instructors are literally living in the trainee barracks with us now, because otherwise surely they'd have been drugged too along with the rest of the soldiers), because he's got great defensive stats I'm hoping to make use of. I will say this of the prologue, it's been sending a bunch of strong crutch units my way in case people get injured, even if the reasons why make no sense.

Alright, let's start.

Okay, so Legion comes in, and he says something that seems to imply that that bandit village rescue we performed in Merric's prologue chapter... was actually orchestrated to make Katarina's battalion look good so that they'd become members of the royal guard.

Which seems to imply that that was what the assassins wanted Katarina to do, and it wasn't a dumb luck added bonus.

On one hand, it's cool that they actually had plans to shorten the odds of the infiltration working, but on the other hand... two things...

First, we haven't become royal guards yet, so how did this really help Katarina's plan? And second...

...Dakota was the one that got them that hopelessly lost and in the area of that village in the first place, right? Wouldn't it have made more sense if Katarina were the one who got hopelessly “lost”? So they had some way to make sure we were actually there to stop them?

...I can't believe I'm actually suggesting they get rid of one of Dakota's precious few moments of relatable human weakness.

Anyway, so, Endless Battle starts playing. Shame. I was hoping I mis-remembered and the music I really like was like in Awakening. First time they give the enemy phase a different theme, and the enemy phase theme just had to be better, huh?

But yes. After some quick retreating to huddle in the corner...

...here it comes.

The big epic spooky music that I love so much.

Hands down, no conceivable contest, the best enemy-phase theme in the entire goddamned franchise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woiHNis32hc

MURDEROUS. PUPPETS.

I first heard this in the Awakening DLC “Death's Embrace”, and there it was used as a player-phase theme too, to incredible effect. That chapter may have had the typical Awakening issues, but its atmosphere actually managed to get genuinely creepy, and holy shit did this music play a huge part of that. I am so sad that this is enemy-phase only, because that means it's basically impossible to listen to properly in-game.

...So I'm gonna turn off the in-game music and just play this song on my computer.

Yeah, basically, I love this fucking song.

Dakota's level 8 and he got HP, speed and luck. He's still hands down my best unit, but... I dunno... I've got this uncomfortable feeling that that's mostly because he's overleveled, and he's actually not doing so hot with his levels.

...Looks like yet again, all the enemies wait until they're approached to attack. Honestly, the way the enemies are placed, that's... a pretty huge blessing, but still, pretty boring way to do this.

But we do have some thieves coming charging at us, which should make it a little interesting to approach.

...Okay, so it's not just thieves, it's other enemies too. Wonder how long they'll keep up. I'm gonna keep trying to advance regardless.

...Shit, I actually managed to get the reinforcements to pile up on me, and now I've gotta retreat to the corner again.

Okay, my concerns about Dakota are starting to be alleviated. He just got everything of value but defense.

...Looks like the reinforcements are over after just like 5 turns. Smooth sailing from here on out, but that's kinda disappointing. I wish more maps had endless reinforcements so you couldn't just wait them out.

I can't help but notice they nerfed throwing weapons in this game. I've generally considered that a good call whenever it happens, though part of me still finds it annoying.

Merric got a second speed level up in a row. Kickass.

Alright, so, the thieves don't move when approached, but Katarina does. Either that or it's linked AI and they don't move in until multiple can attack.

...Yep. It's the latter Glad I went in with Dakota then. He was one of the only ones who could've taken that kind of a magical beating from Katarina combined with a physical attack from the eastern thief. And even then he just barely survived.

...I'm pretty disappointed Dakota doesn't say anything back to Katarina in her boss conversation.

Yeah, Katarina's pretty devastating, so we're gonna exploit the fact that everyone near her can easily outrun her so we can retreat a bit and heal up before taking her again. If Dakota can heal enough to take just one hit from her on player phase, we should be golden no matter how unlucky we get with hit rates.

Merric's out of fire charges though, so he's out of commission for this final battle. It was worth it though, cuz he killed the last thief while retreating.

...Yep, Dakota can one-round Katarina with 100% accuracy, so we're safe to try and milk her for as much chip exp as we can before that. At least from anyone with the bulk to take one shot. Which means not Cecil.

...No, wait, Cecil gained an HP level, so she can just barely take a hit after being topped off.

I hate how literally nobody has anything to say to Katarina, and she doesn't have anything to say to anyone but Dakota. And I checked the script just to be sure!

And then Katarina decides she's “going to retreat”... despite being literally walled off on all sides by my forces.

...And apparently Legion's been watching unseen the whole time.

And Jagen says we “let her escape”... I mean, I'm sure he means we didn't pursue, but due to the gameplay context he makes it sound like we literally let her go.

Jagen: Sire. This is all my fault.

YES. YES IT IS, JAGEN. SHAPE THE FUCK UP. YOUR KNIGHT RECRUITMENT METHODS ARE HOT GARBAGE.

Yeah, but then Marth says it's nobody's fault and fffffffffffffine, let's just get on with this.

Ugh. And now we get a talk that basically has the writers, through Cecil, be that asshole friend who goes “oh no, that's teeeerrribble... anyway, moving on...”

Like, she goes from talking about how Katarina betraying us... to asking Dakota if he still wants to keep that headband on.

And no. I don't. Like I said, I'm gonna take it off.

Anyway, then all the non-platoon members leave, and...

...at long last, the nightmare of the prologue is finally over.

And boy howdy did that shit stink.

Story and gameplay, that was some really mediocre work, and they could have done so much better on basically every front. From the ridiculous plot to the shallow and/or unlikeable characters, to the Gary Stu protagonist, to the fucking microscopic maps, that was a really bad show of things, putting content worse than the original game front and center for the remake.

But we're back to the original content now, so... let's hope that is improved as much as Shadow Dragon was.

See you on Monday.

Stay safe, everyone.

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18 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I will say this of the prologue, it's been sending a bunch of strong crutch units my way in case people get injured, even if the reasons why make no sense.

 

That's one thing I liked that Three Houses introduced, chapters where casual mode is turned on for plot reasons (ie it's a practice fight). Sure I prefer classic over all, but I can stomach a single chapters of casual (and hell it could even make for different gameplay styles even though I always play the two Three Houses chapters exactly like they have perma death) for the sake of the plot. Because stuff like Chrom slaughtering the border guard to get into Feroxi or Fhargus demanding you kill his crew is just ridiculous. And this game could have done with it in the opening. All the chapters before this are just training missions, right? Or does one or two feature bandits? Well assuming their are no bandit chapters, this part of the game could have ramped the tension up much higher if you'd just been forced to play on casual mode for the previous chapters and then suddenly, with the plot going in a more dire direction, the gameplay is more dire too with the game explicitly telling you shit is real now and your characters can die. I also hear the prologue is super unfair in higher difficulties for exactly the reasons you're complaining about, to the extent that it can only be cleared with specific Avatar starting classes. Which just sort of sucks for what is clearly designed to be a glorified tutorial.

Reading a little further I see there was a bandit chapter, so this wouldn't have been the first Non Perma Death chapter had they did what Three Houses did with plot based casual mode. Also, do you not like Endless Battle? Because I think it's a pretty damn fine tune.

Edited by Jotari

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5 hours ago, Jotari said:

That's one thing I liked that Three Houses introduced, chapters where casual mode is turned on for plot reasons (ie it's a practice fight). Sure I prefer classic over all, but I can stomach a single chapters of casual (and hell it could even make for different gameplay styles even though I always play the two Three Houses chapters exactly like they have perma death) for the sake of the plot. Because stuff like Chrom slaughtering the border guard to get into Feroxi or Fhargus demanding you kill his crew is just ridiculous. And this game could have done with it in the opening. All the chapters before this are just training missions, right? Or does one or two feature bandits? Well assuming their are no bandit chapters, this part of the game could have ramped the tension up much higher if you'd just been forced to play on casual mode for the previous chapters and then suddenly, with the plot going in a more dire direction, the gameplay is more dire too with the game explicitly telling you shit is real now and your characters can die. I also hear the prologue is super unfair in higher difficulties for exactly the reasons you're complaining about, to the extent that it can only be cleared with specific Avatar starting classes. Which just sort of sucks for what is clearly designed to be a glorified tutorial.

Reading a little further I see there was a bandit chapter, so this wouldn't have been the first Non Perma Death chapter had they did what Three Houses did with plot based casual mode.

Ah yes, I think I brought something like this up in my FE7 playlog, on 16X. That wasn't the thing that didn't make sense though. I was talking about all of your instructors joining you being dumb.

5 hours ago, Jotari said:

Also, do you not like Endless Battle? Because I think it's a pretty damn fine tune.

Oh make no mistake, it's good, but when the alternative is getting to hear Murderous Puppets on player phase, I can't help but be disappointed.

Edited by Alastor15243

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24 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Ah yes, I think I brought something like this up in my FE7 playlog, on 16X. That wasn't the thing that didn't make sense though. I was talking about all of your instructors joining you being dumb.

Oh yeah, the reason I brought it up is because you suggested (probably rightly so) the instructors joining you only came about because they had to give you those units to compensate for losses (although it's also possible for the likes of Merric and Shiida that they wanted to introduce magic and flying as elements in the game).

24 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Oh make no mistake, it's good, but when the alternative is getting to hear Murderous Puppets on player phase, I can't help but be disappointed.

You wouldn't really know it playing this game though.

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1 minute ago, Jotari said:

Oh yeah, the reason I brought it up is because you suggested (probably rightly so) the instructors joining you only came about because they had to give you those units to compensate for losses (although it's also possible for the likes of Merric and Shiida that they wanted to introduce magic and flying as elements in the game).

Yeah. I wouldn't have minded an original character flier and mage though, but I'm glad that at least they gave us characters we get later and actually get to improve their levels.

2 minutes ago, Jotari said:

You wouldn't really know it playing this game though.

Because it barely plays for very long? Yeah, it's a crying shame. I want to hug whoever decided to use it for Death's Embrace.

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New Mystery Day 7: Chapter 1

Alright, new map design philosophy, new week, new month, and hey @Espurrhoodie, looks like Hitler didn't get resurrected by black magic yet! And hey, I finally managed to get myself through Part 1 of the Church Route in Three Houses, and thus soon I'll never have to play that game in my free time ever again! So let's keep going with this positive energy, shall we? Clean slate for this week! Let's go!

It's curious that the opening narration says that Talys was “deeply scarred” by the War of Shadows. Didn't they literally not fight in it, and the only time they were ever attacked that we saw was by completely unrelated pirates?

Anyway, we're shown Marth going from Altea to Grust, walking around that entire coastline in what I think is the biggest between-mission trek we've seen so far. But yeah, same story as before, just a little more detailed: Marth's ordered to send his entire army to help crush the Grustian rebellion, which has to sound not just unreasonable, but suspicious as all get out.

And on an unrelated topic, just noticed: for some reason, the font of this translation patch doesn't know how to do quotations properly, and the first one of every quotation is always backwards.

Anyway, apparently Marth feels he can get away with letting Cain (and I'm assuming some other members of the military) stay behind to protect Altea. In fact, he mostly seems to be sending the 7th Platoon and like, damn near nobody else. Alright then. Not that that isn't wise, but it's weird that this isn't phased as him defying orders.

Marth calls this Dakota's first “real” battle, and I can't fathom why he doesn't think the bandit attack and the assassination attempt don't count.

Battles will be different from here on out. Defeat on the battlefield means death.”

Okay.

First of all.

It is risibly patronizing to think someone you appointed to your royal guard doesn't understand that people die when they are killed.

Second of all, is the game trying to imply, in fucking universe, that even during the bandit and assassination chapters, every battle was still magically as non-lethal as training? Seriously man, this isn't the sort of shit you justify in-universe! Lyn mode did this and didn't need to justify why KOs after Lyn mode were permanent! They just had the tutorial text box say so! And they have a tutorial text box, but they seem to only deem that suitable for shit that Katarina should have been saying instead.

So in other words, they've got tutorial textbox use bass ackwards.

Ugh. And yet again, more boring filler base talks that I've gotta read and possibly discuss.

Yeah, I do not understand the star ranking logic. I got two three star conversations, one was a recap of one of the moments of the previous game yet again, despite the fact that I feel like I've had the general plot to me recapped over a world map shot three times now even without the minor base conversation recaps I've been getting. The second one was just Arran talking about how he's the new Jagen.

Yeah, looking at him, he's only a little better than Jagen was. Man, that sickness must be something else. Then again he wasn't that fantastic before, was he?

...Ooh! They got rid of the mess of mountains in the middle of the map! Sweet!

Anyway, I reclassed Arran to dracoknight because of course I did, and... y'know what? Cecil has some pretty damned badass growth rates as a mage, so sure, I'll have her be a mage, we'll try that out.

...And by the looks of things, we've still got enemies layered together so that it's damned near impossible to attack any one of them without exposing yourself to like three others. The original map seems to be roughly similar though, except that this game had the good sense to not flood the mountain pass area with enemies stacked right on top of each other. Still, looks like yet again the best strategy is going to be to retreat from my starting position and slowly bait the enemies in.

Let's see if the AI lets me get away with that.

Don't disappoint me, game.

Anyway, the FE3 counterpart to “trouble” plays, and... yeah, it's just not as good. That harpsichord playing the main melody just does not hit like that 6/8 repeating melody playing over that (I think) 8/8 beat does.

Anyway, apparently Jagen's serving as Marth's tactician, and yeah, it always feels exceptionally weird when someone who isn't the player character is the tactician in a Fire Emblem game. At least Jagen's actually providing advice in cutscenes though, unlike Katarina.

But anyway, first move, I have everyone retreat back and have Marth soften up two barbarians for my other units to kill. I could've used Arran, but Marth serves the job fine and he needs the exp more. Plus, Arran only has a silver lance.

...I probably should've bought Arran an iron axe come to think of it. Well, hopefully this chapter has an armory.

Anyway, thank goodness, enemies actually charge at me. Right now it's just the barbarians, but hopefully other groups will start charging later. I know Shadow Dragon and possibly earlier games had that feature.

...Fuck. The thief cave ambush spawns were on turn two? Please don't aggro please don't aggro please don't aggro please don't both be strong and aggro...

...Nope, they don't even move their full movement range. Only three spaces. Weird.

But anyway, man, what a fucking difference map size makes. I feel like my units actually have room to breathe!

...Also, I notice this game got rid of the pretty ridiculously contrived conversation where Jagen tells Marth that conveniently they don't have to fight any rebel soldiers to get to Lorenz because they're all already dead and there's nothing but bandits.

...But the enemies are still clearly marked as bandits.

And not trying to raid the castle when only one soldier seems to be guarding it.

Anyway, we get Malicia, and two things stick out to me: first, she weirdly slips into third person when she gets “flustered” by her grandma's talk of marrying her to Marth, and two, despite her reaction to this, I know that her conversations with Dakota... are almost entirely about her being romantically obsessed with Marth, so... what am I supposed to take from this?

Anyway, so, I talk to some of the villagers as I work my way northwest. Apparently Lorenz helped Caeda's dad win an inter-city-state battle or something and unify Talys under one ruler. And then they got rid of their army forever apparently. Also, I wonder where these previous city-state things were situated, since there are like two villages, a couple of houses, and one castle on the whole damned island.

Also, Luke is apparently my fastest cav now, at 10 speed. This is apparently pretty dang normal because he's got some great growth rates, though Cecil should be faster, I've just gotten unlucky with her first two levels an also she's a mage now.

I put Dakota on the central fort and for one fleeting moment I was terrified that this game had tripwire spawns, which would be the single worst thing ever. Honestly I could probably put forward the argument that they're worse than ambush spawns. But no, it was just a cutscene between Lorenz and Ogma. Apparently Lorenz didn't have the nerve to drag Yumina away like what was done with Eirika and Nyna, so she and Yubello are staying here, doomed to be kidnapped.

Apparently according to one of the villagers, Lang is planning on literally killing everyone in the entire country.

I am... going to be very curious how Marth responds to seeing Lang again, because from what I understand it's canon that he listened to all the villagers by the time you talk to Lorenz.

Also, the game seems to be implying that Wendell rescued the twins used as hostages to manipulate Grust... before we recruited him.

This feels like a pretty atrocious retcon for Grust's actions if this was explained the same way in Book 2 (can't remember), because holy shit, Grust was only attacking us because the king's kids were held hostage, and Wendell had the kids safe the whole time and never told us!?

WE COULD HAVE HAD CAMUS ON OUR SIDE!

Also, yeah, the Empire's kidnapping all young women, and... holy shit. This is like, more cartoonishly evil than anything Nohr did. I seriously hope this doesn't have Marth be a sheep at the end...

Alright, and this game has Lorenz stab himself instead of blow himself up, which makes more sense. I mean if there were people Lorenz were trying to take out with him, blowing himself up or setting himself on fire would've made sense, but it always seemed so goofy in the context.

But of course the “victory is near” music plays right afterward, still spoiling the scene. Honestly, talking to him should've been the victory condition. It's not like this game doesn't have non-seize chapters.

But yeah, Lorenz asked us to protect Yumina and Yubello, a promise we are going to immediately fail catastrophically to do in a moment.

Yep, just like in the original, Yang arrives from the opposite side of the mountain, and I'm like “wow, that was a quick murder spree to catch up with us”.

Thankfully it's Jagen who stops us from stopping him, not Marth. I seem to remember Marth definitely being more sheep-y in the original, so that's good. And I mean, rescuing Minerva is important, but like... it feels kinda ridiculous that we're just going all over the country like this. Thankfully Macedon is “nearby”, though there not being any battles between here and there is... kinda weird.

Yeah, anyway, I'm tired as shit due to a lack of proper sleep, so I'm not gonna continue today. Probably wouldn't be wise.

So I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow.

Stay safe, everyone.

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1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

It's curious that the opening narration says that Talys was “deeply scarred” by the War of Shadows. Didn't they literally not fight in it, and the only time they were ever attacked that we saw was by completely unrelated pirates?

 

The Doluna alliance were doing stuff during Shadow Dragon off screen confirmed! They attacked Tayls and...somehow Tayls managed to survive and Marth was never informed of these battles as they were occurring...Yeah, no that makes no sense. Maybe their economy just tanked due to the entire mainland being basically on fire.

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

Anyway, so, I talk to some of the villagers as I work my way northwest. Apparently Lorenz helped Caeda's dad win an inter-city-state battle or something and unify Talys under one ruler. And then they got rid of their army forever apparently. Also, I wonder where these previous city-state things were situated, since there are like two villages, a couple of houses, and one castle on the whole damned island.

 

There's also the fortresses. They're sure to represent...something. Don't forget this game is the one that just blatantly retconed a castle into existence on Soulful bridge just to have a seize point.

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

 

Also, the game seems to be implying that Wendell rescued the twins used as hostages to manipulate Grust... before we recruited him.

This feels like a pretty atrocious retcon for Grust's actions if this was explained the same way in Book 2 (can't remember), because holy shit, Grust was only attacking us because the king's kids were held hostage, and Wendell had the kids safe the whole time and never told us!?

WE COULD HAVE HAD CAMUS ON OUR SIDE!

 

You know about two weeks back when we were on the Camus chapter I brought this up and called it, aside from not characterizing Haridn more, the biggest missed opportunity in Shadow Dragon for not expanding it's lore to include the sequel. But you know what, I also have to point the finger at the original Mystery of the Emblem here too. They adapted the original Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light. They were absolutely able to add this in as a plot point to Book 1. This is such a monumental retcon to include that they intentionally made a retcon instead of establishing a new canon by remaking the first game. It's actually baffling that there isn't the slightest hint of Yumia and Yubello in Book 1. Sheema managed to get a mention in Book 1 and she's actually a pretty damn minor character all things considered.

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8 hours ago, Jotari said:

You know about two weeks back when we were on the Camus chapter I brought this up and called it, aside from not characterizing Haridn more, the biggest missed opportunity in Shadow Dragon for not expanding it's lore to include the sequel. But you know what, I also have to point the finger at the original Mystery of the Emblem here too. They adapted the original Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light. They were absolutely able to add this in as a plot point to Book 1. This is such a monumental retcon to include that they intentionally made a retcon instead of establishing a new canon by remaking the first game. It's actually baffling that there isn't the slightest hint of Yumia and Yubello in Book 1. Sheema managed to get a mention in Book 1 and she's actually a pretty damn minor character all things considered.

Yeah, honestly, it's pretty bizarre. So many opportunities to make FE3's added canon more organic by mentioning them in Book 1 and FE11, nearly all of them wasted.

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New Mystery Day 8: Chapter 2

Ah yes, this chapter.

So they describe the area I'm fighting in today as the country's “Forested border”. Huh. A border is still called a border even if it goes into the sea and not the territory of another country? I mean, thinking about it that feels kinda obvious, I guess I just never thought about “borders” in that context. Whenever borders come up it's usually when they share borders with another country.

Anyway, this is the first of many scenes where Dakota's stats are ranked, starting with his speed here. Apparently he's hit the benchmark for “exemplary”. Also, apparently this is something the game saw fit to make mandatory reading and not a base conversation.

Huh. Okay, so, Anna's just shown up. Wondering why.

...Okay this is beyond stupid. She's introducing the concept of “How's everyone”, which is basically the predecessor to the Awakening barracks. And the way she describes it in-universe is completely ridiculous, and yet again didn't need to be explained in-universe. I'm frankly amazed they've felt the need to do this with basically everything except the tutorial advice that Katarina could have given.

And I got some experience for Marth, a strength and res boost for Cecil (almost useless) and a speed and res boost for Arran (probably extremely useful). Said boosts are +2 in this game, not +4, interestingly enough. Also, this whole “how's everyone” thing is apparently time based, not chapter-based, so assuming the emulator doesn't cause anything wonky to happen with the passage of time, I should get some nice bonuses every day.

Alright, looks like I finally get some “supports”. Let's see what passes for a support conversation in this game.

Wow, Luke's support with Rody was... pretty damn lame. It's not interesting, and it's also not funny. They're just arguing about the need for nicknames.

And bizarrely... Dakota's support with Luke was... marginally better.

...

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.

WHAT IS WITH THIS GAME AND ITS RECAPS!?

I get that this is a sequel and everything, But near as I can tell, Radiant Dawn was pretty good at bringing newcomers up to speed without being hugely patronizing to everyone else.

And I get this is optional, but thanks to the utterly bizarre star system and not just labels like “Recap” or “Spprt”, or “Extra”, I can't exactly skip these things, now can I? And neither can most other first-time players if they want to get all the non-redundant dialogue.

Weirdly, support conversations vanish from the menu when you're done with them, while others merely grey out.

...Ugh. Preparing for this map is a bitch when I don't know what Catria's deployment position is or what her sats are without looking stuff up. But I'm gonna do my best to get that lady sword, and that means splitting up my forces to tackle this map from both directions, just like I did last time. Also, I've gotta be careful to stay out of those dracoknights' movement ranges.

Basically, I'll be sending my best units with Catria to the left (Arran and Dakota, with Cecil tagging along) and then Marth, my two cavaliers, and my two archers to the right. One side's got Malicia, the other side's got vulneraries, so nobody should be struggling to heal.

Also, quick note: I like how this game upgrades the usability a bit by making it clear on the item menu who you've deployed, because it marks them with an exclamation point even there, when the last game didn't use those exclamation points and just relied on name brightness to label who was and wasn't deployed, something that didn't carry over to the inventory menu.

Alright, I'm just stalling at this point. I don't really wanna press start out of fear for what's about to happen to that lady sword, but I've run out of reasonable preparations I can think to make, so time to just rip off this bandage.

Ooh, look, we got Cord! Cord is... well, he's got globally better growths than Barst had in FE11, so yeah, we might be able to make some use of him! Also, I notice that Warren's speed growth is no longer objective trash, though it's still not great. Speaking of which, I think they changed the class bases, because I'm noticing that the mercenary class's speed is no longer completely overwhelming.

But his explanation for joining is... yeah, yet again, this series just generally has a problem with information and people traveling ridiculously quickly. He apparently managed to intercept us at Macedon because he heard we were headed there (presumably he was already on the move when he heard we left for Grust and simply changed course, but even so...). And really, I've gotta wonder why Bord, Cord and Barst all decide they want to join us, and yet they didn't all come together. Aren't they supposed to be friends?

Anyway, Cord let us save a turn by baiting in the easternmost hunter early, due to starting just barely in reach of that hunter's attack range.

And that worked perfectly. The lion's share of the enemies went for the east side, with only Warren and the thief heading towards us, allowing us to recruit Warren and kill the thief with Catria and Arran respectively. And like that, the lady sword is ours with no issues!

Warren and Catria's recruitment conversation is dumb, dumb, dumb. It suggests that Warren does care about the politics of the war he's joined... but just never thought about them enough to realize he would be willing to join a side for anything but money.

I really wish they did more to give some custom color palettes to character battle models. It's just so lame that everyone's wearing the same thing.

...Come to think of it, it's weird that that's kinda been the case (except for often special designs for whatever class a unit starts in) for the entire time that reclassing and 3D has been a thing. Why is that? Why do we often not even get character-specific colors for everyone's outfits? Why did character-unique color palettes stop being a thing after the sprite games?

Also, quick shower thought (because I literally just got out of the shower): whoever's re-composing the old music... has a tendency to completely change the drumbeat and thus the tone of the song. Both this track and Liberation had pretty badass marching beats to their drum tracks which have been completely replaced with... I don't even know the fuck what. It's... not a huge deal for this first player-phase theme (though it is undoubtedly worse for it), but it ruins Liberation. I'll get to that when it actually plays though.

Dakota got a pretty decent level up, but it's become apparent that he's a bit below on his defense stat. Not massively as I initially thought, but still unfortunate. Still, his HP is still ludicrous, far beyond what anyone else has, and that makes him by far the bulkiest member of my army regardless.

Alright, after sending Arran over to the right side to help with the incoming cavalry, everyone but the dracoknights has been taken out, meaning there's nothing between me and the boss but them... and my overpowering paranoia of forts in games with ambush spawns.

I take the side ones out simultaneously with both of my teams, putting Catria and Arran on the west and east forts respectively to bait them in and simultaneously avoid potential asshole ambush spawns. Unfortunately I miscalculated Arran's speed and forgot he doubles them, so there goes an opportunity for some nice promoted enemy kill exp for that side. Similarly Cecil isn't strong enough to kill the other dracoknight so I couldn't give that exp to who I wanted to either.

Oh well, time to bait in the boss with Dakota.

Oh wow. I never liked the original Book 2 boss theme, but this is... a pretty significant step down anyway. There are some hints of good ideas, like that guitar that comes into the background to play single notes every once in a while, but it just feels so incomplete and weak.

Cecil manages the kill on the boss and gets magic, skill and speed. Nice, finally some speed from her. It's crazy how high her speed growth is considering this is the first level up I've gotten from her that gained it.

Anyway, if there are any ambush spawns, I managed to reach the castle with Marth without triggering them.

So that means we're done for today, after this cutscene.

Ah yes, and now we get Linde. Those of you who read my Book 2 playlog will know I turned her into an absolute menace due to early access to power and defense star shards, but given that those don't affect growth rates anymore, I'm pretty confident she and Merric aren't going to be my objectively-best units anymore. Probably not even close given my ability to give them top tier defense was most of the reason why they were so badass.

Man, so many people who heard about where Marth was going managed to beat him here. This feels like Jeorge's recruitment from the previous game... done multiple times.

But Nyna sent Linde to deliver the Fire Emblem, and... okay, I was really worried for a sec, but I just checked, and yes, FE11 does show the notches for the stones in the CG where you get it from Nyna. Man, that would've been so dumb, if they had been so thoroughly convinced they wouldn't do an FE3 remake that they didn't even bother putting the notches in the damned Fire Emblem. Thank goodness that wasn't the case, but honestly, with all the other retcons from FE3 that they didn't even try to smoothly incorporate into FE11... part of me believed that's a mistake they'd have made.

But anyway, after my emulator crashed shortly after saving, leaving me temporarily terrified that I might have lost all of the day's data (because back when I was in high school, every emulator I ever used didn't actually save anything until you closed the program properly and you'd lose everything if it crashed, causing me to obsessively use save states instead), I'm done here for the day. I just haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately, and... I dunno... there's something about the gameplay here that's just leaving me nervous to play more than one chapter. I'm not as eager to keep moving as I was in Shadow Dragon, even now that I'm out of those fucking awful prologue chapters, and I can't really put my finger on why.

Well, hopefully I'll come up with an answer later.

Stay safe, everyone.

Edited by Alastor15243

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New Mystery Day 9: Chapter 3

So we're once again treated to the incredibly badass story of Macedon's liberation, and then... Jagen compliments us on our skill stat, and I just do not understand what the hell the point of this conversation set is.

Alright, “How's Everyone” seems to be fully charged.

I'm treated to Cord and Daug announcing their intention to become closer to me and I am just getting so uncomfortable at how obnoxious this player-insert character is. While he's not as bad as Byleth in terms of how he acts, the army's reaction to him is even worse.

I also get a toy bow and...

...A third “become closer to Dakota”, this time with Gordin.

Christ.

Also, looked this up online after remembering missing Iote's Shield last time: looks like hidden treasure is a thing again in this game, but it's much less of a pain, and with the exception of the desert maps, it's exclusively in cave entrances, with a 100% find rate. Meaning no Iote's Shield just lying on the ground in front of the castle this time. Wonder where I will be getting it?

I think there are more dracoknights than I remember. I hope Palla can still handle them all.

Also, the whole “march around a fucking mountain while inescapably passing through the range of four dracoknights” thing is still one of the shittiest things a Fire Emblem game has ever done. I'm planning on killing them one by one again, though this time I'll do the first one with a more expendable flier than Palla just in case the enemy AI changed and attacking one aggros all of them. Arran will be the one taking one for the team, because it's not like in Shadow Dragon where if you want a second early-game flier with anything resembling physical stats it's either Jagen or Norne. No, we've got Cecil now.

...Wish Arran still had that speed bonus though.

...Okay fine, I'll do the talks.

Rody and Dakota's talk is about Dakota having Agnés Oblige levels of shitty navigational skills, and there's potential there, but Rody is just the wrong person to do it. He doesn't really make a good foil to Dakota, since they're both so calm and boring.

So, quick thing: while I still find these continuous recaps pretty obnoxious, I did speak to somebody yesterday who had only played Radiant Dawn and not Path of Radiance, and the stuff Radiant Dawn did there was apparently... not remotely enough to give them any idea what the hell was going on. So I guess there's that. Maybe this nonsense is necessary.

Maaaaaaan. Only 9 deployment slots? Coming off of FE11 that feels like way too few.

Looks like I'll have to make some cuts.

Unfortunately, Rody, your base speed of 6 is terrible, and you're still at it after 3 consecutive levels despite your good growth. It's getting so bad enemies are getting close to doubling you. So I'm gonna have to drop you. Looks like Luke is my other cav this time (I'm switching Cecil back to cav because Linde has a prf tome and Cecil's not likely to be able to compare).

...Well that's annoying.

By the looks of it, they just flat-out gave Rody better growths than Luke and I just got really weird luck for these first few levels! Rody ties in HP, and beats Luke in speed, skill and luck, and only loses out by 10% in HP and strength.

Ugh. Fiiiiiine. I'll keep Rody around and drop both of my archers. Linde's magic should be enough to emergency-nuke any dracoknights I have to deal with.

This is still one of the dumbest-designed maps in the franchise. There's still almost nothing in between Marth and the massive clockwise circle across this huge and empty map. I have no fucking clue what the devs were on when they made this. I hope they added some reinforcements or something.

Let's go.

Palla says that “only clerics” have been disappearing, but like... then why was Archanea kidnapping all the women of Grust? Like, I get the obvious other evil purpose that these women could be getting kidnapped for, but it seems utterly bizarre to imply they're completely unrelated.

Right, the dracoknights don't move until they're attacked, so I can take them out at my leisure. Good to know. And yeah, Palla's just as fantastic as I remember.

For a second I thought I accidentally reclassed Catria to a cavalier instead of Cecil, but no, I don't know what was going on there, guess it was a mis-click.

Anyway, so begins the long, arduous trek around the map through Paranoia Pass, while Palla slowly baits out the dracoknights.

How could the devs not have recognized what terrible map design this is!?

Come to think of it... after talking to a villager, I've gotta ask: why did Lang tell us to come here to stop the rebellion in Macedon? Does stopping the Rebellion let Archanea come in and take over? Because if not...

Alright, reinforcements are coming, but since Palla is here, she fights them all, stopping it from getting interesting for my other units.

And I hate this whole thing about the game clearly painting the “unlock the bridge or not” decision as a “strategic choice” when really it's a choice of either putting yourself in danger and not getting Matthis... or boring yourself to tears.

Especially since there's still another village along that long and winding route.

...Yep, judging by what Michalis says, this was orchestrated by Hardin. And the fact that quelling this is still in Hardin's interest means... that this is just a ploy to weaken Macedon so it can be conquered.

Which begs the question of why Michalis wants Minerva taken out of the country, where she can't keep the kingdom legitimate and strong after the rebellion. Maybe he just knows Lang plans on assassinating her or something?

Anyway yeah, he leaves with Minerva.

I notice that pegasus knights have dust clouds added to their flight animations in this game. Okay, guess that means I have to give 12 a slightly higher presentation rating than 11, though the crit flashes already secured that.

As usual, Palla's growth rates are really lopsided, and sadly she's not 4 away from capping speed like she was in the original now that speed caps are higher. But still, she's gonna be my most useful flier for quite a while.

And now we've got Bord, and how fitting, because the route to get him has me very very Bord.

Alright, Arran's testing the waters taking out the dracoknights. They don't do much damage to him, but if they all swarm at once... we're gonna have problems.

Arran leveled up and gained... speed! YES! Of all the things he could get, thank goodness it was that!

...But they all charge him. Thank goodness that other dracoknight can't use his silver lance, but...

...This could be very bad.

...Nope, looks like they didn't block him off from the right direction to keep him from flying back to get help. Awesome.

And he critted one, so now two are dead instead of just one!

At any rate, I'm torn between being glad they changed that ridiculous cheese tactic from the original... and furious that they thought about it long enough to realize that that was a problem and yet saw no issue whatsoever with the entire concept of being forced to move past a bunch of dracoknights who all go “IS THIS BOTHERING YOU I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU IS THIS BOTHERING YOU I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU”.

Rody missed yet another consecutive speed level up, but gained his first defense level up. I'm starting to think this guy is just completely a lost cause compared to Luke despite his superior growths. Luke has four more speed and one more luck, strength and defense.

Catria got a great level up though, getting everything physical but strength.

And Cecil (who I turned back into a cav) gained everything physical period.

FIFTH LEVEL. NO SPEED. RODY WHY.

And just to add mockery, Arran gets speed again, meaning he's now just as fast as he was with the base boost from last map.

The cavs won't move until multiple enemies are within their range, which is a clever idea, but if you get into the front two's range from the ocean, the first one will hog the closest spot and only allow one to attack.

Alright, I got Matthis, so it's time to finish this.

Linde gets a great level up, gaining everything but strength, defense and res.

Luke got HP, skill and luck, which... is bad, but his stats are still great.

Marth got HP, luck and defense, which is a much better level up despite only having one stat difference. Crazy how wonky the individual balance of stats is in his game.

And now it's time for Dakota to go in and take out the ballista.

And I've failed the time limit requirement for the gaiden, but thankfully I didn't lose anyone in the prologue, so I'll get it anyway.

I hope.

Anyway, Linde kills the first boss after Dakota softens him up (but still takes a massive beating unfortunately despite his massive bulk), and we get our first star shard!

...And yep, who should show up right on cue but General Lang. Man, this is practically becoming a meme at this point, having this slow as fuck general constantly arrive right after you show up despite never being seen beforehand.

Oh man, I'm so glad they didn't give all of the glory to Dakota here. They let Dakota chip in with his own line, but this is still clearly Marth and Jagen's moment. And Jagen still manages to scare Lang away.

Okay, now we get the “gaiden mission unlock” scene, and... it just makes it clear how badly placed this is. Rescuing those kids seems pretty urgent, right? So why have them actively choose to chase down Katarina instead?

...Okay, fair enough, the assassins are attacking our allies from the War of Shadows. Fine.

Alright, then I guess that's it for today.

I'm not tackling one of this game's infamous gaiden chapters as a twofer.

Stay safe, everyone.

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For what it's worth I played Radiant Dawn before playing Path of Radiance (in fact Radiant Dawn was my first game in the series) and I had no issue with how it treated the info that happened in the previous game. All you really need to know is Daein and Crimeia had a war. You played as Ike fighting for Crimea and the Black Knight killed Ike's dad. There was something about a medallion too, but that's going to be way more relevant in this game.

Edited by Jotari

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