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Jotari

Should Every Character Be Recruitable On A Single File?

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Quick, what's the first game in the series that let you recruit every character in the game in one playthrough? I'll give you a moment to think about it. Ready? It's The Sacred Stones. Yeah, really. Well, so long as you discount Orson. FE1 has Samson and Arran. FE2 has Sonia and Deen. FE3 repeats Samson and Arran, though I don't believe there's any forced choices in Book 2's story (you're denied half the characters from Book 1 unlike in the remake though). FE4 has the replacement characters. From there onwards, Thracia, Sword of Seals and Blazing Blade all have split routes which come with their own characers (with an additional pretty senseless character locked off in Thracia for no stated reason). After Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance didn't let you use all the Laguz royals at once. Radiant Dawn had no restrictions. Shadow Dragon had it's original Samson/Arran trade off in addition to all the Gaiden requirements and the prologue sacrifice. New Mystery, no restrictions (discounting the DLC map characters like Gharnef as playable units and also discounting the gender you didn't pick for Kris), nor did Awakening. Fates obviously had entire armies locked off on each path and even on Revelations they decide to really stupidly kill off Izana. Shadows of Valentia repeated it's initial choice and finally Three Houses locks off certain characters on certain routes, though less so compared to Fates. In total that means only 4 out of 16 games actually allow you to view every one's endings at the end of the game.

Just found it funny that it took the series almost a decade and a half to let you get every character in the game at once (excluding Book 2 and I suppose Lyn mode as well). Do you think every character should be available on a single playthrough? I've seen people complain about Samson/Arran style choices in the past, but I don't think people realize that denying you characters is something the series does in almost every game. I guess because the literal choose between one of these two characters is more in your face than choosing between two different routes, or an entirely different campaign. One of the more rarer versions of it is choosing you Gotoh at the end of the game, which only Path of Radiance and Shadow Dragon do. Which variations of this, I guess I'll call it trope, do you like the most and what other ways of choosing between characters would you like to see implemented?

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Given you can't really use every character on one playthrough to begin with due to deployment and training limitations, I don't think it's that big a deal to not let us collect all of them as shelf trophies. It can even add to replay value.

Edited by Alastor15243

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I like having mutually-exclusive characters. It makes routes more interesting when you have to miss out on someone and then try them out on a separate playthrough.

 

Normally, there are outright "better" choices in gameplay when it comes to picking between mutually-exclusive characters in a single-route game. Harken thrashes Karel; Schroff is worth far more than Miranda and possibly Shannam (and Ilios can outshine Olwen); Echidna's extra Spd generally outweighs Bartre's higher Str. Luca is worthless compared to Narron, Lee, and Lionel.

But, part of this "better" depends on subjective playstyle, and every game is still plenty beatable regardless of who you pick. They made the SoV Deen vs. Sonya tradeoff fairly balanced too, despite that probably not being the case in the original Gaiden.

 

I consider route splits ala Fates and 3H to be wholly separate from mutually-exclusive character choices like Arran vs. Samson. And I'd throw Thracia's and Binding's short splits with exclusive characters to fall closer to Arran-Samson choice than Fates and 3H.

For mutually-exclusive character choices, I want the reasoning for the exclusivity to be good, and I want both characters to be appealing people in terms of gameplay and personality alike.

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When there is story justification, I'm all four route-exclusive characters.

 

However, I prefer single character choices. Binding Blade, for example, annoys me. Why can't I have Elphin and Echidna? If I want Elphin, I have to have Bartre, who is both a bad unit and a lame character. If I want Echidna, I can't have my bard boi.

Edited by Etheus

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I'm fine with mutually exclusive characters so long as they make sense story wise. For example, not having both Bartre and Echidna recruitable makes sense since they're encountered on different routes from each other. What I'm not fine with is mutually exclusive characters who don't have any sort of explanation for they can't both be recruited. For example, why does Ilios not join you if Olwen is in your party even though he doesn't seem to have anything against Olwen or what she stands for? And why does Saias suddenly leave if Ced is recruited? These are mutually exclusive requirements that I really don't get in the slightest

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I like the idea of exclusive stuff. I'd say FE should keep having exclusive characters and perhaps other stuff.

45 minutes ago, Gregster101 said:

And why does Saias suddenly leave if Ced is recruited?

Saias tells Leif that he has to lave for Edda Tower at Orgahil, urgently. In this situation, the problem is not why he leaves because Ced is recruited. It's why he stays if Ced isn't recruited, if he urgently needs to go to the other side of the continent. Certainly still an arbitrary choice forcing exclusivity, though.

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2 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

I like the idea of exclusive stuff. I'd say FE should keep having exclusive characters and perhaps other stuff.

Saias tells Leif that he has to lave for Edda Tower at Orgahil, urgently. In this situation, the problem is not why he leaves because Ced is recruited. It's why he stays if Ced isn't recruited, if he urgently needs to go to the other side of the continent. Certainly still an arbitrary choice forcing exclusivity, though.

You say that, yet he doesn't feel this urge to leave if Ced isn't recruited. It's just stupid honestly

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3 minutes ago, Gregster101 said:

You say that, yet he doesn't feel this urge to leave if Ced isn't recruited. It's just stupid honestly

Yep, that's what I wrote. Indeed, it's arbitrary. Saias should've been just a guest PC (like the Ch13 generics), or an NPC for the chapter, as it were.

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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7 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Yep, that's what I wrote. Indeed, it's arbitrary. Saias should've been just a guest PC (like the Ch13 generics), or an NPC for the chapter, as it were.

Oh, sorry, I misread that. It's still stupid though, so we really should just have both Saias and Ced in a remake

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57 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Yep, that's what I wrote. Indeed, it's arbitrary. Saias should've been just a guest PC (like the Ch13 generics), or an NPC for the chapter, as it were.

Or just make him playable with Sety. It's not like it breaks the game open to have both of them.

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My issue with RD is that it couldn't be done on the first run.

But having a route-exclusive character or two isn't a bad thing IMO, as long as said character doesn't break the game in half.

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6 hours ago, Jotari said:

Fates obviously had entire armies locked off on each path and even on Revelations they decide to really stupidly kill off Izana.

Doesn't Scarlet die in Revelations as well?

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Honestly, one of my many issues with Three Houses is the fact that it barely has route-exclusive characters at all. I think it's bizarre and story-undermining that you can convince basically anyone to join your class, and that joining your class automatically means:

Spoiler

fighting on the house leader's country's side in a massive war. I'm really expected to believe that all of these kids, with families and homes and personal political opinions and values that can and will drive them to fight you to the death, can be persuaded to fight for any of several other wildly different political causes just because some guy taught them at school for as little as a couple of weeks, five years ago?

Also,  where is the tragic, dramatic weight of having to fight students you like if you're encouraged to recruit everyone you have even a passing interest in? You are actively encouraged to ruin that moment, because everyone you get to know and care about will be saved, while the ones you have to fight are the ones you didn't care for.

 

Edited by Alastor15243

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6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I think it's bizarre and story-undermining that you can convince basically anyone to join your class

Bizzare? Not particularily. Story-undermining? Kind of. If it was just House-exclusive units only then the game wouldn't be half as fun. 8 units + teachers doesn't seem very enjoyable to me. 

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Just now, Mukmuk said:

Bizzare? Not particularily. Story-undermining? Kind of. If it was just House-exclusive units only then the game wouldn't be half as fun. 8 units + teachers doesn't seem very enjoyable to me. 

Yes. I agree it wouldn't be that great... as the game is currently designed. Which is another issue altogether. Other changes would have to be made, but if it made recruitment less absurdly frontloaded (a choice that means we get basically no late-game backup prepromotes) and gave some characters some more agency and lines in the sand they won't blindly follow Byleth across, that would be worth it.

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13 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Yes. I agree it wouldn't be that great... as the game is currently designed. Which is another issue altogether. Other changes would have to be made, but if it made recruitment less absurdly frontloaded (a choice that means we get basically no late-game backup prepromotes) and gave some characters some more agency and lines in the sand they won't blindly follow Byleth across, that would be worth it.

More characters or a better "recruitment distribution" would have solved this problem. Three Houses's cast is tiny, nearly as small as Sacred Stones's, excluding secret units in SS of course (Three Houses has like 32 while SS has 34 I believe). Three Houses needs more recruitable units in general; the characters shouldn't all be from or have ties to the university. Three Houses could have learned from Sacred Stones: although the playable characters in SS are minimal, recruitment is excellently distributed throughout the game. Three Houses needed that, but that's too late now, of course.

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I think path exclusive characters, or characters that require certain conditions like the death of another character are pretty neat. It can give a character more depth and make for interesting trade-offs. Not that this happens every time with exclusive characters, but since this is fire emblem, you aren't using every character anyway.

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18 hours ago, eclipse said:

My issue with RD is that it couldn't be done on the first run.

But having a route-exclusive character or two isn't a bad thing IMO, as long as said character doesn't break the game in half.

Oh yeah. I forgot Radiant Dawn pulled that. Though as annoyed as people are about it (justifiably), I kind of think it makes sense. My only real peve there is that those two characters are literally your only dark mage users in the game and they both join really late into the game.

17 hours ago, NinjaMonkey said:

Doesn't Scarlet die in Revelations as well?

Indeed.

9 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Yes. I agree it wouldn't be that great... as the game is currently designed. Which is another issue altogether. Other changes would have to be made, but if it made recruitment less absurdly frontloaded (a choice that means we get basically no late-game backup prepromotes) and gave some characters some more agency and lines in the sand they won't blindly follow Byleth across, that would be worth it.

Spoiler

Each of the routes should have had a route exclusive late game character that's a general of the side you're happening to fight on. Like Nader for example. Why in the world isn't he playable?

 

Edited by Jotari

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10 hours ago, Jotari said:

 

  Hide contents

Each of the routes should have had a route exclusive late game character that's a general of the side you're happening to fight on. Like Nader for example. Why in the world isn't he playable?

 

That would be an excellent start to be sure.

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On 9/11/2019 at 6:56 AM, Jotari said:

Do you think every character should be available on a single playthrough?

At first I thought about it as a means of encouraging replaying the game, but as Alastor15243 points out

On 9/11/2019 at 7:12 AM, Alastor15243 said:

 you can't really use every character on one playthrough to begin with due to deployment and training limitations

and thus it doesn't really work that way outside of FE4 or FE2/15 where you can deploy your entire army. Viewed in that light it just restricts players, and ends up reducing the amount of replayability as you can never test out an army that fields both Arran and Samson. Now if there is some compelling story reason for these restriction that I am fine with, but I am beginning to look unfavorably on those that do so arbitrarily. Although when you ties these units to different maps, then the new maps themselves accomplish an greater increase in short term replayability that surpasses the small amount of extremely long term replayability lost by the restriction on team composition.

On 9/11/2019 at 6:56 AM, Jotari said:

Which variations of this, I guess I'll call it trope, do you like the most and what other ways of choosing between characters would you like to see implemented?

I think I prefer the version where the split is tied directly to a different map. On top of the maps offsetting the replayability reduction, but also gives them the opportunity (even if IS doesn't always take it, or do it well) to flesh out the reason for this split. 

Edited by Eltosian Kadath

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16 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

At first I thought about it as a means of encouraging replaying the game, but as Alastor15243 points out

and thus it doesn't really work that way outside of FE4 or FE2/15 where you can deploy your entire army. Viewed in that light it just restricts players, and ends up reducing the amount of replayability as you can never test out an army that fields both Arran and Samson. Now if there is some compelling story reason for these restriction that I am fine with, but I am beginning to look unfavorably on those that do so arbitrarily. Although when you ties these units to different maps, then the new maps themselves accomplish an greater increase in short term replayability that surpasses the small amount of extremely long term replayability lost by the restriction on team composition.

Interesting take on things. I wasn't even arguing that. I was saying that it's hardly a big loss if you can't recruit everyone since you can't use everyone to begin with, so it's interesting you could think about the exact same talking point and come to a totally different conclusion like that.

Edited by Alastor15243

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