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Edegard1902

Which GBA game would you reccomend first?

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I'm finally planning on playing the GBA games once I play the BLue Lions route in Three Houses. I held of playing the games so far as they seem to be considered the best games in the franchise and was worried I might not like them. Which game would you recommend first?

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Since you seem to have started with Three Houses, Sacred Stones makes a good transition point to classic FE. It has grinding like the newer FE games, although it doesn't have Classic Mode. Although if you can get past the lack of grinding, I'd definitely recommend Blazing Sword, or just Fire Emblem as it's called.

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FE7 (Blazing Sword) was the first one in the series to come to the west, so it has a pretty thorough "tutorial story" that introduces you to some of the mechanics of the game (not all of which were present in Three Houses, like rescuing and the weapon triangle). FE8 (Sacred Stones) would come next, as the mechanics expand upon 7's, adding things like trainee classes, branched promotions, and familiar miscellany like a traversable world map and a repeatable monster map for grinding exp. FE8 also features a route split which adds to its replay value.

You can finish the GBA trilogy with FE6, which FE7 was designed as a prequel for. FE6 was only released in Japan, though, so you would have to emulate it along with a translation patch, or import a cartridge and learn Japanese. It follows in the same vein as the more "classic" Fire Emblem games with a giant playable cast and rather unforgiving difficulty spikes (compared to the hard modes of 7 and 8, especially), but it's still a fun game. Also you get to see a continuation of FE7's story and some characters make an appearance as their older versions.

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Play Scared Stones first. Not only does it have similar features to the more newer games, but it would also gives you a better idea of what your into when it comes to the GBA games as far as how few game mechanics work.  

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This is gonna sound a bit weird but I feel that it would be best for you to play Fe7 Lyn's story as a way to become more familiar with how the gba games work, then play Fe8 on Normal, make an extra save right after Renvall, play Eirika's route first, then play Ephraim's route starting from the extra save while Eirika's route is still fresh in your mind. Return to Fe7 and finish Eliwood's story, Then play Hector easy mode, skipping Lyn mode, finally play fe6 normal mode, and make sure that Shanna and Thea are higher levels than Shin and Sue before chapter 16 ends. (you do not want to play the Sacae route first, trust me) 

This allows you to take in the GBA games at a steady pace, and helps relieve the whiplash that comes with transitioning to the older games, Lyn mode is a nigh-perfect tutorial, but Sacred Stones is the least stressful to complete, Fe7 has one map that can absolutely ruin GBAFe for a player and so it's important that you get one game under your belt so that you can mentally accept that GBAFe is fun and good and fe6 is left till last as it is the hardest of the 3 games. 

Of course there's no wrong order in which to play the games, and ultimately don't dwell too much on it or you'll get too stressed to even play the games. 

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FE6 is too hard to be the first, FE7 has some serious design flaws so just go with FE8 which is admittedly very easy but I'll get you into the mechanics of the FE GBA games better.

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FE8 all the way, really. Quite frankly, that one is the only one I'd recommend playing at all, but that's neither here nor there.

More importantly FE6 and especially FE7 have some pretty rough aspects, especially for a newcomer.
For example FE6 utilizes cheap shot reinforcements all the time. And FE7 requires you to babysit a fragile, unmovable tent if you want to utilize the item storage during the map. And you most certainly want to, because unlike FE6 this one does not have a shop on the battle preparations menu. So you have to do all your shopping during the map itself. Needless to say, mid-map shopping without the ability to send items to the storage, is a massive pain.

Honestly, I find the idea that FE7 is a good game for newcomers to be absurd. Sure, they were no doubt intending for it to be this. But the execution falls flat on it's face. It's easily the most newcomer unfriendly game of the trio.

Edited by BrightBow

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28 minutes ago, BrightBow said:

Honestly, I find the idea that FE7 is a good game for newcomers to be absurd. Sure, they were no doubt intending for it to be this. But the execution falls flat on it's face. It's easily the most newcomer unfriendly game of the trio.

I fail to see it that way, considering that FE6 is even more newcomer unfriendly. Unless you think dealing with inaccurate weapons, cheap shot reinforcements and gimmicky side chapters (that are mandatory for the good ending of the game, mind you) counts as newcomer friendly.

Anyway, I'd recommend FE7. Which I would honestly say is the only one worth playing, but that's neither here nor there.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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I'd probably say FE8 because it's the easiest, you can grind more easily, and it has a nice self-contained story. FE7 isn't a bad place to start either because of Lyn's story acting as a tutorial, and it also isn't too hard on the lower difficulties (which you *have* to do for your first playthroughs because you unlock hard mode later). Definitely save FE6 for last because it's the most difficult of the three and it has annoying ambush spawns.

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FE7, because you'll need the tutorial.  The game system is very different from 3H.

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Here's the thing.

Sacred Stones is very easy, it also has a tower where you can grind. Not sure what difficulty you played 3H on though.

I'd personally recommend trying out Blazing Sword. The game comes with a pretty good tutorial and multiple lords to choose from. Also it has Hector. One of the better balanced Fire Emblem games.

Don't start with Binding Blade. If you are interested, maybe give it a try after you finished Blazing Sword. FE6 is the hardest from the GBA titles, and it's not very well balanced. Still, it's a nice touch for the story of Blazing Sword if you enjoyed that one. (one of my favourites, but I like a fair challenge)

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@Garlyle I played 3H on Hard and it was too easy even without grinding much. I have played FE 9-13, SOV, 3H and FE4 so I'm not sure how I would get into the GBA games as I was considering starting with Binding Blade as it seems like the one with the most mixed feelings on it with FE7-8 being well received.

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@Gregster101 I actually started with Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn and then played Awakening, Shadow Dragon, Shadows of Valentia, Genealogy then Three Houses. I was going to play the GBA games first but I have heard that Binding Blade would be one of the harder games in the franchise. I think I will start with Sacred Stones as it is more of a standalone game.

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I think it depends on how you'd want to progress in difficulty.

Binding Blade isn't difficult due to quality game design, it's actually the opposite.  Units have disappointingly low growth rates, Roy will ram his level cap very quickly and not have access to his promoted class until way too late into the game, gaiden chapters have hidden requirements and you're required to beat all of them in order to get the true ending, and you could arbitrarily be sent to the worst levels in the game if you opt to use a certain pair of units more than a certain other pair of units.  Not to mention the level design is tedious and will probably feel like a miniature Genealogy with the way you have to slog your mass of troops from point A to point B.

Sacred Stones, even without grinding, is pretty easy to plow through.  The unit balance is completely off because the trainees actually are kinda underwhelming (only Ross is all that worthwhile, the others only for if you want to fill some desired niches) and a decent chunk of the pre-promotes are actually viable to bring to endgame (especially the notorious Seth).  And then you have the usual problem of the cavaliers being more useful than infantry, except it's further exacerbated because every cavalier in the game is actually really good (again, especially Seth).

Blazing Sword is generally the best balanced of the three, and it shows through the fact that just about every single unit is viable if you know how to take advantage of them.  It's one of the few games where an armor knight (Oswin) can actually be a solid addition to your army, instead of a pointless burden.  Though it isn't without its fair share of unfair garbage, but generally speaking it's a solid entry with genuinely fun challenge to it.

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2 hours ago, Edegard1902 said:

@Gregster101 I actually started with Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn and then played Awakening, Shadow Dragon, Shadows of Valentia, Genealogy then Three Houses. I was going to play the GBA games first but I have heard that Binding Blade would be one of the harder games in the franchise. I think I will start with Sacred Stones as it is more of a standalone game.

You'd be right about Binding Blade being one of the harder games in the series, but it's more due to poor game design than anything else. Most weapon types are inaccurate, especially axes (the most accurate axes only have 65 hit!), every map is seize, and you have to go through all of the gaiden chapters, some of which have some really annoying gimmicks that make the ones in Revelation look bearable, to get the true ending (in fact, you need all of the weapons from such chapters to get it, and you cannot break any of them). As stated earlier, the level design tends to favour long, winding maps, which makes it more of a Horse Emblem title. Not to mention the unit balance is one of the worst in the series; just to put things in perspective, most foot axes are bad, the armors are burdens, especially Wendy/Gwendolyn, who is in the running for worst unit in the franchise, and you have a bunch of pointless units. Incidentally, Blazing Blade's story has little to do with Binding Blade's story.

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6 hours ago, Edegard1902 said:

Genealogy

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

just go ahead and play 6 lol.

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3 minutes ago, Edegard1902 said:

@Roxas Is 6 similar to 4?

Not exactly. However, with how big its maps are, it IS arguably the biggest Horse Emblem title besides Genealogy, and its unit balance isn't much better.

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1 hour ago, Edegard1902 said:

@Roxas Is 6 similar to 4?

not really, outside of how big the maps are (classic high-movement-classes-are-OP) and that every map is a seize the throne/gate/castle

but if you already made your way through the 3DS era, shadow dragon, and genealogy (of all games, which really explains nothing to the player), then I feel like you can go ahead and ignore the above advice of picking up fe8 and fe7 as "hand-holding" games before you get to 6 which plays more in the vein of classic fire emblem.

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Slight warning before you start any of them- Although mounted units can finish their move after rescuing, trading, or another utility option, they CANNOT if they attack or heal (in the case of Troubadours).

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22 hours ago, Edegard1902 said:

@Garlyle I played 3H on Hard and it was too easy even without grinding much. I have played FE 9-13, SOV, 3H and FE4 so I'm not sure how I would get into the GBA games as I was considering starting with Binding Blade as it seems like the one with the most mixed feelings on it with FE7-8 being well received.

Well, you have enough experience to give Binding Blade a try, storywise I still think it's better if you tried Blazing Sword before - most people played it that way too. Still it's a fair warning to say that Binding Blade and Thracia are the hardest Fire Emblem games, although some titles are more difficult on the hardest settings. I too found 3H Hard/Classic to be easier than it should.

Edited by Garlyle

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With your experience level FE8 is gonna feel piss easy even if you go right into Hard mode blind - there's exactly one difficult map in the entire game and even that isn't all that hard if you're abusing Seth. I'd recommend FE7 just because I think it's a better game with more interesting characters than FE6 but playing both of them would be a perfectly reasonable idea.

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The order I recomend would be:

1: Sacred Stones, easy game overall and is a perfect way to bridge the gap between modern and classic FE gameplay. The lack of difficulty will be a perfect way to introduce you to the classic mechanics

2: FE 7. The middle ground in terms of the GBA games in terms of difficulty. Shouldn't be to hard if you familiarize yourself with the mechanics in SS.

3: Binding Blade. Has some real nasty difficulty spikes and is alot less refined mechanically then the other 2. But still worth a try.

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If you decide to take the majority of recommendations here and play Sacred Stones (which is a great choice for newer players to the series) you should challenge yourself and avoid the temptation of trivializing using the tower of valni on your playthrough (playing on Sacred Stones hard is equivalent in difficulty to easy mode on most other fire emblem games). If you decide to try one of the other two GBA games first, they are certainly more difficult and you may have to do some research before you play them if you want to figure out how to recruit certain characters or maneuver around the trickier maps efficiently. Good luck.

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Sacred Stones. It's got great characters, gameplay, music, and a better plot then FE7-6, but unlike FE6, I don't recall it being difficult.

Edited by Fates-Blade

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