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My Thoughts so far on Three Houses

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Recently, I got a Switch so I could finally play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I just got to part 2 of the Crimson Flower route. I thought I'd give my thoughts so far on the game. As I'm nowhere near done the game, this is not a full review. 

I'm really liking the game overall. The story so far is pretty good, the gameplay is excellent (aside from some class balancing issues), and, for possibly the first time since Radiant Dawn, the characters are mostly well-written even outside their support conversations. 

I mainly just have a few criticisms of the plot, and I was wondering what people who've played the game (or at least have gotten as far as I have) think of them. I'm putting each one in a spoiler tag for length and because spoilers:

Spoiler

I like how Jeralt's death is handled overall; the scene where it happens is well-done, I like the change in music in the Monastery and how sad Byleth is in the following month. I was especially moved by the month of Jeralt's death being the one month where Bernadetta comes out of her room in order to pay her respects to him. However, I feel his raises a few questions:

  • The second time Byleth goes through Jeralt's death, Kronya is saved by Thales teleporting in, creating a shield, and teleporting out with Kronya. One: considering Byleth needed time-travel to know to stop Kronya, how was this guy able to react in time? Was he watching us the whole time somehow? I understand why he saved Kronya: he needed her for later and he wanted to prevent the church from figuring out the secret of their bodies, but I don't understand how he could react in time to save her like that, and that second reason is thrown out the window since he does nothing to retrieve Solon and Kronya's corpses just a chapter later.
  • Why? What was the goal for everything in this chapter and the next? I'm in part 2, and I still knowing nothing about why, "Those Who Slither in the Dark" turned those students into monsters and killed Jeralt. I can understand wanting to eliminate a threat to their plans if that was the stated goal, and Hubert speculates that it was all to kill Jeralt so that the knights would be busy running around and looking for Jeralt's killer while the group attacks the church again. But... they don't; they just wait in a forest and stage a trap for Byleth. Contrast this with Path of Radiance (considering how much Jeralt is made to be similar to Greil), we may not know what the Black Knight means by, "So I may see you at your full strength, General Gawain: Rider of Daein" or "Where is it? […] You, who knows what it can do more than anyone, would not simply throw it away" but it gives us enough hints to create a good mystery, and we're given a clear understanding of why: Daein wants something that Greil has, and it isn't Princess Elincia. The key to any good mystery is giving us enough information and hints that we can theoretically figure it out ourselves, and Jeralt's death just doesn't have any such hints or information. 

Also, I dislike the missed opportunity: in a game all about gray-and-gray morality, choices-&-consequences, ideology-vs-ideology, this would've been a good opportunity to have an antagonist for Byleth that stands out from the crowd by making it personal; this would've been an opportunity for Byleth to have a nemesis in the form of Kronya. For comparison to Path of Radiance again, The Black Knight adds a lot to the story by being a personal enemy to Ike. Everyone else that Ike's fighting, he's fighting either out of moral obligation or because his group was hired to do so; usually both. The Black Knight stands out among the crowd by making it personal, and given how Ike's arc is all about him living up to his father's legacy and taking up the mantle, it makes a lot of sense for his personal foe to be someone who killed his father in single-combat and was a former student of Greil. I'm not saying Kronya had to be Byleth's version of the Black Knight; honestly, I thought it was going to end up being more like Roy Mustang and Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. But to do so little with such a massive setup...

Also, while the scenes with Byleth mourning Jeralt are great, they missed a big opportunity in my opinion: he's acting Captain of the Knights of Seiros, a lot of people knew him and are mourning him, and this is supposed to be the moment where the tone of the story shifts completely for the darker. Why not give him an elaborate funeral cutscene? Even Greil was given a scene where Ike and Mist stand in front of his grave in a state of grief. Why didn't they show us Jeralt's funeral? Show us everyone's different reactions to his death? Alois can be crying his eyes out, Rhea can be trying to remain reserved but still sheds a tear nonetheless, etc. 

Spoiler

The Flame Emperor reveal overall was pretty good. This had enough hints to create a good mystery, though perhaps a bit too many as it quickly became obvious who it was. Perhaps the reason it was still a shock to me is that I had dismissed the obvious answer at first because the Flame Emperor seemed too tall to be Edelgard. But I think it was actually because, since I was playing the Black Eagles route, I got invested enough in Edelgard's character that it still came as a shock even though it wasn't a surprise. That is a good mystery. And, it does have a lot of plot ramifications, so it works as a plot twist, and not just shock bait. 

However, some of those ramifications seem to stretch beyond what the developers intended. Edelgard is a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them. So, why would she order a bandit attack on a group of students that includes herself? I can understand wanting to kill or capture Dimitri and Claude to make unifying Fodlan easier, and if capture was the case, I can understand Edelgard including herself in the group to shift suspicion elsewhere. But the bandits clearly weren't out to capture; they were out to kill, and had it not been for Byleth, she would have died because of her own stupid plan. 

Furthermore, the reveal felt just a bit... lacking overall, and I think I figured out the reason why: the Flame Emperor doesn't do much of anything in part 1. What the Flame Emperor actually does in part 1, amounts to the following:

  • Stage a bandit attack to kill the house leaders, though I already went over how Edelgard being the Flame Emperor makes that stupid. 
  • Use the Western Church as patsies to steal Seiros' body, though Seiros' body wasn't there; the Sword of the Creator was. But Edelgard didn't know that.
  • Loan the Death Knight to Those Who Slither in the Dark, though that doesn't really count as nothing those guys do in part 1 is part of Edelgard's plan. 
  • Launch a raid of the Holy Tomb to steal crest stones. This happens after Edelgard reveals that she's the Flame Emperor, so I don't count it either. 

For a character that was set up from near the beginning to be the main antagonist of part 1; the antagonist whose big reveal would have massive story ramifications that would shift the player's perspective and all that stuff, there just isn't much there, and what is there raises more questions (and not good questions) than answers. 

Spoiler

Speaking of the Flame Emperor reveal, the big decision moment that decides whether you side with Edelgard or the Church has to be one of the most disjointed plot events I have ever seen!

So, you've just defeated Edelgard, and Rhea is demanding that she be killed for basically committing acts of rebellion against the church. Okay; I'm invested in this moment; thinking as Byleth, my student I went to that tower with after the ball and whose coronation I attended has just turned on me and turned out to be the Flame Emperor, who I know was working with the people who killed my dad. But she's my student, and nothing about her motivations has so far been stated or made clear. Right now, what I want is answers; I'm screaming for answers; "Why, Edelgard; why?!" I'm desperately wanting to tell Rhea, "She's my student! I will hear her out first." 

But, I'm not allowed to ask for answers; the game is forcing me to decide now, without any information. How am I supposed to decide? I have nothing to go on! All I have is that it turns out that Edelgard has been attacking the church and helping Those Who Slither in the Dark for currently unknown reasons. It is then that I notice that the other students, who were all shocked by Edelgard's seeming betrayal, have not only gone silent, but disappeared entirely. They're not screaming, "Why, Edelgard; why?!" They're not offering their input on the situation. They're not even just standing there looking horrified; they're just not there. They're always there in every other important scene where they're present, but not this one. I just can't tell what's going on! How am I supposed to choose! I experienced three big problems with this:

  • Had I not known already that I need to choose "side with Edelgard" to play the Crimson Flower route, I might have picked the other option; thinking it was the intended route; not the secret route, and I can't imagine that I'm the only one. I can only imagine how many players may have accidently chosen the Church route and thought they were playing Edelgard's route.
  • The fact that I had to think of which route I wanted to go down in order to decide killed my immersion. I couldn't think the way I would in Byleth's position; only as what I wanted to do as the player. This may not sound so bad, but immersion is important for any amount of emotional investment in a story.
  • I was so busy going, "What's going on?!" and not getting any answers that literally every subsequent scene leading into the next chapter were deprived of their emotional resonance for me. All the students choosing to side with Edelgard could've been fantastic, but I spent the whole thing going, "Why are you all giving exposition of where you were when the choice happened? At least now I know." The scene where you stand beside Edelgard as she asks the students if they'll stand with her could've been very moving, and I wanted to be moved, but I was too busy thinking, "Can you please tell me what we're actually doing and why?" When Edelgard personally thanks me for siding with her, that should've been the heartwarming moment that potentially dispelled any lingering doubts about siding with her. Instead, I'm thinking, "Okay... I only sided with you to play this route of the game; I had no idea what was going on."

I just don't understand how this moment was so botched. All I needed was the opportunity to ask Edelgard "why?" or even for Edelgard to give her reasons unprompted, or at least in response to Rhea's angry remarks, and for the students to at least be there. Every other plot-relevant scene has had these so far; why is this, the most important moment in part 1, the exception? 

Side-note: after Rhea explicitly states, "Her rebellious heart cannot be allowed to keep beating", I really wanted to have Byleth say something like, "You mean like how my heart doesn't beat at all because of what you did to me?" That maybe could've been another reason to side with Edelgard if the game had let me say anything like that. 

 

What do you guys think?

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The Black Eagles path to me is probably the weakest of the options purely because of the things you listed about the Flame Emperor and Edelgard. I have a lot of the same problems you do and I think it all kind of boils down to it feeling... rushed. I played Crimson Flower last purely because I couldn't force myself to side with Edelgard without any answers or explanation as to why she did everything and only really played CF to finish up the routes. Also, without going into spoilers, I do feel that Azure Moon handled the Flame Emperor reveal far better than the other routes.

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Just want to start with a note about the Flame Emperor reveal: I may not be in a huge majority here but I played Verdant Wind first, and in that route the Flame Emperor reveal is not clear at all. Like maybe you can guess because even with the voice distortion, the Flame Emperor sort of sounds female, and the whole emperor and fire motif makes it pretty clear that the Flame Emperor is connected to Adrestia, but my best guess on my first run was that the Flame Emperor was one of Edelgard's parents. I wonder if anyone else playing Verdant Wind experienced this or if I'm just dumb? Because as far as I could tell there were really no clear hints that the Flame Emperor was Edelgard in that route.

Anyway, I think your thoughts are pretty apt. Honestly the story is alright overall, some routes do things better than others (Blue Lions Blue Lions Blue Lions), but I think everyone more or less agrees that Black Eagles is a little weak as far as plot goes. I played it last and I was really ready to get into Edelgard's motivations and background and finally save her, because it was really sad having to kill her in every single other route. But then I played Black Eagles and yeah. If you're expecting much explanation about why she's doing this or what her deal is, prepare to be disappointed.

I also really agree with your thoughts about Edelgard's initial assassination plan. Honestly, things could have been handled a lot better if it had been an order to capture instead of kill, but the way it was, it was just a little weird.

Edited by Solvaij

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6 hours ago, Silver-Haired Maiden said:

The Black Eagles path to me is probably the weakest of the options purely because of the things you listed about the Flame Emperor and Edelgard. I have a lot of the same problems you do and I think it all kind of boils down to it feeling... rushed. I played Crimson Flower last purely because I couldn't force myself to side with Edelgard without any answers or explanation as to why she did everything and only really played CF to finish up the routes. Also, without going into spoilers, I do feel that Azure Moon handled the Flame Emperor reveal far better than the other routes.

Hey. This isn't the moment to make Azure Moon ads

Sorry if I can't properly answer right now. But I wanted to remember this thread for later. I'll try my best to help.

Edited by Troykv

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1 hour ago, Solvaij said:

Just want to start with a note about the Flame Emperor reveal: I may not be in a huge majority here but I played Verdant Wind first, and in that route the Flame Emperor reveal is not clear at all. Like maybe you can guess because even with the voice distortion, the Flame Emperor sort of sounds female, and the whole emperor and fire motif makes it pretty clear that the Flame Emperor is connected to Adrestia, but my best guess on my first run was that the Flame Emperor was one of Edelgard's parents. I wonder if anyone else playing Verdant Wind experienced this or if I'm just dumb? Because as far as I could tell there were really no clear hints that the Flame Emperor was Edelgard in that route.

I'll get back to you when my brother gets that far (he chose Verdant Wind as his first route). 

 

7 hours ago, Silver-Haired Maiden said:

The Black Eagles path to me is probably the weakest of the options purely because of the things you listed about the Flame Emperor and Edelgard. I have a lot of the same problems you do and I think it all kind of boils down to it feeling... rushed

I felt that too; especially the way a few moments (namely the escape in chapter 11 and Rhea nearly killing Byleth in chapter 12) were done with still CGs where it really seemed like cutscenes would've been the more fitting option. I did not expect this game to ever feel rushed; it was delayed to 2019 and the whole point of bringing in Koei Tecmo for help was to save time. 

 

1 hour ago, Solvaij said:

But then I played Black Eagles and yeah. If you're expecting much explanation about why she's doing this or what her deal is, prepare to be disappointed.

Ah; that stinks. I was really finding her character interesting after some of the story conversations in part 1 and her support conversations. I at least found the reforms she wants to make when she becomes Emperor interesting: she's experienced firsthand what Crest obsession has caused, and she wants to tear down the nobility system because of the prime minister's coup. That made a lot of sense. I would have liked to know why she wants to fight the Church of Seiros and conquer the whole continent, or why she decided to be the Flame Emperor (seriously; what benefit did the disguise provide her apart from two minor conversations?)

 

1 hour ago, Solvaij said:

I also really agree with your thoughts about Edelgard's initial assassination plan. Honestly, things could have been handled a lot better if it had been an order to capture instead of kill, but the way it was, it was just a little weird.

Yeah; it would have made so much more sense. Even something as little as the Flame Emperor telling the bandit guy, "You fool! Your orders were to capture them; not try to kill them! We needed them alive for our plans." Without that, it just seems like a very stupid plan for Edelgard; a character that was supposed to be smart (or at least cunning). 

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To the Jeralt stuff, I would say they were probably testing to see if they could purposefully activate the Crest Stones and control the Demonic Beasts, so Thales was probably supervising the whole thing. Kronya killed Jeralt on a whim because he interfered in her work.

My interpretation of the bandit scene was that Edelgard hired someone she thought she could take in a fight, but could kill Dimitri and Claude. All she has to do is hide while they die, then "get revenge" while actually cleaning up witnesses.

I'd assume the decision at the Holy Tomb was due to time constraints. What I would've done (with time and budget) is have the decision come after the coronation scene, on their way back from Enbarr. Edelgard would come clean with Byleth, explaining all her plans and that she's the Flame Emperor, and ask you to join her. I'll put the next bits in spolier tags to separate the branches a bit better.

If you refuse,

Spoiler

Edelgard knocks you out, and leaves a note begging you not to return to the monastery so that she won't have to fight you. Then the rest plays out like in the game now, except Edelgard doesn't travel with the students, showing up after with the Imperial Army to do her thing. Upon seeing you, she's in tears. "Why, Professor? Why did you come back? Why couldn't you just leave?"

If you join,

Spoiler

she fills you in on the specifics of the Holy Tomb invasion, then the rest of the month plays out normally. When Edelgard declares her intentions, Byleth immediately joins her side, and the map in played in reverse. You have only Byleth/Edelgard/Hubert starting at the bottom of the map, and you have 3 missions: first the main mission, rout the church troops (of course). Second, the other 6 students appear as green units on the map. They will not attack or move, as they're too shocked to act. Each one you talk to will join you for the remainder of the map. Either way, they will come to the imperial encampment with you, this will just make the fight easier. Third, you can loot the tombs for Crest Stones, and collecting them will provide a few stat boosters at the end of the map.

 

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1 hour ago, Sid Starkiller said:

To the Jeralt stuff, I would say they were probably testing to see if they could purposefully activate the Crest Stones and control the Demonic Beasts, so Thales was probably supervising the whole thing. Kronya killed Jeralt on a whim because he interfered in her work.

That would be a decent explanation (though why use students and not some random isolated village?); if only the game had actually given an explanation. 

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13 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Recently, I got a Switch so I could finally play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I just got to part 2 of the Crimson Flower route. I thought I'd give my thoughts so far on the game. As I'm nowhere near done the game, this is not a full review. 

I'm really liking the game overall. The story so far is pretty good, the gameplay is excellent (aside from some class balancing issues), and, for possibly the first time since Radiant Dawn, the characters are mostly well-written even outside their support conversations. 

I mainly just have a few criticisms of the plot, and I was wondering what people who've played the game (or at least have gotten as far as I have) think of them. I'm putting each one in a spoiler tag for length and because spoilers:

  Reveal hidden contents

I like how Jeralt's death is handled overall; the scene where it happens is well-done, I like the change in music in the Monastery and how sad Byleth is in the following month. I was especially moved by the month of Jeralt's death being the one month where Bernadetta comes out of her room in order to pay her respects to him. However, I feel his raises a few questions:

  • The second time Byleth goes through Jeralt's death, Kronya is saved by Thales teleporting in, creating a shield, and teleporting out with Kronya. One: considering Byleth needed time-travel to know to stop Kronya, how was this guy able to react in time? Was he watching us the whole time somehow? I understand why he saved Kronya: he needed her for later and he wanted to prevent the church from figuring out the secret of their bodies, but I don't understand how he could react in time to save her like that, and that second reason is thrown out the window since he does nothing to retrieve Solon and Kronya's corpses just a chapter later.
  • Why? What was the goal for everything in this chapter and the next? I'm in part 2, and I still knowing nothing about why, "Those Who Slither in the Dark" turned those students into monsters and killed Jeralt. I can understand wanting to eliminate a threat to their plans if that was the stated goal, and Hubert speculates that it was all to kill Jeralt so that the knights would be busy running around and looking for Jeralt's killer while the group attacks the church again. But... they don't; they just wait in a forest and stage a trap for Byleth. Contrast this with Path of Radiance (considering how much Jeralt is made to be similar to Greil), we may not know what the Black Knight means by, "So I may see you at your full strength, General Gawain: Rider of Daein" or "Where is it? […] You, who knows what it can do more than anyone, would not simply throw it away" but it gives us enough hints to create a good mystery, and we're given a clear understanding of why: Daein wants something that Greil has, and it isn't Princess Elincia. The key to any good mystery is giving us enough information and hints that we can theoretically figure it out ourselves, and Jeralt's death just doesn't have any such hints or information. 

Also, I dislike the missed opportunity: in a game all about gray-and-gray morality, choices-&-consequences, ideology-vs-ideology, this would've been a good opportunity to have an antagonist for Byleth that stands out from the crowd by making it personal; this would've been an opportunity for Byleth to have a nemesis in the form of Kronya. For comparison to Path of Radiance again, The Black Knight adds a lot to the story by being a personal enemy to Ike. Everyone else that Ike's fighting, he's fighting either out of moral obligation or because his group was hired to do so; usually both. The Black Knight stands out among the crowd by making it personal, and given how Ike's arc is all about him living up to his father's legacy and taking up the mantle, it makes a lot of sense for his personal foe to be someone who killed his father in single-combat and was a former student of Greil. I'm not saying Kronya had to be Byleth's version of the Black Knight; honestly, I thought it was going to end up being more like Roy Mustang and Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. But to do so little with such a massive setup...

Also, while the scenes with Byleth mourning Jeralt are great, they missed a big opportunity in my opinion: he's acting Captain of the Knights of Seiros, a lot of people knew him and are mourning him, and this is supposed to be the moment where the tone of the story shifts completely for the darker. Why not give him an elaborate funeral cutscene? Even Greil was given a scene where Ike and Mist stand in front of his grave in a state of grief. Why didn't they show us Jeralt's funeral? Show us everyone's different reactions to his death? Alois can be crying his eyes out, Rhea can be trying to remain reserved but still sheds a tear nonetheless, etc. 

  Reveal hidden contents

The Flame Emperor reveal overall was pretty good. This had enough hints to create a good mystery, though perhaps a bit too many as it quickly became obvious who it was. Perhaps the reason it was still a shock to me is that I had dismissed the obvious answer at first because the Flame Emperor seemed too tall to be Edelgard. But I think it was actually because, since I was playing the Black Eagles route, I got invested enough in Edelgard's character that it still came as a shock even though it wasn't a surprise. That is a good mystery. And, it does have a lot of plot ramifications, so it works as a plot twist, and not just shock bait. 

However, some of those ramifications seem to stretch beyond what the developers intended. Edelgard is a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them. So, why would she order a bandit attack on a group of students that includes herself? I can understand wanting to kill or capture Dimitri and Claude to make unifying Fodlan easier, and if capture was the case, I can understand Edelgard including herself in the group to shift suspicion elsewhere. But the bandits clearly weren't out to capture; they were out to kill, and had it not been for Byleth, she would have died because of her own stupid plan. 

Furthermore, the reveal felt just a bit... lacking overall, and I think I figured out the reason why: the Flame Emperor doesn't do much of anything in part 1. What the Flame Emperor actually does in part 1, amounts to the following:

  • Stage a bandit attack to kill the house leaders, though I already went over how Edelgard being the Flame Emperor makes that stupid. 
  • Use the Western Church as patsies to steal Seiros' body, though Seiros' body wasn't there; the Sword of the Creator was. But Edelgard didn't know that.
  • Loan the Death Knight to Those Who Slither in the Dark, though that doesn't really count as nothing those guys do in part 1 is part of Edelgard's plan. 
  • Launch a raid of the Holy Tomb to steal crest stones. This happens after Edelgard reveals that she's the Flame Emperor, so I don't count it either. 

For a character that was set up from near the beginning to be the main antagonist of part 1; the antagonist whose big reveal would have massive story ramifications that would shift the player's perspective and all that stuff, there just isn't much there, and what is there raises more questions (and not good questions) than answers. 

  Reveal hidden contents

Speaking of the Flame Emperor reveal, the big decision moment that decides whether you side with Edelgard or the Church has to be one of the most disjointed plot events I have ever seen!

So, you've just defeated Edelgard, and Rhea is demanding that she be killed for basically committing acts of rebellion against the church. Okay; I'm invested in this moment; thinking as Byleth, my student I went to that tower with after the ball and whose coronation I attended has just turned on me and turned out to be the Flame Emperor, who I know was working with the people who killed my dad. But she's my student, and nothing about her motivations has so far been stated or made clear. Right now, what I want is answers; I'm screaming for answers; "Why, Edelgard; why?!" I'm desperately wanting to tell Rhea, "She's my student! I will hear her out first." 

But, I'm not allowed to ask for answers; the game is forcing me to decide now, without any information. How am I supposed to decide? I have nothing to go on! All I have is that it turns out that Edelgard has been attacking the church and helping Those Who Slither in the Dark for currently unknown reasons. It is then that I notice that the other students, who were all shocked by Edelgard's seeming betrayal, have not only gone silent, but disappeared entirely. They're not screaming, "Why, Edelgard; why?!" They're not offering their input on the situation. They're not even just standing there looking horrified; they're just not there. They're always there in every other important scene where they're present, but not this one. I just can't tell what's going on! How am I supposed to choose! I experienced three big problems with this:

  • Had I not known already that I need to choose "side with Edelgard" to play the Crimson Flower route, I might have picked the other option; thinking it was the intended route; not the secret route, and I can't imagine that I'm the only one. I can only imagine how many players may have accidently chosen the Church route and thought they were playing Edelgard's route.
  • The fact that I had to think of which route I wanted to go down in order to decide killed my immersion. I couldn't think the way I would in Byleth's position; only as what I wanted to do as the player. This may not sound so bad, but immersion is important for any amount of emotional investment in a story.
  • I was so busy going, "What's going on?!" and not getting any answers that literally every subsequent scene leading into the next chapter were deprived of their emotional resonance for me. All the students choosing to side with Edelgard could've been fantastic, but I spent the whole thing going, "Why are you all giving exposition of where you were when the choice happened? At least now I know." The scene where you stand beside Edelgard as she asks the students if they'll stand with her could've been very moving, and I wanted to be moved, but I was too busy thinking, "Can you please tell me what we're actually doing and why?" When Edelgard personally thanks me for siding with her, that should've been the heartwarming moment that potentially dispelled any lingering doubts about siding with her. Instead, I'm thinking, "Okay... I only sided with you to play this route of the game; I had no idea what was going on."

I just don't understand how this moment was so botched. All I needed was the opportunity to ask Edelgard "why?" or even for Edelgard to give her reasons unprompted, or at least in response to Rhea's angry remarks, and for the students to at least be there. Every other plot-relevant scene has had these so far; why is this, the most important moment in part 1, the exception? 

Side-note: after Rhea explicitly states, "Her rebellious heart cannot be allowed to keep beating", I really wanted to have Byleth say something like, "You mean like how my heart doesn't beat at all because of what you did to me?" That maybe could've been another reason to side with Edelgard if the game had let me say anything like that. 

 

What do you guys think?

Well now I can give my opinions

Spoiler

I think a cute detail about Jeralt's death other that the whole reaction from everyone, is the fact you can actually found his tomb, just alongside her lover's one, Byleth's mother.

 

Spoiler

The whole thing with the Kostas' attack is quite weird, but the Flame Emperor was actually more focused in the fact Byleth now enter in the picture, and was recruited so easily into the Academy; some people actually comment they expected Jeritza to be the one to take the position of the missing profesor, while I can't say for sure if killing Claude or Dimitri was part of the objective, based on these details the actual main target of Kostas and his men was the missing profesor.

 

I agree I would like to see more text about people's opinion about the whole Flame Emperor thing, but eh... isn't like it's the only thing that goes underexplained in the game, so don't take it too badly, of your would have a quite bad reaction seeing certain points of Azure Moon.

Spoiler

I don't have a particular opinion on how the route split works... it's weird we actually fight Edelgard before joining her, but I definitely think visiting Enbarr is a key element on making Byleth consider his opinion.

And the overall choice works nice enough.

So yeah, these are my opinions.

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8 hours ago, Troykv said:

Well now I can give my opinions

  Reveal hidden contents

I think a cute detail about Jeralt's death other that the whole reaction from everyone, is the fact you can actually found his tomb, just alongside her lover's one, Byleth's mother.

 

It's not alongside her tomb; it's the same tomb. He gets buried with her. 

 

8 hours ago, Troykv said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

The whole thing with the Kostas' attack is quite weird, but the Flame Emperor was actually more focused in the fact Byleth now enter in the picture, and was recruited so easily into the Academy; some people actually comment they expected Jeritza to be the one to take the position of the missing profesor, while I can't say for sure if killing Claude or Dimitri was part of the objective, based on these details the actual main target of Kostas and his men was the missing profesor.

 

I agree I would like to see more text about people's opinion about the whole Flame Emperor thing, but eh... isn't like it's the only thing that goes underexplained in the game, so don't take it too badly, of your would have a quite bad reaction seeing certain points of Azure Moon.

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I don't have a particular opinion on how the route split works... it's weird we actually fight Edelgard before joining her, but I definitely think visiting Enbarr is a key element on making Byleth consider his opinion.

And the overall choice works nice enough.

So yeah, these are my opinions

Yes; the Flame Emperor is more focused on Byleth suddenly being made professor. Part of that seems to be from Edelgard's immediate interest (curiosity-wise) in Byleth, part of it is from wondering why Rhea would so quickly pick Byleth, and part of it may simply be from Byleth being a completely unexpected complication to their plans. So, yeah; there are a lot of good reasons why she's more interested in how Byleth became professor. 

I had almost forgotten that student that mentioned they were expecting Jeritza to become professor. The plan having been simply to get rid of that professor is an interesting theory, though it isn't anything more than a theory because that plot thread's just left hanging.

Visiting Enbarr is key, gameplay-wise, as you have to visit Enbarr in order to unlock the option to spare Edelgard. The problem is, though I'd probably have to watch the scene again, it still doesn't solve that problem I have with the big decision moment itself: namely that her goals/motivations as Flame Emperor were never explained and I never get to ask why she would do all this before making the decision. 

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17 hours ago, Solvaij said:

Just want to start with a note about the Flame Emperor reveal: I may not be in a huge majority here but I played Verdant Wind first, and in that route the Flame Emperor reveal is not clear at all. Like maybe you can guess because even with the voice distortion, the Flame Emperor sort of sounds female, and the whole emperor and fire motif makes it pretty clear that the Flame Emperor is connected to Adrestia, but my best guess on my first run was that the Flame Emperor was one of Edelgard's parents. I wonder if anyone else playing Verdant Wind experienced this or if I'm just dumb? Because as far as I could tell there were really no clear hints that the Flame Emperor was Edelgard in that route.

Anyway, I think your thoughts are pretty apt. Honestly the story is alright overall, some routes do things better than others (Blue Lions Blue Lions Blue Lions), but I think everyone more or less agrees that Black Eagles is a little weak as far as plot goes. I played it last and I was really ready to get into Edelgard's motivations and background and finally save her, because it was really sad having to kill her in every single other route. But then I played Black Eagles and yeah. If you're expecting much explanation about why she's doing this or what her deal is, prepare to be disappointed.

I also really agree with your thoughts about Edelgard's initial assassination plan. Honestly, things could have been handled a lot better if it had been an order to capture instead of kill, but the way it was, it was just a little weird.

 

I was Golden Deer first, and I was shocked as spit when the Flame Emperor was revealed. (but I will say that AM had it best out of the 3 routes)

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

It's not alongside her tomb; it's the same tomb. He gets buried with her. 

 

Yes; the Flame Emperor is more focused on Byleth suddenly being made professor. Part of that seems to be from Edelgard's immediate interest (curiosity-wise) in Byleth, part of it is from wondering why Rhea would so quickly pick Byleth, and part of it may simply be from Byleth being a completely unexpected complication to their plans. So, yeah; there are a lot of good reasons why she's more interested in how Byleth became professor. 

I had almost forgotten that student that mentioned they were expecting Jeritza to become professor. The plan having been simply to get rid of that professor is an interesting theory, though it isn't anything more than a theory because that plot thread's just left hanging.

Visiting Enbarr is key, gameplay-wise, as you have to visit Enbarr in order to unlock the option to spare Edelgard. The problem is, though I'd probably have to watch the scene again, it still doesn't solve that problem I have with the big decision moment itself: namely that her goals/motivations as Flame Emperor were never explained and I never get to ask why she would do all this before making the decision. 

Yeah, that is the reason I just mentioned the information, isn't anything confirmed, but is an intriguing idea to have in mind if more Story Content is added in the future. After all before Wave 3, the true nature of Death Knight was completely unknown; and the only clue was the conversation where Manuela talks about him in the time skip.

To be fair the way they decided to do the decision in the actual game is a bit particular, is basically a completely emotional decision, and you don't just go with Edelgard's party initially, Byleth just puts between Edelgard and Rhea to making sure she isn't harmed; "Protect Edelgard" is basically what triggers Rhea to show her darker colors despite you don't making an official annoucement of betray or something like that.

I'm not expecting everything to be answer, but I'm hopeful of more updates helping.

Edited by Troykv

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4 hours ago, Troykv said:

To be fair the way they decided to do the decision in the actual game is a bit particular, is basically a completely emotional decision, and you don't just go with Edelgard's party initially, Byleth just puts between Edelgard and Rhea to making sure she isn't harmed; "Protect Edelgard" is basically what triggers Rhea to show her darker colors despite you don't making an official announcement of betray or something like that.

True. Still, all we have to go on for a decision of "kill Edelgard" or "protect Edelgard" is that it turns out that Edelgard has been the one leading multiple attacks on the church and attacks the holy tomb while Byleth and the other students are all in it. I could not possibly have built up more reason to care Edelgard: I did all the support conversations that were available, I invited her to tea at least once, and I even invited her to the tower after the ball, and my thoughts were not, "No, Rhea; I'm going to protect her," My thoughts were, "Why, Edelgard? Why did you do this to us?!" 

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6 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

True. Still, all we have to go on for a decision of "kill Edelgard" or "protect Edelgard" is that it turns out that Edelgard has been the one leading multiple attacks on the church and attacks the holy tomb while Byleth and the other students are all in it. I could not possibly have built up more reason to care Edelgard: I did all the support conversations that were available, I invited her to tea at least once, and I even invited her to the tower after the ball, and my thoughts were not, "No, Rhea; I'm going to protect her," My thoughts were, "Why, Edelgard? Why did you do this to us?!" 

I'm not going to assume I can know everything, so I can't give you a proper answer about this; I imagine this is a product of limitations, in one way or another.

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7 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

True. Still, all we have to go on for a decision of "kill Edelgard" or "protect Edelgard" is that it turns out that Edelgard has been the one leading multiple attacks on the church and attacks the holy tomb while Byleth and the other students are all in it. I could not possibly have built up more reason to care Edelgard: I did all the support conversations that were available, I invited her to tea at least once, and I even invited her to the tower after the ball, and my thoughts were not, "No, Rhea; I'm going to protect her," My thoughts were, "Why, Edelgard? Why did you do this to us?!" 

I would say that, sometimes in life, we're forced to make decisions at a moment's notice. A defeated Edelgard is going to try to flee ASAP. The Rhea who just defeated her army wants blood (which I think was a flawed decision, but I can appreciate Rhea "losing it" in that moment). Neither one is going to accept a "time out", or "let's talk this through", much as we may want to. The player is left to choose, with limited information, by their gut and heart moreso than their head. And I don't think that's inherently wrong design.

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23 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I would say that, sometimes in life, we're forced to make decisions at a moment's notice. A defeated Edelgard is going to try to flee ASAP. The Rhea who just defeated her army wants blood (which I think was a flawed decision, but I can appreciate Rhea "losing it" in that moment). Neither one is going to accept a "time out", or "let's talk this through", much as we may want to. The player is left to choose, with limited information, by their gut and heart moreso than their head. And I don't think that's inherently wrong design.

I think this is very well said.

I have some issues with how Black Eagles handles Chapter 11 (to me it feels like it's obviously a rush-job copy from the other routes especially Blue Lions where it makes more sense), but I think the choice itself as a moment of emotion based on Byleth's (and the players) feelings about Edelgard as a person (perhaps Rhea as well) is powerful and effective. There is a reason that it is accompanied by a heartbeat.

@Sid Starkiller, I really liked your proposal for how Chapter 11 would go, though (for all that I do think I'd rather keep the more emotional aspect to it and have the decision come after some revelation Edelgard didn't control rather than her making a direct rational plea at a time of her choosing).

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I agree with all of these criticisms.

Edelgard hiring Kostas to do a hit job on the lords, including herself feels like a scrapped plot direction where she wasn't the Flame Emperor. She also tells Kostas that she needs to look for a replacement for him as if she still intends to carry out the assassination plot, but she never does.

The scene where you have to choose either CF or SS is honestly one of the worst moments in the entire plot.  Edelgard has revealed herself to be behind several villainous actions and yet your only options are to trust her blindly or to side with Rhea. Like you said, choosing CF feels like less of a natural choice for Byleth, rather you would do it because you want to play Edelgard's route. I think there is a reoccurring problem in part 1 where there are pressing follow up questions you could ask but the plot contrives some reason why you are unable to. Jeralt has something REALLY important to talk about, but there's just no time (he has all month). Rhea is about to tell her relation to you but... SUDDENLY Alois has a mission briefing and Byleth can't immediately resume the conversation with Rhea. Etc

The whole "choice" moment just doesn't work. You have every reason to either want to question Edelgard or insist Rhea back down until you sort things out but you can't. Edelgard vaguely states her motivations and everyone joins her because "dragon lady bad". When you start the next chapter, you learn that she explained herself offscreen and you just have to assume she was really persuasive.

 

 

 

 

 

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@Dark Holy Elf BE's Chapter 11 feels more incomplete than rushed in my opinion.

Both in BL and GD, the Holy Tomb event gets a small build-up where the students share their thoughts/observations about it, with some even stating they feel something huge is about to happen. Meanwhile, in Edelgard's route this scene oddly never happens because the chapter starts with everyone already in the Holy Tomb.

On 11/25/2019 at 11:43 AM, vanguard333 said:

So, why would she order a bandit attack on a group of students that includes herself? I can understand wanting to kill or capture Dimitri and Claude to make unifying Fodlan easier, and if capture was the case, I can understand Edelgard including herself in the group to shift suspicion elsewhere. But the bandits clearly weren't out to capture; they were out to kill, and had it not been for Byleth, she would have died because of her own stupid plan. 

It's never explicitly stated, but it's likely the original plan was for Edelgard to outlast both Dimitri and Claude during the bandit attack in the initial place the three were camping (either by sheer stamina or outside help), which got ruined the moment Claude ran away and forced Edel and Dimitri to follow his lead (a random comment by Ferdinand even raises the possibility Claude knew mercenaries were nearby).

 

Edited by Moltz23

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@Moltz23 I think it's rushed in the sense that the chapter really should have played out differently, but they did a minimal-effort copy from the other routes, deleting the scene you mentioned and just using exactly the same map as on BL/GD despite the fact that this makes very little sense. Adding the scene you mentioned back in wouldn't have fixed the problems.

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20 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

@Moltz23 I think it's rushed in the sense that the chapter really should have played out differently, but they did a minimal-effort copy from the other routes, deleting the scene you mentioned and just using exactly the same map as on BL/GD despite the fact that this makes very little sense. Adding the scene you mentioned back in wouldn't have fixed the problems.

No, but at the same time something interesting could've been done with it, maybe even tied to Sid Starkiller's idea.

 

 

...Now that we're speaking about Edelgard's path, I also wanna ask something: am I the only one who thinks Silver Snow was rushed as well?

I'm aware that's a weird statement to make considering SS got all the budget compared to CF, but I always found odd how, despite being considered by many the alleged canon BE route, not much is done with the betrayal aspect of the conflict compared to Blue Lions (in particular due to the 2nd Gronder Field battle happening offscreen), how the character interactions of the Black Eagles - despite sharing a similar script with Verdant Wind -  feel very undercooked (which is an issue also shared with Crimson Flower which at least has the alleged excuse of being worked on last) and how out of nowhere TWSITD and crazy Rhea pop up in the context of the route whereas in Verdant Wind the group's presence in the Adrestian army is foreshadowed and the plot dump Rhea delivers is arguably far more traumatic than the one she gives in Silver Snow.

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I wouldn't say "rushed," so much as "poorly thought out." I admit I haven't played it, but I've heard enough to know some things that don't work. In addition to the things you pointed out, the 6 BE students who leave El to join you reunite with you 5 years later, just like they promised. But here's the thing, they didn't make that promise to you, but to El! Why would they still honor it? Were they hoping everyone but her would honor it? Were they hoping she would be dumb and show up alone so they could gang up on her? There's no way where it makes sense.

I've been thinking about something else as well: there's been a lot of talk since release about justifying recruiting characters away from their houses. Usually it takes the form of "which BEs would leave El" and "which non-BEs would join El." But that's it. How would you justify having BLs join GD and vice versa? I could see Felix leaving because he hated Dimitri that much, but who's going to march up to Byleth and say, "Up until now I was happy serving my lord and fighting the empire, but I know that if I join you I can fight the empire!"? Why join us when you were already doing that?

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3 hours ago, Moltz23 said:

...Now that we're speaking about Edelgard's path, I also wanna ask something: am I the only one who thinks Silver Snow was rushed as well?

It's very obviously rushed/poorly thought out yeah, and you're certainly not the only one who thinks so given that it's easily the least popular route. To this day I'm not sure exactly what the route is trying to accomplish; Azure Moon and Verdant Winds both tell the story it tells much better while giving you front-seat looks at Dimitri and Claude, both fascinating characters. SS could have taken the opportunity to show more of Rhea or Edelgard but it really doesn't (Rhea's about equally present on VW, while Edelgard is actually more present on AM). SS is also very unconcerned with improving the terrible conditions in Fodlan which White Clouds sheds light on, which gives me some malice for it. I think they writers wanted there to be a choice as to whether to support Edelgard or not, and that's fair I suppose, but it's clear they didn't really care about what happened if you went down the SS path beyond some early plot skeleton ideas that got turned into a couple videos.)

For evidence of it being rushed, well, it depends on exactly what order different parts of each route were constructed... but consider that SS has only one unique map (and evidence for it copying VW's maps rather than vice versa is found in the fact that the Black Eagles appear as bosses on those maps), a duplicate final boss from another route (and said boss unquestionably makes more narrative sense on the non-SS route), and something like 90% of its monastery dialogue is shared with VW/AM, including that of the Black Eagles students, which shows how they're afterthoughts even on a route they're required recruits.

(Side note: I think it's pretty laughable to say that CF is as rushed or as much an afterthought: all unique maps, mostly unique monastery dialogue, a bunch of supports (Edelgard, Hubert, and now Jeritza) only available on that route. It's definitely the route with the second most effort put into it, besides whichever of AM/VW/SS you think was created first [presumably AM].)

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I would only call CF rushed insofar as having such a small portion of the budget to work with. It was clearly planned from the outset (I refuse to believe they would give El such plot focus and not let you side with her, and there are subtle hints to her real intentions strewn all throughout BE Part 1), but may have been the last route programmed into the game. And after giving it thought, I'm not sure if its short length was entirely due to time constraints. I think it's a combination of that and the Adrestian Empire being stronger than the other armies.

I will admit I am biased toward CF, but ask yourself this: the winner in each route is the side Byleth joins, so who wins if they had actually died in Chapter 12? In non-CF routes, Adrestia is basically on victory's doorstep until Byleth shows up. In CF, El refuses to use the most drastic of Slither's tech and abilities because Byleth sides with her before "dying," and even then the war has been at a stalemate until Byleth resurfaces. I really do think, everything carrying on as it had without your presence, Adrestia would have easily won the war.

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4 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

It's very obviously rushed/poorly thought out yeah, and you're certainly not the only one who thinks so given that it's easily the least popular route. To this day I'm not sure exactly what the route is trying to accomplish; Azure Moon and Verdant Winds both tell the story it tells much better while giving you front-seat looks at Dimitri and Claude, both fascinating characters. SS could have taken the opportunity to show more of Rhea or Edelgard but it really doesn't (Rhea's about equally present on VW, while Edelgard is actually more present on AM). SS is also very unconcerned with improving the terrible conditions in Fodlan which White Clouds sheds light on, which gives me some malice for it. I think they writers wanted there to be a choice as to whether to support Edelgard or not, and that's fair I suppose, but it's clear they didn't really care about what happened if you went down the SS path beyond some early plot skeleton ideas that got turned into a couple videos.)

For evidence of it being rushed, well, it depends on exactly what order different parts of each route were constructed... but consider that SS has only one unique map (and evidence for it copying VW's maps rather than vice versa is found in the fact that the Black Eagles appear as bosses on those maps), a duplicate final boss from another route (and said boss unquestionably makes more narrative sense on the non-SS route), and something like 90% of its monastery dialogue is shared with VW/AM, including that of the Black Eagles students, which shows how they're afterthoughts even on a route they're required recruits.

(Side note: I think it's pretty laughable to say that CF is as rushed or as much an afterthought: all unique maps, mostly unique monastery dialogue, a bunch of supports (Edelgard, Hubert, and now Jeritza) only available on that route. It's definitely the route with the second most effort put into it, besides whichever of AM/VW/SS you think was created first [presumably AM].)

Crimson Flower was rushed, while Silver Snow was half baked...

Crimson Flower has a lot to say, but not enough time to show everything, it can be at times frustrating to know this would be better; which it made evidently for the lack of cutscenes and don't enough CG Artworks to compensate, which ended up making some scenarios weirder than intented... but the overall experience it feels fresh and unique.

 

On the other hand, Silver Snow has authority over several of the cutscenes (in particular their unique ones with the SS Timeskip Custcene and the Ending) in the game, even the ones that are shared with other routes (the Pre-Timeskip cutscene, the Cutscene after the battle with you know who and the cutscene after defeating certain pale man) make a lot more sense in the context of Silver Snow... but that is where all the care for Silver Snow ends.

So Silver Snow ends up with the opposite problem, it has several flashy moments... but doesn't really have a lot to say, and really the most interesting things about the story (that aren't contrived) are:

1.- The previously mentioned cutscenes being more powerful if you had Supports with Rhea and had interacted significally with certain character

2.- Finally learning without filters (at least for the most part) the actual origin of Byleth

3.- Having a story where you don't have an actual main character (though, this is mostly in theory XD)

Otherwise you get what do you get from Verdant Wind, and to a lesser extent Azure Moon.

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6 hours ago, Sid Starkiller said:

I would only call CF rushed insofar as having such a small portion of the budget to work with. It was clearly planned from the outset (I refuse to believe they would give El such plot focus and not let you side with her, and there are subtle hints to her real intentions strewn all throughout BE Part 1), but may have been the last route programmed into the game. And after giving it thought, I'm not sure if its short length was entirely due to time constraints. I think it's a combination of that and the Adrestian Empire being stronger than the other armies.

I will admit I am biased toward CF, but ask yourself this: the winner in each route is the side Byleth joins, so who wins if they had actually died in Chapter 12? In non-CF routes, Adrestia is basically on victory's doorstep until Byleth shows up. In CF, El refuses to use the most drastic of Slither's tech and abilities because Byleth sides with her before "dying," and even then the war has been at a stalemate until Byleth resurfaces. I really do think, everything carrying on as it had without your presence, Adrestia would have easily won the war.

Sure, but there are ways to do that without reducing the number of chapters (and I am aware of the reduced number of chapters; I'm just unaware of what happens in those chapters as I'm not that far yet).

One of the most obvious methods that I could see would involve fighting Those Who Slither in the Dark; either after fighting Fearghus and Rhea or before. For before, they could write it that Thales realizes that Edelgard is ultimately against them owing to Byleth being on her side, and he decides to try to play everyone. That, or he tries to kill Byleth to increase his hold over Edelgard and it fails; severing their agreement in the process. I admit that that's probably not very good, but I just came up with it on the spot. IS had 4 years and they brought in Koei Tecmo to reduce the needed development time. 

Another idea might be that Dimitri turns around and conquers the Alliance; leaving Edelgard having to fight one strong enemy rather than two weak enemies. Again, that might be a bad idea; I don't know enough about what happens in part 2. My point is simply that there are options. 

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But...there aren't. I've put a LOT of thought into this because it sucks that my preferred route has less content, but I really don't think it could work any other way.

Want Edelgard to make a move on Slither before finishing the fight with Rhea? She wouldn't, she knows trying to start a second war while still fighting the first would be suicide, not just for her, but her whole army.

Want Thales to make a move on Edelgard? He wouldn't, he is so smug in the belief that she is beneath him. His bombing Arianrhod in retaliation for Cornelia's death is a symbol of that. It's him saying, "Don't go getting ideas, Edelgard, I'm in charge here, and this is the price of crossing me."

Want to play out the battle against Slither afterward? That was my initial desire when the game came out, but while it makes sense for Edelgard to do so, it doesn't fit the narrative of CF. CF is about Edelgard finally having someone reach out a hand of friendship to her, finally showing her humanity, finally getting to realize her dream of a world without Crests, without the Church of Seiros, and without Rhea the Dragon Lady secretly ruling over everyone. It's plot has to end with that showdown, with Edelgard and her beloved professor taking out the final obstacle in her path. To have the plot continue, to go from chasing a dream to a personal revenge plot, would be a huge anti-climax.

That Dimitri idea is a new one, but he wouldn't do that. Dimitri in every Part 2 I've seen has such single-minded focus that tactics are completely foreign to him. That's why Rodrigue's death in AM is so pivotal to his arc. That's why he gets such a pathetic death in VW. All he has in him is that lust for revenge. He is a bit calmer in CF, but that path's circumstances (being directly allied with and harboring Rhea) forces him into a more defensive position, so he couldn't conquer Leicester even if he wanted to.

Trust me, I would love to have more CF content. But there's a limit to what can be done to it without undermining its themes. My hope would be a DLC epilogue, separate from the main story, tackling the Slither issue. I've played every route except SS, and all of those that I have leave Slither as a loose end. Yes, Thales is killed in AM/VW, but that's hardly the only forces at their command. I could see Abyss Mode being a branched epilogue, where you choose which main story path you've come from, and wipe out their remaining forces.

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