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My Thoughts on Crimson Flower (1st Playthrough)

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I'd rather they do "tell, not show" sparingly and only when it makes sense to. They kind of do that too much already.

I think the crumbs they left behind are good, even if people are liable to miss them in a first playthrough.

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On 3/4/2020 at 5:48 AM, Crysta said:

Arundel's stop in donations makes Dimitri suspicious, and the sudden stop likely occurred some time after Duscur, but I forget the exact date if there was one in the library books.

It happened in Imperial Year 1174 iirc, the same year Edelgard went back to Adrestia.

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On 3/4/2020 at 9:48 AM, Crysta said:

Patricia sounds like a normal woman who was being manipulated by Cornelia (definitely a Slitherer) than one herself, which is supported further in Hapi's support chain with Dimitri.

Its up in the air. Its possible that she was a regular human but she's certainly irredeemably evil enough that she could have been a Slitherer. Pretending to love Dimitri as her own child before sending him to the slaughterhouse was a bit of malice she really could have skipped if she had even the vaguest sense of morality. 

The fact Patricia was kept alive at Duscur suggests to me that she wasn't just some victim of the Slitherers but an active member of the plot. If she was just some pawn Cornelia could have easily betrayed her and killed her off with the rest. 

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On 3/4/2020 at 3:44 AM, Darkmoon6789 said:

The reason I think he wasn't replaced until they already were in the kingdom is because Arundel presumably took Edelgard to the kingdom to protect her from the insurgents. Which seems a bit odd if he was already Thales. I am not sure if the real Arundel was already a participant in the insurrection, but if he was I am not certain why he would flee to Faerghus with Edelgard.

Granted, there is another possibility, as it seems Edelgard was used as a hostage to get Patricia to cooperate with Thales in killing the king. Was that the real purpose she was brought to the kingdom?

Building off of this, Edelgard may have been used as a hostage to ensure the Insurrection's success. That could've been Duke Aegir's ace-in-the-hole: "You wouldn't want your beloved daughter, now that she's out of your reach and protection, to meet an untimely fate, would you Emperor?" Edelgard could've been used to such an end without even being aware of the fact - after all, she's just taking a trip with her beloved uncle. This is all theory, of course, but I don't know of any details that directly contradict it.

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On 3/4/2020 at 7:04 PM, Crysta said:

I'd rather they do "tell, not show" sparingly and only when it makes sense to. They kind of do that too much already.

I think the crumbs they left behind are good, even if people are liable to miss them in a first playthrough.

In this case, the lack of exposition doesn't help because Lord Arundel and Cornelia are irrelevant to the narrative before they do things we can reasonably infer to be the work of Slitherers. There's no baseline for players to tell at which point they were replaced, outside of the game telling us that they did weird/unexpected things - except we never get to learn what their "normal" is to begin with. 

We know that Cornelia was learned in Agarthian technology and cured a plague. Is it because she was a scholar who got too "exposed" then replaced, or because she was a Slitherer all along, working to get herself in the good graces of the Kingdom by doing good deeds she could easily pull off? The answer to that question is who cares, because she doesn't matter until the Insurrection where she's quite obviously a Slitherer.

When Arundel became a Slitherer SHOULD be more impactful because of the implication behind taking Edelgard to Faerghus, but it isn't. Maybe he was replaced while he was in Faerghus, or before, or when he stopped donating to the Church of Seiros as he returned to the Empire. But it doesn't matter - because we have no exposure what a "normal" Arundel would do to begin with. It would be entirely human for him to plot with the other nobles to consolidate his own power, use Edelgard as leverage to wrestle power from her father, and stop support for a rival institution. To me the game wants to make the end of Church donations as the "weird" event that betrays him as a Slitherer, but there's no evidence he would've done any different if he wasn't one. AFAIK, I don't think Edelgard ever refers to who Arundel used to be. 

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I'm personally really fond of Crimson Flower. Its the most flawed route but also the most valuable. Silver Snow, Azure Moon and Verdant Wind are all fairly interchangeable. They have their difference but the stages you get presented and the order in which you do them are largely the same. They all start out fighting bandits in the monastery ruins, they all need to defend the monastery, get soldiers in wacky lava land, take out a bridge and fight at Grondor. The bosses are also largely the same too. 

As a whole Crimson Flower feels more unique. You fight bosses that you typically don't have to face in other routes and the locations are more varied as well. This makes the route ideal to be played between the other routes. If you do Azure Moon right after Verdant Wind it might feel like more of the same so a fresh campaign in Crimson Flowers does wonders to avoid repetition.

The main flaw of Crimson Flower is that its just too rushed. This naturally has the negative gameplay consequences since it gives you less map but it also devalue Claude, Dimitri and their respective nations. For all their buildup Claude and Dimitri both get taken out in a single battle while their nations only take two stages to conquer. Dimitri especially feels like a complete afterthought despite his relation to Edelgard. I don't care that we don't see Edelgard crush the Slitherer but I do care about Faergus and the Alliance not getting their due. There could have easily been a battle that takes after taking the bridge but before taking Derdriu, or a massive battle between Imperial and Kingdom Forces. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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30 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

For all their buildup Claude and Dimitri both get taken out in a single battle while their nations only take two stages to conquer. Dimitri especially feels like a complete afterthought despite his relation to Edelgard.

That's kind of the thing with Dimitri: their relationship is incredibly one-sided. Dimitri clearly had a HUGE crush on Edelgard that continued right to the end of the story (those feelings being warped into hate made Feral Dimitri all the more dangerous). Edelgard, however, quickly got over it, and while she does call him her first love, she doesn't even remember that it was Dimitri. That's where the whole "Your obsession with me is appalling" line comes from: Dimitri basically made Edelgard his whole world, and yet to her, he's just an ex-crush.

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17 minutes ago, Sid Starkiller said:

That's kind of the thing with Dimitri: their relationship is incredibly one-sided. Dimitri clearly had a HUGE crush on Edelgard that continued right to the end of the story (those feelings being warped into hate made Feral Dimitri all the more dangerous). Edelgard, however, quickly got over it, and while she does call him her first love, she doesn't even remember that it was Dimitri. That's where the whole "Your obsession with me is appalling" line comes from: Dimitri basically made Edelgard his whole world, and yet to her, he's just an ex-crush.

That's fine on a personal level for them. Edelgard not regarding Dimitri with as much importance as he does to her is fine. However in the grand scheme of things Dimitri is still the biggest obstacle to Edelgard overthrowing the church, he still leads the strongest nation opposing Edelgard and he's likely the strongest warrior Rhea has to offer. Onesided as they might be their ties do remain, and Dimitri's execution makes it clear Edelgard has has a little lingering fondness or at least pity for him. With all of this Dimitri should have at least some presence in the route as an antagonist. 

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9 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

That's fine on a personal level for them. Edelgard not regarding Dimitri with as much importance as he does to her is fine. However in the grand scheme of things Dimitri is still the biggest obstacle to Edelgard overthrowing the church, he still leads the strongest nation opposing Edelgard and he's likely the strongest warrior Rhea has to offer. Onesided as they might be their ties do remain, and Dimitri's execution makes it clear Edelgard has has a little lingering fondness or at least pity for him. With all of this Dimitri should have at least some presence in the route as an antagonist. 

That's fair. Unfortunately the impression I got was that having to protect Rhea forced Dimitri into a more defensive position than the other routes, so making him appear would be tougher. Not impossible, but tougher.

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15 minutes ago, Sid Starkiller said:

That's fair. Unfortunately the impression I got was that having to protect Rhea forced Dimitri into a more defensive position than the other routes, so making him appear would be tougher. Not impossible, but tougher.

One solution could have been to to include Dimitri in Rhea's siege of the monastery. Or a chapter where he tries to invade the conquered Alliance to liberate it from Edelgard. The Empire being busy so far to the east should have given Dimitri a chance to go do something. If the church can go on the attack then so can he. 

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Something else I just realized now that I'm reaching the part of all four routes where Jeralt dies. Sothis mentions that we should return to Jeralt's office at some point and read the rest of Jeralt's diary. In Crimson Flower at least, Seteth reads the part of the diary about Byleth's birth and is furious with Rhea. But the book never comes up again. Did Seteth keep it? Did Byleth return only to find it was missing? Does Byleth ever read the rest of it? The answer to all three questions is: the game never brings up these things again. 

3 hours ago, NolanBaumgartner said:

AFAIK, I don't think Edelgard ever refers to who Arundel used to be. 

No, she doesn't; at least not on Crimson Flower, which is something I find jarring. I think it would've happened if we had gotten four chapters devoted to dealing with TWSITD as opposed to an epilogue. 

Edited by vanguard333

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49 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

No, she doesn't; at least not on Crimson Flower, which is something I find jarring. I think it would've happened if we had gotten four chapters devoted to dealing with TWSITD as opposed to an epilogue. 

Reinforces my point about the need to concretely know when Arundel was replaced. It's a plausible theory that Edelgard never knew him as anything but a Slitherer, provided the replacement happened at least a few years before the Insurrection of the Seven. But if it happened right before he returned to the Empire as implied by the game then it's a pretty obvious plot hole. 

Edited by NolanBaumgartner

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8 hours ago, Etrurian emperor said:

Its up in the air. Its possible that she was a regular human but she's certainly irredeemably evil enough that she could have been a Slitherer. Pretending to love Dimitri as her own child before sending him to the slaughterhouse was a bit of malice she really could have skipped if she had even the vaguest sense of morality. 

The fact Patricia was kept alive at Duscur suggests to me that she wasn't just some victim of the Slitherers but an active member of the plot. If she was just some pawn Cornelia could have easily betrayed her and killed her off with the rest. 

See I'm not sure if she pretended so much as she simply really, really missed Edelgard and was manipulated into believing Lambert was the reason why she couldn't see her. Dimitri inherits her mannerisms - implying she spent more time with him than, say, Lambert - and it's implied she didn't take kindly to Hapi being experimented on. That she's "irredeemably" evil is up in the air.

People ascribe that adjective way too easily: it sounds much more complicated than that.

EDIT: Before the DLC I thought she was probably, at the very best, a selfish woman who showed a token amount of cordiality towards Dimitri - who he in turn idolized as kids are wont to do - which explained his idealistic opinion of her in spite of later admitting he didn't actually remember her much. Then the DLC went ahead and gave her a much bigger role in Dimitri's childhood, apparently, so idek any more

Edited by Crysta

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On 3/6/2020 at 5:43 PM, NolanBaumgartner said:

Reinforces my point about the need to concretely know when Arundel was replaced. It's a plausible theory that Edelgard never knew him as anything but a Slitherer, provided the replacement happened at least a few years before the Insurrection of the Seven. But if it happened right before he returned to the Empire as implied by the game then it's a pretty obvious plot hole. 

Yeah, I agree. Everything about the history dynamic between Edelgard and "Arundal" just raises more questions than answers. 

For just another example, the way they refer to each other in private makes no sense. I've already said how Edelgard calling Thales, "uncle" whenever he's wearing the Arundal look makes no sense to me (given she has nothing but contempt for the imposter), but I recently remembered another thing while playing through my Golden Deer playthrough. 

When Kronya is talking to Thales, Edelgard is there in her Flame Emperor outfit. Even though it's just the three of them, Thales refers to her as, "Flame Emperor" as if either he didn't know who it is underneath or it's a nickname, neither of which is the case. It only serves to hide the Flame Emperor's identity from the audience when it would normally be revealed. If there were someone in the room who shouldn't know who the Flame Emperor is, then it would make sense. But the only other person there is Kronya, who also knows. 

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On 3/11/2020 at 7:00 PM, vanguard333 said:

Yeah, I agree. Everything about the history dynamic between Edelgard and "Arundal" just raises more questions than answers. 

For just another example, the way they refer to each other in private makes no sense. I've already said how Edelgard calling Thales, "uncle" whenever he's wearing the Arundal look makes no sense to me (given she has nothing but contempt for the imposter), but I recently remembered another thing while playing through my Golden Deer playthrough. 

When Kronya is talking to Thales, Edelgard is there in her Flame Emperor outfit. Even though it's just the three of them, Thales refers to her as, "Flame Emperor" as if either he didn't know who it is underneath or it's a nickname, neither of which is the case. It only serves to hide the Flame Emperor's identity from the audience when it would normally be revealed. If there were someone in the room who shouldn't know who the Flame Emperor is, then it would make sense. But the only other person there is Kronya, who also knows. 

That part actually makes sense. Edelgard has to maintain a veneer of formality and feigned ignorance because she needs Thales for the time being, and she doesn't have to switch acts if she simply pretends Arundel is still Arundel. I'm not sure if the writers thought that far ahead, but I'd also wager referring to him as Thales would probably be triggering to Edelgard - considering the torture he inflicted on her. So calling Thales Arundel also shows strength, not putting him in a position where he's above her.

Likewise, Thales' position stems from people not knowing he's "replaced" Arundel so he has no reason to deviate from the act. It enables him to be in the same room as Edelgard and others, so to speak. 

When Edelgard assures Thales she will deal with him later, I feel like that's the sort of interaction that could never happen if the act wasn't there.

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@NolanBaumgartner I guess, though it’s not like Thales ever bothers to put up much of an act when he’s pretending to be Arundel. Of all the Slitherers, only Solon seems to put any effort into his disguise, and even he is surprised that everyone was easily fooled. 

Anyway, what about my point about Arundel calling Edelgard “Flame Emperor”? Is it just me, or is it a bit weird that he calls her that even though the only other person there also knows her true identity. 

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Late to the discussion, but add me to the pile of Edelgard fans who like CF but were disappointed by how rushed it is. I hope the developers one day talk about the process and difficulties of doing 4 routes, and why CF got the short end of the stick. I had hoped that they would patch in more updates to the route aside from playable Jeritza, but with all the DLC done it doesn't look like they considered it was feasible.

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2 hours ago, Book Bro said:

Late to the discussion, but add me to the pile of Edelgard fans who like CF but were disappointed by how rushed it is. I hope the developers one day talk about the process and difficulties of doing 4 routes, and why CF got the short end of the stick. I had hoped that they would patch in more updates to the route aside from playable Jeritza, but with all the DLC done it doesn't look like they considered it was feasible.

Well, at the very least we got confirmation in February that the 4 routes were always planned to happen. As to why CF got screwed so badly, that would stricitly fall into speculation territory. (I'm from the camp it as set as a low pritority dev-wise, which explains some things yet it creates more questions such as why it has only one animated cutscene, but that's neither here nor there).

Edited by Moltz23

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3 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

@NolanBaumgartner I guess, though it’s not like Thales ever bothers to put up much of an act when he’s pretending to be Arundel. Of all the Slitherers, only Solon seems to put any effort into his disguise, and even he is surprised that everyone was easily fooled. 

Anyway, what about my point about Arundel calling Edelgard “Flame Emperor”? Is it just me, or is it a bit weird that he calls her that even though the only other person there also knows her true identity. 

That scene with Kronya/Thales/Edelgard is largely for exposition purposes so the player could see they were in league with each other, so I'd chalk that up to being an inconsistency. It wouldn't be far-fetched if Thales decided to keep up the act - say, Edelgard puts on the mask, she decides to call herself "Flame Emperor", Thales goes "well then, Flame Emperor..." and the conversation follows. But that context can't be given at a point where the player isn't supposed to know the Flame Emperor's true identity. So you're right that in retrospect, the scene is contrived.

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18 hours ago, Moltz23 said:

Well, at the very least we got confirmation in February that the 4 routes were always planned to happen. As to why CF got screwed so badly, that would stricitly fall into speculation territory. (I'm from the camp it as set as a low pritority dev-wise, which explains some things yet it creates more questions such as why it has only one animated cutscene, but that's neither here nor there).

That's interesting; particularly the part where they said they had always planned to keep the route split in the Black Eagles story secret, and that they planned the route-split first, then built the in-story justifications for it. Perhaps that explains why the decision moment ended up being so jarring. 

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20 hours ago, Moltz23 said:

Well, at the very least we got confirmation in February that the 4 routes were always planned to happen. As to why CF got screwed so badly, that would stricitly fall into speculation territory. (I'm from the camp it as set as a low pritority dev-wise, which explains some things yet it creates more questions such as why it has only one animated cutscene, but that's neither here nor there).

Wait wait wait so does that mean that VW and SS were always meant to be shameless ripoffs of one another cause that sounds really stupid. Really IS? Like really? Oh boy it’s worse than I thought.

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1 hour ago, Ottservia said:

Wait wait wait so does that mean that VW and SS were always meant to be shameless ripoffs of one another cause that sounds really stupid. Really IS? Like really? Oh boy it’s worse than I thought.

Maybe they weren't intended to be "rip-offs of each other" (I haven't gotten to part 2 of either route yet, but I've heard how they use a lot of the same stuff), but it is quite likely that the decision for them to share was decided early on so both could be made. 

I honestly think that the problems with this game are yet another result of IS biting off more than they could chew. This was to be the biggest and greatest FE game yet, and ambition has been the enemy of Fire Emblem. They certainly handled it a lot better than they did with Fates, but the effects are there nonetheless. 

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

I honestly think that the problems with this game are yet another result of IS biting off more than they could chew. This was to be the biggest and greatest FE game yet, and ambition has been the enemy of Fire Emblem. They certainly handled it a lot better than they did with Fates, but the effects are there nonetheless. 

They did admit the game ended up being far bigger than initially estimated, so it's fairly plausible that is the case.

Quote

Yokota: Yeah, we never intended to put this much stuff in the game (laughs). It’s gotta be about twice as big as we set out to make.

 

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My theory is that they originally planned for each route to have slightly different takes on some missions highlighting houses and problems in each territory in part 1 (makes more sense than only planning to feature the Kingdom like in the final game) and be totally unique in part 2. But then they took so long with Azure Moon that they realized they would have to change their plans for the other routes, so they left part 1 largely the same for VW, then realized BE would need even more cuts which led to SS being similar to VW and CF being shorter and having less cutscenes. The odd thing to me is that they seemingly left BE for last despite planning two routes for it since the beginning and given how Edelgard is the most pushed of the lords, even the theme song is named after her in Japanese. You'd think they would've prioritized that house, but I have no doubt they started with Blue Lions given how much part 1 revolves around them.

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Maybe they weren't intended to be "rip-offs of each other" (I haven't gotten to part 2 of either route yet, but I've heard how they use a lot of the same stuff), but it is quite likely that the decision for them to share was decided early on so both could be made. 

I honestly think that the problems with this game are yet another result of IS biting off more than they could chew. This was to be the biggest and greatest FE game yet, and ambition has been the enemy of Fire Emblem. They certainly handled it a lot better than they did with Fates, but the effects are there nonetheless. 

Despite all of its problems, the game still is one of my favourite games ever, a lot in the same way as how crimson flower could be my favourite route, despite having so many problems, it is just that the things it does well, it does really well. This applies to the game as a whole. 

Maybe the game would be more focused with a single route or fewer once, but I honestly wouldn't know what to cut. I do think that each perspective is necessary in the way the story is laid out. But I guess that silver snow is redundant due to its similarities with verdant wind. I just don't get why anyone would not side with Edelgard when you picked her house, I thought that siding with the Empire would be given if you selected the Black Eagles like it is with siding with the respective kingdoms of the other house leaders. On the other hand, crimson flower does benefit themematically from having you joining Edelgard being the player's decision

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