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I've made my distaste of SoV's story no secret on this forum and after two and a half playthroughs of the game that opinion has yet to change. The reason for that is the titular protagonist, Alm. What bothers me about Alm(and I should stress this issue only applies to his SoV incarnation) is that he doesn't at all fit the story that he is a part of. Say what you will about Corrin, Chrom, Edelgard, Byleth, Ephriam, Ike, or any of the other lords but at least their character arcs and characterization fit the themes and ideas their stories set out to explore. Alm doesn't in a lot of ways. LIke he's a fine enough character in vacuum but he just doesn't work for this story specifically.

SoV is a story about how strength and kindness and strength on their when taken to extremes will ultimately lead to a kingdom's ruin which are shown in the degenerating gods duma and mila. It is only in the marriage of those two philosophies that a kingdom can truly prosper. This theme is shown in a lot of ways but the primary way is with the protagonists Alm and Celica who are supposed to represent Duma's and Mila's ideals respectively. Their character arcs are supposed to be reflective of the story's themes of seemingly conflicting yet complimentary ideals which is why the romance between the two is pushed so heavily. The two are supposed to take these ideals of strength and kindness to the extreme and realize they need pieces of the other within themselves to overcome their struggles. Celica represents Mila's ideals just fine and is narratively punished for lacking the strength needed to protect herself or her overly kind nature which gets taken advantage of.

The problem lies with Alm. He's too soft and kind and too much of a nice guy. He's not very ruthless or if he was the story never really puts much emphasis on it. Like he's more representative of Mila's ideals than Duma's. Him killing his father is supposed to be the climax of his arc where, in a lust for power and justice, ultimately ends accidentally killing his only remaining family but it doesn't really come off that way because he was never shown to be power hungry or ruthless. He never showed hostility towards Rudolf to my memory except maybe in Celica's dream sequence which never really came to pass. He was shown to be a protector of the weak, that aspect of his character remains consistent. Like in the early stages of the story it's actually quite good where he recklessly charges in on a bandit hideout to save silque or his steadfast determination to march on Rigel. However, those are really the two instances of this happening at least to my recollection. He's never really shown to question his actions nor are his actions portrayed in any negative light except killing his own dad. Like I said, Alm is way too soft here. He's too much of a nice guy light novel protagonist for this story to really work the way it wants to. It's strange because Gaiden, the awakening DLC, and even the manga characterize him just fine with all his ruthlessness intact. I wonder what happened here. Anyway, sorry for the rant I just needed to get that off my chest.

Edited by Ottservia

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I think the key word here is that, supposition. I may need to recheck but is it actually stated that both of Alm and Celica had to be full reflections of their patron deities? If that's the narrative the writers of the remake were going for, then it shows they were gonna fail from the very start. Since it would be very hard to sell Alm as only following Duma's ideals when he hasn't even lived in Rigel, where that philosophy would abound. As a baby, he has lived in Zofia, surrounded by Zofians, growing up in the environment that breeds Mila's creed. If it wasn't for Mycen acting as his safety net and instilling Duma's values to him (and to the other Ram characters, at least among the PC's, maybe?), he perhaps could've ended up not too dissimilar to Celica. Even then, since he only grew up in a rural village instead of a priory like Celica, he wouldn't have gone too much into the extreme either.

Simply put, you're maybe expecting for Alm to be something he has little chance to actually being.

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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I don't necessarily disagree. They don't show him as militant as he certainly should be thematically speaking on this analysis. He doesn't take the Deliverance and start becoming powerhungry or sufficiently vainglorious. He's a little too polished for his own good regardless, that I certainly won't dargue. You could blame Mycen for how he turned out to be fair, Mycen clearly didn't want him to perfectly reflect Duma's teaching. And despite this I like Alm. I know, I just explained that I get it. Maybe the point is that Alm, having been raised to take both ideals is able to rise to the challenge of facing Rigel while not going under.

For this, this is why "crush those bastards" should have been localised. And no, I'm not even joking.

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I don't really disagree but I also don't particularly mind since Alm is such a joy to have on screen. Charm does count for a very good margin. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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5 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

I think the key word here is that, supposition. I may need to recheck but is it actually stated that both of Alm and Celica had to be full reflections of their patron deities? If that's the narrative the writers of the remake were going for, then it shows they were gonna fail from the very start. Since it would be very hard to sell Alm as only following Duma's ideals when he hasn't even lived in Rigel, where that philosophy would abound. As a baby, he has lived in Zofia, surrounded by Zofians, growing up in the environment that breeds Mila's creed. If it wasn't for Mycen acting as his safety net and instilling Duma's values to him (and to the other Ram characters, at least among the PC's, maybe?), he perhaps could've ended up not too dissimilar to Celica. Even then, since he only grew up in a rural village instead of a priory like Celica, he wouldn't have gone too much into the extreme either.

Simply put, you're maybe expecting for Alm to be something he has little chance to actually being.

That's my problem though, the story is very clearly trying to push him as that. It's never outright stated but it's very strongly implied that's the case. SoV isn't exactly subtle about it's themes. Let Duma's final words serve as my evidence for why I think those are the themes of this story. Hell even showcases tendencies of being ruthless when he argues with Celica saying there is no other way to resolve the conflict than through bloodshed as much as he would hate to admit that. Like that's fine. You go through this story and it's very clearly trying to paint these two as two halves of a greater whole. If you don't see that then you might wanna go through the story again because it's very heavily implied. If you need further proof just look at his awakening DLC incarnation where he says:

Spoiler

Celica
Grave news, Alm—the enemy forces have somehow suddenly multiplied.

Alm
They must have summoned help from beyond our world...

Celica
What do we do?

Alm
Crush them, of course.

Celica
Oh...

Alm
What's wrong, Celica?

Celica
That's what I'm trying to figure out... Are you certain ours is the more just cause?

Alm
This is a battlefield. The politics of it no longer come into play. We've driven the enemy to their castle doors, and now you have doubts?

Celica
N-no, of course not...

Alm
Then let's buckle down and finish this fight!

Now you tell me if this Alm is any similar to the Alm we get in SoV because in my PoV they are two very different characters. There are also plenty of example in SoV's script as well where upon reuniting with Celica he says: 

Spoiler

Alm: Don’t apologize. Just know that I need you, all right? Without your wisdom, all I know how to do is fight whatever’s in front of me. So please… Will you fight with me? Believe in me. Believe in US. Believe in our combined strength!

Which the phrase, "All I know how to do is fight whatever's in front of me" Which is just not a true statement because it implies he can't hold himself back without her which false because he can. Never once was it ever implied that not having Celica prevented him from holding back on his ruthlessness because he was never ruthless. Like it just doesn't work at all.

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Well, Celica is also kinda ruthless on her own. I don't think she thought on finding another way to deal with people like Greith than just get rid of them.

The Awakening thing was made before SoV, so not sure how strong it holds.

If anything, it shows the writers wanted to... how's the phrase? Have their cake and eat it? Like, maybe they did wanted to keep Alm as a foil to Celica, but at the same time realized that wasn't going to fly considering his upbringing. So they tried doing both, and thus comes off as weird and conflicting, or something like that.

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Personally, I don't think Alm was ever meant to be portrayed as extremely ruthless and militant as your average Rigelian would be and that mainly comes from, like Acacia Sgt said, the fact he was raised in Zofia all his life. Despite that, in ways he does mirror Celica still in that he chooses to fight while Celica goes on her pilgrimage to the temple because fighting to free Zofia is, as far is Alm is concerned the only way to end the war as relying on gods just simply wont work, which is a core principal of Duma, who wanted his people to fend for themselves and not rely on his bounty to see them through.

All in all, Alm does in a way follow the principles of Duma, don't rely on gods and it is up to you to make change and to fight to make it. However, because he was raised in Zofia, he never became the cold-hearted, ruthless and militant soldier a normal Rigelian would be, ala (as flawed as he may be) Berkut, who I feel was made to be a foil to Alm who is similar, but was instead raised in Rigel and became that person.

Also, I feel like it's not very fair per se to compare the Awakening dlc of Alm and SoV Alm. You can't really compare a dlc character whose personality was based on a couple of lines from a game that was 20 years old at the time and a character from a game where they probably put way more thought into expanding the characters and story (and even if their vision for Alm was to be more ruthless, they obviously changed their minds and toned it down).

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1 minute ago, Gregster101 said:

Oh gee, another instance of you shit talking on my favorite lord and one of my favorite Fire Emblem games. How fucking swell

I don't think that's what's happening here, they are just stating their views on why Alm isn't the way they "envision" him to be. No need to take it so hostile, everyone has opinions, and not everyone is going to like him as a character.

On Topic: I think this is actually a pretty interesting view on his character! If anything, he isn't a very complex character, making his conversations not the most interesting in some cases. The only thing I don't understand is why his strength growth is lower than Celica's.

 

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Just now, lightcosmo said:

I don't think that's what's happening here, they are just stating their views on why Alm isn't the way they "envision" him to be. No need to take it so hostile, everyone has opinions, and not everyone is going to like him as a character.

On Topic: I think this is actually a pretty interesting view on his character! If anything, he isn't a very complex character, making his conversations not the most interesting in some cases. The only thing I don't understand is why his strength growth is lower than Celica's.

 

He literally acts as though themes are the only way that judge if a story is good. It's not. It's like the least important thing on if a story is good or not.

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Just now, Gregster101 said:

He literally acts as though themes are the only way that judge if a story is good. It's not. It's like the least important thing on if a story is good or not.

You don't think an interesting character makes a story more interesting to be a part of? I guess I don't see what you do, because I don't see this as "shitting" on Alm's character, as positive points have been mentioned.

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1 minute ago, lightcosmo said:

You don't think an interesting character makes a story more interesting to be a part of? I guess I don't see what you do, because I don't see this as "shitting" on Alm's character, as positive points have been mentioned.

Of course interest characters makes a story more interesting. My priorities for good stories are an enjoyable plot and likable characters, with world building as a good bonus. I don't give two fucks about themes if the story itself is fucking garbage (glares at Fates and Ots fucking defending it cuz of muh themes)

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1 minute ago, Gregster101 said:

Of course interest characters makes a story more interesting. My priorities for good stories are an enjoyable plot and likable characters, with world building as a good bonus. I don't give two fucks about themes if the story itself is fucking garbage (glares at Fates and Ots fucking defending it cuz of muh themes)

I suppose that's an understandable view. Well, i'm curious, what's your opinion on Alm's character then? Why do you think he's an interesting character?

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2 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

I suppose that's an understandable view. Well, i'm curious, what's your opinion on Alm's character then? Why do you think he's an interesting character?

He may not be the most complex character, but he really is just so likable and enjoyable to watch. Sure, he may be revealed to be royal all along, but that doesn't mean he sure as hell acts like one. Even with the reveal that he's the Heir to Rigel, he still acts like the farm boy commoner mercenary that he grew up as. I can also kind of relate to his desire for a family, as I spent my last two years of high school with just my dad, so it was pretty lonely for me at that point.

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1 minute ago, Gregster101 said:

He may not be the most complex character, but he really is just so likable and enjoyable to watch. Sure, he may be revealed to be royal all along, but that doesn't mean he sure as hell acts like one. Even with the reveal that he's the Heir to Rigel, he still acts like the farm boy commoner mercenary that he grew up as. I can also kind of relate to his desire for a family, as I spent my last two years of high school with just my dad, so it was pretty lonely for me at that point.

I personally think he is fine as a character. And those reasons are perfectly understandable. Not every character needs to have some immense backstory to be lovable, truly. I don't think topics like these are meant to be personal, though.

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1 hour ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Well, Celica is also kinda ruthless on her own. I don't think she thought on finding another way to deal with people like Greith than just get rid of them.

The thing about this section about Celica’s character is an interesting one that I wish the narrative put more emphasis on. It’s one of the few times Celica is somewhat ruthless like that and resolves to kill greith which is uncharacteristic of her but it’s meaningful in that she takes on what Alm would’ve done in this scenario without compromising her own ideals and as result is able to bring joy to the local inhabitants. The same occurs with the pirate king in act 2. It’s only with Jedah that this pattern breaks because he takes advantage of her more compassionate side and shows that without Alm’s strength her kindness can be taken advantage of and thus is punished for making a mistake.

 

42 minutes ago, Azz said:

 

Personally, I don't think Alm was ever meant to be portrayed as extremely ruthless and militant as your average Rigelian would be and that mainly comes from, like Acacia Sgt said, the fact he was raised in Zofia all his life. Despite that, in ways he does mirror Celica still in that he chooses to fight while Celica goes on her pilgrimage to the temple because fighting to free Zofia is, as far is Alm is concerned the only way to end the war as relying on gods just simply wont work, which is a core principal of Duma, who wanted his people to fend for themselves and not rely on his bounty to see them through

 

I’m not saying Alm needs to be as ruthless as the rigelians he faces but he needs to be more ruthless than what is shown. Cause iirc there is no instance of him almost going over the edge or any gradual change in his demeanor to reflect the idea that he is in fact supposed to represent duma’s ideals. Like I said he shows no hostility towards Rudolf at all even when he knows he should and he’s right. This is the man he should loathe with all of his being but the writer’s decided because of really shitty foreshadowing. If the story wanted me to believe that killing his father was his punishment for giving into hate then they failed because he never gave into hate which is the problem.

 

48 minutes ago, Azz said:

Also, I feel like it's not very fair per se to compare the Awakening dlc of Alm and SoV Alm. You can't really compare a dlc character whose personality was based on a couple of lines from a game that was 20 years old at the time and a character from a game where they probably put way more thought into expanding the characters and story (and even if their vision for Alm was to be more ruthless, they obviously changed their minds and toned it down).

The only reason I do that is because of how different these two characters are when they shouldn’t be. They’re based on the exact same source material so why are they written so drastically differently? That’s my question. One is a ruthless protector of the weak who takes no prisoners. The other is a nice guy light novel protagonist more so than Corrin and Robin actually and that’s saying a lot. 

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6 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

They’re based on the exact same source material so why are they written so drastically differently? That’s my question. One is a ruthless protector of the weak who takes no prisoners. The other is a nice guy light novel protagonist more so than Corrin and Robin actually and that’s saying a lot. 

As I mentioned in my last post, they probably thought to acknowledge the fact he's a Rigelian who grew up practically all of his life in Zofia.

Not so sure on that last sentence.

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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5 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

The thing about this section about Celica’s character is an interesting one that I wish the narrative put more emphasis on. It’s one of the few times Celica is somewhat ruthless like that and resolves to kill greith which is uncharacteristic of her but it’s meaningful in that she takes on what Alm would’ve done in this scenario without compromising her own ideals and as result is able to bring joy to the local inhabitants. The same occurs with the pirate king in act 2. It’s only with Jedah that this pattern breaks because he takes advantage of her more compassionate side and shows that without Alm’s strength her kindness can be taken advantage of and thus is punished for making a mistake.

 

I’m not saying Alm needs to be as ruthless as the rigelians he faces but he needs to be more ruthless than what is shown. Cause iirc there is no instance of him almost going over the edge or any gradual change in his demeanor to reflect the idea that he is in fact supposed to represent duma’s ideals. Like I said he shows no hostility towards Rudolf at all even when he knows he should and he’s right. This is the man he should loathe with all of his being but the writer’s decided because of really shitty foreshadowing. If the story wanted me to believe that killing his father was his punishment for giving into hate then they failed because he never gave into hate which is the problem.

 

The only reason I do that is because of how different these two characters are when they shouldn’t be. They’re based on the exact same source material so why are they written so drastically differently? That’s my question. One is a ruthless protector of the weak who takes no prisoners. The other is a nice guy light novel protagonist more so than Corrin and Robin actually and that’s saying a lot. 

If you legit think Corrin is a better character than Alm...you're honestly dead to me.

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16 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

As I mentioned in my last post, they probably thought to acknowledge the fact he's a Rigelian who grew up practically all of his life in Zofia.

But you can still do that and not have it be poorly written. Hell they even do so when he and Celica argue. That is honestly one of the best moments he has because it shows how determined he is to stop Rigel no matter what it takes and that they shouldn’t have to rely on a useless godess for help. The problem is that they don’t ever continue with this characterization in favor of the stupid noble vs commoner subplot to show how much of a nice guy he is. The beginning of that argument is really solid writing. Too bad it devolves into Alm being a clueless harem protag and Celica lashing out for no real reason. It was so close to being really good but nope. Also I simply don't like the fact that he's written like your average bargain bin light novel isekai protagonist. That's a matter of personal preference I realize but his harem bothers me. I mean Corrin is written similarly but it doesn't bother me so much with Corrin I dunno why though.

Edited by Ottservia

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Which why I suspect the writers tried to go both ways... and simply failed at it. I've seen the script, I can't say it really bothers me, to be honest. However, I could understand if someone is. Personally, I feel this has some "Nature vs Nurture" elements, and I incline over Nurture for this.

Also, I'll give you SoV adding Faye but... a harem, really? Other than she, it's only really Celica and Clair at the end of the day; and it's not like there was an actual competition between them or something. Is three really that big of a number of people interested in Alm in that way (and even then with Celica it took a while for their friendship to incorporate romance aspects) to be a bother? 

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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1 minute ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Also, I'll give you SoV adding Faye but... a harem, really? Other than she, it's only really Celica and Clair at the end of the day; and it's not like there was an actual competition between them or something. Is three really that big of a number of people interested in Alm in that way to be a bother? 

I consider it a harem if it's at least three girls and it is three girls here. It's not a big deal. It's just a detail that kinda bothers me.

 

3 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Which why I suspect the writers tried to go both ways... and simply failed at it. I've seen the script, I can't say it really bothers me, to be honest. However, I could understand if someone is. Personally, I feel this has some "Nature vs Nurture" elements, and I incline over Nurture for this.

It really wouldn't be that hard to fix either. Maybe give him a couple more boss dialogues where he prattles on about his justice and how Rigel must pay. You could even add a touch of moral gray in there with soldiers replying something along the lines of them understanding but they gotta do what they gotta do. Or have one after battle dialogue where Tobin and Gray start questioning if this was the right to which Alm responds with "it's too late to turn back now so stop complaining"(though I can't recall he does say this though a lot softer lemme know if I'm wrong on that) or something like that. Just more instances of showcasing how much more he gradually starts giving into that hate until eventually he accidentally kills his own dad.

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SoV is a weak version of what 3H does.

Like, 3H actually accomplishes everything SoV attempts to do with its themes, but go beyond it.

And honestly, no matter what others try to say, Alm really should have been the more aggressive type. The problem is that Celica really played no role in making Alm calm. She doens't really make him think more about the innocents that are suffering so much.

Also, the entire commoner vs nobility thing fails when Alm's preaching results in him being the chosen one of destiny that is the heir to the Rigelian throne.

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1 minute ago, omegaxis1 said:

SoV is a weak version of what 3H does.

Like, 3H actually accomplishes everything SoV attempts to do with its themes, but go beyond it.

And honestly, no matter what others try to say, Alm really should have been the more aggressive type. The problem is that Celica really played no role in making Alm calm. She doens't really make him think more about the innocents that are suffering so much.

Also, the entire commoner vs nobility thing fails when Alm's preaching results in him being the chosen one of destiny that is the heir to the Rigelian throne.

I agree on all fronts. And my problems with Alm aren't even as severe as my problems with the daft damsel known as Celica.

 

Ultimately, SoV is a good remaster of a bad game. They polished the turd to a mirror shine, but it still stinks.

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4 minutes ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

I agree on all fronts. And my problems with Alm aren't even as severe as my problems with the daft damsel known as Celica.

 

Ultimately, SoV is a good remaster of a bad game. They polished the turd to a mirror shine, but it still stinks.

God, you guys all act like it's such a fucking sin to like Shadows of Valentia. No matter where I go, it feels like there's a bunch of people that feel the need to crap talk over one of my favorite Fire Emblem games AND favorite games of all time, and I'm fucking sick of it!

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1 minute ago, Gregster101 said:

God, you guys all act like it's such a fucking sin to like Shadows of Valentia. No matter where I go, it feels like there's a bunch of people that feel the need to crap talk over one of my favorite Fire Emblem games AND favorite games of all time, and I'm fucking sick of it!

There's nothing wrong with criticizing issues. 

I LOVE Awakening, but I'll criticize a lot of the flaws it has. 

The game is flawed. You can like it, love it even, while still accepting the issues it has. 

No such thing as perfection.

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