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RainbowMoon

After watching a Verdant Wind playthrough online, I have to say... (spoilers for the entire route!)

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...this route feels like such a letdown, especially compared to Azure Moon and Crimson Flower. I decided to watch a playthrough of the route to see if I'd like it before trying it myself, but in all honesty, I can't really say that I do. Claude's such an interesting, more "off the beaten path" lord character, and so I was hoping to see his route reflect that and take the story in a different direction. But in the end, there's just too many places where it wastes perfectly good story potential in favor of the tried and true. Which, ironically, doesn't ring as true on Verdant Wind.

  • Judith not being recruitable sticks out like a sore thumb when AM and CF give us Gilbert and Jeritza as route-exclusive characters and VW gives us nobody. She's in all the cutscenes and she plays an important part in the story, but for no reason at all, she isn't playable. They could have patched her in just like they did with Jeritza, but instead they chose not to.
  • VW was also the perfect chance to have some story chapters centered on Alliance relations and politics, like the conflict between House Reigan and Houses Gloucester and Ordelia. It would've been interesting to see a more fleshed-out clash of ideals between these houses, especially considering House Ordelia's connection to TWSITD, the fact that the Church hired Tomas by their recommendation and Lysithea's personal history with them. It feels like the Alliance had so many unique things it could've added to the story that just got overlooked in favor of the standard "kill the other two lords and then final boss" routine, which comes across weaker on VW than it did on AM and CF because Claude isn't as personally involved in the Kingdom/Empire war as Edelgard and Dimitri are. What goes with this is the fact that VW still uses Garreg Mach as home base, when there's really no reason it couldn't have been Derdriu. Dimitri had to use Garreg Mach on AM because Cornelia had taken over Fhirdiad. And Edelgard had to stay in Garreg Mach on CF to keep Rhea from taking it back. There's nothing actively keeping Claude away from Derdriu on VW except for Garreg Mach's strategic advantage of being at the center of Fodlan, which never bears any weight on the actual plot. And with so much civil unrest going on in the Alliance, leaving Derdriu probably isn't such a good idea either.
  • Dimitri's death feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought. No proper death scene, no final words, not even a cutscene still, but just a passing mention from Hilda that he died is such a disrespectful way to kill off a main lord character. At least CF gave him an on-screen death and some parting words with Dedue.
  • The relationship between Claude and the Church also felt very awkward. Claude talks about how he's against the teachings of the Church and disapproves of Rhea's actions, but this budding conflict never comes to a head, even when their common enemy is gone. Which makes no sense, as Claude's goal is all about breaking down the traditions of old, which Rhea all but personifies. It feels like the main antagonists of the route should have been Rhea and TWSITD, the two lingering specters of Fodlan's bloody past. With Rhea as the final boss after Thales (just like on Silver Snow) instead of a shoehorned Nemesis fight. Or the final stage could've been a three-way battle between the Alliance, berserk dragon mode Rhea and TWSITD, where both Rhea and Thales (or Nemesis but with better foreshadowing) need to be taken down to usher in a new dawn for Fodlan.
  • All the Rhea shilling, especially in Byleth's dialogue choices and the final two chapters, just comes off as very out of place in Claude's route. Byleth has no reason to be as attached to her as she is in VW, and by the end it really starts to take away from Claude's story. It almost feels like something out of SS that they forgot to change when they copypasted it over to VW.
  • Last but not least, and probably my biggest gripe about VW, Byleth is never given the chance to grow and become her (just gonna use she/her for simplicity's sake) own person on this route. On CF, she rebels against the Church and becomes a revolutionary, the exact opposite of what Rhea was grooming her to be. In the end, she even sacrifices her divinity for Edelgard's cause and returns to her old human self. On AM, where Rhea's completely out of the picture, Byleth cuts her own path with Dimitri by her side and fulfills her "destiny" in her own way, separate from Rhea's ambitions. On VW, she's basically there as Claude's holy good luck charm for the whole route. And then in the last two chapters, she just sucks it up and becomes exactly what Rhea wanted all along. No longer Byleth, no longer Jeralt's daughter, just the wielder of the Sword of the Creator and nothing more. Exactly what Leonie reminded her never to become back in chapter 11. This just felt like such a downer ending for her, especially after she'd experienced so much with her Golden Deer friends.

Anyway, I apologize for the rant. I just wanna say that I haven't completely written off playing Claude's route, I just feel like there's was a lot of potential there for a truly unique take on the story. And I found it disappointing that for the most part they simply cloned SS and called it a day. Claude and the Golden Deer deserved better, imo.

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9 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

Anyway, I apologize for the rant. I just wanna say that I haven't completely written off playing Claude's route, I just feel like there's was a lot of potential there for a truly unique take on the story. And I found it disappointing that for the most part they simply cloned SS and called it a day. Claude and the Golden Deer deserved better, imo.

Me too to be honest. Claude seems like he was intended to be the “outside lord” that doesn’t really have an interpersonal struggle with another lord, unlike Edelgard and Dimitri and Byleth on his/her route). It would’ve made o much sense for us to be away from fighting the Empire for a while because the Alliance is on the verge of civil war and our leader is also prince of another country! Maybe we could have solved that crisis in the Alliance if they elevated it to civil war, then realize all those soldiers aren’t enough for the huge empire that has all but conquered the Kingdom at this point, so we want Almyran reinforcements but there’s some conflict over there we have to go fix, so we do that, then rush over to Enbarr and win. And since they’ve already started foreshadowing, with maybe a bit more of that and maybe a chapter where we see something up with TWSITD but don’t know who they are, as well as more commentary on it in the plot then “Oh what if they’re these guys..!” we go take them out, realize who the late already (horribly) foreshadowed Immaculate One is, fight her for control of the beliefs of Fodlan’s people (or lack of control) and call that a route. I’m just spitballing and I think that’s already better then what they got. And that’s the route they chose to give the golden ending.

16 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

Dimitri's death feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought. No proper death scene, no final words, not even a cutscene still, but just a passing mention from Hilda that he died is such a disrespectful way to kill off a main lord character. At least CF gave him an on-screen death and some parting words with Dedue.

Especially when it ends up being important at the end because Dedue gives them the info they need because of it.

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Yep, I basically agree with all of this. VW hews too closely to the SS draft and it suffers for it. While I do think Claude himself is a good character and goes a long way to me deriving some enjoyment out of the route, it still has a bunch of flaws.

My only real disagreement is I actually really like how Dimitri's death is handled on the route (and I say that as a big fan of the character). I don't feel it needed to be shown onscreen (I feel this way about many acts of violence). But for me, it really resonated because in Azure Moon, we see Dimitri going down a path of self-destruction which is ultimately narrowly averted. VW shows us what could have happened, shows how easily it could have been a reality.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts! :) Glad to hear I'm not the only one who felt let down by VW. I'm still playing with the idea of giving it a try and making the best of it hopefully, but yeah... so many things they could've done better. That sounds like a very interesting idea, @Sooks1016. I'd much rather have that VW, where the Alliance and Almyra take center stage, than the one we got. Something that breaks away from the other routes and tells Claude's own story, separate from Dimitri and Edelgard's war.

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I agree, it's so boring compared to AM and CF. Like, it feels as if no one from the aliance actually cares about the war, there are no stakes at all.

This game would still be the same without Claude and the Alliance existing, they're just there... Then they locked a few big secrets and Nemesis to VW, had them being revealed out of nowhere and thought the route was good enough. This makes the route feel simultaneously rushed and too long.

If I could, I'd rework this game into having only two routes, the Church/Dimitri route and the Edelgard route. At the very least, they should have swaped the SS and VW final bosses, as it makes no sense to fight Rhea in SS (The dragon madness thing is BS) nor it makes any sense for Nemesis to appear for Claude. Claude fighting Rhea makes total sense for his end goal, after all.

Edited by Nobody

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A lot of people think CF is the worst route due to being too short and dealing TWSITD as an afterthought.

But I personally think a route being almost a complete copycat of the other is worse.

Especially when your main lord has almost no development whatsoever.

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Only nitpick I have is that Claude really isn't against religious belief or the Church and he explains why in his support chains, so I'm fine with accepting him teaming up with the Church of Seiros as a strategic move to improve their current situation. Rhea is another thing altogether and the center of his issues with how the Church is currently being run, but she's put in the fridge for most of the story and when she re-emerges her level has a threat as been severely compromised -- she's physically weak and has more or less already named Byleth her successor. Claude wanting to murder her face then would be an impressive feat of self-sabotage lol. I think she makes a more fitting boss than Nemesis, but Rhea's role in the story would have to be rewritten almost entirely if we want the fight to be something more meaningful than just the result of dragon going cray cray once more.

 

 

Edited by Crysta

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VW was the first route I played, and since it was my first, I enjoyed it for what it was. But after playing through the other routes, I did find that VW was pretty lacking when compared to AM. It would have been really interesting to see a chapter where like Lorenz goes through a crisis as his family was the one leading the faction that supported the Empire and he was the one teaming up with Claude. I felt as if, instead of having the Golden Deer force themselves to be involved with the war between the nations, the story should have been more focused on how the Empire had affected the Alliance itself--as in the opposing factions between House Riegan and House Gloucester.

Claude is hands-down my top favorite character of the whole game, but I really wish his own route dove deeper into his background. Not even Joe Zieja knew Claude's real name cause it wasn't even in the game. Cyril should have shared his paralogue with Claude rather than Hilda because I felt that the two would have had a really interesting interaction with both of them being Almyran.

On the plus side, at least the Golden Deer have arguably the best starting team (in terms of combat) since you have Lystihea,  Leonie, and Hilda loool (Ignatz too I guess, since his personal is a godsend)

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Verdant Wind was also the first route for me. I do like Claude as a character and I do like the idea of him ending racism and things of that nature but he really felt like a passenger in the whole story. I don't mind learning about the lore of the game's history since I do like to get a grasp of what I'm being told. It did feel like a prototype version of Silver Snow since it basically copies and pastes the battles from each other, except for Gronder Field and the final battle with Nemesis. I felt like they had something with Claude's story and we could have gotten more unique and interesting battles on VW. 

Still, he is fun to play as and I really like the Barbarossa class. He just flies around, shoot things then canto away afterwards. Plus the starting team I feel has good synergy and he has a lot of good lines too.

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16 hours ago, Nobody said:

At the very least, they should have swaped the SS and VW final bosses, as it makes no sense to fight Rhea in SS (The dragon madness thing is BS) nor it makes any sense for Nemesis to appear for Claude. Claude fighting Rhea makes total sense for his end goal, after all.

This alone would've been a massive improvement on so many levels. Nemesis definitely looks like a fun fight from what I saw, but he comes completely out of left field and makes zero sense thematically. I'm not even sure why TWSITD cloned/zombified/whatever'd Nemesis to begin with, considering their original plan was to use Edelgard as their "new Nemesis". They brought back Nemesis when that plan blew up in their faces I guess? lol

Rhea makes much better sense as Claude's final boss, as she represents the corrupt system and the failing leadership of old that stands in the way of Claude's dream for the future. Not to mention a three way final battle with Thales, TWSITD mechs and the Immaculate One all after your head would be badass.

16 hours ago, Nym said:

A lot of people think CF is the worst route due to being too short and dealing TWSITD as an afterthought.

But I personally think a route being almost a complete copycat of the other is worse.

Especially when your main lord has almost no development whatsoever.

Agreed. I don't even get that complaint about CF, tbh. Hubert tells us in his paralogue that TWSITD will be dealt with in secret through assassinations, not typical FE battles. Which makes perfect sense as it doesn't hurt Edelgard's reputation as a leader the way another war would.

CF didn't need four extra chapters about putting poison in Thales's diet Sprite.

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Rhea as final boss only works with dragon cray cray, regardless of route, which kind of eliminates any emotional resonance that decision might have outside of CF lol

SS Rhea boss fight might actually be the least justified boss fight tbh. Just plopping her in VW doesn't make it better.

Edited by Crysta

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If Rhea representing the corrupt way to run things in Fodlan gets in the way of Claude's dream of tearing down the walls of Fodlan to welcome everyone from all over and coexist in harmony regardless of religious belief, why would the Alliance work together with the Church to stop the Empire then later on TWSITD? Maybe there is something I'm missing here but doesn't Rhea step down as Arch Bishop by the end of Verdant Wing or is it just Azure Moon? I know that Azure Moon Rhea is not really in it at all and she really only talks at the very end of Verdant Wind revealing her encounter with Nemesis. I'm close to the end of Silver Snow story wise so once I get to that I'll give my own thoughts/analysis on that.

Edited by Barren

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Because she is no longer in the way after she appoints Byleth her successor and disappears for most of the game. When she returns, she doesn't seem to have any interest in remaining in power. There is no reason for them to refuse to work with the Church any more than there is a reason for them to refuse to work with the Kingdom in AM.

Now if Rhea didn't want to roll over and just fork everything to her mom after she's rescued, then it might work. But she does.

Nemesis works in SS better than in VW, but Rhea doesn't really work better in VW because she just isn't a threat any more halfway through the story.

Edited by Crysta

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3 hours ago, Barren said:

If Rhea representing the corrupt way to run things in Fodlan gets in the way of Claude's dream of tearing down the walls of Fodlan to welcome everyone from all over and coexist in harmony regardless of religious belief, why would the Alliance work together with the Church to stop the Empire then later on TWSITD? Maybe there is something I'm missing here but doesn't Rhea step down as Arch Bishop by the end of Verdant Wing or is it just Azure Moon? I know that Azure Moon Rhea is not really in it at all and she really only talks at the very end of Verdant Wind revealing her encounter with Nemesis. I'm close to the end of Silver Snow story wise so once I get to that I'll give my own thoughts/analysis on that.

They work together for the same reason Edelgard allies with TWSITD and then wipes them off the map once Rhea's dealt with. Claude and Rhea may not see eye to eye idealogically, but they have a common enemy in Edelgard and then TWSITD. They can settle their own issues once those two are out of the way, but until then it benefits them both to work together despite their differences.

VW is a bit unclear on what happens to Rhea, she just sorta disappears after her Seiros/Immaculate One info dump speech. But if the javelins of light are enough to trigger her dragon madness on SS, it makes no sense why they don't on VW when the exact same thing happens. Least justified boss fight or not, it's still a huge plot hole.

But again, these are just my thoughts. VW definitely needed a better final boss than the one we got.

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I agree that there are quite a few missed opportunities in VW because of its many shared elements with SS, especially the intrigue among Alliance lords, the lack of perspectives from Almyra, as well as playable Judith.

I initially found Byleth’s dialogue choices about Rhea in VW confusing too, as their relationship to Rhea doesn’t seem to be as thematically important as in SS. Besides the “copypaste” issue, I now also interpret it as Byleth’s desire to learn of their origin, probably under the influence of Claude constantly questioning and trying to unearth Fodlan’s hidden history. I don’t think Byleth showed strong interest in pursuing their origin in CF or AM, if I’m not mistaken, and in SS I feel it’s framed as their emotional connection to Rhea that drives their action.

Regarding Dimitri’s unceremonious exit in VW, my opinion is relatively close to that of Dark Holy Elf. I think it showcases the chaos of war quite well. One can prevail and become the ultimate victor in a conflict like Dimitri in AM, or go down in flames in a historic showdown like him in CF, or die an undignified death and be relegated to the footnote of the history like him in VW.

As for Claude setting up the base in the monastery instead of Derdriu, and him not confronting the Church despite their seemingly diverging ideologies, I think they’re logical within the frame of VW, and are consistent with Claude’s pragmatic and opportunistic character, as well as his tendency to use people for his own benefit.

Besides the monastery’s strategic position in the war, Claude also wants to use the Church as the front, instead of the Alliance. Edelgard declared war on the Church, combined with Byleth’s reappearance, making the Church an appropriate rallying focus for resistance. The Alliance are also divided between pro- and anti-imperial factions at the time of the reunion, despite their unified state on surface. Claude choosing to fight the Empire officially as Alliance will probably leave the two factions no choice but to turn against each other, and result to an open civil war in Alliance.

Moreover, Claude wants to unify Fodlan in order to shape it in his own way. If it was the Alliance that leads the charge and prevails in the end, the Alliance lords don’t have strong ties with former imperial lands, and will likely divide the new territories and continue their infighting for their own benefits instead of efficiently enacting his plans. The Church already having a presence in former imperial territories, presents a better chance to succeed his ambitions. Rhea’s peaceful transition of power due to events in VW to Byleth, whom he trusts as a close friend, also makes it unnecessary for Claude to confront the Church or Rhea.

As for the final boss in VW, I too find slightly lacking in impact, especially when compared to CF. I’m guessing that since in VW, the banner of Byleth & Claude’s army is the crest of the flame, the devs intended for a confrontation of old and destructive, and new and hopeful? SS also has crest of the flame banner, but since it gives more focus on Rhea’s redemption and her opening up to Byleth, a final fight against a berserk Rhea kind of like Rhea confronting her own demons and coming out clean in the end?

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4 hours ago, DriftingWaterBottle said:

I initially found Byleth’s dialogue choices about Rhea in VW confusing too, as their relationship to Rhea doesn’t seem to be as thematically important as in SS. Besides the “copypaste” issue, I now also interpret it as Byleth’s desire to learn of their origin, probably under the influence of Claude constantly questioning and trying to unearth Fodlan’s hidden history. I don’t think Byleth showed strong interest in pursuing their origin in CF or AM, if I’m not mistaken, and in SS I feel it’s framed as their emotional connection to Rhea that drives their action.

Ah, that's an interesting take! Makes a lot more sense imo than Byleth suddenly becoming Cyril/Catherine post-timeskip and fits right in with VW's theme of seeking the truth. I still think the sheer number of times she talks about Rhea is a bit excessive though. They should've dialed it back at least for VW.

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Another interesting detail I noticed about Clade as to why he doesn't see eye to eye with the church ideal's either. While it may be inconsequential, he has a bane in faith magic. Would that subtly suggest that he isn't a devout believer in the church of seiros?

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1 minute ago, Barren said:

Another interesting detail I noticed about Clade as to why he doesn't see eye to eye with the church ideal's either. While it may be inconsequential, he has a bane in faith magic. Would that subtly suggest that he isn't a devout believer in the church of seiros?

He actually talks about this in his supports. He’s basically an atheist. 

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He's caught praying to the land in his Lorenz A support. He's not an atheist, he just doesn't believe in the goddess of Fodlan nor is he particularly devout.

Edited by Crysta

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27 minutes ago, Crysta said:

He's caught praying to the land in his Lorenz A support. He's not an atheist, he just doesn't believe in the goddess of Fodlan nor is he particularly devout.

He doesn’t believe in any gods though, or at least I think that’s what he says in his B/B+ support. Unless his view of the land counts as a religious belief? It’s kinda vague

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I think believing the land may be sentient and willing to listen to you qualifies just as surely as believing a being in the sky does the same.

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Despite all of its flaws I actually do like VW slightly more than AM. I know that's a bit of a hot take but AM is too all in on Dimtri and not enough on the supporting cast.  I have more issues with AM but since this is a VW thread I will leave it at that for now.  My biggest complaint with VW is probably a more personal one and one that people may not be agreed on by everyone.

Personally I think a route split might fit even better with the golden deer than it does with the Black Eagles (SS still sucks in my personal opinion).  Claudes whole story gimmick for the war is he is pretty much a neutral outsider and through out the game he seems to have issues with Rhea's actions at points.   As a more third party side in the war I think it would be more interesting if you get to choose what direction the outsider chooses to go in the war. Does the outsider leader go with the establishment (the church) or think things need to change like Emperor Edelgard wants? I don't think the outsider part of Claude was fully utilized and I think him having a decision on where to go with the war would be a way to play into the outsider angle more and give him more development more than just "lets stick with the church".  His alliance is also very divided on the topic in the game so either way he would have support in his country for it and have people with issues with the decision and that could be developed upon on more imo.  Even if you do stick with the church at least it should get more development on why.  And I think making a choice would give more development for Claude siding with the church.

tldr version: Basically I want more expansion on why Claude went the way he did when he is presented as the more neutral side.

Edited by vikingsfan92

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47 minutes ago, vikingsfan92 said:

 

tldr version: Basically I want more expansion on why Claude went the way he did when he is presented as the more neutral side.

Because he is using them. That was pretty explicitly stated that he wanted to use the Church to give his side more legitimacy. It's just another scheme. He doesn't side with Edelgard because she was responsible for the war, and he never wanted a war.

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