Jump to content
Kalken

The game really only should've had two routes (among other changes also spoilerz)

Recommended Posts

Much of the problems with the game's plotting trace towards the decision to split game about 3 times. Doubly now that we know enough about the development process like Silver Snow being the original route or Claude being envisioned as a sneaky scheming hero type among a squabbling/dysfunctional republic before they walked back on that (which unfortunately only left him with a sloppy racism subplot and poaching from the dragon/slithery/nemesis lore).

Villainswise, the game suffers from how BL!Edelgard is the only decent villain (even if she is a fem!Arvis with some Ashnard thrown in) insofar she has a solid enough ideology (after all, plenty of men thought terrible ideas like Communism were good so I can buy both Edel making up something to vocalize her rage from childhood trauma and enough educated men in the empire buying into it) alongside a solid enough dynamic between herself and Dimitri. Rhea is not present for the bulk of CF as an active antagonist who gets in your face and tries to really sell what she's doing to you, by the time you get around to fighting her she just goes full dragon dictator lady. The Slithers are just badly written all around whose mere presence makes holes in the plot.

Edelgard and Dimitri are really the only decently solid Lords (including Byleth and Seteth). Byleth is a nothing character by extension of being a self-insert who makes someone like Edelgard suffer in writing. Claude is certainly the least relevant of them even with his route having his posse take on the Slithers and tell more about the background lore (to say nothing of how poorly handled his racism subplot is). It's enough to say that the core of the writing juju went into the lady emperor and lion king.

The Slithers? Oh man, where to begin. Their presence in the setting makes the plot shakier since we're supposed to accept that they can play 5D Chess around Rhea and that Edelgard has no choice on how she has to work with them and that they have nukes, but at the same time they don't really have a plan to control Edel when she not only makes it obvious she opposes them but actively wars upon them that isn't "launch nuke and not even at at a good target" and Byleth's band of kiddies are able to beat them. Characters like Arundel/Thales and Cornelia would be just as effective if they were themselves not Slithers, and if anything having forces properly within Lionville be behind acts like the Duscur eating genocide would've let Edel's case for waging war be much stronger.

So to address all these problems, I'm proposing they really only should've had two routes:

-A SS/AM composite where Dimitri is your lord.

-A rewritten CF.

Among these routes:

-No Slithers. At least not as we know them. Either exercise them entirely and rewrite the background lore so that the Agarthans are gone for good with their stuff reverse engineered or tone down what they can do (no nukes for one).

-Claude if he's still a thing can tag along I guess. Him just leaving in BL was lazy writing so you couldn't use him there just as Dimitri attacking him in GD was.

-Either no Byleth (yes, I'm aware of how deeply plot changing this is) or do some rewriting.

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well they say that was the original concept before meddling caused them to make more routes. And yeah, it probably would have been better. I'd add that White Clouds needs to be rewritten so that Edelgard and Dimitri are both relevant characters on what ever route you don't choose (or make the route choice in Chapter 11). Because Dimitri basically doesn't show up at all in Black Eagles and Edelgard shows up like twice in Blue Lions only to not say anything while Dimitri stares at her from afar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean, BL!Edel is still a better villain than like everyone else in the plot. If anything, she suffers from having to share spotlight with the Slithers who could've just been denizens of the empire and kingdom.

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jotari said:

Well they say that was the original concept before meddling caused them to make more routes.

Was it meddling? Given what I had heard from all the interviews with the developers and such, I thought it was overambition. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Was it meddling? Given what I had heard from all the interviews with the developers and such, I thought it was overambition. 

Based on how the game turned out, I'm given the impression it was rather late in the development that they decided to expand out the routes, which leads me to think it was a mandate by someone rather than people getting over ambitious. An over ambitious addition of routes would probably be done when several are already mostly finished, yet none of the individual routes of Three Houses actually feels finished (at least to me).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Kalken said:

Rhea is not present for the bulk of CF as an active antagonist who gets in your face and tries to really sell what she's doing to you, by the time you get around to fighting her she just goes full dragon dictator lady. The Slithers are just badly written all around whose mere presence makes holes in the plot.

I don't think Rhea needs to be "in your face" to be a good villain. The few times she does show up, she hams it up in the best possible way. I'd call her a very good villain, and a passionate foil for the stoic Edelgard.

7 hours ago, Kalken said:

Claude is certainly the least relevant of them even with his route having his posse take on the Slithers and tell more about the background lore (to say nothing of how poorly handled his racism subplot is).

Claude is poorly-handled sure, but I really enjoy his personality and mannerisms. He has a stated vision that he works toward. I think he's a really good Lord, even if he's somewhat detached from the central conflict. And losing the chance to lead him would make for a weaker game overall.

Agreed the Slithers suck, though.

7 hours ago, Kalken said:

-Either no Byleth (yes, I'm aware of how deeply plot changing this is) or do some rewriting.

The game is ultimately written around the Professor. How do we teach our students, and explore the monastery, if we don't exist? The Professor may be a cold dead husk, but the rest of the world is built around them - a game without them wouldn't be "Three Houses".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3H would probably have succeeded more on the writing front if it had less paths, yes. I don't mind branching paths in games as a concept, but between Fates and 3H I'm convinced IS can't write them well and would really do better with less of them. Same with avatars -- okay as a concept, but FE can't do them right.

Having Dimitri and Claude as co-lords for a combined Azure Verdant Snow path would've been cool, too. The story reasons keeping us from having both of them playable and on the same team just seemed contrived, and there's no reason why they couldn't fit both of their character arcs in one path. Also, I was confused how Rhea literally never showed up again in person on the Azure Moon path, it felt anticlimactic and like a "missing scene". Verdant Wind is already similar enough to Silver Snow, so it shouldn't be that complicated to give it a Dimitri subplot while giving Claude an actual arc related to Almyra.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Rhea is definitely an effective antagonist. On Black Eagles->Crimson Flower alone she has well over 300 lines, so it's not as if she lacks screentime or characterization. She does gain something from knowing about the cause of her rage and anguish which is gleaned from speaking to her in late VW/SS. She's effective because you both understand where she's coming from but also understand why Edelgard wants to take her down.

I generally agree that the slitherers as is are not good. The best things about them are the plot function they serve where it intersects with politics: Arundel's role in the Insurrection of the Seven and the experiments on the families of Lysithea and Edelgard, Cornelia's in the Tragedy of Duscur and the coup in Faerghus, plot elements which can be kept even if they aren't secretly members of a subterranean race of demi-humans. If the race as a whole is to be kept I'd want the game to actually care about them as something besides "angry and evil". It still ticks me off that the game has a racism plot while simultaneously holding up the Agarthans and saying "well racism is okay against these people because they're just that bad".

I definitely think Claude is a good character and should exist in some form. Either as a full-fledged third route (with a significantly different plotline than any anti-Empire route which currently exists), or as a wildcard character who could conceivably join either route depending on your choices.

As much as I'm not a big fan of silent avatars I agree that just removing Byleth from Three Houses changes the game drastically. I'd give him/her a speaking role and majorly cut back on the number of times characters gush over him/her and give him/her credit for the character's own character growth, but I think the core idea as a teacher who instructs and grows to care for the mover-of-the-world that is the main lord is a good one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sunwoo said:

aving Dimitri and Claude as co-lords for a combined Azure Verdant Snow path would've been cool, too. The story reasons keeping us from having both of them playable and on the same team just seemed contrived, and there's no reason why they couldn't fit both of their character arcs in one path.

Some games do let you go for different endings on a single route, where you had to earlier decide one of several routes. Setting it up that you could change the last 1 or 2, maybe 3 battles based on who you preferred of the duo sounds feasible to me. Not sure exactly how'd you go about that though in 3H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I don't think Rhea needs to be "in your face" to be a good villain. The few times she does show up, she hams it up in the best possible way. I'd call her a very good villain, and a passionate foil for the stoic Edelgard.

Outside of the bit where she tells about her mother being murdered by humans (looks like they should've just burned all the humies when they had the chance) and her friendship with a past emperor, she's just another dragon dictator type like Medeus (who also had a sympathetic backstory of humans screwing over his kind) when you're actually facing her in CF. You need to play other routes to learn there's indeed more to her than that and Edelgard is ignorant on many things. In comparison Sephiran was a better designed villain for his screentime (and similarities with Rhea/Seiros) even when he planned to kill just about everybody in Tellius (which would give him one of the highest bodycounts among FE villains) since:

A. We are repeatedly shown the scars of the Serenes Massacre no matter what, with characters like Sanaki owing up to the crime. It goes in line with how are told that Tellius won't stop burning itself down with Serenes really just being the last straw for Sephiran.

B. He REALLY doesn't want to kill everybody, if only for the sake the remnants of his kind and his little Sanaki. He just sees that Tellius is too far gone to save, that Beorc won't stop being cruel to Laguz (and vice-versa I suppose) so he's just hedging his bets on the goddess just ending the failed experiment that is Tellius.

C. Even when you do know all the above, as an enemy he's not really smug or "filled with hate" or only ultimately acting from pettiness since someone he cared about got killed (which would make trying to destroy the world/humanity/whatever that if he was only doing doing it for that) or is being some giant monster who has to be destroyed to save the world/achieve great justice. He's respectful to someone like Ike, recognizes that not only will the Laguz be wiped out but Sanaki and Micaiah as his remaining family will die as well, and makes it certain he's not acting from mere revenge or chauvinism but from fulfilling what he sees as what the world needs.

D. He'll back down once you fulfill certain circumstances.

E. Perhaps most importantly, there's a vibe among his opposition that they recognized that yes, not only were his kind deeply wronged but humans (including Laguz) are deeply flawed and he isn't wrong to not have a high opinion of them. "We don't want to die though" is their cause against him.

Quote

Claude is poorly-handled sure, but I really enjoy his personality and mannerisms. He has a stated vision that he works toward. I think he's a really good Lord, even if he's somewhat detached from the central conflict. And losing the chance to lead him would make for a weaker game overall.

He just takes advantage of what the other characters do and makes Byleth a puppet ruler. And his fantasy racism subplot is silly since we are shown that his father's land is a bunch of proud raiders who from all evidence made no non-violent attempts to interact with Fodlan (meaning that they are hated for what they do, not such for what they are like how modern Japan and the British are hated by their neighbors). 

Quote

Agreed the Slithers suck, though.

The game is ultimately written around the Professor. How do we teach our students, and explore the monastery, if we don't exist? The Professor may be a cold dead husk, but the rest of the world is built around them - a game without them wouldn't be "Three Houses".

I mean, in that case they shouldn't have made it that the only option you have to explore the world is with a bad self-insert.

4 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I think Rhea is definitely an effective antagonist. On Black Eagles->Crimson Flower alone she has well over 300 lines, so it's not as if she lacks screentime or characterization. She does gain something from knowing about the cause of her rage and anguish which is gleaned from speaking to her in late VW/SS. She's effective because you both understand where she's coming from but also understand why Edelgard wants to take her down.

Rhea overall has the same problem as Loghain from Dragon Age and Caesar from Fallout: New Vegas in that sure, she overall is a decently characterized character (and frankly, is the only genuinely grey character in the plot insofar there isn't an answer on whether how she handled Fodlan after her mother's murder was the "right" direction) but much of what makes her characterization solid enough is either locked to routes or absent since she's MIA or in supplemental materials.

Loghain has great characterization. Issue is all of it is at the very end (seriously becoming available for the player to explore when the point of no return becomes available), all of it missable depending on the player's choices, and most of it in DLC! Many players never get to see Loghain's real character in-game unless they've been spoiled and know exactly what to do to get to see it. Look up a transcript of all of Loghain's dialogue in the game (including the missable stuff at the end), and I'm sure your opinion of him as a man will change. Loghain really could have been a great RPG villain if only he were presented more effectively.

Caesar's legion looks like just a bunch of baby punting LARPers, but you can actually sit down and chat with Caesar about his ideology for doing all of this slaughter and slaver where he'll actually give you a detailed, acceptable-sounding answer. Of course it's Hegelian garbage but hey, serious academics swallowed Hegel for decades just as they did for Marx. I totally believe an uneducated person after the apocalypse could stumble upon Hegel's theory of history and take it seriously. The key is that his goal is to build a unified society where everyone serves the Pax Romana in order and glory, but the only man in Da Legion who believed in the Pax Romana was Caesar himself (and it's suggested he realizes this deep down): Everyone under his command really is just a baby punting LARPer who knows that bowing to the Legion is their best chance to get to slake their thirsts. Lanius is the best example of this, though not the only one. If/When Caesar leaves the picture the Legion goes full Banana Republic Civil War. The Legion doesn't work since this conversation is something most players don't see: You can only have it if you join the legion, and it's miss-able even then. Without seeing this conversation all you ever see of the Legion are Caesar's  subordinates. It's the Loghain problem all over again.

Quote

I generally agree that the slitherers as is are not good. The best things about them are the plot function they serve where it intersects with politics: Arundel's role in the Insurrection of the Seven and the experiments on the families of Lysithea and Edelgard, Cornelia's in the Tragedy of Duscur and the coup in Faerghus, plot elements which can be kept even if they aren't secretly members of a subterranean race of demi-humans. If the race as a whole is to be kept I'd want the game to actually care about them as something besides "angry and evil". It still ticks me off that the game has a racism plot while simultaneously holding up the Agarthans and saying "well racism is okay against these people because they're just that bad".

You can throw in the whole backstory with the dragons like with the talk Dictator-chan Edel has about them being beasts in human skin (or whatever). I'd call it the most effective of them all since it's recognized that humans betrayed the dragons and used genocide when given the opportunity even after all they did for them (especially when the dragons could've culled the humans back when they were building their civilization rather than share their knowledge). Doubly since "reptilians" are a common enough anti-Semitic codeword. It's not like the Almyran situation where they waged war on Fodlan whenever they had the chance (again I point to how hated Japan is by their neighbors).

Quote

I definitely think Claude is a good character and should exist in some form. Either as a full-fledged third route (with a significantly different plotline than any anti-Empire route which currently exists), or as a wildcard character who could conceivably join either route depending on your choices.

Honestly he'd be best suited to his own game/universe where his stuff could bloom properly rather than just be a 5th wheel in the Edel/Rhea/Dimitri/Byleth shtick.

Quote

As much as I'm not a big fan of silent avatars I agree that just removing Byleth from Three Houses changes the game drastically. I'd give him/her a speaking role and majorly cut back on the number of times characters gush over him/her and give him/her credit for the character's own character growth, but I think the core idea as a teacher who instructs and grows to care for the mover-of-the-world that is the main lord is a good one.

Sure it's a good idea. Problem is that they also insisted on making said teacher the self-insert center of all the Lords with Rhea's mental universe and really the only thing that ensures they succeed rather than fail miserably. They should've either just made Byleth an outright "4th House Leader" with limited supports etc. or just made hir a toned down Kris (as in, without being the Lord's most important bestest friend evaaaa).

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Kalken said:

Outside of the bit where she tells about her mother being murdered by humans (looks like they should've just burned all the humies when they had the chance) and her friendship with a past emperor, she's just another dragon dictator type like Medeus (who also had a sympathetic backstory of humans screwing over his kind) when you're actually facing her in CF. You need to play other routes to learn there's indeed more to her than that and Edelgard is ignorant on many things. In comparison Sephiran was a better designed villain for his screentime (and similarities with Rhea/Seiros) even when he planned to kill just about everybody in Tellius (which would give him one of the highest bodycounts among FE villains) since:

What sells Rhea for me, truthfully, is Cherami Leigh's voicework. Lines like "Such a rebellious heart cannot be allowed to keep beating" are infused with such severity, that it's impossible not to leave an impression. Particularly on CF, her dialogue creates the image of a woman assured of her right to rule, and of the moral inferiority of those who would dare stand against her. She's not evil, as evidenced by the kindness she shows toward numerous people, but she is a zealot whose vision of Fodlan is incompatible with Edelgard's dreams.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

He just takes advantage of what the other characters do and makes Byleth a puppet ruler. And his fantasy racism subplot is silly since we are shown that his father's land is a bunch of proud raiders who from all evidence made no non-violent attempts to interact with Fodlan (meaning that they are hated for what they do, not such for what they are like how modern Japan and the British are hated by their neighbors). 

The thing is, that prejudice extends toward Almyrans who aren't presenting a threat, such as Cyril. And the Alomir paralogue reveals that "false flags", where common raiders use the Almyrans' reputation to spread terror, are far from unknown. Claude is hardly treating the Almyrans as blameless - he suffered there himself, from being half-foreign-born. Claude's goal is to bring both countries to the table, and replace conflict with dialogue, invasion with commerce. Unfortunately, his route cleaves too closely to the existing Silver Snow to deal with Almyra-Fodlan relations on anything more than a surface level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

What sells Rhea for me, truthfully, is Cherami Leigh's voicework. Lines like "Such a rebellious heart cannot be allowed to keep beating" are infused with such severity, that it's impossible not to leave an impression. Particularly on CF, her dialogue creates the image of a woman assured of her right to rule, and of the moral inferiority of those who would dare stand against her. She's not evil, as evidenced by the kindness she shows toward numerous people, but she is a zealot whose vision of Fodlan is incompatible with Edelgard's dreams.

I've not considered it before, but I really agree with this. The voice actor really pulls her off well, they must have had pretty good direction in addition to talent. Just reading that line as printed there, it actually comes off as kind of awkward. It's so grandiose, which is fitting for Rhea, but I think if she were a villain in a story without voiced dialogue her personality would come off as far more stilted.

Edited by Jotari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

What sells Rhea for me, truthfully, is Cherami Leigh's voicework. Lines like "Such a rebellious heart cannot be allowed to keep beating" are infused with such severity, that it's impossible not to leave an impression. Particularly on CF, her dialogue creates the image of a woman assured of her right to rule, and of the moral inferiority of those who would dare stand against her. She's not evil, as evidenced by the kindness she shows toward numerous people, but she is a zealot whose vision of Fodlan is incompatible with Edelgard's dreams.

As I said, dragon dictator lady. Fem!Medeus with some Sephiran thrown in. In comparison and contrasting, Edel's dynamic with Dimitri is more better designed since among other things the two actually try to engage with each-others ideas but do not accept each-other's ideas.

Quote

The thing is, that prejudice extends toward Almyrans who aren't presenting a threat, such as Cyril. And the Alomir paralogue reveals that "false flags", where common raiders use the Almyrans' reputation to spread terror, are far from unknown. Claude is hardly treating the Almyrans as blameless - he suffered there himself, from being half-foreign-born. Claude's goal is to bring both countries to the table, and replace conflict with dialogue, invasion with commerce. Unfortunately, his route cleaves too closely to the existing Silver Snow to deal with Almyra-Fodlan relations on anything more than a surface level.

I know Claude acknowledges Almyra's warmongering in supports, but he doesn't really have an actual workable plan for them to them change or for Fodlan to receive restitution (reparation payments, shrinking the military and teaching that warriors shouldn't be as adored, their leadership publicly acknowledging the actions of themselves, their fathers, and their friends made them hated). You cannot force others to accept others. You can only encourage others to gestures of goodwill and a willingness to atone. See again how widely hated Japan is by their neighbors compared with Germany.

10 minutes ago, Jotari said:

I've not considered it before, but I really agree with this. The voice actor really pulls her off well, they must have had pretty good direction in addition to talent. Just reading that line as printed there, it actually comes off as kind of awkward. It's so grandiose, which is fitting for Rhea, but I think if she were a villain in a story without dialogue her personality would come off as far more stilted.

Eh, it's just animu dictator villain talk except it's coming from a dragon. It's fine if that's your thing.

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kalken said:

Eh, it's just animu dictator villain talk except it's coming from a dragon. It's fine if that's your thing.

I think you might be misunderstanding the point @Shanty Pete's 1st Mate and @Jotari are making (which I agree with): that the lines are effective because they're delivered well. It's not about the content of the lines themselves (which I agree read as relatively generic going by pure text) or that they're coming from a dragon, it's that the stellar voice work sells her combination of anguish and self-righteousness that makes her an effective and memorable character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I think you might be misunderstanding the point @Shanty Pete's 1st Mate and @Jotari are making (which I agree with): that the lines are effective because they're delivered well. It's not about the content of the lines themselves (which I agree read as relatively generic going by pure text) or that they're coming from a dragon, it's that the stellar voice work sells her combination of anguish and self-righteousness that makes her an effective and memorable character.

Yeah - it might be a bit unfair, comparing villains between those games with voice acting, and those without. But that's essentially it - strong voice acting can elevate the writing beyond tropes, to come across as real and convincing. See also: Berkut.

Still, there are some pre-VA villains who nonetheless stick out to me. A minor one is Mannu, from Shadow Dragon - not only for being the first Manakete you fight, but also for his self-introduction:

Spoiler

Interlopers! Barbarous filth! They dare dig their heels and hooves into this hallowed ground? I will kill them for this- one by one- then turn the crimson grass beneath them into their pyre!

So the presentation of a villain can go a long way.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

As I said, dragon dictator lady. Fem!Medeus with some Sephiran thrown in. In comparison and contrasting, Edel's dynamic with Dimitri is more better designed since among other things the two actually try to engage with each-others ideas but do not accept each-other's ideas.

I think that's a serious over-simplification. It ignores the personal connection between the two of them. To the Professor, Rhea was their boss, who gave them a chance to teach, but who also bred enmity in Jeralt and Edelgard. To Rhea, the Professor is not only their teacher, but the child of her trusted acolyte - who then comes to reject the person responsible for their existence. Sure, some of this comes from other routes - but if each route reveals everything, then what's the point of having multiple? And Rhea retains the loyalty of former allies, such as Seteth and Catherine, in a way that Medeus never did. Speaking of which, Seteth's line when Flayn is killed on CF is another case of ascendant voicework.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

know Claude acknowledges Almyra's warmongering in supports, but he doesn't really have an actual workable plan for them to them change or for Fodlan to receive restitution (reparation payments, shrinking the military and teaching that warriors shouldn't be as adored, their leadership publicly acknowledging the actions of themselves, their fathers, and their friends made them hated). You cannot force others to accept others. You can only encourage others to gestures of goodwill and a willingness to atone. See again how widely hated Japan is by their neighbors compared with Germany.

Claude still manages real cooperation between Almyra and the Alliance, though, in their shared takedown of Fort Merceus. And I know you're placing most of the blame on Almyra, but keep in mind that we're playing the game from a Fodlan perspective. We don't know if Fodlan has a history of invading Almyra, or if Fodlan's Locket sits on land the Almyrans once called home. We do know that there is prejudice against Almyrans - sometimes manifesting as true, but not always.

Obviously, there are steps necessary to establishing peace between the two countries. Likely including a cessation of Almyran raids into Fodlan, and joint administration of Fodlan's Locket (before its eventual disestablishment, as Claude wishes). In the meantime, the people of Fodlan and Almyra are getting to know one another, and understanding the other nation beyond the prejudices they hold. Claude won't achieve peace overnight, but his route, at the very least, demonstrates manifested cooperation between their peoples.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I think you might be misunderstanding the point @Shanty Pete's 1st Mate and @Jotari are making (which I agree with): that the lines are effective because they're delivered well. It's not about the content of the lines themselves (which I agree read as relatively generic going by pure text) or that they're coming from a dragon, it's that the stellar voice work sells her combination of anguish and self-righteousness that makes her an effective and memorable character.

Like I said, it's the Loghain/Caesar Problem where just about everything that makes Rhea/Seiros legit interesting is in the routes where she's not an enemy and/or supplemental material. She doesn't really try to give solid argument for her way of doing things when facing Team Edel herself unlike Edel and Dim towards each-other.

How can you settle for less when you can have more? Even accepting her as dragon dictator lady, I am maintaining she still could've been a good one overall if she were handled more effectively.

30 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Yeah - it might be a bit unfair, comparing villains between those games with voice acting, and those without. But that's essentially it - strong voice acting can elevate the writing beyond tropes, to come across as real and convincing. See also: Berkut.

Eh, I don't really find Berkut a well designed villain since he's neither an effective source of opposition from how he's really shown as repeatedly lagging behind Alm (which was kinda inevitable since he was inserted into the plot so he couldn't take part in big scenes like when Alm gets trapped by undead dragons) and he's too big of a prick for most his screentime to make how hard to they try to make him look sympathetic in his finale flow well. 

Quote

I think that's a serious over-simplification. It ignores the personal connection between the two of them. To the Professor, Rhea was their boss, who gave them a chance to teach, but who also bred enmity in Jeralt and Edelgard. To Rhea, the Professor is not only their teacher, but the child of her trusted acolyte - who then comes to reject the person responsible for their existence.

The problem with all that is Byleth not actually having a personality and so you have to read into little bits or make headcanon. In the actual game, there's not really much of a "creation turns against muh maker" situation since Byleth is too bland and inoffensive of a character thanks to being a self-insert.

Quote

Sure, some of this comes from other routes - but if each route reveals everything, then what's the point of having multiple?

To be frank, the game tries too hard to force differences between the routes like when Dimitri shows up to attack you in Golden Deer just so he could be killed off rather than join against the empire. I'd throw in Nemesis being GD's final boss in there too (he'd honestly fit much better in SS with The Immaculate One swapped in for GD).

Quote

And Rhea retains the loyalty of former allies, such as Seteth and Catherine, in a way that Medeus never did

I mean, Medes DID have every Manakete besides like two men and a little girl helping him.

Quote

Claude still manages real cooperation between Almyra and the Alliance, though, in their shared takedown of Fort Merceus.

To which I say Claude's more or less just delivering Fodlan to Almyra on a silver platter, with the plot kinda glancing over Byleth/him selling out to Fodlan's archenemy next door.

Quote

And I know you're placing most of the blame on Almyra, but keep in mind that we're playing the game from a Fodlan perspective. We don't know if Fodlan has a history of invading Almyra, or if Fodlan's Locket sits on land the Almyrans once called home. We do know that there is prejudice against Almyrans - sometimes manifesting as true, but not always.

Even if that's really the case, taking what we're shown points to Almyrans invading Fodlan since it's there. It's not like any of the Almyrans we meet try to use how Fodlanville denizens act towards as a way to excuse their warmongering.

Quote

Obviously, there are steps necessary to establishing peace between the two countries. Likely including a cessation of Almyran raids into Fodlan, and joint administration of Fodlan's Locket (before its eventual disestablishment, as Claude wishes). In the meantime, the people of Fodlan and Almyra are getting to know one another, and understanding the other nation beyond the prejudices they hold. Claude won't achieve peace overnight, but his route, at the very least, demonstrates manifested cooperation between their peoples.

Better go with reparation payments.

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Kalken said:

 

Eh, I don't really find Berkut a well designed villain since he's neither an effective source of opposition from how he's really shown as repeatedly lagging behind Alm (which was kinda inevitable since he was inserted into the plot so he couldn't take part in big scenes like when Alm gets trapped by undead dragons) and he's too big of a prick for most his screentime to make how hard to they try to make him look sympathetic in his finale flow well. 

 

That's actually a great suggestion for utilizing Berkut imo. And there's really no reason they couldn't have done that. Alm's whole situation there is suggested to be the Duma's faithful doing, so having him show up and represent that (I don't know by breaking more mirrors or something) would lend more seriously needed weight to his character. And it would also further his turn to the Dark Side by having him cosy up to the Duma Faithful a bit more. They do that a tiny bit with the whole Nuibaba thing, but then he doesn't really have much to do with them at all until he sacrifices Rinea to Duma.

Eh, of course this isn't a Shadows of Valentia topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kalken said:

Like I said, it's the Loghain/Caesar Problem where just about everything that makes Rhea/Seiros legit interesting is in the routes where she's not an enemy and/or supplemental material. She doesn't really try to give solid argument for her way of doing things when facing Team Edel herself unlike Edel and Dim towards each-other.

How can you settle for less when you can have more? Even accepting her as dragon dictator lady, I am maintaining she still could've been a good one overall if she were handled more effectively.

I'm open to Rhea being done somewhat differently on CF. But personally, I find "Dragon Pope driven to madness by the betrayal of her pseudo-grandchild" more interesting than "Dragon Pope seeks to DESTROY Edelgard stans through FACTS and LOGIC". She's a different kind of villain than Edelgard, with different motivations and methods, but that doesn't make her worse.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

To which I say Claude's more or less just delivering Fodlan to Almyra on a silver platter, with the plot kinda glancing over Byleth/him selling out to Fodlan's archenemy next door.

How is Fodlan being "sold out", exactly? By Almyrans existing within their borders? He's made a strategic partnership to take out a mutual threat. If Claude made some material concession behind the scenes for Almyran support, maybe you'd be onto something. 

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

Even if that's really the case, taking what we're shown points to Almyrans invading Fodlan since it's there. It's not like any of the Almyrans we meet try to use how Fodlanville denizens act towards as a way to excuse their warmongering.

That is another weakness of Claude's story - namely, that the Almyran perspective is limited at best. Nader (or was it Nardel?) shows up as an NPC, but he doesn't say all that much. Cyril speaks about his past, but his loyalty is not to his homeland, but to Lady Rhea. Speaking to more Almyran NPCs, or even getting a recruitable Almyran, could shed some light on their motivations - and therefore, a route to peace. Suppose that they invade to demonstrate their ability as warriors. Why not replace that practice with, say, an annual gladiator competition between Fodlan and Almyra? Transform the warfare into athletic spectacle, while appealing to their values system!

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

mean, Medes DID have every Manakete besides like two men and a little girl helping him.

None of those are Marth's old friends, though. My point is, facing the Church means facing characters the player has become fond of. Killing Flayn is still a goddamn gut-punch, even if Byleth never gets to react.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

Eh, I don't really find Berkut a well designed villain since he's neither an effective source of opposition from how he's really shown as repeatedly lagging behind Alm (which was kinda inevitable since he was inserted into the plot so he couldn't take part in big scenes like when Alm gets trapped by undead dragons) and he's too big of a prick for most his screentime to make how hard to they try to make him look sympathetic in his finale flow well. 

My point was less that "Berkut is a really good villain", and moreso that Ian Sinclair's vocal performance seriously elevates the character beyond what the plot offers him.

1 hour ago, Kalken said:

To be frank, the game tries too hard to force differences between the routes like when Dimitri shows up to attack you in Golden Deer just so he could be killed off rather than join against the empire. I'd throw in Nemesis being GD's final boss in there too (he'd honestly fit much better in SS with The Immaculate One swapped in for GD).

Agreed that Dimitri is poorly utilized in Verdant Wind. As for the Endgames, I could see "swapping" them. Although, the underlying problem is having two different final bosses, despite doing basically all the same stuff beforehand. I'd probably make Nemesis the final boss of Silver Snow, rework Verdant Wind so Nemesis never wakes up, and do a final battle that relates to Fodlan-Almyra relations. Rhea never goes berserk inexplicably, so she's just the final boss on Crimson Flower.

1 hour ago, Jotari said:

That's actually a great suggestion for utilizing Berkut imo. And there's really no reason they couldn't have done that. Alm's whole situation there is suggested to be the Duma's faithful doing, so having him show up and represent that (I don't know by breaking more mirrors or something) would lend more seriously needed weight to his character. And it would also further his turn to the Dark Side by having him cosy up to the Duma Faithful a bit more. They do that a tiny bit with the whole Nuibaba thing, but then he doesn't really have much to do with them at all until he sacrifices Rinea to Duma.

Eh, of course this isn't a Shadows of Valentia topic.

...Fuck. Why not just combine the "evil mirror" scene with the Necrodragons mountain? So instead of Celica's spirit magic saving Alm out of nowhere, it now comes from her request to Halcyon. I don't believe this scene needs to happen before Fear Mountain - say, Nuibaba gives Berkut the mirror in advance, but he doesn't deploy it until the mountain stopping point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the biggest problem with saying that 'there should have been only two routes' or 'TWSITD shouldn't be in the game' is that you could just as easily say 'the game should've been delayed to make everything better.'

After thinking about it, I think each route can be justified as a different answer to the question 'is the church in the right?" The simple way answers are yes and no, hence, two routes, but it's definitely not that simple. In my mind, SS is: yes, but it needs some fixing; CF is: no, and it needs to be destroyed as soon as possible; VW is: no, but that doesn't mean it should disappear; and AM is: that doesn't matter, only doing the right thing does. Of course, that doesn't make them all perfect, but it's an interesting thought

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

...Fuck. Why not just combine the "evil mirror" scene with the Necrodragons mountain? So instead of Celica's spirit magic saving Alm out of nowhere, it now comes from her request to Halcyon. I don't believe this scene needs to happen before Fear Mountain - say, Nuibaba gives Berkut the mirror in advance, but he doesn't deploy it until the mountain stopping point.

Yeah, I'd have no issue with that. The whole summoning hands thing was a weird piece of nothing to begin with. And Berkut would seem like less of a punk resorting to the evil magic a little later rather than the first moment things don't go his way.

...Yeah I'm going to make a dedicated topic someday soon voicing my gripes about Berkut. I've been meaning to do so since Shadows of Valentia's release, but n=just never got round to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Jotari said:

Yeah, I'd have no issue with that. The whole summoning hands thing was a weird piece of nothing to begin with. And Berkut would seem like less of a punk resorting to the evil magic a little later rather than the first moment things don't go his way.

Now I need Berkut knowing what the mirror will do, and just before he smashes it, with a smirk, he invites Alm to "catch these hands".

19 minutes ago, Aedan7479 said:

think the biggest problem with saying that 'there should have been only two routes' or 'TWSITD shouldn't be in the game' is that you could just as easily say 'the game should've been delayed to make everything better.'

"A rushed game is bad forever. But a delayed game is Duke Nukem Forever."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I'm open to Rhea being done somewhat differently on CF. But personally, I find "Dragon Pope driven to madness by the betrayal of her pseudo-grandchild" more interesting than "Dragon Pope seeks to DESTROY Edelgard stans through FACTS and LOGIC". She's a different kind of villain than Edelgard, with different motivations and methods, but that doesn't make her worse.

It's not about destroying with le meme. It's really just about showing that Rhea can indeed give an argument for what she's doing when asked. It doesn't have to be right. Again I will point to Caesar, no, link him:

When you take in all he says, it sounds acceptably put together. Like I said, I can accept that an uneducated man like Caesar living in a world where the apocalypse happened would thinking LARPing as Rome with some Hegel is a good idea.

Quote

How is Fodlan being "sold out", exactly? By Almyrans existing within their borders? He's made a strategic partnership to take out a mutual threat. If Claude made some material concession behind the scenes for Almyran support, maybe you'd be onto something. 

That what's I mean by "glancing over." Claude working to get hostile foreigners in should've been treated with more suspicion. Byleth being Claude/Almyra's puppet ruler doesn't help either.

Quote

None of those are Marth's old friends, though. My point is, facing the Church means facing characters the player has become fond of. Killing Flayn is still a goddamn gut-punch, even if Byleth never gets to react.

Most of the killing of playable characters is optional. Killing Seteth and Flayn would've been more effective it wasn't optional (especially with Edelgard apparently accepting the Slither's anti-dragon propaganda). They should've also had far stronger limits on recruitment considering how ridiculous it gets in CF.  

Quote

Agreed that Dimitri is poorly utilized in Verdant Wind. As for the Endgames, I could see "swapping" them. Although, the underlying problem is having two different final bosses, despite doing basically all the same stuff beforehand. I'd probably make Nemesis the final boss of Silver Snow, rework Verdant Wind so Nemesis never wakes up, and do a final battle that relates to Fodlan-Almyra relations. Rhea never goes berserk inexplicably, so she's just the final boss on Crimson Flower.

Eh, I say that Rhea could still work fine as GD's finale (a majorly rewritten GD for a majorly rewritten Three Houses of course). The trick is to just go all the way with Claude's ties to Almyra and set it that GD is you selling out Fodlan to Almyra. With the combined might putting an end to the thorn in Almyra's side once and for all. Taking on Da Empire and Church. Rhea would face you at the end since you  and your barbarian friends are destroying all that she worked for.

33 minutes ago, Aedan7479 said:

I think the biggest problem with saying that 'there should have been only two routes' or 'TWSITD shouldn't be in the game' is that you could just as easily say 'the game should've been delayed to make everything better.'

The thing is, it's obvious now that they were trying to make one of the most (if not the most) ambitious FEs ever. There's such a thing as doing more with less. 

Honestly Awakening, Fates, and now Three Houses have the problem where they tried to do too much in one game so the overall game is kinda iffy. Every one of them has multiple tangents within the plot that could've easily been games in themselves (Awakening could've just been about the war against Plegia with no Valm and Children, ANY of the Fates Trio could've been its own game in its own universe, you could've just separated each of Claude's whole backstory and the Byleth/Slithers/Nemesis/Dragon lore away from Dim v. Edel).

Edited by Kalken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Kalken said:

Most of the killing of playable characters is optional. Killing Seteth and Flayn would've been more effective it wasn't optional (especially with Edelgard apparently accepting the Slither's anti-dragon propaganda). They should've also had far stronger limits on recruitment considering how ridiculous it gets in CF.  

Edelgard does not desire to kill dragons, though. She wants them to not hold power over humans.

image.png.4a487346f0cc25a13b76c41cb833842b.png

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that it's possible to spare Seteth and Flayn. (That said, I agree once again with the 1st Mate that the death scene is still effective if you see it. Not just the scene itself, but the one with Rhea after. "Must you take everything from me?")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Edelgard does not desire to kill dragons, though. She wants them to not hold power over humans.

image.png.4a487346f0cc25a13b76c41cb833842b.png

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that it's possible to spare Seteth and Flayn. (That said, I agree once again with the 1st Mate that the death scene is still effective if you see it. Not just the scene itself, but the one with Rhea after. "Must you take everything from me?")

Makes sense that Edelgard would want to spare them, but I don't think it makes a tonne of sense that you can actually spare them. Why do they get the mercy and not the other students you face (who are more innocent parties) or the likes of Alois. It's not like Edelgard specifically wants to kill them either. Setheth also isn't detained, he just decides to vanish away somewhere rather than going back to Rhea because he suddenly realized war is dangerous and Flayn could get killed. The method to spare them is also silly, you have to defeat them with Byleth or Edelgard, as if the likes of Bernadetta or Manuela would be more bloodthirsty in regards to the lethal combat with them. The story overall packs more of a punch with them dead, as sparing them affects nothing about the actual plot, narratively they're dead to the plot after that battle one way or the other. The ability to spare them is just to make the player feel better about themself. Most of all that applies Claude too. Though not so much the characters you can spare to join your army, as at least in the case of Ashe, Lorenz and Felix (it's just those three right?) sparing them is influencing following events by having them fight with you. Though mechanically I don't think it's the best recruitment as it's basically a yes or no question, there's no gameplay strategy involved in not killing them.

Edited by Jotari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree on some level that the ability to spare Flayn and Seteth exists to give the player an out from killing them (the reason this isn't given for Alois or the students you face is because the player has that out by recruiting them instead. This means a player dedicated to sparing as many playable characters as possible can usually avoid killing anyone except Jeritza, Hubert, Edelgard, and Dimitri, plus Rhea if you want to count her, depending on route). In principle I'm fine with the idea that Flayn can talk to Byleth (whom she is supposed to share a close connection with) and thus choose to abandon the fight, and if Flayn makes that choice then Seteth would logically follow. (Incidentally, a minor correction: it is Byleth who needs to engage with Flayn to save her, not Edelgard. Either can spare Claude, though.)

Agreed that the sparing/recruiting mechanics are mechanically very dull. I have a strong suspicion that at some point in development they were meant to be more involved but then didn't bother and that's why they've been left in as a simple dialog question ("You can spare Ashe! Do you want to?" Y/N) I'd definitely have preferred some of the recruitment/sparing mechanics were tied to either behaviour in battle and/or supports built in part 1. The only actually interesting sparing mechanic IMO is Crimson Flower Dedue, and even that's not that interesting as it basically boils down to "defeat him quickly". I'd mention Crimson Flower Hilda as well (whom you actually have to avoid killing in combat), but the game doesn't acknowledge if you do this or not, sadly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...