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Julius

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light (4th December 2020)

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I didn't know about it. Apparently there were no devil axes in the radiant games, and in three houses they work differently. Don't think I've used them there actually.

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Yeah, in Three Houses it's just a set amount of damage post-combat, which takes the entire fun out of it (and the self-damage can even be a boon, considering Vantage, Desperation, Renewal, etc.). The Cursed Ashera Sword in particular manages to outclass the Killing Edge and the Wo Dao, in exchange for a paltry 5 HP recoil damage.

By the way, @Dcubed I just got my first promotion item (a Hero Crest), and I'm wondering how long I should wait to use it on Ogma. Is 20 the level limit here as well?

Edited by Jonnas

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8 hours ago, Jonnas said:

Yeah, in Three Houses it's just a set amount of damage post-combat, which takes the entire fun out of it (and the self-damage can even be a boon, considering Vantage, Desperation, Renewal, etc.). The Cursed Ashera Sword in particular manages to outclass the Killing Edge and the Wo Dao, in exchange for a paltry 5 HP recoil damage.

By the way, @Dcubed I just got my first promotion item (a Hero Crest), and I'm wondering how long I should wait to use it on Ogma. Is 20 the level limit here as well?

20 is the level limit here as well.

I haven’t used any promotional items myself yet (I’m on chapter 17); but I’m cognisent that I’m not far from the end of the game now...

There literally isn’t enough time in the game for you to max out anyone’s level (due to the fixed experience point system used in this game; rather than the experience point system used in future titles) unless you’re planning to solo the game; so it’s probably better for you to use it sooner rather than later really.

Also worth noting that you don’t actually get enough promotional items for everyone; so not every unit can actually be promoted... Choose wisely!

Edited by Dcubed
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38 turns later, Chapter 17 is done!

Was using it as an Experience Point Factory as it has infinitely spawning reinforcements! Fantastic! ... Until I realised that I had inadvertedly burnt through almost my entire supply of weapons in and out of my convoy!

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Literally me

Better hope that there are some decent shops coming up soon... or else I'm fucked!

On the plus side, I did at least manage to snag the VIP card... too bad I fucked up and forgot to equip the master key onto Julian (my thief) and had to bolt out of the chapter ASAP; so I couldnt open the door to the secret shop in that chapter! (But that's ok, there are much better secret shops yet to come)

Edited by Dcubed
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After Pyrathi, most chapters have been fairly easy, though I'd like to praise Chapter 10 for having a specific enemy who went straight to my army's jugular, but refused to attack for several turns because they wanted to be recruited. It's a totally credible course of action for that character in that situation, good to see some immersive storytelling coming from a small tweak of the AI.

I also must laugh at the truncated storytelling. "Prince Marth, I know we've been together for like 5 chapters, but I suddenly have the urge to mention we should've been looking for the missing daughter of the Archbish- Nevermind, there she is!". Would've been a far bigger surprise if she had been mentioned earlier. Anyway, no praise whatsoever given to that villager with the goofy grin talking about a slave market. I could hear the "a-hyuck" coming from that stupid face.

Anyway:

  • Marth - The first smidge of personality we got from him since the beginning is him breaking up a slave market and telling the trafficker to fuck off. I like Marth.
  • Caeda - She got a Power Ring! She now rains hellfire upon her enemies. Except for those she charms :heart:
  • Minerva - What's this, a new challenger? Minerva's basically a flying armour knight, so hell yeah I'll keep her.
  • Jagen - Great, after defending him to @Dcubed, I barely even used him. And a couple of potential replacements just popped up.
  • Cain - Really grew up in these past few levels (especially his Skill. 15!?), culminating into a recent promotion into Paladin.
  • Hardin - Despite the annoying habit of missing crucial attacks, he's been doing well. Get stronger so you also earn that promotion, buddy.
  • Draug - Another unit I might retire soon, though he's still an admirable shield.
  • Roger - Reliably deals more damage than Draug, with basically equal defence. If I must choose one armour knight going forward, he's it.
  • Ogma - Can you say Levin Sword? 2-range, reliable damage against sturdier enemies, and now he's been promoted to Hero, oh my!
  • Julian - I'll just stop pretending Rickard exists. Marth can open chests, after all.
  • Lena - It's been fun, but we got a second Sage now. Just clear your desk at the nearest convoy.
  • Merric - Would be level 10 by now if he would stop missing his killing blows. *grumble*grumble*
  • Wendell - Two spells, two staves. Yeah, let's go with that.
  • Linde - Our new mage, her Aura is quite valuable. Let's keep her around and hope we get two Guiding Rings in this game.
  • Jeorge - "You see man over there? Bam, dead". You're scary, Jeorge. Can't wait to see Parthia in your hands.
  • Bantu - I found out that, disappointingly, he does not target Res. Like an armour knight with better move, but a stat menu that lies. So he's on reserve, in case I need an extra beefcake.
  • Midia&Boah - Just joined us, but they look promising. Should be able to replace Jagen&Lena, respectively.

Fun fact: Today I learned that there's a character called "Dolph" in Fire Emblem. Incidentally, there's a character called "Lundgren" as well (same class, funnily enough). In other words, Dolph Lundgren's entire name has been on this series for a while, but we still don't have a single "John" or variant thereof. Why, IS?

Edited by Jonnas
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  • Wendell - Two spells, two staves. Yeah, let's go with that.

That’s exactly what I did; worked well for me.

BTW, don’t discount Draug! I gave home a speed ring and the boots earlier.  He’s now a speedy, far moving and incredibly destructive tank! (It’s great fun seeing him double shot cavaliers and even some mercenaries!) who can reliably block anything!

As far as the story goes? I always had the impression that the story we see in-game on the NES is the abridged version of what is actually a much more in-depth story.  We only see the battles, but nothing that happens in-between; and I always felt that it was intentionally done to create a story that felt far more grandiose than what could actually be told within the limitations of the NES & its small cartridge space.

That’s, of course, where the DS remake comes in, which nicely fills in the blanks in between the battles of the story.

Edited by Dcubed

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4 hours ago, Dcubed said:

That’s exactly what I did; worked well for me.

BTW, don’t discount Draug! I gave home a speed ring and the boots earlier.  He’s now a speedy, far moving and incredibly destructive tank! (It’s great fun seeing him double shot cavaliers and even some mercenaries!) who can reliably block anything!

My main issue with Draug is not his Move or his Speed. It's his Weapon Level, he can't use a single a Silver weapon. That's why Roger is the superior choice.

Moreover, I just tried to look up which item promotes Armour Knights... and apparently they just don't. While that won't stop me from using Roger occasionally, it does mean I don't want him to get the Speed Ring or the Boots either (maybe the Manual). I mean, Minerva's right there!

Still undecided on the Boots, but I'm thinking Marth might make good use of them (reach villages faster, use those Rapiers on more enemies), but the mages would also be good for them.

4 hours ago, Dcubed said:

As far as the story goes? I always had the impression that the story we see in-game on the NES is the abridged version of what is actually a much more in-depth story.  We only see the battles, but nothing that happens in-between; and I always felt that it was intentionally done to create a story that felt far more grandiose than what could actually be told within the limitations of the NES & its small cartridge space.

That’s, of course, where the DS remake comes in, which nicely fills in the blanks in between the battles of the story.

Oh yeah, Kaga's known for coming up with lore thicker than the cartridge. And what we have here is miles better than most NES games. But it's still funny that plot points are introduced and resolved in such a short amount of time.

The DS remake wasn't the first. Fire Emblem 3 (which also includes a remake of this game) already expanded this story significantly, hence why that game is THE big one in Japan.

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Wait? Castor can’t use Orion’s Bolt to promote!?!?

THIS IS BULLSHIT!!!

Edited by Dcubed
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You can buy infinite Power Rings from Chapter 21’s Secret Shop...

I repeat!

YOU CAN BUY INFINITE POWER RINGS!!!

Edited by Dcubed
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*Looks up the Secret Shops*

Honestly, the Power Rings aren't the most impressive thing about it: fucking Boots, man!

And here I thought Binding Blade was the only game in the series to commit the lunacy of selling those.

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26 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

*Looks up the Secret Shops*

Honestly, the Power Rings aren't the most impressive thing about it: fucking Boots, man!

And here I thought Binding Blade was the only game in the series to commit the lunacy of selling those.

At least in the other FE games you can only buy one of each Secret Shop item!

Here though? You can buy as many as your wallet will allow (and this game absolutely showers you with a ludicrous amount of money!)

Edited by Dcubed

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10 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

At least in the other FE games you can only buy one of each Secret Shop item!

Here though? You can buy as many as your wallet will allow (and this game absolutely showers you with a ludicrous amount of money!)

I know. That's precisely why it's pure insanity to sell Boots:

Look at those crazy movement ranges! At one point in the video, a cleric/bishop is warped a mere two spaces away because that's all she needs to reach her target across the map!

Edited by Jonnas
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16 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

I know. That's precisely why it's pure insanity to sell Boots:

Look at those crazy movement ranges! At one point in the video, a cleric/bishop is warped a mere two spaces away because that's all she needs to reach her target across the map!

Reminds me of the hilarity that is the Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon (DS) speedrun...

Let's just say that the Warp staff is a bit broken...

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Aww... you can only have a maximum of 12 movement for each character.  Bums.

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And it's done!

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Not exactly speedrun material here

Absolutely loved it! Though I have to admit, I was very grateful for the 2x speed up option.  Honestly don't think I could've managed to get through the game without it, as this game is SLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW.

Also, I am not ashamed to admit that I did end up using Turn Rewind throughout my playthrough, as this game really is just far too slow for me to play it in the old school RESET ON DEATH!!! manner.  I'd grow into an old man before I'd finish it!

Still, what a joy it was to finally play through this game in my native tongue! A literal dream come true! Unironically amongst the best experiences I've had with my Switch throughout the whole generation.

It's remarkable how much of the series' identity was already here and established in the first game.  Despite the ridiculously slow speed, lack of battle forecast and the many QoL additions made in later games (such as visible movement and attack ranges or being able to trade items between characters instead of just giving), it unmistakebly feels and plays like Fire Emblem.  Features like the Suspend Game feature were literally a decade ahead of their time! I was stunned to see it here and accounted for on IS' first attempt!

It's easy to scoff at this game for what it doesn't have in comparison to its many sequels, or for its strange balancing (the Fixed EXP system basically forces you to focus on just a dozen or so units at the expense of everything else as the other units inevitably fall behind), or for its reletively simplistic story (that ends up feeling much more grandiouse than you would expect!), but it's hard to not be impressed by what they managed to achieve back on the humble NES with this game.

Quite frankly, it's unbelievable just how much they managed to pack into a mere 3 megabit cartridge here! (That's just 384KB!!!) And though it doesn't have the support conversations or marriage systems of future titles, it plays a mean game of Fire Emblem.  The map design is brilliant, the strategy remarkably refined on the first go, and the game handles unit reinforcements much, MUCH better & much more fairly than some future games in the series (I'm looking at YOU Fire Emblem Awakening!)

I'm really impressed at the variety of unit types here as well! There's a whopping 52 characters (!) and 22 different unit types, and all of them (except for the Curate; because screw you) are genuinely all useful.  There's some real scope to craft your own team and grow attached to specific favourites, despite the limited dialogue and character building.

Speaking of which, hats off to the staff responsible for the localisation here; they did a tremendous job! It's absolutely A-grade material all the way through and it's so surreal to be playing a NES game with a modern era quality localisation; we certainly would never have gotten anything even remotely close to this level of quality had it been released over here back in the day! Even though there's not much dialogue here, it's all very well written and does a great job of building empathy with the game's cast of characters.

It was really nice to play a proper old school Fire Emblem game again; no WAIFUs, no otaku pandering, no Persona Dating bullshit, just proper old school strategy gameplay! Fantastic!

Let's just hope that this isn't a one off and that we don't need to wait another 30 years to see the rest of the JPN only Fire Emblem games get localised in their original forms now...

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Hopefully not before long!

 

Edited by Dcubed
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11 hours ago, Dcubed said:

It was really nice to play a proper old school Fire Emblem game again; no WAIFUs, no otaku pandering, no Persona Dating bullshit, just proper old school strategy gameplay! Fantastic!

Holy hell! Will you finally play Fire Emblem Echoes now!? You complain so much about Awakening and Three Houses (and I do agree with you on some of those points) and yet Echoes is so your kind of Fire Emblem, it's maddening you haven't touched it!

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6 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

Holy hell! Will you finally play Fire Emblem Echoes now!? You complain so much about Awakening and Three Houses (and I do agree with you on some of those points) and yet Echoes is so your kind of Fire Emblem, it's maddening you haven't touched it!

He's not played Echoes yet? Crazy. Apart from a couple of irratating maps, the game is fantastic. Get it played, @Dcubed.

To be fair, I didn't get around to playing it until last year. 

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Yes, yes, yes; Shadows of Valentia is next on my list, don’t worry @Glen-i.  Haven’t been in the mood to play FE for some time, but FESD&TBoL has definitely broken that duck for me!

Plus, you know, it IS the direct follow up after all ;) (Yes I know that Mystery of the Emblem is the story sequel, you don’t need to correct me you nerd!)

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4 hours ago, Dcubed said:

Plus, you know, it IS the direct follow up after all ;) (Yes I know that Mystery of the Emblem is the story sequel, you don’t need to correct me you nerd!)

Oh, but I will: Shadows of Valentia takes place in-between FE1 and FE3. So there.

(But do play it, it's excellent)

4 hours ago, Glen-i said:

it's maddening you haven't touched it!

I'd say it's lunatic. Maddening is only in Three Houses.

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2 hours ago, Jonnas said:

I'd say it's lunatic. Maddening is only in Three Houses.

I knew you couldn't resist!

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Man, I just left this game on hiatus for a while, didn't I? Wouldn't be an FE game if I didn't at some point, I suppose. I decided to pick it back up a few days ago.

I see my last update was a bajillion days ago. I hadn't even decided on who'd get the Boots. The answer is Marth, a decision I haven't regretted one bit.

I have another casualty to report: Arran. Yes, the guy from the northwestern village. Died in the same chapter I got him. It's funny, because this chapter scared me a lot near the end, with my units missing a lot of hits, the enemy hitting way too many, and the sudden reinforcements ambushing Wendell and Linde. Several of my units were on the brink of death, but with strategic use of flying units, chokepoints, Physic, and the Thoron tome that Camus gave me (that was him, right?), I managed to save everybody by the skin of their teeth. Meanwhile, in the other corner of the map, one of the Heroes guarding Xane (the one with the Levin Sword) decided to land a critical hit on Arran, killing him in one round from full health. I was pissed, because I calculated all the damage that would be dealt in that altercation for that turn, only for a crit to slap me in the face. On the positive side, Arran was only carrying his base kit (and to think I almost had him hold a Power Ring! Bullet dodged), so it was an acceptable loss, all things considered.

I hope that northeastern village is thankful, I just got their rival's champion killed.

  • Marth - Boots make this Lord run like it was Smash Bros. Go get'em!
  • Caeda - My star unit got some competition! Next to the Whitewings, Caeda's shortcomings are becoming apparent...
  • Catria - Still in training, but her growths aren't disappointing. A bit tricky to use, but she's been dependable when it counts. Also, I can somehow use the triangle attack with two Whitewings!? It's a bug I found by accident, but dang, that's great.
  • Palla - The prettiest strongest pegasus knight, she's got some surprisingly solid Attack and Defence. Her Speed is lower than Caeda's, but she can still charm outspeed most enemies. She might be my new waifu MVP unit.
  • Minerva - Minerva's been doing some honest work with baiting and choking. I feel like I upgraded Draug and Roger in a huge way.
  • Cain - One of my two champions, Cain is an absolute beast, mowing through enemies. He can kill a host of Horsemen with a Javelin. Cain the Bull!
  • Hardin - He's been very dependable, with surprising durability and accuracy. I really wish I could promote him already! Hardin the Coyote!
  • Midia - Yeah, she kinda replaced Jagen. She's mostly here for added support. Midia the... Racoon?
  • Ogma - My second champion. Using him almost feels like cheating, but with an armourslayer in hand, he can defeat most bosses handily.
  • Jeorge - Parthia is crazy, and I regret wasting 4 shots testing it on bosses. Jeorge feels like a nuke more than a sniper.
  • Merric&Linde - Reliable magic damage is always good (and their personal spells are bonkers good). Not sure what I'll do once I promote them.
  • Wendell&Boah - Wendell's got Heal and Barrier. Boah's got Heal, Physic, and Warp. Naturally, they also carry some spells to help in chip damage (and Boah's crazy fast!).
  • Xane - My newest recruit, what a delightfully crazy idea for a unit. I want to see this class return in a new FE.
  • Julian - Pilfering is always useful. And he even got a kill recently.
  • Jagen&Bantu - Moved to the back of the waiting list. If a new spot opens up, they'll get a day in the sun.
  • Draug&Roger - Sorry, boys. You're sturdy bricks, but that's not enough anymore. You're far down the waiting list, but don't get your hopes up.

I get the feeling I'm about to meet Archanea's most famous bosses really soon...

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11 hours ago, Jonnas said:

 Xane - My newest recruit, what a delightfully crazy idea for a unit. I want to see this class return in a new FE.

I just googled this, and I now agree with you. It's a very cool idea!

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34 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

I just googled this, and I now agree with you. It's a very cool idea!

Yeah, he’s bonkers! I was like “WHAT THE HELL!?” when I first saw him!

There’s one big problem with him though... and that’s that using him before the final chapter is a straight detriment to the strength of your overall army because EXP is totally wasted on him.  He’s basically Ditto, and he copies every stat (including HP!); so any kills he achieves are literally just wasted EXP that could’ve gone to someone else.

And given the way that the EXP system works in this game? (EXP is fixed per character defeated and does NOT scale up or down depending on relative level); that’s a problem that mounts up very quickly.

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5 hours ago, Dcubed said:

There’s one big problem with him though... and that’s that using him before the final chapter is a straight detriment to the strength of your overall army because EXP is totally wasted on him.  He’s basically Ditto, and he copies every stat (including HP!); so any kills he achieves are literally just wasted EXP that could’ve gone to someone else.

And given the way that the EXP system works in this game? (EXP is fixed per character defeated and does NOT scale up or down depending on relative level); that’s a problem that mounts up very quickly.

I mean, using him as a second Minerva (who doesn't double and is used as a wall) is already plenty valuable, as is the ability to copy Boah for staff utility, or Julian to open more doors. Plus, he can copy Marth's Boot movement to lure enemies (I wonder if the AI proritizes him as well).

And EXP isn't as important as it looks, because enemy stats increase somewhat slowly through the game. Sure, guys like Caeda, Ogma and Cain need growth to become powerhouses, but even a base Jeorge, Minerva or Astram can go a long way. So I won't mind Xane absorbing some EXP for a while.

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Another day, another victim. Est shall rest. Underestimated the range of the Sable reinforcements, and a Horseman that spawned a few squares closer than I anticipated ended up sniping her with a Silver Bow. She had potential, but died on the chapter I got her. If you'll allow a jEst, this may have been for the bEst.

Thankfully, she already had traded the Mercurius away to Marth, so I didn't lose that. And man, what a broken weapon that is. 18 Might, 1 Weight, and it even increases growths?! Madness. I'm confused as to why only Marth wields it when Parthia and Gradivus can be used by anybody, though. In FEH, Astram is the one who wields it, so what gives? (Surely this is some FE3 foreshadowing)

Anyway, got into the next chapter, recruited Tiki (she is my new wall now), got a bunch of loot... and almost got Cain killed! I got cocky and had him attack a Thief... who had the Devil Sword! That oversight made Cain suffer more 10 damage than I was prepared for. My Physic Sage had already moved, so I thought for sure Cain would die the next turn (just like Abel, to a Devil weapon)... but thankfully, these Thieves are cowards and tried to run instead. Lord have mercy, Cain lives.

Ogma, I hadn't noticed, but he's starting to fall behind (a few bad level ups will do that to you). He's been so good at hitting stuff and dodging, I didn't notice his Strength had fallen behind even Hardin's. Ogma's been cool, he may be getting a power ring if I find that secret shop.

I also got the Starsphere, which I expected to be a key item, but it actually prevents weapon degradation? Huh, Merric has infinite Excaliburs now, I guess.

And for the next chapter... Camus. One brief look at his stats and Gradivus, and I am legitimately afraid to go against this guy. I may finally use one of my Speed Rings just to not be doubled.

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