The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapters 10 and 11

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.

NOTE: This will likely be the last edition of this I do for a couple of months, as I need to clear out a backlog of other posts on my schedule. The series will resume at some point in the near future (November? December?)


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, I took the time to do a couple of paralogues as a breather from the main story. We gained an underleveled farmhand as part of our team, as well as having met the walking symbol of Ylissean capitalism. We’re headed back to the main story where we get to play one of the best written chapters in all of Fire Emblem1Fight me, pre-DS Fire Emblem purists., as well as one of the most annoying chapters in the game for reasons I’ll get into as we go.

Chapter 10: Renewal

We bring the chapter by seeing Basilio leading our intrepid heroes through a giant ribcage, which isn’t ominous or anything. Chrom is incapable for forming sentences, which is annoying, especially since we’re ambushed by the Plegian army. And that’s it. That’s the entire cut scene before selecting units.

After selecting our units, we’re introduced to the boss for this level, a Plegian general named Mustafa — not Mufasa as I originally read it on my first playthrough. He offers us mercy if we surrender, which Basilio immediately scoffs at. Mustafa says Emmeryn wouldn’t have wanted this bloodshed, further proving that the bad guys in this game sometimes make more sense than the protagonists. Chrom gets angsty because his sister is dead, but then Mustafa admits that Emmeryn’s sacrifice profoundly impacted him and many other Plegians. Mustafa then offers to protect Chrom and our army if we surrender, only for the normally calm Frederick to shoot down the offer. Mustafa resigns to having to fight, beginning our actual fight.

This level is one of the stranger level layouts in the game, basically looking like a series of groceries store aisles full of enemies. I decide to take Chrom, Sumia, Maribelle, Frederick, and Vaike up the right side of the map to clear out the aisles, while everyone else (Cordelia, Libra, Donnel, Tharja, Gaius, Sully, Nowi, and Kellam) go down the bottom of the map to help draw out some of the aisle dwellers. Maribelle, Sumia, and Tharja take out units on the first turn, but we’re largely too far away to do much.

Between turns, Mustafa gets upset that there are thieves stealing stuff from the battlefield. He wants to give justice to the theives, but instead says his army needs to focus on the Ylissean army. The enemies advance, but can’t do much. On turn two, we take out quite a few of the advancing units, though Donnel takes more damage than I’d like.

On the enemy phase, one of the Plegian soldiers makes a case to Mustafa to stop this battle because he doesn’t see the justice in fighting the Ylisseans — going so far as to accept any punishment Mustafa has for him. A second soldier starts screaming at the first one, saying he’ll be killed for insubordination, but Mustafa calms the first soldier by telling him that a soldier is there to deliver judgement not to judge. He empathizes with the soldier, who was there when Emmeryn gave her last words. Mustafa then tells his soldiers that any soldiers who aren’t willing to fight are free to leave, but that he will fight on because he must obey the king’s orders, as Gangrel would murder his wife and kid if he ran. Mustafa’s soliders stay to fight with him because they wish to be loyal to him, serving as a reminder that in times of war, people can do the wrong thing for the right reasons2Holy fuck this chapter hits me hard every time..

Turn three begins and I start sweeping through the enemy units in earnest with Sumia, Maribelle, Cordelia, Sully, and Gaius picking up kills. Mustafa shouts for the reinforcements to be called in, but this battle isn’t going to last long enough for that to happen. Chrom, Maribelle, and Cordelia get our only kills of the player portion of turn four, but the enemy turn goes much better, with Tharja racking up three kills by herself. Frederick begins turn five by engaging with Mustafa by himself, though he doesn’t quite get the kill. Fortunately, Libra is there to pick up the pieces, ending the level as Mustafa pleas for us to spare his men.

Suddenly, an allied unit teleports in. Her name is Olivia and not only does she seem to know Basilio, but she apparently can fucking teleport. Olivia is apparently a smuggler, making her the Han Solo of this game, only significantly more annoying. Olivia insists we get on our way, formally ending the chapter.

Just kidding. It was just a save screen. We’re in Castle Ferox where Lissa is sobbing while Christopher Robin and Frederick are lamenting our failure. Flavia and Basilio are bickering about what to do next. Christopher apologies to Chrom that his plans couldn’t save his sister, and Chrom…thanks him for trying?

Wait. Hold up. Chrom is portrayed as a hothead for most of the last two chapters and yet he doesn’t feel like Christopher has ANY responsibility for Emmeryn’s death? This isn’t consistent with his character at all.

Chrom then starts saying how it’s all his fault, which is more consistent with his character. There’s a lot of talk about sacrifice from Chrom before Christopher gives a buddy cop version of the halftime speech trope. This is followed by pretty much every recruited character telling Chrom how they wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for Chrom — except for Virion, who spends most of his dialogue talking about himself before I reach through the screen and hit him with a shovel. Chrom then asks everyone to help him take down Gangrel, which is met with Lissa wanting to punch people in the face. We get yet another line of people saying they’ll fight, including Flavia promising to give the backing of the Feroxi army. Olivia — who is also here still, apparently — pledges her support because Emmeryn did her a favor once. Because of course she did. It’s plot convenient. Basilio encourages Chrom to start cracking skulls and raise hell. This FINALLY marks the end of the chapter.

Between chapters, I’ve reclassed Panne from a Taguel to a Thief. She’ll be the recipient of some grinding at some point after chapter 11.

Chapter 11: Mad King Gangrel

Before this chapter, I did a couple of rounds of reeking box battles so Donnel could hold his own here. Hence bringing him. That said, he’s still woefully underleveled and it almost went very badly.

We being with Aversa and Gangrel overlooking the battlefield discussing the fact that the Shepherds are on their way. Gangrel makes a fart joke3Seriously., which Aversa promptly makes fun of. Gangrel talks about how a man is either strong or dead in this world, which will in no way foreshadow anything. A Plegian scout runs up to advise Gangrel and Aversa that their army is deserting them.

We cut away to Frederick, who is bringing news of the desertions to Chrom and Christopher. Chrom is confused before a few lines before realizing that it’s all because of his sister’s sacrifice. Apparently she’s become a Plegian folk hero according to Frederick. This caused me to look up whether or not a folk hero could be a famous person and apparently it can. Who knew? Chrom laments for a bit about Emmeryn’s passing, but my ice cream sandwich is melting, so I ignore him in favor of eating that.

After choosing units, we cut to a talking head of Chrom and Gangrel shouting at each other from across the entire battlefield map. Gangrel tells Chrom he doesn’t know the first thing about peace — and he kind of has a point. Granted, Gangrel doesn’t either, but Chrom REALLY hasn’t grown that much across the last few chapters. But then suddenly, just to prove me wrong, Chrom admits he has flaws, but he’s trying. He goes on for a bit about the Power of Friendship before Gangrel tells him to shut up and fight. We’re then joined by Olivia, who is a dancer. Dancers allow you to use the Dance command to make another unit have a second turn. The downside to this is that Olivia is as frail as Miriel was back in Chapter 2, so we really won’t be able to use her if we want her to live.

On turn one, we’re out of range to attack (or mostly to be attacked, so it’s spent pairing up and advancing most of our pairings forward — save for Nowi and Kellam who will be hanging back for the inevitable reinforcements that will show up in the forts to the upper left of the map. Some of Gangrel’s troops move forward, but nothing interesting happens on their turn. Frederick and Ricken open up turn two with some kills, with Ricken picking up an additional one on the enemy phase. Stahl takes a good bit of damage on turn 3, but most of the turn is spent with Sumia, Christopher, Frederick, and Ricken taking more of Gangrel’s units out. On the enemy phase, Stahl probably shoiuld have died, but two different mages with 85%+ hit rates both miss. You might be surprised to learn this trend continues on turn 4, only with Sumia, and only slightly more explainable, as she’s in a fort. That said, it’s four straight misses in her case. I can’t even make this up, because it would seem too unrealistic if I made that up.

The reinforcements finally come on turn 5, but Nowi deals with them easily. Panne’s new Locktouch ability comes in handy to pick up a Goddess Icon from a chest. By turn 6, Gangrel comes charging out of his protector fort — because remember, he’s insane. We let a bunch of other units take out everyone around Gangrel (well, most of them at this stage), but then have Lissa — who has been Christopher’s pair up buddy to this point — fight Gangrel, because she’s a much better story for avenging her sister’s death than Chrom. She doesn’t get the kill, but is low on health. Then, for reasons I don’t fucking understand at all, Gangrel decides to attack Sully WHO CRITICAL HITS THE FUCK OUT OF HIM. He really was a mad lad.

Turn 7 is just some cleanup, leading us to beat the map. The rest of the Plegian army surrenders once we take out the last unit. Chrom accepts their surrender because he’s learning and it’s adorable.

We cut to a discussion between Flavia, Basilio, Chrom, and Christopher talking about the end of the war with Plegia and the coming rebuild of Ylisse and Regna Ferox. A new cinematic plays talking about how Chrom and Christopher are working tirelessly to restore Ylisse’s glory. Chrom has decided not to take up the title of Exalt, but he does marry. There’s a royal wedding between he and Sumia, only for us to get an omnious line.

But then, two years later…

We save the game!

Also, there’s a messenger from Regna Ferox come to see Chrom. It’s Raimi — the Feroxi knight who we had to fight back in chapter 4. Flavia has requested a summit between Ylisse and Regna Ferox because the Fire Nation attacked. Er…the western nation of Valm attacked. Frederick and Chrom agree to meet with Flavia, but are stopped by Sumia. Sumia says she’s coming with Chrom, despite the fact that her and Chrom’s daughter, Lucina, is newly born. Chrom wants Sumia to take advantage of Ylisse’s generous mandatory maternity leave laws, but Sumia insists she needs to come to the summit. Chrom and Christopher talk about Chrom’s growth as a person, but I’m going to ignore that and post my favorite meme related to this scene.

We cut to Arena Ferox for Flavia’s summit. She advises us that Valm is, indeed, attacking with warships. Basilio greets us like Broken Matt Hardy only to say he knows someone who can tell us why Valm is attacking. It’s Virion, who’s not quite dead yet despite my best efforts. Apparently he’s been lying to us the whole time — he’s not just an asshole archer, he’s the Duke of Rosanne AND an asshole archer. We should really keep the Ambien away from him. Virion’s servant, Cherche, is also here. She’s not only more likeable than Virion by an infinite amount, but she also info dumps why Valm is attacking, as well as the fact that they attacked Virion’s country first. Apparently Virion is the rightful ruler of Rosanne, however I would never subject Sara Gilbert to that. Our new big bad that we’re going to need to worry about is Walhart the Conqueror and if his Smash Ultimate fight is any indication, he’ll likely be a bitch to kill.

Cherche gets some verbal slaps to Virion in here as well, but he keeps interrupting her. That said, Cherche has zero time for that, as she’s not only trying to seek aslyum, but she’s also very willing to kick Valm’s ass. Virion tells us that we’ll want to fight the Valmese army with units that have experience fighting against cavalry, but little does he know that we have a limited roster of characters to choose from, not to mention some more shipping to do. Chrom offers to volunteer Virion to fight the Valmese army himself, which not only formally ends the chapter, but also causes me to respect Chrom slightly more.

End of Level Recap

There was a bit more leveling up in these two chapters than I expected. Add in the couple of reeking box levels for Donnel — as well as the collateral experience other units gained — and the squad as a whole is in a good place for chapter 10 when we get back to the main story.

Units

  • Sumia – Level 17 Pegasus Knight
  • Sully – Level 15 Cavalier
  • Ricken – Level 15 Mage
  • Vaike – Level 14 Fighter
  • Cordelia – Level 14 Pegasus Knight
  • Tharja – Level 14 Dark Mage
  • Chrom – Level 12 Lord
  • Miriel – Level 12 Mage
  • Gaius – Level 12 Thief
  • Nowi – Level 11 Manakete
  • Kellam – Level 11 Knight
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Christopher – Level 9 Tactician
  • Donnel – Level 8 Villager
  • Stahl – Level 7 Cavalier
  • Maribelle – Level 7 Pegasus Knight
  • Lon’qu – Level 7 Myrmidon
  • Lissa – Level 6 Pegasus Knight
  • Frederick – Level 5 Great Knight
  • Panne – Level 4 Thief
  • Libra – Level 1 War Monk
  • Olivia – Level 1 Dancer
  • Virion – Level 2 Pin Cushion

Supports

  • Tharja & Gaius: A to S
  • Cordelia & Libra: A to S
  • Kellam & Nowi: B to A
  • Sully & Donnel: C to B

Class Changes

  • Panne: Taguel to Thief

I’ll be doing some reeking box grinding before chapter 12 for reasons I’ll get into on that post. Hope you’re enjoying this series and would love to hear what you think in the comments.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Likes and Dislikes

I’ve held of writing this post as long as I could. For those of you who follow me on social media, you’re likely well aware that around a month ago, I picked up Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As a big fan of the Fire Emblem series, I was excited to see a new game coming out. The early reviews for the game were spectacular, though considering how far the series dropped off from Awakening to Fates (nevermind the trainwreck that was Shadows of Valentia), I was a bit skeptical for how good Three Houses would actually be.

Considering the fact that I’ve been able to get around 110 hours of gameplay in since the game came out, I feel pretty confident in saying it’s a great game. While I haven’t played through enough of the game to give a full-fledged review4Seriously. Without getting too spoliery, I’ve played through two of the games four paths in full, as well as having started a third path. I would legitimately estimate that to truly finish the game, I’ll need around 200-250 hours of gameplay., there’s still quite a few things I’ve been able to develop an opinion on to this point.

In this post, I wanted to give my thoughts on a few things from Three Houses I like, as well as some thoughts on dislikes of the game. I’ll come straight out and say that while the two lists in this post are pretty balanced numberwise, there are far more things I like about the game than I dislike. Additionally, I’m not going to hit on every single feature I have an opinion on in this game, as that would make this post far too long to read. Plus there are a few topics5Unit customization, the lack of child units, the support system, and the entire Edelgard arc, just to name a few. that I want to talk about in deeper detail in other posts.

Spoilers WILL occur from this point forward. You’ve been warned.

Likes

1. Weapon/Class Relationships

I’m going to do a lot of comparison of Three Houses in this post to Awakening for a few different reasons.

  1. It’s the game I have the most comprehensive knowledge of6I’ve played Radiant Dawn, Awakening, Fates, and Shadows of Valentia, as well as translated versions of Mystery of the Emblem and Thracia 776. Of these, the only ones I’ve liked enough to want to replay them were Awakening and Fates. Admittedly, the replay value to Fates is just the differences between the Revelation line and the other two lines, so take that for what it’s worth..
  2. It’s the game that I have the most time invested in to — probably ever. According to my 3DS, I’ve played around 800 hours of Awakening over time7The next closest I can find is Civilization V, where I’ve played about 450 hours over time. Granted, my Xbox 360 doesn’t track play time for games, otherwise I’d think NCAA Football 12 would also be up there.
  3. It was the last great Fire Emblem game before Three Houses.

In Awakening, like most Fire Emblem games, the class that your unit is currently in dictates the weapons they can wield. For example, Noire starts out as an Archer, meaning she can use bows. She also has pretty good proficiency with bows when you recruit her. That said, because her mother is a Dark Mage, you can reclass Noire to a Dark Mage. Doing so means that that Noire can now wield tomes — but that she can no longer wield bows. Even more annoying, there isn’t a class in the game that allows Noire to use both her bow skills and magic, as you’re limited by the class you’re in. On the plus side, you do still retain that previous weapon experience, though it’s still of no use to you.

Three Houses recognizes this flaw and actually builds a way around this in most situations. Weapons (mostly) aren’t locked to a specific class, meaning not only that most classes can use any weapon, you can also build off of your previous weapon experience if you change classes. As an example to this I had intended to make Ingrid a Holy Knight. In order to pass the class certification8Three Houses way of allowing class changes, I needed to level up Ingrid’s skills in Riding, Lance, and Faith. Unfortunately, midway through this process, I realized the unit I wanted to become my Dancer couldn’t actually be reclassed into Dancer9I just wanted Shamir to be a Dancer. Is that too much to ask?, meaning I had to pick a new unit for this on the fly. I chose Ingrid, which would have meant that all of her previous training would have gone to waste in old Fire Emblem games. That said, Three Houses allowed me to retain her skills, meaning that I now had a Dancer running around defending herself with a Lance — and eventually brawling gauntlets, as Ingrid punching people in the face amuses me.

There are some classes that lock you out of using a particular weapon or skill. Obviously non-mounted/flying units won’t use the Riding or Flying skill sets. Similarly, classes like the Paladian class prevent you from using magic while in that class. But this is a huge improvement over previous games.

2. Unbalanced Classes, Weapons, and Skills

One of the biggest complaints about Awakening can be summed up in a single sentence:

Galeforce is broken.

And to be fair, the Galeforce skill was broken as all fuck. And once you knew that, you could choose how hard or easy to make your game by building around (or building for) units with Galeforce. While Galeforce wasn’t the only broken thing in Awakening10The Vengence and Armsthrift skills, killer-type weapons, and the Dark Knight class as a whole all come to mind., it was the one that was the most obviously so.

It’s my personal opinion that not only does Three Houses have broken classes, weapons, and skills, it doubles down on what Awakening did. Here’s a brief summary of how to make an absurdly overpowered unit in Three Houses. These steps are in no particular order, but do try all of them.

  • Start with a unit that has good black magic spells. Think Dorothea, Linhardt, or Lorenz11You could also use Sylvain for this strategy if you want truly hilarious results, as his budding talent gives him an additional +20 avoidance when using black magic. That said he won’t hit quite as hard as some others on this list.. Lysithea or Hubert would work too if you prefer dark magic users.
  • Focus train them on Flying skills until they get to an A+ in Flying to get Alert Stance+. This grants +30 avoidance if all you do with your unit is Wait.
  • Build your unit’s skills up in Lance and Riding until they can pass the Dark Knight certification.
  • Charge into battle and press Wait.

Don’t like to use magic users? Get a bow user up to at least C rank to get Close Counter, follow the same steps above, except using Bow Knight instead of Dark Knight, and counter-kill everything. Prefer directly attacking? Canto might be the most broken single skill in ANY Fire Emblem game. The only downside is that you can’t take advantage of the strategy above. My point is that you can make the game super easy for yourself by doing some of the things I just talked about. Or you can make the game harder by making Ingrid and Bernadetta hand-to-hand combat specialists. This is a good thing.

3. Monestary Exploration

I’m not saying a third of my time on Three Houses has been solely dedicated to exploring the monestary and doing quests/building unit supports therein. But the only reason I’m not saying that is because I haven’t actively kept track of the amount of time I’ve devoted to it.

There’s quite a lot I like about the monestary, even if initially exploring it is a bit of a slow go. As stupid as it is, the fishing minigame can be quite fun when you run into some of the rarer fish. The weapon tournaments in the training grounds require more strategy than you’d think, particularly once you get out of the beginning tournaments. And of course the dining hall is a great way to build up support between units without having to grind up every single one of your unit’s stats for recruiting.

My only real gripe with the monestary is how many rooms you randomly have to check for dropped items — they literally made a room for every single student character. I mean, it makes sense. Good on the monestary for planning student housing appropriately. But come on. Let me find the items I’m looking for already.

Dislikes

1. Weapon Crafting

Even in previous games in the Fire Emblem series, the wepaon crafting system has been tedious at best. It has ranged from fine but annoying (Fates) to objectively annoying (Awakening) to accidentally broken (Path of Radiance). There were attempts to make it better with Three Houses, but to say they fell short would be an understatement. This is because of one primary feature — the Rusted weapons.

They’re EVERYWHERE. They’re rarely good weapons, they can’t be sold for any value unless you forge them, and they don’t get any bonuses from being forged aside from being exactly as good as a weapon you can buy in the shop. They solely exist so you can grind money to by selling them.

You’re also limited to one forge level per weapon, which means that there’s not a ton of inherent value in doing so for most weapons. If it was a situation like Awakening where you could forge an iron weapon up a few times to give it extra might and critical rate, that’d be one thing. But the boosts are minimal. There’s also no renaming of crafted weapons. Somewhere, Odin Dark is crying softly into his trembling sword hand.

2. Lost Items

I don’t like consulting online guides in my first playthrough of games. While I don’t mind being spoiled on the game itself, I do want to figure out how to play it on my own. That said, I had to look up a lost items guide. There’s just so many of them, several of which have very little logic to who they belong to — especially if you’re on your first play of the game and don’t know every character’s backstory. They’re great for little one-off motivation boosts, but as a whole, lost items are more troublesome than they’re worth.

3. The Instruction System

One of the core tenants of Three Houses is that you’re a mercenary turned professor who is enlisted to lead/teach a group of students from one of the continent’s three major countries. You’re apparently a good enough of a mercenary that your father — the greatest mercenary who ever lived according to several people — felt coumfortable letting you be a mercenary with him. And yet, when you instruct your students, even in subjects or weapons you’re well-versed in, the impact you make towards your students’ skills is negligable.

I get it. We’ve reached the point where part of the appeal to Fire Emblem is the story12Easily my favorite part of any Fire Emblem game. and the shipping you can do between the characters. Hell, I’m guilty of it too. But if you’re going to make your main character a teacher — one whose main story purpose for the first half of the game is to teach — at least make their instruction matter.

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Paralogues 1 and 2

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, we played through the most emotionally draining chapter of a video game this side of a UGF Pandas bowl game. In light of important storyline people dying, I’ve decided to take a break from the main story to play through two of the paralogue chapters. We’ll be playing paralogues 1 and 2, which range from terribly annoying (in the case of paralogue 1) to mind numbingly easy (in the case of paralogue 2).The goal here will primarily be to level units and supports, so I won’t be taking in most of my higher level units unless it’s for support building.

Paralogue 1: Sickle to Sword

Our chapter starts with Chrom being confronted by a young Pastafarian named Donnel. He’s begging for help to save his village, I think, though it’s hard to tell because he talks like Boomhauer. A brigand shows up and starts mocking Donnel, only to realize that Chrom is here and turns tail. Donnel introduces himself and explains that explains that his village has been attacked by bandits. He begs Chrom to save his mother and the rest of the village. Chrom, being noble but dumb, agrees.

We then shift focus to the brigand camp where their leader, Roddick, is receiving a warning from the aforementioned brigand who ran away from Chrom. Roddick hatches a plan to kidnap Chrom and ransom him, completely oblivious to Chrom’s plot armor. Roddick threatens Donnel’s mom who we never hear from again after this chapter.

Donnel, Chrom, and the Shepherds come up on the village under the cover of night. Chrom tells Donnel he should fight to grow stronger, which means we’re going to need someone(s) to drag him along through this level to be able to recruit him. Normally this would be a situation where Virion would come in handy, but he’s buried under Arena Ferox. So we’ll have to make due with Tharja and Christopher Robin as our ranged units, along with underleveled units like Stahl and Gaius. Chrom says more words, but none of them are important.

On the first turn, we use Gaius and Tharja to wear down a warrior before Donnel (paired up with Sully) gets the easy kill. Cordelia also picks up a kill, but most of this turn is spent getting units paired to set up for the next couple turns, as this will be slow going. Cordelia serves as our bait unit on turn two, but she does her job a little too well, getting a critical hit kill on the unit she baited out. Turn three results in even more good luck of the bad variety, with Gaius and Tharja getting a pair up kill, along with Stahl and his 5% critical hit chance critting a unit. Then on the enemy phase, Gaius gets BACK-TO-BACK critical unit kills because reasons. Fortunately, this issue doesn’t resurface on turn four, allowing Donnel to get another easy cleanup kill following Gaius tanking damage. Cordelia and Libra are running around picking up item spaces for support points while an enemy thief is trying to run away with a Killer Lance that I’ll totally be stealing from them. Donnel finally gets his level up on the enemy phase of turn five, taking his first damage in the process.

As we go into the second half of the map, Tharja and Gaius continue killing everything in their path, managing to pin an archer into a corner in the process, giving Donnel an easy kill. Cordelia and Libra team up with Christopher and Stahl to sweep the rest of the map. Chrom was also there because he has to be.

We end the level with Donnel excited that the bandits are defeated. Chrom congratulates him then Donnel announces his mother that he’s off to be all that he can be in the army. Chrom accepts the offer, realizing that Donnel will one day grow into a beautiful butterfly, capable of passing down massive growth rates to a child.

Paralogue 2: Sickle to Sword

Before this chapter, I did two rounds of reeking box battles so Donnel could hold his own here. Hence bringing him. That said, he’s still woefully underleveled and it almost went very badly.

At the start of the level, a random merchant is treating a soldier when Chrom and company wander upon him. It appears bandits are attacking Ylissean refugees fleeting to Ferox, as well as merchants travelling the road. Frederick insists that the honor of capitalism must be protected at all costs, lest people starve. Chrom agrees and we’re off to pick our units.

After selecting units, we’re greeted by twins. Their names are Vincent and Victor and I’m not sure if they’re actual twins or the adult film kind of twins, because they’re calling each other darling. Vincent and Victor are intent on pillaging the village. Vincent runs off so that Victor can command the bandit horde in their saking of the hamlet. Said hamlet is protected by an allied unit named Anna who appears to be a promoted unit. That can’t be good for the bandits.

I’ve brought a lot of fliers to this level for sake of leveling up, and we immediately get to work on that, with quick first turn kills coming from Cordelia and Maribelle. That said, my foolish ass had Donnel bum rush a unit, not quite getting the kill, and nearly died on the follow up turn. That’s enough of that for one day. Turns two through four mostly involved Sumia, Tharja, and Maribelle killing everyone at the top and right of the map that Anna doesn’t, however I lost internet and was waiting on my computer to reboot, so I didn’t take notes like a fool.

But turn five, Chrom finally makes his way up to Anna, mistakenly asking if she’s hurt before realizing (per his dialogue) that Anna is fine. In reality, Anna is living on 8 out of 35 HP, so she’s definitely not in the best shape. Chrom offers his assistance, which Anna accepts. Maribelle visits our concerned villagers, where they give her a Physic wand to heal Anna. This would have worked much better before Maribelle reclassed. Once we’re down to nothing but enemy units on the most southern area of the map, Victor and friends start to advance, only to meet the pointy end of Cordelia’s lance and Libra’s axe. My wife recently came to me after flipping through the Awakening artbook and asked why so many of the female units looked whorish. For examples, she used Aversa — which, yeah, I get that one — and Cordelia. The most virtuous female character in the game (arguably) — Cordelia. I laughed. A lot. I also let her get the final kill here out of principle.

Our anonymous merchant thanks Chrom and company, while Anna also passes along her thanks. She refers to herself as the Secret Seller and promises to give Chrom a discount the next time they meet, ending our chapter.

Endof Level Recap

There was a bit more leveling up in these two chapters than I expected. Add in the couple of reeking box levels for Donnel — as well as the collateral experience other units gained — and the squad as a whole is in a good place for chapter 10 when we get back to the main story.

Units

  • Vaike – Level 14 Fighter
  • Ricken – Level 13 Mage
  • Sumia – Level 13 Pegasus Knight
  • Cordelia – Level 12 Pegasus Knight
  • Miriel – Level 11 Mage
  • Panne – Level 11 Taguel
  • Chrom – Level 11 Lord
  • Tharja – Level 11 Dark Mage
  • Sully – Level 11 Cavalier
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Gaius – Level 10 Thief
  • Nowi – Level 9 Manakete
  • Kellam – Level 9 Knight
  • Christopher – Level 8 Tactician
  • Lon’qu – Level 6 Myrmidon
  • Maribelle – Level 6 Pegasus Knight
  • Stahl – Level 6 Cavalier
  • Lissa – Level 5 Pegasus Knight
  • Frederick – Level 4 Great Knight
  • Donnel – Level 4 Villager
  • Libra – Level 1 War Monk
  • Virion – Level 2 Pin Cushion

Supports

  • Tharja & Gaius: None to C to B to A
  • Stahl & Christopher: None to C
  • Cordelia & Libra: C to B to A
  • Cordelia & Gaius: None to C
  • Sully & Donnel: None to C

Class Changes

  • None this chapter.

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapter 9

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, our heroes adopted a teenage dragon who is totally of age, a bunch of pegasus knights got slaughtered, and Chrom still sucked at diplomacy. I’ve decided to do some swapping around of some of my pairings in my child unit plan, though we won’t see too much of that in this post. That’s because this post is going to be a beast to write despite being a single chapter.

That’s right. We’re playing through that chapter of Awakening. We’ve arrived to chapter 9. Hold on to your butts. Even without taking into account the reeking box grinding prior to this chapter, we’ve got a ton to talk about.

Chapter 9: Emmeryn

We begin by looking in on a meeting between Aversa, Gangrel, and a random Plegian soldier. Said soldier fucked up his scouting report, so Aversa offs him with a sword. This is disconcerting because we know from all her official art that Aversa’s a Dark Flier class, which means she doesn’t even know how to wield a sword. Gangrel admonishes her for killing so many of their own soldiers which — yeah, I kind of get if you’re trying to win a war. Gangrel has planted a trap of some kind, but that’s all we know as the scene ends.

We cut to an Ylissean spy arriving back to Chrom, Basilio, Flavia, and Christopher Robin to tell them that Chrom’s sister, Emmeryn, is scheduled to be executed tomorrow. Apparently Christopher can tell the future, and he’s got a plan to change it that he’s not terribly confident in. Flavia’s busy being the best role model in the early game when we cut away and go to Validar. He’s also talking about Emmeryn’s pending execution, which is clearly not a well-kept secret. Validar is apparently talking to someone named Grima, but Grima isn’t talking back. Pretty sure this is how we got introduced to Emperor Palpatine too. And no, I don’t care enough to look up if that’s right.

Suddenly, we get a terrifying shaky jumpcut to Christopher screaming as he wakes up from a dream. Lissa calms him down and tells him that it was time to wake up anyway, as Frederick says it’s time to begin their march.

We get yet another cut, this time to a Plegian executioner standing with Emmeryn atop a cliff with a very long fall. Beneath the cliff, Gangrel is giving a rousing speech about how an eye for an eye is a great way to make things even. Christopher shouts for Flavia WHO HURLS A HAND AXE UP THE FACE OF A GODDAMN CLIFF AND KILLS THE EXECUTIONER IN ONE SHOT. If Flavia was in The Avengers, Thanos would have never snapped. It’s now time to pick our units, which is great, because all of those cut scenes put the game over its animation budget.

After selecting our units, Chrom shouts how we should focus on taking out all of the soldiers first and worry about Gangrel later. This seems like a reasonable plan, as all of the soldiers are between us and Gangrel. Gangrel shouts about how his soldiers are going to do the killing then scurries off to his royal hopscotching duties so we can finally start the level for real.

Turn one is all about pairing up then getting in range to actually attack the Plegian army. We get a brief cutaway between turns showing us a Plegian girl named Tharja who is clearly a mage who is disgruntled with the reasons behind the army’s fight. Much like Gaius earlier, I’m betting we can convert her to our side13And considering GaiusxTharja is my headcanon relationship for both of them, there’s added amusement to me.. Much of the opposing army’s attacks are focusing on a random ally unit we have. We meet him at the end of turn one. His name is Libra and despite all of the confusion Chrom is about to have when they meet, this is clearly a bishounen dude. Libra is a war monk and he’s throwing around critical hits like it’s his job.

We advance the majority of our units on turn two, choosing to leave Vaike/Maribelle and Nowi/Kellam back for the inevitable reinforcements that will try to outflank us. Sure enough, following turn two for Libra, a Plegian general named Campari begins complaining about the lateness of a wyvern brigade, so they’re definitely coming. We get Libra to join our ranks on turn three, which is annoying as he decided to jaunt off in the opposite direction of Tharja, meaning the aforementioned wyverns might actually get here before I clear the map. As turn four starts, we’re in an awkward phase where I can’t really advance far enough to do significant damage to the enemy, but I’m close enough that I’d bait out more units than I want if I’m not careful. So we let Libra and Ricken do the baiting out of single units while we prep to have Sumia get Chrom in to convert Tharja to our side on turn five.

Sure enough, the start of turn five brings the wyvern brigade, which Nowi and company are well equipped to deal with14Though Maribelle is still low enough of a level as a pegasus knight where she’d be a liability fighting a wyvern rider, so she’s just here to be Vaike’s pair up support.. In recruiting Tharja, I’ve realized she’s just the millennial stereotype of “we’re all marching to death anyway” come to life in her recruitment scene. This is kind of weird, as in the rest of the story she’s manipulative and abusive, so this is oddly out of character for her. Meanwhile, Ricken and Libra continue to critical hit everything under the sun. I get this for Libra, as he comes equipped with a Killer Axe and its inherent 30% crit rate. But Ricken currently has a 8% crit chance and gets no bonus from his weapon. I’ve decided I’m going to reclass Ricken to become a Great Knight, as Luna is going to be a great skill to pair with Ricken’s need to overkill everything. Yes, this will require grinding, but it’s for the lulz.

Turn six is short and sweet. Tharja kills a random mage that showed up. Vaike cleans up the rest of the wyvern brigade. Then Ricken hits Campari, only for Panne to crit him to death on the follow up blow. Good lord, their kid is going to be hilariously broken. Chapter over. We’ve saved the day! Here comes a pegasus knight troop led by Phila to save Emmeryn.

Except that Aversa planned ahead and brought some Risen archers with her. Gangrel the Mad King cackles madly as the archers slaughter the pegasus knights, killing all of them including Phila. Gangrel demands that Chrom surrender and beg for his life, which he clearly isn’t going to do. So instead Gangrel has the archers train their bows on Emmeryn and threatens to kill her unless Chrom gives up the Fire Emblem15Roll credits. *ding*. Christopher and Chrom then debate what to do before the player has to choose whether or not Chrom should choose to sacrifice Emmeryn.

As a quick aside, there is ZERO chance Chrom would ever sacrifice Emmeryn. It’s just not in his character to do so. Likewise, there would be very little chance Christopher would choose not to sacrifice Emmeryn, as her death would mean retainin the Fire Emblem, preventing apolcalyptic outcomes. Fortunately for the player, Intelligent Systems made it easy for you, as no matter what you choose, the exact same fucking thing happens.

After making our choice, we get a ton of bickering between Gangrel and Chrom before Emmeryn tells everyone to please shut the hell up. Regardless of the choice you make, Chrom will offer up the Fire Emblem to Gangrel, only for Emmeryn to say she knows what she must do. She gives a rousing speech about the importance of peace, then commits suicide by walking off the edge of the cliff she’s standing on. We see Chrom go through a blue screen of death moment, as well as a brief shot of Lissa’s significantly more tear-inducing breakdown.

Christopher is stunned. Chrom is furious. Gangrel is — well, he’s here too. Chrom attempts to attack Gangrel, but is stopped by Basilio, who has managed to get the Shepherds an escape route from this battle. The chapter itself ends here, with Chrom devastated he can’t take his sister’s body away to bury it.

Endof Level Recap

Well. That’s draining. Here’s where we are at this point.

Units

  • Vaike – Level 14 Fighter
  • Ricken – Level 13 Mage
  • Miriel – Level 11 Mage
  • Sumia – Level 11 Pegasus Knight
  • Panne – Level 11 Taguel
  • Chrom – Level 10 Lord
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Tharja – Level 10 Dark Mage
  • Sully – Level 9 Cavalier
  • Nowi – Level 9 Manakete
  • Kellam – Level 9 Knight
  • Christopher – Level 8 Tactician
  • Cordelia – Level 7 Pegasus Knight
  • Gaius – Level 6 Thief
  • Lon’qu – Level 6 Myrmidon
  • Stahl – Level 5 Cavalier
  • Frederick – Level 4 Great Knight
  • Maribelle – Level 3 Pegasus Knight
  • Lissa – Level 2 Pegasus Knight
  • Libra – Level 1 War Monk
  • Virion – Level 2 Guy Who Should Have Taken the Fall Instead of Emmeryn

Supports

  • Nowi & Kellam: C to B
  • Ricken & Panne: A to S
  • Kellam & Christopher: C to B
  • Cordelia & Libra: None to C

Class Changes

  • None this chapter.

 

That’s it for this installment of the series. I think I’m going to do a couple paralogue chapter and what not for the next post. We’ll see though.

The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Play Through Ever: Chapters 7 and 8

The following post is part of my series “The Worst Fire Emblem Awakening Playthrough Ever”. Spoilers ahead for a six year old game.


Welcome back to the worst Fire Emblem Awakening play through ever. When we last left the Shepherds, our heroes were busy getting their ass saved by a dark, brooding heroine who goes by Marth. The Exalt, Emmeryn, is safe, but rumors are someone may try to kill her again. Ylisse is now at war with Plegia, Virion is still riding my unit bench, and I’m about to do some more reeking box grinding to anger Fire Emblem purists. That and because it’s been nearly two months in real time between when I wrote chapters 3-6 in one day and when I’m writing this post.

In this post, we’ll be playing through chapters 7 and 8 of the story. The next post will contain chapter 9 by itself, so this will be the last two-parter for a little bit.

Chapter 7: Incursion

The Shepherds have arrived at a mountain pass, apparently walking the whole way here as evidenced by the fact that Lissa is complaining about how much her feet hurt. While this makes sense for some of our party members, Frederick has a horse. Yet, instead of riding said horse, not only is he walking up the mountain, he’s doing it in his full riding suit of armor. Because reasons. Christopher Robin joins in on the complaining about the walk and Chrom offers to carry him, but not Lissa. It seems our budding bromance continues. Christopher grows concerned about a priest who is travelling with them when suddenly the Plegian army appears. Our battle starts now.

Just kidding. We’ve been ambushed by a crew lead by someone named Vasto who is doing a lot of sniffing for someone who refuses to admit they have a cold. Before the battle can start officially, the aforementioned priest reveals that he’s a double agent working for King Gangrel. He says the king offered him protection, but Vasto is a true believer in the philosophy that snitches get stitches and promptly has one of his underlings murder the priest16I both love and detest when this trope is invoked in video games and movies. It’s terrible, yet a great way for a bad guy to get some instant heat. It just doesn’t work well here since Vasto has zero plot importance.. Chrom shouts to Phila — who we haven’t seen in this entire cut scene, but we’re supposed to believe is there — to take Emmeryn — who we also haven’t seen — out of harms way. NOW our battle starts.

We’ve got some pretty serious leveling to do for some of our newer units such as Gaius and Lon’qu, as well as neglected units like Stahl, so this seems like as good of time as any to let them wreck shit. We also have Panne, who puts the Rabbit of Caerbannog to shame. Our first turn is largely just a wave of bad guys who think it’d be a good idea to let Vaike kill them, which is effective for me, but less so for the Plegian army. I decide to let Christopher hang back, as he’ll be needed at the entrance of the map shortly. Turn two is much of the same, only replace Vaike with Lon’qu. At the end of the second turn, my favorite modded nation leader from Civilzation V, Cordelia, shows up. She’s a pegasus knight who is a redheaded, female Mr. Perfect. Her cut scene actually shows us that Phila is here, which I’m pretty sure the developers only added after the fact when they realized their story had a giant plot hole. Trust me, I’ve been there.

We continue on. Stahl finds a shiny bow, Maribelle heals people to the point where I can nearly reclass her, and Panne is still a beast. I pair up Cordelia with Christopher so that I can deal with the impending reinforcement Cordelia mentioned upon her entrance. That said, they don’t have time to get there, as Chrom gets a critical hit on Vasto, killing him, while Lon’qu, Panne, and Stahl clean up the rest of the level.

We cut to Cordelia warning us that the Plegian army is hot on our heels, thanks to the fact that the Plegians have broken through the Ylissean border. Cordelia’s entire pegasus knight brigade was slaughtered by the Plegian army, but she managed to escape because of plot conveinence. Cordelia rightly has a nervous breakdown, Chrom gets angry, and Emmeryn makes a cameo long enough to tell us that she needs to leave. Before she does, however, Emmeryn gives Chrom the Fire Emblem17Roll credits. and tells him to take it to Ferox for safe keeping. We get a good bit of arguing between Chrom/Lissa and Emmeryn over whether or not Emmeryn should go before Emmeryn pulls the ‘I am your god-queen’ card and makes the decision final. Phila — now Cordelia’s commanding officer following the loss of her squad — commands Cordelia to stay with the Shepherds, so I guess we’re getting a new unit. Chrom continues arguing and yelling as Emmeryn leaves, ending our chapter.

After the save point, we’re back in Arena Ferox where Chrom, Sumia, Lissa, and Christopher are discussing Emmeryn’s safety18I can’t remember if Sumia is only here because she’s already married to Chrom by this point or because she’s plot critical.. Chrom is so preoccupied with his sister’s safety that he’s not listening to anyone, so Sumia slaps him. And by slaps him, she does it with a closed fist, so I mean she punches him19So no. Not plot critical. And by that, I mean Sumia’s entire existence isn’t plot critical.. Flavia thinks this is hilarious. She also wants to let us know that the Feroxi army is mobilized and ready to help Ylisse. Nick Fury is coming too, but before he comes, he tells us that Ylisstol has fallen and the Emmeryn has been captured. Basilio wants us to think things through before acting, which means Chrom does exactly not that. Even Christopher is getting sick of Chrom’s impulses at this point and tells him to calm down. Now we’re formally ready to move on to the next chapter.

Chapter 8: The Grimleal

The chapter opens with Chrom talking about how he’s convinced the Shepherds have just wandered into another Plegian trap, but that the Plegians haven’t spung it yet. Frederick shows up, explains that there’s a battle ahead and gives us some exposition on how moving in sand levels work, and then we move on. What the hell is this? A chapter with minimal cut scene work before I get to play? Can I have more?

After selecting units, we’re introduced to Nowi, who is a very specific trope. You see, Nowi is thousands of years old (because of reasons we’ll get to in a moment), but looks like she’s 14-15. But it’s totally cool, because she’s actually thousands of years old. Or something. I don’t care how many times I play this game, I’ll never marry the Avatar to Nowi or her daughter because it’s creepy. She’s joined by Gregor, who is a walking bad accent with useful skills. Nowi is apparently running away from Gregor, but Gregor is trying to protect her. Chrom and Lissa yell at Gregor, giving away his and Nowi’s position, leaving them surrounded by a band of Plegian religious zealots known as the Grimleal. They’re not good. Chrom agrees to fight to save Nowi and to figure out whether Gregor is good or bad later.

We’ve got a ton of villages to save, but due to my leveling of units, I’ve really only got Ricken and Sumia that can move quickly in this level. So they’ll be saving villages while everyone else helps clean up the center of the map. We’re good though, because Ricken has apparently decided to critical hit anything that moves. At the start of turn three, Nowi gets an attack in and everyone realizes that Nowi is a fucking dragon. More specifically, she’s a manakete, which is a shapeshifting human/dragon hybrid that will become our main non-armor tank for the first half of the game. Gaius decides to get in on the crit party as well, taking out two swordsmen and coming super close to death. Good thing we don’t have permadeath on.

The AI in this game baffles me a little, as the enemies on this level will nearly always bumrush Nowi. That’s not a terrible plan, as she’s comparatively underleveled. But she’s also a beast and destroys literally anything in her path. While that’s tons of free XP for me, it’s a lot of dead bodies that someone has to explain to a Plegian general. In picking up stuff from the villages on the map, we get our first Master Seal (which allows for promotion to advanced classes) and our first20I actually randomly pick up another one immediately after this chapter thanks to a secret seller appearing on the map. Second Seal (which allows for class changing). Because the goals of this game are to have fun and to curbstomp the enemy, we’ll be making liberal use of both of these items to create the most overpowered super soldiers…er…child units we can21I’ve decided to make most of my marriage pairings in this playthrough ones that I enjoy the dialogue between. That said there are some characters who are just cringeworthy no matter who they marry. Looking at you, Nowi.. We advance on the final units with Nowi, Gregor, Ricken, and Panne, wherein Ricken has apparently decided he’s had enough of everyone’s shit and kills the last three units (including the boss) all with critical hits. With Thunder. Which has a 5% base critical chance. Holy RNG, Batman.

After we’ve dispatched of the baddies, Gregor and Nowi make up. Chrom tells Gregor to look after Nowi, but Gregor reveals he’s a mercenary and offers his services to the Shepherds. Chrom accepts. Nowi talks about how she’s been part of a human (manakete?) trafficking ring because holy fuck this game is dark. Lissa is stunned at how Nowi has been mistreated, while Frederick suggests that Nowi come along with us, both as a new, powerful ally, and to keep her safe from her past life. Flavia — who is also here — suggests everyone get some rest before we advance on the Plegian capital, ending the chapter.

End of Level Recap

Starting with this post, I’ve added a section for class changes. Both promotions to advanced classes and reclassing for various purposes will be added in here. There was a bit more reeking box grinding here, though this was mostly for the benefit of Maribelle and Lissa, as you’ll see below. I also may change my initial marriage plan for Cordelia. We haven’t met the character who I plan to be her husband yet, but the more I’m thinking about it, the more I’m unsure I like it. This may become a poll once we get there.

Units

  • Vaike – Level 12 Fighter
  • Ricken – Level 11 Mage
  • Miriel – Level 11 Mage
  • Chrom – Level 10 Lord
  • Gregor – Level 10 Mercenary
  • Sully – Level 9 Cavalier
  • Panne – Level 9 Taguel
  • Kellam – Level 8 Knight
  • Sumia – Level 8 Pegasus Knight
  • Christopher – Level 7 Tactician
  • Cordelia – Level 7 Pegasus Knight
  • Nowi – Level 7 Cavalier
  • Gaius – Level 6 Thief
  • Lon’qu – Level 6 Myrmidon
  • Stahl – Level 5 Cavalier
  • Frederick – Level 4 Great Knight
  • Lissa – Level 1 Pegasus Knight
  • Maribelle – Level 1 Pegasus Knight
  • Virion – Level 2 Stablehand

Supports

  • Vaike & Maribelle: B to A to S
  • Frederick & Miriel: A to S
  • Ricken & Panne: C to B to A
  • Sumia & Sully: None to C
  • Nowi & Gregor: None to C
  • Nowi & Kellam: None to C

Class Changes

  • Maribelle: Troubadour to Pegasus Knight
  • Lissa: Cleric to Pegasus Knight