Saturday 9 February, 2008
For a game where losing even a single unit means Game Over, your units die way too frigging fast. Especially in levels where even in a defensive position, three units are exposed to enemy attack- Sothe and Nolan are fine. Sothe dodges everything and Nolan has enough HP that he can't be oneshotted, and can thus be healed every round. But who to put in the third slot? Edward? Tried that. Enemy walks up to him. Smacks him for 17 damage when he has 20 HP. Second enemy walks up behind first enemy. He has a Javelin, range two. Loldeath. Leonardo? He has better defense than Edward, but he has a bow. Which means no counterattacking. Which means bad guys walk up to him and he becomes utterly useless. Micaiah? She has magic. Range one or two. She can counterattack. She has magic. Meaning she's a mage. Mages die.
End result: Game Over. It's frustrating to all hell and I'm just about ready to say "screw it." I really, really want to know what's going to happen in the story- especially after playing Path of Radiance- but if I die five times on every single level, it's not worth it. I don't care how good their story is, I'm not going to like it if I have to spend an hour repeatedly dying between every piece of it.
On a completely different side note, I found Ilyana, a thunder mage, also from the previous game. Didn't use her much either. (*cough*Soren*cough*) And I found Aimee, who was the weapons merchant from the previous game. Wasn't expecting to run into her. I suspect that by the time the game is finished, I'll have pretty much everyone from Path of Radiance again. And there were like forty of them. Fire Emblem gives you a lot of units to work with. But not in the beginning, and it won't matter if every time a unit dies it's Game Over. In the last game it was only Game Over if Ike, the main character, died. Now it's everyone. Great.
I should stop complaining, as you've probably already gotten the point. I'm still annoyed at it, though.
The level design of Fire Emblem is actually surprisingly diverse, considering how little it actually has to work with. Each level is just a combination of tilesets, after all. But with several possible goals (getting a certain character to the end, getting all character to the end, defeating the boss, or defeating everyone), and sometimes a time limit, and some tiles where you can step and some tiles where you can't, it manages to remain interesting. But just as much time is spent off the battlefield- Fire Emblem cutscenes are long. Always have been. If you play it, prepare for a lot of reading. But that's the style that Fire Emblem chooses for its games and I personally enjoy that style. It allows for a detailed story and intricate character relationships- which are furthered by Fire Emblem's support system, which, at least among the games I have played, is unique.
The ability to have your units talk to each other (either on or off that battlefield, depending on which game you're playing- haven't found out for this one yet, I've hardly done anything), and for them to actually have reasonable conversations and then get stat benefits for doing so is a very interesting idea, and as a roleplayer, I approve of it. Relationships are good. Plus it provides a wonderful way to get to know all the characters- or at the very least, your favorites (Lethe). Have I mentioned that Lethe is awesome? Yes? Oh. Well, I'm doing it again.
The difficulty could use some fixing, though. I'm playing on 'Normal' (and the only modes available the first time through are 'Easy' and 'Normal'), and I'm having forementioned dying problem. Your units are far too death-prone in the beginning and they get oneshotted far too often. It's very frustrating.
Sigh. And on that note, I'm going to bed. Ciao.