so despite my best efforts i hadn’t gotten fire emblem completely out of my system, even after all of last year’s fire emblem gluttony and having finished the newest game fire emblem: radiant dawn less than a month ago. but i still had fire emblem on the brain and there wasn’t any other game grabbing me, so there was nothing to do but play through the game a second time. yes, i played that 50 hour game two times in a row. someone needs to schedule an intervention.
it’s always interesting to me to see how games hold up on multiple playthroughs. fire emblem games have an easier time than most other series by simple virtue of the large casts and the different strategies required for different combinations of characters. in this case i used almost all different characters and in particular focused on two characters that since the game came out have been virtually ignored, namely meg and fiona. [warning: heavy geek-speak follows. skip ahead a few paragraphs to avoid.]
in pretty much all the fire emblem games given enough training any unit can be worthwhile, but meg and fiona both turned out to be quite good units. meg’s only problem is that she comes in underlevelled, and once she gets caught up w/ the others she’s definitely as useful as any of the other characters from part 1. she’s not too hard to train either; the only concession was that i had to give her the brave sword and a wind sword, but by the laguz in the swamp chapter she was easily holding her own. in general generals/marshalls are among the best classes in radiant dawn, so you can’t go wrong there even w/ meg (and prob. tauroneo also).
fiona is a different story in that she comes in underlevelled and she has terrible base stats, so she’s without a doubt one of the hardest units to train up. i had to boss abuse like crazy up to tier 2, but once she hit the middle of second tier she’s fine for the rest of the game and in fact well worth using as her combined defense and resistance is unparalleled, even compared to defense powerhouses like generals. if i had forged her a light lance at the beginning i prob. could’ve trained her a bit more easily. her worst fault is that her str lags behind a lot (but once it catches up a bit it’s not much worse than a falcoknight), but her incredible def/res, great avoid (+ earth affinity), and great mag (b/c she has the imbue skill from the beginning so it’s incredibly useful), and her skill (sol, one of the best) make her a great unit to use and as good a wall as any general. she almost made my top 10, and if i hadn’t boss abused her at the beginning she prob. would’ve been right up there.
for the record, for the second playthrough my final team consisted of: ike/soren, micaiah/sothe, sanaki/ilyana, meg/aran, astrid/makalov, kyza/rhys, fiona/pelleas, and rafiel. that’s right, no royals this time. haha. i do like to make things hard for myself. astrid and makalov turned out to be fairly usable as well. i’ve never really seen much use for a mounted archer instead of a marksman (who in this game gains a range of 3 at 3rd tier), but astrid has some great dialogue in the final and her hit-and-run ability was pretty useful at times. makalov wasn’t bad at all either. not one of the uber units in FE10, but he gets some good criticals and has good speed. not the highest strength of the mounted units though. pelleas was also not bad at all. he’s nothing too special, maybe slightly better than the average mage, but you gotta love the dark magic.
and once again i had quite a few characters i could’ve used instead for the ending, including ulki who was already maxed out before 4F, rolf, laura/leonardo, lucia/elincia, edward/nolan, and boyd/mist. ah well. next time!
comparing the 2nd playthrough to the 1st, in terms of strategizing which characters to use the most i think i was thrown off the first time through b/c i was expecting it to be like the other FE games where you have to really focus on the units you want to take through to the final chapter if you want to get their stats as high as possible. but since there’s so much EXP in part 4 of radiant dawn, it seems that if you just try to use every character in your party for every chapter you have them pretty much anyone you want can make it to your final group. so this mentally took me some getting adjusted to.
also, this time through i tried focusing more on the laguz, but as much as i wanted them to be useful they really just took up space and stole EXP. which is too bad, b/c from a gameplay perspective they provide some variety. next time through i’m really going to just completely leave them out until maybe part 4 if i really want to use them b/c by then they’re not stealing EXP. the only one i found to be at all useful pre-part 4 was ulki who dodges everything, can gain a lot of experience by striking in human form, and can quickly recover from being completely untranformed.
one thing that i found myself really disliking about radiant dawn this time through compared to the other FE games is that there are a lot of chapters where you have no choice about who you get to use. in the other games you generally only have to use the same characters for about the first 1/4 of the game, but by then you’ve recruited enough other characters that you can then choose who you want to use. this makes a big difference in replayability, as different characters on the same board layout make for quite a different experience. the inflexibility in FE10 makes me feel like it’ll be rather longer before i pick it up again compared to some of the others. like most of the other FE games FE10 does include the advantage of slightly different story elements on the 2nd playthrough, and with all the different approaches i tried this time i had a good time, and in some ways it was even more enjoyable than the first time through. and i’m somewhat looking forward to tackling the hardest mode, which lacking the save state feature, the weapon triangle, and being able to view enemies’ movement ranges sounds like it’ll be as much of a pain as a fun challenge. but it’s nice to know that although my fire emblem obsession has been partially satiated i’ll still have plenty to satisfy me in the future when the craving hits.
just a reminder of the one link you need:
– serenes forest: easily the best FE10 resource. don’t leave home without it.