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Chibisan's Thoughts: Echoes [!!!!!!Contains Game Mechanics!!!!!!!!]
#1
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So, I want to put this out here for you guys to ponder and consider. You see, as of late, I have become lukewarm to Fire Emblem games. It took me until Echoes to figure out why. You see, difficulty these days has changed immensely from Blazing Sword and Sacred Stones. While Fire Emblem RNG was never fair and pretty much always felt like it was weighed against the player, it was really an accidental part of the difficulty. What drew me to fire emblem in the first place was playing through Lyn's story on Blazing Sword. I was just a pure JRPG fan back in the day so that was my first experience with tactical RPGs. It was a gate to a whole new world I will never turn back on. Awakening had a good solid start from the demo... until about halfway through the story. A solid storyline but the gameplay quickly became underwhelming.

When Fates came out, I was again excited because it looked like the mechanics were getting a difficulty shake up, but again, it just felt too easy. Like the RNG was the only real challenge. Weighed against me and making otherwise solid tactics fall apart. When I went to Lunatic I was dismayed. Bigger numbers is really all it could throw me? Really? No new gimmicks or more challenging foes to tackle? The multiplayer for Fates was something but I was entirely dissapointed by this. I eventually allowed myself to be appeased by realizing it had a solid story and passible gameplay so I accepted that as long as I got more fire emblem, it wasn't offensive. These were all the reasons why I hesitated to by Echoes. I had never seen gaiden and no one praised it so I figured it was terrible and not worth noting.

I am most of the way through Act 3 of Echoes(As far as the game has shown me) and I can say that this is by far my favorite Fire Emblem of all time! I can say that some of the complaints about Gaiden are still here, just a product of the framework to how Gaiden works. Despite these shortcomings, I am actively engaged and seriously enjoying myself.

The game is structured with low stats and low stat growths. The class up mechanic makes every class up a pilgrimage with weight and meaning. The low stat growths and particular stat spreads means that almost every member of your army will see action. Throw fatigue from FE5[but slightly different] in alongside HP being used as a resource for almost all magic, including weapons granting special techniques for physical fighters to use on the same principle, and all those skills being tied to the weapon itself, giving purpose to even weaker weapons....

The game puts far more significance on terrain but even that can be thrown out if you are fighting any magic user. Everything feels so deliberate. Then, because there is no My Unit, the narrative has its own agency that allows it to keep focus and weight. Which also brings us around to Mila's Turnwheel.

I feel this is one of the best things ever done in Fire Emblem. Not only can we find various extra bits of back story that reveals to us further what is going on overall, but it also gives us a limited number of do overs. Ever been screwed over by a 1 percent crit on a 35 percent chance to hit? I have. Mila's turnwheel not only lets you reverse to before that happens, but you can rewind to right before that moment and reroll those dice. Sometimes, the game still decides that you must die[Palla got killed three times in a row because of a 7 percent crit from a boss that clearly wasn't going to go away no matter how often I rerolled], but for the most part, you can undo the damage of losing someone. On the same note, you can only do that a limited number of times. This along with the lower overall stat totals and even an award for speed running the game, encourages aggressive playing, actively seeking out and defeating your opponent instead of turtleing.

You are encouraged to take risks and go for the quick win. You are encouraged to diversify your army and keep your unit spread evenly leveled. You have to debate if you want to double back to class up or push ahead in case there is a Mila statue in a cave not too far from you. This game is challenging and fun. I look forward to going back on a second run and finding all the things I missed.

So what do you all think of the game? Please keep all story points vague as I have not finished this or Gaiden. But please speak about the game mechanics to your hearts' content.
#2
I am in agreement.

When I first played FE7, I enjoyed both the story and the mechanics of the game. I also enjoys when they had changed it up for Sacred Stone, Not knowing that it was a throw back to Gaiden. But then I played Path of Raidence and Radiant Dawn and I felt disappointed. Awakening was a total let down and Fates was luke warm at best. Echo's is definitely far better. I myself am near the end Act 4 (I'm not one to play through a game this fast) and I can see why Gaiden was considered the black sheep as I also have a copy of Shadow Dragon. (This is the Fire Emblem Rules, Throw it out)

And of course, there area few nitpicks I have. Mila's Turnwheel is something I almost never use, (I've used it once so far) and it kinda make the Revivel Springs useless. I also note that mountains have less avoid then forest, which is good, but why do graves have 40 avoid?

Still I'd recommend the game to anyone who's never played a fire emblem before.
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