Thursday, 29 August 2013

Fire Emblem: "Smash Brethren 3"

There’s a downloadable mission in Fire Emblem: Awakening called “Smash Bretheren 3”. It’s one of the most insanely fuckballs hard Fire Emblem missions I’ve played. I’ve had to restart it well over ten times. The hardest missions in these games tend to be restarted maybe 2 or 3 times, for comparison. 

The reason I bought this DLC is because if you beat it, “Lyn” from Fire Emblem 7 joins your team. This is my favourite female character in any game, and now she’s got a snazzy redesign:

It’s your team of about 12-ish characters vs. 50 enemy combatants. And these aren’t mooks or faceless soldiers. Every single one of them is a recognizable character from the previous games, some of whom are the main characters and nearly unstoppable killing machines. 

You start off in a long, wide hallway with six small rooms to the sides, and one room in the back holding the most powerful enemies behind closed doors. After every turn, the small rooms open up revealing… more really intense boss fights. So I huddle up my characters by the back door. 5x5 tiles wide, instead of 7x7(which gives the enemy more options to get all stabbity). I put my more physically imposing characters in the front row, long-range archers and mages behind them, and my healer all the way in the back. 

I am fortunate in how my character’s relationships turned out. If you pair two characters together and fight or defeat enemies enough times, they can grow closer through dialogue. Some of them even get married and have kids, who then come from the future all grown up to fight by your side. I’m able to pit the husbands, wives and kids in opportune places next to each other, where they can get stat bonuses just by being close to each other. 

I let the enemy come to me. They pick on a couple of opponents, instead of spreading out. There are so many close calls. But my front lines hold, my healers be healin’, and after taking down about 20 enemies, it looks like things are going alright. 

Then the back doors open. And now I’m defenseless against the toughest people on possibly the most unforgiving map in the game. At this point, I honestly have no idea what to do.The only advantage is a pillar in the middle, between the two back doors. 2 tiles, pillar, then 2 tiles. I can put four people behind, but I don’t have four combat-ready people to take on the waves still coming from the front. One side is weaker. 

You can have two characters occupy the same tile for added strength, but I can’t waste the tiles here. It’s not just about surviving the onslaught from both sides, but also about protecting my non-combat characters(like my healer, Lissa). 

Chrom, the main character takes most of the abuse from the elite. I think it’s safe to say it would be an automatic game-over if he dies, and he comes much closer than I’d like to admit. I’m fortunate that one of the last jerkwads from the back decides to attack someone else, even though one more attack would do him in. 

I’m amazed at how “perfect” this battle feels. My favourite character in Awakening ends up taking down my favourite character from the series. Chrom, the leader in Awakening, not only kills the leader of these former heroes, but also maxes out his level with the killing blow. I get just enough critical hits, and I miss just enough attacks from mages and long-range spear-throwing knights that I almost wonder if the game is broken in my favour. And in all, it brought me past the 40-hour mark(not including the times I had to retry). 

I was playing on Normal. I could not see anyone surviving this battle on the harder difficulty setting. 

Somehow I survive the battle without a single casualty. In fact, once the battle is over, Lyn joins my team. And then the games lets you decide whether or not your strategist character in Awakening is the same strategist from Fire Emblem 7, who journeyed with Lyn. Granted, my tactician was male in 7, and is female here, but I still like the idea that it could be the same person. It’s interesting enough that I can excuse the amnesia trope they use to justify it.

Not bad for DLC. I was expecting something shallow and pandering like just making you pay to see them in their underwea-




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