DaHeckIzDat wrote:Has anyone here played the Fire Emblem games? How would you say they stack up against Final Fantasy Tactics? I've looked at screenshots, and the battlefields all look completely flat-- which to me is a good thing. The layered and sloping battlefields of FFT are a little hard to navigate, especially since there's no top down view. Just the slanted isometric one.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, FE: Awakening is a great place to start. Great balance of difficulty with multiple options, good story and music, solid cast of characters.
I truly beg to differ. Awakening has a ton of design issues, and a lot of it comes with difficulty also.
I started the game on Hard/Classic back in 2013, when I had little experience into the series, this was the most I got out of the game and I thought it was good at the time. I think I lucked out at the time, cause when you grow out of it and become a veteran in the series, the game shows a ton of cracks, and it's super easy to hate.
The game on Normal is as on autopilot as Sonic Forces, on Hard it's still easy and you mostly die due to terribly designed ambush spawns (AKA reinforcements that move instantly when they appear at the end of your turn, which are even worse than in previous games that has those), and Lunatic actually requires DLC maps specifically for leveling up, or dumping all the EXP on a single unit, or RNG rigging to get out of earlygame due to enemies stats being stupidly high. Ironically enough, the Prologue on Lunatic is full of 55-80 hit on your side (so even the most viable strategy is completely luck based), and the enemies' stats are high enough to 2hit anyone that's not Frederick, also they can proc critical hits at the start of the game, which is pretty unique in the series and frustrating. Lunatic is just so terribly bullshit and unpleasant, I've never completed it, and I've finished Fire Emblem Fates Conquest on Lunatic, Path of Radiance on Maniac, and Radiant Dawn on Hard.
The difference between Awakening Hard mode and Lunatic mode is vast, there are actual videos showing the player turning ON the AI for an entire playthrough in Hard/Casual, and still finishing the game without breaking a sweat. It's scary to think that you don't actually need to put thought into the game on "Hard" mode (without permadeath sure, but Fire Emblem Auto AI is not known for its intelligence, it just rushes to the enemy), and then Lunatic is an absolute nightmare. That's not even talking about Lunatic+.
I know the title is "Easy SRPGs"? But Awakening on lower difficulties isn't just "easy", it's downright braindead. If OP absolutely wants to pick it up, I mostly recommend it on Hard/Classic, as a veteran I can just tell you that none of the difficulty levels feels good for me to play.
Awakening is closer to FFT in the sense that you can grind and you can make your units super broken to completely roflstomp the opposition, however the level design itself is bad, and it culminates at the Great Mila Tree (Chapter 16) where flying enemies appear anywhere from the map's borders and move/attack from the moment they spawn (only on Hard/Lunatic though).
A strategy game that is sandboxy and where you're required to grind or use such tactics as "snowballing the main character by dumping all the EXP into them" to make progress, is the mark of a truly badly designed game, even if the difficulty is called "Lunatic". The classes are very unbalanced, the units are very unbalanced especially if you don't grind... it's a game where you get more enjoyment out of leveling up in side content, experimenting in skills & class changing, and killing everything in sight, not so much for the strategic part, it relies way too much on luck and raw stats when it's hard, and the rest of the time, the Pair Up bonuses alone can carry you. Thing is, Awakening is actually pretty unbalanced cause as long as you know the basics of positioning and have a certain understanding of the game's mechanics, the line between "being broken" and "unfair" is a thin one.
If FE: Fates Conquest is praised so much for its gameplay, it's because it has so much more focus than the games that have a world map and are more opened, the best designed Fire Emblem games are actually the most linear ones.
Awakening's story is also rather weak even within the series; there are three arcs, the first one is by far the strongest, the second one is complete filler, and the third one is rushed and is riddled with writing issues, and suffers from Mary-Sue self-insert syndrome. Problem is that these three arcs don't even connect all that well (if at all) to each other, and unlike in Ike's games where a lot of the characters are regularly shown motivation within the story, 90% of Awakening's characters take a step backwards by not doing anything in story after their recruitment, only existing in supports. Still better than Fates' story though (Fates' story is a complete disaster, aside from Fates Birthright which is just super generic).
I really disagree for Awakening being a good starting point, or maybe because its design is worse but more casual friendly, it's better to play it first to avoid disliking it. To be honest it actually aged worse than the GBA games, and the GBA games are still simple enough to complete and understand at lower difficulty levels while providing decent to good level design and some challenge.
The best starting point for Fire Emblem is actually... Fire Emblem GBA, the one with Lyn/Eliwood/Hector, it has a very in-depth tutorial for anyone starting the game for the first time (with a few explanations still missing like Constitution & Weapon Weight affecting the character's Speed stat). Fates Birthright is also better, since it's basically Fire Emblem Awakening but with much better overall gameplay, balance, and level design, grinding is also an option but it's better handled there too and it still has Casual mode, story is very meh though. Path of Radiance is also pretty good as a starting point, though it's a slower paced game due to slow animations (even on the map). Sacred Stones is good also.