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 Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best

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PostSubject: Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best   April 24th 2016, 1:47 pm

Apologies for the long post, but this does need to be addressed in my opinion. I've been thinking about doing this since Awakening, and now since Fates is out, I feel that it's just as necessary to do so.

There are many subjective aspects involved in "best" or "favorite". Let's put most of those aside for now. If you ask me, I still say story wise that 7 is the best, has the best cast of characters, has the best soundtrack and the most appealing art style.

A lot of people will look at that and think that is why it's my favorite. That is obviously a big portion. But, what is at the core of every video game that separates it from a television show, book, film, etc? It's gameplay. And I'm here to say that the gameplay is still the best in this game.

But how can that be? Haven't they evolved the gameplay over the years? Isn't the gameplay just getting better with each game?

Let's dispel some myths about gameplay:

1: More complicated is not more effective.
2: More options does not make it more fun.

These are two of the main things that have come about since 7's release. Let's talk about each way they've done that.

They have added more classes, messed with some and had re-class options. Sacred Stones added new unnecessary classes that basically overlapped with others. One similar class would outclass (pun partly intended) another, and would make certain ones obsolete in game. Path of Radiance added anthropomorphic beings and also split anima into its own weapon triangle while messing with light and dark. This just made it more difficult to use anima at its fullest potential. Radiant Dawn took it even farther by making each of the three anima types into their own classes. What.The.Fuck.

The two games also split up the cavalier class into different knights, making the nomad into a bow knight and adding axe knight. They could have just added an axe cavalier with the ability to use lances as well. They even made different classes for promotion, like Gold Knight and Silver Knight. Why the distinction? What's wrong with them becoming Paladins and Nomadic Troopers/Rangers? There's no real purpose to it, other than to mess with the formula that worked just fine. They also severely dropped the number of dark magic users, which was an integral part of the system. Why? Why the fascination on anima that you almost completely ignore dark magic? The magic triangle was just fine. Each had their pros and cons and worked better against certain enemies based on their stats.

Another thing that was added was the skillset and also the ability for stats to go over 30. What this did was severely drop the difficulty until Fates. I'll talk about difficulty later.

Starting from Shadow Dragon, re-classing became a thing. I'm not saying that I haven't used it. I have. But, most characters don't even benefit from re-classing, and you ruin the integrity of the game's natural difficulty if they do. I wouldn't mind a re-classing option after you've beaten the game once. But that is a thing that should be unlocked after you play the game the way its intended.

Awakening added pair ups, which made the characters more broken on top of the crazy stats. What happened to the support system?

I could talk about more, but I'll keep it at that, except for this:

What Sacred Stones did correct was the map system. Awakening did the right thing by bringing that back and enhancing it. Fates getting rid of that is awful.

However, that is a side thing. The core of the gameplay is the combat and that's what really matters in the long run. Let's now talk about what Fire Emblem 7 offers that beats everything else on the table.

The combat is streamlined. It's simple. Swords beat Axes which beats Lances which beats Swords. Anima beats Light which beats Dark which beats Anima. Easy, right? Two weapon triangles are simple and they're effective. Swords and Light are the lightest and the quickest, making it easier to hit (and twice) but harder to damage. Axes and Dark are the heaviest and most damaging, making it harder to hit (and twice), but easier to damage an opponent with each strike. Lances and Anima are the middle ground of both triangles.

But there is more to it. You have your armor-piercing weapons and mounted busters. You have the bows, which are good against winged units. Bows cannot go 1 space like in some games. They overall can do a lot of damage and quick, but they are vulnerable up front. There is a tradeoff for why they are as good as they are.

Let's talk about classes and how balanced they are in this game. Cavaliers and Paladins have the freedom of the weapon triangle, but as a result, they don't have the specialized stats that say a Warrior, Swordmaster or General will have. They have more even stats in general, which make them dangerous in an all-purpose situation. Heroes have high stats and have the options of using axes, but often times their defenses are lower and speed CAN be an issue. They are specialized for offense. Mounted units have the freedom of movement, which is useful in a bind. They also have high defenses in general and high speed. Wyvern Lords tend to have higher strength and defense and Falconights more speed and resistance. But they both retain the weakness to bows as a tradeoff.

Snipers have high skill, resistance and high speed. Nomadic Troopers (Rath) have higher strength and defense and have the use of a sword.

Clerics typically have better healing stats than Troubadours, but the latter has better movement and higher HP. Valkyries get anima which makes them the only mounted magic user. But stat wise they can be inferior to Sages, except that their natural high Staff usage will be very useful with the higher leveled weapons.

There's no one class that is superior to the other. Even the Archsage class has its downsides.

There is the Bard and Dancer class, which serves its purpose. They don't need to be combat oriented. That's not their job. You have plenty of fighters who can protect them. That's the point. They can be very useful, but you have to keep them safe. In Fates, Azura is actually really good. Sure, she has low defense and HP, but she can fight with the best of them. Also, Olivia in Awakening isn't bad at all.

My only issues here is that pre-premotes typically aren't as good. There are some exceptions though that make this issue mitigated.

Then, you still have your inverted triangle for weapons.

So there is some complexity in the gameplay. Except it's streamlined so that it's simple enough.

Leveling up weaponry is easier compared to the newer games. There's no reason to rely on Arms Scrolls so that your character can use a silver weapon.

That's the next thing: weaponry. It's simple to understand and doesn't try to overcomplicate things.

Iron Weapons: Weaker but lighter. Hit easier.
Steel Weapons: Moderately strong, moderately heavy. Slightly harder to hit with.
Ranged Weapons: Harder to hit with, weak overall but have the chance for hitting ranged.
Superior Ranged Weapons: Harder to use (Need A Rank), but hit harder and still give the ranged advantage.
Specialized Weapons (Killing, Armor Piercing, Etc): Harder to hit with than normal but have a specialized tradeoff.
Silver Weapons: Hard to use (Need A rank) but hit heavy and are slightly difficult to hit with.
Ultimate Weapons: Hardest to use (S Rank) but hit like a fucking truck.

Magic follows the same principles. Luna is the exception, but Luna is also very difficult to hit with compared to the other Dark spells. So you need high skill for that to work as effectively as you want. Luna is the one chink in the balance armor, though. I will say that.

In Fates, every weapon has its own specialized perks. That's not necessary. It overcomplicates things to a level where some weapons aren't even worth using.

Now, let's talk about difficulty.

Every game after Sword of Seals and Blazing Sword have been miles easier (except Conquest I've heard). That's not inherently a bad thing, no. Keep in mind, I'm considering the normal difficulties of each game. In other words, the game's intended difficulty. Sword of Seals is harder, but also gives more unfair situations. For example, reinforcements can appear and then attack in the same turn. That is an unfair disadvantage against players who don't know or remember that it's coming. You are also severely under leveled at the beginning of the game.

However, in Blazing Sword, the difficulty keeps up with you. In Path of Radiance, you can solo the game with Ike if you so please on your first playthrough. You can do solo runs in 7, but it's a lot harder. You need some serious strategy and a lot of luck. And you will not be prepared to do it on the first run.

The stats in the game are lower than the newer games, while the enemy stats don't drop nearly as much. The amount of enemies also pose a problem at times. There is a legitimate difficulty to the game that rewards you for doing well. You feel genuinely rewarded for clearing a map without losing a character starting from the middle of the game and on. There is a proper tutorial for you to teach you everything you need to know about the game. Even Lyn's story is not as easy as you would think later on. Essentially, the game doesn't hold your hand after a certain point. It's not overbearingly difficult, mind you, and that's a good thing. There's no reason for the game to be absurdly hard.

Now, on to supports. I find Path of Radiance's support system to be the most palpable personally, but 7's is not far behind. You fight a certain amount of turns together with compatible people and you can have conversations. Then, you have to be within a certain range to get that support on the battlefield. It's also simple and provides a balanced support system that isn't overpowered like in Sacred Stones, but still offers a nice bonus.

The system in Awakening and Fates isn't bad, but it makes the strategy more shallow. Pairing up gives you zero placement strategy. Prior to that, if you wanted to have supports, you had to make sure everyone was in a strategic spot to maximize your support potential. Pair ups ruin that completely. The marriage system is fine, but again, that's a side thing.

As for shops and armories, they're strategically littered throughout the game. They make sure you have what you need. You have a convoy to make sure you're stocked up on equipment. But again, they don't hold your hand. You have to consciously make the decision to keep track of your inventory. Not to mention, there are secret shops to make things even better.

So ultimately, the gameplay in Blazing Sword is the best because it is streamlined, has the best touch of difficulty and has the most balanced system of the entire franchise. This is not even including the subjective traits that I mentioned at the beginning. It's not a perfect system by any means. But it does do a damn good job overall.

If there is ever a remake of this game, they can add the side stuff like the Awakening map, Fate's castle and the marriage system. But if the core gameplay is the same, it'll blow away every other Fire Emblem to date.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best   April 24th 2016, 2:54 pm

While I agree that 7 is better than 6, 9-Awakening, I'd have to say Fates Conquest is the best in terms of balance.

There isn't a map (but there is one in Fates Birthright), and on hard it feels like FE6 difficulty. No forever grinding without a DLC map. Plus funds are an issue, but that's balanced by most (if not all) weapons being unbreakable. But you have to use your resources wisely on upgrades and healing items, along with promotions.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best   April 24th 2016, 9:12 pm

The map is bare bones in Birthright. I have yet to play cconquest but I'm buying it soon.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best   April 24th 2016, 11:47 pm

Based on reviews Conquest is more like old FE, and I agree that it's like old FE. I suggest dlcing Conquest to save money

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PostSubject: Re: Why Blazing Sword/Rekka no Ken/7 is Still the Best   April 25th 2016, 12:20 am

Sain wrote:
Based on reviews Conquest is more like old FE, and I agree that it's like old FE. I suggest dlcing Conquest to save money

Of course, I'll be getting Conquest and Revelations for $20 each. I'm glad that they had the decency to at least do that deal.

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