The Let's Play Archive

Fire Emblem 4: Binary

by Miacis

Part 1: Ep 1: Birth of a Holy Valkyrie

Prologue: Birth of a Holy Knight

Why, hello there. You certainly aren't the Nintendo logo.

The intro sequence for the game is unchanged if not for the initial graphics. In the vanilla game, there would have been people in the beginning, but it's been replaced by the graphic that shows up during the Hell spell from Thracia.

Surely this isn't a bad omen, or anything.

The title screen in the exact same as the original game. Nothing to see there. Moving on to the Prologue!

Red Team VS Blue Team! Objective is Capture Jungby.

: Is there a problem, Oifey? You look grim.

: Sir, it appears that Red Team has already reached Jungby. Maybe we should stop taunting and begin to get a move on.

: Got it. Arden, you take point. And stop being a terrible unit.

: Fine. I'll go get some new gear and be right back.

Welcome back to FE4's Prologue map. The map itself is unchanged, but a few enemies have different classes or sprites. Axefighters now use the FE5 map and battle sprites, and a few of the Brigands were changed into them. Some also found horses to become Axeknights for variety, but other than that, it's still the basic axefest. No worries though, this is merely the Prologue.

First, to disarm the sneakiest trap the game throws at you. There is a new option at the bottom which lets you pick the Difficulty setting. It is set on Hard (right) by default. I'll be switching back to Normal because I still value my sanity: Hard mode increases the stats of all generic enemies, and gives a critical bonus to bosses.

(A few technical difficulties forced me to keep the first screenshots in this update despite their blurriness. I'll make sure this won't happen again.)

Now, a look at our new team of champions. Sigurd's bases are mostly unchanged, with +3 Mgc and +1 Res in case you feel like handing him a magic sword for kicks.

The interface received a few upgrades, with the weapons now using their FE5 icons, and the combat info next to the mug displaying more information as well. In reading order, that would be Attack, Attack Speed, Accuracy, Avoid, Critical, Range. Notice that Sigurd's critical isn't 0, more on that in a sec.

The next screen also has a few UI changes. First, note that Sigurd doesn't have a * for a Sword rank anymore, despite his Major Baldo and the ability to use the Tyrfing. They removed that Star rank for characters with Holy Blood, probably because there are non-Legendary weapons in this hack that are classified as * Rank. The interface on the left is also slightly different, with Leadership, Lover, Move, Money, Arena LV, Status, and Win Record. Note that the "Talk" has disappeared, so I hope you have your FE4 Talk list ready!

Alec's stats merely got him a +1 Res. The big differences comes with the skills he has. Nihil now no longer prevents criticals or effectiveness, since effectiveness works separately from criticals (more on that later). It's still extremely useful, as a lot of bosses and mid-bosses will have multiple skills.

Pursuit has been nerfed, but is still very useful. In FE Binary, units can double as long as they have at least 6 more AS. Pursuit takes that requirement down to 3. This means speedy characters can be perfectly viable without Pursuit. That somewhat applies to characters with a large Str stat as well, since Weight is now compensated by Str/2.

For some characters like Noish, this means a lot, as he'll be able to double a few enemy units, on top of having good combat abilities. So even without any stat change, Noish received a huge buff.

Both the mechanics for criticals and the skill itself have been altered. Criticals are now accessible to anyone, with a Crit rate equal to Skl/2. Having the Critical skill makes it Skl*1 instead. Critical hit rates can be boosted by feeding kills to your weapon, or by increasing your Win record. You get 1% more crit for each 10 weapon kills, and for each 10 Wins.

In other words, it is not worthwhile to feed kills to specific weapons anymore, and using cost-effective ones becomes more of a priority.

Arden received the largest number of buffs in our crew, having his class changed from Sword Armor to... Armor. He now has access to all physical weapon types, as well as Great Shield by default. He also starts with a much better Iron Blade, making his Attack on par with Sigurd's. That doesn't solve his huge mobility issues, but it's still something.

Great Shield also works a bit differently compared to most FE games, and adds 20 Def/Res on the hit it activates. Most of the time, that will be enough to reduce a killing blow to a mere scratch, but you can't really tank magic with it anymore.

Now that all that's out of the way, maybe we should start having some actual gameplay...

We're off to a fantastic start. So much for being the speedy cavalier, Alec.

Noish rushes in to show him how things are done here. There is a new option for all cavaliers and fliers in Binary, which is the ability to dismount.

It changes the unit's map sprite, helps them to cross difficult terrain and removes effective bonuses, but aside from that, there's not much point to it.

Just like when equipping weapons, Dismounting and Remounting does not eat up your turn, so I have Noish attack on foot with his wonderfully pink palette.

Other than decreasing a unit's movement and taking away jeir ability to use lances, the stat penalties for dismounting are pretty small. Noish only lost 1 point of Defense there, although the penalties do depend on the class.

Onward, my four little minions!

Kind of a funny thing in this hack, but there is no more difference between brigands who burn villages, and brigands who are just there to fight. The former were called Mountain Thieves in vanilla FE4, and were pretty easy to spot, with a different map sprite and everything. I guess Binary likes to play mind games with its players.

On enemy phase, Midir predictably dies from the usual gross overkill.

Which instantly triggers my trap card: Summon Allies.

Azel gained +1 Str and +1 Res compared to his vanilla version. Strength is actually somewhat important for mages now, since it mitigates the weight of their tomes.

Speaking of tomes, just like all weapons in the game, they've been balanced to make a bit more sense and be less min-maxed. For instance, that Fire tome has 5 Mgt instead of 8, but weights only 4 instead of vanilla FE4's ludicrous 12.

Lex has the same stats, but is a good example of this hack's hate for one-trick ponies. And by that, I mean that all cavalier classes have at least two weapons at their disposal now. It's a small weapon rank, but it makes things soooo much easier for inheritance issues, especially if you plan along with the branched promotions.

Elite is still there, and so is Vantage. The latter has received a pretty large buff in this hack, by triggering no matter the amount of HP you have. That's pretty nice, considering the only guys we have with that skill are the least likely to ever hit half-HP.

Now that I've shown Noish's manly unmounted palette, I'll just remount him, and most likely never dismount ever again. Why? Because the feature is still a bit glitchy and will sometimes grey out the dismounted character for the whole chapter.

Oh, and some player characters can actually launch triangle attacks now! In Gen 1, that would be Noish, Alec and Arden.

It requires a bit of setup, but sometimes it's worth it to start a battle with an almost-guaranteed critical. (It still deduces enemy Luck, and isn't a guaranteed hit either.)

One village saved. The two cavs are heading north to help with the villages, while Arden will be going on the front lines with Sigurd and friends.

Speaking of said friends, here they are!

Quan lost a point of Str for +1 Def and +1 Res. He also comes without his Javelin, being able to only buy it next chapter, if you so choose. He's got a B rank in Swords for being promoted, and still has Continue/Adept, which now activates for AS% (instead of AS+20%), mainly because of the ability to double without Pursuit, and the overall item rebalancing.

Aside from his C rank in swords, Finn is pretty much unchanged. It should comes as no surprise that Prayer was also slightly tweaked, as it not only increases the avoid against deadly attacks, but also halves their damage.

This is actually mildly abuseable, and allowed me to get Corpul up to level 19 from guarding his father's keep against a batallion of Wyvern Knights in my previous playthrough of the game.

Ethlyn is kind of a monster, now. Not that her stats are changed in any way, but she joins the party with something a tad more potent than a Slim Sword.

Meet the Lady Sword, a sword with the distinct ability of being effective against Brigands, Hunters, Axefighters, Berserkers and Warriors. In other words, 95% of the enemies we'll be facing in this chapter and the next one. This is going to be a slaughter. But a dignified slaughter, proper for a lady of her standing. :synthy:

In the north, Lex is gleefuly enjoying his newfound doubling powers.

And in the southeast, we're just charging headlong into battle.

I hate you two so much. All the buffs in the world won't save you if you keep up with this bullshit.

Meanwhile, Lex gains HP, Lck, Def while untangling his axe with that of his brother. That sure is Lex all right.

And hey, look at that. The new Vantage is already making itself worthwhile.

Alec took a bit of a beating, so he's going to head left for the church, then rescue the center village.

Yeah, Ethlyn is kicking all sorts of ass, here. Especially since the enemies love targetting her. The effectiveness formula in Binary is pretty straightforward. None of those forced criticals or triple Might nonsense: it simply adds 20 Atk.

The Lady Sword costs quite a lot to repair though, and she still needs to perform healing duty, so it's better to try and refrain from sending her to solo everything.

And by finally liberating the northeastern village, Noish gets himself HP, Skl, Def. Solid.

Did I mention how much I love the new Vantage on this chapter?

: I've got as much attack power as you, now!!

And she has even more if Sigurd is using his iron lance, actually.

Fast forward a couple of turns wittling down bandits. Lex reaches the northwestern village to... immediately critical the brigand. A doubling, critting, mounted axe tank... Thank you Binary!

HP, Str, Lck, Def. You keep trucking like that, and we'll be the best of friends, Lex.

I'm so glad that they imported the Thracia Axefighters in this game. Now they don't look like more random brigands anymore, and stopped using that silly crab walk animation.

Seriously, what the heck was up with that walk?

Not like Binary is exempt from having its stupid decisions either. Out of these two axes, guess which one is the Iron Axe and which one is the Hand Axe. They're both the same, you say? Ah, but I beg to differ. The second one, the Hand Axe, is obviously a little bit darker, and has a slightly longer handle.

What was wrong with the original Iron Axe icon, again? Oh right, nothing.

Quan, you were not given the ability to critical so you could steal more kills!

HP, Skl, Lck. Not the best stats in the world, but hey, it's Gen 1, land of the low growths.

HP, Spd, Mgc, Lck. Those are pretty good, though. Ethlyn's Magic growth is notably cruddy with only 5%, so that's actually really lucky.

More levels while cleaning up! HP, Spd. Speed is pretty rare for him, so I'll take it.

Now that it's out of the way, time to face DiMaggio, our first boss. Compared to his vanilla version, he gained 2 levels, with 2 HP, 3 Str, 3 Skl, 2 Lck, 1 Def, 1 Res, as well as a Hand Axe, Pursuit, and 1000G. He lost a leadership star, though.

All those buffs make fighting him quite a bit more tedious than it used to be.

But hey, we can abuse him a bit for levels, then. Sigurd seem to like this, with +2 HP, Str, Def.

And Arden grabs himself the kill. That Iron Blade sure is coming in handy.

Fighting off bandits in the center village gets Azel some HP, Str, Spd. That should help a bit with his Avoid.

Jungby captured. Time to go for Red Team's main base.

: Sorry Sigurd, but your priestess is in another castle!

And the wimpy archer joins us. He's exactly the same as his vanilla counterpart, if not for the ability to wield C Swords now. Not that we have any spare ones right now to make him useful on enemy phase.

And then all the axe guys come out to play. The Axe knights will be making this a bit more delicate to deal with.

Oh, and Arvis comes in to say hi.

: Hi!

Arvis is still hilariously broken. He's got 3 more levels, 5 more HP, 3 less Str, 1 less Mgc, 3 less Skl, 4 less Spd, 27 more Lck, 10 more Def and 5 more Res. He also gained Pursuit and Vantage. Fighting him later on will certainly be a fun ride!

Sages have an A rank in all anima magics, and can use Dark Magic now, so he's got that going for him, I suppose. He dropped his Recover ring too, because seriously, no one is going to hurt him. He's also 2000G less rich. These are harsh times.

Valflame received a bit of a nerf, like most tomes. It's 5 less power, but still very dangerous for its stat boosts. I'm not sure what the description says at the bottom, but all the legendary tomes have that in Binary.

A bit of hit-and run later, we're ready to wage war into this peaceful little village. We're even getting paid for it!

HP, Skl, Def for Quan. More tankiness is nice for him.

Skl, Str. Sure. Finn could certainly use a bit more oomph.

HP, Str. Someone sure knows what he wants.

I'm going to send Sigurd to help here. No use going to meet up with Arvis as he'll be chasing after Sigurd regardless.

I wish this part of the level wasn't such a complete clusterfuck. Large open battles are nice, but when there's only axes and bows in play, it becomes boring really fast.

It does make it a bit easier to set up some fireworks, though.

HP, Skl. I have the feeling you're going to get benched faster than I would like you to be.

Fear the wrath of Ethlyn, mighty troubadour, and heir to God Mist!

Arvis, not to be upstaged by a pink-haired girl on a pony, joins in on the action.

And a critical from Midayle. Very unecessary, but I like flashiness.

Skl, Str, Def. Levels like that are also an all-time favorite. She really wants to stay on the front lines.

We're in the clear, now. Only Gerrard remains in our way.

Oh, and now maybe I should stop leaving Arvis hanging.

He immediately transforms into a Silver Sword for Sigurd to use.

Sigurd's famous Silver Sword comes with 1 less Might and 6 more weight than its vanilla version. But since Str/2 mitigates weight now, it's actually 2 weights lighter for Sigurd. Good stuff.

Amusingly enough, Gerrard received less boosts than DiMaggio, and quite a few nerfs, actually. He doesn't have his Steel Axe anymore, has -2 HP, +2 Str, +2 Skl, -1 Spd, +1 Lck, -1 Def, +1 Res. He also lost a leadership star and 1000G, but with a face like that it's already impressive he's got leadership powers at all.

He did gain the Critical skill though, whose only goal is to give you nasty surprises at the very end of the chapter.

Like so.

(Reset count... actually no. Let's not do that, if I don't want to depress myself into stopping this LP. )

HP, Str, Spd, Res. At least I've had some pretty good levels, so far.

HP, Spd, Def. I'm getting a lot of Defense though. Not sure what's up with that.

HP, Spd. Minimal, but Noish really needs it.

I guess the RNG gods are trying to apologize for that dick move earlier.

HP, Skl, Str, Mgc. Magic on Lex? What kind of sorcery is this?

And with a lucky hit from Finn, Gerrard finally falls. And he looks awfully cheery about it.

HP, Skl, Str, Spd. Awesome. You might actually be able to survive Gen 2, at this rate.

Some end-of-chapter healing for Ethlyn before we go, and she earns herself Skl, Str, Res.

And we're done for the Prologue.

The usual story events unfold, with that old man we'll find again in Agustria.

Which isn't where we're going next chapter. Ah, Verdane, its beautiful countryside filled with axe users, bow users, annoying characters to recruit, more axe users, giant forests, as well as a very... dangerous axe for our little Lex.

Growths: None! Go look them up on Serenes Forest.

No, really, none of the growths for Gen 1 have been altered.