Part 1: A Girl From the Plains
First thing when starting a new game is a prompt to create a tactician. He serves as a way for the game to address the player without breaking the fourth wall, but for the most part you're pretty inconsequential to the game. He's required in Lyn's Story, but optional in the other two.
Anyway, time to begin the game proper.
Well this is not at all a cliched opening.
: Who are you? Can you remember your name?
There's a lot of questions like this, but alas, we're apparently mute. Never once will they ask us something we have any actual input on, so it really doesn't matter anyway.
: But pay me no mind. It is a good name. I see by your attire that you are a traveler. What brings you to the Sacae Plains? Would you share your story with me?
: I'll go see what's happening. Art, wait here for me.
Oh, that's not good.
: They must be planning on raiding the local villages. I... I have to stop them! If that's all of them, I think I can handle them on my own. You'll be safe in here, Art.
: Ah, I see... So you're a strategist by trade? An odd profession, but... Very well. We'll go together!
: If you want to help, Art, I could use your advice. I'll protect you so stay close to me.
We don't actually exist as a unit, so the offer is nice but unnecessary. At this point, it jumps into the unit tutorial. As you can probably guess, blue units are friendly and red are enemies. There are also green neutral units, but we'll talk about them when they show up.
This is the main screen for battle. The upper right corner has the map objective, usually to seize the throne/stronghold, kill the boss, or survive X turns. In the upper left is the unit we're currently selecting, and their current and max HP. Finally, the bottom left tells us the terrain bonuses for the tile in question. In this case, by standing on the forest, Lyn gets an extra 20 avoid and 1 defense.
Pressing R on a unit will show their stats.
- Strength (or Magic, for mages) increases damage done
- Skill is chance to hit and critical rate
- Speed is avoid and ability to attack twice,
- Defense and Resistance decrease physical and magical damage respectively
- Constitution affects a unit's ability to rescue and how heavy of weapons they can use without penalty
- Luck does a lot of small things, but most notably it decreases your chance of recieving a critical hit
There's also screens for Weapon/Support levels and inventory, but again we'll deal with that later.
Selecting a unit will bring up their movement and attack range. Blue squares are how far we can move, red squares are able to be attacked. It also shows how you're going to actually move to the square in question, which is important for a couple of things later on.
The brigand moved towards us on his turn, and now we're going to attack him.
Before attacking, first we have to pick a weapon to attack with. The window in the bottom right shows how our attack power with the weapon, our critical chance, hit rate, and avoid.
This is the combat preview window. HP is current HP of both combatants, and Mt (Might), hit, and crit are our actual damage, accuracy, and critical rate. Basically, Mt is the attack with our weapon minus the opponent's relevant defensive stat, Hit is Hit minus the opponent's avoid, and Crit is crit rate minus luck (or something, it might be Luck x2 or Luck/2, etc). The x2 signifies that we'll attack twice due to having such a high speed stat.
Combat plays out exactly how you'd expect it to. The spritework for attacks is really good, and it's a shame they switched to the terrible 3D in Shadow Dragon. I'll grab the attack animations, because some of them (especially the criticals) are really cool.
The bandit attacks on his turn and dies.
We got roughed up a bit by the brigand, so we're going to heal before attempting the boss.
: You don't know what a ger is? It's a type of round hut. Many nomads live in huts like those.
Pop into the items menu to see what we have in our inventory. Vulneraries are the basic first aid item, restoring 10 HP and have 3 uses.
Time to hit the boss.
He's not particularly strong, being the tutorial boss.
He's got a little more defense, and he's a little bit more accurate than his friend, but that's about it.
You think you can stand up to Batta the Beast?
That...didn't go so well.
: It all comes down to this next blow. Art, if I fall, I want you to flee. You must escape!
At the start of your turn, if you're standing on a fortress or a "seizable" tile (like gates, thrones, etc), you recover a small amount of HP. Very useful for when you don't have vulneraries to go around.
Batta attacks us and misses, but we've got a special surprise for him.
Critical attacks do triple damage, so they're always a fun surprise.
Killing Batta puts us over the top for a level up. Which stats go up are entirely determined by growth rates and the RNG. It's very possible to get a stat point in everything, and it's just as possible to get absolutely nothing when leveling up.
: I sorely underestimated him. Sorry if I worried you. I'll need to be stronger if I'm going to survive... Strong enough that no one can defeat me.
At this point, all that's left to do is seize the hut and call it a day.
: Say, Art... I want to talk to you about something. You have some experience in the ways of war, I can see. Would you allow me to travel with you? What? You... want me to get permission from my parents?
: My people - the Lorca - they don't... I'm the last of my tribe. Bandits attacked, and... they killed so many people. The tribe was scattered. My father was our chieftain, and I wanted to protect our people. But I'm so young, and our people were old-fashioned. They wouldn't follow a woman. No one would follow me.
: No, no more. I will shed no more tears. ... ... ... ...
No seriously, they put four ellipses in a row there.
: Art, I want- I must become stonger, so that I may avenge my father's death! Yesterday's battle taught me something I won't become stronger by sitting here alone. Art, tell me you'll train me, that you'll let me travel with you!
: We'll be better off working together, I know it. You'll be my master strategist, and I'll be your peerless warrior! We can do it! Right?
Lyn is the first of three lords in the game, and she's a stereotypical myrmidon. Okay strength, low HP and Def/Res, good Speed and Skill. She's not the best of the lords, but she's solid enough to hold her own. Just be careful, because she's quite fragile.