Part 1: Prologue
Another perfect day in Crimea.
Perfect for some training!
Some hilariously one-sided training.
Well, Ike. Had enough?
Real sporting, Ike.
What do you take him for?
Hmm. It looks as though you...
Serves him right.
Mist... That song...
Oh, Ike! You're awake!
Yes, game. We get it.
Welcome to the game, I guess.
Nn... Yeah, I'll be fine.
Father! I can't believe you! I know those are practice swords, but they're still heavy! You have no right to be so rough on Ike.
If this is too much for the boy, he'll never make it as a mercenary.
Mist, you don't have to worry. I told you, I'm fine.
Ha! You'd better be. Now grab your sword and get ready!
What? Don't tell me you're going at it again! But--
Just until I land a single blow. I'm not giving up until I can get one good hit in on Father.
I like your resolve, Ike. But it takes more than a strong will to... Hm?
Hi, Boyd. What brings you here?
Nothing special. You said you were going to get the boss, but you never came back. I got picked to check up on you.
Oh! Sorry, I got caught up with Ike and my father.
It's nothing. Besides, I figured I'd get a good laugh watching Ike get worked over by the boss. You... look fine. What happened?
Nothing at all. I'm sorry to disappoint you.
You just missed it. Just a minute ago, he was out cold.
Ha ha! Sorry.
You came at just the right time, Boyd. You can be Ike's sparring partner.
I'm beginning to think it would be better if he sparred with someone closer to his own skill.
...I understand. Thanks for your help, Boyd.
Hmph! I don't know about this "closer to his own skill" business, but I'm ready!
Oh shit guys, the coloured circles have appeared. That means it's on.
I don't like this track. I think it's bad. And I think it's deliberately bad. If so, that's good. Just remember this for later, OK?
Our main character, ladies and gents.
This screen is the Important Numbers Screen. It'll show your units primary attributes (under Personal Data: Strength, Magic, Skill, Speed, Luck, Defence and Resistance) and most of the combat statistics that are derived from these (Attack, Hit, Avoid, Crit, Dodge, Range and Effectiveness. The hidden stat is Attack Speed). More on these in a little while.
Ike here is a Ranger, a class unique to him. He's pretty much what the Mercenary class was in the GBA Fire Emblems; a little above average in basically everything except magic and resistance. He's quite strong, quite hardy, and quite fast, at ease on any battlefield, and generally a great guy to have around, which is fortunate, since he's mandatory in every mission. He uses swords.
Here is our foe, Boyd. He hits a bit harder than Ike, but gets hit harder in kind, and has just enough less health to make this fight a foregone conclusion. Go Tutorial! Boyd is a Fighter, an exclusively axe using class that is all about hitting hard and not at all about being survivable in anything but short bursts.
He's also considerate enough to be using this Skill, which doesn't actually do anything, but hey! Plot/Game Mechanic synchronisation! Equippable skills took a break from Fire Emblem while it was on handhelds, but they're back now. Something else for us to talk about later.
Alright. Let's get the tutorial out of our collective system. We move Ike next to Boyd...
...select Attack from the menu...
...carefully chose a weapon from our selection of one...
...and glance over the window full of numbers. HP is just HP. Mt is the amount of damage you stand to inflict, and is equal to your Atk minus their Def (or Res if using magic). Hit is your percentage chance to hit, equal to your Hit (yes, stat names are a bit poorly thought out) minus their Avoid. Crit is your percentage chance to score triple damage and a nifty animation, and is equal to your Crit minus their Dodge. All attacks incur counterattacks if possible, so don't disregard the enemy's numbers unless you're sure you can kill them in one hit.
Notice also the green and red arrows on display. These indicate the presence of a Weapon Triangle advantage/disadvantage. Fire Emblem has long implemented a rock-paper-scissors system involving matchups between swords, axes and lances; swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords. Being on the advantaged end of a matchup grants you +1 Mt and +10 Hit, being on the disadvantaged end gives you -1 Mt and -10 Hit.
This, combined with Ike's stats, means he can survive two attacks from Boyd, which is more than Boyd can say of Ike.
Sod this physical training, we have math on our side.
Actually, sod math, let's just fight already.
"Nothing!?" I don't have nothing. I mean, I have-- I mean...
I don't know if weapons are meant to leave solid white trails like this, or if it's an emulation glitch, but whatever. It looks nifty. And we remove half of Boyd's health.
He removes less than half of ours.
Our army of one is spent, so we end turn.
It's funny because he's about to be finished.
OK, so he hurts us...
But we murder him. Well, OK, not murder, but it's the thought that counts.
That-- that wasn't too bad.
Boyd, you're such a loser.
Shut your trap!
Good work, Boyd. That's enough.
Oh, all right!
Your swordsmanship was decent enough, Ike. Don't forget how it felt. It won't always be this easy.
Now that you're done warming up, it's time for you to face me again.
I was hoping you'd say that.
But first... Mist!
I'd recommend using it now, before you fight Father again. Last time he knocked you silly.
Mist puts a Vulnerary in our inventory. This is fortunate, since we're nearly dead.
Greil steps up, and he'd have us believe these are his stats. (He also has the Discipline skill)
Well, we could rush in and fight Greil without healing, or we could not do that.
Vulneraries have three uses and heal 10 HP per use. They're handy early on but quickly become inadequate.
Greil stays put for his turn, but does give us another lecture.
By the time you think you're in trouble, it's probably too late... Don't get into that situation.
This is actually pretty good advice in Fire Emblem. Remember, you can heal HP, but you can't revive the dead.
Now, let's see the numbers...
This may not look good, but we've got this. The first person to take three hits loses, we take turns attacking... and we go first. Another foregone conclusion.
Give it your all!
So we attack him...
He attacks us...
And we go for the win.
The EXP from Greil and Boyd adds up to our first level up!
Fire Emblem's infamous level up system gives you a chance - a chance! - to increase all of your stats each time you get a level. Every stat of every character has a percentage chance to get a +1, and each stat is rolled once per level. You could get +1 to everything, you could get nothing. Character's growth rates are unique, even between characters with the same class (although classes have generally similar growths, just not identical).
So. Ike's first level. What will it be? Will it be spectacular? Will it be terrible?
It's... defence oriented. I'll give it that.
Father, you were holding back, weren't you?
What? Is that true?
If you could tell the difference, that means you're improving.
Well, that explains the stats, I guess.
That is such a lie.
So, Father, does that mean you finally admit that I'm ready?
What, to join the company? To take on a job?
Yeah. I mean, Boyd's already out there on the battlefield. I'm ready. I'm tired of being a trainee.
Listen, the difference between you and me is that I'm a professional.
A professional who just got beat.
That was just random chance. Random chance.
(it was 100% hit odds)
You've got a point, Ike... All right. Tomorrow will be your first day as a full-fledged mercenary.
But! If I think it's too much, you're back to trainee status. You'd better work hard.
No problem. Watch-- I'll catch up to everyone in no time.
We'll see. We'd better be heading back to the fort. Everyone's waiting.
Lv 1 Ranger
HP: 19 (75%) Spd: 7 (55%)
Str: 5 (50%) Lck: 6 (35%)
Mag: 1 (20%) Def: 5 (40%)
Skl: 6 (50%) Res: 0 (40%)
Move: 6 Con: 9 Wt: 9
Equip: Swords (D)
By tradition and request, each time we recruit a new character I will outline their base stats, growth rates (in brackets), and other numbers. At some point I guess I'd better do the obligatory primer on what all these numbers actually do, but that can wait.
Ike's growths are sufficiently high that there's very little chance of him not turning out good (which is fortunate, since he's the main character), and rounded enough such that there's room for you to be pleasantly surprised by exactly what he turns out to be good at. He can be powerful, fast, resilient, or all three! His base resistance is of course garbage, but his growth is pretty good considering, and he might tank some spells yet. You can't go wrong with Ike.
We haven't seen Boyd's true stats yet, so I suppose we'll see those next time. Suspense!
Next Time: A random bandit attack! I know, shocking, right?