Okay, it's our first time with Anakin as a main character. What do you think he's doing?
Do you even need to ask?
: Wha? Huh?
: Good, you're awake.
: Well, now I am...Who are you?
: Sorry about that. I am Kevin, a soldier working under Commander Siegfried.
: Ah, one of Siegfried's soldiers. Any allied soldier is good news, those Magnians are on our tail...
: Oh... that's right... has Siegfried seized Yulia?
: He did. But after he conquered the castle and killed Count Pellenore, the Magnian Army showed up, led by General Howard himself. He sent me to find you and help you on your mission. I don't know how long he can hold out at Yulia...How goes the recruiting?
: Well... with you, we add one more to our ranks...
: Good. How many does that make?
: Urgh... it's not nearly enough to go and help Siegfried at Yulia...
: Yeah, recruitment is slow. Magnus has patrols going around preventing us from doing anything. And the people here are too fearful to rise up on their own.
: ...Where is Eduardo?
: He's off at the village trying to recruit more to our cause. But if I wasn't able to, I doubt he'll have any better luck...
: Why aren't you there yourself...?
: Well, I was... then I got tired... and...
Anakin may be a one-note character, but his character trait makes for some fun interaction.
: Those damn Magnian soldiers are seriously out to get us.
Enemies? How surprising.
: How many are there?
: Maybe a dozen, give or take a couple. It might be in our best interests to escape and come back later.
: Well, there's not much we can do. We can't run and hide forever... I say we just confront them head-on. I mean, I doubt Magnus will just let us escape so easily anyway. I say with Kevin on board, we might be able to take them.
: ...There isn't enough time to retreat, even if you had decided to... They've already surrounded us with their forces...
: Dude, there's no way in hell that I'd know what that guy's up to. He'll just have to catch up!
Anachronisms aside, these characters are just a whole lot more fun than Siegfried and Shon's constant ego stroking. It'll be a shame when we get them back.
And now we get to see them in action.
Fortunately, the terrible levels we put in during Chapter 8 have been reversed, so Anakin's back to Level 1. Makes the time we put into giving them experience seem sort of pointless, doesn't it?
What jumps out at me about both of these guys is that they're fast, and that's good. Speed's a big factor in determining a character's viability. They'll need work everywhere else, but it's always possible.
And just to show it, Kevin's levels are safe, so he's still weirdly fast for a knight.
Talon, the boss of this stage, is a decent foe, but against Kevin, he's woefully outmatched.
Unlike Chapter 8, where Anakin and Co. were struggling, these enemies are just right for them.
And by extension, Kevin's just far too strong, enough so that he can handle one side of the map all by himself.
Enemy phase, and there's a conversation.
: What are your orders?
: ...Answer their attack. Move forward. Our forces outnumber their own.
: Yes, sir!
: Wait there. Who is their leader?
: Their leader appears to be a common spokesman, someone to gain support for their foolish cause. It's doubtful he even has any basic military training. On your leave...
: What kind of power must he have... Wait... Come back here, soldier!
: I've new orders. If anyone of our enemies are to surrender, spare their lives and capture them. We're to follow the proper code of conduct, as Magnian knights.
: Of course, commander. Yet if they resist, are we allowed to kill?
: ...Yes. However, any prisoners will be treated with the utmost respect. It's a basic rule of war to treat prisoners like we would allies.
: Yes sir...
: "Morals"? "Respect"? I don't see any point in those lies... Well... what the commander doesn't know doesn't hurt.
What a nihilistic faceless minion. Normally it's the bosses who get to make the fancy speeches of that sort.
Speaking of respect, look at this soldier disrespecting the rules of engagement by appearing and moving in the same turn.
Jerk move, Blazer.
And here's the final member of our posse, Eduardo.
: Man, we finally decide to fight these guys and you all don't even wait for me?! I mean, Regalia is MY homeland! I'll be the one to protect it!
Eduardo's as top-heavy as ever, but he comes with an interesting unique lance.
You mean "hopeless," Blazer? Charge is a lightweight brave lance with a low hit rate, so gaining Skill will be important for Eduardo here. Doesn't matter if you get multiple swings if you're just waving your arms like a doofus.
In the meantime, normal Iron will suffice.
Compared to the regular soldiers, Ace looks cooler and hits harder. Among cannon fodder, he is king.
Although you wouldn't know it by this level.
Start of this turn, a new character appears.
: Going around to avoid the castle sure wasn't fun, but oh well...
: ...So I just have to keep an eye on these guys, huh...Well, I won't pretend to know what Kelik's thinking, but there's no backing out. And I have no intention of letting these people's efforts go to waste, either, so I'll support them in any way I can!
Good to know.
That's not right.
Once again, silly speed for a knight.
Visiting the village he just came out of nets us a great treasure.
: We've yet to live in peace. Please, help us, because... we can't help ourselves. If it helps you, take this gem. It was given as a gift by Count Praze when this village was first formed. Back then, it served as a symbol of new life... Please... let it help renew the prosperity of this land once more...
Yeah, you may have noticed the shops in this map. Here's our currency.
There's nobody at home in the second house, but this one is actually rather fascinating.
: Welcome to our humble abode. Life has become harsh... the Magnian soldiers are so brutal. If there is one exception... I'd say it is their leader. Though he controls Regalia, he attempts to help us. Please... do not strike him down. Even Magnian knights can have some honor. Wouldn't it go against the values of your cause to bring death to one who doesn't deserve it? I don't mean to preach you, but... not all Magnians are bad. Some are just... unfortunate. Kind of like us...
Anakin's tale brings up a different perspective about the war. During Siegfried's portion, we've been constantly barraged with repetitions of "dirty Magnians," and now we're being shown a slightly more complex side to the whole thing.
Oy! Get back here and let me recruit you!
I've got an idea of how to fix this, but first, let's have a conversation.
: Eh, it was bound to happen any time soon.
: Well, now that it has, just leave it to me! You might as well kick back and take a nap, Anakin!
: As inviting as that sounds, I don't think I could sleep well knowing you guys are fighting out here.
: Ha ha! You're a good man, Anakin. I am honored to fight alongside one such as you!
: A good man, huh? Well, let's not go flattering each other just yet, Eduardo. Our battles are only beginning, I'm afraid, and we'll be getting to know each other for a long time...
Now then, it's time to bard it up.
The way that this works is that Ace has 8 constitution.
Karina, meanwhile, has 7 con. We'll get to the implications of a wyvern rider with 7 constitution shortly, but in this case, it means that we can snag her.
Special delivery: an entire wyvern rider with wyvern.
: Huh? Yeah, I am...
: Well, I'm not allowed to speak of the details just yet, but I'm kind of on orders to spend some time with you guys. I mean, like, I'll help you with your fights and all. I realize it's kind of mysterious, but don't mind me, alright?
: Well, uh... I suppose I shouldn't refuse help when we've been looking for some so desperately. Can I really trust you though?
: Yes, for sure. The guy who sent me here is really trustworthy. He just wants me to watch over you guys and see what you're up to. I mean, I could just spy on you from above, but I'll be fighting with you instead, so it's not like I'm doing anything bad...
: Well, that much is true, so when you put it that way... I guess we'll be owing this mystery man a thanks at some point, then?
: Oh, I wouldn't worry about that if I were you, Anakin... He's... not really one to take the words "thank you" very well. But anyway, let's do this.
Okay, let's take our new character for a spin.
Wait, only 15?
Oh, I see. Karina's a Level 10 character with pretty good bases and an excellent weapon selection. Plus, she can fly. Her constitution's a problem, but otherwise, she starts off okay.
Weapon shop. I get a sword for Eduardo and some lances for the group in general.
Plus I grab one of every magic from this store, and then it's boss time.
: Nothing else? Well then, I shall hand down your punishment!
Good luck with that. Talon here also has conversations with Anakin:
: ...You must be the speaker. This is your last chance. Stand down, I don't want to fight someone unarmed.
: Who says I'm unarmed?
: ...A speaker that can wield magic?
: ...It's a hobby of mine.
: Very well then... come!
And with Ace:
: Nothing more than an average soldier, coming to face me?
: Underestimating your opponent is a novice mistake. Flaunt your arrogance after our weapons have clashed.
: Hahah... You're amusing... But you see, I'm different. I'm not as daft as the rest of the soldiers... As a knight, I will fight to protect the Empire's reign over Regalia and Valencia!
Fighting with Ace is a bad idea, because that lance of Talon's called the Generic Spear is effective against soldiers.
You know, I could theoretically grind Anakin to Level 20 in the first few maps of the game, what with his infinite barding and all, but would I want to do that?
Yes. Yes I would.
Ooh! That's gonna leave a mark.
Surprised you can see anything after that.
Skill and speed! Also, I wouldn't be shocked if Ed here rammed the HP cap. Wouldn't that be glorious.
: Finish me...
: You are a good man. You don't need to die. All I need you to do is tell me something. Why has Magnus begun taking over Solum?
: C'mon! Speak up!
: Be quiet Ace! Let the man tell us when he's ready. Show some respect.
: Anakin! He's our enemy. He could betray us at any minute.
: He's no threat to us without his weapon.
: ...Our king wanted more power. He believes that Solum is his right... No, his destiny to own. We were sent to "fulfill his destiny"... Now, please... you must kill me. I have dishonored my knighthood.
: What a simple, selfish reason to turn the world into a state of chaos... You're free to go. Return to Magnus if you wish, I don't care.
: ...Then I will stay alone until I am forgiven. Perhaps Regalia can make use of me. I give up on this war. My enemy... thank you for sparing my life.
Why yes, we just let a boss walk. No, I don't mind that in the slightest.
A new character? Haven't we had enough recruits already?
Said the pot to the kettle.
: Excuse me sir, but you are called Anakin, correct?
: Uh... Yes, Anakin is my name. Who are you and what is your business here?
: My name is Logan. I sometimes take on the position of a mercenary, however... I can never seem to find proper work since I kind of detest the stuffy nobles who typically offer to pay. Some have taken to call me a "Wandering Swordsman", but... Pay that no mind. I'd like to join your group, but as a rebel, not a mercenary.
: I would be happy to have another soldier. However, you must prove your loyalty in battle before we can fully trust you. I figure you understand, right?
: Heheh, yeah. I like your style, Anakin. I'm anxious to meet the battlefield.
: Well then, excuse me... We need to prepare to head to Alexia.
: Is that so? Um...
: I can lead the way.
: ...Alright, Logan. It sounds like an idea. We're depending on you.
: Are you sure it's alright to trust him so quickly? He could be leading us to a trap.
: ...I guess you have a point, but...
Now we have a choice to make? Do we trust the random man who offered to bring us through an unfamiliar path where nobody can find us?
: Ah, well... I don't foresee any danger on the path ahead. Let's just take it easy, shall we?
Yes, Blazer made the right choice that obvious, although it's not as easy a choice to make as you'd think.
(Don't Trust Logan)
: You have a point. Leave this to me, Ace.
: If you say so.
: Hm? What is it?
: I'm sorry to ask this of you, but how can we trust you? It seems a little odd that you know of a special path to Alexia...
: I took the same path coming here. That's how I know about it.
: The same path coming here, huh? That sounds a little suspicious...I've figured you out! You came here to lead us into an ambush once we reached our destination, and finish us off in one fell swoop! So, these are your true colors, Logan...!
: I... how?! How did you figure me out! Blast! I thought I had you!
: I was just bluffing... So, you really were going to ambush us, were you?
: Urgh... ridiculous! I can't believe I got outsmarted by this good-for-nothing...
: He's making a run for it!
Blazer, while I riff on your writing a lot, that was a great sequence there. Anakin is a protagonist that I really enjoy, and I wish he'd had the main focus for the game, since Siegfried and Shon aren't really that interesting.
Next Time: Our other main character for this part of the game. I bet you can guess who it is!
First off, while I showed their growths already, it bears repeating.
Weapon Ranks: E in light
HP: 20 (55%) Lck: 6 (75%)
Mag: 5 (35%) Def: 3 (30%)
Skl: 3 (65%) Res: 6 (45%)
Spd: 9 (50%) Con: 7
As I stated before, Anakin's strength is in avoiding damage and zipping around, aiding other people. He'll most likely not be amazing himself, but he'll bring out a lot of potential in others through refreshing them.
Weapon Ranks: D in lances
HP: 25 (80%) Lck: 5 (40%)
Str: 5 (45%) Def: 7 (35%)
Skl: 5 (45%) Res: 5 (25%)
Spd: 8 (50%) Con: 8
Ace is a hit-or-miss character, since he's not spectacular in anything. His development is really up to the whims of the RNG, and that can be dangerous, since you've already seen how much it likes me.
Weapon Ranks: E in swords, D in lances
HP: 30 (125%) Lck: 4 (35%)
Str: 9 (60%) Def: 5 (30%)
Skl: 6 (40%) Res: 0 (30%)
Spd: 6 (40%) Con: 8
Eduardo's new Charge lance is going to require a huge skill investment for it to be useful, so he needs to have that 40% work out. Otherwise, he's a big source of HP and strength, so he can wade into an enemy force and stagger back out with, hopefully, his skin intact. Trouble is, we've already got a tank in Kevin.
Class: Wyvern Rider
Weapon Ranks: C in lances
HP: 30 (77%) Lck: 11 (35%)
Str: 10 (40%) Def: 10 (25%)
Skl: 13 (50%) Res: 5 (25%)
Spd: 12 (45%) Con: 7
Constitution aside, another one of Karina's problems is her growths in a number of areas, combined with her high starting level. Resistance especially is going to be difficult for her, and that speed growth isn't high enough to support the fact that she's being weighed down by almost literally everything. I hope she gets lucky.