Part 32: Good People, Welcome to the Arena!Chapter 5: Good People, Welcome to the Arena!
: Do you have any itchy feeling? Any sudden bald patches? Any murderous urges?
: Why do you keep asking me that?
This chapter was special in terms of kicking my ass, but you'll see.
: You got any addictions? 'Cause I could help you lose that habit.
: Not especially, but thank you for asking.
: Okay...how about this one: baby, I wish I was a priest, because you're making my staff rise.
: ...But I'm not injured.
: ...This might take a while.
Serafew is largely unchanged from how it was. We've still got to recruit Joshua, and unlike previous games in the series...
Joshua's stats are completely unchanged for hard mode. He's still faster than most of our units and just about as strong, so he's worth picking up, for sure, but it still makes me consider what could have been.
Saar is considerably bulkier than the last time we saw him, and he still has a javelin. This could present a problem.
: A soldier with 40 health...how is that even possible?
Good thing the arena lets you back out at any time.
Usual business at the start. Character cameo, Dragonshield, got the T-shirt.
Instead of Gilliam, Seth is going to be taking the journey up the side. Our man in plate mail is just too sluggish right now. I might have to make an executive decision and ditch him if this continues to be a problem.
This is dangerous here. Enemy Skill growth is starting to overtake our luck, increasing the odds of a random crit. This could be bad in future chapters.
As per usual, these guys swoop in, including the special unnamed bandit, who I shall dub Clarence.
Clarence is a degree above the rest of his bandit buddies, but while he is tough, he isn't that accurate, and he spawns in right next to some forest tiles. He and his friend won't present a problem.
As I said, Gilliam's speed is becoming a real issue, and his defense just isn't high enough to compensate for that. Maybe when we start encountering more sword-related folks, he'll really come into his own, but I'm skeptical.
Don't worry about Natasha here. She may be vulnerable to attack by the archer...
But her luck is enough to pull her through.
One large issue with Eirika here is that her puny little stabs aren't good for much right now. She's fast, to be sure, but not enough to be able to compensate for the loss of weight associated with heavier swords.
Coming to Natasha's aid grants Franz...
A stupendous level. He's swiftly becoming my MVP.
Things aren't looking quite so good for Lute.
Weapon Triangle? What's that?
Goodness knows, it isn't affecting the axe guys any.
Coming along nicely there, Seth.
And Garcia finally comes out of his slump. He'll be sticking around.
This shouldn't have worked, but I'm glad it did.
Nobody's going to double Vanessa, that's for sure.
Are you guys ready for another celebrity appearance? Give it up for-
: Boy, this is hurting my back. I need to get some exercise.
And we have a torch now. I hope she doesn't need that going through the misty woods full of spiders.
: And...heads! Guess I gotta kill you now.
: Naw, just messin' with you.
More house-saving. Remember that we've got to visit each one for the Guiding Ring at the end.
: Priests these days have it so easy. Back in my day, you got experience by taking a sword to the gut, and you were lucky if you gained anything but weapon ranks. When I think about you young'uns, with your fancy arenas and world maps and your lollipops...
Anyway, we got a Secret Book.
For some peculiar reason, the next group of bandits arrives on turn 6 in hard mode, as opposed to turn 4 in normal. I guess they figured that the enemies would be harder to wade through, so you needed a bit of an aid.
Does Eirika look like someone who can carry an Armorslayer?
Rounding up the last batch of bandits is a little tricky. They're tough and fairly accurate, but fast enough that Gilliam can't effectively tank them. I wind up using Garcia's hefty bulk instead.
Well, everyone needs an off-level. At least he still got strength.
So let's talk about the arena.
It's a bad idea in Hard Mode.
The biggest hurdle is that the arena's enemies appear to be boosted slightly from their equivalent-level counterparts in the main game.
Or, if the enemy is weaker, they match your character up against someone he or she is ill-suited to fighting.
And sometimes, you just get unlucky.
One other issue is that you don't seem to have much control over what weapon they stick you with. I'm sure there's some trick to it, but I couldn't figure it out. If I'd had an iron lance, this fight would have gone differently.
Oh yes, one thing I neglected to mention in normal mode, but the arena will always force you to use base-level weapons going through it. So no killing edge, no silver lance, nothing but iron. That makes your guys even weaker, comparatively speaking, and just makes fights more of a grind.
I freely admit to using save states when going through the arena, because nonsense like this kept happening. And what did I get for all this trouble?
Gaze upon these levels...and despair!
Comparatively speaking, Saar is downright pleasant.
Even Garcia gets a (terrible) level by scratching him a little.
I still plan on using Natasha, because Moulder's not doing much better.
We're done here.
My, that was cathartic.
: Yes! The Emperor had my mentor executed too.
: Your mentor? Him executed?
You know, the flashbacks keep on mentioning a Father MacGregor, but I don't believe we ever get to meet him in the flesh. I can't help but wonder if Natasha's mentor and the unseen Father might be the same person.
Oh yes, and we got a Guiding Ring for saving the houses, as usual.
Next Time: We get the levels that really matter for this run.
Total Resets: I lost count, so let's call it 20.