It figures that a week before finals we get not only the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but also a huge update to Fire Emblem Heroes.
All of this excitement definitely is not helping me stay ready for exams.
But we’re not here for school-related stuff today. No, this is a two-part blog post about the big introduction to Book III! Yesterday I talked about the Feh Channel that Nintendo put out, that way today I could devote all of my time to the beginning of the story.
So knowing this is going to be long enough as is, let’s get into it shall we?
Chapter 1 begins in an… Unexpected place.
Some time has passed since the end of Book II, though the actual period isn’t specified. Our first scene has the Queen of Askr, Alfonse and Sharena’s mother, arriving at the Order of Heroes’ castle with a mission at hand:
After Henriette becomes acquainted with you, the team heads back to Askr proper.
On the way there are aggressive soldiers from the rival nation of Embla — not seen since Book I. The siblings find this strange given how far they are from the nation’s border, but their mother explains what is happening.
Interestingly enough, despite the fact that these enemy units are supposed to be Emblian units previously encountered, there are a whole host of new unit types on the enemy side. Colored bow users, colored dagger users and flying manaketes among them.
Soon enough the Order starts to come across the two generals of Hel’s army:
Upon seeing the two figures on the battlefield, Alfonse and Sharena immediately recognize them. It turns out both figures are intrinsically linked to the characters in an interesting way.
They are the ancestors of the royal siblings and Princess Veronica respectively.
How the characters will deal with their ancestors should be an interesting development throughout the story.
When the Order finally approaches Askr castle they’re intercepted at the gate by Eir, princess of the dead. Once she’s defeated she submits to death by the hand of Alfonse (because I guess the princess of the dead wasn’t dead? Go figure that one out), but he spares her. Instead they take the girl as a prisoner and eventually a wary ally because she supposedly ran away from home and would not be allowed to return.
I say supposedly because… Well… Intelligent Systems blew their load on the surprise before Eir even arrived.
You couldn’t have kept this as a reveal for the future instead of telling us right off the bat?
Ah well. Her character description says she doesn’t quite enjoy her mother’s assault on the living, so at least the character transitioning into a true ally is still available.
But until then we have her as a “tentative” ally.
I get the feeling most people are going to latch onto the princess fast. Because boy is she packing heat with that base kit of hers.
Eir — Merciful Death
- Lyfjaberg (Might = 14, Range = 2)
- Grants Resistance +3. At the start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat, and if unit initiates combat, foe cannot make a follow-up attack. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions. If bonus was granted to unit, deals 4 damage to unit.
- Iceberg (Cooldown = 3)
- Boosts damage by 50 percent of unit’s Resistance.
- Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
- If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
- Mystic Boost (B Skill)
- Disables foe’s skills that “calculate damage using the lower of foe’s Defense or Resistance” and “calculate damage from staff like other weapons.” Restores 6 Health after combat.
- Sparkling Boost (C Skill)
- At start of turn, restores 10 Health to ally that has been dealt the most damage (excluding this unit).
Eir is just good. Her weapon and A Skill give her a ton of Attack and Speed at the cost of a little health each turn, but her B Skill just restores that health while nullifying a ton of different abilities that might give her enemies an edge.
Add onto that the high resistance attack buff of Iceberg and general ally healing and… Yeah, she’s solid.
A hell of a unit to have given us for free.
Chapter 2 begins in the grand halls of Askr castle… Of which we see one background panel.
Alfonse and his father, Gustav, vaguely dance around the reason why Alfonse had said he wasn’t allowed back home before just jumping into the meat of story-relevant exposition.
Apparently there’s a single entrance to Hel that had been sealed for over 20 years by the king’s best defenses. However something happened to the gateway that allowed denizens of the dead to emerge once more.
Right away there’s some weird business going on with Gustav being very harsh toward Alfonse while subsequently ignoring Sharena… But later we also get some dialogue with the queen that suggests he’s that archetype of a grizzled old father who wants his son to avoid the same mistakes he made.
But I’ll get to that.
First we have to discuss the shoehorned in appearance of Veronica after battle two.
There’s more vague alluding to the time skip at this point when Loki shows up out of nowhere to ask Veronica for some kind of cooperation in fighting the soldiers of Hel. They also reference Veronica’s brother Bruno, who had deus ex machina’d his way into the end of Book II but is now off on some secret mission again.
Despite Veronica’s hesitation, Loki suggests a partnership between the two nations because dead people just want to kill all living people.
We don’t have a solid idea of Hel’s motivation yet so let’s go with that for now.
My only wish is that we also get a connection to the Nifl/Múspell conflict here instead of just sticking with the Askr/Embla stuff. At the end of Book II Fjorm did join the Order permanently knowing she was dying from the after effects of the Rite of Frost.
Did she die? Or will she and Hríd and everyone be able to help fight the dead?
So far the only reference we’ve gotten to Book II comes at the end of the fifth battle. It centers around the Order of Heroes arriving at the gateway to Hel and seeing thousands of soldiers pouring out to attack a nearby village. They distract the forces long enough for Askr’s full army to arrive and rout the enemy, at which point Gustav scolds his son.
They do bring the moment around into a pretty nice message about what it means to be a king, showing that the harshness is less about being a calloused father and more about trying to groom a proper heir:
But it still seems like a stretch to toss out the entirety of Book II’s scope and consequences by saying it didn’t make everyone in the Order a hero.
You could show some more affection toward your son you know Mr. Grizzled Old Man Archetype. I’m sure that would make things better come the inevitable existential crisis of fighting death and literally seeing his sister get taken into her army.
Since you know, we’ve seen that it’s coming in the opening cutscene.
For now that’s all we’ve got in the Book III story. Everything is obviously a bit rough around the edges as we only have the earliest exposition set out before us.
However, not counting ridiculous things like the developers spoiling Eir’s possible double-cross later, there were a few good surprises just in the first two chapters. Connecting Hel’s generals to the history of the game’s two main nations in particular makes me interested to see more.
But with all that said, this post is extra long considering I had to sum up two chapter’s worth of story. So I’m going to leave everything to all of you here:
What do you think of the Book III story thus far? Where do you think it’s going to go? Where do you want it to go? How should we boycott the game if the Book II characters never show up again?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below! I, for one, am looking forward to getting some of that Fire Emblem Heroes fix in again.