Fire Emblem Heroes finally did it. I finally know how it is to feel like a broken man. The game has sunk my metaphorical battleship. Game over, man. Insert other overly-dramatic “woe-is-me” sentiments here.
For those of you who are just tuning in, last time on Dragon Ball Z we were given a brand new Hero Fest banner featuring the illustrious Ike, Ninian, Julia and Genny. Like the easily excitable young lad I am, I quickly began pouring my stockpile of orbs into this banner considering it had such a short run time and starts with an increased chance to summon a 5 star focus hero.
Why not? I figured any team I have would vastly benefit from having the all star heavy hitting Ike, the powerful dragon dancer Ninian or the fan favorite healer Genny.
But then the rot set in. Many, many summons have gone by since the event started and I’m all the way up at having a 6.56 percent chance of seeing a five star focus hero.
For those uninitiated in the game, that is quite a long time going at it without seeing a five star appear. Almost, some might argue, a ridiculously long time.
On top of that, the new swapped four and three star summoning chance makes it so ‘energy pulses’ indicating the summon of a higher leveled units appear more often. The more those appear the more heart attacks I have thinking I’m about to get the unit I want, only for those hopes to be dashed when it’s just a 4 star I already have. Like Mae.
Seriously, the Hero Fest banner has given me Mae twice. I like Mae, don’t get me wrong, but why would you do that to me game?
Gah but who cares, I once again ask myself in the not-at-all-dramatically-ironic-third-person, the event only lasts for a week, so what if I blow some orbs now? I’m playing a game based on RNG that wants me to spend money without explicitly saying it. Besides, the Tempest Trials are going well and there’s lots of bonus orbs from log-in bonuses, special missions and more that are available. I can just go back to hoarding some orbs again before the next crazy cool banner dro-
GUESS WHAT, SACRED STONES IS HERE, Y’ALL.
Talk about a god damn slap in the face.
I’m sure I’ve gone on record about this before, but Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has to be my favorite Fire Emblem game. It was the first one I ever played and definitely holds a special place in my heart.
Thus, now I’m torn between giving up on this Hero Fest that has a lot of investment in it already and instead saving my orbs to jump onto this new banner with heroes I absolutely love and adore.
In other words, I now know how it feels to be my friend Jonathan back when the dual Echoes banners dropped in the midst of the first summer banner. Remember that huge orb binge where all my friends and I got Delthea except for him? Good times.
On the bright side, this new banner will be here for more than two weeks, giving us a lot more chances to summon on it considering the aforementioned orb bonuses floating around. However, on the flip side, Hero Fest only lasts about three more days, which makes it so I have a harder time deciding whether or not I want to dump more orbs into it now and potentially screw myself out of Sacred Stones heroes later.
That’s the conundrum I’ve been wrestling with for the last 24 hours or so, ever since the video talking about the four new heroes arrived.
… Sighs. Deep breaths Jason. Keep this up and next thing we know your whole angry rant on how Revelations ruined Fire Emblem Fates will be cluttering up this post too.
Despite my agony and bellyaching likely entertaining a fair amount of you in the crowd out there reading this, I’m sure my first world problems aren’t the only reason people are sticking around to read this dribble.
So let’s get into the usual expositional explain-y type jazz.
After all, despite the poor timing of everything, Sacred Stones is my favorite game in the series. Thus, even if it’s left me a heaping pile of a conundrum, I’m still hella hyped for the characters we’re being given.
- Seth – Silver Knight
- Serving as the token ‘Early appearing overpowered cavalier’ unit in Sacred Stones, Seth is a general from Renais who injures himself protecting Princess Eirika at the beginning of her journey. Despite this, he continues to serve her and her brother Ephraim as they travel the region hoping to reunite the four other kingdoms against the Grado Empire. Seth holds a few special places in my heart. For one, the name ‘Seth’ itself has over time become one of my favorite names, and he was the one who introduced it to me some years ago. He also fits a succinct ‘unrequited love’ archetype that always manages to steal my heart, as he loves Eirika but feels he can’t say it due to her being of such a higher birth, no matter how kind she is to him. I always hook them up anyway because it’s clearly the best option. Third, he absolutely demolishes the Arena in Sacred Stones. You can grind up so much money with Seth alone that it’s ridiculous, and for that he’ll always be awesome.
- Notable Skills: Seth is interesting in that he seems to be built like a very defensive cavalier. Though the ruby sword he wields exacerbates the blue weakness he’ll be facing, the fact that he has Fortress Defense (raising his defense at the cost of some attack power) shows that he’ll clearly be around to tank hits more than he’s going to deal them out. In fact, he’ll be able to swap in place of his allies, tank a hit and then lower the enemy unit’s attack and defense by a substantial amount in the process. He’ll definitely be an interesting character to mess around with on my cavalier team if I manage to summon him.
- Tana – Winged Princess
- Tana is Innes younger sister, a Frelian Princess who fights as a pegasus knight trained in the art of the Triangle Attack alongside fellow pegasus riders Vanessa and Syrene. If mentioning the Triangle Attack isn’t enough to make you feel elated while thinking about Tana, or frankly any other pegasus knight from early Fire Emblem games, I don’t know what will. I will say that it’s ironic to see her appear alongside Seth given that I tend to pair Tana and Ephraim up quite frequently as well. That means Intelligent Systems has added my love interests for both the Renais twins in one banner. Tana also holds an interesting distinction as having different recruitment means depending on the path you take. With Eirika she simply joins her force, but with Ephraim you have to save her from being captured in a dungeon (on the same level you find Amelia I might add, though I’ll get to her later). I personally like the story element in Ephraim’s side better, though take that with a grain of salt as it is possibly due to the shipping elements involved.
- I also figured I would mention that out of all the character designs for these heroes, Tana’s new look is the one I dislike the most. Don’t really know why to be completely honest, I just kind of dislike it. Maybe it’s the hair?
- Notable Skills: Overall, Tana seems like the most forgettable of these four added characters in terms of the skills she got. Her legendary lance Vidofnir (Gee, another lance pegasus unit… What a shocker) gives her defense if she fights units with physical weapons, she has the ever coveted Moonbow right out the box, she gains buffs to speed and defense and she comes with a new skill Guidance that allows infantry units to move behind her or ahead of her if they’re already close, essentially. It seems strange, but seeing her utilize the skill on the Lunatic level of their third mission spells out exactly how tricky it can be if used right. She has a bulky build like Seth, but I don’t typically associate pegasus knights with bulk so… I guess we’ll have to see how that goes.
- Innes – Regal Strategician
- Just an aside before I get into Innes as a character… I’ve been mispronouncing his name apparently. I’ve always pronounced Innes as “Eye * ns” with a silent E, but in his character introduction in the trailer dropped yesterday he referred to himself as “In * Nes.” I don’t know, that kind of messes with my head if I’m being honest… Though I’ll probably keep thinking of it the same way I always have.
- That aside, Prince Innes is Tana’s older sibling and renown sniper/tactician from Frelia. Along with his hired hands Gerik and Tethys, he also hopes to end the way with Grado but eventually must be rescued from a siege by Eirika. Honestly, the mission where you recruit Innes in Sacred Stones is easily one of the most memorable to me, and Innes is such a powerful archer that it’s hard not to use him once you’ve got him… Even though Neimi is definitely still my preferred bae when it comes to archers. Girl kills it as a bow knight while he’s off just being a plain old sniper. Seriously I like you Innes, even if my love for you L’Arachel isn’t in the game, but why couldn’t you just be Neimi.
- Notable Skills: Innes probably has the most interesting build of all the new heroes in that he’s clearly designed to be a mage killer just like his original game counterpart. He’s likely going to have a decent-to-high resistance stat boosted by Fortress Resistance, and although that ability lowers his attack, the Iceberg special attack will grant him huge attack buffs based on his resistance stat. Add onto that a legendary bow, Nidhogg, which will give him +6 to all stats if he has all his allies surrounding him during combat and a, frankly, negligible use of Cancel Affinity likely there to cover tome users like Robin, and you’ve got a pretty solid fighter all together. Even if he isn’t the archer I want.
- Amelia – Rose of the War
- Oh Amelia. Amelia, Amelia, Amelia. You’re no Neimi, but by god are you the closest thing to her. Seriously, Amelia is probably my personal second favorite unit from Sacred Stones. That mostly stems from a combination of her easter egg story appearance early on in the game, her cute and sweet personality despite a somewhat tragic backstory, the possibility of her recruitment in both Eirika and Ephraim’s storylines and the interesting finite window for recruitment when you do find her that adds more value to the relationship she can build with Franz (who I always pair up with her cause they’re so dang cute). Plus, if nothing else, the fact that they made Amelia an armored knight in Heroes validates my choice to make her a General every time I play through Sacred Stones. Hell, give the artist bonus points for keeping the design where axes used by generals are attached to the unit’s hand by a chain. That’s a super dope attention to detail. She’s top of the list for units I’ll be after in this banner, hands down.
- Notable Skills: While sentimental value is my primary drive for pining after Amelia in her newest appearance, it definitely helps that she looks like she’s going to kick so much ass if her stat distribution is done right. As an armored knight unit she’ll undoubtedly have great defenses that will be boosted by the low cooldown special ability Sacred Cowl. With a Slaying Axe in her hands, that special cooldown will be even lower, allowing her to tank more long ranged attacks more often. Plus if her health stat is high enough she’ll certainly be able to make use of Earth Boost to gain more defense, and the new ability Armor March allows other armored units to move as easily as regular infantry, which is pretty crazy. Really good stuff all around, it seems.
These units are great additions, but… Seriously. Where is Neimi. I know I’m probably the only person on this planet that actually wants to see her and I’m beating a dead horse by now… But I’d say I’m allowed to have one dumb and silly thing to really complain about.
Though, I also question whether it would be more disheartening if she did appear in the midst of my Hero Fest/Sacred Stones conundrum…
Who knows. Either way, here’s hoping she makes her way to us in one way or another soon. The hope continues to live on, everyone.
With a Grand Hero Battle featuring Valter slated for later this month, maybe we’ll be seeing even more of an influx of Sacred Stones content in the near future.
Boy, now that I’m re-reading this portion on the characters, it occurs to me just how much I have to say about all of them. This is probably the most I’ve written about any of the new characters in this game, in fact, and I could probably do it no matter who they added. I’m sure some people will call my investment weird or creepy or whatever, but Sacred Stones was my first venture into what has become one of my favorite game series of all time. Without Sacred Stones being a part of the Ambassador Program for those who bought the Nintendo 3DS before it’s initial price drop, I might not have ever gone out and bought Awakening, which truly cemented my place in the fandom.
It’s kind of crazy how much I love this game… Maybe I should go back and replay it soon.
We’re already like 2,200 words into this sucker, so let’s get going on Paralogue story, shall we? I promise I’ll try to show more than tell.
There’s the usual affair of available battles, missions and rewards added by this Paralogue, but since I spent so long gassing up the game I figured it would be a disservice not to talk about the levels in detail this time around.
- 10-1 is relatively straight forward. In Eirika’s campaign of Sacred Stones there’s a mission where you need to survive a number of turns as enemies constantly spawn around you. So, this is a level where enemies constantly spawn around you for a number of turns, forcing you to survive or kill everything on screen. The mission actually gets rather tough on Lunatic mode, but with the right units it’s no big deal.
- 10-2 is based on a level I remember particularly well as one of the first missions in the game you take on once Eirika and Ephraim join forces again. I remember that mission well for the enemy unit wielding an Excalibur tome you can steal behind a fellable tree, recruiting the third pegasus knight Syrene and for fighting against summoning mages, one of my favorite units from that game. In Heroes, the mission is kind of a joke, however. Really easy to take down and not much story, as I’ll go into.
- 10-3 is actually a level I don’t recognize particularly well. From what I can tell it’s either based off of Renais Castle, where the real twins grew up and later liberated, or it’s based off of Rausten’s capital Mansel. I’d be more willing to bet on the prior, but frankly I’m just not too sure. It could be a totally different option, frankly. Either way this mission proved to be the most frustrating at Lunatic, as it really showed off the power that Tana’s new skill Guidance can hold. Warping Amelia or Innes from behind a wall was kind of a crazy strategy and I had to use a Light’s Blessing to get the extra reward on this one.
I’d also like to note that the Sacred Stones music running throughout the three stages was pretty damn nostalgic to me and pretty much brought me right back to that place of wanting to go back and play through the Gameboy Advanced game all over again.
But I digress, as it’s story time ladies and germs.
From the first few seconds, this Paralogue proves itself to have more going on than you might expect. Considering it follows after the nude hero hunt that was the two summer banners, that’s a welcome surprise indeed.
It starts with the usual affair of Princess Veronica setting up her contract with the heroes, but this time something gets in her way that she wasn’t quite expecting.
Out of the love and respect he holds for Eirika and Ephraim, Seth is able to really prod the tiger and try to get at her true inner workings despite the fact that he’ll be working for her. Though it’s small, the interaction brings up some interesting questions about just how powerful the contracts Veronica uses are and about the nature of where she comes from, the place she’s Princess of. It’s a subject that I don’t believe has been broached past the typical good vs. evil “they’re the bad guys trying to hurt us” fair.
Then things get more interesting when Xander shows up again.
Yeah that’s right, Xander! I was pretty taken aback when his portrait suddenly appeared. He played a semi-significant role by showing up in most of Veronica’s army matches when you fought against her specifically, but apparently they’re keeping up the canonicity of his being on her side… Even if he’s clearly not as brilliant here as he is in his own universe given some of the dialog.
Though Seth continues to exchange ideals with the opposing team, the second mission is definitely way more fluffy. It boils down to Innes and Tana arguing about her being up at the front of the battlefield because Innes wants to protect her even though she wants to prove herself.
Not a very exciting thing to talk about even if the character development is amicable for those who have no idea who the characters are.
However, the third mission brings things right back up to 100.
I don’t know how many pictures I can just straight up screenshot and use from this game without getting into trouble, but for this exchange I just feel like it’s poignant enough to include in its entirety.
I’m not sure if that feeling just stems from Seth being the distributor of justice or if I’m genuinely really interested to see the story writing team inject some actual character intrigue and commentary with regards to the traditional villain character’s story, but either way I actually felt a little bit enthralled reading some of the exchanges in this Paralogue.
Maybe I’ve just seen these characters in action for so long that getting to watch them flesh one another out is fascinating to me. As someone interested in both writing and video games, I’d certainly be willing to ascribe it to that.
From that point everything seems to be about what you’d expect, however.
Innes expresses his dismay that you had to help him and his friends out of a jam:
Then all is happy and good. The end.
OR IS IT?
That’s right, if one character’s character development wasn’t enough for you, now we have some semblance of overall plot progression to enjoy as a post-production following the mission.
The Anna-imitating trickster god Loki from earlier main story missions appears once again to show that the venture into Sacred Stones territory wasn’t just an exercise in finding new allies and fighters. No, this time the game’s villains had an aim.
That aim was finding the sacred tome Naglfar, which is actually the dark tome wielded by Sacred Stone’s overarching villain Lyon, childhood friend of Eirika and Ephraim corrupted by evil stone/dragon magic.
Because what isn’t corrupted by evil magic from a stone or from a dragon in Fire Emblem?
Though they don’t elaborate much further on the usefulness of Naglfar in place of some suggestively abusive exchanges between Loki and Veronica, just the fact that the story missions and Paralogues continue to ramp up a bigger narrative story in this free-to-play mobile title is frankly just interesting enough to keep me coming back for more.
Good job Heroes devs and writers. You made up for sexual deviant Anna. I’m proud of you.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes. Yes I did summon on the Sacred Stones banner. A full 20 orb summon I might add, since the free first summon essentially gave me a five orb discount. What did I get for my troubles?
Nothing but tribute fodder and heart attacks.
You don’t think I’d bury this so far down here if I got anything important, do you?
I will take this moment to add an aside and say that although I expressed a lot of frustrated flailing back and forth earlier in the post, I’m actually not all that upset with these developments. I was for a little while when I first heard the news, don’t get me wrong, and my emotions from that moment are genuinely expressed up above since I wanted to log those thoughts for posterity, but overall my feelings are honestly much more demure and even glad.
Oh, and I already know I’m probably going to focus more on Sacred Stones with perhaps one more shot at the Hero Fest. Cause it has already burned me too hard.
In the end, I love these characters, so how could I possibly be that mad at a free game for adding in characters that I love?
Though I can still be
fake mad at them for not adding the one character they know I want. I know that they know that I want Neimi to show up and they’re holding her from me intentionally. I can feel it.
But anyway, dumb conspiracy theories aside, that’s all there is to this update. Let me know what you think of the new focus heroes or of the ramping story that seems to be getting told in a long-form narrative. I’ll be interested to hear all of your thoughts and theories in the comments!