Fire Emblem: Awakening, Enemy Tactics & Difficulty (RP)

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*This is a reposting, the original can be found here for comments and feedback.

I’ve already talked about a lot Fire Emblem: Awakening in my impressions for the demo so I’m not going to cover those points again.  Please follow the link and read up on how the game feels because it feels the same as the demo, but more complete since it doesn’t end after two fights.  However, I will repeat the fact that the game looks and plays fantastic.  Huzzah!

The one thing that I wanted to talk about is the difficulty.  It’s less the fact that enemies get harder to hit, have more hp and armor with the difficulty going up and more with the A.I. and tactics.  It goes hand in hand to say that when you raise the difficulty from normal to hard or to lunatic, they seem to add more bad guys and they hit harder as they are a higher level and have (I assume) more armor.  Obviously it’s harder, duh.

lunatic mode

The A.I. doesn’t act like I act or like I would expect soldiers on the field to act.  It’s less Spartans from 300 and more like zombies from any Resident Evil movie.  If you see an enemy on the field, you would probably want to surround and kill them quickly so they won’t have a turn.  This will leave your people exposed on many fronts though.  So unless you’re playing on easy, I wouldn’t recommend exposing to many points to an enemy.  If there is only one left though…

However, the enemy tends to treat each soldier as fodder no matter the group of bad guys you fight.  I could understand if you were fighting a group of brigands, but not an organized group of warriors.  It’s fodder tactics. They are treating their own as expendable and while I realize that’s a tactic… it just seems out of place with a tactics game.

The blue circles represent exposed areas where you can get attacked from.
The blue circles represent exposed areas where you can get attacked from.

I understand why they’d want to do this in theory, but it still it leaves them terribly exposed.  Oh, did I mention that it also insta-gibs (kills) one of your fighters?  In one enemy turn, the game can make you realize how silly permadeath in Fire Emblem: Awakening is.  I’ve played other FE games, but I don’t remember this kind of tactic being used.  Maybe it was due to more closed areas as apposed to open areas, but I’ve fought in open areas before (I could have sworn).  It almost makes me feel like the other games were in easy mode or something.  Or, maybe more correctly put for me, it seems that other FE games were more like FE:A on normal mode with permadeath.

The game is still solid, but I feel the way the enemies move is kind of… rude.  It’s almost like they know you’re playing on a game where permadeath is active and they now their lives don’t matter while yours do.  It’s just plan goofy.  I’ve even had them bypass my whole army just to get to and kill my healer in one turn.  She was even in cover and the avoidance did nothing to help her.

Totally bypassing my army to 2-hit my healer and leave them surrounded.  This was horrible, but done by those Risen things so it made more sense.  I still hated it though.
They b-lined it, totally bypassing my army to 2-hit my healer and leave themselves surrounded. This was horrible, but done by those Risen things so it made more sense. I still hated it though.

So while my recommendation to play this game is still up in the “go out and buy this game now, if you can find it” category, I would throw out a friendly note.  If you want to play with permadeath, play FE:A on normal.  Unless your a boss, I personally don’t feel it will be worth the frustration given.  So until I can figure out how to make all my characters as strong as Frederick is, I’ll be playing on hard mode with permadeath off.  I could restart and play normal with permadeath, but at this point I would argue against it not being worth it.

*Edit*I’ve actually started over again on normal with permadeath.  It is more akin to what I remember FE games to be, but maybe if there was a difficulty between normal and hard it would be perfect.  In normal they tend to do the army clashes with your army bit better.  It’s just that they are easier to kill in normal.  Don’t get me wrong, they can still pack a punch and almost kill your people so you can’t be derping around the battlefield either.  Either way, while this may not be the ideal difficulty for me, neither is hard or lunatic.  I guess since I’m still enjoying it, I can focus more on story and that whole in-game relationship/marriage/hire the children into my army bit.  I’ll close with a quote of Tim Buckley’s review about this part of the game:

“It’s essentially a breeding system like Pokemon has. You want to think about the skills of the parents so you end up with a kid that has a good combination. There’s a ton of strategy to it, planning who will fight together to foster those sort of relationships, to eventually produce an offspring with desirable traits that you can use in battle. It’s really cool, but at the same time when you’re talking about human characters… it’s kind of creepy, right?”

PS: Hubba Tester is simply for the lolz and not to be taken seriously as the results tend to be random… and sometimes awkward.