In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, you must help protect the nation of Renais from the invading Grado Empire. Plan your strategy, choose your units, and then lead your soldiers in to battle. The more experience your soldiers gain, the more you can upgrade their abilities. This time, your soldiers can gain experience by fighting new monsters in the Tower of Valni.
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For one, the story is pretty great and so are the characters.
Second, its pretty easy, but introducing branching classes really helped replayability, specially with trainees, and with how easy it is, breaking it is so fun, even more with the ability to grind.
Its not the best cause enemy phased centered FE my hated, but its still a great time.
Thoroughly impressed with how there's really no dull moment in this game for me. Difficulty spikes hurt me irl a bit but that's not specific to this game. ( some of the romance options are fucking weird though <:V )
1. Lack of depth: Most of the maps lack any sort of interesting side objectives or reward you enough for making an effort for playing a certain way. There's only like a couple maps where you get a reward for saving some people or going out of your way for a village or chest. It's pretty easy to do basically all you need to do in terms of side objectives within your first few turns
2. Rout maps: I understand wanting to switch it up from Seize occasionally but the rout maps just play into the worst aspects of this game. It ends up being one of your best units tanking every trashmob to kill like 10 of them in one turn, on some of the most bland maps ever. There aren't a ton of these or anything but they feel pretty surprisingly weak and under designed.
I guess both of these probably read as difficulty complaints but I really wouldn't mind if the game was still easy, just make it more interesting at least! Side objectives aren't just to make things harder overall, it's a way of rewarding players in a very tangible and satisfying way for putting in extra work without alienating people who just want to finish the game. You can have rout maps that reward you for splitting up your group more and getting the most out of each unit type (the desert map is a good example of this). This is a lot of complaining for something that doesn't ruin the game for me, but it sticks out a lot more in a game that does everything else well. They had the groundwork laid already and less chapters to make than the other GBA emblems so it's a shame it feels so phoned in. I guess I can't blame them much since this game was made in like a year, but it is what it is. At least I prefer easy bad maps over FE6 bad maps.
I do think the rest easily outshines the other GBA FEs. For one, the cast is just way more interesting and fun. Maybe the bar is lower for me after an entire game of just Roy talking to Merlinus, but it feels like there was extra effort put into making the characters unique in design and personality. L'Arachel is the obvious highlight and steals every scene but I just enjoy how much more we get to see characters (even villains) talk about things that aren't just how to harness evil magic or something. I guess it's probably the benefit of having so many characters already know each other/be related.
The story isn't anything crazy but definitely a step above as well. Even though it falls into some of the same tropes, there's a fresh perspective offered through Lyon that feels much more well developed and interesting. Magvel is a peaceful place generally, and there's nothing happy or triumphant about this war. Both their dialogue and the interspersed flashbacks give a good idea of how difficult this is for Eirika and Ephraim to be doing. There's just an overall sense of tragedy to the conflict that I enjoy, ultimately these are people that they care about who were corrupted despite having good intentions. And I appreciate that there are multiple bosses that are genuinely sad to have to fight. Despite that I appreciate that it ends on an optimistic note, hammering in a simple but effective theme about relying on your friends and loved ones to move forward. I think there were a lot more ways they could've expanded on this stuff and sold it but it works well overall. But I guess this is the way FE8 is as a whole; a simple but effective twist on the formula that does exactly what it sets out to do. Nothing more, nothing less.