I just picked up this game, so I figured, hey, why not? Note I'm doing this mostly blind, in that I have not read all about the game's story (which is an impressive feat for me), but I have played the sequel for the PSP, so I have a vague idea about the characters and well, how the story ends. But that's okay! This game doesn't exactly look like the type that'll throw lots of twists and turns at you anyways.
Now let's get started on the prologue. It has the classic book opening and narrator. The year is apparently 1935 EC...whatever EC means. In...Europa (they could've gotten a little more creative with the names there) there are two main powers, the Empire and the Atlantic Federation, who each rely on some Unobtainium called Ragnite. Of course, the generic evil Empire is greedy for more of the stuff, so they enter Federation territory and start...Europan War II. Now I knew from the start that this was supposed to be based on World War II, but that's pretty blatant. And what about Europan War I? Maybe it's mentioned later on; we'll see.
At any rate, the Empire has an advantage with their vast military power, so they put the Federation on the defensive in as much time as one scene. Apparently not knowing to quit while they're ahead, they figure, "Hey, while we're killing all humans, we might as well kick a puppy or two. Let's go for the tiny country!" By which I mean Gallia (hey, like in Fire Emblem!), a neutral country in between the Federation and the Empire with large supplies of ragnite under its soil.
In the Gallian border town Bruhl, residents are fleeing toward the capital. A character who looks suspiciously similar to the guy on the cover starts talking to fish and drawing them. Doesn't exactly seem like much of a soldier so far, but that's likely the point. At that moment he gets a gun pointed at him from behind by a woman...who likes like the other one on the cover, so I doubt this animosity will last long. We learn that the man's name is Welkin, and the woman's name is Alicia. She asks what he's writing because imperial spies are in the area. For some reason, she won't settle with the idea that he was just sketching the fish, and takes him back to the station. I imagine we'll find out later on that the fish are Imperial informants.
As they head back to the station, Alicia lightens up and examines Welkin's journal. There are pictures of fish, plants, and bugs in there, and Alicia informs him that they're good...then says that it might be a secret code and she'd better take him back to the station to do....things to him. A girl named Isara shows up who calls Welkin "Welks". She's the old general's daughter, and she convinces Alicia to let Welkin go. As they're talking, they hear gunfire from Imperial soldiers who kill a few people, including one of the Gallian soldiers, leaving a gun behind. Welkin knows how to handle a gun well enough, so he and Alicia team up to take out the Imperial scouts.
Here I enter my first battle. I already know my way around the gameplay for the most part due to playing the sequel, except for some different controls. I imagine anyone reading this has already played the game, so I won't go into detail about the mechanics. As expected, the battle is basically a tutorial, so it's incredibly simple and trivial to win. I still only manage to get a B Rank, however, because apparently I suck at this more than I thought.
After the battle, Alicia seems rather traumatized by the dead bodies of the enemies, and she tells the other watchmen that they'll bury them. Alicia gives a speech about life and death; likely, the first of many. The narrator informs us that the Empire has declared war on Gallia, and basically peeps us for the main game. And with that, the logo appears.
Experience and such is based on rankings though, so in the long run the game gets harder if you get worse ranks early on. They are just based on turns taken though, which is sort of a flaw with the game, in my opinion.