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An exercise in masochism: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Hard Mode
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[table of contents]
An Introduction where I profess to have no idea what I'm doing
This is my first liveblog, and also the first time I'm ever trying out Hard Mode in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Good start, eh?

Fire Emblem is an extremely old series of strategy RP Gs renowned for being really difficult. It features Perma-death, which is reasonably rare in SRP Gs, where the "dead" are merely teleported away and return for the next fight. Battles are small scale in most games, and while you don't generally get the illusion you are up against an army, you are always outnumbered, and it is extremely satisfying beating a chapter with a small, decidedly ragtag group of nobodies.

12 games have been released so far, exclusively on Nintendo consoles, since the days of the NES, with only the N64 not getting a game (it was cancelled). A 13th game has been announced for the 3DS. A very similar series of games - Tear Ring Saga, and it's sequels have also come out on Sony platforms, and were made by the man who created Fire Emblem to begin with, Shouzou Kaga (he left after the 5th game), but none of these are in English, sadly.

The games feature certain series staples in game mechanics, which were added on gradually, and then more or less finalised by the 5th and 6th games, Thracia 776 and Fuin no Tsurugi. Radiant Dawn is more or less an amalgamation of all the innovations of the last 9 games (with a few unfortunate regressions), and is easily one of my favourites in the series for featuring both a lolEasy difficulty setting for casual runs, and harder settings for challenge plays. The game is also hard enough to make it so that there is no loss in honour even on Easy mode. Seriously, it's just the Japanese Normal mislabeled as Easy. Normal is, as logically follows,Hard, and Hard is actually Maniac Mode - an appropriate label.

I'm not a bad player by any means, and I'm very familiar with the game in Easy and Normal. Hard is... for the lack of a better word, my bugbear. I've always wanted to try it out, but sadly, I've never had the guts to. So, I'll be playing almost blind on Hard Mode, on a new game as opposed to a second playthrough (so no secret stuff), and I'll be doing my best to retain my sanity until the very end.

So what is Hard Mode anyways? Why is it so evil? Basically, it's the Japanese Maniac Mode, and contains a few changes to the Fire Emblem Formula.

No Weapon Triangle, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage (but more of the latter).

You can't see enemy movement and attack ranges (which is horrifying - Thracia 776 didn't do that to you) and you are forced to count manually.

Less Experience gained, and a lot less Bonus Experience gained (which gives you fewer trainable units and fewer opportunities to abuse the fuck out of the level up system.)

Stronger enemies (like myrmidons who has 18 speed and will double you, no questions asked, unless you get RNG-blessed)

MORE ENEMIES (lots more - see the prologue map for Normal and compare.)

In short, many sacrifices to Anna will be needed.

I had already completed a few chapters before I decided to chronicle my ineptitude, and as I have no desire to go through with a few of those chapters all over again, I'll be briefly summarizing those chapters. I won't be able to post my unit levels and bonus experience gained, but it's something at least.

Edit: Briefly summarising in a very loose sense of what is brief, it would seem. Also, the posts now have the map conditions in them when I realised they were pretty darn important.

Edit 2: Added some background information about FE post some feedback from a friend who knows nothing about the series.

Any constructive feedback (or even heavy criticism as to how I'm terrible) will be highly welcomed, whether it is the style of the liveblog or the way I play the game.

So, on with the show then!
8th Nov '11 6:44:21 AM flag for mods
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