I've got no jokes about the tutorial
Immediately after starting the game I'm asked which difficulty level I intend to play the game on. Since I'm not entirely crazy I choose Basic (out of a selection that includes only two difficulty levels).
The game starts by declaring that it's been fifteen years since the "Espada Massacre", an Important Backstory Event that'll probably figure into the plot. Then it scrolls down to a view of the protagonist, Giulio, talking about the rain and hoping that "the goods" are safe. A pair of soldiers, the idealistic Noah and the cynical Claude, talk about the supply situation a bit.
The conversation continues in a manner that allows the writers to provide a few important details: Giulio, Claude, and Noah are part of a group called Esperanza, and they're fighting the Daltans, whoever they are. The fighting's been going on for quite some time, and Noah's sick of it—he just wants to eat a decent meal.
The conversation is interrupted when one of their comrades, Teresa, shows up to report on a nearby caravan. Apparently we're going to raid it, hoping that it contains food.
A bit later, the caravan passes through our heroes' neck of the woods. Unfortunately for Noah, it seems that the cargo's slaves rather than food. Apparently they were supposed to kill someone? Anyway, they're apparently trying to escape before they're killed for knowing too much.
As the two leaders of the caravan discuss their situation, the team decides that it's the right time to attack. The merchants call their guards (more than are expected for a single wagon, indicating that they've got something important), and the fight is on!
The game runs the battle on a time limit: It's 14:30 on the 11th day of the month of Audbla (I'm terribly sorry, but I can't take that name seriously), and I have until 6:00 on the 15th to win this.
The game then asks me to select an Ace, but it only lets me choose Giulio. After much deliberation, I select him. The game then tells me to choose equipment, giving me a grand total of one possible configuration for this battle.
As the battle begins, we get a conversation between my team and the enemy Ace, a tough-looking man named Wolfram. There's nothing interesting in it, so I just start the battle.
Anyway, I'm immediately greeted by a tutorial, which explains the basics. This game does something interesting with turn structure: while enemies follow the standard Tactics Ogre model where each one of them gets their own turn, the payer gets a single turn for any one
of their troops. Having a unit act adds Wait Time, and any unit whose Wait Time is above zero cannot act without suffering an HP penalty. The delay between turns is based on what actions are taken.
In any case, the game has conveniently made all my choices for me again, because everyone except Giulio is AI-controlled here. I don't expect it to make much of a difference anyway, though, because my team's members all have hit point totals in the 900-1000 range while the toughest enemy (Wolfram, of course) has 688 HP.
After the game teaches me how to move and act, I get in and start tearing dudes up. There's nothing especially unusual here—actions are chosen while moving, attacks can be blocked at a rate based on the direction that the target is facing, and so forth.
After a few attacks, I kill one of the enemies, prompting a discussion of how characters die if they take enough damage from the attack that defeats them, and dead enemies drop everything while fleeing enemies only drop one item. Giulio also gains a mastery level for his sword, learning an attack called Root Blade (weaker than a regular attack, but it targets three enemies in front of the user).
The first day of the battle ends with the caravan losing three units (I forced two to retreat with Root Blade).
As night falls, the battle is looking pretty much won, with only Wolfram and one assassin left. They don't last much longer, though both are able to flee. The battle ends on the 12th at 0:50.
After the battle, the merchant who didn't do any fighting starts begging for his life, throwing various offers around. I'm in a merciful mood, so I choose to let him live. Claude and Noah suggest that my decision might cause trouble later, but Teresa raises no objections.
Anyway, Noah checks the wagon, and finds little in the way of food. There's just weapons, trade goods, and one girl who they were planning to sell (presumably under a sleeping spell, considering that she slept through an eleven hour battle). Giulio makes the decision to bring the girl with him.
About two weeks later, we're at our hideout. A girl who the manual identifies as Giulio's sister Fiona asks who the girl is. Another man, apparently Giulio's brother Ragnus, assumes that she's some disgraced noble or something. An old gentleman with glasses (Paulo) asks Fiona to go get some "medicinal spirits" for the girl when she wakes up.
After Fiona leaves, Ragnus and Paulo immediately discuss the possibility of selling the girl. Ragnus rationalizes it by suggesting that no Daltan noble would be able to live peacefully in a city full of Leonicians, while I wonder to myself about whether or not this racism-themed plotline will be handled decently. Giulio is the only one who raises any objections, feeling that selling her would dishonour his departed father and that of Noble Esperanza. He also points out that someone must've wanted the girl removed, considering she was in a Daltan caravan.
Ragnus eventually settles the argument by deciding to wait until they can figure out who the girl is before deciding to sell her, assigning Giulio and Noah to the task of watching her.
I'm then abruptly thrown into the setup screen, where I can manage my forces. There's not much to do here right now, but I do buy every single healing item the shop has, along with a Blunt Sword that I equip to Giulio along with the Iron Sword+3 he already has. I then save my game, deciding that this is a good place to leave off.
Just who is this mysterious girl? What will Ragnus decide to do with her? Will sparing that merchant turn out to have been a huge mistake? Find out (maybe) next time on Let's Experience Gungnir!