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"For many ages, war has raged across this land. It was once ruled by a vast empire called Lazberia. The god-kings of Lazberia built their empire on the blood of enslaved citizens. For centuries, it stood untouchable. Yet still, time brought it to ruin...but the people lived on. From the ashes of Lazberia, they built two great nations. One, the Empire of Raze. The other, the Kingdom of Veria. But neither could accept the other. Endless blood was shed in the name of a holy war. Chaos, slaughter, destruction, and hate consumed the minds of the people.And now, a young man comes of age in these chaotic times. Perhaps he can be the hero this land urgently needs..."
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Tear Ring Saga Series: Berwick Saga Lazberia chronicle chapter 174 is a 2005 video game created by Shouzou Kaga, the creator of the Fire Emblem series, and his company Tirnanog for the Playstation 2. The legal mess caused by TearRing Saga prompted him to radically change his SRPG formula into his next game. The result is a vastly different and complex game while maintaining the superficial elements to the Fire Emblem series.

The story of Berwick Saga takes place in the continent of Lazberia, in the same world as Lieberia from Tear Ring Saga, but roughly a millennium after the events of that game.

It has been over a decade since the beginning of the most recent in a long history of bloody wars between the Berwick League and their bitter enemy, the Raze Empire. The Berwick League, led by the Kingdom of Veria, quickly falls apart after the death of King Mordias IV of Veria, and more than half of the League's lands are swiftly occupied by the Raze Empire. Due to a relatively recent civil war among the nations of the Berwick League, several of its members decide to defect and assist the Raze Empire in its invasion.

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Mordias's son and successor King Volcens flees with his court to the Duchy of Narvia, the land of his loyal vassal Duke Roswick, where he attempts to rebuild the Berwick League and prepare for a counterattack against the Raze Empire. Volcens calls across the land to all remaining loyal members of the League to join him in his fight. In answer to the king's call, Reese, the son of a nobleman in the frontier lands of the Kingdom of Veria, arrives in the Duchy of Narvia with a small company of knights. However, beset by enemies both external and internal, the revitalized Berwick League is in danger of falling apart once more.

While officially a sequel to Tear Ring Saga, the games are not significantly related by plot and barely resemble each other in terms of gameplay.

An English fan translation has been completed, and you can grab it here.

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Berwick Saga contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Chris, Sylvis, Ruby, Faye, Aegina, Larentia, Enid, Alvina and Lynette are all female warriors capable of fighting on the front lines. But Paramythis is a league above them all, as she is famed in-game as a master fighter who wields both swords and magic.

  • Adult Fear: Quite numerous in a Crapsack World like Lazberia, from being kidnapped and sold to slavery, orphans who lost their parents in the long war, being forcibly conscripted on to the front lines,etc

  • The Ace: Paramythis is a legendary figure who is described as an expert in physical and magical combat fitting for the Gotoh like unit of this game.

  • All Swords Are the Same: Averted, there's blades, daggers and maces which are locked to certain characters and classes.

  • All the Other Reindeer: The Forever War between the Berwick League and the Raze Empire has produced a lot of bad blood between each other. Both of it's citizens regard the other with fear and suspicion and they fight to protect themselves from getting killed.

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Navarron is finally overrun by Imperial Forces in the final chapters of the game.

  • Ambition Is Evil: King Mordias IV's cruel lust for power shaped his actions and the state of the continent as a result, whether it's requesting the aid of his ancestral enemy, the Raze Empire, in order to win the Civil War or assasinating the Apostle and blaming it on the Raze Empire to cement his position as King

  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Averted. Bows have 1-2 range, meaning archers can attack from 2 hexes away or an adjacent hex, but still cannot counterattack in melee. Crossbows have 0-1 range, so a crossbow user can counterattack in melee, but cannot do so from 2 hexes away.

  • Badass Army: The Sinon Knights eventually become a powerful army to be known, beginning with how they beaten back a the much larger Bornian army on their way to attack Navarron.

  • Big Brother Instinct: Or rather, Little Brother's. This is Zephyrus's core motivation. All of his actions and goals are motivated by his wish to protect and ensure the safety of his older sister Empress Anastasia and nephew Manaris. This also applies to his elder brother Bernard. When he hears that King Volcens intends to execute him on Berwick Isle, he immediately goes and slaughters the guards inside the prison, unaware that the Sinon Knights are also intent on saving his brother.

  • Black Knight: A enemy-only class which is highly dangerous due to being mounted and equipped with lances (powerful spears that have higher might depending on how far the user has moved). Additionally, they carry black shields which have a %chance of reflecting damage taken back to your unit.

  • Cycle of Revenge: The Forever War between the Berwick League and the Raze Empire has essentially produced this, which is best exemplified in the conclusion of Dean's recruitment sidequest. Both he and a retired Raze Soldier named Fraus have suffered horribly at the hands of soldiers (Dean's family was killed by soldiers of the Raze Empire while Fraus' hometown has razed and massacred by soldiers of the Kingdom of Verial and both joined the war in order to kill as many Raze/Berwick soldiers as possible.

  • Crapsack World: The continent of Lazberia is plagued with an ongoing Hopeless War between The Federation and The Empire and even that doesn't stop the constant CivilWars and conspiracies between the Kingdoms that make up former. The common citizens not only have to suffer the ravages of war that the two sides of inflicted upon each other, bandit and pirate gangs take advantage of the chaos to Rape, Pillage, and Burn.

  • The Church: The Veria Church for the Berwick League who worships the Veria, the Earth Mother and Goddess of the Day and Rebirth and the Raze Church for the Raze Empire who in turn worships Raze, the Sky Father and God of the Night and Death. The two were formerly of the same religion in the Lazberian Empire (With the two gods originally just two aspects of the same god) but a schism occurred and eventually the Veria sect was sidelined and exiled by the Empire who prefered the powerful god of darkness.

  • Corrupt Church: Averted with the Raze Church. Dark Is Not Evil applies to them until the reign of Pope Urbanus IV and even then he is quickly ousted out of power at the end of the game after his coup'd'eat is foiled. Even his rise is said to have been fueled by decades of Verian kings' own misdeeds, and the Verian Church being willing to forgive them.

  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Averted. The enemy AI is placed in the same rules as the player during fog-of-war missions and also can't see your units that have the Hide ability.

  • Church Militant: The Shining Knights, the Magic Knight protectors of the Apostle of the Verian Church. On the side of the Raze Church, they have the War Priests and the Dark Templars.

  • Crutch Character

    • Ward, who averts this. While not flashy, his stats and weapon versatility enable him to last until the end of the game.

    • Izerna is the first healer you get early on and only until Chapter 4 you get more healers that outclass her in use.

  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture

    • The Berwick League is modeled on the Delian League, an alliance of Ancient Greek city states united against the Persian Empire, with the Kingdom of Veria being the Athens counterpart.

    • The Raze Empire has explicit parallels with the Ottoman Empire, both being a large and prosperous empire that has a heavily stratified society.

    • The Raze Church is modeled after the Catholic Church (original and hierarchical) And Verian Church is Protestant (separatist and reformist).

  • Darker and Edgier: When compared to TearRing Saga and to most Fire Emblem games.

  • A Day in the Limelight: The sidequests puts some focus towards your default and mercenary units with their own story to tell. Some of these are required in order to permanently recruit the mercenaries.

  • Dragon Rider: Unique in that in this iteration of flier units, they have new rules and mechanics about them. First, land units and flier units can passthrough each other regardless of affiliation. Second, melee land units cannot initiate combat against them (unless using a mid-range weapon like a hand axe or javelin), but can counter provided they don't get struck or take damage.

  • The Empire: The Raze Empire. While initially presented as an antagonistic evil empire, further information of them as the game goes on reveals a far more complex picture, with the fact that they were exacting retribution against the aggression of the Berwick League.

    • The Lazberian Empire plays this straight. An Empire [[spoiler:Founded by the remnants of another evil empire that considers its pure-blooded citizens the Master Race to such an intense degree that they practiced slavery against the lower classes and enacted laws that further distanced themselves from the lower classes, such as forbidding mixed-race marriages and exiling dissenting citizens from the capital.

  • Enemy Chatter: Unlike in the Fire Emblem games (until Three Houses, years later funny enough), even the lowliest Mook are given their own dialogue that mostly humanizes them. This is best shown in an early sidequest against an imperial supply convoy; most of them are just regular people doing their duty.

  • Empty Levels: Averted. The game uses a pseudo random system called "bracketed growth". Basically, each time a unit levels up, there's a chance of each stat going up. In addition to that, each character has maximum and minimal expected stats for a given level. The game will not allow a unit to have a particular stat to be too high or too low. This prevents balance issues and ensures that characters function in their respective roles as designed. Also, the game rewards the use of multiple characters and teamwork is mandatory for tackling the game's various maps.

  • Expy: Not to the extent of its predecessor, as gameplay is mechanically different. The first few chapters have extensive hints to explain new and unique mechanics.

  • Fantastic Caste System: The society of the Raze Empire is stratified into a number of social classes, the lowest of which are slaves. However, while there are slaves, the majority of the nation are made up of " Free Citizens" (in the feudal sense) that consider the Raze Empire as a nice place to live in.

  • The Federation: The Berwick League is founded and led by the Kingdom of Veria in order to combat the expansionism of the Raze Empire. Just like the Raze Empire however, further information as the game goes on reveals that Berwick League is far from virtuous as it appears with the revelation that they were the aggressors in the latest war of the Berian-Raze conflict.

  • Final Death: It wouldn't be a Fire Emblem inspired game without it.

  • Forever War.: The history between the Berwick League and the Raze Empire in a nutshell. What began as a series of territorial disputes over the hemogeny of the three eastern countries spiraled into a conflict that lasts four and a half centuries, with both sides unable to achieve an official end to the war due to the amount of bad blood developed between them and machinations of certain powerful individuals.

  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: At first this seems to be played straight and indeed, Berwick League was originally founded to protect the Eastern Three Kingdoms and themselves from the expansionism of Raze Empire this is subverted in the latest conflict, the The Federation is shown in a far more negative light than the The Empire as a whole.

  • Government in Exile: King Volcens and his court flees to the Duchy of Narvia in order re-establish the Berwick League from there and continue the fight against the Raze Empire.

  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Both the Berwick League and the Raze Empire have both their good sides and bad and complex motivations that drive their actions, with the exception of Prince Faisal and his allies, Pope Urbanus IV and his extremist followers.

  • Greater-Scope Villain: King Mordias IV and Pope Urbanus IV. The former's actions (ordering the assassination of the Apostle, imprisoning of Prince Bernard and his defeat of the Eastern Kingdoms, and him starting the war against the Raze Empire) results in the terrible state of the Berwick League at the start of the game. The later is responsible for the former becoming king, not to mention Reese ends up fighting with the forces of the Raze Church over the course of the game.

  • Heel–Face Turn: Larentia deserts her country to join yours after being disgusted with their alliance with the Raze Church.

  • Hell Hole Prison: The Berwick Leagie PO Ws of the Raze Empire are placed into these, one of which the Sinon Knights raid in a side chapter in order to rescue the captives.

  • Hopeless War: The game starts off with the Berwick League suffering massive defeats and the loss of the Kingdom of Veria at hands of the Raze Empire. It doesn't help that King Volcens's poor military decisions makes things even worse for the League as the game goes on. The Berwick League is finally defeated in the final chapters, with Navarron being taken over by Imperial Forces.

  • An Interior Decorator Is You: Reese's office in the city of Navarron. While at first only the curtain' color can be changed but later you may able to accquire furniture items that also offer positive buffs and benefits.

  • Invulnerable Horses: Averted. Horses can and will die during the course of a battle and the rider will be dismounted as a result. Different horses also have different HP values and some even offer stat bonuses. There are (limited) ways to heal them between battles.

  • Item Crafting: Unique weapons can be crafted from required materials that can be brought or be taken/dropped by defeating certain enemy units.

  • I Shall Taunt You: The Provoke skill draws the attention of a single enemy unit towards the user.

  • Jousting Lance: Lances are a sub-weapon of Spears usable only by certain mounted classes. Lance type weapons cannot counter or be countered, but deal greatly increased damage based on a charge which is how much the unit moved before initiating the attack. Spears operate like this as well, but to a less exaggerated extent, can be used any spear using class and can counter provided they either dodge or take no damage.

  • Knighting: Instead of merely a character changing their model after promoting to a class, the promoting character goes through a ceremony held by Reese and the Sinon Knights. The Mercenary characters also go through a similar ceremony by being granted a title by the Mercenary Guild and his/her fellow mercenaries congratulating the promoted character.

    • Reese himself goes through a ceremony ones he becomes a Great Lord before King Volcens, who is convinced by Duke Roswick and Bishop Lebough that Reese has accomplished so much.

  • Knife Nut: The main weapons of thieves and they have an increased change of inflicting the Injury Status, can ignore a victim's def stat and they damage is calculated by the weapon's might + a random number between 1 and the unit's strength.

  • Low Fantasy: Moreso than Fire Emblem series and Berwick's predecessor TearRing Saga. It's a human affair from start to finish.

  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Unlike in Fire Emblem, Shields will reduce incoming damage (depending on the shield's Defense stat), with the Shield and Skill stat of affecting the chance of activation. Some shields goes as far as increasing the magical resistance against a certain element.

  • Mercenary Units: Most of the available characters are mercenaries that require a price for their services if you want them to participate in a battle. Completing certain requirements (such as increasing their happiness stats) enables them to be permanently recruited to your army without cost.

  • Motive Decay: The Berwick League was founded in order to protect the three eastern kingdoms of Peseil, Ish and Leia from the expansionism of the Raze Empire but later on in it's history, King Mordias IV convinces the Raze Empire to help him win the civil war against the three eastern kingdoms in a great perversion to the League's original goals.

  • Nemesis Weapon: Chaos wields the Vajira, one of the two legendary divine blades that he stolen from his master, Cowen, the father of Faye. Vitra, the other half of the pair and the only one to nullify the protection of the sword, is under the posssession of Jacharam, who uses it to keep him under control.

  • Non-Linear Sequel: While marketed as a direct sequel, Berwick Saga only has a limited connection with TearRing Saga The ancient Lazberian Empire was founded by Zoan pilgrims who fled after the fall of the Zoan Empire in Lieberia. They easily conquer the continent of Lazberia though superior technology

  • Nintendo Hard: As a Spiritual Successor to Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, this goes without saying.

  • One-Man Army: Averted. No one unit will be able to take on more than a handful of soldiers by themself, unlike in Fire Emblem.

  • Power Crystal: Instead of scrolls or tomes, the mages and clerics seal raw magical energy into orbs which would then be released when used.

  • Prisoner Exchange: Captured imperial soldier can be ransomed, with generals and knights having a higher ransom value than the common spearmen.

  • Pretext for War: King Mordias IV has the Apostle Silpha assassinated, in order to rid himself of her meddling and to unite the Berwick League against the Raze Empire.

  • Prestige Class: Just like in the Fire Emblem series, most of the character can be upgraded into stronger versions of their standard classes. Unlike with the former, they not need an item to promote and they usually require a hitting a designated level and a certain statistic. Others have more complicated requirements such a completing or viewing events and personal sidequests.

  • Ragtag Bunchof Misfits: Downplayed. The Sinon Knights are all professional soldiers and the default recruitable units are either royalty or soldiers themselves. Only the mercenary units apply for it and even then they are less weird than the usual.

  • Red Shirt Army: Averted. The green unit allies usually can take care of themselves and not end up being wiped out too quickly.

  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The game is significantly harder than its predecessor, Tear Ring Saga. due to its unique mechanics such as a new turn system, breakable weapons dictated by the RNG and far more challenging maps with strong enemies.

  • Shades of Conflict: And unlike in Fire Emblem, it's not limited to the named characters. It's very rare to find a character who is truly good or evil in this war.

  • Sidequest: In-between the main chapters are optional side chapters, the catch is that neither Reese or Ward are allowed to participate in these missions.

  • Soiled City on a Hill: In the backstory, the Lazberian Empire, an empire that ruled through fear and slavery of it's lower-class citizens, collapsed when it's capital city is sunk by a great earthquake and with it most of its pure-blooded citizens. The rest of the civilization is destroyed by the revolt of the slaves and the invasion of barbarians from the north.

  • Spiritual Successor: While Berwick Saga borrows less from the Fire Emblem series, its tone resonates somewhat with Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 in featuring an underdog struggle against seemingly impossible odds. Funnily enough, it shares a lot in common with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn as well. It has fans suspecting both drew from the same notes Shouzou Kaga left over with Nintendo after he left. TearRing Saga may also have inspired plot elements in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (several similarities are apparent between TRS and Blazing Blade).

  • Suspiciously Small Army

  • Succession Crisis: In the backstory, the death of King Harmel VII of Veria results in the Berwick League being split into two factions (The Eastern Powers and Western Powers) and waged a bloody war that lasted for nearly four years, that led to the defeat and destruction of the Eastern Kingdoms of Pesil, Ishs and Leia as well as the imprisonment of Duke Bernard.

    • Much later in the game. The Raze Empire also experiences one as well upon the death of Emperor Cleiman VI.

  • Random Number God: Like the above, it has a lot of RNG. There are many ways to modify hit rates in your favor, though. There is also RNG involved in weapons breaking below a certain durability threshold, which has proven to be a controversial design decision.

  • Relationship Values: While Berwick Saga doesn't have a lover system, it does have a happiness value for mercenaries that is usually a requirement in order for them to be permanently recruited to the Sinon Knights.

  • Water Source Tampering: An early side-chapter has the Sinon Knights investigate the poisoned river which affected some orphans, only to find out that a Raze Priest and his underlings were targeting the city of Navarron.

  • "Wanted!" Poster: The mercenary guild introduces a bounty hunting system, complete with posters that identify the targets. Capturing bounty targets alive pays double the listed rate, in addition to letting you seize their inventory.

  • War Is Hell: As from the usual horrors of war, the game does a great job of depicting how war affects every level of society, from the nobles and royalty to the common citizens. Even the ending spends a lot of time dwelling on this issue.
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