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  • 8.8: The GameSpot review pans the game for not including Mii support and being too much like the rest of the series. And being hard on Easy Mode. And not including motion controls, which resulted in a very bad review anyway. And guess which console was being criticized by the same site for using motion control in too many games?
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Was Dheginshea siding with Ashera against the party a case of Suicide by Cop as a way to atone for his past actions? Some of his post-battle dialogue would imply him to be a Death Seeker and it's one of the few ways his actions there would make any sense.
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    • Altina being added to Fire Emblem Heroes as a Mythic hero shows that she's rather... zealous about fighting the forces of chaos. With the late-game reveal in Radiant Dawn that Yune was unstable rather than evil, Altina's attitude begs the question of whether or not she was aware of Yune's true nature like Dheginshea was and is keeping up the act, or if she actually bought what Ashera was selling.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The boss of Part 2 is Ludveck, whose stats aren't that impressive. He comes with a fair few lackeys backing him, but the vast majority of his forces are cut off from him in different segments of the room. Given that Haar is a flying buzzsaw, you can send him over there and make short work of him, easily clearing the BEXP requirement of doing so in under 10 turns. Even Elincia can kill him with some luck, and if you put some effort in, either one of them can do so on the very first turn.
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    • The Black Knight can be trivialized by just giving Ike a Hammer, as since the BK still counts as an armor unit it'll be thrice as powerful and will 3HKO the BK regardless of Ike's stats, and can even 2HKO if Ike's Strength is capped and you attack the BK while he isn't on a cover tile to boost his Defense. Even without a Hammer, he's still a fairly easy boss, especially when compared to Deghinsea, Sephiran, and Ashera, as Ike should be fast enough at this point to double him and possess superior stats overall, while you can keep Ike on a cover tile to get your Defense boosted farther, thus winning the damage output battle against him without any assistance. Just remember to make sure Ike has the Nihil skill so that the BK can't activate Eclipse, which is an invariable OHKO no matter how strong your Ike is. The hardest part of that fight is keeping him alive long enough for your other characters to get the Wishblade from Levail. No doubt as payback for the insanity of the first duel in Path of Radiance, which was entirely luck-based.
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  • Arc Fatigue: Part III is by far the longest part, and it's also where some of the most controversial moments are seen. Eventually between all of the switching perspectives, long chapters, and the story constantly on the move at a break-neck pace, Part III can really burn a player out.
  • Awesome Music: Some of the best music in the Fire Emblem franchise comes from this game.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • As opposed to being universally beloved before, Astrid's appearance here splintered her fanbase. In Path of Radiance, her base was very solid, as she's a very lovable character. Come RD however, there's been some bases that thinks that this is a completely different Astrid based on not only her going down in tier list, but also how she seems to crank up her Horrible Judge of Character trait by fawning over Makalov, whose issues are already noted in the previous game's YMMV page, thereby an inversion of Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. There's also a camp that disagreed that fawning over Makalov is a bad thing at all, citing that this is Astrid's way to express the freedom from her past of being a Sheltered Aristocrat, while she could've picked a better man, she's still acting on free will and that's the most important and consistent thing about her since the previous game, this particular game giving an emphasis on the fight for personal freedom also helps her case and she does suddenly turn fierce and dangerous, without any fawning of Makalov, when facing the Begnion senates. (They will still agree on her objective badness as a unit, though)
    • Geoffrey is, for better or worse, a standard Knight in Shining Armor. Just how he's seen in the fanbase varies wildly on whether that is a good thing. Notably, he is the only character that can be in a relationship with Elincia at the end of the game. Whether he is a perfect match that complements her empathetic and emotional nature nicely or is a boring stiff that exists to shut off potential ship tease with characters like Ike or Tibarn is up for contention. His eventual relationship with Elincia might also seem egregious for being a breach in the chain-of-command, considering how seriously he takes knighthood. Finally, there is the near execution of his sister, which he accepts with resignation, was it symbolic of his dedication to knighthood or a wasted opportunity to give conflict to Geoffrey which would make him more human? His availability and use is also up for contention. In both games, he has very poor availability but this is somewhat balanced by having the Paragon skill which helps him level him up quite quickly.
    • Gameplay-wise, there's Edward, who is at the forefront of the casual vs. hardcore anaylsis conflict for this game. To the former group of players he often gets seen as one of the best characters in the game for having some of the best growths in a great class line, while to the latter group he is considered quite bad and only useful for the first few chapters, as he has very weak base stats (especially lack of Defense) and requires significant investment to really shine on the harder difficulties. His usefulness generally depends on what difficulty you're playing; Part 1 on Hard Mode really isn't kind to Magikarp Power characters and he will become useless fast if he doesn't keep getting Speed in his earlier levelups to keep doubling the rapidly faster enemies (he starts off just fast enough to double enemies, while enemy Speed increases with nearly every map on Hard), while Edward will get off the ground really fast on Easy when he can get multiple levelups in each map and will pretty much keep doubling everyone even if he misses some Speed levelups. Hard also removes the weapon triangle, which hurts Edward a lot when he can no longer evade the early axe users well and is taking even more damage with his already poor durability. This drives the conflict, as the more casual players tend to play on the lower difficulties and will willingly spend more time/resources raising growth characters, while the more hardcore players will typically play harder difficulties with more efficiency and sometimes explicitly aiming for lower turn counts, where growth characters usually just can't keep up on their own when playing a remotely fast pace and need to offer really worthwhile payoff over competing characters to be given extra resources to keep up.
    • Soren. Some fans love him for his cold and snarky personality, and tragic backstory. Others take issue with his Wimpification in Radiant Dawn, and dislike the amount of Ho Yay he has with Ike, believing it to be pandering to a specific crowd to the expense of others (as noted under Vocal Minority below).
    • Heather has a lot of fans because she is a blatant and attractive lesbian that is overt about how attracted she is to the other female characters, particularly with hitting on Nephenee, creating easy yuri fodder. However a lot of people also really don't like her because of her one-note and stereotypical personality that has pretty much all her dialogue consist of either fawning over the female characters or making it clear how much she dislikes men. For her detractors it also doesn't help she is one of the absolute worst combat units in the game and is unsalvagable no matter how much favortism she gets due to her awful Strength growth, the awful caps of the Rogue/Whisper class, and being stuck with knives, while there is also little valuable thieving she can actually do in the maps she is available in to make use of her niche.
    • Ilyana just like POR, where she has her fans for her cute design and being still the only Thunder mage in the game, but many that dislike her for her personality just being a one-note joke about how much of a Big Eater she is, as all her dialogue still consists of how much she eats and how hungry she always is, with absolutely no development since POR. Gameplay-wise she and Thunder magic has also been nerfed significantly since POR and she is now outright bad, while being a unit with negative incentive to train up, as since she leaves the Dawn Brigade at the end of Part 1 to join the Greil Mercernaries in Part 3, training her up in Part 1 means depriving another DB unit of desperately needed and very limited EXP for the upcoming Part 3 DB chapters, for a unit that even if promoted by the end of Part 1 is going to end up really underpowered in the easier GMs chapters in Part 3.
    • Micaiah. She's either seen as the worst "Lord" in the series, or one of the most best/interesting "Lords" in the series. Not helping is the debate over if she is a Replacement Scrappy for Ike or a fitting character who complements him. To elaborate, the 'Replacement' aspect of Micaiah stems from being a Contrasting Sequel Main Character placed in the position of starting a plot which must necessarily continue or resolve threads from an existent plot.
    • Ike himself could be seen as one this time around, since those who loved him would hate Micaiah and vice-versa. And often for the same reasons. The Ike supporters would hate on Micaiah for being bland and underdevelopped while those who support Micaiah hate Ike for being a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad responsible for Micaiah's lack of development.
    • Sothe, in regards to his quality as a unit. For some players, he's a poor unit due to his mediocrity in combat in Part 3 and his unsalvagely terrible combat in Part 4, no matter how much investment he's given, because of his low stat caps, terrible weapon type, late third-tier promotion and terrible mastery skill, on top of being a forced unit whose death will always trigger a game over on maps he's playable on until the final few chapters of the game. For others, he's invaluable as a unit thanks to serving as a Crutch Character for the generally weak Dawn Brigade in Part 1, making difficult chapters easier, as he can easily kill or weaken most enemies encountered, and that his poor combat in later parts is irrelevant due to the large amount of powerful units available to the player for the final chapters. His drop off in Act 3/4 also adds to this debate as well since for some, it makes the game forcing him to be part of the story frustrating, while for others his drop off avoids being too much of a Game-Breaker like others of his archetype typically end up being.
  • Best Boss Ever: Almost all of Radiant Dawn's endgame bosses qualify.
    • The Black Knight is a one-on-one Duel Boss between him and Ike, and he finally unmasks himself beforehand. It's the perfect conclusion to the arc that began with Ike's father's death in the Path of Radiance. (Being easily cheesable with a Hammer notwithstanding.)
    • Deghinsea is a full-strength dragon Laguz, absolutely huge and intimidating and with stats to match. He also has a map-based AOE attack, something rare in the series. As mentioned below, his status as this is the main reason why he's not considered The Scrappy.
    • Sephiran is not nearly as tough, but still has a few tricks, such as summoning Spirits to absorb attacks directed at him, as well as having an awesomely tragic boss theme, several great boss conversations, and another AOE attack (magical this time).
    • And finally, the Final Boss Ashera, who is often considered one of the best final bosses in the series from a gameplay standpoint, if not the best. Unlike many earlier final bosses, it's more than just having the main Lord wail away with their legendary weapon. Ike has to deal the final blow, but first you have to destroy the barriers surrounding the boss with the rest of your army, which requires making use of teamwork and skill combinations. The boss also has many different attacks, ranging from single-character snipes to AEO, both physical and magical. Ashera is one of the few final bosses in the series whose fight feels like a natural extension of Fire Emblem gameplay.
  • Best Level Ever: The final Endgame; Rebirth, is an incredibly fun experience, with you taking the best of your army to scale the daunting Tower of Guidance and go through some of the most challenging, fun and dramatic moments in the entire series. In addition, all of the entries on Best Boss Ever are face in this one incredibly long level. It certainly ends the Tellius duology on a high note.
  • Breather Boss: Hetzel, who only uses staves in the first part of 4F.
  • Broken Base:
    • Several of the big reveals in relation to the previous game are controversial, particularly Sephiran and Ashera being antagonists, the Dark Goddess taking the heroes' side, and the Begnion Senate being responsible for everything bad in both games. Depending on who you ask, these are clever deconstructive twists on Path of Radiance and new shake-ups to the oft-stock Fire Emblem plots or Shocking Swerves that retroactively diminish it and have long since become derivative cliches of their own.
    • The split parties mechanic has led to divide on whether this works for adding a scope to the game that no other game in the series has ever been able to perform by seeing from many different perspectives of the war, or if all it does is just muddle the gameplay and story with its frequent shifting between parties, causing many characters to be either a Tier-Induced Scrappy, They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character, or a combination of the two with much less customization provided.
    • Part 2 has a noticeably divided reception. A significant portion of the fanbase see it as a blatant filler episode that has no real relevance to the game's overarching plot other than reintroducing the Greil Mercenaries at the end of it, and would have rather skipped straight to Part 3, while giving the Dawn Brigade a few more maps in Parts 1 and 3 in its place to flesh them out more (and give them the extra EXP ingame they desperately need). Additionally from a gameplay perspective, its few maps (other than its final one) are among the game's worst maps, and most of Part 2's cast isn't available again until late Part 3, while only Haar, Nephenee, and Elincia of the Part 2 cast are worth a damn investing into, making most of the Part 2 cast pointless to play as. However others defend Part 2, who find its plot intriguing and enjoy getting a realistic look at Crimea with its new unproven Queen in the aftermath of The Mad King's War, while also liking that Elincia gets A Day in the Limelight and gets to show off character development as a strong ruler that quells a rebellion with little blood loss.
    • There is something of one over how to view and respect Ike's character. Ambiguous sexuality aside, some fans like to focus on Ike's more endearing and compassionate side, while others like to focus on Ike's manliness, especially in Radiant Dawn. While there's a lot of overlap, there are fans who focus primarily on one side and tend to exaggerate it; at worst, the former camp can depict the Radiant Hero as overly soft and flanderizes his Ship Tease with Soren, while the latter camp can over-glorify him out of Testosterone Poisoning and likens him to over-the-top manly characters like Captain Falcon and Guts.
  • Cargo Ship: Gatrie x Tree in a Skirt, from a base conversation with Shinon in Radiant Dawn, immediately took off as a near-universally accepted joke OTP: see Memetic Mutation below.
  • "Common Knowledge": Ike being the World's Strongest Man across all games. Many people claim Ike is the strongest Lord character in the series, and that his feats in game prove that, with even Fire Emblem Heroes going about this approach as well. In game, Ike is a good fighter, but its acknowledged that there are people who are better fighters than he is, and while strong, it not invincible. His defeating of Ashera is often used for this, with people often missing that Yune, Ashera's equal, powered Ike to do so, and that without it, Ike could not have beaten her. Despite this, the community treats Ike as a Memetic Badass.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Izuka, Ashnard's demented chief scholar and a Beorc Mad Scientist, is no less evil than his master. In his brief cameo in Path of Radiance, he appears onscreen just long enough for it to be revealed that he is the developer of the Feral Ones, Laguz who are forcibly mode-locked into their beast forms and driven insane to be used as Cannon Fodder. In his base at Gritnea Tower it is revealed he has a basement devoted to storing the corpses of his experiments' victims. Izuka takes on a much greater role in the second game, where he has been hired by Lekain to bend Daein to Begnion's whims. He takes on the role of strategist to Daein's weak-willed Prince Pelleas, where it is demonstrated that he would gladly sacrifice good strategy for pointless destruction. He injects the innocent Muarim with the Feral One drug, which would have annihilated his mind if not for Rafiel's intervention. When Begnion offers to make peace with Daein, Izuka springs his trap, telling Pelleas to sign a "peace treaty" that is actually a Blood Pact, mystically binding Pelleas and thus all of Daein into virtual slavery to Begnion. Finally, it is revealed that he's tested his drug on the Beorc, his own race, too, including turning Elincia's noble Uncle Renning into the Tragic Monster known as General Bertram.
    • Vice-Minister Lekain, Duke of Gaddos, is a high-ranking politician of the Theocracy of Begnion and senior-most member of the country's corrupt senate who is driven by his insatiable desire for more power and hatred for the Laguz. When Begnion's Empress Misaha emancipated the country's Laguz slaves and planned to reveal that the royal lineage of Begnion was Branded, Lekain had her assassinated, then, pinning the crime on the peaceful Heron Laguz, whipped his countrymen into a genocidal frenzy, reducing the Herons' population from thousands to four in a single night. He then conspired for Misaha's young granddaughter Sanaki and a young senator by the name of Sephiran to be elevated to the positions of Empress and Prime Minister respectively, the only positions higher than his own, while he held the real power from the shadows. After Daein lost the war to Crimea, Lekain had the defeated nation annexed by Begnion, and gave Duke Numida and General Jarod free reign to do what they pleased with it. When Daein declared independence, Lekain tricked its new king, Pelleas, into making a Blood Pact with him, a mystical document that conscripts one nation in service to another under penalty of its citizens dropping dead one by one. Using this magic Lekain enslaves Pelleas and the Daein army to act as his accomplices in a war which Lekain plans to use to wipe the Laguz species off the face of the Earth.
  • Contested Sequel:
    • Narratively, its fans like the moral complexity, and argue that its storytelling cliches are at least different cliches from the rest of the series. Its detractors loathe that its story made plentiful haphazard changes to the mythology of The 'Verse to do it, argue that the shifting perspectives and tangled plot are hard to follow and make connecting to the characters a challenge, and are especially critical of the cut-down support conversations and rampant Ship Sinking.
    • Mechanically, its fans like the uncompromising challenge of the gameplay and shake-ups to the series formula at work. Its critics consider it to be overloaded with Fake Difficulty, opaque or badly-designed mechanics, bizarre balance decisions, and uselessly-weak characters.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Shipping Ike with Marth is pretty popular due to both characters appearing in Super Smash Bros. and, in some cases, due to the whole debate on Ike's sexuality and due to Marth himself being viewed as a "twink" despite having a canon wife. Ike/Lucina also exists as a heterosexual equivalent.
    • Going outside of the Fire Emblem universe, Ike is also shipped with his Smash-mate Solid Snake quite a bit. Just like Ike, Snake is a Rated M for Manly character with a very similar ambiguous sexuality and Ho Yay situation. Come SSB4, and some people started shipping Ike with Cloud, as both are fairly similar characters with lots of appeal to fangirls.
  • Critical Dissonance: While both games were well received (Radiance a bit more so) and Ike is one of the most popular Lords in the series (if not the most popular), they sold very poorly in their native Japan.
  • Demonic Spider:
    • The Tiger Laguz. They have very high HP with high Defense, they hit very hard, and are very accurate with their blows, so you'll usually be 2HKO'd by them or at best 3HKO'd, while dodge tanking is out of the question when even your dodgiest units will have at best a coin flip's chance to dodge them. This is all on top of them having tremendous movement when their movement isn't being impeded by water terrain. You additionally have to fight them with the Dawn Brigade, whose units are especially frail on defense, and while you don't have the crutch characters around in the chapters you fight them. Their main flaw is that they're pretty slow so trained up units can often double them, but when they're so physically tanky you'll still struggle to 2RKO them. It'll take some very cautious and strategic planning to ensure you don't lose any units to these beasts. One upside though is that if you kill them while they're transformed you'll get a ton of EXP, which the underlevelled DB especially appreciate.
    • Snipers and Warriors who wield a Crossbow-type weapon. Crossbows are an unusual type of weapon, that have an extremely high Might value, but completely ignore the unit's Strength in damage calculation. The result is that they tend to be much weaker weapons in practice, especially as these units tend to have very high Strength to begin with and will thus be hitting a lot harder with standard weapons. However, these weapons become extremely dangerous against non-dragon flying units, even more so than standard Bows. To explain, some classes have a weakness to a specific type of weapon, which will have their Might tripled in damage calculation when they come into play. Since these weapons have extremely high Might values at base, they end up becoming insanely powerful against fliers (the weakest version, the Bowgun, has a Might of 24, so against fliers its Might becomes 72, which will deal massive damage regardless of strength values), and will often outright kill. Crossbows additionally strike from a range of 1 and 2 (so you can't attack such units without a counterattack), they're extremely accurate (so even the fastest units have a high chance of getting plonked by one), and they're common throughout the game. They're a priority target that one must be aware of at all times when they have a flying unit in play, and they're a major reason on why Haar and Jill are so useful (as since they're a dragon riders which don't have a weakness to Bows, they're flying units who won't have to limit their movement in fear of Crossbows).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The 3-13 Archer. He's just a random Archer who (instead of just waiting to die like everyone else) jumps off his ballista to fight Laguz, causing him to become a wall that prevents the Laguz that spawn there from reaching the playable units. While he typically dies, it's always a Heroic Sacrifice, and in situations where he doesn't jump down and do that, he can actually pick-off most units that spawn there. Due to this, he's often brought up as an example of the best NPC's in the series, and has quite the fandom because of this.
    • Septimus, a minor boss of no importance, is immensely popular for his memetic line about Laguz wanting to eat him.
    • Haar wasn't this in the previous game, but in this game, he's definitely this trope, for being a badass riding a giant badass dragon, while being an even bigger Game-Breaker than Ike, and while being available in more chapters than almost every other unit in the game. The Eyepatch of Power and rugged looks help too.
    • Danved, who is certainly not Devdan and who fights like ten men.
    • Mia was already a pretty popular character in Path Of Radiance for being a cute and adorkable Genki Girl, but her portrayal in Radiant Dawn solidified her as one of the most popular Tellius characters, as she became a much much better unit that performs well on even the hardest difficulty, and was, well, upgraded in other areas too. Such is her popularity that she was one of the first Tellius characters to appear in Fire Emblem Heroes, and is one of the few non-main characters that has gotten multiple variations in that game.
    • Among the Dawn Brigade, there's Nolan; while still a bit of a Flat Character like the rest of the new DB characters, he does get a bit more characterization than the rest of the DB that isn't named Micaiah as the Cool Old Guy of the group, and has the most intriguing back story of the lot. Most significantly, though, he's the one character among the DB besides Jill who isn't a Crutch Character that's actually unquestionably useful; coming in unpromoted but with high enough base stats to make him instantly useful, while having really strong growths (especially in speed) to keep him very useful throughout the game, and getting Tarvos right when you need it most, an exclusive axe that's one of the best weapons in the game. He's also the one DB unit considered superior to his Greil Mercenary counterpart, and is the only DB unit besides Jill that can be fully viable for Part 4 on an efficient playthrough. The result is Nolan being quite well-liked and often being referred to by fans as "Brolan", while his compatriots are either divisive, forgotten, or outright scrappies.
    • Altina, despite not making a proper appearance, has caught a surprising amount of attention. This is likely because of her ability to dual wield Ragnell and Alondite. She even got her own card in the Fire Emblem Cipher Trading Card Game, showing her wielding both in full glory. It got to the point where people clamored for her to be playable in Fire Emblem Heroes as a Mythic Hero, and would eventually get their wish come November 28th, 2019.
    • The english Narrator, who is a much better voice actor than the rest of the game's english voice cast, while he gives the story a much more epic feel as he narrates it. A common joke about the game's voice acting is that the localization team spent their entire voice acting budget on the Narrator, to explain why the Narrator is so good while the rest of the voice acting is so bad.
  • Evil Is Cool:
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Pelleas/Micaiah is just as popular as the canon Sothe/Micaiah, possibly even more.
    • Some fans still wish Mist could have married Rolf instead of Boyd. Most are usually civil about it, but at times it can enter Die for Our Ship territory.
    • While Geoffrey/Elincia and Lucia/Bastian are reasonably popular, there's a good number of fans who prefer Elincia/Lucia.
    • Aran/Laura. In this case, it's more that fans were begging for them to get a paired ending to make them marginally less dull and flat.
  • Fan Nickname:
  • Foe Yay:
  • Fountain of Memes:
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Laguz Royals, who unlike regular Laguz come with the exclusive Formshift skill, which lets them remain permanently transformed with no care for the transformation gauge, while also having even higher stats than the regular Laguz of their class and a stronger strike, on top of being near their stat caps and having SS strike at base, so you don't need to invest into them at all to have them soloing maps. They can one-round near everything in the game and the only thing that can really have a shot at killing them are the Part 4 Endgame bosses (or in the case of Tibarn and Naesala, those pesky Crossbows). Special mention goes to the Hawk King Tibarn, who is a flier with 10 movement for some reason (no other unit in the game has more than 9 movement), can double everything in the game (including all the endgame bosses) at base with his 40 Speed while being nearly as strong and tanky as a lion, and comes with the Pavise skill, which has a chance to completely negate any damage taken at a percent rate equivalent to a unit's Skill stat (which with Tibarn having 48 Skill at base, means he normally has a 48% chance to just not take damage from anything, even those Crossbows, and at best biorhythm has a 58% chance to activate it, and that's if he didn't just dodge the blow with his massive dodge rate to begin with). The only flaw of the Laguz Royals is that they have no 2-range attack so they can't retaliate against ranged attacks, but with their nigh-invincibility this is more an annoyance for them.
    • Haar. Lightning Bruiser, excellent mobility, very good base stats, plenty of availability, weak to only an uncommon type of Magic that's very weak and inaccurate to boot, masters the best weapon type in the game, is essentially a flying tank that takes Scratch Damage at most from nearly everything... it's safe to say that Haar is one of, if not the, best units in the game. Such is his influence as a Game-Breaker that among FE fansites, when drafting tier lists for any game in the franchise (and even other games), it's not uncommon to refer to the absolute top tier as the "Haar Tier". And if you're scared of his Thunder magic weakness, you can just give him the Nullify skill to get rid of it. The only unit that is ever considered to compete with Haar in Tier Lists is Jill; who is also a Dragon Rider, sharing many of their strengths but trading some physical Strength and durability for significantly more Speed and Resistance; she has the advantage of being available in chapters where her contribution is more important (as she has much worse teammates than Haar) and remaining extremely useful for the Part 4 endgame (where Haar falls off some due to his lowish Speed cap and his poor Resistance leaving him weaker against the plentiful magic enemies in the Tower), but she has a much weaker start than Haar (starting as a tier 1 unit with unimpressive base stats) and requires significant investment to reach her potential.
    • Ike is the best combat unit in the game and is the premier Lightning Bruiser, combining near the strength of a Warrior with near the Speed of a Swordmaster and near the durability of a General, while starting off with wonderful base stats that have him very powerful immediately and some pretty good growths, and since he'll start capping stats fast you can easily use BEXP level ups to improve his stats with weaker growths. Then while Ike is sword-locked until he promotes, he gets exclusive access to the Ragnell near the end of Part 3, an awesomely powerful 1-2 range sword that far outstrips any Hand Axe, while also boosting his Defense up by 5 points for ridiculous durability and has infinite uses so he'll never need to touch another weapon again. Plus if you played POR, it's very easy to get Ike a Speed, Strength, and Defense transfer to add an additional 2 points to his base stats, which essentially turns him into a god immediately that can faceroll whatever is thrown at him even on Hard/Maniac difficulty. And if all that wasn't enough, Ike has an Earth affinity, which means whoever you support him with, he'll get a massive evade boost that will turn Ike into a dodge tank on top of his already great durability. Ike's only "weakness" is his very poor Resistance leaving him vulnerable to magic, but since magic units are so weak in RD this doesn't really matter and you'll have to really try to get Ike killed. The only reason Haar is considered even more game breaking is because he is a flying unit with great movement and Canto, while as great as Ike is he is still foot-locked, and Haar can be early-promoted to his third tier class as soon as you get your first Master Crown, while Ike has to wait until Part 4 for his storyline promotion.
      • The Earth affinity itself is incredible for granting a high Avoid rate on it's own. Pair two Earth affinity characters together, and you could have a rate of 45 percent. It's also very common, meaning there's plenty of characters that can dodge everything together.
    • By extension, the mastery skills that fully promoted characters receive definitely qualify. The vast majority of them are basically critical hits with additional effects ranging from status ailments to HP absorption. Considering how powerful your units should be by the point at which most of them are fully promoted, the activation of a mastery skill is more or less an instant kill the vast majority of the time. What's more is that the activation rates of these skills are based on stats, and if you have a third tier unit, the stat that the skill runs on should be in the high 20s or 30s, so you'll basically have an around 15% or so chance (plus or minus another 5-10% based on biorhythm) to instantly eliminate the enemy each time they attack.
      • Notably inverted with the Whisper's mastery skill, Bane. This skill always leaves the target with 1 HP. That sounds pretty good, but when the other masteries are essentially outright killing alongside recovering HP or inflicting a nasty status effect if the opponent somehow survives, Bane ends up extremely lacking.
    • Titania acts as a Game Breaker in both games, but for her Radiant Dawn self, she is the highest level of the Greil Mercenaries, and is only five levels from promoting into third tier. Add in her excellent stats, access to axes, and you'll see why she's called Critania.
    • Bonus Experience when used properly - unlike in Path of Radiance, leveling up with Bonus Experience has a special effect; it will always increase exactly three stats (provided, of course, that the unit has at least three uncapped stats), and will heavily favor the three stats with the highest growths. Normally this isn't so special, and could even be detrimental for units with no capped stats, when they could be increasing more than three stats in a level up and when they would have a much better chance at raising their stats with weaker growths in a normal level up. However once a unit has a couple stats capped, always ensuring three stats will go up will provide more fruitful level ups on average, and will force a unit's weaker stats to go up that they would otherwise struggle to increase in normal level ups (for example Haar's Speed growth is a poor 30%, but once you cap a couple of his other stats you can start forcing Speed procs from BEXP level ups). With proper usage of BEXP, you can propel units well beyond their pure growth averages and cap all important stats with about anyone easily (while it also makes units that start with high base stats already close to capping even more useful, as they can abuse BEXP to improve their weaker stats even faster).
    • Are you playing on Easy or Normal Mode, and getting screwed over by the Random Number God? Have no fear, Save Scumming is here to save the day! Just use the Battle Save option to save whenever you want, such as right before a battle gives a character enough experience points to level up, then keep reloading until you get the stat boosts you want! With enough patience, you can turn your scrappy underdogs into living gods and steamroll your way to victory! Hard/Maniac however replaces it with a Suspend option instead, so you won't be able to exploit mid-battle saving to rig the RNG to your favor.
  • Goddamned Boss: Sephiran's oddly low HP (50) for a late-game boss is to lull you into a false sense of security. Thanks to Mantle, he's healing 40 of that every turn, so essentially the only way to subdue him is to gang up everyone and take him out in one turn. You also need Nihil on those who will attack him if you don't want him to Corona-bomb someone to death. However, he's got another dirty trick that is almost literally cheating: Those magic spirit mooks always standing adjacent to him? They have an unadvertised Guard skill that will start directing attacks away from Sephiran when his HP is low. You have to remove all four of them before you can finish the job. Do this too slowly, and he'll use Rewarp to move somewhere else. Rude and rather lame, but it makes sense in context; he's a Death Seeker. Another thing is up to this point, almost every enemy has very low amounts of luck; they might feel overpowered, but their hit and dodge aren't as good as advertised, and they won't get the critical hits with regular weapons that your units will. Sephiran has plenty of luck.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: During Part 2, Calill says this of Makalov: "You might as well put a dog in armor and call it 'sir'!"
  • Ho Yay/Les Yay:
    • Among the males, most prominently Ike with his all-male support endings, especially Soren and Ranulf.
    • Among the females, there is Heather, who pretty much flirts with every woman she meets (Nephenee, Lucia, Ilyana... even giving hyperbolic compliments to Elincia without meeting her).
    • Other places people notice Ho Yay include but are not limited to Oscar/Kieran, Tibarn/Reyson, and Zelgius/Sephiran.
    • Other places people notice Les Yay include but are not limited to Jill/Mist, Jill/Lethe, Tanith/Sigrun, and Nephenee/Calill.
    • Lampshaded in Radiant Dawn when Micaiah mocks Sothe's constant fanboying of Ike.
      Micaiah: Right. Lord Ike, "hero" of the Crimean Liberation, leader of the Greil Mercenaries, and father of Sothe's children...
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The Greil Mercenaries saving Lucia at the end of part II. Yes, it was originally a spoiler, since it was never hinted at the beginning.
    • Zelgius is the Black Knight. Fire Emblem Heroes doesn't even make an attempt at hiding this.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!:
    • "Stop Having Fun" Guys complained that you could save mid-mission in Radiant Dawn, providing an opportunity for Save Scumming (a first for a Fire Emblem game, at least in the West; Genealogy of the Holy War, allowed that option). Others countered that you can't do it in Hard Mode (the mid-battle saves are deleted when you load them).
    • The Part 3 chapters focusing on the Greil Mercenaries get this reaction. After fighting for dear life in Part 1 with the crappy Dawn Brigade and sort of struggling in Part 2 with the Crimean Army, Part 3 starts off by giving you the Badass Crew that carried Crimea to victory in the previous game. A lot of them boast good-to-great base stats and growths, with plenty of fodder for you to steamroll over without any care for strategy and feed loads of EXP to make them even stronger, while if you're playing with POR transfers you can make them even stronger to begin with. Oh, and Haar joins early on there too, just in case the devs felt you were still struggling a little bit. They can run into some challenge on Hard/Maniac though, where the enemies gain enough Speed that suddenly most of the GMs can struggle to double enemies reliably due to having poor Speed caps or having unreliable Speed growth, making it so you can't just constantly one-round enemies with everyone like you can in the easier difficulties.
    • Chapter 2-E, Elincia's Gambit, is generally one of Radiant Dawn's most acclaimed maps and will come up often when discussing people's favorite maps in Radiant Dawn or even in the entire Fire Emblem series. However some fans don't agree with the praise it gets and think it's one of RD's more poorly executed maps, as the map is extremely easy and simple to complete. First the map has an alternate win condition of killing the boss, a boss with not that high of stats and can be reached on turn 1 with the two broken flying units you have at your disposal (Haar and Elincia), and be killed and thus clear the map at any time with either some forethought (equip Haar with a Hammer and make sure the Speedwings from 2-3 gets sent to the convoy or Marcia's inventory so it can be given to Haar) or some luck (attack him with Elincia and bank on the chance she activates Stun). Then if you're going to fulfill the primary win requirement of defending the castle, after you clear out the few enemies on the castle floor below the starting point you only have two basic one-tile wide chokepoints to cover, where you can then keep all the enemies easily choked up until you run out the turn requirement. And failing all that if you really want to beat this map as braindead as possible, you can literally deploy no one but Elincia and do nothing with Elincia while leaving her unequipped on the defense tile, where then the enemies will choke up in front of her and won't be able to kill her before the turn timer runs out. In comparison to later defense maps, 3-5 is similarly easy with an even more unimpressive boss but at least it has many openings you have to protect, and in 3-13 you're actually the weaker army while having a whole line you have to protect from being breached and has a boss that might just be impossible to kill (since it's Ike himself) if you didn't raise any of the Dawn Brigade well enough.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!:
    • The GameSpot reviewer said that the game was insanely hard, even on Easy Mode, which contributed to the badly-received low score. Up until then, every Fire Emblem was made easier for international release. This one wasn't, except for including some new weapons, and making promotion and forging weapons less of a hassle. It really didn't help that the Japanese Normal, Hard, and Maniac modes were renamed Easy, Normal, and Hard in the localization. It's quite likely that many reviewers avoided playing Easy out of pride, not realising they were jumping straight into the Japanese Hard. (The English Hard was actually a Harder Than Hard mode in the Japanese version, which explains why it's so brutal compared to the HM of earlier games.)
    • Any chapter featuring the Dawn Brigade gets most of this, especially all of Part 1 which is not a great first impression for newcomers to the franchise. You're playing with just a few units who are all underleveled with crappy stats, and fighting not just statistically imposing enemies but each other for the few EXP points. Part 3 does not help, as now you're fighting hordes of Laguz, especially the dreaded Tiger Laguz who'll maul your poor units to death in two rounds, Sothe was hit with a bad case of Can't Catch Up, and eventually you fight the Greil Mercenaries, the same overpowered units carrying you through most of Part 3. Oh, and all the chapter objectives are now basically "survive as long as you can," a tall order when hordes of powerful enemies are rushing down your meager, underlevelled band.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many people check out these games due to Ike's popularity in Super Smash Bros..
  • LGBT Fanbase: Due to Ike's extremely close friendships with males and lack of defined opposite-sex marriage partners like other Fire Emblem protagonists, as well as the large number of attractive men of different types, these games are among the most popular in the series with yaoi and general LGBT fans in a similar vein to Voltron: Legendary Defender. It doesn't hurt that its 3DS successors, which brought back the marriage mechanic from Genealogy of the Holy War, handled the topic of same-sex relationships very questionably, as opposed to the Tellius games downplaying the aspect of romance in general (leaving much to the player's imagination).
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Naesala, see Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance's page for details.
    • Sephiran, real name Lehran, was once a great hero who helped to defeat the goddess Yune. Centuries of observing Laguz oppression, culminating in the murder of Sephiran's descendant and the horrific Serenes Forest Massacre forever broke Sephiran's faith in the world, leading to him to attempt to awaken the goddess Ashera to judge it. As a member of the Beginon senate, Sephiran manipulates all the events of Path of Radiance, having tricked Ashnard into starting his war to awaken the goddess and manipulates everyone further in Radiant Dawn, culminating in the awakening of the goddess to deliver the judgement he feels the world deserves.
    • The Black Knight, true identity Zelgius, is a bold commander who leads Daein's armies while manipulating them as well. Having suffered persecution as a Branded, the Black Knight is Sephiran's right hand man ho also guides Ike to become stronger so he may have the match with him he never got to have with Ike's father Greil, the Black Knight's own mentor. After Daein's fall, he manipulates both Beginon's armies and all others to Sephiran's plan, intending on facing Ike in one final duel and even being honored as Ike's final teacher once the battle is done.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • "The 3-13 Archer," a particular friendly archer in Chapter 3-13 of Radiant Dawn, is especially distinguished for Memetic Badass status in spite of want for a name. By an incredible quirk of Artificial Brilliance, the 3-13 Archer has cemented himself in the hearts and minds of Fire Emblem players everywhere.
    • Ike himself. He's generally held as one of the manliest and most powerful Nintendo characters of all, rivaling Captain Falcon in this respect but with slightly more canon justification. A series of polls on GameFAQs' Super Smash Bros. board was dedicated to determining whether Ike truly could solo other Smash and Nintendo characters in canon — surprisingly, he was voted to lose against Falcon himself, without the Chuck Norris-like memes usually associated with the Captain.
    • Haar is treated by the fanbase as a Physical God that single-handily wins wars because of how much a Game-Breaker he is, and Radiant Dawn will jokingly get called "Radiant Haar" because of his status.
  • Memetic Molester: Some fans have taken to portraying Micaiah as someone who deliberately groomed Sothe for marriage.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Danved is certainly not Devdan. He also fights like ten men.
    • "Give them a sound thrashing!"
    • Ike's buffed-up design in Radiant Dawn is frequently compared to a gorilla by Japanese fans.
    • In any discussion involving pairings in this game, expect Gatrie x Tree in a Skirt to show up. Also expect it to appear in a lot of "Fire Emblem OTP" lists.
    • No Mii integration, 0/10. Explanation 
    • A lot of the narmy lines delivered with hilariously bad voice acting from the cutscenes have become infamous among fans and will often get quoted when discussing the game or watching others play Fire Emblem games. Some of the most popular examples:
      • "FORM UP! SURROUND THEM ALL! DON'T LET A SINGLE ONE ESCAPE!" Explanation 
      • "TO WINGS, BROTHERS! KEEP UP WITH ME IF YOU CAN!"
      • "GOLDOA WILL NOT MOVE!" "HOLD! HOLD I SAY!"
      • "I'm nervous... what if I hit her?"
      • "IS IT THE DAWN BRIGADE?" "No, it was just a bird"
      • "Of course, interesting manuever" Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom: Particularly in this game and in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U, Ike is portrayed by many of his fans as a testosterone-poisoned brutal macho musclehead, akin to a PG-13 take on Guts. While Ike is definitely a supreme hunk and a supreme badass (allegedly the most powerful FE hero of all), as well as one who doesn't care much for the royals and their formalities, this goes against the point of his character; Ike is a very compassionate and level-headed leader who shows a sensitive side in many of his supportsnote  and not at all a cynical grizzled brute.
  • Moe:
    • Mist, Ilyana, Astrid, Amy, Micaiah, and Sanaki. A lot of people think this of Rhys as well.
    • An interesting quirk of this is that Sanaki's "moe appeal" is in-universe, and gets invoked by Lekain as he explains just how Sanaki was used as a tool by the Senate. It ultimately ends up bordering on deconstruction, since her moe appeal has, without her even realizing it, made her life and the lives of many others hell:
      Lekain: In an unprecedented move by the senators, we elevated Sephiran to prime minister, keeping him serving as close to you as possible. This plan, radical as it was, proved far more effective than we dared dream. A young, handsome prime minister and an adorable moppet of an apostle brought the people's support to incredible new heights. Apparently, the common citizenry is gullible enough to blindly follow any leader who is sufficiently attractive. Enamored as they were, no one ever seemed to care whether or not you could hear the voice of the goddess. With the new apostle and prime minister, the political landscape became unrecognizable. Even in the face of overtly unreasonable legislation, the two of you would stand on the balcony... a smile and a wave later, the people would cheer and go on with their happy lives.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Jarod crossed it when he murdered three innocent civilians in pursuit of the Dawn Brigade, and possibly earlier when he killed one of his own men for failing to capture the Dawn Brigade.
    • Izuka definitely crossed it when he was testing his Feral One drugs on Muarim, although the Feral One drug’s existence to begin with could mean he crossed it sooner.
    • Lekain being responsible for the Serenes Massacre definitely stands out, though, particularly since it's one of his few acts that weren't the idea of Sephiran.
      • In fact, because the Serenes Massacre is what caused Sephiran to cross the Despair Event Horizon, Lekain is pretty much indirectly responsible for everything.
    • Ashnard crossed it when he abandoned his lover, took his son hostage in order to lure in the boy's uncle, whom he turned into a mount, and then abandoned his son after that.
    • Valtome does it twice, starting by ordering his men into the Kauku Caves (almost certain death) purely to "retrieve corpses" in 3-8. In 3-10, in case there was any doubt, ordering his soldiers (a hell of a lot of men) to attack the unarmed Queen Elincia, who has just managed to avert a major battle between Begnion and the Laguz Alliance.
    • Naesala seems to cross, and is indeed considered to have crossed In-Universe, when he has all fighting-age males in Phoenicis executed. But it's a subversion; Naesala was under a Blood Pact, and we all know what that entails.
  • Narm:
    • Some of the voiceovers in the scenes in Radiant Dawn's English version. Especially Deghinsea's. There was what was intended to be a very serious scene showcasing Lehran's plight, but Deghinsea's voice actor decided to play Large Ham and whatever was intended to be serious in the scene vanished in thin air.
      Deghinsea: Hold, hold I say!
    • The voice acting on the whole is rather bad: With the emotion levels going up and down at random points (pretty much every cutscene Tibarn is in sounds forehead-slappingly stupid due to the unnecessarily large levels of ham and Dull Surprise the actor injects into the performance). Only a few scenes, like the ending of Path of Radiance, manage to nail it and carry any sort of emotional weight.
    • Ilyana's death. "I'm dying...on an empty stomach."
    • Ike's memory scene has the child Ike shout in his deep adult voice. It doesn't help that his expression is completely blank.
    • In Chapter 3-13, if Ike engages an enemy, he will say this:
    Ike: Why would you seek me out? I won’t have any mercy on my enemies. That goes for former allies, too!
  • Newer Than They Think: Path of Radiance was the first Fire Emblem game to make Wyvern Lords wield Lances and Axes (instead of Swords), and Radiant Dawn was the first Fire Emblem game to make the Wyvern Rider's weapon an Axe rather than a Lance. The class has been associated with axes every time it has appeared in the series since.
  • No Yay: Some people don't like pairing Micaiah with Sothe because it makes their relationship feel too much like Wife Husbandry. They first met when Sothe was a child while Micaiah looked the same as she does in the present, implying Micaiah was significantly older than Sothe at the time, and Micaiah was even a surrogate parent to Sothe for a while. Ironically, Sothe is the more proactive one in starting that kind of relationship.
  • Older Than They Think: Nephenee is often mistaken for the first playable character in the Soldier class, which was exclusive to enemies and other non-playable units in the GBA games. The series had previously had playable soldiers in Fire Emblem Gaiden, such as Lukas, who joins in the beginning of that game.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: A possible explanation, a la Kingdom Hearts II, for why Ike seems to be so much closer to Soren and Ranulf than to any of the female characters. Ike's descendant Priam in Awakening suggests, if only mildly so, that this may be the case.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Shove and Canto were changed from innate abilities to unremovable Skills that took up capacity, and the Mastery Skills earned by third-tier units on promotion, which understandably have a high capacity, are also unremovable, as a result, meaningalmost every unit has far less potential for Skill customization than their ostensible Capacity suggests; the only real exceptions are Laguz and units who join with a really good Skill already equipped (e.g. Nolan and Nihil, Nephenee and Wrath), because automatically held Skills don't take up capacity...
      • ...But, on that note, that only applies if you leave them on. While skills no longer bafflingly vanish when removed as they did in Path of Radiance, here their capacity value reappears if they're taken off their innate wielder. This means that if you want to, say, remove Fortune from Meg and replace it with Micaiah's Renewal, you won't be able to, because she won't have enough capacity for it—nor will you be able to get them back onto their character upon realizing this mistake, forcing you to more than likely reload a save to fix it.
      • It also does not help that every unit can only equip 6 skills even if they do not reach max capacity. Tibarn is the worst offender in this case because he comes equipped with 4 unremovable skills while his other 2 skills do not take up capacity. Because no removable skills take up 30 capacity, it is literally impossible for Tibarn to reach his full skill capacity of 100. It is even more frustrating how the previous entry had locked class exclusive skills that were in a separate category and did not take up skill slots.
    • Biorhythm could be a pain in Path of Radiance, but Radiant Dawn took it one step further and had it change every turn! This meant if your Leonardo or Mia were performing wonderfully at the beginning of a chapter, they could suddenly start failing badly near the end. This made a lot of players mad.
    • The Laguz's transformation meters. In Path of Radiance, the idea was that you got access to a few characters who were absurdly powerful, if you were patient enough to get them around the map while the meter filled up. However, in Radiant Dawn, your human units are roughly as powerful as a transformed laguz or even moreso, depending on the chapter, and thus they're left as average units without anything to make it worth it to wait for the meter to fill, as well as crippling weaknesses to fire, wind, and arrows.
    • The Whisper's Mastery Skill Bane. Unlike most other Mastery Skills which are glorified Critical Hits and deal triple damage, Bane does an HP to 1 attack. Not too bad if it activates on the first attack and the Whisper can double the opponent to finish them off, but it's quite possible for it to activate when they're about to land a killing blow and instead Bane activates, leaving the enemy still alive. And if they already have one HP left and Bane activates? No damage. Combine this with a Whisper's crappy stats, and it's no wonder they get relegated to benchwarming. And just to add insult to injury, Volke has the similar but better Assassin class which not only boasts higher stats, but has the Mastery Skill Lethality which has the same activation rate as Bane, but is always a One-Hit KO should it activate. Bane would also have been a lot more useful if it was accessible earlygame (fitting Sothe's role as the Crutch Character of Part 1), but being a Mastery Skill prevents that from happening. Really makes one wonder why they just didn't scrap the Whisper class and merge it with the better Assassin, considering the large overlap between them.
    • Hard/Maniac difficulty removing the ability to highlight enemy units' attack range and the weapon triangle. The former doesn't really make the game harder but instead just makes the game play so much slower, as the player has to spend each turn painfully counting spaces from each enemy to safely place their units, which can additionally get complicated when terrain and ledges are added in with different movement penalties for each class (that also can't just be looked up ingame). With the latter, the logic is it's a mechanic the player can more actively take advantage of than the AI, but in practice its removal mainly just serves to make the OP units like Haar and Ike even better when they can just juggernaut harder through enemy units they would have had WT disadvantage against, while making weaker units worse when they can no longer take advantage of the WT to perform better; for example a big reason why Edward is so much worse on Hard difficulty is that he loses the extra evade and damage reduction he would have had against the plentiful axe enemies, making him get hit more and accentuating his really poor durability early on. The removal of the weapon triangle also makes the ability to use different weapon types pointless; Haar and Jill for example can use lances in addition to their axes, which they can use to perform better against sword-wielding units they normally are worse against, but since there's no WT they can just stock up on the stronger axes and completely ignore their ability to use lances to no detriment. Fortunately both of these can reenabled on Hard mode through modding.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: For some (especially those who dislike Micaiah), Radiant Dawn doesn't really pick up until the Black Knight himself joins your party at the end of Part I, and the game doesn't let up from there.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Soren is the most obvious example, although admittedly he loses some of his stoicism in the scenes that make him the most Woobie-like. Except for his B Support with Ike back in Path of Radiance.
    • After making his promise that there shall be no great war, Dheginsea is not only forced to hide Lehran from the world and persecute the branded, but also sit idle as the Laguz are forced into slavery, since the Dragons interfering would cause said war. Then Ashnard has an affair with his daughter, uses their child to draw out and kill his eldest, and then warps a brigade of red dragons into Feral Ones. Dheg still remains neutral. Then a great war happens anyway, and his only remaining child Kurthnaga joins the war. He still remains neutral. By the end of Radiant Dawn, Dheg has lost a child, had the other two turn against him, the majority of his people killed, discoved that everything he did to prevent war was completely unnecessary in the first place, and his hundreds of years of neutrality torn down before his eyes, and all he could do to validate his actions was to continue to uphold his promise, even in the face of Armageddon and the objections of everyone around him.
  • That One Boss:
    • If nothing else, Dheginsea is statistically fearsome: 100 HP, outrageous stats (six of them maxed out), a skill (Mantle) that stops your skills, renders him immune to non-blessed weapons, and heals him for 30 HP every turn; and to top it off, a mastery skill (Ire) that just plain kills you, period. The good news is, by this point, you've had a chance to get three copies of Nihil, which you can simply slap on your three strongest units to even the odds. The bad news is, you're still having to fend off his countrymen in the meantime, and they are no slouches. Another strike against Dheginsea is that (like all the rest of the enemies) he will never retaliate against Kurthnaga or Ena. Not that this helps you anyway, since those two are lucky to damage him at all.
    • Ike in Chapter 3-13. He'll be as strong as you have him at that point, which is probably going to be at his second tier max level with many very high capped stats unless you went out of your way to not use Ike in the prior chapters, while he wields the Ragnell. You additionally have to play the very underpowered Dawn Brigade in this chapter, none of which will likely be able to survive a single round against Ike, let alone deal substantial damage to him, as they'll probably be a bit past level 10 in tier 2 at best (or underpowered hastily promoted tier 3 units) unless you been carefully investing most of your resources into only one or two of them. Fortunately for the player, Ike doesn't move until the final two turns, and the player doesn't ever have to combat him to win the map (the objective is to survive for 12 turns), but beating him is required to end the map sooner. Additionally he can be nerfed by equipping him with a crappy sword before finishing 3-11, the last map you use him in, where he'll then be equipped with it here instead of the Ragnell, but even then he'll still be very powerful and he will re-equip the Ragnell if he gets a chance to attack on Enemy Phase.
  • That One Level:
    • Chapter 1-9. A Fog of War mission with the Black Knight, an invincible unit, and Micaiah, who by this point will be so fragile that she will get doubled and subsequently K.O.'d by the enemies in the area. The devs thought of players having the Black Knight carry Micaiah, and nicked that as she will refuse to comply. Unless you train Micaiah up a LOT for this specific level, expect to reset a lot.
    • Chapter 2-1; the map is very small and simple, but you only have Brom and Nephenee to start with. The map is simple if you just want to clear it, as Nephenee and Brom are both fairly strong in their own right, but there's three houses you'll want to visit before they're attacked, splitting the team, and this is where Heather, an already poor combat unit, can be recruited, so that's on the plate, too.
    • Pretty much any Dawn Brigade chapter from 3-6 onward. The enemies are numerous and have all been balanced for the Purposely Overpowered Greil Mercenaries, while by comparison your team will be quite underpowered. Chapters 3-6, 3-12, and 3-13 are all nightmarishly difficult, pitting you against mass amounts of Tiger laguz, the strongest Begnion and Crimean units the game could find, and the Greil Mercenaries themselves. Don't even try to fight those last ones.
    • Chapter 4-3 is like a seven-layer cake of aggravation. It's a desert map, aka those things where everyone has their movement range reduced to a tiny fraction of the usual with certain exceptions. Those exceptions are: mages (Micaiah, Laura, Ilyana, and Sanaki, all of whom are made of Kleenex), thieves (allegedly, anyway), laguz (but only in their beast forms), and flying units. The good news is that the ground-bound enemies that aren't mages are affected by this too, and will take a long time to reach you, giving you a lot of reaction time. The bad news? Your mage characters can't reliably fight the enemies, who are now universally Demonic Spiders, without the assistance they're used to from the now-hindered physical units. Your laguz characters have to wait for their meters to fill before they can do anything, in which time they're sitting ducks begging to be killed. Your flying units have it worst; they're the only ones who can both move freely and safely handle enemies, but the map is absolutely filled with bow-wielding hostiles who can and will one-shot them into oblivion, making that exceptionally risky. The map actually hands you not one, not two, but three Game-Breaker characters to tip the odds—Naesala, Skrimir, and the Black Knight—but among them, only Naesala is likely to be of much help; Skrimir is hell on legs, but enemies will gang up on him and reduce his transformation meter very quickly, after which he will summarily get killed quite easily, and the Black Knight is an uncontrollable "other" unit who can clear out a good few enemies as they attack him, but then becomes useless due to his movement range being so low. Even assuming you have a very good Silver Army who can take best advantage of what few strengths you can find, expect it to take a long, long time to clear this map without a Game Over or anyone valuable dying.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • One of the conditions to recruiting the final secret character in Radiant Dawn, Lehran. Ike has to fight the Black Knight in 3-7, and both must survive the map (though since killing the BK at this point is pretty much impossible without severely grinding a tier 3 unit up, him surviving isn't a concern). Through the standard method, you need to get Ike fast enough by this map to avoid getting doubled or else the BK will one-round him, and with Ike's shaky Speed growth your Ike could very well fall short of the needed 27 Speed. You also need to give Ike a ranged sword, because the Black Knight's Eclipse skill can activate in melee, and if it does, Ike is 100% doomed. Through another method you can avoid the need to have Ike strong enough by having him attack the BK with a magic card, which prevent enemies from counter-attacking, but you can only attack with a card on player phase, so you'll also need a flier nearby that can rescue Ike and carry him out of the BK's range to avoid getting slaughtered on enemy phase. Plus this is a timed map that automatically ends after 12 turns and it will take most of those turns to just get in range of the BK, so you'll have to act and plan your approach at a breakneck pace,
    • Getting the secret epilogue conversation involving Soren in Radiant Dawn requires a lot of set-up even if you know the Guide Dang It! steps. You need to have him fight Micaiah in 3-7 and Pelleas in 3-E, both of whom are right at the end of a large map and surrounded by tons of very strong units, including multiple boss-tier characters (such as the Black Knight with the former, and Nailah with the latter, who each will one-round most if not all of your units). The best way to do it requires having the foresight to give Calill's Meteor tome in Part 2 to one of Haar, Nephenee, Brom, or Heather, who all join Ike's group in Part 3-2, so that Soren can use it to hit both from a distance. Even then, Soren needs to get pretty deep into enemy lines in 3-E, which, seeing as he's a Squishy Wizard, is a daunting prospect in itself (also, Nolan and Edward are on the best path for him to take, and both are That One Boss if you trained them). Plus as mentioned before, 3-7 is a timed map that will require most of the limit ro reach where Micaiah is, and in 3-E it ends after 80 cumulative units die from any affiliation, which considering the very large amount of AI-controlled Other units on the map that will be killing and dying to the enemy units, means you're on an effective time limit that's strict even if you go out of your way to avoid killing enemy units yourself.
    • Fulfilling the BEXP requirements for Chapter 2-3; if you're playing this map normally then it's very easy, as the Crimean Knights, especially Geoffrey and Keiran, are overpowered against the masses of mostly unpromoted enemies you're fighting, and you also get an army of promoted Yellow units that outstrip most of the enemies. But this map has a BEXP objective where for each enemy unit that remains alive when you complete the map you get more BEXP, with the potential to get a huge BEXP dump if you can keep most of the enemies alive. And considering how little the Crimean Knights are available after this and how pretty much all of them but Marcia have bad potential in the long run, you'll certainly want all that BEXP to invest into units you'll actually be using beyond the CRK chapters instead of having the Crimean Knights killing the enemies here for meager EXP. But if you play this way the map becomes a tremendous slog with you having to get through a mass of enemies and having to sit through very long Enemy Phases each turn that will take a while even with battle animations off. Then while your Knights are taking minimal damage from the unpromoted enemies even on Hard/Manic, when you get to the castle there are now promoted enemies to deal with who can hurt you, particularly one enemy Paladin with a Horseslayer, and multiple stone throwers. Then when you get to the gate to fight the boss, he can double Geoffrey with a high crit rate, and being in position to fight the boss on the seize tile will leave Geoffrey vulnerable to two long bowmen from above who probably will not miss with their height advantage, making it easy to die here after slogging through so much if you're not especially careful with how you approach him.
    • The BEXP maximum turn requirement for Chapter 3-P; to get the maximum amount of BEXP from clearing this map, you need to clear it within 7 turns. While BEXP turn requirements are typicallly quite lenient in other chapters and don't require real LTC skills to fulfill them, this one is unreasonably strict, as it will take about that long just for you and the allied Laguz army going forward at full speed to reach the end of the map. The biggest problem though is to clear the map you need Skrimir, an AI-controlled Green unit, to seize, while Green unit AI is very prone to Artificial Stupidity (for example Skrimir may spend a turn going backwards to kill a weakened enemy that could have been easily handled by other Laguz, or the other Laguz may bunch up around enemies and prevent Skrimir from progressing). Often because of how the Laguz AI acts, it can be outright impossible to clear the BEXP turn limit no matter how well the player played, and even LTCers can struggle to clear this map within the BEXP turn limit, making it effectively a Luck-Based Mission.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The generic support conversations in Radiant Dawn were not very well liked after four straight games of interesting, detailed ones. A fan project was started to create support conversations in the vein of those seen in previous games. Link here.
    • The losses of the mercenary and hero classes were also met with complaining, although Ike basically counts as one in all but name, especially in this game.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Every single new character in Radiant Dawn lacks any kind of Character Development due to the removal of support conversations, and a lot of them had the potential to be interesting.
    • Special mention goes to Stefan. He offers Ike some sword lessons (that actually grant one of the only 4 Occult skills in Path of Radiance), is descended from one of Ashera's 3 heroes, and is clearly less jovial than he lets on. However, he adds nothing except for some special conversations and a Vague Katti. While this fits his obscurity and secrecy, he yields nothing despite becoming the king of a Branded nation.
    • A not insignificant number of fans wish Micaiah had been the protagonist for the entirety of Radiant Dawn, and that Ike's overshadowing her in both screen time and usefulness was a mistake. While Ike being a major character in the story is fine, the third chapter focuses on him so much to the point where you only play as Micaiah around three times before she gets possessed by Yune and almost completely drops off as a character in favor of Yune.
    • Mist takes a complete backseat in the story with no relevance in the story despite being a semi important character in the previous game, and having connections to the larger story thanks to her ability to hold the Fire Emblem without it corrupting her. She also is not given any real development during the Time Skip between games, staying an infantry healer for no reason.
    • Soren never learns the truth about his heritage as a Dragon branded, being the son of Ashnard and Ameldha and the grandson of Dheginsea, therefore a Prince of both Daein and Goldoa and ends the story either by himself or following Ike if they receive an A support. You have to wonder why he has such a Heroic Lineage if nothing ever comes of it and only the player is made aware of it. Instead it's just thrown away and Soren remains a Satellite Character to Ike.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • All of Radiant Dawn's four parts are essentially different plots; Part 1 is Daein's rebellion and independence, Part 2 is Elincia's political troubles, Part 3 is the Laguz vs. Begnion war, and Part 4 is the fight against the Big Bad. All of these loosely interconnect except Part 2; in the longest Fire Emblem game to date, it is by far the shortest arc, spanning a mere 5 chapters from prologue to endgame, and simply works to show returning characters from the first game and what they're doing, including giving them a Filler Villain disconnected from the other plots. Sure, Radiant Dawn could've been a lot shorter without it, but it also could've been a much more involved plot. Only a third or so of its returning characters get to be active through the rest of the game instead of just at the end, and the rest are doomed to be junked unless you happen to have a lot of BEXP to spare.
    • The Branded, their place in the world, and their relationship to the Gods are not examined nearly as much as they could have been. Furthermore, a conversation between Stefan and Yune reveals a major twist about the Branded that never gets brought up or discussed beyond the conversation, namely that the Branded were not originally seen as an unholy mistake until after Ashera had Yune sealed, meaning a large chunk of the world's hatred was formed on a lie. Yet it doesn't go anywhere.
    • In the first game, there's an offhand mention that the reason that the Beorc oppress the Laguz is that, once upon a time, the Laguz oppressed the Beorc. Both when this happened and the nature of this oppression are never revealed.
    • Nothing is done with the fact that all three of Ashera's champions have Branded descendants. In particular, Lehran and Dheginsea both have interesting stories about how their bloodlines became mixed that play a significant role in the current state of the world, but nothing of the sort is revealed about Soan; no explanation is given for how his bloodline was mixed into the beorc population or how that event affected the larger history of Tellius.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: The game has one of the largest playable rosters in the entire Fire Emblem series, so it's only natural there are some who really just fail to meet any sort of good viability.
    • Kurthnaga, who suffers a really bad case of Overrated and Underleveled; after you see him blow up a castle and a huge deal is made about him transforming, he comes in right before the endgame way under-leveled with terrible base stats (including a 20 speed stat when transformed, while everything at that point is around 30). He's additionally a mandatory unit to bring along into the endgame, where he'll be useless unless you pour an extreme amount of bonus experience into him (while not having the potential to make it remotely worth it), and his Black Tide skill (which raises the defenses of adjacent units by 5) isn't very useful, unlike the similarly mandatory, yet combat-ineffective, Ena (whose Blood Tide skill gives adjacent units an extremely useful strength boost of 5 and a skill boost of 5 that helps a lot against the final boss). The only niche use of Kurthnaga is exploiting Dheginsea's inability to attack him, which even then, you'll need to get his strength up by at least 5 levels before he can even scratch Dheg for pitiful damage.
    • Leonardo and Meg. Both fill odd roles for the Dawn Brigade that their classes don't normally do well in; Leonardo is rather Rolf-like in how intensive it is to train him, and his growths lean towards Skill, Luck, and Resistance; these mean he's a good shot, will land a lot of criticals, and won't be in too much trouble against mages, but lagging behind on speed and strength mean he simply isn't outputting enough damage to mitigate the risks of him dying. Meg similarly goes for Speed, Resistance, and Luck, meaning she can hit well and land criticals, but again, the strength stat drags her down (though she at least has a ton of HP), and she won't be able to make much use of it with her low movement range preventing her from reaching enemies combined with her low defenses and attack mean she will be easily killed. Both characters' Resistance growth would be amazing in Path of Radiance or another Fire Emblem game, but mages have been severely nerfed in Radiant Dawn and even then, there's simply not that many of them—the vast majority of hostile units are physical hitters and laguz. Both of them quickly drop off hard in Act 3 and are overshadowed by every other unit in the same class field as them, leaving them behind in the end.
    • Fiona. She's the Dawn Brigade's first and only Cavalier unit and comes in late in Part 1 with hilariously bad base stats that would be fitting for a level 1 unit despite being at level 9, and on her starting map she'll get doubled or even one-rounded by about every enemy. The main issue however is that at the point you get her, Part 1 is already almost over so there is very little time to train her up, while the remaining maps of Part 1 either restrict her movement (eliminating her main advantage of being a mounted unit) or don't allow you to use her at all. When you go back to the Dawn Brigade in Part 3, the first mission there is a swamp that also heavily restricts her movement as horses can't move through water terrain, and then a couple maps after that is another indoor map that gives her a movement penalty, so she just never really gets to take advantage of her movement until Part 4. Her fairly good growths don't ultimately mean much sadly as a result of all these issues. Plus again since she is a new unit in RD, she can't possibly benefit from POR transfers to help ease the atrocious start somewhat.
    • Lyre and Kyza, two Laguz units who join the Greil Mercenaries in Part 3. Like the above three DB characters, they come in with horrendously terrible base stats (Lyre especially, who can't even deal any damage to many enemies in her starting map), and don't have the growths and potentials to make up for it at all even if you do try to invest into them. Lyre is additionally a Cat Laguz, which are the Laguz with the worst stats and have the worst transformation meters (as they deplete the fastest during transformation). Meanwhile Kyza just lacks anything to make him a strong Tiger Laguz, and doesn't have the Strength, Speed, or Defense to make him stand out compared to the other Laguz. What really hurts them though, is that they join the same chapter as Ranulf, who has the Strength and Defense of a Tiger, and the Speed and Skill of a Cat, while being a mandatory unit for much of Part 3, so there's little reason to give your limited Laguz items to them instead of to Ranulf.
      • Cat Laguz in general. Their speed advantage over other beast units isn't enough to outweigh the fact that on top of being much more fragile than other Laguz, their transformation meters deplete the fastest, forcing you to have them chew on Olivi Grass every few turns just to keep using them.
    • Tormod, Muarim, and Vika. None of them are particularly bad on a purely statistical basis, but they have some of the worst availability in the game, only being available in three chapters of Part 1 and not returning until 4-3, giving them all of four chapters before the final stretch. When they join in Part 1, they're pretty much crutch characters, and as such have a significant level advantage on the Dawn Brigade (which also means they don't get much experience from combat), but when they return, they're a whole promotion tier behind and have no real chance of catching up.
    • The Mage class in general. They're much slower than they used to be, and a lot of their utility has been lost as nearly the entire enemy hostile count is made up of physical attackers that are too fast to risk fighting, have good Resistance stats, or both. On top of this, unlike physical classes, neither saints nor archsages do any bonus damage with their mastery skills. The only Mages who generally stick out in any way are Micaiah, Calill and Pelleas; the former because she is required to be there (and benefits of early access to utility), Calill because she benefits heavily from POR transfers due to getting additional bonuses from her husband Largo on top of Fire tomes being more useful than others, and Pelleas because he is the only Dark Mage in the entire game and has a niche utility in the end game due to it.
  • Toy Ship: Mist and Rolf. Also counts as a Fan-Preferred Couple. As with many ships, it was screwed out of a paired ending Radiant Dawn.
  • Uncanny Valley: The eyes in some of the female characters' portraits are drawn in a very dull complexion with almost no pupils, to the point that they look like marbles or amber. If the eye color happens to be something bright on top of that like red or yellow, this can make said characters seem eerily similar to Killer Robots with Mind-Control Eyes. Elincia, Marcia, Jill, Astrid, Micaiah, and Calill's daughter Amy are particularly noticeable examples.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The Black Knight is given quite a lot of sympathetic traits in his alternate identity Zelgius, caring for the lives of his men and abandoning an idiotic, bloodthirsty senator, and his full backstory includes a lot of Alas, Poor Villain as Sephiran was one of the few people to know the truth of his heritage and still treat him kindly, and he idolized Gawain and was determined to surpass him, feeling that the task gave his life meaning, explaining his actions and motivations. However, Sephiran explicitly notes that he did not order him to kill Greil for the medallion he didn't have anyway, and that this was him acting on his personal agenda, meaning that two children had their father taken from them because of one man's petty desire to surpass his mentor. Even though Ike still very much hates that his father is dead, he comes to respect him as the game comes to a close, though players may have a hard time feeling the same way.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • While Radiant Dawn is a Contested Sequel, it became more well-loved over time in the same way (and for the same reasons as) its predecessor, thanks to Fire Emblem Awakening reviving the franchise, and Super Smash Bros., Fire Emblem Fates and Fire Emblem Heroes giving Ike and his companions more exposure to new fans. The complex story and interesting gameplay elements make it one of the more interesting games in the series for those who play it, and it's often seen as having one of the better stories in the series, due to following elements from the previous game. Notably, it and the first game of the duology are often requested by fans to be remade for newer consoles due to how rare it is to get a copy.
    • Micaiah was originally seen a Replacement Scrappy for Ike, and many disliked her for being what they saw as a Hypocrite who stole the spotlight from other characters. After the releases of Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates and the inclusion of the Avatar feature, Micaiah became much more positively received by many people who played Radiant Dawn, as many found her to be one of the most unique protagonists in the series, and enjoyed the difference in views she brought to the story. Helping was that many saw Micaiah was relatively wasted in the story thanks to Ike so she became more popular for being someone fans wanted to see more of. The fact that Micaiah was one of two Lords not put into Fire Emblem Heroes during the first year of its release, also made her much more popular, and when she did come out, she was one of the best units in the game, helping her go from one of the least liked Lords, to one of the most popular. Case in point, in Choose Your Legends 1, Micaiah, who was not even in the game yet, was in the top ten, then went up a rank for the second year, and jumped all the way to number one for the third year, beating popular characters like Azura, Tharja, Camilla, and Female Robin.
  • Vocal Minority: Radiant Dawn is derisively known as a "fujioshi game" in some Japanese homophobic circles and is accused of pandering to Yaoi Fangirls at the expense of other fans' enjoyment (despite the fact that even some LGBT people find fujoshi/fudanshi fans to be annoying), due to its Ho Yay subtext with male characters such as Ranulf or Soren. However, most fans don't hold such a homophobic view of the game, especially with the more widespread acceptance of Ho Yay in media in The New '10s.
  • What an Idiot!: The evening before the decisive battle with Begnion's occupation forces, Micaiah decides to slip out of the Revolutionaries' camp into the dark. Alone. When she was the de facto leader and main pillar of moral support for the entire army (a fact that Izuka of all people pointed out). Had not literally the Black Knight shown up out of nowhere, the Revolution could've ended then and there.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Radiant Dawn was rated E10+ by the ESRB despite its dark themes and slightly stronger language than the T-rated Path of Radiance (the word "damn" is used several times, while its predecessor only used "damned" once).
  • The Woobie:
    • Among others, Tormod, Muarim, and Ena definitely count. Pelleas and Naesala too. In fact, anyone who's had to deal with the horrific threat of a Blood Pact counts.
    • Sanaki, given that this game reveals that everything she thought she was isn't true, as she isn't the true Apostle - Micaiah is. Poor Sanaki has spent her whole life being brought up for the role but considered lacking because she can't hear the Goddess, only for it to turn out that only the eldest child can and Micaiah can basically do everything Sanaki can't, plus Micaiah outright tries to kill Sanaki at one point (she didn't know they were sisters, but still).
  • Woolseyism:
    • The Black Knight's survival is changed to make more sense. Originally, it was stated that the Black Knight survived his final battle with Ike because his warp-powder malfucioned, causing Ike to fight his "spirit" instead. In the localization, his survival is written to be because he realized Greil had lost the use of his sword arm, meaning his victory against him was hollow, something Ike actually tells him at the start of their fight. Upon learning of this, the Black Knight threw the fight so Ike could become stronger and face him at his full power. This was widely accepted as better since it actually made sense and fit perfectly with both the first games story, and worked with the Black Knight's character.
    • The localization team was probably aware of how controversial the Blood Pact was, because they re-wrote several scenes to make its rules and effects more clear, as well as making Sothe and Micaiah more proactive in destroying it. In the Japanese version: the Blood Pact's curse had faded on its own before the party fights Lekain, making many of their efforts for nothing, and Naesala's curse arbitrarily isn't broken by Lekain's death, with no reason given other than "my case is different". In the localization, the heroes have to actually destroy the contract itself to be rid of it, thus making it much clearer how the Blood Pact works. The localization even created new art from scratch for the expanded scene where Micaiah rips the Blood Pact, the Japanese equivalent of that scene amounted to a few throwaway text-boxes before 4-E1 ended.
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