Author Topic: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones  (Read 14520 times)

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Offline Jonnyboy117

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RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« on: January 13, 2012, 04:33:28 PM »
Please use this thread to discuss Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for RFN RetroActive. The game is available free for 3DS Ambassadors, or you can look for the original GBA cartridge on the secondary market.


We'll be taking excerpts from posts in this thread to be read on the podcast. Please help keep the discussion on topic!
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2012, 05:26:06 PM »
I just finished Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones a few days ago, and it was one of the best video game experiences I’ve had recently.  I’ve really gotten into RPG’s in the last few years, but FETSS is my introduction to the strategy RPG.  I have never before seen a level of polish in a GBA game.  I’m sure RFN will talk extensively about its gameplay (which is superb), but what really impresses me about the game is its storytelling and graphics.  The branching storyline and its optional scenes (based on character relationships and which characters you’ve managed to keep alive) is pulled off spectacularly, yet is at the same time a subtle addition to the game that isn’t shoved in your face. A really cool part of the game is the battle animations.  The characters’ attacks all look fantastic, and the game makes you want to watch them over and over again (which you will). Especially impressive are the critical strikes, which had me yelling “ohhh!” multiple times, as if my character had just sunk a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to win the battle.  In addition, FETSS features what is the best after-credits scene I have ever watched in a video game.  I was on the verge of tears watching the final scene.  And afterwards you get an awesome epilogue detailing what happens to each character at the end.  Newbies (myself included) get to see what happened to Ephraim, Eirika, and possibly Duessel and Seth, and also know what chapter all the other characters died in, while veteran players or those who played with more cautious tactics are rewarded by finding out what happened to all their mages and archers and so forth. This game is a gem, and needs to be played by anyone who enjoys Japanese RPG’s or a good story.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2012, 05:37:47 PM »
My progress has been slowed in this game simply from how many time I get unlucky ate the end and I have to redo the mission all over again.

Also Pegasus lady... For goodness sake get some armor...
Seth is almost insta win but using him means not getting XP for everyone who needs it.  I literally parked him at a fortress one mission and watched him single handedlytake out 2/3 of the enemies army without taking a scratch.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2012, 05:40:42 PM »
A quick tip for new players, do not use "Seth", a least not until you level up your other characters. Seth is an advanced unit who will demolish most units of a fair portion of the game, but he will suck up all the EXP that should be going to everyone else, crippling your army. Your other units will gain entire levels from a kill while Seth will only get 2-10 EXP out of 100.

There is a similar character in Fire Emblem that is also a newbie trap.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 05:55:13 PM »
So far I'm about 10hrs in and have only lost one unit. Hope that doesn't screw me over in the end. Also gold seems really hard to come by. I want to do side quests but I'm worried i'll use up all my equipment and won't be able to afford more to progress the story.  Overall it's been pretty fun but I don't really know why since it is pretty much the same thing over and over.

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 06:06:18 PM »
Stupid.... 30 minutes wasted because Moulder can't heal himself and Mercenary guy couldn't do 24 points of damage.

Now I have to do this mission again for the 6th time...
The one that killed Moulder was at literally 1 HP.  I know healers can't attack but they should have the ability to random proc a heal on themselves when they are in battle.  I can't wait till I get that Leveling tower thingy.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 06:08:15 PM by Ceric »
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 06:09:09 PM »
I played Sacred Stones about a year ago. Having played the original Fire Emblem for gba, Shadow Dragon, Radiant Dawn, and about half of Path of Radiance, I have to say, this one was the most forgettable. I'm struggling to remember anything about this one.


 It may have something to do with this being the easiest, (in my opinion) Fire Emblem game. Some of the stages in the other games are burned into my mind because of the horror I went through to beat them. The difficulty in this game is more of a mild annoyance. It doesn't help that you can grind your characters in the repeatable battles. Although I only did that at the very end of the game, I can imagine how ridiculously overpowered you could become by grinding.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 06:14:03 PM by Fiendlord_Timmay »

Offline apdude

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 06:24:53 PM »
Another thing that was a little annoying so far. I upgraded my theif and now he no longer steals. Unfortunately that seems to be the only way to get the items required to upgrade units.  If I'd known I may have chosen differently. Hope I can get another theif soon.

Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 06:46:37 PM »
Another thing that was a little annoying so far. I upgraded my theif and now he no longer steals. Unfortunately that seems to be the only way to get the items required to upgrade units.  If I'd known I may have chosen differently. Hope I can get another theif soon.
You can recurit a Rouge later in the game, which is the one of the two upgrades to the theif. So yes, you get another theif.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2012, 06:52:48 PM »
With a game that requires so much mission restarting why is there not a fast way to restart missions?
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2012, 07:24:14 PM »
With a game that requires so much mission restarting why is there not a fast way to restart missions?


The game doesnt require restarting missions, although there were a few times where i refused to lose a good character. Youre right, though, the menus can be tedious, though thankfully the load times are virtually nonexistant.  I like how if you get game over and choose to continue where you left off instead of restarting, you can rewatch your death helplessly
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2012, 07:59:38 PM »
With a game that requires so much mission restarting why is there not a fast way to restart missions?
The game doesnt require restarting missions, although there were a few times where i refused to lose a good character. Youre right, though, the menus can be tedious, though thankfully the load times are virtually nonexistant.  I like how if you get game over and choose to continue where you left off instead of restarting, you can rewatch your death helplessly
I disagree.  If you lose anyone you pretty much just lost the game.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 08:06:25 PM »
I'm a pretty big Fire Emblem fan, having played and repeatedly beaten all the localized games except for the DS one, which I can never find in stores.

I can't speak for how or whether the games before Fire Emblem 7 were from each other (the GBA game with Eliwood that immediately predated Sacred Stones), but FE7 struck me as being extremely old-school in its design and philosophy. It seemed generally more difficult, money was tighter, promotions were tougher to get, and grinding was nearly impossible since outside of abusing Arenas (which was dangerous in and of itself) there weren't many ways to beef up your characters. Oh, and make sure you buy everything you need from the stores, because there ain't no going back afterwards!

By contrast, Sacred Stones seems like Nintendo was trying to modernize the series. Being able to revisit shops is hugely beneficial. Grinding is not only easy, but the creation of two separate areas devoted to that makes me think the developers are encouraging it, especially since three characters in particular start out pathetically weak (they ain't killin' nobody; the reverse is not true!) but can morph into the most powerful characters in their classes. And yes, even without grinding I'd argue Sacred Stones is the easiest of the localized games, especially if you choose to follow Eirkia over Ephraim when given the choice.

I think the developers did a better job of bringing Fire Emblem into modernity with the Gamecube and Wii games, especially since random encounters are a pretty big drag on the game's pacing, but I like the fact that Nintendo tried, since I'm not masochistic enough to say that I prefer how FE7 went about things.

I also like how the maps tend to be wide open, in contrast to the choke-point heavy GC and Wii games, and how enemies in particular seem to take advantage of this with their high amount of flying units. Add to that the high volume of recruitable characters, and how you almost always get to make a choice between two very different classes when promoting your units, and I'd argue, based on memory, that Sacred Stones is probably one of the most flexible of the Fire Emblem titles.

A quick tip for new players, do not use "Seth", a least not until you level up your other characters. Seth is an advanced unit who will demolish most units of a fair portion of the game, but he will suck up all the EXP that should be going to everyone else, crippling your army. Your other units will gain entire levels from a kill while Seth will only get 2-10 EXP out of 100.

Building on this though, you can use Seth for the first several maps (until you get a decent sized army) very effectively if you simply strip him of any weapons that he can use in combat (swords and lances). That way, you can effectively shield/rescue other characters without worrying about losing a unit, since it'll be a while until Seth can take real damage from enemies. Additionally, you can use him as a pack mule to store excess items for the first handful of maps, since you don't get to store items until a fair way into the game.

Stupid.... 30 minutes wasted because Moulder can't heal himself and Mercenary guy couldn't do 24 points of damage.

Now I have to do this mission again for the 6th time...
The one that killed Moulder was at literally 1 HP.  I know healers can't attack but they should have the ability to random proc a heal on themselves when they are in battle.

Your healer(s), and most other characters for that matter, should always have a healing item in their inventory. Assume that your healer can take a maximum of one hit without healing himself/herself, and the only real danger they'll ever be in is from the fog of war maps.

So far I'm about 10hrs in and have only lost one unit. Hope that doesn't screw me over in the end. Also gold seems really hard to come by. I want to do side quests but I'm worried i'll use up all my equipment and won't be able to afford more to progress the story.  Overall it's been pretty fun but I don't really know why since it is pretty much the same thing over and over.

 Make a habit of selling off excess items, and especially keep an eye on enemy inventories to snag the Jewels they often carry (which you can sell for several thousand). You'll need a Thief/Rogue to steal those, though, so keep one around. I'd promote your Thief to a Rogue, since there are two better Assassins you can promote (although Swordmasters are better...), but the only other Rogue in the game is quite mediocre.

As for the grinding maps, I've noticed that two or three enemies drop things you can sell, or just money directly, so they about pay for themselves. The second grinding map is actually quite profitable to grind through, although you'll need a Thief/Rogue to take full advantage.

Finally, and most risky, you can always resort to Arena abuse.  :P: : Just make sure you're not fighting a swordmaster!
 
 Basically, unless you're blowing your cash on Silver weapons, money won't be a problem for most of the game. Just don't expect it to be super-abundant until near the end, either.

With a game that requires so much mission restarting why is there not a fast way to restart missions?

 Press A+B+Start+Select simultaneously at any time to soft reset. From there, it only takes a few seconds to restart a map.
 
 

Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 08:10:20 PM »
@Ceric - give your healers (actually all your characters) healing items like vulneraries to heal themselves.  Although I agree it is stupid they can't heal themselves with rods.

The Sacred Stones wasn't the first SRPG I ever played, but it was one of the earlier ones.  I've never really liked the permanent death in this series.  I've always thought the original Final Fantasy Tactics had a better setup.  In that game when someone dies you have something like three turns to revive them and then they die forever.  There's still permanent death, but you don't have to restart a whole level just because some character dies at the end of a battle.  However, outside of that feature I've really loved the games.

Probably my favorite aspect of these games are the characters.  The beautiful sprite animation is worth watching even after seeing it over and over again.  Also there's something always satisfying about seeing your characters change class.  I also tend to cherish the characters with unique sprites.  In this game I even choose character's classes by the look of their sprite.  I also tend to battle using characters based on their design over their abilities/strengths.

One feature I never really utilized until later games is placing characters next to each other to form support links.  Not only does it give extra character information, but it also makes your characters better in battle.  It's something I try to take advantage of as much as possible.

And I also want to note that a lot of the issues people bring up with this game are improved upon in later games.

Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 08:18:18 PM »

Probably my favorite aspect of these games are the characters.  The beautiful sprite animation is worth watching even after seeing it over and over again.  Also there's something always satisfying about seeing your characters change class.  I also tend to cherish the characters with unique sprites.  In this game I even choose character's classes by the look of their sprite.  I also tend to battle using characters based on their design over their abilities/strengths.

One feature I never really utilized until later games is placing characters next to each other to form support links.  Not only does it give extra character information, but it also makes your characters better in battle.  It's something I try to take advantage of as much as possible.




The sprite work in this game is beautiful, reminds me of the sidescrolling castlevanias, and i also didnt realize how awesome synching your characters is until the end of the game!
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Offline Ceric

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2012, 08:48:12 PM »
Finally fully beat that chapter.  I hope they have voice acting in the new one.  Let me get to the action faster while still hearing the story.
On the healer thing, he had items and like.  In this case it was a fog of war map and I got unlucky on the rolls.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2012, 08:21:34 AM »
Re-post #1 from poll thread:


I thought I might be out but started playing it this morning on my commute. So, I guess I am in.
 
Here are my thoughts so far.
 
1. I have never played a Fire Emblem game before.
 
2. I am playing this one on the easy setting because the description said that was the only one with a tutorial.
 
3. I watched the whole intro video and also the rundown of unit types that follows. Nice variety. And there's dead, re-animated units. Ooooh, spooky. Also, I like the art style of the anime character protraits. Reminds me of how Puzzle Quest is presented. I realize Puzzle Quest is the imitator here, I just played that one first.
 
4. So far, the music is quite good too, though more "rockin' arcade" than I was expecting in a typical Nintendo game. Reminds me of a Capcom action game, like Megaman or something (though admittedly I have played very little MegaMans).
 
5. The tutorial so far is excellent. Walking me through, step by step. And I quite like the time it is taking with setting up the story, too. If it was all just turn-based action I might get put off. But they have cleverly hooked me by getting me to first give a crap about the characters and the world politics.
 
6. The text does not scroll fast enough. But I can get it to jump to the end of the scrolling by hitting the A button. Problem solved and thank you.
 
7. I have played the two Age of Empires DS games. I liked them both, the first one (Age of Kings) a bit better than the second (Mythologies). They are turn based strategy with different unit types and all that jazz, so this game is not as foreign to me as I thought it might be. I am digging the heavier story emphasis in this Fire Emblem game.
 
8. I like the "weapon triangle" rock-paper-scissors mechanic. Lance-beats-sword, sword-beats-axe, axe-beats-lance. Easy to remember and should be fun to play around with in the strategy. I am sure more strategy layers are coming.
 
9. I am VERY impressed with the music. I noticed about half way through the prologue chapter that it changes dynamically depending on the action of the chapter. It is seamless and the shifting music is pleasing and sets the tone of the action very well. I am really floored by this. It was very unexpected.
 
10. I have finished the prologue chapter and am about half way through chapter one proper. Some friendly units just showed up to help my fleeing princess and her knight. I think I get to control them next. All-in-all, I am pleased so far.

 
 
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2012, 08:23:07 AM »
Re-post #2 from poll thread:


Have been now looking through the "guide" screens as the tutorial helpfully told me to go check them out by clicking the A button anywhere on the map that is otherwise unoccupied. Lots of good info in there and its also where you can save or suspend the game. Game also auto-suspends if you head back to the 3DS home menu with the Home button.
 
But, on the downside, they have white lettering on a pale blue background all through the guides. I can barely make out the text. Squiniting abounds!
 
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 04:14:28 PM »
A quick tip for new players, do not use "Seth", a least not until you level up your other characters. Seth is an advanced unit who will demolish most units of a fair portion of the game, but he will suck up all the EXP that should be going to everyone else, crippling your army. Your other units will gain entire levels from a kill while Seth will only get 2-10 EXP out of 100.

There is a similar character in Fire Emblem that is also a newbie trap.


As far as Jeigans go Seth is actually ok, but yeah I would definitely advise against using him. I did however use him extensively when I first played the game, but had to make up for it later due to lack of levels in my other party members. Also making sure that Eirika/Ephraim are well levelled is very useful for the late game, I tended to neglect Eirika a bit on my first playthrough which proved to be a bit annoying later, but nothing I couldn't get around.


I would say that this game is much more newb (not noob) friendly and streamlined than the first American GBA title (keeping in mind there was a game previous to that on the GBA in Japan, which I might add is hard as nails in comparison to this one).


The fact that the item storage is inbuilt into the main character makes things so much easier, rather than having to waste a party slot on that guy with the storage tent from FE7. The Tower of Valni and the Ruins, as well as the random skirmishes that appear on the map are also extremely useful to get in some safe grinding if you aren't ready for the next map yet.

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2012, 08:54:32 PM »
So does anyone else like the fact that every major fortress in this game (and the series) is supposed to be tough/impossible to conquer...which is why your characters just waltz through the front doors? And if everyone's been at peace for generations, why does every nation have such a big army?

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2012, 10:10:39 PM »
And if everyone's been at peace for generations, why does every nation have such a big army?

United States is suppose to be one of the peaceful nations in the world, but we have the largest army and probably the most armed services operation of any other faction in the world.  Coming from that heritage not really.
Though to be honest the invading army did sort of Waltz through all there neighbors.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2012, 05:33:42 AM »
I hear people say skip the text its not important, just play the battles.  Well your missing 60%
of the fun. The character interaction is a big part of caring about these people.
When you are battling, look at the options when you move close to another caracter, they
have support dialog.(sometimes)
 Yea, LEVEL UP the characters, as ignoring Eirika and Ephraim(the first games version) is the mistake
 i made on the first GBA (u.s.) version. 
Then a few chapters in u have to decide who you use and who you leave out, meaning no leveling for them.
WHERE are the leveling (grinding ) maps, i'll do that for sure.
I put almost 600 hours into DQ IX grinding,(someone took my cart at work so i had start over) about 300 hrs
per game.  So grind for level, yea, but not much now as gotta finish for retro Active.

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2012, 02:31:56 PM »
I wish there wasn't so much story in any given go.  Thats why I think this be great for voice acting.   I care about the story but, I feel like I'm wading through a novel with occasional pictures.  I like the Gameplay and having the story a little more mixed in is better.

I'm trying to level different characters.  In specific the female Magic user because I hear she gets a horse version.  Well I go to level her and I had just got through making sure everyone had there equipment all settled and lo and behold I somehow missed she was almost out of Fireballs.  Unfortunately the next mission doesn't take you back to the map.  Though I did get Franz upgraded but I didn't realize I needed to use an item to force that.
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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2012, 07:02:41 AM »
@Ceric - You need an item to promote every character.  Except the trainees, but they start at a sub level so that doesn't really count.

Which is annoying because I have characters I want to promote but don't have the item for it. 

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Re: RetroActive #21: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2012, 07:41:30 AM »

Then a few chapters in u have to decide who you use and who you leave out, meaning no leveling for them.
WHERE are the leveling (grinding ) maps, i'll do that for sure.

After Chapter 8, you'll unlock two new maps. One of them is a large tower (can't miss it). That's the first one. Keep in mind too that that map gains more floors as you progress through the game. Don't forget to retreat if you get in over your head!

I wish there wasn't so much story in any given go.  Thats why I think this be great for voice acting.   I care about the story but, I feel like I'm wading through a novel with occasional pictures.  I like the Gameplay and having the story a little more mixed in is better.

I'm trying to level different characters.  In specific the female Magic user because I hear she gets a horse version.  Well I go to level her and I had just got through making sure everyone had there equipment all settled and lo and behold I somehow missed she was almost out of Fireballs.  Unfortunately the next mission doesn't take you back to the map.  Though I did get Franz upgraded but I didn't realize I needed to use an item to force that.

 In terms of the plot, I hate to say it but I don't think you're really missing much. I don't think the game has too much of it myself, since few cutscenes last more than two minutes (at the rate I read), but the product is fairly pedestrian. I do enjoy a lot of the character interaction found in the support conversations, though.
 
 As for promoting, like gojira said only the three trainees (Ross, Amelia, and Ewan) and the two Lords (Ephraim and Eirika) don't need an item to promote. You probably have several of these items by now. Guiding Rings = Mages/Clerics, Elysian Whips = Pegasi/Wyverns, etc. I suggest not promoting anyone until they hit Level 20, though, unless you're tired of slowly leveling up a cleric. If you ever need more, you can buy promoting items in the Secret Store at Chapter 14 or 19. Good luck finding it though!