Echoes: More Footage from PAX East + Analysis

Thanks to Rebekah Valentine from apptrigger.com, we have around 4 and a half minutes of new Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia footage from PAX East to sink our teeth into.

In case you missed it, Gamespot also played the game at PAX East and we spent a good deal of time analysing their screenshots.

Although 4 minutes isn’t a lot of time, there’s still a lot to uncover. We’ll start with the first dungeon video, which has Alm wandering around the Deliverance Hideout.

In typical RPG fashion, a partial map of the dungeon is displayed on the bottom screen; as you explore, the map automatically updates itself. The map also indicates where enemies and chests can be found.

What’s neat is that there’s occasional voiced dialogue (both in the form of dialogue boxes and as you explore) fleshing out the dungeon you’re in. In this case, we learn the hideout used to be a graveyard for Zofian nobility before being overrun by Terrors.

While inside dungeons, you can press the A button to attack. In in the second dungeon video, Alm can attack crumbling doors to reveal new rooms, as well as crates that may hide items inside.

One such item is a Hard Bread, which we imagine can be used as food in battle. If you’re quick, you can even attack enemies before they bump into you to reduce their HP before the battle begins.

The B button is used to dash, allowing you to traverse dungeons at a faster pace. From the looks of things, it can be combined with the A button for a cool-looking dash attack, which can break crates quicker than normal.

Upon touching an enemy, a mini battle plays out. At this point, the game will briefly show the victory condition, player and enemy numbers and ratings (a measure of the army’s overall strength). Presumably you can review this information via a menu.

Once in battle, the cursor starts on the protagonist, which is currently Alm. To further emphasise Alm’s importance, his sword glimmers on the map, which is a very nice touch. The same occurs for Celica, the game’s female protagonist.

Looking at Alm’s status screen, we can see he has two unknown attributes. Both have a sword symbol and based on our best knowledge, they’re probably unlearned attributes attached to Alm’s equipped Iron Sword. We’ll touch on these later.

Next, the player selects Lukas, a Knight from the Deliverance. Likewise, he has two unknown attributes, but they have a lance symbol (which corresponds with his Iron Lance). He also has an “Armored” attribute, which likely represents his class weakness.

As we mentioned a few times in the past, the Iron Sword and Iron Lance that Alm and Lukas wield did not exist in Gaiden. How it works is that characters without an equipped weapon use a generic 0 Might “Sword”, “Lance” etc to fight.

Back then, the generic weapons effectively functioned as Iron equivalents. However maybe the developers wanted to make the earlygame of Echoes slightly easier by adding in actual Iron weapons. These provide a +2 Attack boost, which is half of a Steel.

Sadly Lukas can’t reach any foes, so the player moves Faye the Cavalier instead. She appears to be a new character added to Echoes (known as “Effie” in the Japanese version), possibly to balance the uneven gender ratio in Alm’s party.

In any case, she’s equipped with an Orange and thus fights with a generic Lance. Aside from this, she has a “Mounted” attribute, again indicating her class weakness. However she has no weapon-based unknown attributes.

At this stage, we can reasonably conclude that having an equipped weapon entitles a character to possess those mysterious unknown attributes. Since Faye is equipped with food instead of a weapon and is missing those attributes.

Some fans already guessed this earlier, but like in Gaiden, the minimum damage dealt is 1. You can tell because the enemy Revenant has 5 Attack while Faye has 7 Defence, yet Faye takes 1 damage anyway, instead of 0.

In the second dungeon video, Lukas finally gets his opportunity to shine, scoring a critical hit on a foul Revenant. Like in Awakening and Fates before it, the game shows a snazzy cut-in of the character’s portrait for critical hits, which is bound to please fans.

Moving on, we switch to Celica’s party in the first of three videos that take place at the Mountainside Graveyard. This time, there are two enemy factions–the Terrors and Grieth’s motley crew. Combined, they number 17 versus Celica’s 8.

Luckily Celica’s party has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to get around the numerical disadvantage. For starters, Celica herself is an extremely versatile unit who can wield swords, Black Magic and White Magic (just like in Gaiden).

Right now, she has no weapon equipped, so is stuck with a generic Sword. Instead, she’s holding onto a Holey Cheese. “Holey” as in “holes” and “holy”; how puntastic! Besides this, she has access to Fire, Thunder and Seraphim (aka Angel) spells.

In the third Graveyard video, we see Celica casting Seraphim. As in Gaiden, Seraphim is effective against Terrors, which is a boon for the many Terror-filled maps in the game. Compared to before, Seraphim has 1 less Might, while its other stats are identical.

Perhaps this change was made since the spell was so devastating to monsters in the original. After all, effective damage used to multiply the user’s Attack and weapon/spell Might by 3. Meanwhile, in recent games, it only multiplies Might.

In Echoes, effective damage seems to follow the recent formula: 12 Attack + [7 Might x 3] – 0 Res = 33 Damage. Meanwhile if this was Gaiden, Celica would be dealing [ (12 Attack + 8 Might) x 3] – 0 Res = 60 damage. Yikes.

Moving back a bit, near the end of the first Graveyard video, we can see that Celica has the “Provisions” command, in addition to Items and Convoy. This is likely the localised term for the “Food” command in the Fire Emblem Direct trailer.

Considering Celica can use the Items command to check/manage her current item and the Convoy command to replace her current item, the Provisions command must do something unique that the other two commands don’t.

Maybe it can be used to give Food to allies without touching their current equipped item slot? In any case, none of Celica’s other allies have this command and Alm also has it, so it’s probably accessible by Celica and Alm only.

After Celica, we briefly catch a glimpse of Boey, one of her starting party members. The boy Mage has access to Fire and Thunder like Celica. He too has a food item–Drinking Water–and no unknown attributes because he has no weapon equipped.

Afterwards, we see Kamui, one of Valbar’s buddies. Next to his name is a symbol shaped like a Mila statue. This probably means he’s able to class-change. Indeed, if he was in Gaiden, he could class-change as a Level 7 or higher Mercenary.

The peaceful-looking guy has a Steel Sword, which provides Attack +4 and Speed -1, perfectly consistent with Gaiden. Again, he has a pair of unknown attributes that correspond to his Steel Sword.

This time, there’s a slight difference though. The second attribute has less question marks compared to the first and previous ones (6 versus 8). Are the number of question marks directly proportional to the length of the attribute’s name?

We’ll skip ahead a bit to Genny, Celica’s Cleric friend, who may provide more evidence to support this theory.

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Genny is equipped with a Leather Shield for a +3 Defence boost. This essentially confirms that unique weapons and shields (and food) cannot be equipped together. So just like Gaiden.

The other interesting thing is that the Leather Shield has a gauge too, but no grey circles under its name. In our previous analysis, we theorised that characters could learn attributes by continuing to use their weapons. Which we still believe is true.

However it’s going to be interesting trying to level up a shield… Do you need to let your character keep taking hits? If so, it’s a good thing you apparently only need to build up your gauge once, unlike weapons with their multiple circles.

Otherwise, Genny has access to Nosferatu, Recover, Physic, Invoke and a mystery attribute most likely from her shield. This one has even less question marks (4), so it could be an attribute with a really short name.

When selected, Genny has a humongous staff-casting (green) range. It’s hard to tell with the terrain window in the way, but it seems to extend to at least 10 squares. In Gaiden, Physic reached the entire map, so that could be why.

In the third Graveyard video, the player gets a better chance to mess around with Genny. “Invoke” is predictably the localised name of the Illusion spell that summons up to 8 phantoms that fight for you.

Nosferatu, a fairly common spell nowadays, debuted in Gaiden and it was notorious for having 50 Hit rate, in a game where only the spell’s Hit Rate mattered. This is true for Echoes, but it now has 60 Hit rate, which is a slight but welcome improvement.

Between Boey and Genny, we have Valbar, who we first saw again in the Cipher Series 8 Livestream. The man out for vengeance has Dried Meat in his hands and the same attributes as Lukas. His foe is a follower of Grieth: an axe-wielding Brigand.

The fourth character in Celica’s gang is Saber, the one-eyed Mercenary. He has a Golden Dagger, a new weapon, equipped. Unlike Fates and Heroes, this dagger seems to count as a (weak Attack +1) sword with a range of 1.

Trying her best not to be forgotten, we have Mae, Boey’s rival-of-sorts. Right now, there’s not much to comment about. She has a Bread (a downgrade from Hard Bread–or maybe an upgrade depending on your perspective) and access to Fire and Thunder.

Finally we have Leon who is indeed the purple-haired Archer in one of the Gamespot screenshots. What’s surprising is that Leon is a Sniper, a promoted Archer. Curiously, his Iron Bow provides Attack +2 and Speed -2, rather than just Attack +2.

In the Gamespot article, we discovered that Steel Bows provide Attack +3 and Speed -3. It seems bows may have an additional Speed -2 possibly to make them balanced. Especially since they can potentially attack from a whopping 1~5 range.

Speaking of, Leon has Bowrange +2, an upgrade from the Archer’s Bowrange +1. Counting the attack tiles, it seems the Iron Bow has 1~3 Range by default. Non-generic bows in Gaiden had 1~5 Range, so it’s unclear how their Range will be affected.

In the second Graveyard video, we have concrete evidence of weapon gauges increasing with usage. Assuming this video takes place after the first, which is likely since Leon’s experience has increased from 25 to 38, if we compare his gauge before and after…

Pretty convincing, right? Throughout the videos, if you have the eyes of a hawk, you can see a tiny amount of the gauge filled for other characters too, such as Alm and Lukas in the Deliverance Hideout.

Even if the gauge isn’t relating to learning attributes, we at least know it’s not a durability gauge, since it should be decreasing with time.

 

The next piece of juicy information rears its head after Mae lovingly takes down a Brigand. As in recent games, enemies may have items that you can receive after defeating them–in this case, a Silver Purse.

According to the in-game help message, the Silver Purse contains Silver Coins that can be used for forging weapons, another feature recently introduced into the series (since Path of Radiance).

Furthermore, when obtaining the Silver Purse, we can see there are Gold Coins too. Could these be used for forging as well or do they serve another purpose? (By the way, Coins were used to add a forging bonus in Radiant Dawn.)

Before this, we see Mae gaining a level. Although the stat gains look mediocre, Mae herself seems relatively (or very) pleased. Later Genny scores a Level Up with a single stat gain and only looks slightly baffled, not displeased.

Although the above two cases hardly constitute a proper sample size, most likely Gaiden’s low growth rates are here to stay. Fans used to the inflated growth rates in modern Fire Emblems may be in for a rude surprise!

For spell-casters, another benefit of leveling up is that you can learn new spells after gaining a certain amount of Levels. In Mae’s case, she learns the potent Aura spell at Level 9 in both Gaiden and Echoes.

Now for the potential game-changer. Right after Mae’s battle is concluded, a glowing aura surrounds Mae and the nearby Celica. The same thing happens later on after Celica ends a battle with Mae nearby.

We don’t want to jump to conclusions, but from appearances and the musical jingle, this looks a lot like gaining supports in Awakening and Fates. The difference is that there are no (visible) heart symbols and the phenomenon isn’t restricted to adjacent allies.

Another thing: Mae and Celica’s portraits don’t appear in the combat forecast prior to these two battles. However this can easily be explained by the characters not having an established support relationship yet.

At long last, the player goes to end their turn, at which point we get our first look at the system menu. Most of the options are self-explanatory, but there’s one near the very top that’s intriguing: Turnwheel.

Could this be related to the clock shaped icon in the bottom-right corner of everyone’s status screen? Actually, at the time of writing, details from this week’s Famitsu article are starting to leak and this looks to be the case. More about that in a future article…

Nearing the end now. This is relatively minor, but it seems the generic Bow may have a Range of 1~2. First, we’re assuming all Archers have the Bowrange +1 attribute and 4 Movement (like Tobin in the Gamespot preview).

Counting the maximum attack range and observing the enemy Archer who’s attacking poor helpless Mae, we can see that their effective attack range is up to 3 tiles. Subtract 1 for Bowrange +1 and you get up to 2 tiles for the Bow.

Finally, one of Grieth’s men is an Arcanist, a class unique to Gaiden. It looks to be what we called the Sorcerer, a enemy-only spell-caster. Here, it’s casting Miasma, which could be a renamed (and slightly nerfed; 5 less Hit rate) Dora spell.

Well, that’s everything we found in those 4 minutes and a half. Hopefully we’ll be back very soon with all of the information from this week’s Famitsu!

About the Author: VincentASM
Author Website: http://serenesforest.net
  • Aaaaaaaand looks like I’ll be completely muting voices. Still wish there was a dual audio option.

    • NozoBoobs

      Me too, the dual-audio thing was amazing in Awakening, why don’t keep it?

      • It wasn’t in Fates either? The only dual audio game so far WAS awakening.
        Now, the real question: Why not? 3 reasons:
        1. Licensing costs or issues. In some cases, voice actors need to give their permission for their voices to be used outside of Japan.
        2. NoA changed the script too much.
        3. Space limitations. Self explanatory.
        None are good reasons, but NoA can be downright lazy sometimes.

        • Semi Colon Parenthesis

          Wasn’t there some legal problems with the Japanese version “Lost in Thoughts”?

          • Pretty sure that’s true. Thanks, forgot about that.

          • MetalGear Lamia

            Correct

        • King Marth 64

          There were voice glitches in the Japanese audio in the localized version of Awakening that they did have problems with like the female Einherjars spoke with Robin’s third voice, making a new file without a soft reset will not work, and the second male Robin voice that you face Grima didn’t speak a word in the Final Chapter that I totally think that’s probably caused by the glitch. But, I did seen there was a post a thread that have a poll that alot of people voted English voices and only 4 people voted Japanese voices that I totally think that’s probably why alot of people stick using English voices.

    • Wariocleaners

      Could you weebs please shut up and just be happy we are getting the game along with full voice acting.

      Seriously, Nintendo should of never gave dual-audio with Awakening because of weebs like you guys.

      • Noktis Zariah

        That’s not what a weeb is…

      • Even if Awakening didn’t have it, I’d still ask for it because it’s nice to have. I can complain all I like, but there’s no way I’m ever passing on this game. These complaints are complaints, but they won’t stop my purchase. As for the voice acting, I never asked for it. I’m probably alone on this, but I’d rather a game with no VAs than bad VAs. DON’T GET ME WRONG, NOT ALL OFF THE VOICE ACTING IS BAD. It’s just the random cringe-inducing line readings that make me irritated, especially when I know I’ll be hearing those lines a lot.

      • MetalGear Lamia

        Not what weeb means

      • Actually, stuff like this is usually what Nintendo and other companies want to hear – when people complain about what they dislike about a game or rave about what they love about a game, it tells game companies what they’re doing right/wrong so they can keep doing the things the fans like and correct the things the fans dislike because if people hate the game too much they won’t put any money into it. In this instance, chances are there’s not much they’ll change in future games because VAs are very difficult to get right on the first try for characters that didn’t have VAs before and it’s difficult to just swap a VA out because people get way more upset over that, but it’s still a good thing for Nintendo to hear that people don’t agree with their choices – maybe they’ll make better VA changes when bringing the Echoes cast to Heroes(which will happen soon if they want to continue raising hype for Echoes).
        As for Dual-Audio, if Nintendo had made it work properly(i.e. they checked for glitches BEFORE releasing Awakening and didn’t botch so much of Fates’ Storyline in translation that Dual-Audio would have been even more confusing to add than the Storyline itself…which is saying something in certain places[looks pointedly at Zola]) it would have been a brilliant move, and frankly I loved that I could use the Japanese voices in Awakening – I even got one of my cousins, who is half-Japanese, to ask me about the game because I was playing with the Dual Audio on.

      • Han Asra

        The thing is, Awakening have actually good english voice acting besides Olivia. Even she only particularly bad on battle grunts and not anywhere else. How Fates can have worse quality despite being a sequel to a supposedly final game in a series is a mystery to me.

  • NozoBoobs

    Ugh, the voices suck, why they don’t give us dual audio like in Awakening? Really, why?

  • Richard Dawson

    The voices are awesome, weebs.

    • 0:26 of the 3rd video begs to differ. I can’t speak for you, but bad voice acting will ruin any game for me. I’m not annoyed that the voices aren’t the original. I’m annoyed that we’re getting a crap version while Japan’s has highly recognized voice talent. We get the short end of the stick because NoA is cheap. If the voice acting was consistently good, I wouldn’t be complaining.

      • Semi Colon Parenthesis

        FE has received some highly recognized English voice talent. I’m all for personal preference, I love Japanese voice acting as much as the next person, but I feel English va’s get too little credit. At worst they’re called trash by virtue of basically just being English.

        • Noktis Zariah

          You can’t please everyone, some people can’t be pleased at all.

          • I think most people who say they have issues with English VAs aren’t saying they can’t be pleased, I think they’re mostly just kind of miffed that Nintendo appears to still only really be focusing on Japan for Fire Emblem(anyone up for a game of Cipher?). Yes, we do have some good VAs(I personally loved Velouria’s battle quotes and Noire’s demon laugh), but a lot of the time Japan’s voice acting just sounds better – like Olivia, whose Japanese voice high pitch fit her character design so much better than her English lower one. On the other hand, there were some characters who made me wish I could custom-tailor my voice options per character so I could play with the Japanese voices for everyone else but keep their English ones – Basilio’s Japanese voice in particular made my ears hurt, and then there was Donnel…Anyways, my personal theory is there’s at least one guy up at Nintendo who thinks it was a bad idea to let the Americans see Marth and Roy in Melee all those years back because then they’d have to waste time throwing us enough scraps to keep us quiet, hence the censorship and translation problems a lot of Americans have with the game as it kind of feels like they’re babying us. Maybe I’m wrong, but it does seem a little weird at times the random things they change(I straight-up LOVE “Slappyface” though, not gonna lie).

          • Dem Figs

            I actually loved Olivia’s voice. Though, there isn’t really a voice I hate in the FE series. Even Felicia, which by everyone’s standards has bad VA, eventually grew on me and I couldn’t see her any other way than with that voice. Maybe this is because I have (or had) no prior knowledge of what the voices sounded like in Japanese, but even then, I am still grateful for them.

          • Arvis Jaggamar

            Felicia’s voice actress is probably the best and most talented in all of Fates. I didn’t know there were VAs that could pump that much personality into 2-second clips.

          • MetalGear Lamia

            Nice b8

          • Ember Hermin

            Felicia’s English voice was a VAST improvement.

          • MetalGear Lamia

            Nope barely use her in battle and didn’t marry her but with her twin sister Flora though JAT just has a sexy voice!

          • Noktis Zariah

            True, very true.

          • Ember Hermin

            I was kind of with you until you mentioned Olivia.
            That kawaii desu squealing is never acceptable on an adult. Ever.
            Her English voice is still high-pitched, but not to an obnoxious extent, just to a realistic one. Her voice still shakes and she’s still quiet, and that’s enough to fit with her character.
            Basically, her Japanese voice acting sounds like voice acting, and her English voice acting sounds like talking.

        • I misspoke. Some of the voice actors are fine and I don’t mind them at all. Alm isn’t half bad, and I wouldn’t mind his voice. But, just like dubs, the side characters get the lesser voice actors and, in a game fully voiced (like this is), that can ruin the experience for me. Again, it’s not the fact that it’s english, but the fact that it’s not consistently good. Genny’s voice oh gosh. That and Mae’s battle quotes are what ruined it for me.

    • MetalGear Lamia

      Unecessary remark but yes better than fates that’s for sure

  • Jonathan Sykes

    These voices are great, especially Mae’s. Why do all these weebs hate english VA so much?

    • MetalGear Lamia

      So apparently criticising a VAs performance = weeb which is not the definition try again…

      • Jonathan Sykes

        I’m talking about when people say “Japanese voice acting is better than English ones”. I’m not talking about those who don’t like it.

        • The closest thing I can find on the internet to a definition of “Weeb” says “A non-Japanese person who basically denounces their own culture and calls themselves Japanese. They try to learn Japanese through the anime they watch and usually end up pronouncing it wrong and looking like a complete idiot.” Admittedly, this isn’t necessarily trustworthy because it IS the internet and “Weeb” isn’t in any of the physical dictionaries my family owns so obviously I can’t check them, but I assume you can see the difference between this and the people on here. For anyone who doesn’t, have an example:
          ~My Weeb Impression~
          (Based on a mix of what little Japanese I know[intentionally misspelled to mirror past experiences I’ve had – correct spellings are “Sugoi” and “Kawaii” if what I’ve checked is correct] and what I’ve seen people who fit above description say on social networking sites)
          “I can’t stand English VAs because they all suck OTN compared to the ORIGINAL VAs, which were ultra sugoy! Genny’s VA especially sounded super kawaie!”
          Just saying the Japanese VA is better than the English one isn’t being a “Weeb” – rather, it’s a statement of personal preference. For example, while I have usually found myself enjoying the JP VAs more than the English ones(though some of those are simply because I grew up with said character only speaking JP[COUGHROYCOUGH]), there are several characters who I liked better in English, such as Basilio, who sounds definitely like someone trying to be gruff and failing in Japanese, or Donnel, who sounds super nasally with Dual-Audio on. Then there’s Noire, who, while a little off-sounding in either language, sounds better in English. Then we have characters like Soleil, who I haven’t heard in Japanese and don’t think I’d like because her English voice just fits her somehow, and Palla, whose English voice for Heroes I promptly fell in love with even though I expected something a little older-sounding, and I’m honestly never going to look up the JP voice for because I found myself liking her in English so much.
          I guess I spent a lot more words than I needed to here, but hopefully you got the main gist – it’s not being a “Weeb” it’s stating one’s opinion of the video. Maybe you don’t agree, maybe you do, but just dismissing them all as something they actually don’t qualify as makes it harder for people to take your opinion seriously as well. If you have to call names, perhaps go for “Whiners” – that’s more easily understood, and gives people a chance to react more calmly(for whatever reason, I’ve found calling people “Weebs” tends to just make them really, really pissed off at you) and explain their reasoning behind their opinion.

  • Noktis Zariah

    I guess I must have lower standards because the voice acting sounds fine for me, especially for Alm. Well done.

  • Silas Duke

    There wasnt a single bad voice in there. Why are people saying the voice acting is bad? None of these voices are on the level of Selkie, Peri, or “We’ve got trouble”

    • Genny makes my ears bleed.

      • Lip Service

        She had literally one line, which was fine as far as cutesy female voices go.

        • Moe voices are the one thing english VAs can’t do.

          • Ember Hermin

            Because moe voices should never be done.

          • By english speakers. Ok, point taken, I rather it go die in a corner altogether. Except for the sub of Madoka Magika, which intentionally uses it to subvert expectations, or 2 certain characters from Danganronpa who use it to the same effect.

          • Dunsparce

            Not any worse than Genny’s Japanese voice https://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/ajjj/characters/index.html?chara=009

          • Annoying, but it’s as expected, not a bad english replication.

    • Dank Wanker

      Well Felicia’s fi with her character, Selkie is alright but Peri sounds like she’s in desperate need of a cough drop

      • MetalGear Lamia

        Felicias is awful hate it…..Selkie I wish the one that voice Bonnie from PW SoN voiced her, Peri blech….

        • Semi Colon Parenthesis

          Felicia’s va imo is pretty good. It’s pretty much only “WE GOT TROUBLE”, even then the more I listened to it, it didn’t turn out so bad.

    • MetalGear Lamia

      Don’t forget Effie the apparent She man…

      • Semi Colon Parenthesis

        They went for “muscular woman”, when that’s really not Effie. The voice isn’t bad, but it’s NOT Effie.

    • SomeUser

      Yep

  • Rey

    Saber has 3 orbs on the dagger, 2 less then the others… with weapons.

  • LingeringLight

    The voices are alright, I dont mind them at all.
    I sure do hope there are supports.

  • UNIverse

    Sigh, at least a mute option exists…

  • Matt Becker

    Hi, Matt Becker from App Trigger here. Rebekah and I have uploaded two new gameplay videos onto Youtube. You can see those plus our write up over on App Trigger at http://apptrigger.com/2017/03/15/fire-emblem-echoes-shadows-valentia-pax-east-preview/

    Thanks! We are glad to have helped share this new info with you all!

  • Ember Hermin

    THESE VOICES ARE GREAT

    • Ember Hermin

      Animations are awkward, but the voices. Great.

      • Ember Hermin

        Between the food and the attributes, gameplay looks reaaaally wonky but I’m still interested.

  • Han Asra

    The voice is decent. Not as good as Awakening highs, but at least not as low as Fates. It looks like there will be more voiced lines in Echoes than the previous game.

  • Freya

    So for anyone who have played the original game, is it ever a good idea to give mages a melee weapon? I know shields is a better option but I like a hybrid betweem melee and magic.