Echoes: “Two Armies” Trailer Analysis

Yesterday, in addition to announcing a Limited Edition for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Nintendo released a new trailer dubbed “Two Armies”.

Now that the dust has settled somewhat, we’d like to share our detailed analysis of the trailer. Just in case you haven’t been following the community or you missed something.

The trailer opens with two armies preparing to attack. Judging from the location, type of soldiers and time of day, this is likely the same battle we’ve seen in earlier trailers, where Alm leads the Deliverance against Rigel’s forces.

For a brief moment, two characters on horseback can barely be seen in front of Rigel’s army. From the Zofia’s Call trailer, we know they are Berkut, the Rigelian Emperor’s nephew, and a currently unknown character.

Fire Emblem rarely features unimportant characters with clearly defined faces in cutscenes, so the unidentified male accompanying Berkut is probably somewhat important as well. Is he also a new character added to Echoes?

Next, the scene shifts to Mycen–Alm and Celica’s guardian–clashing with Slayde. In the original Gaiden, Slayde was a minor enemy who served under Desaix, the Zofian turncoat. In Echoes, it appears he may have a larger role.

More importantly, the battle map shows younger versions of Alm, Celica and their four friends from Ram Village. The enemies on this map are from the Zofian army, so it appears the Zofian army has already defected to Rigel.

Could this is be a new prologue mission that explains why Celica had to leave Ram Village? In Gaiden, Mycen took Celica away from Ram Village because he was worried that Desaix would send troops in search of her.

Perhaps in Echoes, Mycen’s fears were more than fears–and Desaix’s troops were close to snatching Celica away? It would definitely give more weight to Alm and Celica’s separation during their childhood.

At the least, we do know there’s a new prologue thanks to Nintendo’s latest press release.

Players will also be able to enjoy expanded story content to propel them further into the intertwining adventures of Alm and Celica, including new recruitable heroes, new villains to defeat, and a new prologue that explores the previously hidden history of Alm and Celica.

This would also fit in line with recent remakes Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem adding in new prologue missions to flesh out the backstory.

We return to the present day with Alm leading the charge. After finishing off an enemy with a flashy critical attack, a glowing circle appears around Alm and Faye on the map. We’ve seen this before and it points to the existence of a support system in Echoes.

However, right now, we still don’t know if there will be proper support conversations. Since some games featured a support system, but no support conversations (i.e. Shadow Dragon) or basic conversations (i.e. Radiant Dawn).

Moving on, we’re told that Alm and Celica have their own armies, which operate independently. Which is nothing new if you know anything about Gaiden or if you’ve been following the latest Echoes news.

The map on Alm’s side is rather interesting since it shows the mission where you need to rescue Mathilda the Paladin. Here, we see Faye has class-changed to a Paladin herself and a sneaky Summoner (class name to be determined) in the top-right corner.

Afterwards, we join Celica’s party trying to cross the desert. Towards the right side of the fortress are Kamui, Leon, Catria, Est and a Cavalier that could be Atlas, the only Villager who joins Celica. We’ll come back to this later.

Unfortunately, while dungeon exploration has been given a impressive face lift, village exploration isn’t quite as exciting. In Gaiden, you could walk around villages like in a tradition RPG. That said, most villages were very small and basic.

In Echoes, villages appear to be navigated like in a visual novel (a 2D adventure game). From the looks of things, you can talk (to villagers?) and examine the scenery. The latter is useful for finding items such as Dried Shieldfish.

Things start heating up again as Celica’s party heads deep into monster territory. Here, Saber has a Golden Dagger, which is less impressive than it sounds. At least in terms of raw attack power (it has 1 Might).

Fans of The Sacred Stones will be happy to know that the skeletal warriors known as Bonewalkers are back. More accurately, they first appeared in Gaiden, along with the likes of Gargoyles, Revenants and Mogalls.

While certain modern features like the Weapon Triangle and Pair Up are missing, that’s not to say the gameplay is prehistoric. Players can still rearrange units before a battle begins–something that wasn’t present in Gaiden.

Additionally, Echoes has inherited many gameplay nuances from Gaiden, such as bow users being extremely versatile units that can attack at close range and (from what we’ve seen) up to 5 spaces away.

Here, Tobin only has a range of 4 spaces though: 3 from the Steel Bow and 1 from his Bowrange +1 attribute. Once he class-changes to a Sniper, he’ll gain Bowrange +2 for a maximum range of 5 spaces.

This map also looks like the final map of Chapter 1, where you face Slayde and Desaix together.

The next sequence highlights effective damage against certain class types, but the most interesting thing here is that Celica has class-changed to a Princess. Like in Gaiden, she has a slightly different portrait where she’s wearing her circlet.

In addition, her map sprite and battle model shows her wielding a shield, which she didn’t have before.

After a while, we return to the desert map from earlier, but this time on the other side. Here, we’re told that magic spells expend HP to cast. The example shown is Invoke, which summons a number of phantom soldiers, just like in Gaiden.

Nearing the end now and we have our inevitable sacrifice (Valbar) to show off Fire Emblem’s permanent death feature. In recent games, a deceased ally’s equipment returns to the convoy, but Echoes is the first to make it explicit.

If permanent death is too much to stomach, Casual Mode–where KO’d allies come back in the next chapter–is included as well. Interestingly, the field of flowers in the background looks like it’s from a young Alm and Celica scene.

Presumably this choice occurs somewhere around that scene, possibly in-between the title logo and the scene where Alm and Celica are looking at their birthmarks. Or maybe it appears before both. Either way, it’s a pretty cool touch.

Besides the trailer itself, the accompanying press release provides some further insight.

In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, players can use Mila’s Turnwheel to rewind the player’s last few turns, giving them a chance to reverse tactical errors and reconsider their next strategic move.

Some fans already guessed this, but the Mila’s Gear function introduced in last week’s Famitsu has been localised as “Mila’s Turnwheel”. This is consistent with the “Turnwheel” command visible in the PAX East footage.

Inside each dungeon is a Mila’s Statue, which can be used to promote characters and change their class, while some contain Sacred Springs, which can grant heroes with permanent stat increases.

While we’ve known about Mila’s Statues appearing inside dungeons, this is our first confirmation that the Lion Head Bonuses from Gaiden are making a comeback (in some shape or form). Now we just need to know if they can resurrect units too.

The rest of the press release discusses Echoes’s amiibo functionality.

When used, these amiibo will each activate their own exclusive dungeon, allowing heroes to earn items and level up their armies further by defeating bosses

Previously, we found out that the new Alm and Celica amiibo unlock a “special dungeon”, but we didn’t know if it was the same dungeon or different dungeons. Until now. As it happens, each amiibo unlocks its own dungeon.

By selecting Mila’s Turnwheel from the menu on the overworld map, players will also be able to activate their Alm and Celica amiibo to use in battle. During combat, players can sacrifice a portion of Alm or Celica’s health in order to summon a computer-controlled Illusory Hero, which will act as a temporary ally for a single turn. As Alm and Celica get stronger, their stats can be saved to their respective amiibo, allowing their Phantom Helper to grow in strength alongside them.

In addition, amiibo of Marth, Roy, Ike, Robin, Lucina, and even the upcoming Corrin amiibo can be used to summon an Illusory Hero of that character, allowing players to seek assistance from spectral visages. All other currently available amiibo are also compatible, and will summon an additional monster to the battleground to assist players on the battlefield, proving some much needed help in case of a strategic emergency.

Finally, we have some more details about how amiibo work in general. All Fire Emblem amiibo will summon phantom versions of their respective characters into the game, while other amiibo simply summon a monster.

Going by the wording, it seems these summoned units only assist for one turn and they cannot be controlled, limiting their uses somewhat. However they may prove useful during an emergency, for example as a meatshield or to serve as bait.

About the Author: VincentASM
Fire Emblem fan since 2002 and webmaster of Serenes Forest. Occasionally an online content editor or brand ambassador. Is a sucker for mage girls and has an unhealthy stash of Sylveon plushies.
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