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On the last day of E3, the Nintendo Treehouse crew finally give us the a promised look at some Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (Hoshido) gameplay.
Like their Conquest/Nohr playthrough during Day 2, we start from Chapter 7 (A Vow Upheld), which seems to be the first chapter after choosing sides.
Warning: There is a gameplay spoiler discussed towards the end, although it shouldn’t be that surprising.
Helping the Wounded
The scene opens with Azura (Aqua) showing the way to Hoshido’s Fort Jinya. Here, wounded soldiers and citizens are being treated in a make-shift hospital.
(By the way, a sprinkling of speculation: I think it may be important that Aqua/Azura’s name begins and ends with the same letter.)
Inside the fort, the Avatar meets Sakura (his little sister) and her loyal retainers: Hana (Kazahana) and Subaki (Tsubaki).
Just as the Avatar offers to help tend to the wounded, Azura comes back in with dreaded news: Nohrian soldiers have surrounded the camp.
With no time to spare, it’s decided the proper introductions can wait until the Nohrian forces are swiftly repelled.
Or… that would be case if Hana and Subaki weren’t busy arguing over over who’s the supreme retainer. Thankfully Sakura asserts her authority and everyone readies to move as the Avatar commands.
Preparations for Battle
Next, we move onto the actual battle–or rather, the preparations for the battle.
Of note, all the battle preparation functions are available by this point: including the ability to create support relationships.
Additionally, the tutorial pop-up suggests this may be the first chapter where battle preparations is available.
Also of interest: while the player has deployed 7 units on the field, there is space for at least one more; is this space reserved for Azura (who should be playable at this point)?
On the enemy side, Silas the Cavalier is leading their forces. In the Nohr path, he joined the Avatar’s side part-way through Chapter 7, so it’s interesting to see him as a boss here.
Silas immediately recognises the Avatar, who he met during childhood. However the Avatar doesn’t seem to remember him and is suspicious that Silas is trying to trick him.
With no way to convince the Avatar, Silas accepts that they must fight and the battle begins in earnest.
The units under the player’s control include the Avatar, Sakura, Kaze, Rinkah, Felicia, Hana and Subaki. Sadly, the player only uses the Avatar and Felicia to fight for most this playthrough.
Anyway, Kaze the Ninja has the ability (skill) to pick locks, so he’s sent on an important mission to loot the chests on the other side of the map.
Other other notable unit is Sakura, our primary healer. She has a Bloom Festal (Spring Festival)–a new Hoshidan healing staff that the ability to heal from 1~2 range.
Unlike in Nohr’s Chapter 7, the Avatar can use his Dragonstone here. (Which, in case you’re wondering, isn’t the gameplay spoiler I was referring to.)
Besides dealing decent damage, the Dragonstone seems to boost the Avatar’s Defence by a good amount, reducing the damage he receives from 6 to 0.
However, it also drops his Speed slightly, so sometimes it might be better to switch to his Yato for a 2 hit KO, rather than a 1 hit non-KO.
That said, the Dragonstone does seem pretty powerful, so it makes sense that it’s available earlier in the easier Hoshido route, rather than the harder Nohr route.
Something odd: the Nohrian lance-wielders are of the “Lancer” class, rather than the more common “Soldier”. This also poses the question of what the Hoshidan “Lancer” will be called in English…
The “Thief” class, meanwhile, is now known as “Outlaw“, possibly to distinguish the fact that it wields bows now, instead of swords (or knives) like it used to.
Near the end, the hosts discuss a little about building support relationships, by keeping characters close together in battle. They even hint that marriage returns in this game.
(Which, by the way was confirmed by recent Japanese publications.)
Once all the chests are rightfully looted and the battle is over, we see the player gaining 1 Dragon Vein Point (from 0), which can be used for creating buildings in My Castle.
Although Silas was defeated, he wasn’t killed–just wounded. Sadly, we don’t get to see the rest of the dialogue, but presumably this is the moment where Silas joins in the Hoshido route.
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