Disclaimer: This is quite possibly the worst fire emblem chapter I have ever played. I didn't do a lot of screenshotting during the map itself because it was just too tedious. I apologize.
rain rain go away
NOBODY EXPECTED THIS
That sure is a namedrop
This is a super shoehorned attempt to make an enemy character sympathetic (along with Magnus as a whole). I appreciate the effort, but in this chapter it generally falls flat (even moreso once you realize how much i hate this map). For one, I'm not super convinced of either Magnus' supposed evil deeds (we've always shown up to clean up after the fact) or that any of these soldiers deserve my sympathy. Typically, a scene like this one only works after another emotional scene (see: Don't Speak Her Name! in Awakening).
Case in point - we go from a scene that is meant to provoke a sympathetic response... to Shon and Siegfried CHAR and Arch chatting about the weather.
...if that was the case, why would you willingly come this way? This is literally the least advantageous position for you to be in. I don't even remember why you all are so pressed for time; why is it so important that you're taking a shortcut like this in the first palce? All you're doing is funnel yourself into a chokepoint with minimal ways out, so even if you push through whatever measly guard they left here, they know exactly where you will exit, meaning that the full force of the Magnian army (or at least whatever that Cid guy has) can hunt you at their leisure!
I thought that these were just random bandits ala FE7 and that the bulk of the map would be fighting Magnus, but no. These are actual hired thugs that Lorraine is using to corrall your troops into a certain area. Why am I feeling bad for this guy again?
First of all, of course they fucking knew you were coming this way.
Secondly, you have zero reason to expect that these bandits have any affiliation whatsoever with the Magnian army. This kind of mountain pass is exactly where bandits would want to hide and ambush merchant caravans attempting to take such a convenient shortcut, no? So why does the appearance of any bandits (especially considering Siegfried doesn't know that there are actual troops waiting south yet) make you think of Magnus?
I... I'm conflicted. Siegfried isn't wrong, but (especially considering the previous issue) you'd think a country with the resources to successfully invade the entire rest of the continent would at least be able to keep track of a stupid mountain pass.
I'm leaving this part out of the spoiler tags by popular request.
This is by far the stupidest map I've encountered. Long walks, chokepoints, enemies hitting from peaks where I can't follow, ugly-ass barfgreen palette and fucking rain. Let's go over each of these in turn.
First of all, bandits on peaks. This is a terrible idea and I hate any map designer who thinks that flat +40 avoid to all enemies helps make a chapter more interesting. All it does is make your map frustrating and artificially longer to play. If the enemies were actually threatening, it might (might) result in some interesting positioning shenanigans to avoid having to fight them on the mountains, but they aren't. Instead, all it does is mean you have to sit there getting peppered by Hand Axes and the like while dealing with the fact that Storm has 38 hit on these assholes.
Yes, you can lure them off and/or fight them with your other units, but that is made frustrating by the rain (more on that later). You don't have to fight them (although you should, because those hand axes begin to sting after a while), but they're holding valuable items like an Energy Ring or the Unlock staff.
Then there's this asshole, who can't be one-rounded and will run away from you to use his Elixir (that ultimately drops). This is particularly bad, because Cia (the best unit at this point) has only around 50% hit on him and gets one or two rounded in return. You saw Storm's combat stats against him, but things get as low as 15% hit from Siegfried's Javelin. Yes, Inanna can fight them with that clutch Axereaver, but there's only one of her (and her gimped as fuck movement means it becomes super painful to fly her around). Also, this:
Peaks give +def so even our buff as fuck Inanna can't kill them.
Next, let's talk about the rain. Let's look at some movement ranges:
This is... exceedingly terrible. Assuming that there's no combat to be done on this map, you need to travel between 12 and 19 tiles to get from Inanna's starting position to the boss. Inanna has 3 movement. Add one turn for every time an enemy gets in her path. That's already four to six turns of just walking. If you decide not to fly over everything, it's even worse - Siegfried, from his starting position, has a whopping 24 tiles to walk over, without including terrain or enemies. The man has 2 move. What the fuck.
The enemies themselves are also just difficult enough to require you to pay attention to your slog. At one moment, I had this moment:
(he died, of course)
Peppering things like Killer Axes and Swordreavers in amidst an otherwise completely brainless and tedious chapter is just a dick move. This chapter is only bearable on autopilot, but on autopilot things start getting fucked up.
Thankfully, once you get too close, this happens:
The boss then moves up quite a bit, as well as spawning a few more soldiers to fight with him (this is one of the worst attempts at sympathy pandering I've seen in a long time).
Like, this is meant to be some kind of final stand protecting the commander, but this is just pathetic. The boss himself isn't even satisfying to fight (I solo'd him with Inanna), which is simultaneously a good and a bad thing - if he was a long fight by itself, it would be even more frustrating, due to the possibility of fucking up and having to restart the map and dying. However, with such an anticlimactic boss, it completely removes any satisfaction that could possibly be gained from this completely terrible map.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
You see those houses around Inanna? There's one near the start, too.
If you visit the one near the start, you get a nice "war sucks" speech, in which you hear that Lorraine's troops are the only ones that remotely decent (MORE SYMPATHY).
Think you can safely skip the next two? Ha, hahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
And you get an Axereaver and an Armor Cutter for your trouble (NOT FORESHADOWING AT ALL). Nowhere, ever, is it stated that these two houses in particular would give you anything (and these two items look pretty important to me). Note also that the boss is really close to Inanna, which means that I now have to make the choice between finishing the stupid map and getting my fucking items.
I chose the latter, much to my own chagrin.
STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME FEEL SYMPATHY FOR THIS MAN
This is a terrible conversation. "People pick sides and those that don't die anyway"? What is that supposed to mean? I get that it's meant to be some sort of "head down keep grinding until we win" sort of speech, but the effect falls completely flat. If you're going to go the direction of "war and people dying is inevitable", at least bust my balls with a speech that makes sense.