[Lex Talionis] Absolution (14 / 32 Chapters)

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— Dropbox Download Link —

Official Discord server for the project:

Salutations, everyone! I am happy to introduce to you all to a new FE project: Absolution! I’ve been working on the ideas and concepts behind this for a long time now, and it feels so good to finally have a playable build out there.

The current build v0.2.14.3 starts at the prologue and ends at chapter 14 (Whims of a Mad Empress). PLAY ON NORMAL FOR THE INTENDED EXPERIENCE. Easy, Hard, and Lunatic are all untested.

This game runs in the Lex Talionis engine, and as such is easy to download and play! All you have to do is download the game from the link above, unzip it, and double click the “double_click_to_play” batch file!

Unfamiliar with Lex Talionis? Here’s a quick little guide:

Lex Talionis Basics

Lex Talionis is an engine written entirely in Python, designed for Fire Emblem, and created by rainlash. The use of Python as base allows for all sorts of features, including the Base menu from the Tellius games and area-of-effect weapons. Let’s walk through what you’ll see when you first load up Absolution.

1.) The first thing you will see is the title screen (it looks like the image at the top of this post). Lex Talionis “maps” a key on your keyboard to a button on the GBA. You can change these mappings at any time! The default setup is as follows:
[A] -> x
[B] -> z
[ R ] -> c
[ L ] -> a
D-pad -> arrow keys
[ START ] -> s
To change this, you can navigate to “Extras” on the main menu and into “Options.” Next, move over from “Config” to “Controls.” You can then use whatever key is mapped to [A] to select a mapping and from there press whatever new key you’d like to map it to. Simple! You can do this at any time wherever the options menu is accessible.

2.) Now that your controls are mapped to your liking, select “New Game” on the main menu to begin Absolution! You’ll be asked to choose a difficulty. Choose Normal for the intended experience. You’ll then be asked to choose between casual and classic mode. These work just as in regular FE, EXCEPT that in casual mode, fallen units must sit out for one chapter before they can fight for you again. Finally, choose your style of level ups. Refer to the descriptions provided for details (or ask me if you need more info).

3.) Now that you have a save file, new options will appear on the main menu when you save and quit. “Continue” will load the last battle save. “Load Game” will load the last proper save you made (ie. saves at the start of a chapter, prep screen, etc.). “Restart Level” will load the save before last (so if you save at the base, and then at the prep screen, you can use Load Game to start from the prep screen and Restart Level to start from the base).

And that’s the basics of playing any Lex Talionis game! Hopefully that lowered any barriers to entry you may have had before playing Absolution.

Transferring Saves

If you’re in the middle of a playthrough when the game updates, don’t despair! Assuming saves are compatible between updates, transferring saves in Lex Talionis is a breeze!

1.) Download the latest build from the link in either the original post or the update post. Then follow the installation instructions as usual. Keep the new version completely separate from the old version.

2.) Navigate to the “absolution_data” folder in the old build (it should just above the “double_click_me_to_play” file). Inside it you will see a number of folders labeled data, audio, etc. The important one is the “Saves” folder, which as you might guess holds all your save data. Make a copy of your old Saves folder.

3.) Navigate to the “absolution_data” folder in the current build. Inside you’ll see the same folders as you did in the previous build. Simply delete the Saves folder and replace it with the old one you copied.

And presto, you’re good to go! You should now have access to your saves in the newest version of Absolution.

Discalimer : I always recommend keeping a backup of the old version for a little while just in case I make a mistake and saves aren’t actually compatible when I say they are. I don’t think that will ever happen, but it’s a good idea regardless.

Details about the game:

Brief Story Rundown

Absolution takes place in the world of Aletheia, a world split in half by conflicts too old to remember. Today, the two sides of Aletheia reunite - in less than harmonious circumstances. Help Valentina Bolivar free her people from oppression and overcome her personal demons through a story that spans two continents and 7 countries. The road ahead is an arduous one, laden with inconvenient and painful truths. But still, you must fight onward towards absolution, and right the wrongs of millennium past!

Gameplay Features

Implemented/In Progress Features:

  • An original story/scenario with original characters

  • Original music written specifically for the game. Check out the soundtrack here!

  • A simple yet robust class system

  • 2 - 3 range archers, 1 - 2 range crossbows, and a combination of Radiant Dawn-style and Fates-style knives

  • A variety of personal skills and combat arts

  • A support system where every character gets at least 4 support options. Even the most side character of side characters get equal love!

  • A Tellius-style skill system where units can equip and unequip skills using scrolls

  • A Paper Mario style cooking system! Units can eat one cooked food item per chapter to receive battle-long stat buffs!

Yet-to-be-implemented Features:

  • Unique enemy pallets based on faction.
  • Lore entries in the game’s library
  • Multiple difficulties. Normal is the intended default difficulty, the rest are untested

Screenshots:
Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.31.15.090789 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.32.06.075035 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.54.51.037419 Lex_Talionis_2020-07-03_06.21.00.069747 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.53.42.292181 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.47.17.844510 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.44.31.432100 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_14.03.09.406680 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.56.19.356860 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.32.21.995082 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.49.40.008879 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.34.14.687657 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.39.30.189810 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.40.49.461739 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.49.09.155297 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.45.44.235930 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_14.31.14.153504 Lex_Talionis_2020-12-19_13.34.56.328692

Graphics Credits

Valentina Portraits and Strega Portrait

  • Atey

Custom Item Sprites:

  • rainlash
  • LordGlenn
  • ZessDynamite
  • Zane
  • Valak
  • Zelix
  • Ereshgikal
  • SacredStones
  • authenticmaniac
  • lovemachine
  • Peerless
  • Zarg

Custom Class Cards

  • rainlash
  • Dei
  • MageKnight404
  • Team SALVAGED
  • Melia
  • MeatOfJustice
  • FPzero
  • Shtick
  • Rasdel
  • DerTheVaporeon
  • Orihara_Saki
  • Kenpuhu

Custom Map Sprites

  • rainlash
  • dondon151
  • Agro
  • Team SALVAGED
  • Melia
  • MeatOfJustice
  • FPzero
  • Shtick
  • Rasdel
  • DerTheVaporeon
  • Orihara_Saki
  • Kenpuhu
  • HyperGammaSpaces
  • Flasuban
  • Snewping
  • Unknown
  • Ayr
  • Pikmin1211
  • Nuramon
  • N426
  • SSHX

Custom WEXP Icons

  • LordGlenn

Custom Affinity Icons

  • LordGlenn

Custom Combat Animations

  • Adelita: Mikey Seregon, Khrene Kleaver, Khardos
  • Female Assassin: Keks_krebs, Peerless, SD9K, The_Big_Dededester
  • Armor Knights: Nuramon
  • Male Cavaliers: Team SALVAGED
  • Female Cavaliers: Team SALVAGED, flasuban
  • Klokinator
  • Male Bow Cavalier: Orihara_Saki, DerTheVaporeon, Kao, Aurora
  • Female Bow Cavalier: DerTheVaporeon, Kao, Aurora
  • Villager: Nuramon
  • Male Crusader: DerTheVaporeon, Pikmin1211
  • Female Crusader: Leo_link, Iscaneus, DerTheVaporeon
  • Dracoknight (axe): Mikey Seregon, Alfred Kamon
  • Eagle Knight: Blue Druid
  • Griffon Knight, Blue Druid, Masier6
  • Male Fighter: Waleed, Flasuban
  • Female Fighter: Black Mage
  • Gunner: DerTheVaporeon, Pikmin1211
  • Male Halberdier: TBA
  • Female Halberdier: Black Mage
  • Harrier: Red Bean, Mikey Seregon, Marlon0024
  • Male Hero: Nuramon
  • Female Hero: Nuramon, flasuban
  • Female Hoplite: CirclesEverywhere
  • Leviathan: Pikmin1211, Jj09
  • Female Mercenary: TBA
  • Templar: Spud
  • Moonwing: GratedShtick
  • Phalanx: Nuramon
  • Pirate: DerTheVaporeon
  • Female Rogue: Pikmin1211, Maiser6, Ukelele, SD9K, Temp, Black Mage, Wan
  • Soldier: Alusq
  • Spy: DerTheVaporeon, Pikmin1211
  • Male Sun Knight: GabrielKnight
  • Female Sun Mage: Teraspark
  • Male Troubador: GabrielKnight
  • Female Warrior: Temp

Custom Spell Animations

  • Arch
  • BBHood217
  • BwdYeti

Custom Cutscene Backgrounds

  • WAve
  • Zoramine
  • Fate Grand Order

Sprite and Texture Rips

  • Retreiver II
  • Booscaster
  • Lexou

Narrow Fonts

  • Scraiza

Sound Effects

  • BBHood217

Custom Tilesets and Tileset Palettes

  • Zoramine
  • feaw
  • N426
  • WAve

Playtesting

  • Lord Tweed
  • Dejota
  • Sealvester

This is my first foray into game development, so your feedback is very much appreciated! I am heavily invested in this game being the best it can possibly be! Thank you! (I also love seeing how people’s units turned out, so if you want to share that, please do!)

33 Likes

Welcome to the community! Always nice to see new projects.

4 Likes

Looks like you’re making good use of the engine.

2 Likes

Cool to see more usage out of LT

3 Likes

Evelyn’s pretty jacked for a healer. Is there a reason for that?
Aside from that, this hack is one of the better-presented and better-looking hacks I’ve played (though this is my first encounter with LT, so I’m not sure if this is standard or not, if so, wow). Good stuff.

1 Like

Clerics promote into Crusaders, which get axes in addition to staves (they’re essentially war monks/clerics). Evelyn has good strength so she can utilize the new weapon type.
I’m glad you’re liking the presentation and look of the game! I hope you find the gameplay similarly enjoyable. Thanks for checking it out!

1 Like

Here’s a small little progress update for act 2!

Act 2 will feature approximately 10 chapters. The first of which, chapter 10, will be Absolution’s first defense map! Here’s a look at an early test:


Uh oh. Green ranges and enemy spies? That can only mean one thing…


Uh oh.

Like any good defense map, you’ll have to extend yourself if you want the best rewards.

Other than that, during act 2 you will finally recruit dancers and bards!


Wait. Dancers AND bards? But won’t they refresh train across the map!?

…among other new faces!
Mackenzie%20(transparent) Rhapsody%20(transparent) Tybalt%20(transparent)
Since school is starting up again, progress will be slow for the next several months. I’ll likely release act 2 in two parts so there isn’t such a long wait. Thanks to everyone who has played or taken an interest in the game!

6 Likes

Hello, thanks for checking out the game! I appreciate the anaylsis of the code, but I didn’t create the Lex Talionis engine! Only the game, Absolution, is by me. The engine works quite well for me; because everything is separate, it makes it easier to understand and create for as a game maker. I appreciate the offer for help, but you’re asking the wrong person. Again, I didn’t make Lex Talionis.

I’ve never had anyone encounter issues with Rescue before. Rescuing is a bit different in this game than vanilla GBA. Mounted units cannot be rescued and also have reduced Aid. The rescue condition is still Aid >= Con, though. Who exactly did you try to rescue and who did you try rescuing them with?

I’m a little confused by your last reply. How did you add in Reese and Jeremy and convert generics? Did you activate debug mode or edit the level files themselves? If so, why? To answer your question, the id for “Follow Me” is a custom AI I made: “FollowValentina”. It follows a unit whose name matches the string ‘Valentina’.

As for the writing, thanks for the feedback! I’ll think about adding in more subtlety to the dialogue in the early chapters.

I’m glad you’re having fun playing with the engine and game files! But if you want to give a full review I would prefer if you played through Absolution as I intended, without doing any of that. Thanks again for taking a look!

1 Like

This looks promising. Any story that can make me care about what happens to its characters is a pretty good one. I’m especially wondering if a certain manipulative non-believer will eventually get his much-deserved comeuppance in the future.

Regarding the gameplay, the mechanics seem sound and everything appears to work as intended (though the pillar terrain being one tile below the pillar graphic continues to bother me a bit). The maps are fun, and I appreciate that some of them make me rush to get everything and win before I get overwhelmed.

Overall, this is a neat game and I hope to play it again in the future when it’s more complete. What’s finished now is around the same length as the base Lion Throne game, so it’s still worth playing.

1 Like

Just gave this a try. Got to chapter 5, and just finished the market stuff. The writing feels really natural. I love how Valentina and Gabe share the trait of skills based on low HP, how Trudy’s skill makes her abuse the hell out of the steel axe, the absolute silliness of 50% strength growth cleric, and the use of stationary enemies.

My only complaints are these.

  1. I was surprised at how quickly I could accidentally discard a weapon. iirc gba had an ‘are you sure’ screen for that similar to the one added to ‘end turn’ (which is also great), and it’d be well appreciated here as well.

  2. There is a market to get extra staves in chapter 2, and the game is not hard enough to require constant healing, but I didn’t buy a heal staff and entered chapter 4 with two staff uses. I’m a bit mixed here because I spammed the hell out of heals but with the combat utility it provides, I didn’t see a reason not to. Maybe have Ojala mention it when she gives you the 5K?

  3. Speaking of Chapter 4, I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be, but it’s very easy to cheese. As long as you have Trudy, sending her and a few others to the northwest while chipping down the guys in the south with armor and archers was really easy, even without healing. It’s the weakest map in the game up to that point.

Good luck with School!

1 Like

Sorry I didn’t fix them last time. Next time, I promise. Maybe. If I remember. (Seriously though, I will) Thanks for playing through it again; I’m glad you liked it! (Also, I’ll comb through the text again for instances of it scrolling too fast; that’s on me)

I hope this didn’t lead to any unfortunate accidents! I’ll add this to list of QoL changes to make.

I’ll address this by having Ojala be more direct in telling you that items won’t be available for a while.

My intention for this map was that you could save Gabe and Bennett in one of two ways. You could either move northwest to take out the boss before the reinforcements finish them off (as you did with Trudy), OR kill the armors and archers to the south to rescue them directly. The idea was that there would be a trade-off between beating the chapter quickly or getting more experience and items. If you found it easy to do both of those things, I’ll try and make the chapter a bit tougher.

Thanks for the well wishes! I hope you find the rest of the game enjoyable.

1 Like

What’s this? A game in an underrated engine AND completely original soundtrack to go along with it? Mad respect my man. Very well done

1 Like

I was going to wait until I finished the beta to comment on other stuff but I found a pretty big (and funny) issue. It is a decent spoiler if you haven’t played the game.

When you gain access to the convoy list, you have access to the inventory of Val, alongside the presumably dead Jeremy, Cesar, and Rodney. I even have the Holy Dagger. Not sure that was intentional, I’ll try to continue as if I didn’t have their items.

1 Like

Thanks for the report! That definitely shouldn’t be happening. I’ve done some testing and the issue appears to be unique to casual mode.

In the near future, I’ll create a small update, v0.1.9.1, that will (hopefully) fix that issue among other small ones. I’ll also add a quick guide for transferring saves in Lex Talionis along with it, as old ones should be compatible with this update.

1 Like

So what is the current default difficulty, is it Normal? I picked Lunatic regardless, and I have to say the game’s quite tough. Not that I dislike it, on the contrary I welcome the challenge. However, if the current difficulty is Normal, I can’t wait to see the real Lunatic.

1 Like

The current default difficulty is intended to be normal.

However, I double checked after reading this and it turns out that Lunatic currently isn’t the same as Normal and Hard. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the boosts to enemy and player growths for Lunatic mode. So your units as well as the enemies will have a lot more HP, strength, skill, and speed than intended. I’ll edit the OP to say to avoid Lunatic and choose Normal or Hard for now.

You’re welcome to keep playing on Lunatic, though! I’m actually curious what you’ll end up thinking about it. Just be aware that you’re playing something I haven’t playtested. Who knows? If it actually plays well I may use it as a base for the actual Hard mode.

Thanks for checking it out!

1 Like

Now that I’ve played through Act I, I’m going to post my thoughts and impressions here. To avoid spoiling stuff and posting a wall of text, I’ll be using the hide details function. Keep in mind that my impressions are based on Lunatic mode, which by the time of this post has not been playtested.

General

Playing this game feels like playing a mix of Fire Emblem and Pokemon (Fire Emblem in terms of gameplay, Pokemon more so from visual standpoint, especially the library) and I like that. Lex Talionis has a very different feel to it compared to rom hacks.

While nothing too major, there are some typos in the game.


There’s also “unkown” somewhere in the beginning/ first couple of chapters, and “gaurdian” somewhere in ch4 I believe (the chapter where you first meet Gabriel and Bennett).

I also encountered this bug. After talking to Myrtle, it seems the command for changing units to green uses location rather than character ID. This is what happened:


As you can see, Eduardo is standing where one of the units blocking that path used to be.

You also seem to favor “attack if in range” AI. In my opinion there’s a lack of charging enemies. Sure, the enemy reinforcements tend to charge at you, but for the most part that’s pretty much it. The issue with this approach is that it favors bait & switch. I don’t know if this is by intention or limitation, but I’m of the opinion that you should increase the amount of charging enemies whenever possible. Then there’s the sketchy “attack if in half range” AI: there are enemies that don’t appear to move despite my units being in their attack range. Unlike with the stationary units, movement is displayed for these types of units. An example of this are the guys who arrive with the boss in ch3.

On Lunatic mode

I played on Lunatic classic with typical random level ups. In my opinion this iteration of Lunatic is a solid foundation for high(est) difficulty setting. I was able to beat it without getting all treasure/loot, droppable items or units. If Myrtle is recruited, I missed her (more on that later) and I failed to recruit Reese (the last executioner got killed by a crit, and I couldn’t be bothered to reset the map just for Reese). I also did not use any stat boosters, so there’s that.

What I like about this difficulty is that not only does it make you think, it makes you RE-think. I don’t know if I’m in the minority on this, but imo if the high(est) difficulty is beatable by you just killing whatever is in front of you, it has failed as a difficulty mode. Difficulty for me is not masochism or proving my pro gamer 1337 skills, it’s about being presented with a challenge you have to overcome using whatever resources/strategy available to you. On that front Lunatic really delivers.

Currently there are some difficulty spikes, such as ch3. Escaping in time wasn’t the issue, the problem was in getting all the loot AND talking to Myrtle - which I didn’t do- and still being able to escape in time. So if you’re using this version as a base for Hard mode, smooth out these spikes a bit and you’re good. Another spike I’d say is ch4/ the Sanctuary. It’s the first opening turns as well as the mages that ramp up the difficulty. You have to be very careful in which enemies you kill first: Louis can get one-shot, for example. As for the mages, they hit hard enough to the point you want to pick and choose your matchups, they can even double some of your units and ORKO them. I had to play it safe and let the thief escape.

Lunatic also incentivizes smart and deliberate use of weapon arts/skills. If you just use them willy-nilly, you might run into problems later on. Often I was able to secure an OHKO on an enemy at a crucial time by using them. I also used them to take down bosses quickly, since they tend to have a good amount of avoid and HP regeneration.

Maps/chapters

What I appreciate about the maps is the variety in objectives and gimmicks. The crops slowed down enemy units, so burning them too quickly meant they could now reach you. Saving the hostages served as not just the map objective, but also as anti-turtling incentive. Condensing design elements like this is what I approve of. Each map has something going for it, and clearly you’re not afraid to experiment with different approaches to map design.

Enemy reinforcements coming from behind incentivize moving forward, which is good. However, I do think you use this method a bit too much and more or less inconsistently. Sometimes it’s just one wave of enemies, while in another map it’s 3 waves, then there’s a map with seemingly endless amount of enemies that steadily get stronger. When it comes to reinforcements in general, sometimes you provide a warning, like in ch8 (the wall) the boss mentions wyverns and cavalry specifically. I could be mistaken here, but he did not mention the mages when he started moving. Those mages ended up screwing me over. In the map with Pierre it’s mentioned that there will be enemies who will take back the captured buildings. However, if I recall correctly it currently does not notify when the reinforcements start to get stronger. I think that’d be useful for giving the player a better idea of how much time they have left before the reinforcements get really overwhelming.

Many of the bosses appear to be stationary, armed with hit-reducing skills when they can’t retaliate. I understand this is a measure to prevent cheesing them with Lakshmi. However, whenever possible, I’d recommend you remove said skill and make the bosses move, either when you enter their attack range or after X turns. This way the bosses become more of an active part of the map instead of being just sitting ducks you wail at until they die. They can be killed with weapon arts/skills pretty quickly as well, not to mention the skills often increase accuracy. This means you’re actually able to land hits on those bosses who receive avoid bonuses from thrones and gates.

The abundance of stationary enemies creates “gaps” in some of the maps. One example being the Sanctuary, where I can spend a turn or two with little to no combat. The reason why I advocate for adding charging enemies is to close these gaps where I’m forced to approach the enemy, instead of the enemy approaching me.

As for some chapter-specific feedback, I think the weakest is ch3, and my most liked ones being towards the latter part of Act I. I think you should move things around a bit: as of now Myrtle is away from your main objective. Taking the indoor path to her doesn’t seem worthwhile, and her opening up the door is of little benefit. I’d suggest you have the escape path in the upper left corner, Myrtle perhaps somewhere in the middle, and treasure chests being in middle and upper right parts of the map - see whatever works for you. Regardless, I believe Myrtle should be more closer to the direction you’re expected to proceed to, and the treasure chests being in places that are not blocked by a choke point: the cavalry catches up to you pretty fast, after all! I retried this chapter several times, and decided it was in my best interest to skip Myrtle altogether if I wanted all the treasure. Also, Arrive seems to mean “Escape”. I’m spoiled by FEBuilder and believed Arrive means Val needs to reach a certain point (like in ch8). Apparently Arrive means I need to escape, and with all of my units, nonetheless.

As for ch5, Pierre’s chapter, there’s one issue. That is you can abuse the AI of enemy reinforcements. They won’t move if they can’t attack immediately or if you have not captured any of the buildings. This means the best course of action is to capture them all and kill Pierre in a single turn. I don’t know if this how you intended it to be, but for me it resulted in getting punished for capturing the building as I reached them. I suggest you tweak the reinforcements a bit in order to discourage sitting around the buildings you need to capture, to close a gap in the flow of the map. Maybe make them appear closer to those buildings, or the reinforcements won’t even be triggered if you don’t kill the knights guarding the buildings? Or maybe leaving the buildings un-captured (for too long) means they can provide tools and assistance for the soldiers in town?

Units

Since you’d like to know how units end up, here’s a sheet of units I used throughout the game:

Unit versatility is generally good. However, there are some units I find hard to use, or justify using over someone else. I benched units like Samantha and Louis, who were in one-shot range far too often for my taste. Sam also got slowed down by weapons like Heavy Spear. Speed reduction was less of an issue for Raymond or Eduardo. While this comparison is admittedly a bit apples-to-oranges kind, I found myself needing my units to do combat far more often than not (excluding healers). What with some of the enemies being stationary and/or you needing to bait them, there is a focus on Enemy Phase. This in turn favors units that can shrug off hits, like Raymond or Eduardo.

I tried giving a shot to Hati, but it didn’t end up well. His Speed was just far too low for me to use him effectively. He hits hard, but so does Val with Sunna, which has 1-2 range. Sunna also does not break, so there’s that. I liked using Fortune to boost Val’s hit rate with it, which by default seems to be the only drawback to Sunna.

I think Raymond and Spencer are respectively the best and second best units in the game. High movement and high all-around stats make them extremely valuable. They have both Enemy and Player Phase utility. They dish out high damage, and yet have the defenses to tank hits. The reason why Raymond has a slight lead over Spencer is his higher HP.

At first the idea of 2-3 range bows and 1-2 range crossbows appears appealing, but as you play the game you find out the crossbows are sort of underwhelming. On the enemy side they’re barely a threat to anyone not flying, and on the player side you often prefer having the ability to attack hard hitting mages and generally delivering chip damage from a safe distance. Gabriel still deals good chunks of damage, though, but I don’t know if that’s because of Gabriel’s high STR or because of the crossbows. Perhaps you might want to differentiate the crossbows somehow, like having an armor-piercing one or something. Further discrepancy to utility provided by these two is caused by Gabriel’s low Speed, which can cause him to get doubled. At least in my case the difference in bulk was not notable enough for Gabriel to stand out.

Malcolm is a really good unit. Definitely not a front-liner, but his ability to debuff is crucial. I believe the daggers as of now don’t display doubling, this might be because the combat forecast does not take into account the speed decrease from the first attack. Which reminds me, dynamic buffs/debuffs are a nice touch. I was able to see this when Val’s personal skill activated, or when Malcolm’s first attack debuffs defense.

In conclusion

While at first glance it appears I’m giving quite a lot of critique, I do believe this project to be a diamond in the rough. My experience of the game also was not “the intended” one, as I played an untested mode. Despite all my criticisms I enjoyed the game, and advice anyone on the fence to give it a try. You don’t have to play it on Lunatic, you know, if that’s not your cup of tea!

3 Likes

I’ve finally finished the demo. I played on the default difficulty and on casual, but I didn’t really utilize it, and I reset for deaths.

Units

I used Valentina, Raymond, Spencer, Lakshmi, Evelyn, Trudy, Samantha, Gabriel, Louis, Zahir, Wesley, and Genevieve. The only character I didn’t recruit was the myrmidon in the execution line, not because she died but just because I genuinely forgot to talk to her, and I guess the Purge monk in the same chapter if she was also recruitable because I couldn’t tell.

Valentina was great. Sunna is super well designed, being very powerful and unbreakable without completely invalidating other weapons. Playing her super riskily and keeping her health low was a super fun balance of styles, and avoiding death through her personal skill felt amazing. She ended up my best combat unit through keeping her skill active.

Spencer got a little weak by the end, but was solid overall. I never didn’t want to have him. I didn’t use Diamond Axe a single time.

Raymond is nuts, but I think for me it was because he got tons of speed early on, to the point that I ended up forgetting about Chivalry for a while. Dunked on everything.

Lakshmi was just fine. 3 range is just nice to have, and high crit rates meant every once and a while that chip damage would knock the whole thing down. She got a weird amount of magic, so she stole Ojala’s shining bow and made pretty decent use of it.

Evelyn was healer. I’d imagine her promo will give her some kind of physical weapon to make use of her ability to flex. +2 attack all the time as a buff was far more useful than it had any right to be.

Trudy was the only character who I think turned out wildly different than they were supposed to. Her strength and speed effectively flipped, so she was basically an axe myrmidon. I found her very good early on, and in hindsight I may have found Chapter 4 easy solely based on Trudy getting super speed blessed and doubling where she would normally be very unlikely to. She was fairly strong by the end, and even with only 11 strength doubling with the Steel Axe is just nice. She also didn’t support with anyone relevant to the team.

Samantha won when she could OHKO with Heavy Spear or double, and that happened fairly often. I never found her getting one shot, so especially once I got physic I could throw her into some pretty silly places, heal her with Physic so she got a defense stat, and be totally fine. She was solid.

Gabriel was promoted at level 15, but really only out my own curiosity to see what class he’d become. Having a 1-2 range option that didn’t care about weapon triangle on enemy phase was surprisingly good. I don’t know if he just got stat-blessed or if it’s normal mode, but Gabriel felt like one of my strongest units.

Louis promoted before Chapter 9 at level 13. He was very good. Doubling things was super common thanks to Ray, and avoiding counters was great. I promoted him thinking he’d get staves, but the crit boost came in handy anyway.

Zahir…eh. Not awesome. He just whacked stuff with an iron blade while passing over terrain. I stopped using him for combat by the end.

Wesley gave earth boost and has a hilarious unarmed animation bug. Physic rank was fun for making me not die.

Genevieve was solid for the one chapter she started in. She made me appreciate not having sold all of Bennett’s equipment after I benched him, and Daybreak is a super cool Prf that I’m glad has limited uses.

And Malcom. I was going to use him early on, but he died at the very end of one of the maps and I just didn’t care to reset for him, so I treated him as dead.

Overall, I found the balance solid. Being in favor of the early joiners is pretty much fine, and almost everyone gave me real pause before I benched them. The only exceptions were Drake, who really only got outclassed because Trudy grew weirdly, and Hati, who probably should’ve been a great fit for the team I had but wasn’t worth dropping any other ally besides maybe Zahir.

Story and Writing

Probably the unsung element of this hack is the writing. The main scenario is fine, even if it’s nothing super special so far. What I really like is what threads I see dangling as of now and where things could go, especially with the library B plot.

But the character writing is stellar, and it’s what hooked me on the game for sure. Sam’s giggly gushing over Raymond was cute, Bennett’s precise speech and eager attitude are super fitting and well done, Evelyn and Spencer’s arguing found a good sweetspot between angry and caring, Valentina’s personal turmoil is intriguing and her step into warmongering feels much more in character than I would’ve expected, Victor makes me want to punch his teeth out and I think that’s the intention, the library B-plot duo is more memorable than some of the playable characters, and pretty much everyone else is done well. If I had to pick a sore spot it’d be Gabriel, who just seems to lack something I can’t put my finger on.

Maps and Objectives

I really liked how varied the objectives were, and each map felt unique. The gimmicks were gimmicks, but they didn’t take away from things and were mostly fully realized. The weakest ones were probably chapter 4 and the chapter where you had to lure the guy out by visiting places, and even then they still worked as more standard maps with a smaller twist. I might add to this post with more thoughts on the maps, but I honestly wasn’t thinking too much about it as I played.

Misc

Combat Arts are good when they’re good, but some were rarely worthwhile. Spencer’s in particular never got use for me.

Mend vs Physic is an amazingly designed trade off. Mend is arguably better overall due to the stat boosts, but that’s balanced with the lower movement of clerics. That’s a clear case of this engine doing something a hack would have to bend over backwards to do.

Contrary to what Zarg said, I found crossbows solid from both a player and enemy standpoint, but that’s likely because of the difficulties. For me, crossbowmen always existed in this space where they could only get doubled by Samantha, could never get one-shot, had consistent accuracy due to being away from the weapon triangle, and could always counter. In a world where the speed is a bit more creeped, some of my faster units like Louis and Spencer would likely double more often. Similarly, I feel like Malcom (and knives in general) will be fairly underpowered on normal, as on normal you rarely need to debuff things that aren’t bosses and sometimes the combined damage just doesn’t work.

I see you wrote your own music for the game, but I didn’t listen to it so no thoughts there.

Anima tome stat nerfs are really neat, and there were moments where I had to remember that I was likely to have less speed and that it could get me doubled/have less strength and make me too weak to KO.

I love how the prologue shows you the way Knives function in terms of in battle debuffs. Rodney from the opening chapter could probably outclass Malcom if you could give him a few levels, which is funny. I can’t wait to see how tough it’s going to be to face them.

The Wind Sword was really expensive for what is basically a sword javalin. I understand why, but buying one never seemed like a good use of money.

Fortune is a super cool staff that I wish Evelyn could use earlier. When you get it, there’s a lot of potential for it to be pretty cool but I found later on it became a ranged +2 attack staff instead. Maybe give Evelyn a bit more than base E rank staves?

Are there going to be any offensive AoE weapons? Those seem like the coolest exclusive aspect of the engine and I’m curious as to what’s in store, especially if they combine with the Anima magic debuffing.

Good on remembering to credit everyone :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I like to play through all the significantly long games that people make using the Lex Talionis engine, and then offer my critique. This was a pretty fun game to play, especially because the plot and worldbuilding reminded me so heavily of my very first attempt at making a Fire Emblem game; this was almost like looking through a fun-house mirror at my first attempt.

Anyways, LuckyStart said I could post my review publicly here, so let’s get started.

Plot & Lore

Let’s start with what I consider the weakest part of Absolution, the plot.

I’ll be the first to tell you that the plot of a Fire Emblem mostly doesn’t matter. It just needs to be strong enough to ground the characters in some sort of conflict, and move the story along from chapter to chapter so you have a reason to fight in all the normal Fire Emblem set piece battles. Nevertheless, I feel the plot of this game does not match the quality that the rest of the game shows.

I was never invested in what was going in the world, and rarely cared about Valentina’s struggle. Also, I believe that Absolution spends too much time, especially early in the game, setting up the world, that would be better spent getting the player quickly into the gameplay. You can move the world lore to later in the game.

My advice would be to shorten all instances of the plot, and to spend more effort trying to invest the protagonist (and the player) with some reason to care about whatever is going on in each chapter.

The world lore runs into the same problem. The places in the world are never differentiated interestingly. The names, especially for countries, are too long, too hard to understand, and don’t describe anywhere unique. The countries in Fire Emblem are generally tropes, because tropes are easy to remember: Sacae is nomad plains, Bern is big Germany (but from Japan’s point of view), Etruria is fancy religious Britain, Ilia is cold mercenary pegasus land, Arcadia is desert land, etc. You can remember what these places are Renoir is ?? Opinicia is ? Fymea is ?? Lufthrasir is ?? I definitely couldn’t tell. Also, you should aim for no more than three syllables for your names. Opinicia and Lufthrasir and Jormungandr are mouthfuls.

However, the world map is very well done! I really liked it.

Writing & Editing

The character writing is fantastic. I loved both the base conversations and the support conversations and am looking forward to seeing more. And anytime two characters were onscreen without reference to the plot or the lore was great fun. Writing in other scenes lacks the same power.

There are lot of spelling mistakes throughout the game, which immediately brought me out of the story. You don’t necessarily need to focus on fixing these immediately, since I would recommend editing a lot of the scenes anyway, but keep this in mind for later.

Music

I felt by about Chapter 9, that some of the pieces were getting a little old, but otherwise the music is great! It’s fully custom, right? If so, that’s awesome!

The ambient owl hoots are too frequent though.

Sprites

The character chibi portraits need work, but most of the main character portraits were great. Some character portraits were fantastic (Gabriel, Genevieve, Hildegard, Ife, Kayin, Lakshmi, Mango, Nadia, Trudy, Valentina), but some need another pass (Hati, Malcolm, Ojala, Raymond). The general map spriting was great.

The intro screen is AMAZING; it’s legendary what you were able to do within the Lex Talionis engine. It honestly looks professional.

Gameplay

Now we focus on the most important part of the game… the gameplay.


Absolution - 0.9.3.12 2_26_2020 9_34_27 PM

Overall, generally very good. This section is going to seem like I have more things negative to say than positive, but rather the negative things are very minor while I had an overall positive impression of the gameplay.

I liked most of the personal skills in Absolution. Some of my favorite personal skills were Trudy’s Duelist, which made her really fun and interesting to play, and Hati’s personal, which made positioning really interesting. Bookworm was also meme-tastic and I loved it. However, early game Wrath on the protagonist is not necessarily a good idea, because the protagonist should not the one taking risks. Later in the game it mostly became a way of bulking her up, but early game it added a strong push to be risky with the protagonist, which can just screw over the player when they make one mistake.

Some of the characters you get later in the game don’t seem good enough to keep up with your main army, namely Zahir, Ojala, and especially Drake. Evelyn was overall awesome.

Many of the same gameplay mechanics from the Lion Throne showed up again here, which I was happy to see; 2-3 range bows are just correct and Mend is so fun to use.

Map designs were overall great. My favorite levels were 3, 5, 6, and 9. Having fun map gimmicks and multiple primary objectives made each map unique and challenging. However, I didn’t like all the enemy units that don’t move; it made certain levels very easy, like Chapter 7 where you just don’t have to interact with half of the map. I felt the reinforcements were well-balanced, and they pushed me forward on several of the maps – I was going slow and ran out of time on level 3 and level 6, which makes the maps fun to try and work your way out of with a time limit.

Slight gripes with no buyable knives, and the regenerate staff being completely garbage – I just sold it immediately. I liked how even the game pointed out that you’d normally have two healers by Chapter 7, but I did find myself struggling prior to Wesley’s arrival. Maybe vulneraries should be cheaper? I ran out of money in the midgame, but I was never in the dire straits.

The Bottom Line

Overall, I think Absolution has so much potential and I really want to see it be the best it can be! I recommend it to anyone who wants to experience some great FE gameplay with novel mechanics and great characters, and I will be playing through this again when the release is finalized.

5 Likes

Hey everyone, here’s a version update! Due to concerns over the coronavirus, my university has prematurely started Spring Break. This means I’ll have a week or so to work on the game. I’ve taken some time today to finish up the v0.1.9.1 version I promised. You can download it here:

– Absolution v0.1.9.1 –

This is largely a bugfix and QoL update; there are no chapter design changes for now. However, I have read all of your wonderful, in-depth criticism and I have a good idea of how to improve the first 9 chapters moving forward. The biggest problem seems to be enemy phase-oriented play, so that’ll be my main focus as I work on Act 2. Thanks to everyone who’s played, given feedback, or even shown interest in Absolution! I really appreciate it.

Full Changelog

Units and Unit Balance:

  • Hati and Genevieve now have combat arts (Blade Crash and Knightkneeler, respectively)
  • Eduardo:
    Base Level 1 -> 3
    Base HP 21 -> 23
    Base STR 8 -> 9
    Base SKL 7 -> 8
    Base SPD 4 -> 5
    Base LCK 6 -> 7
    Base DEF 9 -> 10
    Now begins with an Iron Greatlance as opposed to an Iron Lance.
  • Spencer:
    Con 8 -> 7
    Base Defense 6 -> 5
  • Mounted aid formula is now the same as in GBA (25 - CON)

Dialogue:

  • Fixed many typos

Items:

  • Hunting Bow
    Mt 8 -> 11
    Rng 2 -> 1-2
    weight 4 -> 11
    LVL C -> prf
  • Wind Edge
    Hit 50 -> 60
    price 2400 -> 2000
  • Storm Sword
    Hit 50 -> 55
  • Regenerate
    Now restores 50% HP every turn
    price 1500 -> 1000

Chapters:

  • All:
    Reinforcements are much more clearly signaled
    Pillars are where they belong
  • Chapter 3:
    Fixed bug where player units could be converted to green units if they were in just the wrong position
    Some enemies that didn’t move didn’t reflect that with their movement ranges. This has been fixed.
  • Chapter 4:
    Some enemies that didn’t move didn’t reflect that with their movement ranges. This has been fixed.
  • Chapter 5:
    The spiritbane is now placed directly into the convoy, just to avoid the spoiling the battle map when the unit inventory menu pops up.

Animations

  • Valentina now has an animation when using Sunna
  • Balm skill map animations are less obtrusive and more readable at a glance

Engine Updated 0.9.12 -> 0.9.18:

  • You can now take screenshots with the ` key. They will appear in the absolution_data folder
  • Fixed a bug where you could access dead units’ inventory through the ‘list’ command
  • Enemy units with seize AI will now chase the player if there is nothing to seize
Transferring Saves

If you’re in the middle of a playthrough when the game updates, don’t despair! Assuming saves are compatible between updates, transferring saves in Lex Talionis is a breeze!

1.) Download the latest build from the link in either the original post or the update post. Then follow the installation instructions as usual. Keep the new version completely separate from the old version.

2.) Navigate to the “absolution_data” folder in the old build (it should just above the “double_click_me_to_play”" file). Inside it you will see number of folder labeled data, audio, etc. The important one is the “Saves” folder, which as you might guess holds all your save data. Make a copy of your old Saves folder.

3.) Navigate to the “absolution_data” folder in the current build. Inside you’ll see the same folders as you did in the previous build. Simply delete the Saves folder and replace it with the old one you copied.

And presto, you’re good to go! You should now have access to your saves in the newest version of Absolution.

Discalimer : I always recommend keeping a backup of the old version for a little while just in case I make a mistake and saves aren’t actually compatible when I say they are. I don’t think that will ever happen, but it’s a good idea regardless.

3 Likes