So, How's FE7's Story To You?

Hey y’all!

So… I was having a discussion with some friends of mine about FE7 and its story. They all thought it was well-written, and very enjoyable.

But of course, being the opinionated guy I am, I argued against their claims and argued that it’s story is downright messy at worst, and…touching, at best? So, I thought to myself, what do you guys think? I’d like to know!

-MegaCowsamMan

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Honestly? I rather like it, actually. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think its flaws are at all damning, and it has charming characters and a lot of heart to it. I also don’t really think it has hardly any “why didn’t they just…?”-type issues that don’t go away when you turn off your “if it were me with all my IRL knowledge of the plot and lore” brain.

It’s also fairly unique as FE stories go in terms of its scope and primary conflict, due in part to it being a prequel to a game the background lore of which places significant restrictions on its plot, but I nevertheless think it works in the game’s favor.

FE7 was my first FE game, so it’s not like I’m some perfectly-impartial judge of its story, but that’s not really important when the subject is just my own personal opinion of it.

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The premise is alright, the implementation just okay, but after playing tear ring saga, it becomes clear that FE7 and TRS used the same notes that kaga made. Now fe7 just feels like a cheap TRS knock off.

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Pretty bad honestly. But so is most the series

Now awful like SoV, 3 Copes and Fates, but i would be hard pressed to call it good.

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Lyn’s prologue was very shallow, mainly because of its length wich did not leave much space for story telling, but also because it was so generic that did’nt really leave any memorable moments.

Eliwood and Hector’s stories are a bit more interesting, mainly because of the romance between Eliwood and Ninian in the first route, and the struggles that Hector had to face with his brother’s situation and everything else in the second route.

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I thought it was terrible. Likely the weakest of any RPG I’ve ever played in my life. I know that’s not fun to hear for a lot of people because of fond memories, but as someone who didn’t touch FE7 until they were a teenager the storytelling was pretty awful.

Even the mess that was KH1’s story had more enjoyable moments throughout.

I don’t mean to be a hater, it’s just much of the story feels fabricated to kill time rather than to set up meaningful character arcs or even the world in which FE6 takes place. Eliwood felt uninteresting, the villain was very generic, the music was not to my taste, and the overall story arc and pacing gave me whiplash several times. Possibly the most interesting tidbit was the little piece where someone tries to assassinate a prince, but that section is thrown at you so suddenly it’s hard to get a good grasp of what’s going on beyond “the bad guys must be behind this.”

So, again I know this isn’t a popular opinion, it was a “two thumbs down” for me.

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Better than FE8.

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slow
way too long
and conflicts directly with fe6 more often than it should

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Imo the only actually good FE story is FE8’s but FE7 has very strong character writing despite it’s numerous plot inconsistencies and poorly thought out plot points.

Its definitely above awful stories that aren’t conveyed in any way thats anywhere near sensible like Genealogy or Binding Blade.

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I think I enjoyed my time with the story because I was invested in its characters, and prolly also because it was my first FE experience ever. The tutorial weened me into the gameplay loop, and once l got things down, the story started picking up. It was something I enjoyed going from moment to moment, and not knowing how FE games work meant I was surprised by some of the characters who could join my party. And now in retrospect, I see the dramatic irony it was going for as a sequel-prequel, but I also see some of those oddities and inconsistencies. It also kinda stunk that the game wants you to unlock its more important backstory scenes. That would’ve helped me understand the big bad a bit more, though even now I’m still a bit muddled on his self-justification.

But if anything, the biggest gripe I have with the story is the dragon you murder for no reason. What’s he doing there? He has no stake in the story. The big bad needed a dragon to summon, sure, but…you defeat the big bad first. What real reason do we need to fight a dragon after that? It stuck out for me because up until that point, it was a positive kind of dragon tragedy, then suddenly it’s, “Murder the random dragon who showed up, but isn’t chasing you!”

Buuut, if l headcanon that last bit out of existence, then l enjoyed my time with the story and get what it’s trying to do.

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I feel like FE7 had bigger problems than just “Nergal bad”.
It was a prequel to FE6, so it had to have characters return, but then questions pop up, like “Why isn’t X in FE6 then?” It disappoints me that they have some characters with legitimate arcs who are super cool, only for you to realize, “Oh yeah, they’re new.” or “Oh yeah, they had no role in FE6” Take Hector as a perfect example. In FE7, he’s pretty much the fan favorite lord. He’s strong, tanky, and wields axes, which no lord had really done, or has done since, discounting the modern FE games, because everyone can wield every weapon. Hector was great! How was he in FE6? He basically died offscreen. Cool. How about Lyn? The first lord in the game, and the one new players got to really play with the most. What does she do in FE6? She doesn’t even show up.

That’s the problem with FE7. It both contradicts FE6, and doesn’t work with it at all. The characters are great, but the overarching story makes no sense, given the prequel nature. If Eliwood and Hector were so strong, why didn’t they do anything? Eliwood is written off as having some sort of illness, but what about Hector? Lyn? Serra? Matthew? Guy? ANYONE who did anything in FE7? No. That’s the problem, FE7 introduced characters who didn’t mean anything. It’s hard to get attached to characters that I know don’t mean anything.

I’m not the best person to ask about FE4-5, but from what I know, they don’t really have this problem, since they take place at about the same time. No one is asking “Where is XX?” because they’re busy fighting somewhere else.

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I really don’t understand the claims of FE7 contradicting FE6…

It is barely related to the overall plot of FE6?
Yes, young Zephiel is barely a plot point and Bern is mostly a background for a couple of chapters. Most Elibe countries are only mentioned in name… most of the game happens in Lycia and the Dread Island… and the dread island isn’t even mentioned on FE6, so is clear they wanted to make FE7 as stand alone as possible.

Could they use more characters from FE6? Maybe? Bartre, Karel and Marcus go from guys in their prime to old dudes in the 20 or so years that separate the games.
What other characters are also old enough in FE6 to be in a fighting age on FE7? 3 Or maybe 4 more… and if you put those extra old dudes it would be even more weird than using older Brothers, Sons, mothers or other kind of relatives in the prequel, it would make the world feel smaller instead of bigger.
Would FE7 be better if you got Dayan instead of Rath? Or Niime instead of Canas? or Cecilia instead of Erk? Last one wouldn’t be possible because Cecilia would be like 5 yo in FE7, but are the close equivalent characters I can remember now.

Or if every unit you got on FE7 was in some way related to FE6 plot? That would make the story feel even more weird and less original.

On the other hand, Eliwood, Hector and Lyn fought a band of assassin’s lead by a necromancer and 1 dragon. That is like a basic D&D adventure, they aren’t that strong… while Roy and his army basically go about winning the world war, while picking the 8 legendary weapons and finally giving closure to a 1000 year old human vs dragon war. There is no comparition in the scale of conflicts.

And really is the same thing that happens with FE4 and FE5, but fewer people have played those so nobody is asking “where is Galzus in FE4?”, is the curse of prequels/midquels.

But on topic, the FE7 story is good and works for what it intends to do, it tells the story of 3 young lords facing a small scale conflict in a time of relative peace.
The dialog is short and the story advances at a decent peace from map to map, wich works for a portatile console title so you never have to sit through 30 minutes of dialogue scenes, also every scene is why more involved in how it plays out compared to any previous title so it is a step up in that department, by this I mean, Hector and Eliwood actually show different emotions on their dialog and things happen while people talk, is not just 2 portraits standing there while the text appears.
Is it the best RPG story ever? Heck no, but it has far less sins that any previous FE story and it makes more use of it’s side characters than most.

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FE7 is still probably my favorite story in the series. To start with, it’s the first FE story where the protagonists have actual agency (except maybe Celica in Gaiden, but I haven’t played OG Gaiden, only SoV). Marth, Alm, Sigurd, Seliph, Leif, and Roy all pretty much spend their entire games being told what do and wind up serving more as conduits for the plot rather than active participants in it. And this formula is mostly reverted back to for FE8 and FE9. Eirika and Ephraim have a bit more independence from Seth than most of their predecessors, but it still often feels like Seth is really the one calling the shots. FE7 has the actual protagonists driving the action.

It’s also a very different story than most FE’s because there is never a full scale war going on. This might be a strange thing for an FE fan to say, but I just don’t find war to be an inherently interesting plot device. I prefer the intrigue of Eliwood and Hector trying to confront a foe that they don’t fully understand until around the halfway point of the story. And as much as people hate on Lyn’s story, you can’t convince me that “Lyndis’s Legions” isn’t a fun group of characters. I enjoy the time the game spends on them, and I’m invested enough that Lyn meeting her grandfather is a very sweet moment. And I love how the story allows Lyn to be human. We live in an age where writers often think they have to strip female characters of all emotion so that they don’t appear weak. Lyn can fight bandits and lead an army and still cry in her grandfather’s arms at the end of her journey. The smaller scale conflicts allow for a much more intimate story that makes the FE7 cast feel much more human than what is typical in Fire Emblem.

I always thought Nergal worked as a villain mostly because he seems like he’s having so much damn fun being evil. Sure his motives seem pretty basic during a first playthrough (there is more to him, but it’s hidden behind some “made to sell strategy guides” level unlock conditions), but just how amused he is by Eliwood killing Ninian makes him easy to hate and someone who I want to defeat.

Though more so than Nergal, I found Sonia to be the game’s standout villain. She may be responsible for the “busty-sadist” archetype that has been popping up in Fire Emblem games, but while her successors have fallen flat as comically evil, Sonia is memorable for the restraint the writers showed with her. It would have been easy to have her be physically abusive to Nino, but instead, Nino feels worthless because Sonia denies her all affection. And this is in keeping with Sonia’s superiority complex where she probably wouldn’t think that Nino is worth the time and effort it would take to hit her. Night of Farewells can be pretty annoying with the pathways popping in and out, but Sonia is up there with the likes of Hilda (FE4) and Valtome as one of the most satisfying characters to finally get to defeat in gameplay.

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FE7 is a rare work in which war has not occurred.
There is no war occurring in that world.
Eliwood and his men are fighting in small private armies.
If you play FE7 after playing FE6, you may mistakenly think that Black Fang is large enough to have an army large enough to surpass Bern, but it is not.
It does not mean that the black fangs are big, but that the protagonists’ army is so small that they are not much different from the bandits.

By the way, is Nergal a ケモナー(kemono/Furry-Fandom)?
He fell deeply in love with dragons.
After all, is he such a fetishist?
My questions are endless.

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Honestly, I can safely second just about all of this. In Sonia’s case, I think it also helps her that the writing never really uses her for fanservice. She is clearly designed (and acknowledged in-universe) to be physically-attractive, but her purpose in the story is to be a cruel, despicable villain, and her writing is fully committed to that angle.

I’m also in the minority of actively liking Lyn’s Story as, well… a story. The gameplay is admittedly Baby’s First Fire Emblem Maps Tutorial Zone, but the story itself, while simple and straightforward, is a heartfelt and pleasant ride that fits comfortably into the screentime allotted to it and that ends on a satisfying, heartwarming note. The characters, too, are a charming and likable little gang, and the suspension of true permadeath during Lyn’s Story allows the characters to have more plot presence than usual, which is nice.

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The problem I have isn’t with just not getting Niime, or certain characters from FE6, it’s that they didn’t explain why things happened the way they did with some characters. I’ll admit, FE6 doesn’t need them, but that isn’t the problem, it’s that they aren’t addressed. The best thing about FE7 is the characters. Being the only game in the series with more than just 1-2 lords, and easily the best GBA game in terms of expressiveness, you get to experience quite a bit of the main lords characters. Unfortunately, the characters aren’t what’s focused on. Instead, the focus is put on the Black Fang, and Nergal. This is a bad idea, since Nergal makes no sense as a villain. He contradicts himself, feels incompetent on many occasions, and has no character unless you go way out of your way to understand it. Until you spend a good few hours either digging through the game, or just looking things up on YouTube, he’s just “Bad Guy”. That’s objectively bad. I don’t mind a villain that you have to dig deep to understand, but Nergal doesn’t make you WANT to understand him. He falls flat where characters like Lyon and even Zephiel don’t, and that’s sad, considering that FE6 portraits are so much less expressive.
FE7 has a good story if you ignore the story. It falls flat when you even so much as ask “Hey, what is Nergal doing during all this?” and the answer is just "Oh, probably just cackling manically because he’s insane. The plot goes nowhere until it speeds up way too fast, and then it’s just confusing.
The only story that I actually enjoy out of FE7 is Lyn mode. I think people don’t give Lyn mode enough credit. It has barely any stakes, sure, but it never says there are any, outside of just, save Lyn’s grandad. No one outside of Lyn can even die, they just retreat.
Rambling aside, I don’t like FE7’s story for 3 major reasons:

  1. The main villain has no sense of impact, despite the buildup, and then he’s immediately killed emotionally by not even being the final boss.
  2. The character continuity is bad, and contradicts FE6 in way too many ways.
  3. The characters, the best part of the game, and something that would have made a way better story, are not given enough time to really shine, and are almost immediately overtaken by a plot about some crazy dude obsessed with dragons because his wife died.
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FE7 is my favorite FE story for pretty much all of the reasons that Permafrost listed. In addition to those, I also think it has some of the best lore/background detail of any other story in the series. By that, I mean things like how interconnected the character backstories are and how well-developed the in-game cultures are - I know the Sacaeans are basically just budget Mongolians, but even then, Lyn pulls off the whole “member of a proud ethnicity” trope comparatively well. FE7 benefits from having FE6 to set up its worldbuilding and from not having a major war in the game that forces nations into strict categories of good and evil.

But I understand why a lot of players go for other games over FE7 because of how FE7’s gameplay needlessly obscures its lore. Things like pointless gaiden requirements and the monotonous support-building mechanic keep many players from discovering things like the hidden relationships between characters or the main villain’s true motivations. However, as someone who had nothing better to do as a 16-year-old than to go to Gamefaqs and read every support chain, I can vouch for how the story looks much stronger from a big picture view.

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On the topic of Lyn Mode, it’s a comprehensive tutorial that’s fun for someone who’s not played it before, but it never explains CON and rescue, and that’s bugged me. Also, the Araphen map has your units stand on pressure plates to open doors, but that gameplay concept is never used again in FE7. That map doesn’t make Lyn Mode worse, but it’s stange that the other map gimmicks like FOW and rain introduced do make a return.

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FE7’s mainquest is just okay. It’s mostly carried by the cast, and then, mostly in Hector Mode because Matthew gets more lines.
Lyn Mode is really good, though. It kinda sucks that her portion of the story is almost completely irrelevant, though. Which sours the latter 3/4ths of the game.

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