Started up FE for the first time about an hour ago. The new menus, splash screens, and such are very pretty, though I sort of miss the brighter tone of EWoM. It just seemed more open and "Let's have an adventure!", but now it's all dark and "Struggle harder, mortal!" That's not really the kind of atmosphere I wanted in a new fantasy TBS. I'll take it if it gets us a good game, though. The music is very nice.
I clicked on "Tutorials" and started reading the pop-up description, but I was only halfway through the first sentence when my cat decided to walk all over the keyboard. Things started loading, and then it put me in the tutorial. I like the way they're set up, with the option to watch a video of what you're supposed to do. The fight at the end was even a little challenging, requiring me to use lots of tactical spells just to keep my meatshield champion alive.
I was hoping for some more in-depth stuff explaining the underlying systems, though. For me, the biggest impediment to enjoying a new 4x game is not being able to figure out how everything fits together. I see I can build a city here, but why here and not over there? How do I build an economy that won't fall over in ten turns? What are these resources, and what can I do with them? Discovering this stuff on my own can be a lot of fun, but only if the game lets me see what it's doing. I'm not sure yet if FE does this. At the very least, I'd like to see something in there about how resources work and what happens when a champion or city gains a level. (No, I haven't consulted the Hierogammanomicon. I wanted to see how intuitive things were on their own before I resorted to the manual.)
So, after the tutorial, I started a new game and had to make the difficult choice of which sovereign to use. Sorry, Procipinee. I like you, but we spent far too much time together the first time around. Default choice in FE is... Relias. BO-RING! Carrodus? Your hair intrigues me, but no. Ceresa? I never use the posterchild in my first game. Irane? Hm... Ranger-y, has a bow, nice stats... What are these little green ico- FOX! eeeeeeeeeeeeeee*click*
Starting parameters left at defaults; no sense messing around with this stuff until after I've tried playing the "normal" way.
My starting area was a cozy little region, with forest to the west, mountains to the north, hills to the south, and the sea just at the edge of my visual range towards the east. There were also a bunch of goodie huts and other things scattered about, but it was hard to tell what they were just by looking at them. In fact, there were a few normal terrain tiles that I kept hovering over because they didn't look like just terrain. You might want to make notable locations a bit more visually distinct so we don't have to completely rely on the little icon over them.
I built my first city next to the only resource I could see, which was horses. I saw some grain and material stuff appear on all the tiles, but I'm not sure how that all works yet. Following that, I moved over to a nearby champion and started a conversation. Her name was Hannil, I think? The conversation window showed all of her stats, as expected, but it also gave me a rather long paragraph of dialogue that explained her origin and revealed a lot about her character. I really like that detail. She's now a character I care about, not just another Jasper Tillman, Food Slave of City Seven. Anyway, she had a sword and the "Charge" ability, which gives her +3 to move and attack on the first round of combat. Interesting!
I attacked a bandit on the next turn so we could try it out. Hannil went first, and her ability allowed her to close with the enemy and attack in melee right off the bat. I'm not sure that's the best tactic when you've got a bow-user and can soften up the enemy while making them come to you, but it was fun to watch her march right up to the bandit's dog and fell it in one stroke. Maybe these two will make a good team after all.
We cleaned up some goodie huts next. I noticed a typo in one of the tooltips, but I've forgotten which one. (Sorry.) The abandoned caravan, though....its description....could use...fewer....ellipses..... Found some nice loot, however. A magical compass that grants +1 move to the holder's party, a book that gives a permanent +1 strength when used, a +5 int stupid-looking hat, some +2 leather boots, and a turtle charm that improves defense but has a level requirement of 8. I also completed the rat quest and started an "Escort the noblewoman" quest. Irane and Hannil also leveled up during this time, and I see you pick traits now instead of single stats. That seems a lot less annoying. I gave Hannil "Path of the Warrior" because that seemed like a useful thing for someone with Charge, but for Irane I had trouble deciding between Assassin (good stat bonuses for bow) and Mage (She is a channeler, after all.) Does choosing one lock out the others? I guess I'll have to find out the hard way.
After that, I headed north towards the noblewoman's estate and another friendly champion. Then the computer crashed. I don't think that was the game's fault, though. This notebook had water spilled on it some time in the past, and it tends to crash during graphically-intense games.
Overall, I think FE looks really promising. The early game is actually fun, and wasn't just monotonously rushing around to grab all the goodie huts and steamroll any monsters with your amazing channeler. It really feels like a game now, and not just a carelessly thrown together hodgepodge of cool features. If the rest of the game holds up this well, I may end up enjoying it as much as I enjoyed GC2.