54 comments on “Fire Emblem: Awakening’s Lunatic mode is a perfect example of how NOT to design a hardest difficulty

  1. http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=37802 You must turn more into an M Edward! That’s what you must do!

    In Fire Emblem: Awakening’s highest difficulty, Lunatic

    This is actually not true. Awakening’s highest difficulty is Lunatic+. How do you get Lunatic+? By beating the game on Lunatic 😀

    Needless to say, Lunatic is actually as it is designed…for people who somehow can break the game and are masochists. I don’t know who you call people who do Lunatic+. That’s another level of masochism that I cannot properly define, but it’s somewhere in there. Whether it is a legitimate difficulty (I think it’s not, it’s just crazy), that’ll be up to certain people. But whatever the case, I mostly just wanted to point out Lunatic is not the highest difficulty.

  2. Ahem*. You do realize it’s called lunatic, right. It’s supposed to be difficult. Fire emblem awakening did a fantastic job of pulling new players and hardcore fans alike. In the first few chapters you use Frederick because he is your best unit. As time goes on he becomes obsolete and you naturally use newer units to replace the stale Frederick. After the first few chapters it becomes easier to use other units and level them up. It makes for a challenging experience that hardcore players can enjoy. The learning curve from hard to lunatic is steep making it call for a higher level of strategy. In fire emblem 12’s highest level of difficulty they simply slapped vantage+ on the enemy units and called it a day.In awakening they made it more challenging on a full level basis. You can choose to buy and use dlc in awakening but it’s perfectly doable without it. To say it has bad game design merely because you are unable to defeat it is downright ridiculous. If you were turned off because of the fact you had to transfer a standard healing item then I can see why you haven’t unlocked luna+. I’m not masochistic, I just enjoy a challenging strategy RPG. The types of strategy used aren’t entirely like XCOM which is probably what you prefer but bashing a game just because you find the first chapters too difficult or streamlined doesn’t make sense.

    • I am very sorry that you are unable to accept my opinion but I still stand by it. At least one person (Walters) agrees with me, so I know that I am not writing complete rubbish.

      I am not bashing the game. In fact, I greatly enjoyed FE13 when I played it on Hard mode. I am bashing the game’s hardest difficulty which FORCES you to play only one way for the first few Lunatic chapters: use Frederick. You even said it yourself: you absolutely must use Frederick to win. How is this called “strategy?”

      • Pulling out a gun in the middle of a gun fight when all your buddies have is swords is strategy. Strategy is using what you have to your advantage – in this case, what you have is Frederick.

  3. What I find hard to believe is that the base of your argument revolves around using Frederick for the first few chapters and therefore calling it Freddy Emblem even though the game has 50+ chapters(28 main game, 23 paralogues, (not including dlc)). The Fire Emblem series has always had the “Jagen” archetype which I find nice even on lower difficulties. Each character has their own class and therefore has their own strategy to master. For promoted cavaliers like Great Knights and Pallys it’s generally to protect with their high defenses and to use their high mobility to keep others out of danger. What I don’t understand is why you can’t accept that at the start Frederick is a full fledged knight while Chrom is still a budding lord. it’s Fred’s duty to protect him until he can fight on his own. It’s not hard to use the one character primarily and still use strategy. in fact, it’s a necessity. the whole game revolves around strategy and the first few are no exception. You must strategically place your units out of harms way while letting Fred take most of the hits. Transferring the elixir is anotheerr example of strategy as it’s not entirely necessary either. *Please note I respect your opinion and am not getting mad or trying to make you mad in any way shape or form.*

  4. Lunatic it is not imposible , yes , the first chapters are “Freddy Emblem” , you only have to get Frederick kill most enemies and leave a bunch for the units you will use (because you have to play with a 8-12 group of units , if you do otherwise there will no be enough Exp. for all of them , and when you gets the child train them in they chapters , it is not imposible , and it work al the pain because all the childrens vastly suppers they fathers) , chapter by chapter the enemies will be more weak , but in more numbers , you have to take note of that and train you units , until the chapter.17 than the things get more harder , and you don’t need DLC , it is not imposible , hard yes , but no imposible

  5. I admit that Lunatic mode is difficult, but not difficult enough to REQUIRE you to buy a DLC. As others have mentioned, it gets much easier, whether through learning or by taking risks and barely beating Risen that pop up on occasion. I’d rather not use Frederick all the time, but I gained newfound respect for him along the way. And it may come as a surprise, it IS possible to beat earlier maps with out Freddy+Chrom. Sully worked for me on chapter 2, and Kellam was probably the best choice when I felt like just weakening enemies and not hitting 2x and killing them.

  6. (Played until chapter 10 of Lunatic until I really did not feel like playing this drag anymore)

    I agree that the Lunatic mode in FE:A is absolute crap.
    The first five chapters FORCE you to use Frederick toget anywhere. Im not done yet but take that in for a second. You start out and youre already forced to play the game a certain way.
    So. What is fun about Fire Emblem ?
    The character’s personalities are a big point in the games as it keeps it fresh and fun.
    Developing your own strategies is fun, and yes before you go that way,
    losing a million times because someone dies, just to finally succeed in the end is fun too. ( I greatly enjoyed this game on Hard difficulty which is already challenging if you do not want anyone to die)
    Now when you’re forced to use the god damn Frederick for 5 whole chapters to even have a CHANCE to level the others then theres nothing to be said about developing your own strategy. Youre simply forced to play this way and not your own. Wow. So much fun, right ?
    the maps swarm with enemies that also have ridicolous stats, especially in the begining. Additionally to Frederick the game is so EXTREMELY PICKY where you put your units if you want to play it the right way. Why not just send Frederick in you say ? Even he cant take all the shit alone and if your units dont gain any experience you will be pretty much unable to continue from ch 6 and on. So all you do is play the game by a static plan that you either find out by wasting hours and HOURS on trial and error, or look up on the internet.
    That is not fun.
    Also if you like a character even if on hard he was hard to train because his growths arent great but you still somehow got by then youre out of luck, because on Lunatic that will be impossible. You either stick to 12 characters with the BEST growths otherwise you’ll end up too weak( which results in more extremely enthralling Frederick use)
    So thats already 2 elements that get pretty much eliminated by Lunatic.

    Not even gonna start about how you can get RNG-fuckeduptheass and get only HP and Luck 2 TIMES IN A ROW on MU. Well time to restart the game again, because those stats won’t cut it.

    I am a diehard Fire Emblem fan and have put hundreds of hours into many games of the series for quite some years now. I love this series and I love a challenge. But Lunatic takes so much from the gameplay that makes the game fun or makes it simply impossible.

    So I heavily agree with the Author that Lunatic on FE:A is the worst was to design an ultimate difficulty, that I’ve seen in a LONG time and thats why I will stick to Hard/Hector Hard Mode, where you get an even balance of difficulty and being able to enjoy the game without trial and error and goddamn Gamefaqs.

  7. I think your problem is that you’re missing how the strategy works early on; you *can’t* simply rely on Frederick, or else you’ll cripple yourself later on when the enemies surpass him. A winning strategy requires you to tactically maneuver the characters so that they aren’t getting killed, but are gaining EXP, only using Frederick as a crutch when you absolutely need to. It’s entirely possible to get through the game on Lunatic (and even Lunatic+) without using Frederick at all, and without downloading DLC: If you can’t do that, then sorry, you simply don’t have the skill you need.

    • You say it like it is so easy, you think I didn’t try for hours? Show me a video on how to “not rely” on Freddy for the early chapters and I will believe you.

      And please don’t use the skill argument, it’s absolutely pointless in a tactical game like FE where luck and the RNG play an equally big role.

      • Here’s a guy running through Lunatic+, with Frederick spending almost the entire time in a support role. The guy resets a lot, but that’s because of things that don’t apply to Lunatic (like randomly distributed, unique, stupidly overpowered skills, and an absurdly high crit rate), so you won’t have a problem with. And if that guy can get through Lunatic+ (which even I’ll admit is poorly designed) without relying on Freddy, you can get through Lunatic.

      • Reset scumming, as in reseting every time the randomly distributed enemy skills make the game unwinnable? That doesn’t apply to Lunatic.

    • Well as I said I played up to chapter 10. And found that the early game is less reliant on “skill” than on Frederick and flat out luck. Its not that I like the “skill” you are speaking of. I just got bored of it around chapter 10 because it takes the fun out of the game. Hard is hard enough without being way over the top

  8. Yeah, this is a case where making the player really want to use the Jeigan Character becomes an exercise in stupidity. The Jeigan Character should simply be your explanation why the baddies don’t just h4x you with a Sorting Algorithm Of Threat Levels subversion so early. Nothing more.

    Ninnytendo also messed up with Kid Icarus Uprising. SEVERELY. I could rant all day about the multiplayer flaws (the multiplayer does have PLENTY of good ideas, but good GOD they’re plagued by being stuck in a sea of thoughtless nonsense), but I’ll just talk about Boss Battle Hard in that game, because that IS part of the single player mode.

    Here’s the lunacy involved in BBH in KIU: you have to fight through TWENTY SIX boss battles with only whatever weapon you choose, your 36 spaces worth of powers, and only 5 full health recovery items. None of these boss battles are toned down from their regular story counterparts like the ones in the Boss Rush modes of SSBB and Kirby’s (Epic) Return to Dream Land are. In comparison, K(E)RtDL had 15 boss fights and provided net 4 items worth of full recovery (3 full recovery including one you could use in mid-battle for any of the first 10 bosses), then 3 partial); SSBB had only 10 and provided 3 Heart Containers; Kirby Super Star’s regular Arena had 5 Maxim Tomatoes (all full recovery) for 19 boss battles; and KSS Ultra’s True Arena had 5 regular tomatoes (net 1 full recovery) for 10 unnerfed bosses but all of them were still anything but a nightmare to deal with efficiently (though Galacta Knight can put a damper on Self Imposed Challenges).

    Now to truly understand just how ridiculous the whole show gets, just for another comparison to add to the fire, look at the upload date of this video:

    Keeping in mind that K(E)RtDL was released on October 24, 2011. That’s less than 2 weeks before the video’s upload date.

    For KIU BBH, here’s the weapon I used:

    Please note that I am using a Ball Cannon, which is innately a ranged anti-armor weapon, and I have it with VERY nearly capped attack power on the side dash charge shot (only half a star of Range shy of it). Given that the AI is totally known for their ability to dodgeh4x anti-armor, things would become easier. How much easier?

    Well, let me tell you: it still takes God knows how many attempts. When I finally get to Great Sacred Treasure (the final boss of the Boss Rush) a SECOND time, the FIRST time because I had died against him naturally, I have used not one single power aside from all 3 Health Recovery charges (10 spaces) AND all of the recovery items except one which is used so that I enter the fight with full health because I’m badly injured. I *BARELY* win the battle. I had run COMPLETELY DRY of any powers and I was in freaking CRISIS MODE.

    Yes, in case you didn’t get the memo, I have to defeat 25 bosses straight without using any powers other than Health Recovery if I am to stand a chance against GST. Even then, if I don’t manage my recovery well enough, I won’t be able to start the GST fight at full health and I will simply die anyway. Now the obvious solution would be “dodge the boss attacks”, but here’s the big issue there: the bosses are set up in manners that suffocate creativity by preventing it from being rewarded in any workable amount, and some of them are outright CHEAP about hitting you regardless. (I’m looking at you, Chariot Master.) GST even falls in the latter category, which makes something like a freaking NEAR-MAXED ATTACK POWER BALL CANNON so necessary.

    By the way, did I forget to mention that you can’t directly make a weapon with given mods? If you want to try doing that, you have to go through this painfully counterintuitive weapon mixing system, using weapons you RANDOMLY get with RANDOM mods on whatever you get. Want a possibly passable weapon for BBH? Keep dreaming for a long time.

    Oh, and the big reward for beating BBH? An idol that you can randomly obtain when you probably have every damned idol in the game. Because, you know, you totally wouldn’t deserve to get TEN million hearts for all the misery you’d have to wade through.

    I think the consistent problem going on is that the Japanese developers want players to regard finesse, so they overbuff the finesse options to the point where not bothering with them is a good way to be considered unwelcome in the game. If they truly cared about finesse, they wouldn’t do that. If you can handle a clumsy ol’ axe or club or whatever, you deserve to get something handy out of it, far more than you ever would with a sleek sword.

  9. You think that’s painful? I’m on Chapter 24 of Lunatic + Mode, and I’m certain nothing is more impossible then it.

  10. @GFoppy: Your original post was regarding Lunatic (not Lunatic+) difficulty. As I gather it, your objection, substantiated by some others, is that you feel DLC is necessary to grind levels, and that the game forces you to play in a Frederick-centered style. Later I saw some reference to save/reset scumming.

    1. (Re: Frederick-oriented) In chapter 1, the MU and Chrom can walk on the river, which (after clearing the first part of the chapter) allows you to destroy the five mobile enemies (including the one ranged unit) at the top without any danger. That lets your MU get tons of levels, which sets you up for chapter 2, which you need for chapter 3, and so on.

    There’s still the criticism that you don’t have a lot of “freedom of choice” (what’s the difference between Frederick Emblem and MU Emblem?) Some games are designed so player choice only affects *how* you accomplish your goal. You don’t *need* a long term plan for the most part. Fire Emblem Awakening (FEA) is like that at lower difficulties.

    But at higher difficulties of FEA, the game is a lot harder, so you have to scrape for every advantage you can get. You *can* take the easy way out early (use Frederick a lot), but that means your MU is weaker later, which means you probably die in later chapters. The game doesn’t tell you “hey, you overused Frederick and now your game is basically impossible”, you have to figure it out on your own.

    2. (Re: Save/reset scumming) At each increase in difficulty, the game effectively changes. In Normal, I could pretty much steamroller everything. Hard, I had to get used to the idea of “baiting” (letting a bunch of enemies run up and attack a single hard target preferably on a tile with defensive advantage, then destroying the enemies on my next turn), and moving items between units in the first few chapters. Lunatic, I had to *really* pay attention to the weapon triangle, pairup stat bonuses, support levels and consequent dual guard and dual attack bonuses, and using weapons like “Hammer” (which I never *needed* even on Hard). Lunatic+, I’m getting used to multiple baiting (leaving a medium-hard target in range of one enemy unit, and a harder target in range of other enemy units, then splitting their forces), switching units between already formed pairs, and *knowing when to reset.*

    Enemies have random skills on Lunatic+. Sometimes you just *don’t* have any kind of good odds on beating a map if one particular enemy has Vantage, or if a lot have Luna, or Counter, or whatever. **Knowing when to walk away (i.e. reset) is one of the skills you need in Lunatic+; if you don’t have it, you *learn* it.**

    3. Regarding DLC – shadowofchaos on youtube (I think it is) put up a lot of videos on Lunatic+ playthrough; I think John linked to it earlier. You *can* grind without DLC; it’s shown on one of the youtube videos. It’s a lot easier to grind with DLC, but you can get around it if you want.

    • I grew up playing turn-based videogames by _not_ using save scumming (X-COM, Jagged Alliance), because it feels like an alternate form of cheating. Which is why when earlier posters mentioned that you needed to save scum on L+, it immediately turned me off.

      Using only one save, and not abusing reloads makes the game an entirely different experience. Every decision you make is important, and every mistake or death is final. XCOM: Enemy Unknown / Enemy Within did this really well with their Ironman mode.

    • Needing to do overly precise things just to stand a chance goes against the very point of bothering with Fire Emblem. You’re supposed to be rewarded for going with your favorite characters, not punished for not using particular characters like Frederick.

      Freedom of choice should stay viable, even if the player will have a hard time with any one choice.

  11. To sum up, higher difficulty levels aren’t for everyone. That’s not to say “oh, some people just aren’t hardcore”, I mean Fire Emblem Awakening (FEA) at higher levels is basically a different *game*.

  12. Of course there’s an easy solution, but your strategy of using Frederick to kill everyone is basically the worst possible solution (excluding solutions were characters die) because Freddy gets all the exp. and you’ve also probably used up a few Elixir usages in the process.

    It seems that you are claiming that this is the only way to beat the level, which other posters have demonstrated is not the case. I beat the chapter using my ranged units to pick off the enemies that Frederick weakened, and got a load of exp. for my avatar and Chrom as well. It took countless attempts, but I persevered and beat the chapter my own way.

    I presonally believe that a ‘hardest difficulty mode’ should require the player to think outside the box and use all the resources at their disposal, which would require a slight loss of freedom. At one extreme you could have a game in which there is only one solution (a puzzle game, like you mentioned) and at the other extreme you have a game where it’s impossible to lose. I think that the correct balance between difficulty and freedom is subjective, and that’s what we disagree on.

      • One of the aspects I like about Fire Emblem (especially Awakening) is that the player is given all the information about the enemy units. If the player then messes up, it either comes down to bad luck or bad strategy, and not concealed information. The phrase “Trial And Error Gameplay” is more suited to describe games in which the player could not have known they were going to fail from the outset (eg. I Wanna Be the Guy).

        That being said, there is certainly an aspect of Trial and Error – I’m not the kind of genius that can look at a chapter and come up with a flawless strategy instantly (besides, I wouldn’t find the game fun at all if I completed every level on the first try).

        What makes it fun (for me) is how rewarding it is to have beaten a chapter that seemed impossible on the first attempt, which outweighs the frustration of having to play the chapter multiple times. This is of course subjective – it depends on how patient the player is with the game, how quickly they can formulate a winning strategy, etc. It’s a matter of taste, and that’s fine. However, I don’t think you can say it’s objectively bad game design to create a difficulty level that doesn’t match up with your tastes.

    • 8:35

      General discussion.

      And it’s not like the idea of a level being theoretically passable on a first attempt with strong enough tactical ability can’t be done. Kingdom Rush does it. It certainly avoided making me feel cheated and instead made me feel an actual need to improve. Icewind Pass’s 12th wave (in the No Star challenge at least, since certain Star Upgrades make it normally an after thought) is the poster child for what I’m talking about. It simply beats me down if I tech to a Rangers Hideout too early even when hoping to poison spray the Dark Knights. I need both cannons to actually damage plenty of them, and mages to get their numbers thinned. However, both are the more expensive tower types, which means that I will want to ultimately organize against various other threats on a thinner budget so as to have more funds to dedicate to those two tower types. Fortunately, mages and cannons have a secret to everybody: they’re able to be useful for more than hurting armor guys. Mages have better DPS than archers via their attack power edge outpacing their rate of fire disadvantage, and cannons have, as you could tell, crowd control. That’s the key thing: they can actually flow when augmented with strategies and tactics, and they reward you for overcoming their risk factor by letting you have more ways to actually hurt armor guys for when they’re not suffering the Peltzman Effect.

      It wouldn’t be a coincidence that Stormcloud Temple (the stage right after Icewind Pass) introduces Sorcerer Mages, who apply a debeff that reduces the victim’s armor factor, allowing even the Rangers to hurt even Dark Slayers. But there’s the interesting thing: choose who you like, learn how they work, and figure out how to handle various situations with them. Any game with sensible balance makes sure players are rewarded for doing that rather than getting castrated for any semblance of preference at higher difficulty levels.

      What is objectively bad game design is turning the variety into fat.

  13. (Master Knight DH here using my blog for competitive Kid Icarus Uprising.)

    So I was helping somebody IRL today with Lunatic+ because he’s trying to get through it without DLC. And it turns out that Lunatic+ involves a fun concept in enemies having skills that end up balancing each other out when enemies have only 2 each. Such as how baddies with Pass will still go down fast enough, and they will have to choose between Luna+, Vantage+, Aegis+, and Pavise+. Anybody who doesn’t have Pass is not going to move through frontliners.

    The big issue, then, becomes when the baddies have stronger stats than they should. Luna+ notably would be a much better balancing factor in a lower ATK environment given that it lets more units hurt armors.

  14. Hey – found your blog through your posts on Hate Plus (which I really enjoyed, by the way, you definitely hit the nail on the head there) and now this. Completely agree with what you have to say about Lunatic mode – as someone who’d gotten through three or four other FE games before Awakening, there are a lot of things about it I didn’t especially like, ranging in validity from “completely legit” to “stop being so hipster about this, jeez”. One of the biggest was definitely that it felt like there was no “true” hard difficulty setting: Hard was too easy, especially from midgame on, but the little of Lunatic I played just felt unrewarding. The name Frederick Emblem is completely accurate, and it also features extra RNG-screw just to make things more fun (and I’m another diehard Classic-player, for even less respite).

    I just felt like there was no real incentive to keep going when you’re essentially throwing tactics away in favour of turtling the hell out of everything. I mean, I’d spent all my other FE games learning not to rely on a single character because they’ll soak up all your experience and leave the rest of your party underlevelled, and then Lunatic came along and tried to make me unlearn that. Ugh.

    • FE13 was my first Emblem game. Enjoyed it on Hard, did not like Lunatic. Waiting for the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem game next.

  15. Maybe the reason your tactics aren’t working on harder levels is because those tactics weren’t really good, and they only worked earlier because the enemies were weak. The reason you have freedom of choice at lower difficulties is because the game allows you to screw up and make bad decisions and doesn’t punish you properly for it. It’s natural for weak or ineffective strategies to stop working once the difficulty increases. If there was such a thing as multiplayer XCOM, you’ll find that a lot of strategies you use against the AI will no longer be viable. I don’t see how winning using strategies that only work because your opponent is holding back makes those strategies more valid than the strategies you need to beat lunatic mode.

    As for FEA, play it on a different difficulty setting. Lunatic mode wasn’t designed with your philosophy. You’re making the mistake of treating lunatic mode as a normal game. It wasn’t designed to be fair. It wasn’t even designed to be fun. It was designed to make you rage. You kind of have to be a masochist to understand, but that’s the appeal for these kind of games.

    • I have played XCOM: Enemy Within on Classic/Ironman, widely regarded as one of the most masochistic ways to play the game because a single mistake can end your entire run. It was tough and nail-biting as hell, but I still managed to complete it after several tries. At the end of it all, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and achievement accomplished through my own effort at trying to master the game’s tactics properly.

      I strongly disagree with the point that masochistic games cannot be fun at the same time. The best “difficult” games should reward you for taking the effort to learn the game properly, i.e. Dark Souls is the universally best example here, along with XCOM on the higher difficulties. I learn absolutely nothing from FE:A‘s Lunatic mode.

      • When I say masochistic, I mean it was literally designed with the same mindset as games like I Wanna Be The Guy. It’s a different kind of masochism. The entire point of games like that is to make you rage. Despite that, I still think Lunatic Mode is kind of fun. You’d probably feel more satisfaction if you figured out how to beat the early chapters on your own without using a guide.

        I don’t agree that lunatic mode prevents you from learning the game either. On other difficulties, tactics like actually using your jeigan unit, using support bonuses, abusing flaws in the AI, and making use of every stat bonus you can get are all optional. You can even ignore the weapon triangle most of the time. Lunatic mode forces you to use all of these if you want to win. And you can’t make up your strategy as you go along: you have to do the math and find what works, and then hope the RNG doesn’t get you killed. You have to treat the game as a game, not a war simulator. You can’t let your preconceptions of what “proper tactics” are prevent you from making the moves you need to win. The only truly unfair part of the game is the RNG, which is actually a pretty big factor, but that’s masochism for you. XCOM also has plenty of randomness in it, so it’s not really fair to only bash Fire Emblem for this.

        By the way, isn’t Impossible/Ironman XCOM’s highest difficulty, not Classic/Ironman? Shouldn’t you be comparing XCOM’s Classic to FE:A’s hard mode instead?

      • Yes Impossible is the hardest difficulty but I played on Classic for my Ironman playthrough. Still feels like the hardest difficulty though, Impossible merely increases the HP of enemies and reduces the funding you receive.

  16. That is not really true, there are other ways to beat the first chapters of Lunatic without Fred.

    For instance, in the first stage you can pair up the avatar with Liss and Fred to Chrom, and bring both Chrom and the Avatar to the water, since enemy units cannot cross it, but the Avatar and Chrom do, it allows you to toy around with the enemy´s reach/line of sight and then pretty much use the avatar magic to kite and kill every single unit.

    This means by the end of the stage the avatar will be lv 7 to 9 and if you had even half decent level up bonuses, it means by stage 2 you have an avatar that is way more powerful than Fred.

    Needless to say, this opens a sea of possibilities in the following stages, which allows you to exp more chars or at the very least have two spearheads in fred and Mu, if you want to hurry up.

    You play Frederick Emblem if you want to play it.
    There are many ways to beat the stages if you think a bit outside the box and tinker with it.

    • By first stage do you mean the prologue or the one immediately after that? I can’t quite remember if there was a water section on the map.

      • The very first battle, when Fred, Liss and Chrom are introduced and you gain control of them.
        There is a “river” that separates the initial “market” with the area the boss is waiting at.

        With careful positioning and set up in the first turn, you can kill one goon with Fred, and then make it so that two of them are left wounded, which allows the avatar and Chrom to finish them off.

        After that, you can wound the mage in the next turn and allow the avatar to finish him off, and then do the water strategy to kill the rest of the mobs.

        Of course, since Lunatic is also based on luck and lucky dodges and / or crits / activations play a big role, it may take a few resets to get it right, but it is totally doable.

        I would like to point out that i also thinl Lunatic ( and especially Lunatic + ) was kinda poorly developed, i just meant to say that it IS possible to not focus so much on Freddie.

  17. Umm, you’re wrong? Lol. I beat Lunatic without using Frederick at all, and in Lunatic + (which I also beat) you literally CAN NOT use Frederick or you WILL lose later (Chapter 2 and 3 are stupidly hard on Lunatic +). It’s all about MU and his/her Veteran ability, use it to grind MU as high as you can early and ride out his/her OPness.

    • You know, I am constantly irritated by replies like this: “LOL YOU’RE WRONG, I BEAT LUNATIC WITHOUT USING FREDDY.”

      Instead of putting others down for their lack of skill (I know I suck, yes), SHOW ME. Show me and explain to me with precise detail how to beat Lunatic. Only Saga, two posts down, has come closest to offering me precise tips and tactics.

      • John showed you a video of Lunatic+….. without the overuse of Fred. There is no save scumming involved with Lunatic, only Lunatic+, which makes sense because that was Lunatic+’s intentional design; to be impossibly hard.

        XCOM is a better game, I agree – but Lunatic is not poorly designed, it just requires you to have extensive knowledge/skill of the game. In Hard, it’s mainly just positioning of your units that matter. In Lunatic, you have to know when to transfer, separate, switch, trade, wait so that you maximize the amount you do in a single turn, while also planning for the ones after AND to take into account the consequences of winning the battle and how it affects your units in the long run.

  18. So I realize this post is really, old, but I just want to point out one really easy way to break the game in lunatic (and I believe lunatic+) mode, as early as level 2.
    I did this once before playing through FE: SD when it was rereleased recently, works pretty well. It operates under the “breaking weapons” mechanic of Fire Emblem games, and is usable on pretty much any level that incorporates fortresses.
    Pretty simple. Get a character that won’t die in one or two blows unequip their weapons, stand in front of a boss, take a hit. Sit that guy on a fortress ’til they free-heal enough to take another hit.
    Wash, rinse, repeat until the boss has broken their weapon on your character’s body.
    Step in with any character that needs experience. This part works particularly well on levels where the boss sits on a fortress himself, because then he/she’s healing as well. Smack, wait for boss to heal, smack again.
    Can take hundreds of turns, and can be pretty monotonous, but with enough weapons (and with Chrom’s unbreakable Falchion in particular), you can overlevel your characters early on to be able to fight better for later levels.
    Kthnxbai. :3

  19. I agree with the main person about this topic lunatic is insane in its self in the first few chapters, after chapter 4 its all sailboat sailing from now on. The only thing i find stupid is when an enemy goes the opposite direction of where hes supposed to be and forces you a bloody reset im still stuck on the prologue in lunatic, any pages where i can get out of here? LIke i Understand the reasoning use fredrick to win, but in reality thats the only thing you can do because everyone else in underleveled

  20. Wow, you’re bad for relying on Frederick. Just run a +Def or +Spd/-Skl or -Lck Avatar and have them juggernaut.

    • Wow, you’re so pro for that advice. Maybe you can offer your pro tips for Lunatic+, Lunatic Conquest for FE Fates, and Hard mode FE Echoes. Go write your own blog post and enlighten us further with your elitism.

  21. Your point is valid on lunatic + but not lunatic. Lunatic you simply put all your exp into a female MU, make her have magic or speed as her boon and turtle maps with nosferatu. Pair her with Chrom and use the two children to beat Grima and you’ve got the game under wraps. You may have to use Frederick for a little while, but if you are good, you can find ways to feed enough kills to MU to pass the torch as early as chapter 5. Lunatic+ however is a beast of a different color. That difficulty depends entirely on the random skills assigned to enemies. I know of one person who beat that without DLC, but even following his guide, I couldn’t pull it off. The thing I don’t like about either difficulty is that you can’t use more than 4 units long-term without falling too far behind on exp.

    • I actually gave Lunatic Awakening a re-try recently and got as far as the chapter where you get to first use Lon’qu, Ricken, and Maribelle, then I stopped.

      You have to give as many kills and XP as possible to Robin for the earlier chapters so that Robin’s stats are high enough to overpower and double all the enemies on the following maps.

      I still don’t like Lunatic Awakening, especially after finishing Lunatic Conquest for Fates (which in my opinion, is far better designed). But perhaps one day I’ll attempt to complete Lunatic Awakening once and for all in order to put this ghost in my closet to rest.

      • Yeah, I felt like Conquest really improved the gameplay mechanics from Awakening (though I felt like the plot for Fates in general was way worse than Awakening). In a way though, you have proved you can beat Awakening Lunatic because if you get through the early game of Awakening Lunatic, then you shouldn’t have trouble with the rest of the game. Robin gets further and further ahead of the curve and it’s exacerbated by reclassing into a dark mage after getting galeforce.

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