siraranisamused: ClassyAran (Default)
[personal profile] siraranisamused
Some games in the series I like more than others for different reasons. FE7 will always be dear to my heart for basically getting me into game design (and FE6 being fun as it was led to Elibe being my favourite FE timeline), while FE8 had my favourite storyline of the games. FE9 and FE3 are probably my favourite overall, but as far as pure gameplay is concerned, FE10 is probably my favourite. But in each case, there's always something about that irks me and makes me wish it were better or changed up. And in FE10's case, for as much fun as the chapters are individually, there are plenty of elements that had a lot of promise but then fell drastically short.

Case in point: Crossbows.

To review, Crossbows were a new bow subtype that were introduced in FE10, and never seen again. While some weapons like Crossbows or Bowguns were in FE1, they were in name only are functioned like any other Iron or Steel Bow. The gimmick of the Crossbows were that they were hyper accurate, had a fixed damage value that couldn't be adjusted by Strength, and, the most important aspect and the thing I think everyone forgot: it had a range of 1-2.

Yes, a bowman could fire into melee.

If you need a reminder on how important that is, the reason Archers are looked down on in Speed Runs and on less casual plays is that they're locked to a weapon that leaves them without a chance to fire back 4 times out of 5 during the enemy phase, and they don't gain a secondary weapon on promotion like Horse Archers do. In fact, even back when FE7 was first released in English, a friend of mine and I figured the best bow users were Bartre, Dorcas and Geitz, because Bows were accurate enough, and they had Strength that outstripped the standard Archers anyway. Sure Snipers got more crits, but Warriors got Axes for melee. Bows, by and large, are seen as subweapons, and specializing in a subweapon makes Archers unpopular.

So having a weapon that not only has the range of a Javelin or Handaxe, but also does away with their weakness of lousy accuracy, would make Archers phenomenal units in any game it was featured in.

Well, except FE10, because they struck upon the idea of Crossbows, and then did everything in their power to make it useless for the player, but incredibly annoying in enemy hands.

For one, they introduced far too little of them, and far too late. The enemy rarely dropped them, and when they did, it was at a point where, as far as damage went, it was just better to stick with Rolf or Shinon with a bow, or Boyd with a hand axe or tomahawk or whatever. It was especially true of Rolf with his utterly ludicrous 75% Strength Growth (and HE'S the one arguing for Skill over Strength, when they're tied for Skill and Rolf's a full 10 points ahead in Strength).

For another, the triple effective damage from Crossbows is absolutely monstrous and keeps Marcia and Elincia from flying around taking care of business, for risk of getting hit for near 90 damage in one shot from one of those hyper accurate monsters. But once you get your hands on it...there are only two chapters where you actually get to make use of it, both of them in Part 4, long after they've been obsoeted. Granted, they would've gotten a LOT more mileage out of them when facing Wyvern Riders...except for some reason in FE10 Wyverns are arbitrarily immune to that particular weakness in favour of Thunder magic, which is so infrequent they might as well not HAVE any weaknesses. And besides, they already have the defence to laugh off effective bows conventionally, a Crossbow would be great for keeping them in check.

I love Haar and Jill as much as the next guy but seriously they could've used SOME form of nerfing.

The worst part is that these things have such an easy fix, that would've turned the Crossbows from a failed experiment to a god send: Give them to the Dawn Brigade.

Seriously.

For one, Leonardo gets a LOT of crap thrown his way for his poorer Strength compared to Rolf and Shinon, and being in a part of the game where not being able to act during the enemy phase is a major weakness. By giving him a weapon that not only has a 1-2 range with super strong accuracy, but is also got a respectable damage output from the start, gives him a way to contribute and even help carry the team. It'd be balanced out by heavy weight, naturally, but it would definitely help give Leo a niche.

For another, the problem with the Dawn Brigade is that they're short a conventional Jeigan character. The closest they have to it is Sothe, and he's more of a blink tank than anything, and while he's got a good STR stat, Daggers have a lower might so it balances out to making Nolan the prime melee damage dealer. But that's the beauty of the Crossbow: it's Jeigan in weapon form.

Think about it: Crossbows have a ludicrous Might that can tear through low defence enemies like in the early game. But it doesn't grow alongside the user, and as such, that damage output falls off after a while. If that's not the perfect weapons metaphor for a character archetype, I don't know what is. In fact, it gets even better: not only can Leonardo use a Crossbow as a crutch until he levels up and starts to catch up with the others, but when Nolan promotes, he gets a reliable ranged weapon of his own.

It'd even be great retroactively in other games; can you imagine how much more respect Wolt and Dorothy would get if they had a crossbow to help them with the lack of melee options? It's a niche that Archers could sorely use.
You could even include a Heavy Crossbow that really weighs the user down, but has a range of 1-3, so it can fire into melee AND work as a long bow. Like a mini siege tome.

To developers, please, bring back Crossbows the way they should be used in future FE games. To romhackers, I encourage you to really give Crossbows a try.
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