We’ve now come to the most thoroughly boring chapter of the early tutorial ones! Hurray for us! I mean, things technically happen here, but it’s mostly just a shallow excuse to introduce a bunch of characters who are either worthless or who won’t actually become relevant until we bump into them much later in the game.
We get introduced to the mild-mannered Rhys, our first staff-user of the game. Staves will be incredibly handy throughout this game and the next, though I’ve never managed to make anything special out of Rhys. We’ll have to see how he levels up this time before deciding whether or not he’ll get benched in favor of someone else.
It turns out that Ike’s little sister and Boyd/Oscar’s little brother were kidnapped by the bandits from earlier in revenge for us murdering all of those dudes in the last chapter. They mostly blame Titania, who runs off somewhere without explaining and tells everyone to wait for her return, but Ike is impulsive and heads off to face the bandits on his own, with the others following after him (presumably to avoid having to explain why the heir to the mercenary group got chopped up by D-grade bandits).
We get introduced to the idea of “routing” the enemy on this map, which basically means “win by killing every hostile unit.” We’ll be trying to do so anyway to maximize the amount of experience everyone gets, obviously, though it might not always be possible or practical. Especially once a certain invincible character shows up.
This right here is why those points in strength and speed really made a difference. Enemies have trouble hitting Ike, but he can take some of them out in a single turn.
Titania shows up after a short time and joins the fight. She won’t be seeing any actual use in this fight, though, because we already had this thing in the bag.
Characters can have mid-battle conversations in certain circumstances, but it’s not always obvious when they become available. Instead of moving every unit up against every other unit to see who can talk to who, you can enter the menu and scroll to the right a few times to see if any are possible. It’s generally a good idea to do so whenever new characters show up. As for the one between Ika and Titania, he tries to apologize and she responds by telling him to focus on the fight for now.
Like I said, this chapter is incredibly boring.
Selecting a character to check their movement range without actually moving them is something we’ll be doing a lot of throughout these games. Right here I’m selecting Rhys to see the farthest distance he can travel to, and the idea here is to move as far as possible and heal someone once getting there. Multitasking!
Given where we know Rhys will end up once we move him, we move the slightly-hurt Oscar one square further and then move Rhys to heal him. Doing this allows the group to move as far as possible while still keeping the healer out of enemy range. Healing even minor injuries might seem strange given the fact that we’ll also be hoarding healing items whenever possible, but using staves grants the user experience, and having healers gain a few levels and (ideally) gain some defense and resistance will reduce the likelihood that a stupid mistake will kill them off. That safety net is absolutely worth the price of buying a small handful of new staves.
There are also these bushes that restore a small bit of HP if characters stay in them. This could be helpful in case of an emergency, but we probably won’t be relying on them. They’re such a non-factor that I forgot they were even in these games.
Once everyone’s dead, a cutscene plays where a final bandit holds Mist and Rolf hostage and forces everyone to drop their weapons. Titania suddenly complies and tells the others to do the same, and the bandit is killed by an arrow when he decides to kill the two anyway. That’s our introduction to Shinon, the red-haired douchebag who we’ll be ignoring for pretty much the entire game. He’s a pretty good unit, but he’ll be unavailable for much of the game, and we’ll likely be attached to other units by the time he becomes consistently usable. Gatrie is the dork in the blue armor, and he’ll also be unavailable for quite a bit, but we’ll get him back first, and his great defense and slow speed make for a great meat shield/enemy weakener.
For now, they’re useful units who will soon help set up a character’s recruitment.