Judge 1: Darrman
To put things bluntly, this hack is severely skill-bloated. All playable characters have the full six skills, while generic enemies have at least four. Even the generic enemies had varying skills, with snipers swapping between Tomebreaker and Bowfaire without much rhyme or reason. This ultimately leads up to the dragons having Colussus, forcing several resets. Half the starting army is composed of flyers, yet there are two dangerous snipers in the very first enemy group, basically forcing the player into the one solution to survive.
Finally, the chapter boss can’t actually use her sword, leaving her susceptible to 100% accurate Silence. Yet it’s otherwise useless, as it wears off during enemy phase – a bug with Gaiden Magic means a staff can be used as an action during Canto. Once the boss dies (it’s possible to kill her before she summons her last reinforcements), it becomes a simple game of baiting the dragons until the defend timer runs out.
The title screen is completely unchanged, all of the music is vanilla, and the character portraits are largely basic splices – one of them had blink frames composed of the eyes turning yellow – this was used for a specific cutscene, but makes every other scene she appears in look very unusual.
I had no idea what was going on. A witch leading a cult had escaped some time ago and a detective was called in to investigate. The cult then attacked and managed to seal the good guy’s goddess away, leading to a fight. Many names were mentioned that I was expected to know – the king’s description breaks the fourth wall to say he “starred in a hack when he was thirty years younger”. It is only in the credits that the connection to a hack named Divine Twin’s War is mentioned. The ending is also an anti-climax: the goddess kills everything, yet the villain escaped and nothing is resolved.
Total Score: 5/20
Judge 2: MCProductions
Does everyone need six fucking skills? Honestly I could just end it there, but the map itself suffers from FE10 Defense map syndrome where I sit still and end turn repeatedly until the game says I won. There are only two defense maps in the franchise that are good, one of which is just a kill boss map that has to last a certain amount of turns, and this learned nothing from those.
I fucking loathe cat girls. Alright needless joke out of the way, what we are left with is vanilla music, a decent looking map, and okay portraits. I didn’t encounter any graphical issues like I’ve heard other players did, otherwise this would be a 1/5.
Apparently some zealots broke out of prison and have the manpower to summon a bunch of monsters and assault the castle? This group also somehow has enough power to imprison a Goddess? Yeah, no, I don’t buy any of this.
Total Score: 4/20
Judge 3: 2WB
ok so two big massive things
first, don’t give every player unit six, and every enemy unit four, skills? it’s way too much and it bogs down thinking. Even if they all resolve to fairly minor things, I have to read all of them and remember them (this did get units killed: the skill I forgot the most about was Frenzy).
if you use gaiden magic
YOU NEED TO TELL ME IT HAS AN HP COST AT SOME POINT
either with a readme or an in-game message or in the guide
Outside of that, though, the game was decently enjoyable… because J and Tessa kind of stomp over half the things without a second thought.
The uselessness of Xander is frustrating due to the number of high-Resistance enemies with Bowbreaker, but he does have the incredible payoff of Galeforce so it’s a bit of a wash.
The Ice Beasts have a 12% chance to deal 30 bonus damage, a practically unsurvivable amount. It is at this point that I question your sanity. J having a 60% critical rate also made involved strategy nigh impossible since knowing if they’d deal 2x, 4x, or 6x damage was heavily random.
The Fire Beasts have Bow Range +1 but don’t use bows. Their “Fire magic” typed weapon
The fact that the Ice Beats / #E-C-4722s are weak to Regina’s Hammer; while the Fire Beasts / #E-C-4633s are not is… annoying? And Edrick’s Hero’s Blade being good against the Ice Beasts would be really nice to know if it was said at ANY POINT anywhere.
The magic does not have any explanation for when one tome has advantage over another and it feels totally random and senseless. I’m sure there’s actually a logic to it but I couldn’t find it because the enemies had a 2-3 option to abuse.
Having chests on the map, but not being allowed to open any of them really sucks.
The princess is frustrating due to her gimmick being pointless: She can’t double or be doubled, but she has like 20 crit with everything, except this is implemented as “crit += weapon weight” instead of just … giving her “crit +20” as a skill? which makes it “complicated” and difficult instead of trivial.
The music’s vanilla. The enemy phase theme being Tension upsets me because I don’t think it makes a good map theme, but it’s not totally miserable.
The mugs have… blinking problems and some of the faces feel like they’re clipping out of the clothes.
The palettes on the portraits are mostly nice – The blonde tones need a little more contrast but Fernand’s reds need fierce assistance. The battle palettes kind of… feel off in this unfortunate way I don’t have the right words to describe. They’re not too bright or too saturated, but they feel too poppy.
The map, however, is missing all its shadows so it’s fairly odd to look at, the interior has very little tile variation so it feels pretty same-y.
I was interested and then the gameplay started and there was nothing for most of the turns. That trait was awkward to me, but not bad. The characters have consistent voices in the variants of their recruitment conversations; but for Tessa this is unfortunately accomplished by having repeated lines.
I actually… liked it? It was not great or particularly unique due to how little of a slice was given, but there was clearly a world here and good thought put into making it read well.
Total Score: 12/20
Judge 4: theghostcreator
This is quite honestly one of the worst chapters I’ve played in a romhack where do I even begin? The thirteen turn defend condition is way too long and drags the map out to an insane degree, it is very unreasonable for the player to even push forward with the units they have and are instead forced to pile into a corner and pray that it works out, and to top it all off, the defend objective doesn’t even work, Zach just has Neimi’s death quote and the chapter continues as normal. The renaming and changing of certain weapons makes it unnecessarily complicated to plan things out, there’s a crazy amount of skill bloat, and one or both of the two green units died on turn one four times out of the eight attempts I did of this dang chapter. There’s more that I could talk about but I was told to keep it short.
This hack, while using some nice custom classes and some custom portraits the splices aren’t particularly pleasing to the eye and look rather amateur while the battle palettes are often times hard to look at. There’s also no custom music whatsoever or a custom title screen. Two points for effort but I can’t give any more in good faith.
I haven’t played the hack this is tied into so to me everything just sort of happened with little explanation or reasoning behind it. There seems to be a lot of effort put into it though so I will reward it, but in the future I recommend not writing a story that ties into your previous works by necessity for a contest.
Total Score: 6/20