Banner of the Maid is a game developed, I believe, in Taiwan and published in 2019. It thankfully received an English translation in 2020. With some pretty graphics and blatantly fanservicey characters, Banner of the Maid is a game which easily catches your eye โ€“ and that may not be an entirely good thing. After all, there are plenty of reasons to be wary of games which market themselves with shameless anime stylings, obviously pandering to thirsty, desperate horndogs in doing so.

Fortunately, any such negative expectations are quickly subverted by a cavalcade of solid gameplay decisions. Banner of the Maid at first glance appears to be a Final Fantasy Tactics clone (which is also cause for concern, given how abysmal a game the original FFT was), but upon closer examination, it reveals itself to be isometric Fire Emblem. In France. With Chinese voice acting. Yeah, it’s an interesting mix, to say the least. Many FE conventions are found here, such as a weapon triangle quadrilateral, units with canto, weapon durability, trading, one-time promotions, and weather. Thus, I’m giving the game the “Fire Emblem” category for this website’s purposes. Deal with it.

Although it’s not a perfect game, owing to its less-than-stellar translation, it’s still got quite a bit to offer for fans of isometric SRPGs and fans of Fire Emblem. It’s one of many great SRPGs to have come out within the past few years โ€“ a classic example of how independent developers have routinely risen up to the occasion and have sometimes outdone the big names in the process.

General Information
Year: 1789 2019
Console: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Developers: Azure Flame Studios
Reviews:
* My review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VfEd92lY8k
General tips
Characters (currently hosted on GameFAQs, although this guide is indeed written by me)
Walkthrough
Buy Banner of the Maid on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/994730/_Banner_of_the_Maid

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krzhang
krzhang
21 days ago

๐Ÿ™‚ it’s rare to find someone who has basically the same thoughts on BotM as me (and more amazingly so, similar opinions on FFT!). I have a couple more thoughts that might be helpful:

One, I think (just from having played a lot of 90’s Chinese SRPGs) that part of the game’s character choices call back to Empire of the Angel (Chinese), an all-female SRPG; even the Western translated name has a similar cadence. My point here is almost definitely a stretch, but I am more confident in the generalized idea (and you can get the sense from dev interviews) that the team was very influenced by the games they played growing up in the Chinese SRPG sphere also.

Two, I had to hard limit myself to just putting Heroic Reload on 2 people since more would trivialize the game probably. (and self-enforcement to not level Ernestine to lower the number of handicaps) =) I agreed with you on that ability being broken.

Three, I think Mu Zhiyun’s ability of swapping with an enemy 3 tiles away is both game-breaking and interesting – I legitimately thought she would be your S-tier character. She makes some levels really easy by just getting into key spots (and she’s very very hard to kill) and moving enemies out of key spots (one memorable one is the castle raid where she can just jump past a barricade and save some turns getting a treasure, or any siege involving cannons really). I think her main contribution to my game is to make me think of interesting ways to use her and to “outsmart” the computer by playing a level in a different way than intended, and that’s always fun.

Four, Nicolette’s carbiner promotion is super interesting since she keeps her light infantry skills, so healing from double-hitting an enemy at long range means you don’t have to be as careful with her positioning as much as e.g. the bird girl (sorry I’m playing the game in Chinese so I don’t have the western names memorized).

krzhang
krzhang
Reply to  Harvester of Eyes
20 days ago

Yeah. I think your tier list is fine; I’d definitely put all the skirmishers above Nicolette. My main points are on their interestingness.

Tangentially, one way I have thought of “fixing” FFT-style SRPGs is to do something like limit the number of classes a character can have, and maybe putting a limit on the number of classes that can be used (this also applies to job-systems in RPGs; for example, imagine a version of FF5 where each crystal can be used exactly once, so you have some bound on the powers of characters and also encourage interesting builds / dynamic setups). This can also decrease grinding. If the power levels balanced out I think this can improve the whole genre. Job systems and SRPGs do feel a bit clashy, but I think this is more due to the design not being creative enough and not some natural limitation.

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