“Leo… Celia… I’m gonna keep living here… in order to protect what matters most.”
It’s been a while since we last visited an Empire episode. The last one I had reviewed prior to this one was Falk’s. How was Hugo’s episode? It was alright—it brought about more questions than answers, however. If you’re wondering about the reason behind Hugo’s defection, don’t; it’s not answered here. In fact, Hugo’s first episode is basically him adjusting to his new life after defection. He deals with gossip, bullying and guarding.
The gossip portion shows hints of the reason behind his defection. Apparently, what he did was so notorious that random soldiers that had enlisted with Hugo knew what he did. What he had done had also caught August’s interest and thus the reason why Hugo came to the Empire—August scouted him. What did Hugo do? I don’t know! In fact, if you look at his chronology section, none of his episodes take place in the Federation—they all take place after his defection; this means that his defection is going to be seen in a flashback in a future episode or through another’s perspective. I know for a fact that it’s going to be sad. I’m ready for the tears.
Since Hugo was from the Federation, the beginning of his enlistment in the Empire’s military is met with animosity. Falk, who acts like a playground bully, calling him derogatory names and trying to pick fights with him, targets him. If you have played Falk Episode 1, you can tell that this episode takes place some time before Falk’s. Hugo and Falk were not civil here—only towards the end. Falk is really unlikable in this chapter, to be honest. Well, he was insufferable in the beginning, but he gets less annoying towards the end. It’s evident in the way Falk talks to Hugo through the episode. He calls him insensitive nicknames and then throws a curveball and calls him by his name at the end. Hugo and Falk’s relationship was rocky, but they grow to respect each other…that is until Falk’s episode 1 where that development gets destroyed. Why is Falk better written here than in his own episode?
Amelie treats Hugo with kindness, and it’s obvious that he relies on her since she’s the only one giving him time to talk about his inner feelings. My respect for Amelia grew in this episode. She’s a kind soul and I think she’s a good leader; screw what Falk says about her.
While Hugo is now an enemy to the Federation, it’s obvious he still holds Leo in high esteem (and I guess Celia too). The many references of Leo made it seem like Hugo cares more about him than he does Celia because throughout this episode, he mentioned her only once and that was towards the end as you can see from the quote above. It’s obvious who his favorite childhood friend is! While mention the Le Sant trio…it’s saddening to know that Hugo still cherishes them dearly despite what he did. It’s very sad and it also makes one even more curious about his defection.
I mentioned guarding earlier. Why guarding? Well, that’s Hugo’s playstyle. He doesn’t get a shield—he uses a longsword to guard. His gameplay involves him guarding and then countering with an attack. It’s a lot different from Alexandra, the other longsword user; in her case, she uses it like it weighs as much as a toy sword and she is fast. Hugo can’t and will never be like Alexandra. While her gameplay is fun, Hugo’s not fun to play as. His gameplay has both pros and cons, but there are more of the latter than the former.
The positives for Hugo’s gameplay is how fast attacking enemies can be if guarding is done right. If an enemy hits Hugo, Hugo then gives it double damage with the fast counter. However that’s the only positive about it.
The other aspects of his gameplay are terrible. It’s not as bad as August, Maxime or Celia’s gameplay, but it still has many faults. Hugo’s guarding and counter-attacking gameplay heavily relies on being hit. Given that Hugo’s accompanied by two other people who are also attackers, it’s kind of hard to be attacked when enemies are dead from AI-controlled party members.
While Alexandra moves like lightning, Hugo moves like a rock in combat. He is extremely sluggish when he is attacking regularly. This pretty much means you have to rely on his guarding tactics for him to move faster in combat. Remember what I said in the previous paragraph? Good luck with that!
And the most aggravating part of his combat that if he moves slow, anything that slows him down will make him move even slower. Early chapter 4 has a section where Team Laurence traverses through marshes. The main gimmick for this portion is to make Hugo guard when the Federation weapon attacks the team. The marsh slows down Hugo’s movement, so guarding while moving in the marsh is like watching a Youtube video with crap Wi-fi. I thought the Tel Tepe Desert was aggravating. The Papalasha Marshes is taking a run for its money.
Although there are many questions I have in regards to Hugo, this is an episode that ultimately tells the story of how Hugo will one day rise into power as a soldier of the Empire—this is how he gains his colleagues’ trust. Coincidentally, Hugo Episode 2 was announced today. This wasn’t intentional; it’s pure coincidence here! I just hope that this episode will answer some of the mysteries shrouding him. What are your thoughts on this episode?