Reawaken Your Strategic Mind
Fire Emblem is a series steeped in tradition. For such a heralded and long-lasting series, the West has only seen five of the eleven Fire Emblem games released thus far. The latest, and the first that has hit the Nintendo 3DS, is Fire Emblem: Awakening. I have very limited experience with the franchise. I am talking about someone who owns all of the North American releases yet have completed zero of them. That has changed with Fire Emblem: Awakening, and for good reason too. Find out why with my review.
You start Fire Emblem: Awakening creating your own character, something not seen often in games of this sort. While the creation options are limited in what you can do (hair style, color, gender, and voice are pretty much it), it gives you a personal touch and better attachment with the story. Speaking of the story, it starts with you waking up in a field. Travelers Chrom, Lissa, and Frederick allow you to join them on their cause to stop an impending war. Little do they know (and you probably too) how big your seemingly innocent meeting will matter in future events. The majority of the story is presented with in-game cinemas with brief moments of voice acting, but the really important scenes are displayed with CG graphics that look absolutely spectacular. These are fully animated and fully voiced, quite unlike the rest of the game. What ties everything together is the masterful script. Then again, what else would you expect from Nintendo's Treehouse?
|See what I mean regarding the cut-scenes?|
Playing Fire Emblem game is a lot like playing any tactical turn-based role-playing affair (what a mouthful that was!). If you've never touched a game in the genre, then let me relieve your feeling of ignorance. First, it's okay because we were all ignorant about the genre at one time, so don't feel bad about it. Second, Fire Emblem is a lot like a game of chess. You're strategically maneuvering your units to get the better of your opponents.
You see, each unit that joins your noble cause for world peace has their own set of stats and weapons that determine a wide range of things: who they are strong against, who they are weak against, how far they can move on the grid-like battlefields of the game, and so on and so forth. For instance, archers are very strong against flying enemies such as pegasus knights and wyverns. However, they cannot defend themselves against melee attackers, which just happen to be most foes.
Nothing like a warm sunset to complement
the cold blood pulsating through your veins!
See what will happen before it happens.
You're like a Psychic Friend!
As units gain experience, their stats grow stronger. Once they have reached level 10 (20 is the maximum), you can change their class with a special item called a seal. Make it so your starting avatar can grow from a Tactician to a Grandmaster (it goes with my chess analogy, after all) with increased magical capabilities and strength, Chrom can grow from a Lord to a Great Lord-- it's all up to you what jobs you decide to expand your units into. Just be weary of stat changes.
I talked briefly about how units can team up together and form partnerships. Well that is just one piece to this proverbial puzzle. When units continually support one another in battle, their relationships become better. Through accessing the Support menu on the world map or before a battle, you can see exclusive conversations between close members. All relationships start at C, and if they are the same sex, it can go up to A. However, if the two involved are of the opposite sex, then their relationship can reach an S level, allowing them to get married and have a kid. These kids will show up in completely optional paralogue chapters with the option to unlock them to aid your cause and play as them. This is one reason why many Fire Emblem veterans chastise the idea of casual play. You lose the feeling of consequence-- that is, if you were playing with normal rules (see: not casual), then every death would mean something as you had an emotional bond with that character. All the leveling up, all the battles, all the improved relationships, etc.
|Better to fight with someone than alone.|
Shops around the world offer many
interesting wares. Buy till your heart's content!
A colorful cast of characters await
you in Fire Emblem: Awakening.
[SPC Says: 9.0/10]