Fire Emblem Awakening
The war still remains one of the most beautiful excuses to lay down a strategy games, and Nintendo has understood this concept, leaving the typical princess in despair for warrior lords of the everlasting saga of Fire Emblem, that has freshly arrived on the 3DS.
From the beginning of the adventure, the player will be invited to create an “avatar” or character that will become the second in command, friend and confidant of Chrom (the game’s main hero). Amnesia, being one of the best “assets” shared among videogame heroes, will be the state your character will meet Chrom and his friends when they are struggling to defend the borders of their peaceful kingdom against a repeated onslaught of local bandits. Although an armed Amnesia, your character will help to repel intruders and give you a place in the hierarchy of this beautiful country, the holy kingdom of Ylisse. Soon enough, various events and plots will plunge the continent and your team into progressive battles, and sink you into the tragic and epic accomplishments of those brave knights.
Like its predecessors, Fire Emblem Awakening is a pure joy of this particular style of game so addictive which is the Tactical-RPG. These strategy games that combine turn based movements and attacks and adds the RPG dimension with the troop’s management and equipment are very popular among us since the advent of other titles like Shining Force or Final Fantasy Tactics. But unlike the two others, the saga of Fire Emblem has a special characteristic that makes many players think about their choices if no twice but three times: when one of your characters is defeated, he is literally dead. While this style of play is just a complete whole experience for players who get fond of their characters, and then see one of his high ranked and leveled up warriors fall in battle.
Without alienating the longtime fans, this version also offers the ability to play in a casual way. In this mode, your warriors don’t die, but are just knocked out, and retreat from the battlefield. This is really an option that will delight newcomers and those who had difficulties in this series, which is already quite a challenge, even with three difficulty levels.
Staying focused is often the key to victory here, as usually all elements are against you. Not only you are outnumbered on the map, but it often happens that reinforcements arrive regularly from small forts strategically located here and there on the field. One of your priorities will be usually to place your men in these entry points to prevent a part of the offending army to arrive continuously, but also to heal yourself per turn.
But the most obvious addition to the tactical function of the game is the ability to merge or “pair” units. During combat, when two units are juxtaposed, it will be possible to assemble, to slightly increase the capacity of the unit as a whole. Although this reduces the number of your units, it is very useful when facing enemies slightly stronger than you, which is often the case! Another important point to not forget is relationships, but we’ll get to that shortly.
Between battles, you will be moving on a set map, which gives you the possibility to head to the next chapter of the story, but also random battles, meet nomad additional vendors offering some very good deals and parallel events between your characters, allowing to increase their relationship, sometimes even discover objects or as bonus points experiment.
Once two characters are sufficiently helped each other or spoken during the game or intermediate phases, you will be asked to watch their conversations, thereby increasing the quality of their relationship, denoted C to S. And to the delight of those relationship consultants, when male and female characters have reached a relation level of S, they marry, which is festive enough, but gives you more reason to celebrate, as you will be able to meet and recruit their future children via special events.
Of course, some combinations of parents give you more or less stronger units, that will delight players to try different combinations. Usually funny and well written, aside of the fighting, each character reveals his personality in a fun angle, and their children smartly take a bit of each of the parents, which gives you some kind of a fantasy soap opera.
Graphically speaking, it is certainly not a great looking strategy game, but this time Nintendo has managed to provide a simple visual rendering, fun to watch, but also uses 3D in a smart way that is certainly not tiring. Whether for cinematics or the game itself, the prioritization of relief layers is always very subtle, emphasizing readability. So, we are surprised to find ourselves plunged into the action, but still casting a glance on the left to ensure our hit points are still high enough. Still, some disturbing graphic choices can be noticed, such as lack of characters’ feet – what the hell? – giving the impression of sinking into the ground, or a weird merge between humans and goats. But for the rest, it’s all good, from the splendid backgrounds to the clear music or even the sound effects; each character is doubled on certain keywords giving depth without drowning us in incessant declamations.
Fire Emblem Awakening was reviewed using an 3DS downloadable code of the game provided by Nintendo. This review was originally published by the writer on At7addak.com. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• A challenge that works for everyone
• 3D rendering on maps
• Fully customizable battles
• The battle animations
• The concept of support pushed to the extreme
• One of the best cutscenes of the series
• solid lifespan reinforced with side missions and DLCs
• So many good DLCs but that are expensive
• Hey Nintendo! What's with no feet on the characters?