Originally published on February 14, 2013
So I want to go on record as saying I’m a huge Nintendo nerd. Nintendo was the system I grew up with. My cousins had a Genisis and a Master System, so I was well versed in all forms of games (although, I want to make clear, that though I may be a Nintendo loyalist, I’m a gamer more than anything and support the games, not the companies.) It was my love for Nintendo that possessed me, despite better sense and better systems available, to pick up a 3DS at launch. 300+ dollars, no games, it was hard to justify getting it rather than “I just love Nintendo.” Well almost a year and a half later, Nintendo is making up for it big time.
Which brings me to Fire Emblem: Awakening. Now I was a late comer to Fire Emblem, my introduction to the series being The Sacred Stones which some say is the worst. But I liked it. So not having much experience with the series, all I can say is Fire Emblem: Awakening is just a solid game. It’s fun, challenging, it looks and sounds amazing, and its pretty engaging. Fire Emblem is like a battle-chess RPG in which you aquire various different kinds of warriors, bring them to battle and level them up. At a high enough level you can even upgrade them to different classes or elite versions of their class. Every character effects the battle differently, and AI will target certain weaker classes or characters first to give themselves the upper hand in battle. How you go about the feild is extremley precise, and can mean the difference between losing the battle, or losing a beloved character.
The story is a fantastic tale of a terrible prophecy threatend to come to wake, in the midst of power struggles taking place across the continents of Archanea and Valm. You take on the role of a mysterious boy or girl, stricken with amnesia but with an impeccable ability to command troops across the battlefield. It’s a great way to integrate the player into the game and make them feel like a part of their world.
Fans of the sereis know about the perma-death feature (warriors your recruit stay dead for the whole game if they’re slain in battle) and I find this really amps up the challenge, as well as Awakening really does well to establish character relations and flesh out the characters. I find that I get so attached to my characters I refuse to let them die and I’ll end up playing a level a hundred times until i find the best strategy to make sure everyone levels up and stays alive. What adds a deeper level to this is the ablity to make characters fall in love, and ties into the story…
…as your characters’ children will come from the future and interact with their parents differently and get stat boosts when fighting near them, or paired with them.
The 3D works so well too. Its not overdone, but on the overhead battle maps, it’s used very effectivly to show inclines and depressions in hills and pits. Walls look like they’re actually coming up giving the game a sort-of board game look. I even found myself trying to blow a bit of dust off the screen which happened to be a bird flying above the battle. It’s that convincing.
The music is incredible, with each theme for the battle maps providing an excellent tone, and getting intense and faster as players actually engage in battle and watch their characters fight. Depending on how the battle is going, the music gets triumphantly intense or dangerously scary as you come closer to defeat. It all works to provide a thrilling rush of fantasy warfare that can rival any music from Skyrim.
Overall, Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fantastic game offering hours upon hours of gameplay. If you crave a game with teeth, and love the thrill of seeing strategy come together definatly a worthwhile addition to any 3DS library.