So I play a lot of games but I’ve never really done a review on one before. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to do so, but better late than never, right?
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the newest game in the Fire Emblem series. I played Sacred Stones on the Gameboy Advance SP back in the day, so there’s a lot of nostalgia with this one. Instead of a GBA SP, it’s a 3DS.
Genre: strategy RPG/turn based tactical role-playing game (as explained by Wikipedia). LOTS OF TACTICS basically
System: Nintendo 3DS
Note: LOTS of DLC maps and characters. A lot, a lot. Also multiple modes and save options, which is NICE.
See IGN’s roundup of information on this game.
The main character (who can be either boy or girl) wakes up in a field to find Chrom, prince of Ylisse, and his fellow Shepherds. From there, political issues mount up as Plegia’s Mad King stirs up a war between the two kingdoms. But when Marth, the hero of ancient tales, appears out of nowhere and helps save Chrom and the others from the Risen — dark zombies of sorts — it’s obvious there’s more going on than just simple warfare between two countries. From there, everything changes.
There’s a lot of drama, some time related events, good verses bad, and even some gray spots in between.
This is a turn-based game. You end up in charge of at least 10-12 character actions per chapter or event at any given time, and oh gosh, do you end up with WAY more characters than that by the end of it all.
Basically you’re the tactician in an army fighting the good fight. This isn’t a first in Fire Emblem history and is the mainstay of the series.
Each unit has a different class type. Cleric, priest, valkyrie are healer type classes while thief and assassin are stealthier, critical-hitting classes. There are tanky classes like generals, and so on. The game helps you understand this and the IGN link above has a walkthrough as well as explanations on classes if you get confused.
Stats are a big part of this game — more so than I understand, so I’m sorry but I won’t linger on this detail as much as other reviews might. Once your characters get to level 20 they can use a Master Seal to upgrade to yet another class, which maxes out at level 20 (level 30 for certain classes, which will be obvious in-game and spoilers if I say specifics). DO NOT upgrade your units before level 20. The stats will be underwhelming. That’s my biggest tip.
Modes and difficulty levels
You can choose from two basic game modes: classic and casual. Classic is basically the tried and true Fire Emblem method of saving and playing the game. When your character dies in a level, he dies permanently. You can’t use or access his stuff ever again. He or she is gone. You also can’t save until you’re in the world map. Casual, on the other hand, lets you save during the chapters. Your dead characters will come back at the end of the level.
There are also a few difficulty modes: normal, hard, lunatic, and lunatic plus, apparently. I only played the game on normal, as I only had the time for a single playthrough.
Basically this game has a MAJOR shipping aspect. Each unit has a number of other characters they can gain support conversations with. You do this by fighting with those two (or three or four, sometimes) units side-by-side in battle. A little heart will appear over them at the end of a move, and you’ll know their support level is gaining experience. Some of the dialogue is hilarious (I have some screenshots, but be warned, there ARE potential spoilers).
What I liked
- The ships. The support conversations were the BEST.
- Anime cutscenes. They weren’t something I’ve seen before in a Fire Emblem game before.
- The ships.
- The ships.
- Dialogue. Whoever wrote some of these lines has a great sense of pun-filled humor.
- Plot twists. I can’t say any more than that, other than it has to do with Marth’s appearance out of nowhere and I thought it was a fun experience. (see screenshots BUT BEWARE OF SPOILERS).
- The ending was intense. And fun.
What I disliked
- While the plot was heartwarming and nice, it was really typical. It didn’t take much to figure out where things were going.
- The grinding. Oh my goodness, the grinding. Seriously it was tedious, and I think that’s one of the biggest downsides to the game overall.
- The reward for the support conversations. At the end of the game you get a single paragraph. This isn’t anything new, I guess, but I remembered Sacred Stones epilogues being more rewarding.
Overall Score: 8/10
I recommend this game to most lovers of RPG or tactics turn based games, as well as fans of anime-style games in general. Also people who love to ship couples and friendship and flavor stallions (seriously). It’s just hilarious.