Hey everyone, Fenrir here with an exciting round table discussion about one of the 3DS’s greatest hits, Fire Emblem: Awakening. So far this game has received consistently high-ratings — something that as a FE-fan makes me very happy and proud to see. It’s a mutual feeling, I’ve discovered, from other Moarpowah staff members who have some pretty poignant thoughts on Awakening that make it one of the strongest titles of the series.
Kaushik: Fire Emblem Awakening is everything I’ve ever wanted out of a new Fire Emblem game. The plot is nothing amazing, but it’s good enough and a fun play through. Where the game really shines are the characters. The last Fire Emblem game I beat was Radiant Dawn, and that title was somewhat disappointing in terms of support conversations. Fire Emblem: Awakening has a wealth of interesting (and some not so interesting) support conversation between all the characters. Additionally the game mechanics in terms of classing, promoting, and class changing are all well-done and really fun to play. Even the spotpass dlc and the paid dlc are cool little extras that give the game some longevity beyond its normal play, which is quite cool. Fire Emblem: Awakening took every expectation I had, smashed them, and then remade them to be something better. One of the my favorite 3DS games so far, for sure.
Pluffei: Fire Emblem was the first video game I ever played, so there’s definitely a lot of nostalgic value for me in this series. I’ve never played the Wii Fire Emblems (since I don’t own a Wii), but I’ve probably played Blazing Sword (the original), Sword of Seals and Sacred Stones a billion times each. Needless to say I was absolutely thrilled when I learned about Awakening.
Starting from the top. The music is absolutely amazing (Chapter 10!!!), and the character designs are equally great (they roped in Kozaki Yuusuke for the art). The game itself became accessible to a much wider audience, in my opinion. Beginners can enjoy the game with the option of playing on ‘Casual’ mode, which allows you to save anytime in the game. In addition, your units don’t disappear forever after being defeated in battle.
Of course, Classic mode (where your units die forever) is still availabe for the seasoned Fire Emblem-er.
At the same time, a new difficulty was also added, called Lunatic. It is as its name states; if you know anything about Lunatic mode in Touhou, you’ll know that only a lunatic would try to play it. It’s crazy hard, but I guess it’s fun for those looking for a challenge.
One thing I really liked about Awakening, gameplay-wise, is that Merlinus the merchant is no longer a necessary component (thank God), and instead you have what the game calls a convoy, with INFINITE storage. I’m not sure if the Wii games also had this, but I definitely won’t miss that blue haired balding bastard.
Fenrir: All right so I don’t really want to repeat what was said above — because let’s face it, I agree with just about everything up top, so here’s my two or three cents.
As a long-time Fire Emblem-er, the zeal and passion for this series started with Path of Radiance, which impressed me with its story, wealth of characters, and of course the gameplay itself. From there on I had to get my hands on Blazing Sword (the best Fire Emblem according to silverwolf, although that’s debatable), and Scared Stones, and I knew I was in love with this series. I agree with Kaushik that Radiant Dawn was a disappointment in terms of the rich support conversations and inter-character interactions that I’ve grown to love with FE. It’s not a FE game if it there’s nothing “shippable”, and if the characters don’t have character and are just drones to throw at each other in strategic patterns then well — it is a nice enough strategy game but it’s not a Fire Emblem game.
Yes I am going into these games for tactical play, but I do appreciate and love when the characters are people who I care about, whose deaths will force me to reset the game and start a level all over again just so that they can live.
So with all of that errata out of the way, I can say with confidence that Awakening is one of the strongest games in the FE series and is definitely worth your time and effort (And the 3DS price tag if you’re planning on it). First of all gameplay wise, I think this may be one of the easiest games to get into — with the Casual vs. Classic mode as Pluffei pointed out that can acclimate newbies into the game at their own pace. No need for frustration when you start out if you’re entirely new to tactical thinking (and tactical pairing), but it’s nice that the game is equally forgiving as it is brutal.
Perhaps my favorite new feature is the “pairing” combat, where units are actually able to interact with each other. I mean, we all knew that support conversations had bonuses and that they affected each character, but it’s so rewarding to see it animated and–even better–work together. One unit alone might not have been able to take down an enemy, but match him or her up with the right partner and not only do you get a bonus but you also have a chance that their partner will also attack, or guard them from harm.
It’s an ingenious system and overall a nice addition — which definitely makes you feel like you have a little “army” that is working together, and it is in a way rewarding to know that your Support bonuses are actually yielding visible results.
Okay so the story has its holes (it’s not as complex as Blazing Sword or full of political intrigue as PoR), but the characters have heart — with support conversations alternating between laughter and tears, because while there is camp there are also some utterly brilliant lines hidden underneath. Whoever was on the script-team deserves kudos for their balance, and for giving these sprites a life of their own that definitely brings you in and makes you care.
Also another feature that elevates Awakening and that (I hope) sets a standard for future games? Voice-acting. It’s a bit of a mood thing moreso than an absolute necessity, but it’s such a nice touch to bringing the characters to life–because as I have been saying and rambling over, and over again, it’s the characters that make a Fire Emblem game a Fire Emblem game — and seeing your army come to life like this is just brilliant.
So yes, I whole-heartedly recommend Awakening to fans of the previous games and newbies who are interested but have never played a Fire Emblem game before — it’s definitely one of the strongest of the series and with its replay value–through DLC, spotpass, and through monster-grinding to create a super team– you might not be able to put the 3DS down.