Gaming Review: Fire Emblem (GBA)

Fire Emblem, or better known as Fire Emblem:The Burning Blade, was the first game which came out of Japan, influenced heavily by Roy and Marth’s popularity in Melee. The Burning Blade tells the story of Roy’s father, and has a little cameo in the end of Roy himself. Being the first game out of Japan, many people had no idea what Fire Emblem was about, yet when they picked it up, they got a game that’s full of challenge and rewarding strategy, with characters full of development.

Well, ultimately, it doesn’t do anything new for the franchise, or anything the franchise has never done before. The grid based battling, whilst simple in nature, has been perfected to a point where immense strategy goes into every single move, and the game even has a little bonus to let you see your ranking as the tactician of the group. It’s worth pointing that out actually, the game involves you as a character. You don’t star in battles or anything, you’re just…”there”. It’s the game’s reason to teach you the controls from top to bottom, and to involve you in the story more than you are already.

The game splits into 2 parts. Lyn’s story, and Eliwood’s story. Lyn’s is looked on as the tutorial, and Eliwood’s is the main game. But, you see, I prefer Lyn’s story. In Lyn’s story, the characters get given the centre of focus, whereas in Eliwood’s story, it suffers from typical Fire Emblem plague, and the characters don’t have many lines if they aren’t a main character. Infact, after they join you, some characters only speak when you’re in a support conversation with them.

That said, the characters which do get developed get developed really well, and the support conversations more than make up for the lack of plot development around the characters. And thankfully, there aren’t “too” many characters, as Fire Emblem tends to do.  There’s the perfect balance between not enough and too many, in my opinion.

Now, I don’t know if it’s because I play too many strategy games, but to me, this game was…easy. You got given so much support at the right times, and the weapon triangle has such a heavy effect on gameplay that it’s possible to take out bosses without getting scratched with some skill and planning. You can also obtain Physic staffs early on in the game, and that makes all of your healing a piece of cake.

Difficulty aside, it is a good game. A very good game, with lots of planning, precision and complex gameplay elements included, yet at a rate that doesn’t alienate anyone and slowly gets you used to it. The plot just helps in pushing everything forward, and it’s got a great idea of direction and it knows where it’s going without getting lost.

Whilst there are parts of it that aren’t perfect, nothing’s perfect, and the attention in the tiniest details (I was amazing when I first saw Lyn’s sprite…so much better than I expected) makes everything a real treat to play through. Whilst there are boring parts and engaging parts, as a package, it’s a really good game and another great instalment into the franchise.

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