Strategy series have been rampant in the world of video games over the years, but none of them have ever had as much heart and cunning as Fire Emblem’s installments have. Then this one came along and blew everything else in the past thirteen installments out the water with the deepest and most in-depth mechanics and systems that the franchise has ever offered previously.
For those not in the know, Fire Emblem is a tactical grid based RPG, and whilst it may appear very JRPG in nature, with the sprites and the rolls of text with complicated terms and characters here and there looking like they’ve come straight out of one, anyone who takes the time to sit down with it can assure you that it really isn’t.
The story is actually a relatively western one, with politics and war taking the prime spot, and character development and construction coming in a very close second. Whilst the fantasy cliche that plagues our games may be very prominent, there’s no denying that it’s well-thought out and well designed.
However, the theatrical aspect and the design of the grid based battles means that rather from being a tense atmosphere of sprites running around the map, beautifully drawn scenes of your characters fighting with the wonderful 3D effects from the 3DS coming to the forefront are what the battles are really like, and the contrast between tense and wonderfully epic really suit this game.
Because to be honest, that’s what Fire Emblem: Awakening is. There are so many points that I can praise the game on; it’s use of dialogue and inter-character supports to improve battles and deepen the players relationship with the characters, the way that DLC is integrated into the game with enough content to be another Fire Emblem in of itself…there’s just so much that the game does right, and so very little that the game does wrong that it’s hard to fault it.
If I had to come up with faults with the game, they would exist on merely a personal level, and be that some characters, namely the male lead, fall into predictable pitfalls in terms of their development. However, that’s very quickly remedied by some of the other characters and the way that they interact, and all is forgiven. It’s tiny little nitpicks like these that I can fault with it, which leads me to my conclusion.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the accumulation of the last thirteen games, and quite possibly one of the best titles that belongs to the hardcore strategy genre. It’s appealing enough to fans outside of it’s genre, it’s amazingly appealing to fans inside it’s genre, and everything that’s wonderful about it just continues to pile up the more I think about it. It’s an entry into the 3DS library that cannot be missed by any gamer, regardless of their likes and dislikes, and one of the rare occasions where a game comes devastatingly close to perfection.