Fire Emblem: Awakening puts you in the shoes of the typical Amnesiac protagonist in the Halidom of Ylisse. You are quickly paired with Chrom, the main protagonist of the story and prince of Ylisse. You find out that Ylisse is in more danger then it seems. Rising tension with the neighboring nation of Plegia, and undead like creatures called The Risen appearing all over the nation causing destruction. In what seems to be converging to a three way war. You vow to Chrom to fight along side him and his group of soldiers called “The Shepherds” to ensure that the threat will be stopped. Doing whatever it takes to keep Ylisse and it’s people safe from harm.
While the plot isn’t all that exciting in the beginning, it does it’s job in keeping you interested from battle to battle. Until the point where the big plot twists start to happen. The star of the story by far, are the characters. All of the Shepherds have a distinct personality. None of them feel boring, or the same. They have their own insecurities, dreams, and quirks. All 43 of them.
The only gripe I have with the story is that the game tries to build up some obvious plot twists for far too long. While these are only few and far between, they still don’t feel worth it when the twist is actually revealed.
I want to say one thing first. Play this game in 3D. In my opinion, Fire Emblem: Awakening has one of the best utilization of 3D on the platform so far.
The UI is detailed and provides all the information you need, while not obstructing all the beautiful diverse locations you visit. Everything from snow covered fortresses, to farmland in the woods. All are memorable due to the details and depth accentuated by the 3D.
The beautiful CG cut-scenes smoke crawling in from the edges of the screen, The perilous drop of a ravine, and even the occasional bird flying across. All of these things are utilized. This is how SRPG’s visuals should be done on the 3DS, and I hope upcoming franchises take note. It really is something special.
Fire Emblem’s soundtrack matches it’s visuals. Superb. It does it’s job in helping the game convey the emotion it wants, the battle music adds a sense of desperation in a tight spot and the voice acting does great in bringing all of the characters to life. However, this is where my issue arises.
Everything in game isn’t fully voice acted. Which is fine, normally. Asides from the small bits that were recorded for important parts of the story, everything else is small voice samples, and when those voice samples don’t suit the situation going on, it throws you off. This may also be nitpicking, but it’s the only issue with the overall presentation I have.
Fire Emblem has been known as an SRPG series with a lot of depth. While the game does a lot to open it’s doors to newcomers, like adding a casual mode that removes character deaths. Veterans of the series will not be disappointed.
The gameplay is the typical SRPG affair. You have a group of soldiers that you move across a battlefield in turns to take down the enemy. Once you do that the battle is over. The special thing about this is the amount of customization goes into your team, and how that actually effects the game.
Everything from managing equipment on your team, to building a relationship between characters so that they are more effective in battle together. There is always something new to learn, but not so much that you feel like you’re being overloaded. The game does an exceptional job at pacing these new mechanics and making sure you have all the information you need before, taking a turn and potentially getting a character killed. There is no better feeling than executing a plan and it going flawlessly.
The only problem that may arise while playing the game is up to the person playing. There is a lot of content to explore here. While this should be a good thing, and for me it is. However, if you just want to rush through the story missions to beat the game you may need to level up your characters quite a bit. This won’t be a problem for avid RPG gamers for the newcomers however, you might want to play on casual just to be safe.
This is how a strategy RPG should be done. Mechanics that constantly keep giving you something to learn, some of the best visuals on the system to date, heaps of content to keep you playing for hours, and combat that never feels old. If you’re an RPG fan Fire Emblem: Awakening is the game you buy a 3DS for. If you’re a casual gamer looking for a quick game to play. This may not be for you.