Wow, what a game. After over a month of playing (and finally beating) Intelligent System’s Fire Emblem Awakening, I think I’ve gathered enough experience to write a proper review. Sure, I could have written a review right after it came out, but a ton of other publications did that, so I decided just to take my time and review the game mostly for it’s gameplay, replay value, and customization. I’m also mega lazy, if you haven’t noticed.
Read on for my review. -Greg Boe (admin)
Out of the Fire Emblem games I’ve played, this one has my favorite story. This is the first game in the franchise that gives your custom character such an awesome role in the story. In fact, your character is just as involved in the storyline as main characters such as Chrom and the mysterious masked figure known as Marth. Speaking of Marth, I wonder who he could be? I’m just kidding, I know exactly who it is. You can’t fool me, Intelligent Systems!!
As for the actual plot, I loved reading the dialogue (there’s a lot of it), and the cut scenes are few and far between, but still add a lot of excitement to the game. One of the scenes even made me cry. Don’t tell anyone I said that. If I could change one thing about this game, I would only add a few more cut scenes, but the ones we did get were fantastic.
There are so many different characters you have the chance to recruit to your entourage, but somehow the developers managed to give each unit his or her own unique personality. Now THAT’S strategy.
You even have the option to get your units married! If male and female characters fight alongside in a battle, you’ll be able to read some witty dialogue about something stupid like pies or dark magic, and eventually, they’ll get married. Just like real life, kids. Married units will be even stronger together in battle, so it’s a win-win situation to get them hitched. I can’t go into too much detail about this in order to keep from spoiling plot points, but they will even have kids. Ask your parents about that one.
Okay, I’m guessing you probably already know the basic gameplay of Fire Emblem. For this reason, and the reason that I’m extremely lazy and didn’t feel like writing about stuff you already knew, I’m just going to give you my opinion on it. I think that the grid-based gameplay works really well on the 3DS screen. The gameplay is really easy to learn if this is your first game, and the adventure starts at a slow enough pace to give you a chance to get down the basics before the real battles. Battle scenes may not let you control your unit, but camera options (and the ability to pause, fast-forward, and slow down the action) makes it worth keeping fight animations activated. You have the option to completely take out certain animations that take too much time though, but I ended up just skipping some instead of turning them off entirely.
I had a lot of fun deciding where I wanted my units to move, who to attack, and more. After a certain point though, you have so many units that moving them individually takes too long. That’s where auto-battle comes in handy. In auto-battle mode, units automatically move to where they need to be, which helps save time if you don’t want to stop and smell the flowers.
I you’re looking for the one of the best-looking RPGs on a Nintendo handheld, give yourself a pat on the back, because you’ve found it! Everything, from the beginning to the end of the game, looks absolutely fantastic. I seriously wouldn’t change a thing. Music-wise, there were times when I was like, “wait, they’re playing this song again?” but I would quickly forget about that because something awesome would happen on the screen. This really isn’t a game that needs top-notch music, just as long as there is something there, I’ll be happy.
The game already has some great DLC out. Although each new map is fairly short, and the characters you unlock don’t even look as much like they are supposed to, and lack voices, it still adds some extra hours to an already huge game. DLC let’s you add characters from previous Fire Emblem games like Ike and Roy. I bought the first three map packs, and had a blast, so I think you’ll like them too. Quick warning, even though they are super cheap (like 2 bucks each) they also last about 10 minutes. I saved the rest of my eShop cash to buy an actual new download game instead of just extending a game I’ve already put like $50 into.
As for replay-value, this game will definitely make you want to beat it at least twice, just to see how different you could have made things by getting different units to get married, and what their kids look like. Fun stuff, I tell you. If you feel like you have finished everything you possibly could in your first time through, then you really don’t have as much reason to replay it. In that case, this is a great time to look into the game’s new DLC map packs. I think you’ll find something you like.
So I had a lot of fun with Fire Emblem Awakening, and am happy to say that it’s my favorite installment in the series to date. At points, gameplay was a bit dry, and music can get repetitive quite fast, but it’s still one of the best RPGs available on 3DS. So if you own a 3DS and want some great strategy-RPG fun, give this game a try. I know you’ll love it. I sure did.