Fire Emblem Awakening is the perfect example of how to do a strategy game correctly. Did you know that this game was intended to be the last game in the Fire Emblem series due to the declining sales of the series across the globe? This game single-handedly managed to save the entirety of the Fire Emblem series, securing it as one Nintendo’s biggest cash cows.N3DS_fireemblemawakening_boxart_01The story follows the avatar (named Robin canonically), as he/she wakes up in the middle of a field with no memory of his/her past. When they come to, they’re greeted by the main character, Chrom, his sister Lissa, and their bodyguard, Frederick. Robin at first can’t even remember his/her own name, but somehow knows Chrom’s name. While Chrom and Lissa are both weirded out by this, Frederick immediately jumps to the idea that Robin might be a spy for the country their nation is fighting against. After a bit more conversation, the four realize a nearby town is being invaded by the rival country, and they spring into action to try and stop them. The story grows and grows beyond this, so while what I’m saying here might seem cliche, the story soon picks up tenfold.

Fire Emblem is a strategy game where you control an army of all kinds of colorful characters to defeat the enemy. While it might seem simple, the amount of depth the game provides the player is staggering. Different unit classes are capable of doing all kinds of things. You have your mages, your healers, your sword wielders, the list goes on and on. In battles, depending on how many spaces your chosen unit can move, you send your troops into battle to gain tactical positioning on the enemy or you can go straight to fighting them. Once you’re face-to-face with an enemy, you are able to choose what weapon your unit will attack with, then watch the battle play out.

While it may seem simplistic, each fight you engage in has to be carefully calculated. You see, units (for the most part) only move once in a turn. Once they’ve made their move, they’re out until the enemy finishes their turn. Depending on what difficulty you chose at the beginning of the game, your enemy can unleash devastating attacks on your units if you’re not careful. The main draw of the Fire Emblem games is the permadeath system; if a character dies, they’re dead for good. No coming back. However, Awakening is one of the first Fire Emblem games to have casual mode to ease players into the mechanics of the game. In previous games, the player was expected to know everything about the system from the beginning. With this new mode, the permadeath feature is turned off, allowing for players to learn how to play the game in a more relaxed environment. Another new mechanic in Awakening is the Pair Up and marriage system. If you pair up two units, they will attack together in battle, giving you the ability to unleash double damage on the enemies you face. If these two characters spend enough time together, they can have a support conversation. It goes from C conversation where the two characters first meet, B where they get to know each other better, A where they become the best of friends, and S, where they become married if the units are a male and a female. Doing these support conversations is extremely important to the game, as it allows you to have the upper hand in battle, and it gives you access to a future unit. However, for the sake of spoilers, I won’t be telling you what happens if you marry two units. While marrying units is really good in the grand scheme of the game, it’s also important you get the friendship levels between all of your units up throughout the game, as your characters won’t exclusively pair up with just their spouse. And of course, when there’s marriage in a game where you can have an Avatar, the FE community is always having heated debates on who the best waifu is. For me personally it’s a girl named Olivia, but that’s besides the point.

The soundtrack for this game is unbelievable. It’s seriously one of the absolute best soundtracks to any Nintendo game ever. You’ll get those pieces that get you fired up and raring for a heated war, while other pieces will have you feeling emotional and make you feel sympathy for all the characters. Each piece sticks out in it’s own unique way, and there isn’t a single piece that feels uninspired. The graphics for this game are excellent as well. There are several anime cutscenes throughout the game, and each one is so beautiful it makes me wish there were more of them. In battle you’re presented with excellently done sprites for each of the characters, and when fighting an enemy you have excellently done 3D models. For a 2013 3DS game, it’s great.

Awakening also has a staggering amount of DLC available once you complete the main storyline, and all of it is excellently executed and some provide a great challenge beyond what you would see in the main game. While it does cost a lot to get all of it, I believe it is well worth the price of admission.

If you’ve been up to date with recent Fire Emblem news, you may have heard that a new Fire Emblem game is coming very soon entitled Fates. You may be asking “What’s the point of playing Awakening if Fates is coming out soon anyway?” The answer to that is time. Fates isn’t going to be outside of Japan until 2016, and now is a better time than ever to introduce yourself to the series. While some might say it’s just a waste of money to buy the old game when the new one is coming out soon, I think Awakening deserves a playthrough before this new game comes out.

Overall, I loved Fire Emblem Awakening.

Is it worth the price?: Absolutely!

I would recommend it to: Nintendo fans, Strategy game fans, and anyone looking to experience an excellently made game.


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