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Fire Emblem Awakening 3DS Review - -
Fire Emblem Awakening 3DS
Reviewed by
John Smith
Fire Emblem Awakening 3DS Review. Consider Fire Emblem: Awakening Review 21st century chess

Gameplay 9.6
Graphics 9.2
Sound 8.9
Value 9.7
Classification: M15+
Review Date:
April 2013
John Smith


Fire Emblem Awakening

Fire Emblem is a gaming institution in Japan and was originally released on the Gameboy Advance in 1990 with the series spawning a healthy amount of sequels and spinoffs due to its popularity. Dubbed as a turn based tactical RPG, Fire Emblem Awakening is the 13th game in the series and returns players to the warring lands of Ylissotl. Even though this game is number 13 in the series, players who have no experience with Fire Emblem can still enjoy the game without being penalised as they engage in this tactical RPG. For veterans of the Fire Emblem universe, the game does boast a variety of difficulty levels and choosing the highest level will unquestionably give you a run for your money with a touch of handheld console rage, thanks to permanent death for your characters.

The story of Fire Emblem feels like it has been taken directly from a Sword & Sorcery Manga title that revolves around heroes and villains. The game is based in a world that is not a nice place to live but fortunately the denizens of this world, especially their relationships make it very worthwhile. In the game, players control the ďAvatarĒ, a character who awakens with no memories of who he or she is and joins forces with the Shepherds. The Shepherds are a group of peacekeepers for Prince Chrom who are caught between the neighbouring army of Plegia and villainous force of an evil called the Risen. Also joining this colourful band of adventurers is a swordsman who claims to be a hero from legend and together, they investigate the dark cancer that has touched their lands.

Before starting the game, you first need to create your character and like traditional RPG titles, this allows the player to create and fine tune their Avatar such as appearance, sex and skills. Although the character creation does lack some depth compared to other titles, it still gives the player some ownership of their character. Another feature of the game is the character class system with each class having their pros and cons and when you reach a certain level, you can specialise that class for additional bonuses. Missions are varied in Fire Emblem from protecting key characters on the battlefield to eliminating enemy leaders or invading armies.

As you explore this world, combat is the main element of Fire Emblem which is mapped out on a classic grid system. Itís basically like interactive chess but unlike chess, Fire Emblem is considerably more entertaining. Both you and your enemies have a set number of turns that they can perform. The key to victory is positioning your party at key locations on the grid in order to maximise your moves and attacks. Once a units hit points or enemies hit points have been vanquished, the victor is the last man or party standing. In terms of your party, each character has their own unique personality that really makes you invest in both their physical and emotional well-being. As a result, seeing your favourite character die on the battlefield, especially if you have permanent death turned on is quite devastating.

The game also uses a classic rock, paper and scissor analogy where certain weapons outdo other weapons but once again this is dependent on skills, statistics and location on the fighting grid. It's a careful balancing act. Each character also has access to three weapon types that includes swords, axes and spears. Although these are the basic weapons in this game, the player does have access to other weapons such as bows and magic such as lightning and fire which does throw another strategy into the mix.

One new feature of Fire Emblem is the ability to team up with other characters called the Dual Strike attack, provided they are standing on a tile next to each other. In essence, this doubles their statistics and damage and is great for those difficult battles. It's also great for protecting weaker characters on the grid but once again the developers throw something else into the mix called relationships which is the heart and soul to this game. As you play, your party form bonds amongst each other and when you're back at the barracks, these characters will interact with each other. Sometimes meaningless and sometimes meaningful. Some of these relationships even become romantic and will boost the way they fight together, provided they have a strong relationship.

One additional benefit to relationships is that some of your characters will have children and these children receive a combination of their parents skills to help them on the battlefield. Playing matchmaker is almost as entertaining as the combat system and nothing is more satisfying than seeing your well-timed moves and attacks tear your enemies apart but as this is a turn based game, the enemy can do just as much damage. Sometimes you just stare in horror as the enemy decimates your party. However by sending in your tanks such as knights to take the most attacks and carefully positioning your healers and mages, this assists in the overall combat strategy. Thankfully the game does its best to teach you the basics before your party faces some of the larger armies that await you.


Graphically, the developers have made some strong use of the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. From 3D maps to characters plus some retro sprites, the game has this unique and pleasant look that really stands out on the 3DS. Character pictures and backgrounds look like they have been directly taken from anime and work nicely with the gameplay. The soundtrack of Fire Emblem is composed by Hiroki Morishita and Rei Kondoh which has this Final Fantasy feel to it which really enhances the overall gameplay. It's such a majestic soundtrack!

Final Thoughts?

Fire Emblem: Awakening is not just a good game but it's a great game and really transforms this series into a 21st century game. With a strong homage to the games before it and the inclusion of new gameplay plus 3D, Fire Emblem: Awakening ticks all the right boxes and creates a thoroughly entertaining turn based tactical RPG that not only challenges the player but is also quite fun to play. Consider Fire Emblem: Awakening Review 21st century chess! The developers have even promised additional DLC and the game also uses the SpotPass features of the 3DS which allows you to buy items from other players and battle them. This is one game that you'll be playing for a long-time!


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