“Fire Emblem” has always been somewhat of a mystery to people. Most know about the series because the two protagonists, Marth and Roy, were introduced as characters in “Super Smash Bros. Melee.” However, the series has only gathered a small cult following due to the incredibly difficult strategy gameplay, leaving the games inaccessible to a larger audience.
The newest entry in the series, “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” has fixed these issues and made the game more accessible to the public. With the addition of a few new game features, this game is able to cater to both veteran and casual “Fire Emblem” players. Add that on top of the fact that the game boasts the best story and game mechanics in the series, and it’s easy to see why it’s a must-own game for the Nintendo 3DS.
“Fire Emblem: Awakening” plays a lot like a more advanced version of chess. Players are given an army to control, and they must place their units strategically in order to beat their foes in battle. Each unit carries their own strengths and weaknesses, so they must be placed and equipped properly for each battle.
After a few fights, each character can level up to improve their stats for future battles. The player can even recruit more characters as the game goes on, but gamers can only use a select number of units for each battle.
The characters themselves are half the reason why the game is so compelling. Each character is given their own unique personality that is fleshed out as the game goes on. If two units are placed next to each other in battle, they will form a bond that can create either strong friendships or relationships.
If relationships are formed, it is possible to marry two units and have them reproduce. The stats from the two characters are transferred over to their children, who join your army and fight for your cause. The relationship mechanic, which hasn’t been used since “Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War,” adds a whole new layer of strategy to the already deep experience of the game. It’s important to pair up the right partners to make the best units for your army.
The reason why “Fire Emblem” is notoriously known for being hard is because the series features a permanent death feature. If one of your characters dies on the battlefield, he or she is gone forever. Because it’s so easy to get attached to the characters within “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” it’s painful to lose even just one character in your army.
However, the game is now open to newer players with the addition of casual mode. In casual mode, characters do not permanently die on the battlefield. Instead, they return to your army after the battle is over and can be used once again in future battles. So players can pick how difficult they want the game to be. However, it is highly recommended that players start on the normal difficulty, as the permanent death feature helps keeps the game engaging and exciting.
With a great story that has some incredible plot twists and tight gameplay, “Fire Emblem: Awakening” remains as one of the few must own games on the Nintendo 3DS. This is without a doubt one of the best games the system has to offer.