on March 21, 2014
I wasn't interested in playing Fire Emblem at first--I had ordered this because my husband wanted to play it. He kept insisting that I try it, so I did. Then he never saw our 3DS again. The end.
on February 4, 2013
I have the digital copy on my older sister's 3DS and I'm getting a preordered physical copy from Amazon. I absolutely love the series and I think this is a huge step up from the originals.
The game's story expands a multitude of chapters with many amazing characters from different backgrounds. Each of the characters develops and can become romantically involved with another character, granting them bonuses in battle and later on, kids!
The 3D effect is just plain awesome. At first I thought there was dust flying around or something but then I realized it was actually the smoke from the game and every once in a while, bats would fly out! I also love the first person view point in 3D battle. Makes for a trippy experience when using flying units. Superbly done.
Fire Emblem is notable for its strategic, tactical game play. Over the past 12 games, the gameplay was the same and a little stale. However in this new edition, they introduced many interesting and unique additions including "Pair up" and the getting bonuses from adjacent characters! Pairing up beefs up a unit in multiple areas and allows for a chance of dual attacking or blocking (and negating all damage!) of a hit. It also increases support levels and such.
Supports are also returning in this game along with the marriage system. Supports are essentially characters getting closer together the more time they are with other characters. For example having the Main Lord (Chrom) with another female (non relative hopefully) character pairing up or being adjacent for many battles will increase their support levels. As this level increases, eventually the characters will fall in love and get married.
There is DLC in this game but don't get too worked up about it. The game itself is completely finished so it isn't an on-disc dlc but rather bonus content for those who want extra challenge. DLC includes maps, characters, and monster attacks which also includes weapons and such. However the characters can be gotten for free (and there are more free characters than DLC characters) through spotpass. Simply leaving your 3DS in sleep mode will allow you to download the characters and maps. The characters are not related to the main game but rather come from other Fire Emblem games including Marth, Roy, Ike, the Smash Bros. favorites. During the first month or so, there is a free DLC including a very special character. Be sure to pick up the game so you can pick him up also!
There is a bundle 3DS with this game but I wouldn't recommend it as it is not a 3DS XL. I greatly prefer the XL over the regular 3DS but if you're not picky about the size then go ahead and pick up the bundle instead. Aside from that, I would rather recommend getting a 3DS XL blue (MK7 bundle if possible) and then adding the decal if you really want it.
on October 18, 2013
Short and sweet from a 30 something adult: This is one of the best strategy games on any platform, and it would be worth it to buy the console even if this were the only game on the 3DS. Great story, possibly the best graphics on the system, smart use of 3D, varying levels of difficulty, and there is a real push to keep all of your units alive to the end of each mission because if they die (in classic mode) they're gone for good. If you buy the game, start on hard (not normal) and classic (not casual) settings, because on normal mode it is too easy after the first few missions and on casual mode it just makes you care less about your strategy if your units can't permanently die. I would recommend this for older kids and adults - the layers of complexity to the fight system and the character stats might be lost on young kids.
on February 11, 2013
It's not too often that I find myself finding the time to play video games more than 5 hours a day with my busy schedule but as soon as I picked up Awakening I made time and let it take over my life. Back when my brother and I used to play video games together I went out to pick up Fire Emblem for the GBA and immediately became obsessed with it and so did he that we ended up fighting over who would get to play it and when. It was quite funny how a game could be this good and cause us to fight so much over it ruining our summer vacation.
Originally I didn't get all hyped up when I heard about the new fire emblem game until I discovered KYMG was doing the art! Kozaki Yusuke is a Japanese artist who is well known for doing the art in No More Heroes 1 and 2 one of my favorite series to date. I know a lot of people flipped out over the limited edition art book. Its only a few pages and it's a FREE item so it's nothing amazing. If you are interested in KYMG's art or are a crazy lunatic Fire Emblem fan you can pick up the official art book on Amazon.Jp
The graphics are a mix of the classic FE 8 bit characters and the art headshots when you have them selected. In battles and cut scenes it switches to 3d models much like how FF Crystal Chronicles characters looked (bit annoyed by their feet). In addition to this there are several anime style cut scenes throughout the game as well. So there is quite a mix of graphics throughout the game which is pretty cool.
The support system in this game is quite different. In this title you can build relationships with other characters so that when you pair them up in battle their stats go up as well. Depending on how great that bond is the higher stat bonus you can get. Now continuing on that depending on how much certain characters like each other they can get married and have kids. Which I though was quite cool. My only peeve with the game is I don't know if they did this in any of the previous games but they took away the rescue system. Which ticked me off a bit since obviously if a solider is low on health you want to get them out of there as fast as possible. Another thing that bothered me but has been in Fire Emblem and probably will always be in Fire emblem. Is the lack of difference between character models from the same classes. Some characters just all look the same and that's a bit boring snd confusing.
This is the first time for myself going out and buying DLC content for a 3ds game. I was quite pleased to find that in the downloadable content for Awakening you can earn more characters to join your army as well as maps you can play again. Japan has gotten a large amount of DLC already so the hope is it heads this way. Currently there are 3 DLC's and one is currently free until march where you can get a the original Prince Marth as a character.
Fire Emblem: Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS is definitely one of their best games to date and I suggest anyone who has a 3DS to go out download the demo and give it a try. Its a fun and exciting game that's very easy to get attached to. I've managed to turn this 30+ hour game into a 70+ hour game turning on the highest difficulty with permadeath going. Making me need to restart missions in order to secure all my units safety. So anyways if your into Fire Emblem, into RPG's or if your just looking for a game to play I highly recommend getting this!
Also I am quite sorry to hear that some of the people who ordered on Amazon have still not received their copies of the game. I think I speak for all owners of the game and shoppers of Amazon. Please do not down rate the product based on amazons service (availability) or if you do not own the game. Its deceiving towards potential buyers of the game. You're not helping out Nintendo, Amazon or their shoppers. So take a deep breath and chill out.
on February 4, 2013
Quick take away: if you enjoy Fire Emblem, JRPGs, SRPGs, or some combination of the three do yourself a favor and buy this.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fantastic new entry in the Fire Emblem series and really does a lot to add new elements to the gameplay while still keeping the classic Fire Emblem appeal intact. There's a ton of content here with more coming in the form of DLC (assuming we get everything Japan has there's a LOT to look forward too)and for the first time you can actually roam around, freely battling outside the storyline to grind your characters. Also for those that prefer the original Japanese voice overs Nintendo has seen fit to include them in the US copy, so now all you need to is toggle the audio in the Options. For those that have been turned off by Fire Emblem's permadeath system(once a party member dies they are gone for good)in previous games you'll be happy to know there's a new "Casual" mode that removes this element, allowing you to continue through the fight knowing your party members will be back up and ready for action once you've settled the score.
For those considering the digital version in the e-Shop: there is no difference between the digital and physical versions of the game. It all comes down to whether you prefer having a physical copy of the game vs a digital copy. One thing to keep in mind though is that with a digital copy you won't need to worry about swapping cartridges, in case you're playing more than one 3DS game at a time.
on May 23, 2013
It seems that every established series in video games always has "that one game" that really stands out among the others. An entry that is loved and embraced not only by the series' niche audience, but shines as a beacon to attract even more people than usual; a game that has all of the defining facets previous entries had, but expands them to new heights and combines them in such a way that really makes the overall experience shine in ways that elevates the quality of the entire series. With this game, Intelligent Systems and Nintendo has done such a thing for the Fire Emblem series, one that has always been known for amazing quality. It would be hard to really extrapolate on what makes FE:A so great because honestly, everything about the game is of the highest caliber. Everything the series is beloved for is intact and refined and expanded to previously unseen levels here. Fire Emblem: Awakening, is not only the best Fire Emblem game, it is arguably the best 3DS game to date. It is that good.
At its core, Awakening is a tough-as-nails SRPG that appeals to the hardcore tactical role playing fan above all others. The stakes are high, the battles are tough, and death is death. This is the way Fire Emblem games have always been. There's no hand-holding. If you make a mistake that costs you the life of one of your most beloved characters, there is no spell or salve that can save them, and the only way to get them back is to restart the game and redo the battle, hopefully with wiser strategy than your previous attempt. Fire Emblem as a series has been around for over twenty years, and in that time, Intelligent Systems has refined and expanded the mechanics to perfection, and this is definitely evident while playing Awakening. There are various rock-paper-scissor strength-weakness strains to keep in mind, dozens of classes to upgrade your characters to that all have their own benefits and stat-growth differences, and of course the pairing system is deeply incorporated into the game.
Speaking of which, the pairing system in particular is one series' defining aspect that Awakening takes to new heights. Having two characters battle side by side results in their bond level growing. The more their level grows, the more they boost each others' stats in future battles and once you reach certain milestones in their bond level, they can have incredibly well-written and localized conversations that are greatly entertaining and result in deeper development for each character in the story. Men and women can even reach a fourth bond level in which they marry. This results in the ultimate boosts in their pairing up, obviously, but also affects their children. Time travel is a part of the plot, and the adult children of married couples you have in the game can and will meet up and join with you as you play. It's an awesome expansion to a system that was always great in past FE games. I love the pair-up system in Awakening.
If you're wondering how much content is in Awakening and if it's enough to justify a purchase, don't worry. I played the game for forty hours and wasn't even half-way through the story. I took it slow and really dug deep into the game as I went along, not to mention times I had to restart after losing a comrade in battle. It's just such a fun game to play, and it's got a TON of content that will scratch your SRPG needs for as long as you need it to. This could easily become a 100+ hour game if you wanted it to. I also must praise the game for its DLC options. The DLC in this game doesn't feel like slapped-together, half-hearted attempts to milk the player of more money, and it also doesn't feel like content that should have been in the game from the beginning. In my opinion, the DLC in FE:A is what DLC should be, enjoyable content that adds to the overall experience in a substantial way, and one that delivers faithfully on the price you pay for it. Bravo Nintendo!
It's worth noting that Intelligent Systems has given the player a plethora of options to customize how their game will play. One of the main characters is entirely customized by the player, which is always a treat to see in a game. You can select whether you want the brutal, difficult "classic" style of play, or a more "casual" mode, where death merely means losing a character for the duration of that battle. It's a wise move and really opens up some options that makes playing the game much more inviting to those who wince at the thought of losing a character for good. There are also several different difficulty options that makes the game appealing to a plethora of gamers of differing backgrounds and constitutions. You can pretty much customize anything you can think of with this game, ranging from important aspects such as difficulty down to seemingly trivial parts such as animation speeds. You name it, it's probably an option. Very nice.
The art direction and graphical style in this game is just stunning. Past Fire Emblem titles had a more old-school anime look going on, but Awakening definitely bespeaks a more modern style, with tons of detail, color, and more maturity. Character art that shows up during dialogue is incredibly pleasing to take-in. It's all so detailed and the characters are so expressive in conversations, and every one is very unique. I really can't praise Intelligent Systems enough for their attention to detail in literally every single area with regards to the graphics in this game, and how incredibly well they implemented the 3-D. During battles, you'll notice things like rain drops or snow flakes falling, god-beams shining down onto the field, birds and bats flying over the field and under your view, fish swimming under the beautifully rendered waves of an ocean or river. I mean, every single detail is just astounding. Battle animations have so much style and impact to them, and you can select several different angles to view them from, including first-person, which can be very surreal. If you get a critical hit in battle, a super stylish graphical flourish will flash across the screen, along with a very memorable quote from your character. Changing the class of your character will change their in-game model's appearance greatly, as will equipping them with different weapons. I really can't praise the presentation of the game enough. The 3-D is not essential to the gameplay, but it definitely enhances the overall experience by leaps and bounds. This is no cheap layered 3-D, but actual depth that really impressed me and I'd say playing with 3-D at max is essential.
I also must mention the audio. All of the characters' voices are very appropriately cast, and although dialogue is silent for the most part, the small little Zeldaesque expressions they make while talking really fleshes out each characters' personality. The soundtrack in this game is simply astounding. I even went so far as to import its Original Soundtrack from Japan, it's that good. The thematic unity throughout the whole soundtrack is quite amazing to take in and every track is memorable. Some tracks are absolutely beautiful, and it's all quite emotive. Great work by Hiroki Morishita (who has always done fantastic work on Fire Emblem) and Rei Kondoh (who also contributed much to Okami's brilliant soundtrack as well).
Lastly, there's the writing/story in this game. It should come as no surprise by now for you to hear me say that the story, dialogue, characterization is all simply top-notch. The plot itself is intriguing and thrilling from start to finish. I'll refrain from sharing any spoilers here. Just know that political intrigue abounds, and world saving ensues, and it is all quite a ride. There are even parts in the story that brought tears to my eyes and left me breathless. I am honest when I say that it is only the rarest and highest quality of games can do that to me. People who say Nintendo doesn't make mature games needs to play this and face some of the truly dark and sorrowful moments this game has in store. Events are surprising and no one is truly safe, and that is when you know you've got a great story on your hands. This is a genuinely compelling game. Some pivotal story events play out in incredibly well-crafted cutscenes that will knock your socks off. These moments are too few and far between in my opinion, but they definitely enhance the story when they show up. The story is top-quality in Awakening from writing to presentation, to be sure.
The characters, of which there are roughly 40, are all unique and genuinely lovable. The numerous pair-up conversations are always enjoyable and range from being hilarious to downright moving. Many of the romantic pairings really develops the characters well. Each pair has a unique story together that is elaborated upon as you unlock a new bond link between them over the course of the game, and it's awesome. These practically innumerable character relationship stories feel like sub-plots unto themselves, and gives Awakening a wonderful dating/social simulation feeling to it. Most of the "S Rank" marriage proposal conversations has such sweet, touching dialogue that it just melts your heart and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I literally feel like a better person while playing this game and that is entirely thanks to reading some of the conversations you can unlock in here. You really come to love the characters over the time you spend with them. This game is such a precious gem, and I really can't praise its writing and fantastic localization enough. Intelligent Systems hit it out of the park.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of those games where everything, down to the tiniest detail, comes together to create a truly special experience. Literally everything in this game impresses me, and every time I play it, another meticulously crafted detail pops out at me and just makes me marvel at how amazing and well thought-out of a game Intelligent Systems has made here. They're a fantastic developer in general, but they really out-did themselves with this one and I really hope they make a direct sequel someday. I know this review is long and gushing and I'm sorry for dragging it out, but this game seriously deserves it. This is easily on my shortlist for game of the year, and I'm confident to say this is most definitely in the top three 3DS games you can buy right now, alongside Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. It definitely deserves all of the praise it has gotten, and I give it my highest recommendation. So go out and buy this immediately, get lost in the countless hours of SRPG perfection, and become enraptured by the wonderful experience of Fire Emblem: Awakening.
on February 4, 2013
I'm only 4-5 hours in, but this is already one of my favorite fire emblem games. It takes the classic Fire Emblem formula, adds in a bunch of new content, classes, customization options, and more together to make something unique. I've played all of the Fire Emblem games that have come to the U.S. and this one is by far the most deep and rich games in the series. Not only that, but it is completely accessible to new people with it's multiple difficulties and play style modes. That isn't to say everyone will enjoy this game, if you don't like RPGs or turn based games it might not be for you, but if it is your first time trying one of those I highly suggest downloading the demo to see what its all about.
Whether you have played a Fire Emblem game or not, you should pick this one up if you have a 3DS. If you don't have a 3DS, I suggest the system bundle.
It was a given I'd pick this one up, seeing as how I've played and loved every entry in the series released in English. This is easily the best strategy game for 3DS, and I'd go so far as to put it up there with Advance Wars Dual Strike as a contender for best strategy game on either the DS or 3DS.
To fans of the series, much of the gameplay is familiar- you have a set of characters, and occasionally receive or acquire new ones. The levels are very challenging, and on classic mode if you lose characters in combat, they're gone for good. Your units have classes, stats, and level up like characters in RPGs- and have varying strengths and weaknesses. They can be equipped with weapons and items that also have unique properties, and can be promoted to elite classes that make them pretty fearsome on the battlefield. The game's difficulty, though, means you'll likely have to sacrifice some along the way- and that can be pretty hard once you get attached to certain characters. There's a lot of side quests and optional battles that can net you extra loot and experience, and it pays to train up a solid core team. Awakening is true to the old style of the Fire Emblem series, even down to the standard red/green cavalier combo and the promoted overpowered unit you start with (note to newbies- only use that guy if you have to!). On the hardest game difficulty, Awakening is insanely challenging- I doubt even the most seasoned FE veterans will be able to make it through the game without losing a ton of units.
However, to make the game more friendly to casual gamers there are quite a few changes. First and most obvious is 'casual mode' which as it sounds, makes the game a lot easier. Basically, it takes away unit perma-death, which means you can lose units left and right and get them back in the next level. Furthermore, you can SAVE at any point (not bookmark, which gets deleted when you load, but an actual save). I don't recommend using this mode on anything but the hardest difficulty, because it just makes the game too easy and obviates a lot of need to strategize. But if you need it, it's there. Casual mode aside, you can get some DLC content and items that are- quite frankly- overpowered. These include both weapons and units. The weapons are somewhat tempered by the fact it takes high skill to wield them, and the units are expensive or require battles to recruit, but it's still a bit too easy IMO and if exploited can give you a facerolling army in no time. You can also exploit some of the DLC/SpotPass spawns to rapidly train up weak units, making the game in general considerably easier. However, you don't HAVE to do this, so once again it's just there if you need it.
There are also some general changes to the gameplay which are pretty balanced and welcome to any player. For example, units can 'pair up,' which allows one to move with the other, improves the leader's base stats, and sometimes allows them to attack/defend together. If you pair units with high support, they can form an insanely strong single unit. This also can be used to protect weaker units while giving them some exp, or to enable slow units to move with faster ones or across terrain they normally can't cross. Additionally, adjacent units support each other, adding bonuses during combat and occasionally stepping in to help. This makes it a good idea to keep your army in tight formation. The overland map is also well done, with easy inventory management and one button optimization. You also get to create and personalize an avatar, which is your 'tactician' and serves as both melee/magic (note- you should probably level this unit as a mage, read on for why). The avatar is a good unit but not overpowered by any means, and also mission-critical. It's a nice touch, though not as well explored as it could be. Lastly, both the sound and graphics are a lot better than the last DS entry in the series (Shadow Dragon). The combat scenes are 3D and actually quite fun to watch. There are also some FMV cutscenes and partially spoken dialogue, and additional unit interaction you can view in the barracks.
A few minor gripes: You can't change the game difficulty once a campaign has started. To be honest, there were a few levels I was really tempted to play in casual, because they were just crazy hard. However, it wasn't even an option unless I wanted to start an entirely fresh game. I ended up bulling through and surviving with a few characters down :-( The old FE problem of some units being considerably weaker is still present. Some of them have very weak growth, meaning if you take the time to level them their stats just won't get much better. Since that's essentially all the improvement they get, that's a really bad thing. I've never understood why this remains a mechanic in the series- it may be realistic in the sense that some people just aren't as good as others, but it's really irritating from a game perspective. This isn't as big a problem in this game since you can use some of the exploits I mention above, but it's still a waste of time. On that note, all the mage characters in this game are terrible, which might be a surprise to veterans since historically they've been quite strong.
No matter how you look at it, Awakening is a great entry in the series and fun for both newcomers and hardcore fans alike. I will grant that there's some tempting exploits, but you don't have to use them and the hardest difficulty will make the game blisteringly challenging even with those.
on March 14, 2013
It's too bad we can't rate over 5 stars because, if ever there was a title that deserved it, this would be it. The dialogue is downright hilarious at points. The storyline is moving, and the characters are deep and varied. If you like RPGs in general and the Grand Strategy genre specifically, this title is perfect for you. Even the boards are lovely, especially Prism Mountain. It's one of the few games that was so well-made that I find myself frequently turning the 3D back on just to see it in all it's lovelyness.
The only bad thing is that there's no official guide, so you'll have to print out an online one. I would have enjoyed the ability to watch the video cut scenes (which are truly amazing, btw) in the extras and the ability to see support info while in battle. Still, I give this a very solid 5 stars, and a stack of kudos for being a most worthy addition to the Fire Emblem series.
I got my copy from Amazon.com directly a couple of days late, but hey, I'm patient. (I noticed that it is still listed out of stock from Amazon, but I did get mine from them - $39.99 and free Prime shipping - and not a marked up 3rd party seller). It did score a 9.6 on IGN (my recommended game review site), but has garnered top scores from most major video game publications and ratings sites. I count this among the three MUST buy 3DS games: Mario Kart 7, Super Mario in 3D Land, and now Fire Emblem Awakening. This is not a remake of an earlier Fire Emblem game, and this shows the amazing potential of this handheld system when developers put forth the effort.
And patience is being rewarded. Over the years I have played this series, mostly fan translated versions on various emulators on phones, PCs and Tablets. I actually started replaying the old titles in anticipation of this one.
So, I'm not too far in the game, but I wanted to give a few first impressions. First of all, man up (or woman up) and select the regular difficulty and do not set the option to revive dead characters. Part of the fun of Fire Emblem is trying to keep your players alive despite overwhelming odds. If you are itching for some bruising, then up the difficulty for the first time through. There are two ways this changes the gameplay for me. If I play through on the higher difficulty setting the first time, then I lose more characters. So then when I play through again, I try to keep more of them alive, OR I pop the difficulty down a bit and try to keep more folks alive. On the other hand, if you play through at a lower difficulty, you probably keep more characters alive, therefore seeing their stories progress, thereby giving you a more rounded out experience. And then on subsequent plays through you can up the difficulty. But then you already know how some characters' stories pan out, so you might be tempted to save the ones that have the 'better' stories or the ones that you may have lost on a previous play through. It's really up to you. And you can unlock even tougher settings beyond the already insanely tough 'Lunatic' setting.
The battle system is solid Tactical JRPG. I would say this game bears some similarity to Shining Force (Sega Genesis) and Advance Wars. But it also bears some similarity to the classic TRPGs such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea. Battle is carried out on a top down grid. When you enter an attack, it cuts to a special attack screen. The cuts look AMAZING. And battle is fluid and fun. You have to plan ahead, and if you don't then you're going to get owned. Especially on higher difficulty settings. But the old battle style is similar but with some tweaks, such as the partner system (much like Disgaea, Gungnir, Ragnarok Tactics and others) where you get an assist from a nearby unit.
The graphics are jaw dropping for a system that weighs only a couple of pounds and has tiny little cartridges. The 3D scaling is simply perfect in this game. Not like some of the other lazy games that are remakes or obvious budget minded developments. Instead of just layers of 3D, this game has visual depth. You have to see it to believe it.
There is a ridiculous amount of customization in this game. You can pretty much tweak the settings to achieve whatever game play style you want.
If you haven't played a Fire Emblem game before, then do yourself a service and get this game! It's tougher than a lot of other Tactical RPGs out there, but also have fast gameplay which sets it apart from Ragnarok Tactics and even Gungnir. The gameplay and story will keep you glued to this game for hours. And you WILL want to play it over again. It's the most replayable SRPG series since the old Ogre Battle / Tactics Ogre titles. I'm not through it yet and I am already looking forward to changing some things up on my next play through. And unlike Ragnarok Tactics, the game is fast and fun and really great to play through!