• Language
    Language
    Language
    Language
    Language
    Language
    Language
  • £
  • Login
    X


    Register | Password reset

Fire Emblem: Awakening Review


As a youngster I used to love playing Battle Chess on the old Macintosh computers and though I am terrible at the game itself the thrill was to watch those little digital pieces come to life, walking across the board and then attacking each other, knights slashing with their swords, the bishops using the power of god to disintegrate the enemies. I think that's why I love Fire Emblem: Awakening so much as yet again I am not very good at it but it is so pleasing to sit back and watch as the many battles unfold in front of you.

Set in a fantastical land that seems to constantly be in turmoil, your character is found lying motionless in a field by a group of shepherds; awoken by them and with apparent amnesia you soon realise that these shepherds are wearing heavy armour, with it soon becoming apparent their flock isn't the usual fluffy baa kind but the inhabitants of the Halidom of Ylisse, a peaceful kingdom constantly under threat by a group of villainous rival warrior clans. Very quickly you are accepted into the inner circle by Chrom, the apparent leader of the shepherds, inviting you to become their tactician against many threats, not only from the neighbouring nations but also from across the oceans and from a desolate future, with battles spanning generations.

Though hard to tell from all of the screenshots and fancy videos, Fire Emblem: Awakening is a tactical RPG, in fact the basic action is very indicative of pretty much every other game of this genre, you move a unit then attack whatever enemy is in its range, then wait for the enemy to take their turn and repeat. That is it in the most simplistic of terms. Where the game really separates itself from the other titles is the attention to detail of the characters. Your main two characters, Chrom and your own avatar must survive each encounter; death of either will result in a game over. However this does not apply to the huge roster of all the other characters, who each have their own personalities, some annoying, some becoming friendly and familiar faces like a mage that likes death a bit too much, an Eastern European sounding sword for hire, constantly getting misheard or the huge knight that no one ever seems to notice. Each one you will start to love or hate, either way, you have a feeling for them, which makes the game that little bit more interesting as you start to really care for them on the battlefield, praying that you made the right choice as you send them to battle. The idea of friendship not only applies to your feelings for your units but also how they react with each other, with opportunities for them to interact, making friends and having conversations, which in turn will make them work better together on the battlefield, as with each unit they make allegiances, fighting better side by side or even pairing up, resulting not only in stats being increased but also plenty more opportunities for an assisted attack or even a partner stepping in and pushing their friend out of the way of an incoming attack. Something I learned way too late in my initial playthough is that at a certain point characters can even marry, resulting in extra levels appearing that grant you the chance to save your offspring from the future, who will then join your fight in the present.

Though I mentioned I am not very good at this game, dropping far many of my favourite characters and struggling loads o the later levels with no healers of archers, the game will try and help at every turn with what I can say is one of the easiest to follow and most satisfying stat screens, everything is labelled very obviously, never leaving you to any guess work, it's all on screen, scanning though lists of powerups and numbers on the bottom screen, trying to work out what does what is simplified and never gets confusing with pros and cons of basic weapons, swords being better than axes etc., each showing little arrows as to who will have the advantage in battle, plus a no nonsense breakdown of the up and coming battle, showing what your hit points are, your health; with the same going for the enemy, making it very easy for you to decide the best cause of action. Even the inventory is well managed, with you either auto filling vital potions or getting a bit deeper and selecting the five items each can take onto the battlefield youself.



No matter what your entry level is in tactical RPG's, Fire Emblem: Awakening will cater for you, offering varying difficulties and also a resurrection mode though this really should be avoided as it not only makes the game far too easy but also removes a lot of the more enjoyable elements of the game. No matter what mode you play, the game will punish you harshly for bad planning so thinking ahead is always paramount. Just one vital piece of advice, never ever use a Pegasus near archers, I learnt this far too late, pretty much losing any chances to use those characters later in the game, though the game does try to keep a decent balance, quite often offering units not only from story progression but you will get plenty of chance to recruit from the many side quests, Streetpass and even via DLC.

Graphically the game offers an interesting blend of old style pixelated bird's eye view visuals, 3D characters and also plenty of anime style cut scenes, each looking fantastic when the 3D is turned on and whilst not essential to play, having the 3D on makes the game so much more enjoyable, especially in the battle map view, adding depth to the battlefield with rivers, hills, castles and cliffs, all having a physical presence. Even deserts have some stunning effects, with skeletal remains bursting from the sands and a heat haze effect adding realism. As mentioned earlier, the presentation is spot on, never feeling cluttered and knowing exactly what the player wants to see to maximize the enjoyment, with an easy to navigate battlefield screen on the top and all of the stats at the bottom half, switching to a dynamic 3D representation of the battle itself, swords clashing, monsters swooping around as the fight takes place before your eyes; you have done all of the planning, all you can do now is sit back and watch, hoping you made the right choices, if not you will witness your beloved characters fall in battle.

With an engaging story mode littered with side stories, additional battles, Spotpass extras and also downloadable maps, Fire Emblem: Awakening has not left my side since turning it on and is the perfect game for the pick and play style of the 3DS, whether it's a quick melee or a full on session.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: 3DS)

Pros

- Fantastic visuals
- Easy to grasp tactical elements
- In-depth 'marriage' system

Cons

- Very hard to put down once you have started.

Edited On 23 Apr, 2013

Comments
( 27 )
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
I WANT IT SO MUCH!!!! have no money :'( i wouldnt even class that as a con more like a pro to how good and addictive the game is, i will get this soon its a must have for me!
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
You know what, thanks to this review, I'm going to go straight out and buy................ Battle Chess! Cool review man. Not a game I'd ever buy though. Just not a fan of the genre
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
Do I need to have played any of the others to pick this up? I'm thinking of getting a 3DS XL but it's a decision I won't make lightly
Anonymous user's avatar
Jake 4 years ago
I hadn't played any of the previous Fire Emblem's, Pyroloveridge but I'm loving Awakening so far.
Anonymous user's avatar
James 4 years ago
I don't know, is "Hard to put down" really a negative?!?
Ash Buchanan's avatar
Ash Buchanan 4 years ago
Pyro, i was worried about the games history but as far as i can tell it is standalone. However there are plenty of suprises for fns of teh series hidden away.
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
You don't have to have played any of the previous ones Pyro, but the DLC is mainly focused on players of past Fire Emblems, and stuff like the store owners being the same from previous games are just little things that people would appreciate. Just dive right in ;)
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
You could always get Shadow Dragon and Radiant Dawn from Lovefilm if you want to play some past games
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
Does anyone know if Fire Emblem, Shadow Dragon or Sacred Stones is becoming available on the E-Shop over here? I know one was available in the 'early adopters' pack, but will it ever become available to buy from the e-shop?
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
so its worth me picking up the Fire Emblem ltd Ed 3DS XL for £190?
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
I hope so since I don't have them anymore
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
My mate has the Fire Emblem LTD ED 3DS XL and it is a thing of beauty.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
If you don't have a 3DSXL then yes and if you don't want a hard copy of Awakening yes
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
My Pikachu 3DSXL is the best thing ever
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
I agree with the last comment. it's just so damn adorable.
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
not fussed about the hard copy really, I might pick one up this week then. Best 3 games not including Fire Emblem are...?
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
3DS - Kingdom Hearts, Kid Icarus, Mario Kart. But these may be the only 3DS titles I've played....They're all good though. Grab Pokemon too, just because it's ace.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Ocarina of Time 3D, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, One Piece SP1&SP2, Mario Kart, Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus, Devil Survivor Overclocked, Tales of the Abyss, Virtue's Last Reward, Ghost Recon Shadow Wars & Rhythm Thief. I know you asked for 3 but all these are good
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Well maybe not One Piece since it's a game for fans
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
Kid Icarus looked nice, and I suppose Mario Kart is a must as is Zelda. Hmm its a fair whack of cash to shell out for something I won't play a hell of a lot. I'll sleep on it I think see how I feel about it tomorrow.. thanks for the info though guys, helpful as always
Bindiana's avatar
Bindiana 4 years ago
Theatrym is quite a good game that you can pick up and have a quick game of also has a bit of nostalgia to it to. Off topic it looks like there is going to be a Ratchet and Clank Movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FDDHd-reopY
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
I will say this If you do decide to not go for the Fire Emblem 3DSXL but want a 3DS get a XL over the normal one
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Makes me want to ReBuy the Ratchet Games (Yo Shopto hook me up would you)
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
This has easily became my fave game thus far this year. So addicting, so much fun. Hard to pick at it at all. It's amazing to go through so much with these characters and end up becoming attached to them, heartbreaking when they die (usually at the end of an hour long level) but worth it when you see them with their wives attacking.
Kimiteshu's avatar
Kimiteshu 4 years ago
I love this game! It's amazing with all the character selections and the story line is brilliant. Fantastic game and thank you ShopTo for the great prices and excellent services!
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
probably should mention the marriage quotes. TharjaxOC is too much hilarity.
Anonymous user's avatar
Michael 4 years ago
@Pyro Kingdom Hearts is amazing IMO, in all aspects (Graphics? Check. Gameplay? Check. Difficulty? Replay value? It's just all perfect, except for a little grind towards the end) Kid Icarus has a short storyline (5 hours-10 hours) but an absolutely amazing replay value with it's splendid multiplayer. Prof. Layton, Monster Hunter, Luigi's Mansion, Ocarina of Time, Mario kart, Paper Mario are all good games as well. You wont regret buying a 3DSXL, especially a FE special edition one!

Please describe the nature of the abuse: