Fire Emblem: Awakening | Review
When Fire Emblem: Awakening was released in Japan I had immediately brushed the game aside. Since the majority of the Fire emblem series has never released in country’s outside of Japan. Needles to say once I heard that the title was intended for a release in the states I became excited. After the release of Super Mario: 3D Land, the 3DS has suffered from a lack of model pushing releases besides Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Can Fire Emblem: Awakening help ascend the 3DS to new heights? Or will it just be another game to put on the shelf once you’re done.
Now if you know what a SRPG is, and especially a JSRPG you know the story of these genre of games command a very powerful audience. Awakening is no different from other large-scale JSRPG console releases such as Disgaea, and Argarest War. The story is grand, and vast with many locations for you to visit as you recruit members for your army. Philanthropists, rouges, mages, beautiful woman, bearded men, and many other unique people inhabit the land of Yisstol. From the moment my avatar awoke in the middle of an open green field, and greeted by such characters. Till the very last few moments of the end game. Awakening kept me hooked and longing for more.
I desperately tried not to rush through the story because I knew if I did I would regret it. The characters written for awakening, and their social interactions with other members of the cast kept me engrossed. To the point that I felt an “invisible bond” forming between myself, and the game. This is biggest pull of Awakening…it takes you to another world, and you don’t want to leave. You find yourself missing your comrades, and the family you fathered/mothered as the end credits fade away. But you never forget the time that you spent battling the forces of evil alongside them. This is what a RPG should do to a person. Now a day’s games are missing this key element in their story…emotional content.
Even though the basis of the story was the same as any fairy tale RPG story. The way it was executed made it a breathtaking, and euphoric experience. Trying to stop an ancient evil from awakening, and destroying the world has never felt so rewarding since playing Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. Twists, and turns will take you on a roller coaster ride as you continue to fight the fate of your comrades, and Yisstol. But the only way to combat fates overshadowing is to wage WAR!
If you’re not spending your time trying to court mages, and knights then your stay in Yisstol will be preparing for all out strategic battles. Strategic is the keyword in that sentence, and I cannot emphasize it enough. Being primarily a Disgaea player I’ve always been spoiled on the overpowering of one-three characters in order to win battles. Sure this can work somewhat in the early stages of Awakening. But once you hit that mid mark you better have your team well-balanced throughout the entire roster.
If you choose to neglect the development of your team you may end up losing them to your carelessness. Unless you opt to not play on the classic setting of Awakening which features permanent death. You choose the difficulty of your journey through Yisstol to be either normal, hard,lunatic, or lunatic+ which is unlock-able. Any of these difficulties can be chosen at the beginning of the game when you create your avatar; and either of them can be played with permanent death on or off.
Normal can pose a challenge to people just being introduced to the series. But if you’re looking for a hardcore experience I recommend choosing lunatic. Be warned if you take my advice. Playing on lunatic will cause you to grow gray hairs. As every decision you make on the field of combat matters. Just like chess you have to think 2 steps ahead. If you make a mistake you could lose your entire party in a heartbeat. Directing aggression on to certain characters, moving your support characters in safe increments; and making sure your party is well equipped for battle all have to come into play when making decisions in Awakening. If you lose somebody don’t get mad and reset the game. Instead learn from their loss, and think about what you could have done differently.
If you cannot cope with the computer killing off your characters. Like I said earlier you can choose to play with permanent death off. I’m against this though because Fire emblem isn’t suppose to be forgiving. So I for one did not like the decision to include a setting to turn permanent death off. Be that as it may, I understand not everyone is looking for an agonizing experience in a game. So it’s always an option, and recommended if this is your first time at the rodeo.
What makes Awakening intense aside from its battles, and characters are the aesthetics designed for it. The art style is heavily anime influenced, and comes to life on the 3DS. Awakening brings out the visual potential the 3DS hasn’t been able to tap into. It is by far the best looking title on the handheld, with Kingdom Hearts trailing right behind it. The musical score must also be taken note of. Since it is one of the key components of Awakening that makes its battles, and story so captivating. The score is comprised with saddening songs to go with tragedy. Songs that pump adrenaline into your veins as you dominate, and progress up the battle field. But more importantly compositions that bring meaning to each of your struggles to quell the evil that torments Yisstol.
If you’ve looked for a reason to pick up a 3DS, or a gateway into another realm. Fire emblem: Awakening is definitely the push, and medium you’ve been waiting for. Even after your adventure is over. You can always return weekly to download new DLC releases. You can also enjoy some Co-op play with your buddies. I only have a few complaints with Awakening namely its avatar customization options, and multiplayer.
Awakening should have had a versus option in-conjunction with its co-op feature. It would have been amazing to go against my friends, and other players in all out war. I also wish there was a little more depth in the customization of your avatar. Having a few hair options, and face ones isn’t enough for me when it comes to making your avatar YOUR avatar. Be that as it may, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Awakening, and it is worth a purchase. But if you need a bigger push to make you spend your hard-earned guild on it. Hopefully this song directly from that awesome soundtrack I was telling you about will help.