Mar 19, 2013I love Fire Emblem.
I just want to preface this review by saying that I love the series and that Fire Emblem 7 (just called Fire Emblem here in the States) is my favorite game of all time. The problem with Fire Emblem Awakening lies in the way it drifts so far from what Fire Emblem should be. Fire Emblem is a series of some of the best strategy games of all time. Games with near perfect linear game design, compelling (if not a little dry) stories, and a flair for inventing new concepts for other strategy games to follow. And all of it is placed alongside one of the best systems of strategy combat in history, forcing a player to face up to the real possibility of losing their soldiers.
But Fire Emblem Awakening does not do the series proud.
Some of the hate I have for Awakening could be grounded in its divergence from all things Fire Emblem, but I dislike it even more because it tricked me into thinking the whole game would be as good as the first couple chapters. Fire Emblem Awakening does away with the linear style of old Fire Emblem games. At first, this was exciting, but later on I found it made the game devoid of challenge as ranking up your team is far too easy when the battles never stop. There is no point in trying to include weaker characters, no point in trying to form a solid team, and no point in playing on permadeath mode anymore, because the game never actually ends. Sure, there is a final level, but it doesn't matter when you consider that there is no end to the fighting. The game is built for casual mode, which might as well put the nail in the coffin of a series that defined itself as a linear series that had games with a set end. You worked to build a team strong enough to win the war, and lost comrades on the way. But now, every comrade lost is just one less character available for the infinite fights after the end credits roll. Losing a character isn't something you can just keep on without, as their is so much more game to play.
Of course, the combat is still good despite the poor design, leaving the developer to work on a good story. Unfortunately, the story is an overdone JRPG story featuring a cast of about five relevant characters. The danger in the story isn't real because none of the characters take it seriously. They carry on with their laughably unfunny single trait "personalities" and their pointless conversations while the world falls apart around them in a sea of enemy blood. Now, I realize that Fire Emblem games of the past haven't set the world on fire with their stories, but they at least had some serious enough moments in them to make the world threatening danger somewhat believable.
Now, the counter argument might be that all of this fits the tone and theme of the game, and it does. But the problem with Fire Emblem Awakening is that it just isn't a Fire Emblem game anymore. Its more comparable to Final Fantasy Tactics than Fire Emblem.
And as such, it shouldn't have spent time trying to be a Fire Emblem game.
To sum up this admittedly long winded review, Fire Emblem Awakening is not a Fire Emblem game. If you want to see a good Fire Emblem game, their are about 10 other games in the series (excluding the dull Shadow Dragon) that have not only aged well due to their great combat and well done stories, but that also qualify as Fire Emblem games in feeling, design and execution. Its a sad day to see an IP be turned around and made into something completely different, but I hold out hope that the inevitable next Fire Emblem game gets it right.… Expand
Aug 14, 2013This was my very first time playing Fire Emblem. I have to say that I love all rpg including jrpg. But I just couldn't get into this game at all. I played for about 3 hours and just shut down the game. I know people love this game but I just did not find it fun. The anime cut scenes are fun to watch but the in game interactions between characters where quit dull. The graphics are great for a 3DS game but I could not get into the micromanaging of all the characters on a hand held device. For this kind of game I would need total immersion with my 60" TV and my Beyerdynamic headphones. But to me it just falls flat on a handheld device. And I do love a good 50+ rpg/jprg.… Expand
May 19, 2013A great turn-based strategy game surpassing not only its blood-related predecessors but step-brothers and step-sisters of the Advance Wars series as well. Fire Emblem: Awakening is the new benchmark of the genre that is practically uncriticizable. At the moment on Nintendo 3DS there is not a better alternative.