Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 85
    It's still a great strategy experience, but because the game has already wowed us in the original 2004 release its lost some of its luster.
  2. Offers a lengthy, rewarding, thought-provoking experience that truly makes you feel as though the decisions you make, waging one exciting battle after the next, carry serious consequences.
  3. Turn-based strategy that'll turn your life upside down.
  4. For a change, the single-player mode is actually better than the multi-player mode. Expect weeks upon weeks of pure gaming fun.
  5. Strategy noobs might find this title a bit too much to digest, as character death is permanent and even normal fights stretch your brain to the limit. [July 2005, p.126]
  6. 90
    Easily one of best GBA titles to ever come out for the handheld system. Its rich story, colorful characters, and excellent gameplay all add up to make this a truly satisfying experience.
  7. This is just as beguiling as the first Emblem; but while it's still true love, I'm getting to the stage where we nag each other, and get fed up with each other's little idiosyncrasies.
  8. 90
    A great little game that instantly sucks you into a deep fantasy world of conflict and combat. The learning curve is average for an RPG game, but the rewards are well worth the study time.
  9. If you can handle a strategy game that'll ruthlessly punish you for making even minor mistakes, pick this up the next chance you get.
  10. 80
    The successful parsing of battle, dialogue, and set-up sessions in Sacred Stones demonstrates again that the GBA might not be a Revolution, but it's something I sure would revisit time after time.
  11. 80
    It's full of story clich├ęs, but plot in these games is as vital as nipples on guys. It's the combat that really matters, and Sacred Stones is just about as good as it gets.
  12. Over-levelling all too easily threatens to undermine Fire Emblem's unique place in the genre. It's a problem easily side-stepped by both choosing an appropriate difficulty level and tempering your levelling, but nevertheless the option is unwelcome. [Aug 2005, p.90]
  13. Don't be discouraged by Sacred Stones' similarity to the previous Fire Emblem game; we wouldn't change it for the world. [Aug 2005, p.116]
  14. You won't find anything grounbreaking here, but you will find a highly enjoyable strategy game. [July 2005, p.82]
  15. More unique battlegrounds, different attack ranges and effects, a new mechanic or two - the Emblem formula would benefit from some added complexity. [July 2005, p.117]
  16. If you're looking to make a long-term commitment to a strategy role-playing game, then Sacred Stones is as wise an investment as you can make.
  17. Sacred Stones brilliantly treads the line between depth and accessibility, and Intelligent Systems has bone to great lengths with the difficulty settings to please gamers of all skill levels. [July 2005, p.100]
  18. 90
    Not only is this title many times better than the original, it offers one of the best and fulfilling experiences for the Game Boy Advance.
  19. By bringing back some of the complexity from the Super Famicom titles that the GBA games have lacked, and by catering to new players by compensating the difficulty level, Intelligent Systems have crafted a fine addition to the Fire Emblem name. [JPN Import]
  20. 80
    The main reason why I like The Sacred Stones is because it looks and feels old school, meaning it's reminiscent of classic NES RPGs, but beyond its look this is a quality turn-based experience that'll last you for hours.
  21. Technically sound but leaving me feeling hollow and unsatisfied, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones reminds me quite a bit of the series I mentioned earlier, "Advance Wars." Both games hooked me immediately and sucked me in the first time around, and both sequels left me hungry by staying too close to the original formula and coming off like add-ons or extended missions instead of being true sequels.
  22. It is challenging, with enough depth of both gameplay and story to please existing fans, while multiple difficulty settings will keep the title accessible to most everyone.
  23. One of the deepest and enjoyable games I have played in sometime, let alone the fact that is on the GBA.
  24. Overall, this game is brilliant. Great gameplay, good graphics, witty writing and a rich storyline support this game and make it one of the best of its genre.
  25. Strategy fans will fall in love with Fire Emblem.
  26. I didn't have any desire to replay it again, but in this case, your first time will indeed be the best.
  27. 70
    Combined with slightly above-average aesthetics and the chance to go through the game again as a different twin, The Sacred Stones is a solid and worthy diversion for the tactical fan.
  28. 82
    If you're a rabid Fire Emblem fan, you'll love this game. It's more of the same style with a new plot with new characters for you to match up, and the added bonus of extra dungeons to try to complete as fast as possible.
  29. 95
    The gameplay is simply addictive, the graphics and sound are stellar and the storyline is incredible making Fire Emblem a must buy srpg for the GameBoy Advance!
  30. This is easily one of the finest and most refined GBA games to date (maybe one of the last, too). It contains a narrative that takes the audience seriously (yet provides good comic relief) and a superb cast of characters.
  31. An ideal handheld game. It's simple to pick up, the quest is long and worthwhile, and there's plenty of replay value.
  32. 87
    While the story isn't as long as others, there's definitely much more depth involved with the game and plenty of replay value to it as well.
  33. This approach is similar to chess, but there are far more variables.
  34. To put it plain and simple, this game is worth double its original price.
  35. A great handheld game. Though it doesn't offer the sort of depth or complexity your typical RPG will, the game is perfect for the sort of places a handheld was made to go, entertaining without being overly taxing.
  36. It takes a lot of time and effort to have the best experience. If you are like me and eat this stuff up like breakfast, Sacred Stones will last you 70 hours at a bare minimum.
  37. A hallmark tactical RPG that is sure to please fans of the series and those who like the genre. [JPN Import]
  38. Just as good as the original, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table. For fans of the series and newcomers this is a great thing.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 41
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 41
  3. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Jan 23, 2013
    Amazing game. I was a bit skeptical at first, but when I finally got to play it through the 3DS Ambassador Program, I was floored. This gameAmazing game. I was a bit skeptical at first, but when I finally got to play it through the 3DS Ambassador Program, I was floored. This game is addictive as hell! The replay value is definitely strong in this one. Full Review »
  2. Dec 3, 2014
    The Tower of Valni!

    If there was one beef I had with the first Fire Emblem on GBA in America, it was the leveling of my characters. The
    The Tower of Valni!

    If there was one beef I had with the first Fire Emblem on GBA in America, it was the leveling of my characters. The Tower of Valni addressed this in such a wonderful way. No matter which characters you took with you in the main chapters to battle, the Tower of Valni made it possible to max each character's level before continuing to a challenging chapter. Also new to the series are the skirmish battles around the world map, which weren't necessary to advance in the story, but good for leveling characted and testing out new strategies.

    -The gameplay is as addictive as ever. Nothing new added to the series here as you can still plot out your moves and see the odds of success before each battle. You can also see your enemies range of movement during each turn giving a great advantage over deployment. Characters can encourage one another on the battlefield by using the talk command between two compatible characters. However, I did not take advantage of this feature as much and it's definitely not necessary, just a useful tool at times and if you're looking for extra dialogue.

    -The Story is very memorable, although the dialogue can get to be a bit tedious at times and you may find yourself wanting to skip ahead. It won't take you on any kind of emotional roller coaster of sorts.

    -The cast of characters are plentiful. Which is necessary as character permadeath is still here, and if you lose one of your favorite characters in battle, it can be a devastating thing to experience. Sacred Stones balances this well as many times, you will get caught off-guard by enemy reinforcements, and if you've spent over 45 minutes on one chapter, getting close to the end and one of your characters die; you have a choice to press forward or start that chapter all over again. It's sometimes a hard choice to make.

    -The amount of content is incredible, not only will the Tower of Valni make you invest hours upon hours of gameplay, all the while improving your troops, but the skirmishes and the after game content is incredible, not to mention the two paths that can be chosen in the middle of the game. If you want to go back and experience the other main characters separate path, you have that option to play it all over again.

    This is a classic in the Fire Emblem series and not much can be said in the way for areas of improvement. If you're a strategy RPG fan and a fan of a good story, definitely play this game.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 20, 2014
    Fire Emblem is a tactical turn-based RPG that hasn't been replicated in any other series and is quite unique. Now this series has been madeFire Emblem is a tactical turn-based RPG that hasn't been replicated in any other series and is quite unique. Now this series has been made from the NES era all the way till now with its newest addition, Fire Emblem: Awakening. The evolution of game play is more noticeable from the switch to NES and SNES to the Gameboy Advance. That means that some are just glossed over while others become more popular due to timing. Sacred Stones suffers from this same problem.

    Sacred Stones is a stand-alone game in the series and arguably the darkest of them all. The story is centered on the continent of Magvell which is ruled by several monarchies and political systems. The politics enveloping the land is just a small side-story of the entire game with its numerous sub-plots. The story develops in a depressing manner as the themes of death and loss constantly rear their ugly head each turn. This allows the player to feel ultimate triumph and at the same time melancholy as you see the destruction of lands and people around you. These mixed feelings make you ask questions while at the same time gives you some understanding of the time period. Like all the games before it, once you lose a character they will be dead for good and in this one some scenes are lost through said loss. The story changes and hinges on your ability to keep your allies alive which is an awesome feeling.

    Evolution wise it came right after the game changers and was the last on the GBA era of Fire Emblem games. While the maps in previous FE games were just for helping you place where you are in the story, in Sacred Stones it is more than that. This time you move around the map by your own volition and enter the chapter when you feel you are up to the task. This map didn't stop there; you had monster encounters, buying of weapons on map, and even challenge areas for the end game. It featured duels against other people as you choose your best units against theirs. If that wasn't enough, it added monsters unique to the game such as Centaurs, Skeletons and more.

    Now the nuances; this game has a large cast of characters that like most Fire Emblem games don't get much time to flesh out. In the past two titles, they added in support conversations for characters if you took the time to do them. I found that they perfected them in this game since each one allowed you to see sides of your unit you didn't know and allowed some sort of depth beyond the nameless face.

    It introduced crossroads in classing up units. Every unit had two choices to choose between. If you were a knight, you could either become a general or a great knight. As well as having the three units who could class up twice, this was an addition to the game that allows the player more choice than the past ones. Despite this being an interest road to go down, they ruin it later on with the overuse of this game mechanic.

    The OST has some of the more memorable songs for myself including the gentle ones like Lyon's theme and the dramatic encounters with a powerful opponent. It made it that much more satisfying as you finally finished off those who did you wrong. Graphics wise its not really different from the other GBA Fire Emblems. The only things to point out is the awesome opening and the ending boss' design.

    This game was a masterpiece and allowed Fire Emblem fanatics and new-comers a story to get enveloped into and to feel for. It adds onto the previous additions and makes further advances. Even though it was glossed over, Fire Emblem Sacred Stones certainly holds up, even to today's standards of handheld games.

    Story: 10
    Gameplay: 9.6
    Sound: 9.5
    Visuals: 9.5
    Overall: 9.6
    Full Review »