A 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.
There is nothing I can say about this game that hasn't already been said: The game is perfect in my eyes, and it is the ideal Fire Emblem game. The gameplay mechanics are simple to understand but require time to master, the story is phenomenal, and the amount of content available for the game leaves no stone unturned. The amount of replayability this game has is astronomical, and this game will always be the Fire Emblem I recommend to people when they ask which one they should play first.
Having spent far too long on what is suppose to be a 40 some hour game, I have to say that I just love Fire Emblem Awakening. While I know my love affair isn't quite the same for the series as some others, I can at least say anyone interested in playing Awakening will have a great time with it. It combines the best elements of the series and improves on them making for a one-two punch for an amazing game
Do yourselves a favor and buy this one. And if you don't have a 3DS, get one in a bundle. Then show it all your friends and colleagues so that they proceed to do the same as you. This way, and no disrespect to Fire Emblem, maybe Intelligent Systems can procure the resources to produce a Game of Thrones spin-off I keep dreaming about.
Just because this is more accessible than most for newbies does not make it any less of a tactical game, hardly the best-selling genre in the gaming world. Awakening is nevertheless a genuine treat for anyone seeking a deeply rewarding tactical title on the 3DS, and a fine return of the series to the English-speaking world after the last game missed out.
As a Fire Emblem newbie, then, I’m now a fully-fledged convert. Intelligent Systems has never shown a weakness in its strategical prowess, but the fact it also has strong storytelling and characterisation chops came as a pleasant, if not entirely unexpected, treat.
A great starting point for a new fire emblem fan, but very mediocre overall. Uninteresting characters, boring map design, mediocre story, etc. The music and customization easily propel this game higher than I would have given it otherwise, but its direct successor both has better music and much more in depth customization, along with better maps
My opinion of Awakening has really changed since launch. I think the game is perfectly fine for the new crop of casual fans. It has more accessibility options than past games, and it features a lot of grinding and over-powered child units that more causal or rpg gamers will enjoy.
But Awakening is not a very good Fire Emblem game. On Normal difficulty, it is far too easy. Any knowledge of who the best characters are, knowledge of how to use pair-up optimally, how and when to use second seals properly, and what classes are good for units to go into will completely trivialize the game on Normal difficulty. No grinding or marriage is necessary.
So this leads me into Hard Mode, which takes a very casual, easy game and transforms it into one of the most unfair and inflexible entries in the entire franchise. Instead of just adding more enemies and increasing the stats to stiffen the challenge, the game features same-turn reinforcements - otherwise known as Ambush Spawns - and these can be brutally unfair as you have no idea how many of these reinforcements are coming, how many waves of them will come, and what types of weapons you will be dealing with. Awakening absolutely loves creating 4-8 new enemy units and moving them on the same turn, and many of these units do high damage and have 1-2 range weapons, making it extremely difficult to protect weaker units despite being safe when you ended your turn. Because of this, the game heavily restricts which characters you can use because most of them will die.
By Chapter 17, the game devolves into using Chrom and Robin the most, where these will probably be the only two units that can survive the random ambushes, turn after turn, because they become so overpowered. Tharja and a few others can also do this, but 90%+ of the characters in the game are basically useless due to poor bases and classes. Even characters like Sumia become liabilities because so many enemies and same-turn reinforcements use Silver Bows and super-effective tomes. To avoid unit losses, you are basically forced not to deploy them at all and solo the game with just a few paired-up characters. It is the least rewarding and least fun way to play the game.
So basically, Normal difficulty is too easy and Hard is way too frustrating and inflexible - there is no middle ground here. Hard mode devolves into just using S-tier characters with over-powered builds that snowball out of control. Any sense of strategy is completely gone, and that is why Awakening is a bad Fire Emblem game.
Normal mode I give a 7, and Hard Mode I give a 0. It's not that Hard Mode is hard - it's easy if you just use Chrom and Robin - but it's incredibly boring and unsatisfying and poorly balanced and unfair when playing blind.
Well technically functional and with competent presentation, the elements that go into making fire emblem awakening wind up creating a mediocre game in terms of look, sound, and story content. This could be forgiven if the game wasn't a dull game-play experience as well, providing little in the way of a structured challenge at normal and hard difficulty, and relying on cheap tricks and poor design on lunatic and higher. If you want a good story and compelling characters, look elsewhere. If you want challenging game-play, look elsewhere. If you want to munch on a game equivalent of pringles, go nuts. However, pringles are unworthy of critical praise.
Overall, this game is somewhat lacklustre. If it is compared to older Fire Emblem games in the series, this doesn't come anywhere near their level of quality. Most of the appeal of this game is the fanservice, which isn't what should be focused on in STRATEGY a game. The early game map design is pretty spot-on, but as the late game approaches, get ready to say hello to a bunch of bland, empty grids. The gameplay falls short in every aspect, with constant "rout the enemy" or "defeat commander" missions that get old real quick. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance had great variety in map objectives, where sometimes certain squares needed to be defended from the enemy for X amount of turns, or escape all units from the map. They had depth, which I cannot say for any of the Awakening chapters. Let's not forget about Lunatic and Lunatic+, as they create fake difficulty by simply increasing the enemies' stats to a point where success in the early game is up to RNG. All strategy is lost and you have to rely on the aforementioned RNG and grinding all of your units to be gods. This game certainly didn't receive such positive reviews for its gameplay, so I am grading it based on that, and a solid 4/10 seems about right.
SummaryLead an army of soldiers in a series of scaled turn-based strategy battles. In the process, develop relationships with your team, utilizing their special abilities on the battlefield to gain victory and advance the story, which features a wide array of characters from a variety of nations and backgrounds. They can be joined by a characte...