“Fire Emblem” offers depth in new game play


Fire Emblem: Awakening is the newest entry in the series, and it is everything a Fire Emblem fan could hope for, plus more. To put it simple, if you’re a Fire Emblem fan, you are required get this game. If you’re a new comer to the series, then this is the place you should really start


When a lot of people hear about Fire Emblem, a lot get the impression that it is a JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game). One where you go from town to town, level grind on monsters, and build a party; however, Fire Emblem is a tactical role playing game, meaning it is a game that mixes role playing elements with a turn based strategy game. Still, it really isn’t quite as simple as that. Fire Emblem: Awakening is actually a very deep game, and one you can spend hundreds to even thousands of hours on if you’re willing to take the time. It has alot of well-designed systems in place, and the game itself is just packed full of content.


Avatar Creation –

When you first start up the game you’ll actually be asked to create an Avatar. This Avatar character is whom you control in game, and the second main character of Fire Emblem: Awakening. Here on this creation screen you can pick between a few different body builds, you can change your hair style, you can change your hair color, pick a face type, pick what your strongest stat and weakest stat will be, and you can also pick between a few different voices you want them to use in game. Now right off the bat you will notice that this system is actually a lot more developed than most character creators in other games, and it really is a system that many would like to see used more.

Although you really don’t have a lot of options to pick from, it really is nice to see both the 3D model of the character change AND you’re characters 2D face which shows up during talking, and it’s also nice to see that there is recorded voice acting in the game for all of the voice options as well. Sure there’s really not that many spoken sections, but it is nice to hear the voice you picked instead of a default one.

Casual and Classic Mode –

Along with you’re character creation, there is another set of options you can actually pick from before you start the game, and one of which is actually a first for a Fire Emblem game. This is the Casual and Classic Mode option! You see past Fire Emblem games are actually extremely challenging, and they also have a system in place where your defeated units are considered dead and never come back. Now although that is still the case for Fire Emblem: Awakening, this time you actually have the option to turn it on or off.

Casual mode is the newly added option in Awakening, and all it does is make it so your units cannot die, and gives you the option to save during battles. It doesn’t change the difficulty setting of the game, but instead when one of your units are killed on the battlefield, they will simply retreat and be back for you to use on the next mission. This is a VERY good option to pick for you new comers to the series, and it’s really a good way to get into the Fire Emblem games; however Classic Mode isn’t as forgiving.

As I explained above, in the classic Fire Emblem games your units can die forever, and that’s what Classic Mode does. In this mode if you mess up on the battlefield, and your unit is killed, you will never see them again in the game. They will stop appearing in the story, and you will be limited on who you’ll be able to use. Just like in real life, there is no bringing back the dead, and classic mode forces you to play as if all of your units are real people, and their lives are in your hands. It really makes you plan out your strategies, and it makes you question your every move. If you are a long time fan of the series, or if you want a challenge, you should really pick this mode.

Battling on the Maps –

Every single battle in this game takes place on a large map where you must move your units along a grid to attack other units. At the beginning of each battle you get to select which units you want to bring with you into battle, and then you’ll be able to command them in a turn based fashion.

At the start of each turn you’ll have to look at the map, form a plan, and then figure out the best way to pull off said plan.

As you move your units across the grid you’ll be able to take advantage of the area around you. For example you can hide your units in a forest and attack the enemy that is passing by from the shadows, or you can even take flying units out over the water out of harms way. Really there’s a lot of different “special” spaces on the map you can use for your advantage, but you also have to consider that the enemy can as well.

Fire Emblem is a lot like chess, and you have to know what you are doing to truly play it. You have to learn how to use your units, you have to plan ahead and consider what the enemy might do, you have to look at the area around you and figure out how to use it to your advantage, and you also have to think about the class system and what your units can actually do. As the game goes on more and more features are brought into the battlefield (such as doors which need to be unlocked), and soon you will find yourself in some massive battles. Mix that in with Classic Mode where your units can actually die forever, and you’ve got some challenging battles ahead of you.


The combat aspect of Fire Emblem: Awakening, is actually very basic as well. Although you’re moving your characters around the map telling them to attack, that’s all you are really doing. As soon as you tell your character to attack, a little window pops up showing you the stats of both characters (which helps you decide how the battle might turn out), and from there your units will handle the rest. You’ll watch little battle scenes where the units trade blows, but you really have no control over it. Since the game uses a rock-paper-scissors style of combat (swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords), you’ve just got to use your head and decide if you should really attack that enemy with that unit or not. (Also some weapons such as bows can only be used from a distance as well, so character placement plays a bit role in all of this also.)

The Unit and Class System –

The biggest aspect of the Fire Emblem series is the Unit and Class System, but even that is taken to a whole new level with Awakening! In Fire Emblem every single one of your units is a character of their own, and they all have their own unique abilities, skills, stat growths, and they all have different classes. Now although this remains basically the same in Awakening, they have completely revamped some of the systems to make it even deeper than it was before.

Just like in the past games, every single unit in this game will start out at a specific class. There are fifty classes in this game (actually just under fifty which can be used by your characters), and every single class has its own strong points and weak points. There are classes that can use swords, classes that can use bows, classes that can use axes, classes that can use lances, classes that can use offensive magic, and classes that can use healing magic; all of which have their own abilities and stats.

The way stats and classes work in Fire Emblem can be a bit confusing, but here’s the basics. You have the following stats in game: health, strength, magic, skill, speed, luck, defense, and resistance. Every single class in the game has a specific stat multiplier for each of these stats, and every single character has a set of multipliers as well. These multipliers actually affect what your characters stats will be and what they will cap out at. Basically what this means is that SOME characters will actually be stronger when they are a specific class than others, and that will also give you a reason to try out different things.

Now as I already said, all characters will start out at a default class; but you don’t have to keep them at that default class! New to Fire Emblem: Awakening is an item that actually allows you to demote your characters to level 1, and change to a completely different class. When doing so your characters will keep any skills and stats they earned from their last class, but at the same time some stats will go up and down depending on the new classes stat multipliers. Basically what this means is, you can actually level your characters up to max, derank them, keep their stats, and level them up to max again to make them stronger.

The Graphics and Music:

This is just something I had to point out in this review, and I’m sure fans will understand why. You see over the years Fire Emblem has had quite a few different graphical s


tyles which have switched back and forth between the 2D games and the 3D games. While some people may like the 2D sprites from the GBA games, there are other people who like the realistic 3D models. Well Fire Emblem: Awakening finds a common ground between the two, and mixes it up.

While the sprites on the map are still 2D sprites, the map itself is a sort of 3D landmass map. It isn’t full 3D, but you can see the mountain ranges, the canyons, as well as the villages which stick up, but at the same time it keeps that simple and easy to read style from the 2D games. The mix of the two styles just really look nice, and it all fits together very well! As for the battles however, they are a bit different.

Battles in Awakening are actually completely 3D battles, but they also have two different styles for you to pick from. While the normal battle view shows the characters from a side view duking it out, there is also a first person point of view which allows you to see the battle from your character’s point of view. This is a really nice little extra, and it helps change the battle scenes up.

On top of the nice graphical style, the music in Awakening is in fact top notch! The soundtrack fits perfectly with the battlefields, as well as the cutscenes, and you might just find yourself humming it before too long.

The Good and the Bad of Awakening:

I’m going to flat out say it, there are almost no bad points in Awakening. Fire Emblem: Awakening is that Fire Emblem game fans dream of. Its on a handheld so it’s easy to pick up and play, it mixes both the 2D and 3D art styles together very well, it has a VERY deep unit and class system, the support system adds a whole new level of strategy to the game, there’s a lot of DLC on the way to make the game last even longer, there are characters from past games for you to unlock just about daily, the music is great, the casual mode is a welcome addition, the hard modes are VERY challenging and will push even die hard Fire Emblem fans to their limits, you can create your own character, the cast of characters is pretty great in general, and… Really I could just go on forever.

If you are a fan of Fire Emblem, you will absolutely love this game. If you’ve never played Fire Emblem before, or if you hate turn based games like this, I actually recommend checking out the demo on the Nintendo eShop. There are actually a lot of people out there who said they hated the series, yet have fallen in love with it simply because of that demo. This Fire Emblem is the biggest Fire Emblem to ever be released, and it didn’t become a hit worldwide for no reason.