Fire Emblem is BACK! This game has only been out for a week but I thought it was interesting enough to write some impressions of my first 15 hours with the game. I will try to avoid story spoilers and just talk most about the gameplay, overall feeling, and what’s different. First I’ll just throw forth a quick story opinion and say that I am enjoying the story more and more as it unfolds. It starts off a bit scattered with an overwhelming amount of people to meet and kingdom lore to adjust to, but the more you play the more everything makes sense. There is a looming sense of mystery that makes every bit of dialogue worth reading and I’m getting more and more hungry for juicy info.
Spoiler warning for Paralogue 7 in Fire Emblem Fates, for Birthright and Revelation. Nothing story related, just characters and gameplay. Maybe a little story related, no promises. Probably will not affect your experience in any way but I just don’t want anyone to get upset. Battle COMMENCE!
This game has taken over my life the past few months and absolutely dominated my 3DS playtime. After 160 hours I’m finally ready to write about how good it is. It’s gone above and beyond my expectations. The story is ambitious, the level design is brilliant, the characters are interesting, the soundtrack is rich, and the gameplay has evolved in all the right ways.
Thank you for rejoining me after Part 1. As stated earlier, this part will focus on video games in regards to artistic interpretation. So, in order to hide the fact that this part was done months ago and I simply cut a longer article in half so I could loaf for another month, let’s begin. And what better place to start than with the elephant in the room, Fire Emblem.
Shadow Dragon is a remake of the very first Fire Emblem game and I’ve just played through it on the Virtual Console. That’s right, from the NES, to the DS, to the Wii U, this game has had a journey of its own. Being the first time one of the earlier Fire Emblem games has been released in English, this game presents classic gameplay with the original story of Marth and the kingdom of Altea. It has quite a simplistic gameplay-first approach without many bells and whistles, but the gameplay is very good and I absolutely fell in love with the design of the game.
After playing through Fire Emblem 7 and 8, my addiction has continued with Awakening. I’ve recently beaten it after one hell of a ride. This one however had many bumps. It’s a great game but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the GBA games. My first mistake was playing on Hard mode, it was NOT worth it. It is not hard at all. The game cheats and trolls, to the point where it forces you to cheese the game and troll back. The balance of this game is all over the place, with a decently challenging first 10 chapters, a BRUTAL period shortly after, then an incredibly easy final 8 chapters. Obviously everyone’s going to see this differently, since different people die, level ups are random, and we all focus on different characters. However, I can only talk about my experience and it was bad.
Right after beating my first Fire Emblem game, I was so hyped and excited that I started Sacred Stones the very next day. With the two GBA Fire Emblem games sitting right next to each other on my Wii U menu, it just felt right and I was carrying enough energy from the first game to keep going. Despite a familiar game engine on the same system; a whole new cast, new maps, different enemy designs and a modified gameplay structure made Sacred Stones feel fresh and exciting immediately. I’ve just beaten this game after another 30 hour journey and I thought I’d write about the differences while both games are fresh in my mind. I won’t talk too much about gameplay specifics since that took up most of my Fire Emblem 7 writeup, but I will talk about what makes Sacred Stones a bit different and special.
After 12 deaths, 30 hours, and enough regret to fill a vulnerary flask, I have just beaten my first Fire Emblem game. With the series being more popular than ever and a recent sale on the Virtual Console, I decided I would try and get into the series. I picked up the self-titled GBA game (known as Fire Emblem 7 in Japan) on the Wii U a month ago and fell in love with it. It clicked from the first few chapters and I enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster all the way to the end. I had initially dismissed this series as something I wouldn’t enjoy, a blunt tactics game driven by RPG grinding with a typical cliche anime story. To be quite honest, I didn’t understand it. As soon as I started playing this game, I felt a warmth of forgiveness. As it turns out the gameplay had a ton of depth and surprises waiting for me, and the wonderful story and characters made every aspect of the mechanics feel strong and important. After a full hearty playthrough of the game, let me tell you what Fire Emblem now means to me.
There’s quite a lot of discussion on the internet in the past few days concerning the censorship of video games, pressure from so-called “Social Justice Warriors,” and pressure from so-called “GamerGaters.” The crux of this discussion appears to center around the latest installment of the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem: Fates, although there has been other recent controversies concerning games like Dead or Alive Extreme 3 and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
Concerning Fire Emblem: Fates, a subquest involving a character named Soleil, who seems to be a female of a bisexual orientation (1 of 3 possible for humans, at least before Tumblr existed), could be romanced by an avatar character of the player’s design. The context of this romance appears to be that Soleil seems to get weak-kneed around cute girls of her type, which lessens her effectiveness in war and impedes her quest to become “smooth,” in her (fan translated at this point) words. The player character concocts a magic potion that makes the imbiber see people in opposite genders (1 of 2, at least before… oh, I already did that joke…) causing Soleil to see people in the opposite gender that they are. This medicine is supplied to Soleil in clandestine means, which to say, her drink was spiked. Hilarious hijinks ensue. This is obviously squarely in 90’s sitcom territory, or something out of the romantic comedy manga Ranma 1/2. The outcome is comical, and at the end the misadventure allows the player avatar to get closer to Soleil and say that she finds interacting with the player character “fun,” regardless of the unawareness of her medication. Who could possibly object?