Tiny Review - Fire Emblem: Awakening
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the best SRPG on the 3DS — that might not seem like much considering the limited competition, but the previous holder of that title, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, was fresh to death. I guess that would make Fire Emblem: Awakening fresh to permadeath.
If you demanded a more authoritative statement from me, a summary review to better communicate this title’s quality than comparisons to a 3DS launch game few played, I’d tell you that Fire Emblem: Awakening could be the finest TWRPG of all time. Yes, the combat and systems are as great as any entry from the series, but where this game soars, like the fragile, love-sick pegasus riders in your party’s employ, is in its Tactical Waifu RPG elements.
(The above GIF, by the way, comes from Cece.)
Three things that are fab:
1. Casual Mode - This is probably the most accessible Fire Emblem yet, and a big part of that is thanks to its Casual setting. Not everyone wants the tension of knowing that a wrong move could permanently kill their favorite characters. With this mode, your characters defeated in combat return to fight/ship another day.
2. 2 Become 1 - Support conversations, or chats between characters when they’re positioned next to each other on the field, have been a critical part of the series for some time now, but Fire Emblem: Awakening encourages them even more with its new “Dual” system, allowing nearby characters to actually join each other in combat. The new “Pair Up” system enables two to move and fight as one, so a slower character can get around faster by attaching him/herself to someone on horseback.
3. The return of Gunpei Yokoi’s Love Tester - Some of the most fun you’ll have in this game will come from seeing characters build up their relationships with support conversations, marry each other, and have children. While you wait for all that to happen, you can see how your characters are getting along with the built-in Hubba Tester, which often produces random results but is a nice (possibly unintentional) nod to Yokoi’s toy that performed a similar function.
Two things that are butt:
1. Getting to the main screen - Perhaps a side effect of the series discouraging players from hitting reset when a battle turns against their favor, it can be a pain to return to the main screen to reload a save, even in Casual Mode. If there’s a way to do this without resetting the game, I didn’t find it.
[Update: John Ricciardi of 8-4, which handled the game’s great localization, points out that you can quick reset by holding L+R and Start]
2. Full voice acting - The voice acting in this game is superb (dual language support with the original Japanese voices!) — the production quality here is almost at Kid Icarus: Uprising levels — but the support conversations aren’t fully voiced. I would have loved to hear the above exchange with the badass Lon’qu.
PREORDER Fire Emblem: Awakening (Feb 4), other upcoming games