Game Review: Fire Emblem: Awakening

Devin Pacini

Fire Emblem: Awakening is the next game in the long running series that’s been released on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s gameplay is story driven so the game does it’s best to immerse yourself in it. I think it does a good job of that right off the bat with it’s design in character creation and cinematic elements. Although the cinematic elements help flesh out the story in a neat way and there is plenty of dialogue in between battles the real gameplay comes from it’s turn based strategy gameplay. There are some changes form some of the older games in the series but overall the main point of the game is that your decisions in battle will ultimately effect how your story plays out.

When you start the game you get to choose what difficulty you want and character death settings. The difficulty is just to scale the game to your comfort level so that everyone is able to get a fair and challenging experience (since I’ve played through some of the series’ games before starting on hard mode was recommended and I thought it was a good fit for me). Next I was asked how character death will play out. In the Fire Emblem games I’ve played previously the death of a party member was always permanent so losing someone in battle could mean completely missing out on a story arc as well as a valuable ally. This was the first of the series that I’ve played that gave me the option to choose whether or not I wished to play that way. In the spirit of the games I’ve played in the past I chose to play with permanent death on but it’s nice that they’ve added in the option to have revived characters for people who aren’t as familiar to this kind of game (however, I think that it makes you think more when your every decision matters that much more and would urge people to at least try the permanent death feature).

That’s pretty much where my compliments to the game’s features end though. After starting the game and not being too impressed with the voice acting I decided to switch over to Japanese dialogue and turn on English subtitles. The Japanese dialogue sounded a lot less campy than the English voices did so I left it at that/ However, when I turn off the game and then come back to it the options bugs out on me. This meant that every time before playing I had to switch the options again if I wanted to keep hearing the Japanese voices. It doesn’t take the longest time to do but it gets annoying after a while. Also, the 3d models of characters always had their feet clipping into the ground. At first I thought I had a bugged copy of the game but after some discussion with other players it seems as though this mistake was simply ignored throughout the entire game. It’s nothing that breaks gameplay but it does keep me out of the immersion a bit when I’m always noticing their feet sticking into the ground. Those were the only real issues I had with the game but I feel like both stemmed from a rushed production or laziness and could have been fixed if a little more effort was put into the game’s finishing touches.

Thankfully though they put plenty of effort into the core gameplay. That is to say the turn based strategy element works just as well as it always had and it’s just as fun. It’s different from how people tend to view turn based rpgs in that it’s more like you’re playing a giant game of chess only you get to customize the pieces. That probably doesn’t sound too thrilling to everyone but I’m sure that there are a lot of people excited about that prospect. If you’re into really great stories and/or you’re looking to find a fun and in depth strategy game then this is for you. Plus they added the ability to get married and marry your party members too so why not make all your fan fics come to life as well while you play?