Fire Emblem: Awakening, the new chapter in the Fire Emblem franchise, was released February 4. Millions of people scrambled to embark on new adventures with Chrom and the Royal Family. However, on that day, a shipping error occurred and the game was delayed until the following day, February 5. Of course, consumers who couldn’t wait to get their hands on their copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening could buy the game on the 3DS online store for the same price as the hard copy.
When players finally did get their copy of the new 3DS game, they were met with the title screen, and, like previous entries in the Fire Emblem series, it a video showcasing the classes and attack methods of the game’s characters. With the press of the start button, players were launched into a brand new world with the player’s character, the Tactician, whom the player gets to name and create. This is a departure from the game’s predecessors, all of which featured a nameless, phantom-like Tactician that never showed his or her face. With the introduction of the Tactician class, players can create and master their own specific player and choose how they want them to be brought up in the world.
Players are not alone. Chrom, the Commander of the Shephards, joins players in an epic duel against evil. The Shephards are a band of fighters who protect people against bandits and other threats that cross into the border of the land of Ylisse, and feature prominently throughout the game. Ylisse is labeled as “The Halidom of Ylisse,” which is a holy land that the citizens and its ruler try to keep peaceful. Lately, however, bandits have begun attacking Ylisse’s cities and neighbors, forcing the Shephards to take action. Soon after their leave, Emmeryn, Chrom’s older sister, is faced with a siege against the castle in an attempt at the Fire Emblem, a tool that grants the wielder power and a request that could either send the world into darkness, or maintain light. After the attempt at the Fire Emblem, players learn of The Shadow Dragon’s acolytes, which, if successful, could bring about the end of the world by the hand of Marth, an antagonist from older Fire Emblem titles.
As all Fire Emblem games before Awakening, the story is important to the game, and encourages players to master the mechanics of fighting and think strategically. In the beginning of the game, Chrom stumbles upon the Tactician, who hasn’t the slightest idea where he is or what he was doing. Chrom lends a helping hand to the Tactician, and the two have a confusing talk that is quickly cut short after bandits attack the towns neighboring Ylisse. The Tactician and Chrom decided to engage the enemy, leading to the game’s first fight. Those familiar with the Fire Emblem franchise will immediately recognize the pre-battle screen, which provides an opportunity to specify the locations of units, how each will fight, and when the fight will begin. In some cases, characters can even be removed from the fight if they aren’t strong enough or fit enough for battle.
After the battle begins, players are faced with only a couple units. Similar to past Fire Emblem titles, players select a unit and move it to a position that they deem fit. After that, the player is given the choice to attack, wait, trade, or use an item. Should the attack command be given, a new screen will appear and indicate how much damage the unit will sustain attacking, along with the amount of strikes the unit could dish out, the probability of scoring a critical chance, and the probability of landing hits. If players deem the numbers are in their favor, they can choose to continue the fight and let the two charge at each other.
Fire Emblem: Awakening holds up to its fantastical ideas. The storylines that constantly intertwine player actions truly make players feel like they are part of the action. And, if players are feeling lonely, Awakening features online play. Players can now take their ideal team and send them out into the world with Streetpass. They can even help others by downloading their team and having that team fight for the struggling players. Also, Awakening has a rich library of downloadable content that grows nearly every week. Many downloadable packs bring back old units from the past Fire Emblem games, which players can choose to summon to their world and recruit if they have enough money, or duel them (though it takes incredible skill). If players deem the main quest too easy, Risen undead, who have come back to plague the world, attack ceaselessly, providing special side missions that are the source of great rewards or extra cash.
Join the battle for Ylisse and grab a copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening, and enjoy its brilliantly written and well-constructed plot with beautiful characters, even ones that you create. Let Fire Emblem: Awakening do it’s job and keep you entertained, and it will give you hours upon hours of content to crash course. If you keep at it, I’m sure I’ll see you on the battlefield.