Review: Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS)

Reviewed by Brandon Boui, posted Aug 9, 2013
I have always LOVED strategy games, and another entry in the Fire Emblem franchise is always a go in my book.
Aug 9, 2013
  • Release Date (NA): February 4, 2013
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Genres: Strategy, Action-Adventure
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Do you enjoy strategy games? Fire Emblem Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS is the next entry in the Fire Emblem saga, following the adventures of Chrom, the Prince of the Halidom of Ylisse. An engaging storyline and unique characters flesh out a wonderful experience, with hours of intense gameplay.
Brandon Boui
The story follows the prince Chrom from the Halidom of Ylisse, who finds the protagonist in a field, unconscious. The protagonist turns out to be an amnesiac, to the group's dismay. Introduced to Chrom's sister and his knight, the group is alarmed to find that a village is being attacked, and the protagonist of course will follow. What comes after is an epic adventure of timeline skips, and of course, big dragons.
The gameplay has not changed dramatically from other Fire Emblem revisions. Depending on the game mode you are playing, if you lose your character in battle, they could wind up gone forever. Certain units will become staples to the party, while others will never see the light of battle. Equipping the right weapons can often turn the tide of battle significantly in your favor.
For the most part, the story is played out on a world map, with the player rushing to each new destination for a new battle. The world map has shop vendors which sell rare equipment, and skirmishes to hone the skills of the party. When playing the battles themselves, the map is given a top-down view, and players will select each unit to move across the map to engage enemies. Terrain will become a valuable ally within the later difficulties.
Visuals and Music
The quality of the CGI cutscenes is beautifully done, and flows well with the visuals of the game. The game in general has a very polished look, with a well thought out user interface that leaves little confusion to the player. Combined with the 3D effects, the cutscenes are beautiful to watch and appealing to the eye. Every aspect that was designed will leave the user wanting more and more. The game really did need more cutscenes though. That is the only criticism that I could come up with at this point, and it's rather weak, honestly.
The game's orchestrated soundtrack is an additional benefit, and the music is fitting for each occasion; mellow for the emotional moments, and grand for the intense boss battles.
The many DLC missions in the game will be plenty to keep the user busy. Often, the DLC missions will become the sole method to grind out levels, especially in the Lunatic difficulties. Four difficulties will ensure that even the beginner will have a fun experience, although the highest difficulty, Lunatic+, can crush even the most hardened Fire Emblem veteran.
Good Luck!
If you choose to engage yourself in the game, best of luck! The game is challenging on the later difficulties, but it is definitely doable. I recall almost shitting bricks with the Lunatic+ mode. It's a worthwhile purchase for any die-hard Fire Emblem fan, though, and in my opinion, the best game on the 3DS to date.
+ -Appeals to a wide audience
+ -The inclusion of a non-permanent death system for newcomers
+ -Excellent visuals
+ -Engaging story, unique characters
- -Highest difficulty mode is more of a luck fest, relies on many resets to achieve a desired result.
- -Lack of multiplayer arenas somewhat sobers the experience.
- -Some DLC missions can be considered "overpowered."
- -DLC missions rather expensive at times.
10 Presentation
The game has a fantastic visual presentation, and is able to incorporate smooth CGI cutscenes with little frame rate slowdown. The user interface for the game is incredibly easy to navigate, and the effects presented prove that Nintendo has spent a lot of time creating a masterful experience that is well worth the money. Spells from Magic wielding units are appealing to look at.
9 Gameplay
For any Fire Emblem fan, the gameplay is still the same, for the most part, with the major change being the inclusion of a pairing system, which boosts up allied units depending on what kind of unit is being paired. Equipping legendary weapons is a fun feat in itself. Strategic elements are still present, and care is needed in the higher Lunatic difficulties.
9 Lasting Appeal
Multiple difficulties make this game fantastic for the most hardcore players, yet easy enough for a new player to hop in and enjoy all aspects of the game. DLC missions keep player entertained for a long period of time.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Fantastic experience, and provides plenty of hours of exciting gameplay. Definitely a go-to purchase for those who are looking for a 3DS Game to play.

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