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  #51  
Old 02-23-2013, 02:59 PM
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CinnamonJihad CinnamonJihad is offline
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Awesome, thank you! I am already loving this game. I watched to opening cinematic and thought, "this is going to be a really killer game!"
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  #52  
Old 02-24-2013, 05:10 AM
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Mirby Mirby is offline
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oh look i reviewed this
----------------------------


Fire Emblem: Awakening

Platform: 3DS (Retail and Downloadable via eShop)

Developer: Intelligent Systems

Genre: Turn Based Strategy-RPG
-------------------------------------------

Fire Emblem is a franchise that has a bit of mixed history here in the US. The franchise thrived in Japan ever since the NES and continued for years. Despite this, we never heard hide nor hair of it until 2003 when we got our first entry in the series, this one for Game Boy Advance. Although it was simply titled Fire Emblem, it was in reality the seventh installment and was subtitled Rekka no Ken, or Blazing Sword. The localization effort was no doubt spurred on by the inclusion of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite neither appearing in Blazing Sword (or at least, Roy is only a kid in it, and that's at the end of the game). Regardless of that, the game was a great success, leading Nintendo to localize the next 4 games. However, Shadow Dragon (the eleventh entry in the franchise and a remake of the original) didn't do too well. Perhaps it was the outdated systems that took the place of all the advancements of previous entries, or maybe it was the fact you had to purposefully kill your units (remember, Fire Emblem is a series where if a unit dies they're gone for good unless you restart the chapter) in order to access side chapters.

Whatever the reason, the second DS game, this one a remake of the second half of Fire Emblem 3, never made it to our shores. This was quite a shame, as the game introduced the My Unit character, as seen again in this very installment. The hallmark of the My Unit, or Avatar as it is known here, is that the character you create isn't just another unit. No, they're a focal point of the entire story, partnering up with the main character right from the get-go. In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Avatar awakes after a mysterious dream to see Chrom, leader of the Ylissean Shepherds, helping him or her up. However, the Avatar has amnesia, though she knows who Chrom is due to the dream and quickly remembers her own name shortly after. A nearby town is being beset by brigands though, so the Avatar teams up with Chrom and a few of his Shepherds to fend them off. After doing so, they camp in a nearby forest; this is quickly cut short as the land starts to churn and a mystic portal opens in the sky as undead fall from it. A human figure falls shortly after them, bearing the name Marth. However, the Hero-King Marth lived over 2,000 years beforehand! How could he be there now? And what exactly was the nature of these undead, these Risen?


If you've played the demo, this is where it ends. However, there is much more to the game than that. With the return of the World Map as seen in The Sacred Stones comes quite a bit of optional content. You can find special shops selling rare items, or skirmishes involving the Risen. Occasionally the two combine and you have to protect the merchant from the foes, or maybe two Risen will appear on the same space creating double the challenge. Teams earned from SpotPass and StreetPass will also appear somewhere on the World Map for battles. There will also appear when certain conditions are met some Paralogue spaces, which are the basic side-chapters present in all installments.

You can also access the main menu from here, where you can rearrange your inventory, equip Skills, access new Support conversations between characters (more on those two later), save the game, access wireless features (sans DLC as that's used elsewhere), and check out the Barracks. The Barracks are an area where random events happen to units. Sometimes they'll find an item, or maybe get a temporary stat boost. Other times they'll talk to another character, occasionally building up Support levels between the two. You can also check the Roster, holding the short bios of all currently-recruited members, complete with a yearbook-style random fact about the character and their birthday. At first, I thought the birthday was just a nifty little tidbit; as it turns out, heading to the Barracks on a character's birthday yields three of the events for that one character. The other great thing about the Barracks is that a random character will appear on the bottom screen with a greeting tied to the 3DS internal clock.


Supports and Skills are crucial to survival in this game. As two characters spend time next to each other, their Support levels grow. When they meet certain thresholds, a new Support conversation can be read. As these levels grow, the paired units will gain bonuses with the other is attacked, increasing their hit rate and avoidance, among other things. There are four levels to supports: C, B, A, and S. The thing is, S ranks are special. Thought units can have as many A supports as people they can support with, S supports only appear on characters who can marry, and when reaching S level, those two units do indeed marry. There are additional benefits to this too, but those come on later in the story.

Skills are learned through leveling up. Each class learns two skills, and can reach level 20 (level 30 in the case of certain special classes). It takes 100 experience to level up, though the higher the level the less EXP they get. Once a unit reaches level 10 in any class, they can either use a Second Seal to reclass to another class (units generally have two or three to choose from) or a Master Seal to promote from their base class to a more powerful one (each class can promote to one of two promoted classes) . However, special classes have no promoted versions, hence their higher max level. In addition, upon reaching level 10 in a promoted class, a unit can use a Second Seal to reclass to any of their available base classes or the promoted versions of them; if they max out at level 20, they can even use a Second Seal to return to level 1 of that same class, stat boosts intact. The Avatar can reclass to ANY class (aside from special classes), though he or she will still need a Master Seal to promote. Though there are level limits per class, a unit can reclass as many times as they want, though they'll always start at level 1. In addition, the game tallies the total amount of levels gained, so the more you reclass the longer it may take to level up in that new one.

I'd also like to mention the Wireless menu. Here you can activate (or deactivate) SpotPass features, purchase previously-recruited Spot/StreetPass units, or start a local-multiplayer match with Double Duel. In that last mode, two players collaborate to complete a map. You can also set up your StreetPass team that other players will receive, access the Bonus Box which occasionally gives you bonus teams to fight starring characters from past games, get free items, special Paralogues, and challenger teams for Double Duel. Lastly, you can collect Renown rewards; as you defeat StreetPass and SpotPass teams, you earn Renown points. Once you collect enough Renown points, you can collect free rewards and keep building up that Renown; don't worry though, as you don't spend any Renown when obtaining these items. The Bonus Box is updated every Thursday with the eShop, so be sure to update it regularly to get all the bonuses you can. In addition, a new SpotPass team appears within each entry 24 hours after you last summoned one; when you update the Bonus Box on Thursdays all possible characters from the previously unlocked title will be available to summon at will. It really allows you to keep playing a save long after you defeat the final boss.


The battle system itself is quite nice. The main interface itself is much like chess, but with a lot of other factors. You move your units around the map, placing them carefully to take advantage of whatever support bonuses there may be, and attacking enemies if they're in range of your weapons. Once you do, the battle interface comes up. Damage and hit chance (along with critical hit rate) is governed by the stats of both units, and the battle plays out automatically. Generally, units can attack each other once per round, though if their speed is high enough they can attack twice, and certain weapons might bump this up to four times. Archers can only attack enemies one space away from them (two if they have a Longbow equipped), while magic can hit either adjacent foes or those one space away. As mentioned before, one has to be careful as (unless Casual mode is being played) once a unit dies they're gone for good. Even on Casual mode, they're gone for that chapter and you don't get them back until afterwards. You can also speed up or slow down (or even pause) the combat at any time, and there's the option of a dynamic camera, a side-view one like in early installments, or even a first-person view too.

All these factors combine to create a game in which the campaign is truly yours to craft. Though the story is set and there are some limitations, you choose which characters marry (if possible for them to S support), you choose which classes they are (within their class set), and which weapons they use. You can even forge a weapon to improve its stats (and name it), for a price. Careful though, as every item (except for 2 weapons) has limited uses, and will break when it reaches zero. You also choose who to bring into battle, allowing you to craft your main party as you progress through the game; the world map also allows you to train up backup parties if you so desire. There's also a space that unlocks after Chapter 4 that allows you to purchase and play DLC maps; first time clear bonuses for these range from characters from past games to exclusive items that unlock new classes or skills. The characters unlocked via DLC have unique artwork, meant to differentiate them from SpotPass-earned versions of the same character, who utilize their original artwork. In addition, characters earned through means other than the game itself (SpotPass, StreetPass, and DLC) cannot support at all.


I also can't mention this game without talking about the music, which is incredible. The songs are fantastic, and play during incredibly appropriate times suiting each scene magnificently. There are quite a few tracks, most arrangements of others, but all wonderful. DLC maps also use music from past games in the franchise, all in their original forms. It's interesting to note that the official soundtrack for this game (which comes out in late March) weighs in at 5 discs, which is a great way to show just how much music is in this game. The quality is also quite good, coming out of the 3DS's small speakers with amazing clarity. It's the icing on the cake, really.

At this time, there is no doubt in my mind that this is indeed a game to purchase a 3DS just to play. This isn't hyperbole, this isn't a biased claim, this is what I truly believe based on the outpouring of praise from all corners of the internet. Some people may ask what are right and wrong choices to make with their characters; the thing is, thanks to the amazing customization available, there are no right or wrong choices. Want to build a unit into a tank? Go ahead! Perhaps you'd rather them be attuned to the ways of magic. That's possible too! There are unlimited possibilities in this game, and no two playthroughs are the same. Couple this with four difficulties (higher ones yielding enemies with skills exclusive to those difficulties) and the option to play Casual or Classic and you have yourself endless challenges. I've currently logged nearly 60 hours on my first playthrough, and I'm sure that there will be plenty more to come. Perhaps you can find yourself lost in this world as well; it's certainly a wonderful place to spend your time! Until next time, game on!
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  #53  
Old 02-24-2013, 06:17 AM
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Aeronaut Aeronaut is offline
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I find myself agreeing enthusiastically with the vast majority of the review, especially regarding the soundtrack. I'm glad you've chosen Conquest as an example to represent the game's soundtrack, as I feel as if that's one of my favorite tracks. The gameplay is extremely deep in a great way, and I find myself playing through a second time even now just to experience different Supports and unit classes.

That said, I'm not a fan of the "DLC" content model, but they really don't make it necessary in any way to use it to complete the game. It's supposedly possible to over-level your own crew using DLC battles, but I never did so during my first playthrough and I enjoyed the game immensely nonetheless. It is definitely possible without DLC, and I encourage those looking for a bit more of a challenge to go for it. As a minor correction to the review itself, there are in fact quite a few DLC characters that can support the player-created unit. You can see their silhouettes by scrolling down to the bottom of said unit's support list.

Other than that, fantastic review! In retrospect, I agree that I would have totally bought a 3DS for this game alone. I've beaten it on Hard Classic and I will likely continue to play it for many more hours to come.

I felt like I might have missed something, though...



Huh. Guess not. Just kidding, he's pictured in the cover art underneath Marth's feet.
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  #54  
Old 02-24-2013, 07:17 AM
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Mirby Mirby is offline
Taylor Lyndis, Audio Engineering Director
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They aren't DLC characters.

They're recruited from within Paralogues, just like other characters in the game. The only difference is that these Paralogues are obtained for free via the Bonus Box. So the levels themselves are SpotPass levels.

I felt that because they're not purchased (and there's only six or so of them) along with the fact that they're recruited from within a side-chapter as opposed to being a skirmish on the world map was enough to differentiate them from the DLC characters I mentioned as not being able to support anyone.

In addition, I didn't really want to mention the fact there are recruitable characters within those Paralogues because I try to keep my reviews spoiler-free and that might be considered a spoiler. :\
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  #55  
Old 02-24-2013, 08:26 AM
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Aeronaut Aeronaut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirby View Post
They aren't DLC characters.

They're recruited from within Paralogues, just like other characters in the game. The only difference is that these Paralogues are obtained for free via the Bonus Box. So the levels themselves are SpotPass levels.

I felt that because they're not purchased (and there's only six or so of them) along with the fact that they're recruited from within a side-chapter as opposed to being a skirmish on the world map was enough to differentiate them from the DLC characters I mentioned as not being able to support anyone.

In addition, I didn't really want to mention the fact there are recruitable characters within those Paralogues because I try to keep my reviews spoiler-free and that might be considered a spoiler. :\
The way you phrased it in the review made it sound like no characters obtained from Spotpass, Streetpass, or DLC could Support: "In addition, characters earned through means other than the game itself (SpotPass, StreetPass, and DLC) cannot support at all." Again, this is really minor and I don't honestly think that it in any way detracts from the credibility of the review!

I tend to mentally lump free DLC in with other DLC for certain games, this one among them, if I feel/know said content won't be available indefinitely. I've grown to dislike said variety of free DLC largely due to the PokÚmon series. Apologies for any confusion! :P
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  #56  
Old 02-24-2013, 09:29 AM
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Mirby Mirby is offline
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Nintendo seems to keep up their free DLC for some time.

Hell, I think you can still get weekly DLC for the original Layton, and that was 2007.
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  #57  
Old 02-25-2013, 07:02 AM
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Mirby Mirby is offline
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yeah... i think my avatar might just be overpowered

just a bit
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  #58  
Old 02-25-2013, 05:36 PM
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G-Mixer G-Mixer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirby View Post

yeah... i think my avatar might just be overpowered

just a bit
HA!! Geez dude how many hits does it take you to defeat a big boss? 2?

Lol
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  #59  
Old 02-25-2013, 05:45 PM
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Mirby Mirby is offline
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there aren't any big bosses anymore

this is all just post-game stuff XD

(but yeah, i managed to finish the final boss in one round with a Brave Blade I had forged and named Brave Bird... that took all 4 hits and it was quite cinematic)
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  #60  
Old 02-25-2013, 08:34 PM
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G-Mixer G-Mixer is offline
Garrett A. Williamson
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Originally Posted by Mirby View Post
there aren't any big bosses anymore

this is all just post-game stuff XD

(but yeah, i managed to finish the final boss in one round with a Brave Blade I had forged and named Brave Bird... that took all 4 hits and it was quite cinematic)
Wow you got done with the game quick.

4 hits, lol
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