Awaken to your Destiny
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Fire Emblem: Awakening (aka Fire Emblem: Kakusei) is that there are two protagonists. The first is Prince Crom, falchion-wielding heir to the throne of the Iris kingdom. The second… is you. Rather than having the player sit on the sidelines as an advisor or battle-planner, this Fire Emblem for 3DS will allow the player to create their own character and send them into the fray to fight for their lives alongside the soldiers they command. You'll be able to choose your character's gender, appearance, and class. Once created, they'll play a major role in the story, fighting alongside Crom to protect his future kingdom.
While the franchise has included this sort of feature before, it was in the Japan-only New Mystery of the Emblem. Therefore, this is the first time they've included a character creation menu in a North American Release.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, it's Fire Emblem, through and through. Battles take place on a top-down grid-map, where players and their foes position and move each individual unit in their forces. All the various unit types are there: heavily-armed and armored knights, powerful spell-casters, wily thieves, archers… you get the idea. Each unit can be equipped with a number of different class weapons, and each "type" of weapon varies in effectiveness depending on what the enemy's wielding. Don't send a lance-wielding horseman into combat against a musclebound axeman, or you're probably going to lose a soldier!
Like other games in the series, Fire Emblem: Awakening will be character-driven. Each unit in your army has a name, a personality, and a backstory. They have motives and motivations, likes and dislikes, dreams and fears. This makes it all the more painful when a unit dies, though thankfully, for people who don't really want to go through the frustration of re-loading an old savegame because their favorite knight just got killed, Awakening will allow players to turn off permanent death; units that die in battle will simply be unavailable until the next scenario is played.
Eschewing the linear approach of some other games in the series, Fire Emblem: Awakening will be sticking with a free map system, allowing the player to visit shops, speak to units in their army and select missions to tackle from the map.
Along with the ability to choose between "Classic" and "Casual" mode, Fire Emblem: Awakening also features something known as the Dual System. If an attacking character is standing next to an ally when they initiate combat, the ally will be able to participate in the battle, either attacking the foe alongside their ally or boosting the stats of said ally. While this sounds like a rather awesome addition, I'd exercise caution in combat; there's a good chance it goes both ways. Either way, it adds a new layer to combat. Oh, it'll also be the first 3DS title to include paid DLC, to boot.
The over-world and battle maps will have a very classic Fire Emblem feel to them, while battle animations (and certain cutscenes) will be rendered in 3D. While there's no word on whether or not Fire Emblem: Awakening will make use of the 3DS's 3D engine, it hardly requires it. From what we've seen in the trailers, the animations will be fluid, beautiful, and well designed, if a bit grainy at times.
So… long story short, new DLC, character customization, and a new storyline coupled with the gameplay Fire Emblem fans have all come to know and love? Count me in!
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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