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One look at Fire Emblem Awakening and you'll see why so many fans of the much-loved strategy JRPG series are looking forward to this new instalment. Since 2007, fans have been waiting anxiously for this moment, and what a moment it is! Awakening is Intelligent Systems' first step into 3D gameplay on a handheld, and it's quickly proving itself to be quite the experience. Let's take a look.
Fire Emblem Awakening follows the story of Chrom, the Prince of Ylisse, and his companions as they struggle to fight for their homeland. Slowly recovering from the reign of Chrom's father, Ylisse is soon attacked by the neighbouring nation of Plegia. With his naive, pacifist sister Lissa by his side as well as the rest of his iconic army, the Shepards, Chrom must protect what's most near and dear. Of course, after their encounter with a mysterious masked man, later revealed to be Marth, things start becoming much more complicated than they seemed.
The Fire Emblem series is quite well known for its punishing gameplay and, most notably, "permadeaths" so if one of your characters dies in combat, they're gone forever. This classic mode is still present in Awakening, however, Intelligent Systems has slightly adjusted its modes to fit the style of play. This time around you have two choices, Classic and Casual, with Casual allowing defeated characters to return at the end of the stage (the demo only allows for Casual play). In addition, you can choose between Normal (beginners), Hard (experienced players) or Lunatic (expert players) difficultes depening on your experience with the series.
From there, you get to create and customize your avatar, a feature never released here in North America, and delve into the rich story that slowly unfolds. Intelligent Systems has always been amazing storytellers and this demo of the game offers just enough anticipation for any fan or newcomer to the series.
We now also have the aforementioned graphical boost only seen on console releases like the Gamecube's Path of Radiance or the Wii's Radiant Dawn. The graphics were nice enough for the time, but they really come to life in Awakening thanks to the 3DS's graphical capabilities. I'd also like to mention how much better the voice acting is in comparison to these past titles, and are not nearly so cheesy as they once were.
As for the gameplay mechanics, the biggest addition to surface is Awakening's improved support mechanic. Unless you played the harder difficulty in past Fire Emblem games you didn't get to experience this really cool mechanic which lets you team up with another compatibile character and increase each other's stats. Back then, your support abilities were a little on the limited side, but luckily Awakening has fleshed out the mechanic allowing you to forge friendships and earn support actions and ranks along the way. The stronger your support rank, the more effective you and your teammate will be in battle.
You can also look forward to a new leveling system, allowing you to cross-class your character (my inner fangirl is raving). By using a Second Seal item, you can reclass any character into another available class and learn those skills. I'm still not sure if you can still learn skills from your previous class or if there's a limit on the amount of classes you can dabble in, but you do get to retain your old skills prior to reclassing which is always a plus. In fact, by cross-classing you can unlock special attacks you wouldn't get any other way so it's worth experimenting.
So far, Fire Emblem Awakening looks absolutely stunning, and is probably one of the finest examples in the series to date. That's saying a lot considering how long the series has been around, but with the polished graphics, vocal talents, battle and level mechanics it's not a far-fetched assumption to make.
If you haven't already, check out this trailer for Fire Emblem Awakening and take a look at what's in store:
Fire Emblem Awakening (rated T for Teen, 13 and up) is developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo.
If you'd like to find out more about this game or pre-order it, you can do so on the product pages listed below. Don't forget there's an exclusive Fire Emblem 3DS bundle available as well featuring an installed copy of the game, a 4GB memory card and an intricate Fire Emblem insignia. You can't miss it!
Enjoy the latest addition to the Fire Emblem saga with this limited edition Fire Emblem: Awakening 3DS bundle. Pre-loaded with a 4GB memory card that contains a digital copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening, this blue 3DS console sports an exclusive graphic from the game as well as exclusive box art, making it perfect for collectors and hardcore gamers alike.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fun, tactical RPG for the Nintendo 3DS that stars Chrom - the prince of the Holy Kingdom of Ylisse. In a complicated and tense era, the close country of Plegia has been taken over by an evil force led by a man who claims to be the Hero-King. Chrom must go head to head with him to defeat the force and bring back peace to the lands.