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Veteran Member - Level 12
Well hello there, tons of interesting characters...
If you are not already aware, I'm a huge fan of JRPGs. And if you've ever viewed my profile and requested to be friends with me (because you're awesome like that, ya know), you'll see that I have a history of enjoying SRPG games, especially Disgaea and Luminous Arc. So you'll probably be somewhat shocked to know that I have NEVER played a Fire Emblem game. Ever. When the GBA Fire Emblem game was released, I was still in high school/slightly post high school and did not have a lot of disposable income for gaming stuff (plus I still had my old Game Boy/SNES and that was good enough for me for a long time). But I digress. The bottom line is that my first experience playing Fire Emblem is with the newest 3DS installment of the series.
While cool, the special edition 3DS only comes with a download version of the game, which is kind of lame.
Now, let's just get a few things out of the way, ok?
1) Permadeath is stupid and I'm not doing it if I'm not forced to do it (you can turn it off in this game, so yay!). You can argue with me all you want about how it's "traditional" for the series or that it makes you much more cautious, etc, but in the end (at least for me), I want to know that I can make a few mistakes, be a little reckless and just have some FUN.
2) The downloadable maps and Streetpass elements seem to be some of the first really well-done game enhancement features in a 3DS game. There are some Streetpass elements in the Mario games from the past, but most of them aren't nearly as cool as the characters, items and experiences you can get by enabling wifi. One of the maps is actually free, so you don't have to pay for DLC if you don't want to, and it's not integral to the game.
3) You can get "married" without having a say in it, so be really careful about what characters you pair on the battlefield, especially if you're into the whole story and stuff.
....then comes a zombie in a zombie carriage?
Speaking of marriage, there is real heart in the story, right from the beginning. One of the things that really irritates me about a lot of JRPG games, especially SRPGs, is the old fall back onto "war was beginning" kinds of stories. Usually, it's all tied up in some weird, kinda boring political struggle, blah blah blah. Sometimes there are monsters, because you know, monsters are fun. But even from the beginning in Fire Emblem, there is a focus on interpersonal relationships, and there are amazingly humorous and endearing conversations between characters (see above). As you probably know- there are plenty of humorous moments and oddball comedy in Disgaea, and that's part of what makes it fun to play. The drier and more boring the story is, the less I care about the characters and the less I want to keep playing. I can turn on the television or hop onto the internet and search for the most recent murder or war around the world. Frankly, it's all quite depressing. So even though I know that there has to be conflict in a game, it certainly does help when the game is both fast paced and easy to control AS WELL AS having characters that actually have personalities driving them.
Bwahahahahaha! .....oh poor Chrom.
That's a part of your "personality" that no one needed to see plastered all over a poster.
The humor makes each character (even the stiff and play-it-by-the-rules Frederick) more interesting and even if you don't play with perma-death on, it's still very distressing when a character falls in battle. But speaking of battle, there's a lot of customizability- it's very easy to fast-forward (or cut out) through battle animations if you don't like them, and there are all manner of ways to make the game harder (or easier) on yourself. One of the nice things about leveling up is that it happens often and it doesn't force you to micromanage points. While some people might find this annoying (especially if you're the kind of person who doesn't like well-rounded character growth and prefers to spend experience points on one area of growth such as HP or Magic), this is really nice because it cuts a lot of tedium out of leveling, while also still offering a level of challenge.
Friendship, love and the future are all forged on the battlefield.
Even though I am a big fan of Japanese games, I'm not really all that huge on dating sims (games where the whole point is to build relationships and eventually have your character get into a relationship with the character of your choice), I do like that you can become closer to other characters and even marry them- it's not really hard to accomplish and you don't have to go through a ton of dialogue trees, so it's kind of like a fun bonus (and adds to stats/bonuses on the battlefield). There is something more emotionally charging about two people who are married fighting side by side against evil that makes you want to go "d'awwwww."
Anyway, Fire Emblem: Awakening is a BLAST and well worth your money if you have the funds available. The 3D mode is nice, but can be tiring after awhile. And while they do have save anywhere features (including in the middle of a battle), I recommend that you get the extra battery pack because you're going to want to play this game for at least a couple hours. I know that I was playing until my wrists were kinda numb (they're better now- I just need to make sure to take little breaks more often). >_> That's how you know you really are enjoying a game- when you don't want to stop playing until it kinda hurts.
So, dear readers, have you ever played a Fire Emblem game before?
Are you planning on playing the most recent game? Did you get the limited edition 3DS as well?
And finally, to perma-death or not to perma-death? Does it make you a better gamer to be more "hardcore" in this aspect?
I look forward to hearing from you soon!