No, seriously.

I hate them with the fiery burning passion of one thousand suns.

And I hate to admit it, but the game that took me down was Final Fantasy VII.

You read that right.

I played for five minutes, got my posterior handed directly to me, and looked at the screen wondering, "WTF Cloud?!"

So I steered very clear of turn-based games. My sisters, on the other hand, relished such games as Lord of the Rings Third Age, while I would watch them suspiciously, wondering how in the bloody dickens era they managed to win a turn and even suspecting them of magical gaming powers that I had yet to receive.

I had already known of the Fire Emblem franchise for a while, but never played any because they just didn't seem interesting. I was happy to tell my gamer friends that I knew who Prince Marth and Roy were, and that was because of Super Smash Bros.

Then, I saw the previews for Fire Emblem: Awakening. It seemed friendly enough. So I went ahead and bought it.

Never have I had so much fun with a turn-based game. From the beautiful game sequences, to the cutesy little sprites, the easy-to-master battle command system, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing, and replaying Fire Emblem: Awakening.

The story jumps right in as your avatar is fighting alongside a man named Chrom against an evil sorcerer. A few seconds later, crap goes down, and the story takes an odd twist.

As you progress through the game, you realize how your character is tied to the others, and you can build relationships with any of the characters you want. Pairing up characters can result in a marriage and children who have the stats of both parents. Weapons break, but thankfully there are plenty of stores to buy new and better equipment from.

And the best part? NO RANDOM BATTLES!

Random enemies can show up on the map, but you have to run to that location in order to fight them. Same with the random merchants.

The downloadable content (DLC) is awesome, and I highly recommend collecting some of them for the nifty weapons, class-seals, and characters from past Fire Emblem games to make your adventure more exciting. From fighting enemies in a hot spring to duking it out with all the classic Fire Emblem characters, there's always something to do in the game.

Character building is creatively done. As a writer, I often sit back when watching a show, or movie, or playing a game, and wonder what the dickens happened to the art of creating and crafting a character that can grow, or enable growth of some other character. In Fire Emblem: Awakening each character is detailed enough to make plenty of enjoyable connecting moments in the game. For example, you're introduced to Frederick as a stalwart Knight sworn to protect Prince Chrom and his sister Lissa. He is overly cautious, and detail-oriented. But he also hates gamey food and has an unhealthy obsession with looking after Chrom. It's little details like this that paint the fuller picture of who these characters are, and this delights me.

Many universal themes run through the game, such as sacrifice, brothers-at-arms, trust, friendship, and justice. The choices you make in-game based on these themes can have different effects on history than what you intend. The stronger your bonds with the other characters are...well, that surprise you'll just have to play through to see.

The plot thickens with each major battle. What is the Avatar's history? Who is the mysterious masked boy? What does he have to do with Chrom? And how does the thick-headed Prince Chrom get the attention of so many ladies?These and many more amusing encounters fill the plot, making what could otherwise be a dark story turn out to be rather fun. After all, a story about a monstrous dragon that can wipe out civilization instantly if allowed to does seem to fall in the horror/tragedy genre.

And last, but not least, I have to address Chrom. This main character (Lord class) is one that I find highly amusing. He is tall, toned, and has the sexy mop of shaggy hair that pays homage to his ancestors (i.e. Marth and Co.). The ladies just love him...most of the female characters in one way or another deem him anywhere from "cute in his own way" to "smoking hot." This wouldn't be too much of an issue for me except that Chrom has NO idea these women are fawning over him, and he is too busy being the "just" prince and giving nearly everyone second chances to MURDER HIM IN HIS SLEEP. 


Then, Chrom finds that he is attracted to a woman. The Female Avatar no less. The canon female whom he is supposed to be paired with is Sumia, but their interactions seem forced, and are less amusing than watching Chrom's awkward moments with the Female Avatar. He stumbles over his words to dig himself a deep hole with backhanded compliments that come out entirely wrong, and it all goes downhill from there, with him not being able to wait five minutes for the female Avatar to get out of the bath before needing to ask her some "important" questions about their next strategy. After the Female Avatar makes the same awkward mistake (who mistakes a bathing tent for the weapons tent?!) they proceed to laugh it off and try not to mention it.

Then Chrom proves once and for all that he is destined to be the Forever Alone guy if he doesn't learn to interact with girls better. If I were the Female Avatar, I would have probably used my Fire tome to light a fire under his royal posterior. Or throw more items as she happens to have a habit of doing to several other characters.

All it took to prove Chrom as a royal idiot was one line of dialogue.

A line of dialogue from Chrom's confession of love to the Female Avatar.

"Look, I know this is sudden and I am coming on like a wyvern in heat..."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ylisse's future ruler.