‘Fire Emblem: Awakening’ tells an amazing story to the 3DS

By David Stenger

It’s very rare to find a game where you can’t stop playing and want more.

The Fire Emblem series is a strategy RPG that has been around since the Super Nintendo system in Japan and continues in its latest installment, “Fire Emblem Awakening,” for the 3DS.

You begin the game by creating your own character, who wakes up in a field with amnesia. You are taken in by Chrom, the prince of the fictional Halidom of Ylisse and leader of the Shepherds. He lets you join the Shepherds, a group of fighters sworn to protect the innocent, after you prove to be a skilled tactician.

The plot follows Chrom, yourself and the Shepherds as you go through battles against invading kingdoms and mysterious creatures known as Risen. Every battle will bring the characters in your army closer, as you can recruit certain units on and off the battlefield, making your numbers grow. The plot has more than 30 chapters as characters go through war, betrayal, love, time travel and ancient dragons rising to power.

Gameplay happens on a number of different maps and is divided into a grid structure. Each unit takes one space. On a player’s turn, the player can tell each individual unit where to move and which enemy units to attack or to support fellow soldiers. When a player moves all their units or decides to do nothing, the enemy takes its turn and follows suit. Characters wield swords, axes, bows, lances, magic, staffs, dragons and many other weapons of combat.

Certain weapons have an advantage over other weapons. Sword beats ax, ax beats lance and lance beats sword–just like rock, paper, scissors. Each unit has different advantages and disadvantages. This adds strategy to the game as the player must decide who will go into battle and where they will move.

One of the big assets of combat is having two characters positioned next to one another, as they can boost each other’s attacks and defenses in battle. Doing so repetitively will increase the chance of them helping, as well as the characters growing relationships with one another.

If two characters really work together well, they can even become married. Through a plot device involving time travel, that couple’s child can also join forces and fight beside them.

“Fire Emblem Awakening” has only one flaw, and that is the difficulty curve. The first five chapters may seem easy, but the enemies get stronger and stronger. If you lose a unit in battle, they are dead for the rest of the game and can never return–that is, unless you choose to play on the new casual setting. The setting allows units to come back after said battle.

Overall, “Fire Emblem Awakening” is possibly the best RPG the 3DS has ever had. Players can find themselves planning attacks, buying new upgrades and weapons and playing matchmaker. The player feels for all the characters, cheering them on in victory or mourning the loss of a friend. If players want more, they can purchase additional maps to play through Nintendo’s eShop. “Fire Emblem Awakening” is a must for any 3DS owner.