Review by Ame_no_Murakumo
"Fire Emblem: Awakening Is An Amazing Game"
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a strategy RPG. I have been a fan of strategy RPGs most of my life, and in my opinion, the gameplay of FE: Awakening blows away every other SRPG out there. This is the first Fire Emblem I have ever owned, and it has been one of the best gaming purchases I have made. I have played one or two games in the series before, but I did not complete them. I am happy to have finally entered into this series, because I have found it to be pretty amazing so far. Anyway enough of my rambling, on to the review!
Graphics - 10/10
I love the art style. It is absolutely gorgeous. The graphics are well-drawn, and very detailed. The world is beautiful and vibrant, and skill effects are well done. The characters in particular are very well drawn, and each one is quite unique. One unusual thing about the graphics is in regard to the characters. They have no feet; only stubs. At first, I found it really off-putting, but it grew on me, and now I find it to add a lot to the overall charm of the game, of which it has a lot.
Music - 10/10
There needs to be great music for there to be a great game, and Fire Emblem: Awakening has some of the best music I've heard in a game in a long time. On the battle map, heroes and villains have their own theme that plays during their phase/turn. During an encounter, those same themes change in tempo and become very upbeat and intense. What's nice about this is, it doesn't stop and change to a different version, it just flows into the higher tempo version, allowing you to stay immersed.
Sound - 10/10
The sound effects, from sword clangs, spells, and the sound of a horse galloping on the ground, to the voices of all of the characters are near perfection. Each character's voice has plenty of emotion, be it anger, intensity, or joy. The battle quotes are very well done, but I will go in more detail on them in the gameplay part of the review, speaking of which...
Gameplay - 10/10
Being a strategy RPG, when you enter a battle map, you are given tiles where you can place your characters on. If you are unfamiliar with strategy RPGs, think of them like a bloody game of chess, minus certain pieces only being able to move in a diagonal, or what have you. On the battle map, you will sometimes find residences/villages to visit. Upon your visit, a villager will talk to you, usually thanking you for your help and will give you a useful item, like items sold for money, permanent stat boosting items, and weapons. Also found on the battle map are sparkly tiles. There are 2 sparkly tiles in every map, and when you stop on one, your character will find an item, or gain experience, or gain weapon experience.
Now onto weapons. Most weapons, save for a couple, have durability. Every attack uses up 1 durability, so always make sure you have enough weapons/durability before you head into battle. In Awakening, you create your Avatar, whom is a Tactician. You can customize his build, hair style, hair color, voice, name, birth date, good stat, and flawed stat. Fire Emblem: Awakening has many, many character classes (Tactician, Lord, Myrmidon, Sage, Cleric, Pegasus Knight, Wyvern Lord, and Griffon Rider just to name a few) with a variety of unique skills, some of which are very deadly. Next, onto skills.Two of my personal favorite skills are Astra, which performs 5 hits at half damage when triggered, and Aether - a two-hit attack; The first attack is the same as the Sol skill, and restores HP as you deal damage, and the second hit is the same as the Luna skill, ignoring half of the opponents defense and resistance.
A very nice feature is the ability to pair up your characters in battle for boosts to stats, as well as forming a bond between them. You can pair up on battle maps by moving one character onto a tile occupied by another character. By doing this, one character is strengthened, but you also have one less character on the map by doing so. You can switch who is the active character in the duo by bring up your action list and selecting Switch. By fighting as a pair, or just alongside each other in battle, you will see hearts appear over the characters after their skirmish is over, meaning they've become closer. The stronger the bond, indicated in the Support section of the menu with the letters C, B, A, and S, the better the stat boost in battle. Only a male and a female character can have an S ranked bond together, and once they've reached S, they will marry. The variety of conversations by the characters as their bond grows varies from heart-warming to absolutely hilarious, and sometimes awkward. At a certain point in the game, special chapters will become available based on marriages. In these special chapters, you save the child of one of those couples, and recruit them into your party. The children inherit the active skill in the last slot from the father, and one from the mother, as well as all of the classes the parents have available, aside from gender exclusive classes. For example, a father can't pass on a male-only class to his daughter, and so on.
There are well over 25 base characters, not to mention the large amount of DLC/Spotpass characters. DLC comes in the form of maps, with various rewards. Currently the US version only has 2 DLC maps, but more will be released weekly over the next few months. Spotpass is updated daily, with a new character from a specific Fire Emblem game each day, and sometimes other things, like powerful weapons. You must summon the character and their team to your world, and then move to where they appeared on your map and engage them. You will be given a list of things to do. You have the option to buy from them, which will make them disappear from your map (but you can just re-summon them again.), fight them, and if you win you have the opportunity to recruit the leader, or if you have enough money, simply pay them enough to join your party. Spotpass characters, when recruited, come at the level they are recruited at, but do not come with any items. Spotpass characters and DLC maps have no limit as to how often they can be used, so they are very good for building up your character's levels if you find yourself having a difficult time.
Story - 10/10
The story takes place in the Kingdom of Ylisse, where bandit attacks are happening all over the Kingdom. A man named Chrom seeks to stop these attacks, and then unforseen events begin to unfold.
If I haven't made it clear yet, I really love this game, and I give it a solid 10/10, and recommend it to everyone that enjoys a great, strategy RPG, great music, charming characters and a beautiful world.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/14/13
Game Release: Fire Emblem: Awakening (US, 02/04/13)
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