Review by Necrophidius
"A Radiant Sequel"
As a Fire Emblem fan only since the release of Path of Radiance, the long time formula of this game has yet to seem boring or stagnant. Fire Emblem is a rather simple game when broken down- you control certain heroes that join your initial party and use tactical strategies to not only complete the mission objective, but also to keep your party members alive. Fire Emblem follows a rock- paper- scissor formula as well (for example, sword beats axe, axe beats lance, and lance beats sword). Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn continues the story of it's Gamecube predecessor, Path of Radiance.
Nothing new or special here- just slashing noises, a boring narrator, and the typical sound effects. The voice acting is leagues better than those from Path of Radiance, which is definitely a plus.
The graphics honestly aren't anything special or mind blowing. They look nearly identical, if not the same, as the graphics found on the Gamecube Fire Emblem. Considering the Wii is supposed to at least twice as powerful as the Gamecube, this is rather disappointing, but Fire Emblem is really a series that doesn't benefit from having the latest and fanciest graphics.
On the upside however, the art style really is fantastic, and the cel-shaded movies are a real treat.
Possibly one of the more important parts of this game, Radiant Dawn keeps to its old formulaic gameplay, adding a few new options such as climbing walls and terrain advantages. One of the greatest things is the ability to "battle save", which means that you can restart the game from a certain point you saved at should one of your characters die. This is a rather cheap but very helpful way to beat the game without losing any of your characters.
In terms of difficulty, the game might be rather hard for newcomers. Normal mode itself provides quite a challenge in just the first three chapters, not giving much room for the new player to adjust and get used to everything the game has to offer. Furthermore, the RNG for determining character stats can really make the game that much harder. For example, say that a character only receives one stat point boost each time for three levels.Not only might those point boosts be useless (a fighter getting magic stats), but the character will be significantly weaker in battle. This leaves restarting the game or leveling up more with bonus experience as the only solutions.
The game's difficulty does ease up as the player progresses however.
The story is definitely where Radiant Dawn shines, continuing three years after the events of Path of Radiance. The plot is rather well written and fleshed out and is told through narration and dialogue between characters.
My one gripe with the story, however, is that there is little introduction for returning characters (Sothe for example). The developers evidently expect the player to know the returning characters and rarely fully explain who they are, how they met, or anything about their background. Typically only a "we fought together" from Sothe is the only introduction the player will ever get.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is a rather conservative game, sticking with the same old formula but at the same time adding just a bit more to give the game more depth. However old the formula might be though, Radiant Dawn is still an amazing strategy game, forcing players to think their every move through and even through future moves. While the game is indeed heavily reliant on having the player to have played the previous installment, it is still a game capable of standing on its own with its own fleshed out story and characters- truly a radiant sequel.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/15/07
Game Release: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (US, 11/05/07)
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