Review by iveysterling

"For Hardcore Emblem Fans Only"

The Wii is a system that is dedicated to the "casual" audience, where true core gaming experiences are few and far in between. As a Fire Emblem fan I jumped for joy when I heard Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn was coming to the Wii. I imagined how good it might look or how easy it could be to control... well...I better keep imagining.

Story 7/10
I would have given the story a better rating but it requires you to have played and completed Fire Emblem: Path of Radience for the Gamecube. Considering that most people who own a Wii probably didn't own a Gamecube, that would leave a lot of people wondering who these people are and whats going on. It starts three years after the previous game in Daein (who is defeated in the previous game), with a new character named Micaiah. She's the leader of a group called the Dawn Brigade. After the war three years ago Daein is trying to rebuild but is under the harsh rule of the Begnion Empire and its up to Micaiah and the Dawn Brigade to help rebuild their nation and find out what Begnion is really up to.

Graphics 6/10

The game looks slightly better than the Gamecube's Fire Emblem : Path of Radiance, and that not really a good thing. The characters in battle do animate more fluidly and are more believable. Outside of battle on a 3D map the characters lack a lot of detail and downright unattractive. However, I do enjoy the art style with the large talking character portraits in between scenarios. In the end, you can tell this was made for the Gamecube and probably was ported to Wii.

Sound 7/10

I enjoy the music from FE: RD a lot. Nothing over the top and most (if not all) is MIDI which is a missed opportunity for a good orchestral score. Sounds effects are standard fare but everything seems to fit in just right.

Gameplay 9/10

This is where Fire Emblem shines. Fire Emblem is a turn-based strategy RPG. You lead units into battle on a square grid where the goal of the battle can be to rout all enemy units, defeat boss, capture a territory, or survive a certain amount of turns. The twist to Fire Emblem is its characters. Even though most may not have the biggest impact on the story, if they fall in battle they are gone for good. Dead mean dead. The only way to bring them back is to restart the chapter. This really brings a different kind of strategy to the table where everyone is important because unless you are somewhat heartless, you don't want your characters to die and for the most part each character has their usefulness.
Combat has a rock, scissors, paper element to it. Close ranged weapons consists of swords, lances, and axes. Sword beats axe, axe beats lance, lance beats sword. Magic also has a similar system but can also be used for a long range attack. Bows can attack from far but cannot directly counter attack.

Presentation 6/10
There are some gorgeous cut scenes but they are sparse. Also the game is long. It took me about 40 hours to complete ( not factoring restarts). The is also no Wii pointer motion control (whatever you want to call it). It is best played with a Gamecube controller or Classic controller. I think that is a big opportunity missed out by Nintendo as it would been nice and easy to point and click away at my characters but maybe in the next game.
Another issue with this game is difficulty. This game on the Normal setting starts out hard. The first 10 chapters are brutal because the characters from the Dawn Brigade can easily be killed in 2 or 3 hits and most likely you will need them later so this will have you restarting chapters all day.Not to mention that there seem to be about a hundred enemy reinforcements in chapters that just fling themselves at you. It is made slightly better because the game allows you to save in the middle of a battle and load it from that point as much as you want which eases the pain. None the less, its a brutal beginning and isn't the best way to welcome newcomers into the series. They might want to pick up the prequel Path of Radiance or the excellent "original" Fire Emblem for the Gameboy Advance.

There is also hard mode if you want the punishment, and I believe a Maniac mode which from what I have read just sounds so hard that it just doesn't seem fun.

All in all I gave this game an 8 because as a Fire Emblem fan, I enjoyed the story, game play, and the challenge. It was one of those games that I lost track of time because of it. It has A LOT of room for improvements mainly in graphics, presentation and balances issues, but overall if you stick with it, its an awesome experience that is much needed on the Wii


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/12/07

Game Release: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (US, 11/05/07)


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