Review by SoulRaiderX
"Radiant Dawn, the expansion pack to Path of Radiance"
Although Radiant Dawn doesn't feel like a totally new and innovative game, but rather the expansion pack to the previous title, Path of Radiance, the game itself still holds as a solid SRPG for the Wii.
Radiant Dawn shows some interesting in-battle fight scenes, but nothing huge. Although the visuals are a large overall upgrade from Path of Radiance (FE9), don't expect anything astounding from the graphical department. We are playing the Wii after all, and the Wii has never been big on graphics. But that's besides the point; although the graphics are a leap from the previous title, they aren't anything to buy the game over.
As always, the Fire Emblem series expresses a proper storyline. Perhaps at times, too difficult to follow, but nonetheless, a well done plot. Story is always a strong point in the Fire Emblem series, and is no different here. They also add the little "twist", where you lead two opposing forces into each other and they keep swapping views of each force, so at one point you play the Dawn Brigade side, and at the next your under command of Ike of the Greil Mercenaries. The dialogue is also very strong and words are strung together very well.
Another strong point in the game are the characters. The amount of characters that can join your team are at very high numbers, and each character has a unique, stat distribution set, and relationship with other characters. And of course, each character has their own class, and when that character changes class, his/her look also changes along with it. Some characters join your team naturally; others need a bit of persuasion by certain characters. This can be hard to do because you can often miss a unit here and there and not be able to recruit them for the rest of the game. You can also import characters from the previous Fire Emblem title and gain bonus' from them.
The Fire Emblem gameplay style has had a few additions here and there after the Sacred Stones (FE8). In Path of Radiance, we were introduced to skills, which can be assigned to certain characters to give them certain boosts in combat. Radiant Dawn keeps and adds to this system, as well as the whole addictive grid-based battle system. There is also the well-known "no phoenix down" rule, so when a character on your team dies, he or she is lost forever - unless you restart the map, of course. This adds a load of new difficulty onto the game, as many veteran players strive to keep all the characters alive. There are new 3rd classes to advance to and an updated weapons library. In general, however, the gameplay system is still the same Fire Emblem we've been playing from the past years.
Unfortunately, no Wii sensitivity controls were actually used in this game, although you can use different controller settings, such as the Classic Controller or even the Gamecube one. However, it can be hard to imagine the Fire Emblem franchise with motion-sensing controls.
The music in Radiant Dawn is, for the most part, decent. There are some memorable tracks here and there, and some tracks that I had to mute due to the repetitiveness. The sound effects aren't too strong, however, and in fact sound pretty lazily done. Overall, the sound system isn't too great, but not horrible.
So after writing up the review, I give Radiant Dawn a 7/10. The battle system seems a bit exhausted, but may be a breath of fresh air for new players. The gameplay is difficult, but addictive. The range of characters to choose from on your team is vast, and recruiting new characters can be puzzling at times. The storyline and dialogue is crisp and engaging, while the sound in general has it's moments. Unfortunately, this game just seems as an expansion of Path of Radiance with improved graphics, since it doesn't offer any interesting Wii control scheme.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/08
Game Release: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (US, 11/05/07)
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