Review by Snowy_One
"Radiant Dawn provides a brilliant duck to the Path of Radiance"
Introduction - The FE series is a fairly old series and is practically the mascot of the turn-based RPG. Until a few years ago, the series was Japan-only except for a few fan translations. Then the seventh game in the series was released in America and was soon followed up by the eighth game (second in America). Both of these games were on the GBA. The next game to be released was on the Gamecube. That game was Path of Radiance which ended off in a semi-cliffhanger. There were a few unanswered questions and it was suspected that there would be a sequel. Radiant Dawn is that sequel.
Gameplay - The gameplay in this game is actually fairly solid. The button controls are a hair awkward on the Wii, but are fairly easy to adjust to and, before long, you won't even notice the change. The option to use your Gamecube controller also exists, but I have not used this function yet and only used a Wiimote. The mechanics in the game are simple and more then solid. The controls only take a few turns to figure out at worst. There are no problems with the controls at all and, considering the type of game, are very exceptional.
In addition, several new weapons have been added to the weapon selection that have not been in any American releases to date. While I will not say what these weapons do because I want you to find out on your own, they are all good additions to the gameplay and should gather much thanks.
The support system, a system in which two characters would have a conversation and, after that, when they were close they would give bonuses in stats to each other, has become completely freeform, meaning any character can support any other character. In older FE games, this was not possible and each unit had only a pre-set list of other units that they could support. There is a cost though. Now most, if not all, the supports have had their previously adored conversation butchered down to a few short sentences that tell the player nothing about the character. To make up for this, you now have the perviously missing support library for Path of Radiance. Personally, it's no substitution. But the possibilities that were previously cornered off by a set support list have been opened up.
A notable problem comes in the Path of Radiance transfer function. This is meant to allow you to transfer your endgame data from Path of Radiance to Radiant Dawn for stats, weapon levels, and support boosts. But, at the time of this review, only normal mode transfers work without a hitch and easy mode transfers don't work at all. This will likely be fixed in the future, but is a stain on the game for now, though not a negative (since you could just not use it).
In addition, there is a new battle-save feature. I have not used this as I tend to be a bit absent minded about it. But, if it works as I think it does, allowing a person to save a game-mid battle and allowing them to restart from that point if they mess up, I have seen times when this would be lovely.
Most of the traditional FE gameplay is here as well. Once units HP reaches 0, they're gone for good and cannot be used again. The same basic formula for fighting and weapons. A 9 out of 10 overall. Solid and reliable, but some trouble with the new features. One can live without the support conversations as well. Though I will miss them.
The story in this game is fairly well done. The world has changed much after Path of Radiance, and the game starts off in a subjugated Daien with a group of freedom fighters. The story does it's best to remind everyone that there is two sides to every war and conflict and how one mans hero is easily another mans villain. However, there comes a certain point in the story with a fairly large twist that will leave you questioning if they took this theme too far in the game. A 7/10 overall.
People seem to love complaining that this game is not much better then it's GC prequel. They seem to forget that the game type and play style puts a limit on how good the game could be. But in truth, the graphics are very well done and only someone who expects super-high end graphics will be disappointed. Cities and towns are well detailed and, in general, while the graphic quality may not be on par with some games noted for their appearance, they will more then appease the average gamer.
The sound quality is good as well, the music is fresh and well done and, in general, more then acceptable. But the voice acting could use a little work. An 8/10.
You will likely want to play through this game three times. Once on easy to adjust to the new difficulty of the game (it really is harder then Path of Radiance). Once on Normal. Then you will want to swallow your pride and dare to take on hard mode. After that, with the large roster of characters, one could easily find themselves doing many different playthoughs with various teams which can, depending on the characters in the team, could easily alter the games difficulty and alter former plans used in former runthroughs of the game. Add in that the game is 40+ chapters and you could also use your Path of Radiance data, which requires you to play Path of Radiance, you are easily looking at a 50+ hour game for each playthrough. Of course, one would need the stamina to play the game that many times. But this game has a large amount of replay value. 9 out of 10,.
If you are new to the Fire Emblem series, stay away from this one. Buy Path of Radiance first and beat that at the least. Otherwise, if you have a Wii, I would say this game is a buy. If you are unsure, go rent it first. A 9/10 overall.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/14/07
Game Release: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (US, 11/05/07)
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