Review by SJ777

"Fire Emblem: Nonsensical Dawn"

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn. The tenth game in the series, the fourth to hit American shores, and the direct sequel to Path of Radiance. It continues the story of Path of Radiance, set three years later.

Sound 7/10

The music, for the most part, is quite good, particularly some of the character themes and later battle music. However, the sound effects are nothing particularly exciting or special, the narrator is completely monotone, and most of the voice acting ranges from bad to tolerable, though some of it's decent.

Graphics 8/10

The graphics are noticeably better than they were in Path of Radiance, and, at least for playable characters, the simple recoloring of generic models or sprites seems to finally be a thing of the past, with all of the characters having unique battle models. The face and body sprites have also improved quite a bit.

Gameplay 10/10

This is were the game truly shines. The gameplay remains much the same as previous installments, retaining such staple features as permanent death and the rock-paper-scissors style weapon triangle, as well as the skill system introduced in Path of Radiance, though there have been a few new additions. Healers and untransformed Laguz (people who transform into animals to fight) can now counterattack, though they generally don't deal much damage. Height now actually matters on the battlefield, with units on higher ground receiving a massive bonus to their hit rate, and those on lower ground receiving an equally large penalty.

Also, in previous games, a character could reach level 20, promote to a stronger class, and then hit 20 again, at which point they would stop gaining experience. Now, however, a unit who has already promoted can promote again to a new class, gaining even higher stats and a special skill unique to that class. However, it should be noted that the majority of the characters are already in their second class when recruited, so only a very small number will actually promote twice.

Finally, the difficulty. The names of the difficulty levels are deceiving. Normal Mode is actually equal in difficulty to Hard Mode in the Japanese version, and Hard Mode to the Japanese Maniac Mode. Even if you're familiar with the series, the first few chapters can be moderately challenging, though the game gets much easier once your characters gain a few levels and the gap in stats between playable characters and enemies begins to widen.

Story 4/10

The game's great failure in my eyes. The basic story is nothing particularly new or special for the series. A band of young heroes rise up to fight against some sort of evil, and eventually end up saving the world. Later in the game, though, mostly in the very last part of it, the plot begins to fall apart at the seems. I cannot go into details, as doing so would spoil many of the game's plot twists, but the more you look at it, the less sense things make, particularly many of the actions of the true main villain. However, up until that point, the story is decent.

Finally, the big question. Is it worth buying, or at least renting? I'd definitely recommend buying it. It's a very good game, if you can overlook the various nonsensical things in the later parts of the story, and the game's other, more minor flaws. At the very least, it's certainly worth renting.

Final score: 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/16/07

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

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