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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2015
I have sunk quite a few hours into this game now and I think it is the best fire emblem game yet. It is a turn based strategy game like all the fire emblem games so not to everyones taste. But works well as a 3ds game. It has an interesting story and a nice collection of characters. It's a older game now but still a really good game.
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on 16 May 2017
Birthday present for my son. He loves it.
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on 17 December 2013
Fire Emblem is my favorite Nintendo series, I have always enjoyed the strategic and tactical gameplay of the series. Awakening takes this series to a new level and has become my favorite game in the series.
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on 19 April 2013
Fire Emblem series is renowned for its good strategic gameplay and notorious for its difficulty. Fire Emblem: Awakening keeps (and enhances) the gameplay, while giving a player options to alleviate the pain of losing a team member forever.

For those new to the series: Fire Emblem is a strategic RPG, but it is more similar to Advance Wars than to Final Fantasy Tactics. At the start of the battle your units are placed on the map, and while in there they serve a different purpose depending on their class (e.g. knights are good at melee combat but unable to use ranged attacks, healers help with keeping your units alive but are very weak and thus are an easy target for the enemy). Each map has its own objective and fulfilling it will move the story forward. AI in the game is very good and most times you can bet that if you make the slightest mistake, your opponent will use it against you. That is why in FE:A you can choose a casual mode at the beginning of the game in which your units will not be gone forever when their HP fall below 0, as they do in the classic mode.

As I've mentioned before the latest installment in the series brings some nice enhancements to the gameplay, my favourite being 'support' option. The characters who stand next to each other raise their support level which increases the chance of blocking the enemy attack or even attacking together with the 'supported' unit. This feature is very useful and absolutely essential if you want to play on the classic mode and/or on higher difficulty levels. Other new feature is the concept of children: when two units raise their support level to maximum, a child is born which has got the combined skills of both parents available for disposal. Even if you get them slightly late in the game it is still worth aiming for it because the support dialogues between characters can be very entertaining.

The game takes about 40-50 hours to beat (especially if, like me, you like the gameplay so much that you take on most random battles) and that doesn't include DLC maps which are available from the eShop. The graphics is gorgeous and the battle animations don't get boring even after many hours of looking at them (but you still have got an option to skip them if you wish). In my opinion that game alone is worth getting a 3DS for and with so many good games on the horizon you definitely won't regret the purchase.

Just one final tip: whenever you see two random enemies bunched together on the map, take them on first, and you will get some extra money and the reward for getting rid of them.
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on 21 May 2013
It all started off so well. Having whizzed through the tutorial levels and the first couple of chapters I was feeling rather confident and smug... 'I' was obviously a rather good Fire Emblem player. Enemies cowered before me and the ladies worshipped me (in my hazy memory at least).

Then things began to take a turn for the worse. I'd chosen 'classic' mode as I'd been advised that this is the way the game should be played. The game introduces new characters as the chapters go on and soon I was pleased as punch to find myself with a flying horse to play with.

Impressed with the range that the character could travel I quickly moved in on the enemy's archer for a quick kill. This didn't quite go to plan, and on the enemy's turn (it's a turn-based strategy style game by the way) I soon found my lovely flying horse to be no more....

The thing about the 'classic' mode is that once a character dies they're gone forever. Which is important as there are limited amounts of new characters introduced and each of your characters build up a relationship with each other, even eventually getting married if they're that way inclined. The stronger the relationship between the characters, the more they will help each other out in battle. Everyone's expendable, however if you lose your central characters (yourself or Chrom from memory) then it's 'Game Over' time.

I quickly learned the hard way that the characters shouldn't be treated as disposable fighting machines, and that keeping them all alive until the end of the battle is really the aim of the game. Switching to 'Casual' mode switches this off and your characters will be back, happy as Larry after the battle, but really this takes away an important strategic element of the game; that of careful tactical planning and constraint.

So I carried on, an important lesson learned and began to progress further into the game. I have to confess (before I do I'll just say that I'm not normally a fan of such weak tactics as this, well apart from maybe in Football Manager) that being able to reload your game and replay a poorly fought battle is a useful aid for the novice. I don't like to think of this as cheating, more as a second-chance for a naive player such as myself. As time has gone on I've learned more about the types of tactics required, it's something I've started to do less and less. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, who wouldn't want to turn back time and prevent someone they know from being killed?

There is a fair amount of depth to this game, not all of it is immediately obvious. Items and weapons are both collectable and purchasable as you go through the game which is pretty straight-forward, as is forging weapons which increases certain stats of weapons you own.

An important part of the game however is 'levelling up', everyone's favourite RPG pastime. It's easy to go into every battle gung-ho with your strongest characters but this will prevent your weaker characters from gaining the experience to 'level-up' and become stronger and this will almost certainly come back to bite you in the bum later on in the game. Instead, careful tactics should be used to ensure that whilst you win the battle and don't lose characters you also allow some of your weaker characters to get in on the action and get some experience. I've been pairing-up weaker characters with stronger ones which seems to be working quite well so far.

Overall I'm having a fantastic time with this game. The first few chapters ease you in, but the game soon becomes quite punishing and I think this is all for the better. Visually is a mixed bag of treats, the main game plays out over an old-school 2D map, the battles and some cut scenes take place in an impressive (for the 3DS) 3D engine, and there's some nice anime bits thrown in for good measure. I'm not too far into the game so far but I can tell that it's going to be quite a long journey and some extra DLC is available for those seeking more. If you're on the fence I recommend trying the demo in the eShop, I'm sure it's not to everyone's taste but it's definitely worth having a go whether you think this is your type of game or not. You may be surprised at how much fun you have!
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on 24 April 2017
As a newcomer to the Fire Emblem series, I have to confess I do not think I am the target demographic. I am a JRPG fan, for sure, but I've generally avoided these 'tactial' RPGs because they feature a few characteristics that I have always found more frustrating than enjoyable, and more restrictive than liberating. Namely: the need to constantly restart (re-roll) in order to get optimal results, and the fortune of RNG ('random number generation).

On the plus side, Fire Emblem Awakening features a compelling story, a huge cast and is utterly engrossing, for the most part. I can't fault the effort that has been put in to this. If you enjoyed previous Fire Emblem games, or other tactical RPGs such as Final Fantasy Tactics, or Disgaea, you probably already know and love the series and own the game. If not, I would say there's still plenty to enjoy here and if you can find it at a reasonable price (no longer so easy) it is well worth the investment. The game also features an 'easy' mode for newcomers which removes the game's usual permadeath function and provides additional information during combat to help you make informed combat decisions.

So what am I griping about? Well, its the same problem I have had with other heavily scripted tactical RPGs, that is to say those tactical RPGs which do not feature randomised battles. I have already moaned about this with Valkyria Chronicles (which also suffered from this problem) and that is, the game does not reward improvisation, and it utterly punishes any error. The gameplay loop seems to consist of constantly restarting a battle in order to fathom (or obtain through the mercies of RNG) the 'optimal' approach to each scenario. If you fail to follow the 'optimal' path, you will be punished (in Fire Emblem you will be punished by the permanent loss of a character!) At times, you can feel as if you are fighting against the very game you are trying to play.

For example, in one early mission you are tasked with saving a villager who takes 2-3 turns to reach. The trouble is, she starts the level surrounded by archers who, in the first turn, will shoot at her. If these archers hit, or if even one of them causes critical damage, it is entirely possible she will die in the first turn thanks to RNG. That's it - she's dead, she's gone utterly from your campaign and erased from the game. After this happened, I was a little gob-smacked and assumed I had done something wrong. After much searching on the internet, the answers were all the same: if you want her to survive (and why wouldn't you?) you must keep restarting until you get an outcome favourable to this. In other words: there is an optimal way for this level to unfold, and you are going to have to keep restarting until you get it.

Ultimately, this type of game has its fans - and I cannot fault the quality of the presentation, but it is going right next to Animal Crossing on my shelf of 'I just don't get it'.
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on 26 April 2013
Fire Emblem: Awakening is my first time playing a game in the Fire Emblem series & I'm now left wondering why I had never played a game in the series before. Having never played a Fire Emblem game before, I played on Normal difficulty which I felt was just about right to ease me into the series. The enemies were beatable but any ridiculous mistakes on my part would be punished. I didn't do any grinding & the battles were still winnable which is always a plus in my book when it comes to RPGs. There is a Newcomer mode available if you prefer a more reckless style of play but I played on Classis as the permadeath feature is what I most commonly assosciated the Fire Emblem series with. It's an incredible gameplay mechanic and there's nothing more painful than wincing your way through fights, hoping your favourite characters all make it out alive. However it makes victory feel all the more sweet.

I beat the game in five days (admittedly spending 25 hours on it!) but I feel it definitely gives you great value for money as I am seriously considering a second playthrough which rarely happens to me with video games. The 3DS is in for a cracking 2013 & Fire Emblem: Awakening will definitely be one of the gems in the 3DS' crown.
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on 2 May 2013
I had mixed feelings when I pre ordered my copy. While I loved The Sacred Stones and enjoyed Radiant Dawn, I did not like Shadow Dragon at all. Whatever doubts I had soon fled when I started playing.

The Gameplay follows the traditional Fire Emblem formula, with some new tweaks and changes. Swords, Axes and Lances work in a Rock Paper Scissors kind of way, meaning you have to balance your party. Bows can attack from a distance, but not up close. Magic (as well as Javelins and Hand Axes) can strike from a distance or up close. Joy of joys, they bought back the Support system from Sacred Stones, and gave it a buff too. In Radiant Dawn, they just used to exchange a few generic lines. Here, you find out a lot about the character's pasts through support conversations, and it makes a gameplay difference too. When you put 2 units side by side normally, the one attacking or being attacked gets a small boost (10% + hit for example) - if they support they get more boosts. Sometimes both characters attack an enemy too. And if 2 opposite gendered units build enough support together, they can get married and have a child, who will eventually join you.

You can also reclass your units, although it's much more restricted than Shadow Dragon. This actually isn't a bad thing - it makes them feel a lot less disposable. You can also promote them once they hit level 10 (although I'd recommend waiting until they hit level 20) and they bought the branching system from The Sacred Stones back. That means no 2 playthroughs have to be the same.

That brings me onto the Avatar you create at the start of your adventure. They can be whatever class you want once you get a Second Seal, although some classes are exclusive to set genders. So your avatar could be a Dark Knight, while your friend could have a War Cleric. This is one of the deepest RPGs this side of Pokémon.

But don't think it's inaccessible. The tutorials explain everything very well, and they're so unobtrusive. Game Freak, watch and learn - the Pokémon series could do with some tutorials like this. It's highly customisable too, although I wish there'd been more options for what I could do with my avatar. To give you an idea of how customisable this game is, you can even leave the original Japanese voice acting in (don't worry you still get subtitles). For the first time, you can even turn permanent death off, although I don't recommend doing that. The game feels better when you know anyone could die at any time.

A death sentence for any RPG is a poor story (apart from Dark Souls). Luckily, that's not the case here. I groaned when I found out my avatar had amnesia, but the story's anything but cliche. The characters are all memorable too, from the tomboyish Sully to the vain Virion. Chrom is one of the most fleshed out heroes of the series so far, and you really feel for him during some of the sadder moments. That's all I'll say about the story. I know this will probably fall on deaf ears, but please don't read the plot on wikipedia.

As for the graphics...as someone who grew up with Pokémon Red on the GameBoy, I didn't know handheld games could look this good. The hand drawn characters, the weapons that carry over into the battle, and the battles themselves all look great. You can also play the battle with a cinematic camera, a 1st person view or the traditional side on angle. You can also fast forward, slow down and pause the battles, which is a nice feature. Maybe the spells were a bit bland, and Panne looks like a mutant kangaroo in her animal form.

The music and voice acting are good too. The characters speak in battle, cheering when they win or crying out in pain when hit (although luckily they don't always cheer, since that would get boring). All the characters have good voice actors that match them, and you can tell they were really trying to make something amazing here. And they succeeded. This is, for me, the best game on the 3DS right now. It's reason no. 1 to own one. Worry not though: when you've finished this, you've got Luigi's Mansion 2, Super Mario 3D Land, Ocarina of Time 3DS, Kid Icarus Uprising, Monster Hunter 3, Mario Kart 7 and later this year Pokémon X/Y and the sequel to A Link To The Past.

To sum up, this game's absolutely brilliant. There are a few nitpicks I have, but this is one of the few games that I can put my hand on my heart and honestly say that there wasn't one thing that really annoyed me. If you're a fan of strategy games, this is a must buy.

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on 2 June 2017
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on 6 October 2016
Loved this game. Heard very good things about it. Spent many hours completing it. Once I had completed it though, had no desire to replay it, so it will probably last you around 30-50 hours or so in total game time. When I played it, I played it on casual. Probably would have been more exciting to play on the permadeath setting where your characters don't come back if they die in battle. The amount of characters you accumulate over the game should more than cover any losses you sustain however.
The graphics, story and sound are all very good.
This is one of the best turn based RPG's I have played.
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