-by Dylan DiBona
With Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia coming to 3DS tomorrow, I thought it’d be nice to pay homage to what has become one of my favorite gaming series in the past few years.
I wasn’t sure what Fire Emblem really was; it looked like a dinky little chess game with medieval aspects. Like many people, Roy and Marth from Smash Bros gave me my first bit of interest in the series. I remember planning a trip to Chicago with my dad and I wanted a game to play on the flight, and thankfully I chose Fire Emblem Awakening.
If you play the series on “classic” mode (which you should) you’ll have a little thing called perma-death. Perma-death makes it so when a character loses all HP in battle thanks to your lackluster strategy, they’re gone forever. This mechanic instantly makes Fire Emblem an importantly unique franchise; the classic saying “I beat the game” can be reversed, the game can beat you. If you lose too many characters then the game obviously becomes unwinnable.
Wrapped around the dark and scary thought of perma-death is often a colorful cast of characters, a bright fantasy world and interesting plot. Fire Emblem Awakening is the perfect starting point for people because the cast is nothing short of wonderful. You’ll get your classic anime-trope characters which are enjoyable in their own right, but you’ll also meet interesting and deep characters with stories you can choose to learn more about. We come to my favorite part: the support conversations
I never knew I was such a sucker for stuff like this but the support conversation in Fire Emblem are basically just optional talks you can have with comrades you have a close bond with. To get this close bond you must fight alongside a partner in battle. These relationships between comrades will start off humorous but plunge into seriousness most of the time, and if they’re compatible then the two characters will marry and have children. It’s this sense of family and love that makes the perma-death mechanic ten times scarier.
Fire Emblem Fates is a bit different, everything I love is still here but with a much heavier focus on story. Fates is split up into three games almost like the Pokémon series usually is, but each game is vastly different, featuring a different cast and ending. Fates is a much bigger beast than Awakening, each game taking about 35-40 hours to beat with tons of dialogue and lore to take in.
It’s hard for me to pick and choose between Awakening and the Fates trilogy because they both do certain things perfectly while carrying on the spirit of the franchise. If you’re a fan of dialogue and thought out anime-like characters then this series is for you. Every time I pick up a new entry it’s like I’m signing a contract to a 40 hour addiction. Pokémon usually dominates Nintendo handhelds but there’s no doubt in my mind that the 3DS belongs to Fire Emblem.
To put it simply, Fire Emblem is a series about blood, smart thinking, life and death. It’s the best game of chess you’ll ever play, and with some of the very best entries being on the 3DS, there’s really no better time to jump in.
So any Fire Emblem fans here pumped for tomorrow? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.