Fire Emblem - Awakening review: One life to live
Jan 30th 2013 10:00 AM EST
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the best soap opera since CBS cancelled Guiding Light.
If you've never played a Fire Emblem before, imagine Final Fantasy Tactics from an overhead perspective, or a particularly bloated derivation of chess. Nintendo's stalwart helped establish the turn-based tactical RPG genre, and Fire Emblem: Awakening features everything you expect from the series. Dozens of warriors team up to protect the magical Fire Emblem from an ever expanding army of evil miscreants. Each chapter is a different battle fought on a square grid, with your small army of various combat classes fanning out across the terrain to wipe out the opposing forces. The standard array of RPG unit types are present ? warriors deal heavy damage with axes or lances, wizards hurl bolts of fire and lightning from afar, archers arch and thieves thieve.
Forget the standard medieval fantasy trappings, though. Forget the swords and arrows, the burly warriors and lithe Pegasus knights, the pointy-hatted mages and high-hatting nobles. Forget the vast array of combat tactics permissible by the game's open-ended approach to strategy. Forget the experience points earned with every attack. Forget the more powerful unit types unlocked once characters hit level ten, and the forges that upgrade your weapons, and the Paralogue missions that provide a secondary story to explore. Those are all vital to Awakening's compulsive allure, but what elevates Fire Emblem above other turn-based tactical RPGs are the deep roster of characters and the relationships that flower between them. You'll get as wrapped up in their stories as your grandmother did with the vengeful harridans and scheming suits of a soap opera.
View Gallery:Fire Emblem: Awakening (01/11/2013)
Per RPG tradition, the combat is dictated by invisible die rolls ? all you do is highlight your target, pick your weapon and then hope for