GAMES - Review
10:38 - 20th June 2013, by NEO Staff

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Fire Emblem is yet another Japanese RPG franchise with a lofty reputation of near-legendary status in hard-core western gaming circles, much like Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter. Infamous for its unforgiving quirk of permanent death for any characters killed in action, its rougher edges have been softened somewhat for newbies in this incarnation. However, the addition of the more approachable 'Newcomer' mode (in which permadeath is disabled) has in no way made this game any less complex or entertaining - just slightly less intimidating.

Fire Emblem: Awakening uses a similar tactical map system for combat as the excellent Advance Wars did (also by developer Intelligent Systems), and sees you move your characters around using a grid. There's a deceptively simple 'Weapons Triangle' gimmick for battles, akin to Rock, Paper, Scissors, in which Axes beat Lances, Lances beat Swords, and Swords beat Axes - although there are constantly new dynamics introduced to ensure that tactics never get stale.

Where Fire Emblem excels - and where the permadeath really hurts - is in its robust character development mechanics. Not only can you form real relationships between characters that will benefit you in battle, but you can see these characters get married, have children, and fight beside them as well. That's right, nothing hurts more than watching Junior kick the bucket in a heated melee!

Addictive, engrossing and absorbing, Fire Emblem: Awakening satisfies on every level, making this an instant classic, and highly recommended for any RPG fan.

Easily the best tactical RPG on the 3DS.
SCORE: 5/5
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