Current Mood: Super content
As Start2Play, through the voice of Eric (and also Nintendo) had the kindness to give me the game to test it, I only post the link to the website in the French post, and will add the English translation later…
Fire Emblem was announced for a while, and Nintendo and Intelligent Systems were helping us to wait by giving us pictures and traillers, but nothing to really prepare you to this jewel. Dive into a strategy game that, at your own choice, will take you by the hand or send you directly deep into the subject. 4.5 / 5
Open your eyes?
To be honest, I was waiting for something average, a bit “pixelated” and not very deep in graphics, since it was announced in the direct lineage of the previous Fire Emblem. But this is seriously nice. It is sufficiently detailed to be able to create a character that looks like you at the beginning of the game. And for both the cinematic scenes and the game itself, everything is well rendered. There is just a tiny problem with the weapons of the units on the map that are too small to be seen without pulling up the detailed view. An amusing detail: all characters in heavy armours look like they are on high heel because of the way the feet are modelised in the game… The 3D is not necessary for the game, but it brings a little plus in the combat animations, for example.
A nice music to my ears
Oooh, shiny. No, seriously, after listening to nice but not outstanding music in other 3DS, here, the real capacities of the console are fully used (may I remind you that it is usable as an MP3 player). It was composed for the game, and really in phase with the story. It is obviously symphonic and choral, to stick to the genre of the game. Each character has a voice (even yours, to choose between three tonalities), and while they usually only speak a few words or an exclamation, it helps to get into the mood. It happens that I mute the sound of the 3DS if I have other musics in the room, but here, I preferred to use the original game’s music.
Do not panic!
After choosing your character (gender, appearance, voice, strength and weakness), and the difficulty, you will learn part by part the basics of leading your team. It is both intuitive and gradual, without being to simple or boring. The game itself is rather nice, the actions management shared between tactile screen and buttons and usually well thought out. There is a possibility to automatise fights, but I do not recommend it, the AI is mediocre. And as long as you do not validate, you can still cancel and so to try several options for each action and character. The anytime saving system OR quick saving that disappears when loaded (depending of the difficulty you choose) and the combat save really allow to fine-tune the game. Even if you do have very few dexterity (like me), you will have no problem with this game.
Where there is talk about versatility…
What is great with Fire Emblem, and especially with this opus, is that the difficulty is completely customised. The choice is made between three difficulty levels (from Normal to Insane), then between two combat possibilities (save everywhere and units come back after combat if killed, or limited saves and units killed for good. Adding the optional and DLC scenarios and maps, and the Wifi-SpotPass fights, you can simplify the game even more. it is also possible to show more detailed combat information (weapons hierarchy, danger zones, and so on). You are really the one who chooses how much chili you want in your plate!
Try not to get lost!
Entry in the plot is done by something that looks like the end of a story… to continue directly with a turnaround. It may seem strange at first, but why not. You quickly become attached to the characters, there is mystery, action, humour. Let us not forget that in Fire Emblem, interpersonal relationships are part of the game and of the plot. Even if the pitch is somehow classic (a kingdom attacked by forces of evil), some aspects and characters give Fire Emblem a unique flavour. And dialogues / asides / relations between characters are the cherry on the top of this mount of chantilly cream. But be careful, you really have a lot of choice and space.
Despite not having multiplayer in the strictest sense of the idea, the SpotPass / wifi possibilities are there. You can send your team see the world, get other groups, do combats outsides of the scenario with a friend (locally only), and generally improve your fighters for the main plot. By the way, they recommend not to play with the date/time to avoid problems with the wifi.
Take your time…
Depending of what you play, the main scenario, secondary quests, DLCs and / or SpotPass, the length varies. Do not rely on the “chapter” titles, they are of inequal length, and numerous. The game is even lengthened if you develop the relations between the characters, and go into secondary scenarios-quests. I even think this game has a very high replay value. Anyhow, it is entirely worth its base price.
To sum it up:
It is really a magnificent success in strategy games, on all points, and a big yes in the 3DS games one should not miss. There is anyhow no other game of this scope or level in the 3DS catalogue for now, and it really is a game for everyone (except, obviously, to those allergic to fantasy). The additional content is really what it pretends, optional, and the demo available on the eShop allows you to make up your own mind. It is really accessible to all, and orientated both toward confirmed gamers and young beginners (it is Pegi 12, so if your younger sister or your cousin wants to try video games…). And I am certain that numerous people were waiting for it with impatience and will not hesitate to buy it!
+: great freedom to configure the game, free choice of gender, plentiful, Christmas cracker humour, saves system
-: lack of clarity of the “full” display, some counter-intuitive actions (shops, …), DLC too expensive after the price of the game.
Tested on the eShop version
Quick note: prefer the material version, especially if you want to refer to the user manual, or if you have a small memory card. The game as a download is more than 8’500 blocs, meaning more than a Go on the SD card, and you need space for the saves, and additional contents… There is a very nice Fire Emblem collector 3DS XL, blue, with the game in it.
Life length: 4/5