Fire Emblem: Awakening Review
Fire Emblem: Awakening Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Intelligent Systems
Pub: Nintendo
Release: February 4, 2013
Players: 1-2
Screen Resolution: N/A Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes

The world and combat maps, however, are where the game feels a little dated. Small character sprites with choppy animations are a decades-old format, but in the context of the combat system, this still works. The in-game character models are somewhere in the middle of the visual quality spectrum, but the attack animations are quite enjoyable to watch. When Chrom spins his falchion and then stabs it into the ground after slaying an enemy, you can't help but nod your head with approval.

Fire Emblem: Awakening Screenshot

The 3D effect succeeds on every level. The cinematics look like an epic movie. The backdrops during the combat animations and in-game cutscenes make the world seem much larger than it would have been without the effect. And the world and battle maps become virtual tactical tables with you looming overhead.

The musical score is breathtaking, hitting all the right notes at all the right times. Despite the arduous journey of Chrom and the Shepherds, many of the personalities are whimsical, which makes conversations between the different characters awkwardly humorous. The music highlights these moments with jovial arrangements, though during the more dramatic scenes the entire orchestra crescendos with ferocity. The only annoyance I found was how each character begins a conversation with a grunt, moan, or single word response. Either making it fully voiced or just leaving the text without vocals would have been preferable, but the decision by the designers to try to find some middle ground between the two is just irksome.

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Small criticisms aside, Fire Emblem: Awakening will have you hooked from the very beginning, and will be incredibly hard to put down throughout. You'll always want to take just one more turn to build more relationships, gain a level, forge a new item, and see what will happen next in the gripping narrative. There are a lot of characters, a lot of content, near perfect technical skills, and plenty of incentives to return even after you've completed the campaign. If Fire Emblem: Awakening is an indication of what's in store for Nintendo's portable lineup, then the 3DS is in for a very lucrative year.

By
Sean Engemann
Freelance Writer
Date: January 30, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.6
Graphics
Aside from archaic character models on the maps, Fire Emblem: Awakening is the most beautiful game yet for the 3DS.
4.7
Control
A few menu screens require fumbling through, but handling battles is tactical perfection.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The musical score compliments every moment of the story. Grunts and one-word replies should have been omitted though.
5.0
Play Value
With a lengthy campaign and plenty of extra content both packed in and on the way, Fire Emblem Awakening is almost impossible to put down.
4.7
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Immersive Story and Visuals: The deep and immersive fantasy storyline is told through beautiful 3D visuals and movies.
  • Deep Cast of Characters: A massive selection of characters are at your command, each with a unique personality and background story, as well as different class types and skill sets.
  • Downloadable Content: An extensive selection of downloadable content will be available for purchase and will offer opportunities to acquire new maps, new story elements, new playable characters, new classes, and rare items and weapons.
  • Customization: Create your own personalized character and fight alongside heroic characters on the battlefield.
  • Bonds Grown in Battle: Team up characters to strengthen their friendships on the battlefield. The closer they grow, the better these friends and allies will fight together. Some characters can even get married!
  • Team Up: Team up with your friend and fight against a group of enemies in the local multiplayer mode.
  • The StreetPass feature allows you to exchange your team data. Recruit or battle against the other player's team or purchase rare items they might carry. The SpotPass feature allows you to receive new maps, items, and legacy characters to battle against in random battle and local multiplayer mode.


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