Your group of men, about 12, enters the map to find yourself out-numbered and out-weapon to the enemy army of about 23 men. They tower over you with their high levels and mighty lances. However, thankfully, your group of men has you. You are a wartime tactician, and your choices affect whether you win or lose the battle.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance throws out a great Strategy RPG for the GC. Unlike its predecessors for the GBA however, it places you in the shoes of a guy named Ike, who is still training under his father, the leader of the local mercenaries, instead of a tactician that is recruited into the war.
In order to punish the world, a dark god drowns the world in a large flood leaving only one piece of land. This continent is called Tellius and is divided among the humans or beorc, and the demi-humans or Laguz. The Beorc and Laguz have been in hatred of each other for quite some time, constantly warring against each other. Until recently, they created a shaky and uneasy peace treaty with each other through the help of the Crimean King.
However, in a local mercenary camp south of the capital of Crimea, a young boy is recruited as a mercenary. That young boy is Ike, that you play as through out the game. Ike soon finds himself on the battlefield against bandits. The mission runs you through a string of tutorial videos to get you settled into the flow of the game play, simple things such as; moving around, attacking, healing yourself, and how to complete the mission. Throughout the beginning chapters, you get random tutorial boxes popping up and explaining things such as the unit skills that you just got, or how to complete the different types of missions. While the boxes always popping up can get kind of annoying at first, they are extremely informative with a glimmer of comedy mixed inside.
The game offers you one game mode, single player story mode. In this you go through a large amount of chapters that lead you through the intense story that this game offers. In each chapter you have a large battle you must complete to continue on to the next chapter, and the next twist in the plot. Each battle grants you a challenge with your units being out numbered each time and a major boss that you have to beat. While you usually are out numbered you can have the security to know that your units are strong enough and skilled enough to take them out, with exceptions of course.
The game offers simple controls for this massive game. Its pretty much all based around the control stick/d-pad, a button, b button, and the start button. Using the control stick, you’re able to move around the menu and the map grid looking at the units. When you place the cursor over a unit you can use the “A” button to select the unit to look at its stats or items that that unit is caring, or to move it (if it is yours). The “B” button is used to cancel actions. The start button brings up the overview of the map, the number of enemy units and allied units, and the conditions that you have to complete to beat the mission.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, offers a large variety of well, every thing, from items to units. Units are plenty full, if you can keep them alive that is. Available to you are units ranging from Rangers to Berserkers, Lance/Axe/Bow Knights to Wyvern Riders, and Archers to Mages. Each one of the units has his/hers strengths and weaknesses against the other units. Some of the units can attack from a distance depending on what type of weapon they are using, and some of them can even up classes to something better. The type of land you’re fighting on can affect your units and the enemy units in good of bad ways. Something like the weather can affect the movement of large units for instance. Also there is something else that affects all units, two types of triangles, one is for weapons and the other for magic. The weapon triangle is simple; lances beat swords, swords beat axes, and axes beat lances. The magic triangle is; fire beats wind, wind beats thunder, and thunder beats fire. If you attack a unit and you have the upper hand with a weapon that beats there’s, it gives you a sort of boost to your attack. But be careful of how you use your units because once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
Graphics in the game are nicely shaped, with a nice anime look to it. The battles are pretty with nice 3-D graphics. However, in between the battles and chapters, you get still photos of the main characters talking, and talking and talking, and then talking some more. The couple of cut scenes you do get though, are beautiful with nicely drawn animations.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance offers you a minimum amount of music that just gets looped over and over throughout the battles. The music is roughly the same with just the tune or sound changed. The only time the song changes is when the characters are talking, or game over. The voice acting, the little there is because it’s only during the cut scenes, isn’t to bad. However, the cut scenes are more focused on the action that is going on in it to worry about script, saving you from breathless and the least energetic voices I’ve ever heard.
Unlike most Nintendo games, this one doesn’t have a multiplayer mode. Yet it could have multiplayer possibilities such as gathering two teams of units from two different games matching up against each other.
With its few faults, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance still has to be one of the better strategy games for the Gamecube. With its large expansive game play and large battles around every corner. The game is hard so don’t expect to beat it down with out at least sending your Gamecube into orbit at least once.