Strategy video games make me anxious. Whether it is an RTS or a strategy RPG, losing units stresses me out. I guess I care too much? But the Fire Emblem series is always one that I have been interested in regardless of this. Most of it had to do with the anime artstyle which I’m usually a fan of and, from what I’ve heard, great characters who you become very attached to. But, of all the series that I could have been interested in, I had to pick the one with permadeath. I know that many Fire Emblem players play with the classic difficulty and, if they lose someone, they restart the mission. But with the recent releases on 3DS, a casual mode was added. Characters will come back for the next mission if they die in battle, so this was the perfect gateway game into the series for me.
After 18-20 hours, I beat the game and enjoyed it. However, because I played through on casual mode, I didn’t gain the skills necessary to play on classic. What ended up happening was sending Chrom charging toward the boss of most levels while using all of my other units to distract and take on the weaker enemies to clear a path. This resulted in units going down left and right, but the mission was accomplished. Again, this was no fault of the game, but it definitely made me feel like I was going about everything the wrong way.
The characters were largely enjoyable but I didn’t find any of them sticking with me as time has gone on. The conversations between them are the best part of the game building out one-on-one relationships. That is what I was looking for as story in most games, for me, is critical. There is one exception when it comes to these interactions and their quality; the proposals. Those come off as the most ‘E for everyone’ parts of the game and undermine some of the legitimate chemistry that had been building between characters.
I’m definitely glad I played through the game but, at the end of the day, Fire Emblem Awakening left me without making an impact. Maybe I went into the game with unreasonable expectations after all of these years hearing its praises. Maybe I would have felt differently about the characters if I played on classic and the stakes were higher? But I would have just played like those people who restarted a mission if I lost a team member. Maybe strategy RPGs are just not for me, and that’s fine. The original Valkyria Chronicles may be the lone exception with a full package from top to bottom including characters that I still think about. I wish I had more to say about the game either way, but I honestly don’t I’m still excited about the Fire Emblem game coming out for Switch this year and, hopefully, it will hook me more than this one did.