My Wii U Game of the Month for August is a Virtual Console title. It is the game that introduced me to one of my all-time favourite franchises, as well as the strategy RPG genre. I still own the original cartridge.
Fire Emblem is the game I am speaking of. It was the first game in the series to be released outside of Japan; Marth and Roy’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Melee were partly the reason for this. It is actually the seventh game in the series.
However, neither Marth nor Roy make an appearance in this game. For the first ten chapters, a girl from the plains named Lyn is the main character.
The main story features Eliwood, Roy’s father, as the main protagonist. He sets out on a search for his missing father, naturally getting caught up in something much bigger along the way. Eliwood meets many allies on his journey, including fellow Lords Hector and Lyn. Of course, as this is a Fire Emblem game, there is the potential for those allies to get killed off permanently.
Each character has their own personality, and they are able to have support conversations with specific allies. This builds character for all those who are recruitable. Certain pairs of characters even get their own endings together.
Once a character reaches level 10, they can promote through the use of a certain item. This differs between each class. Promoting a unit boosts their stats and will often allow them to wield other weapons as well. Promotion is shown off by Wallace in Lyn’s story, but it isn’t until Eliwood’s campaign can you promote other units.
Also, some units are prepromoted. The Paladin Marcus is one such example. Often, these characters don’t turn out as good as the others, though there are some exceptions to that rule. The reason for this is that unpromoted characters cap at level 20. Levelling them up to the cap before promotion provides greater stats.
The game features a weapon triangle, which throws an element of rock-paper-scissors into the mix. Swords best axes, axes best lances and lances best swords. Using a weapon with an advantage gives a slight boost to stats.
There is also the Trinity of Magic: dark beats anima, anima beats light and light beats dark.
Bows are exempt from the weapon triangle. Bows can be used for ranged attacks, and are extremely effective against Pegasus Knights and Wyvern Riders. Healers use staves, mostly for healing.
Another thing to consider on the battlefield is terrain. A forest will make a unit tougher to hit, whereas a fortress provides a slight boost to defence. Taking advantage of these things can help to win a battle.
Going back to weapons, each one has limited durability. After being used so many times, the weapon will break. The iron weapons have the highest durability, and they work throughout the entire game. Still, their attack power is among the lowest. The same rules apply for magic tomes and staves. Naturally, this means stronger weapons have lower durability. An iron sword will outlast a silver sword, but the latter will do more damage.
Fire Emblem is pretty in-depth, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Intelligent Systems. I haven’t even mentioned the music yet. Some highlights include Together We Ride, Rise to the Challenge, Friendship and Adventure and of course, the Fire Emblem Theme.
Anyway, Fire Emblem is certainly one of the best video game series out there. I certainly welcome the chance to play this classic once again.