As with previous installments, at level 10 each character that is at its base class can be upgraded to an advanced class with a master seal. Your very own tactician can become a grandmaster, wielding magic and swords with more power then before. A cleric or monk will become a War Cleric or War Monk, now wielding axes, in addition to staffs.
Skills also play an important role in battles and can change the odds in your favor. For example, Charm grants hit/avoid +5 to all allies within three spaces of the character who posses the skill. Another interesting skill is vantage, which allows a unit to strike first if their HP is half, even if they are attacked. Interestingly enough, skills can be passed on to different generations. Children will will show up in side missions and can be recruited to join the party.
Visually Fire Emblem: Awakening makes good use to the 3DS’s graphical capabilities for many reasons. The scenery pops out, drawing you into the game. Birds will fly above the battlefield strengthening the atmosphere. Character artwork is unique and beautiful. It definitely is a vast improvement over the past installments. Battle models could look a little better, as they tend to have strange looking feet and boring looking faces. It’s safe to say that the high-resolution graphics are far superior to the council versions of Fire Emblem. This really shows promise for the series in the future, as new games will ultimately look just as good or even better.
The soundtrack composed by Hiroki Morishita definitely sets the mood perfectly for a heated battle or even goofy moments between characters. The only way that these tunes could sound better, is if they were fully orchestrated. Old music from past Fire Emblem titles also makes an appearance in the DLC. As for the voice acting, the developers decided to not fully voice any of the cutscenes besides the full motion ones. When a character speaks a line you will hear a grunt or a few words from that line. It's a bit sad that this game couldn’t have been fully voiced, but over looking this is quite easy.
Re-playability is certainly high, with 26 missions to complete and tons of side quests that appear along the way. SpotPass will also give you a bunch of challenge missions that are great practice for the main game as well is the chance to buy powerful weapons and gain other free content. The main game can easily span more then 30 hours, but the side quests make the experience last almost double that time. Multiplayer doesn’t really provide much to help with this, but it really isn’t the real eye catching feature of the full game.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is by far the best tactical RPG on the 3DS right now and it’s well worth your time. It is also a great place for new players to get into the franchise, as casual mode turns off the permanent death feature. But hardcore fans will be happy to see the option to switch the difficultly setting for a bigger challenge. Awakening’s beautiful fantasy world truly draws you in and when a game has done that, you know it is an experience to remember.
|» Beautifully atmospheric soundtrack|
|» Best tactical RPG experience on the 3DS|
|» Character interactions|
|» Lack of full voice acting|
|» Multiplayer falls short|
|» Normal mode might be too easy for some|
|9||GamingUnion.net Editor's Choice Award|