Fire Emblem: Awakening 200 Hours Later

By Jared Scott on December 23, 2013, 6:27PM EDT

Earlier this year, Fire Emblem: Awakening released on the Nintendo 3DS. As a new fan of the series, I was caught up by the hype and decided to check it out. I recently looked at my time invested into the game, and found that it came to 200 hours. It made me ask myself a question - why do I still enjoy this game so much when most games I play barely entertain me for 20 hours?

After beating the story, I took on the game's downloadable content. Generally, I've never liked DLC, but Fire Emblem: Awakening's was rather great. Some of it even gave new characters and classes. The Bride class remains my favorite; it's just totally awesome. Having a female unit wield lances, bows, healing staffs, all while looking lovely in a wedding dress placed a smile on my face.

The Golden Gaffe, EXPonential Growth, and The Future Past sets also enhanced the experience further. The first two were great because they helped me farm for money and experience, but they were also chock full of humor, with each character making a hilarious statement right before attacking. Whether it was Stal scared of veggie-zombies or Lissa and Fredrick mercilessly slaying monsters to get back their stolen pocket change, the DLC was pure gold.

As for The Future Past levels, they allowed me to invest in a parallel world where the worst case scenario had already happened. The levels were almost too depressing at first, but the ending was almost as great as the main story in the game.

Despite these DLC successes, there were others that were rife with shameless visuals and innuendo, but it's clear that they were non-canon and just fan-service.

I've never been one for maxing out characters, but Fire Emblem: Awakening was the first where I fully enjoyed it. I even found myself using the some characters over and over even when they were already maxed out. Hopefully, they will soon be prepared for the Apotheosis DLC, the hardest level in the game.

Sadly, there's no form of New Game Plus upon completion. While starting from scratch is fun, it would have been nice to carry my maxed characters over to harder difficulties. I did notice that my skills are far greater after moving from Normal to Hard mode, though. I still restart levels from time to time, but it's nice to still have a challenging experience when replaying this game.

Something else I'm happy about is that the characters and story still feel genuine and fresh as they did when I first played. It's great to see that the dialogue and intense moments of the story are still fantastic.

I've also enjoyed starting a new game so I can be a better match maker. While some use the marriage system to breed the perfect solider, I've always paired couples solely on their chemistry. There were one or two instances in my first playthrough where I made bad pairings, but this time I think I nailed it.

For example, in my first playthrough, Lissa occasionally made the comment, "I've learned so much since meeting Jared" after leveling up. It was surprisingly touching to read this, so I decided to have MyUnit propose to her during the second playthrough. Though the conversations were of her pranking me and being immature, I continued anyway. In the end, I was treated to one of the sweetest and most innocent proposals in the entire game.

There were other proposals that I experimented with, and I think each character came out for the better. The Maribelle/Vaike and Sully/Stal proposals were particularly touching. I may create a new file soon to have a MyUnit/Chrom proposal.

Something new I also did was made sure that each female unit could learn Galeforce. This lets them have a second turn once they defeat their enemy. Since skills are passed on to kids (who appear as young adults in the game), I decided to farm for experience until I could pass Galeforce on to each child. Though I goofed up with one kid, it was satisfying to turn my army into a powerhouse.

Speaking of kids, I set up marriages between them as well in the second playthrough. They were rather unsatisfying. There are a couple good ones, but most of them ended with "I think I like you" or "Be my girl."

It's also a shame that the kids' don't have kids in the game. Just having the third generation appear as toddlers or seeing one of the moms pregnant at the end of the credits would have been a nice touch.

With StreetPass I've had the opportunity to fight other players' armies. It was surprisingly challenging when players used different classes on their characters than me. And though their army was not mine, they looked like mine, and that made battles difficult sometimes. I still look forward to future battles with other gamers I pass.

It's hard to believe sometimes, but I have played this game since its release and still absolutely enjoy it. I have sunk $40 into DLC and do not regret it. I doubt that I will ever tire of this game. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a shining gem in the RPG genre and I am grateful to have played it.

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