Fire Emblem Awakening

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Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Awakening box art.png
Packaging artwork released for all territories.
(with some regional variations)
Developer(s) Intelligent Systems
Nintendo SPD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Kouhei Maeda
Genki Yokota
Producer(s) Toru Narihiro
Hitoshi Yamagami
Artist(s) Yusuke Kozaki[1]
Writer(s) Kouhei Maeda
Nami Komura
Masayuki Horikawa
Yuichi Kitaoka
Sou Mayumi
Shuntaro Ashida
Composer(s) Hiroki Morishita[2]
Rei Kondoh[2]
Series Fire Emblem
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Strategy RPG
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Fire Emblem Awakening (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 覚醒 Hepburn: Faiā Emuburemu: Kakusei?, Fire Emblem: Awakening in Europe and Australia) is a tactical role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS.[6] It is the thirteenth game in the Fire Emblem series, and the second Nintendo-developed 3DS title to utilize paid downloadable content.[7] The game was released on April 19, 2012 in Japan, February 4, 2013 in North America and April 19, 2013 in Europe, available both at retail and digitally through the Nintendo eShop.

The game released to critical acclaim, with many critics highlighting the music, visuals, character development and the ease of introduction to new players to the series while also supporting long time fans. The game was also nominated for several year-end nominations, including Best 3DS Game and Best RPG.

Gameplay[edit]

Fire Emblem Awakening is a turn based tactical role playing game, where the player must move their characters within a grid. The game involves moving characters into positions in order to attack the opposing side, or defend against their attacks. Characters possess a certain number of health points; when attacked, they are subtracted, and the character is defeated on losing them all. Battles are typically won by attacking the opposing side until all enemy characters have lost all of their health points.

Many new features, or features rarely present in the series, have been added to the game.[8] The "Avatar" system, originating from Fire Emblem: Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū, returns in greater detail, allowing the player to create and customize their own playable character.[9]

In between battles, the player can explore the overworld map and converse with non-playable characters or buy items for use in battles.[10]

The game also features a class system, where different classes possess different skills, strengths, and weaknesses. The player can change the characters' classes, as seen in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.[9] Upon reaching a certain level, units can promote to a new class, and the player can select between branching choices. There are over 40 classes available in the game.[9] Characters can have up to five skills at one time, with surplus skills held in the character's skill bank.[11] The game features a new option to perform a Dual Strike attack with a supporting character. Adjacent characters also have a chance of performing a Dual Guard, a defensive technique which cancels out an enemy's attack altogether.

Characters, while battling together, have the ability to develop emotional ties to one another.[9] Some characters are even able to pair up and have children. The player-created Avatar is able to pair up and marry, eventually having children who can join in the battle.[12]

The player has the choice of several difficulty levels, starting at "Normal", "Hard", "Lunatic", and "Lunatic+", with the last mode being the most difficult.[13] Additionally, separate from the difficulty levels, there are "Classic" and "Casual" modes; "Classic" mode involves the permanent death feature the series is known for, where characters can never be revived after dying, while the "casual" mode allows characters to automatically revive post-battle.[14]

Additionally, if two players interact with each other through StreetPass, their Avatar's party will appear both of their worlds. Players then can buy items from the party or recruit the leader either by paying or battling the team; battling increases the player's renown which is also shown to other players via StreetPass. A local multiplayer mode known as "Dual Tag" allows players to pair up to fight enemies to earn renown and items.[15][16]

Downloadable content[edit]

Nintendo decided to release downloadable content for the game in all available regions,[17] which includes new maps and playable characters from previous Fire Emblem games. Various artists have contributed illustrations for the downloadable characters, including those who have worked on previous titles, such as Senri Kita. The first release featured Marth, which was initially distributed for free until it became a paid download. Other characters include: Roy from Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi; Leif from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776;[18] Alm and Celica[19] from Fire Emblem Gaiden; Micaiah from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn,[20] Ike and Elincia from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance; Seliph from Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu; Ephraim and Eirika from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones;[21] Lyn from the original Fire Emblem;[22] Est, Catria, and Palla from Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi; and Katarina from Fire Emblem: Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū.[23][24][25]

Plot[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Fire Emblem Awakening is set across two continents, Archanea and Valm. Archanea has undergone many geographical changes over the years, and is now composed of three kingdoms: the Halidom of Ylisse, a holy kingdom that reveres Naga, the divine dragon; Plegia, a desert theocracy said to revere Grima, the fell dragon; and Regna Ferox, an alpine kingdom where battle is substituted for politics.[26][27] Valm was once known as Valentia, and three of its nations are mentioned as well: Chon'sin, Rosanne, and Valm itself.[26]

Awakening focuses on the story of Chrom, the prince of Ylisse and descendant of the Hero-King Marth, and his companions during a turbulent era. Chrom leads the Shepherds, his personal militia force.[27][28] Main characters within the Shepherds include: the Avatar, the player character and the force's newest recruit; Lissa, Chrom's tomboyish younger sister and cleric; and Frederick the Wary, a knight who is suspicious of the Avatar's intentions.[29] As the game progress, the player can recruit more characters to join The Shepherds. Early in the story, the Shepherds encounter the "Risen", an unholy force of undead warriors; and "Marth", a masked swordsman "named" after the original Hero-King.[26][27][30]

Main story[edit]

The story begins the Avatar having a premonition of themselves and Chrom fighting a sorcerer named Validar. Although they manage to defeat Validar, the sorcerer takes control of the Avatar, using them to kill Chrom.[31]

After this dream, the Avatar wakes up in a field, where Chrom, Lissa, and Frederick find him. The Avatar soon discovers that they have no memories of their past and a strange mark on their hand.[32][33][34] The Avatar joins the Shepherds, exhibiting the qualities of a tactician when they defend a nearby town from Plegian bandits.[34][35] The Shepherds move to fight both Plegia's forces and the Risen; and are helped by "Marth", who seems to have knowledge of future events. As the story progresses, Emmeryn, Chrom and Lissa's older sister and the exhalted leader of Ylisse, is almost caught in a plot to assassinate her. However, "Marth" appears and foils the plot; in the process, "he" is revealed to be a young woman.[26] Soon after, Plegian forces capture Emmeryn, taking her to a public execution. King Gangrel, Plegia's sadistic ruler, demands only one thing for their leader's life: the Fire Emblem, Ylisse's prized and most powerful treasure.[why?][36] Torn by personal loyalty, Chrom tries to give up the Fire Emblem, but Emmeryn does not allow this. She instead throws herself to her death, becoming a martyr to her siblings' anguish.[37] Eventually, the Shepherds win the war against Plegia, removing Gangrel from power and restoring peace to Archanea.[38]

Two years after Gangrel's defeat, Chrom inherits the throne of Ylisse. The player learns that Chrom is now married, with a newborn daughter named Lucina. Chrom leads the Shepherds again when Emperor Walhart of Valm threatens to invade Archanea. During the campaign, "Marth" returns, and reveals that she is Lucina from the future - an alternate timeline "more than 10 years hence".[26] She warns Chrom that in her timeline, the fell dragon Grima awakened and brought destruction to the world, creating the Risen to serve this purpose. With Naga's magic, Lucina traveled back in time to prevent Grima's awakening. To do so, Chrom must perform the "Awakening", a ritual that summons Naga, by combining the Fire Emblem with the five magical gems.[26]

During and after the war in Valm, the Shepherds manage to retrieve four of the gemstones. They are then ambushed by Validar, the new king of Plegia and the Avatar's father, after offering them the last gemstone.[39] Validar reveals that the Avatar was bred to be the new physical vessel for Grima, thus explaining the mark on the Avatar's hand: the Mark of Grima.[40] Validar takes control of the Avatar and steals the Fire Emblem from Chrom. Lucina realizes the Avatar killed Chrom in her timeline, but Chrom remains confident the Avatar can overcome Grima's mind control because of their friendship.[26] The Shepherds then manage to track down and kill Validar, recovering the Fire Emblem. Despite this, the possessed Avatar from Lucina's timeline appears, having followed her, and awakens the Grima of this timeline by merging with him. In a race against time, Chrom performs the Awakening to summon Naga; however, the divine dragon reveals she only has the power to put Grima to sleep for another thousand years. Naga explains that the only way to destroy Grima is to have him destroy himself through the Avatar, which could come at cost of the Avatar's life; their only chance of survival comes from their bond with Chrom and the Shepherds.[26]

Two possible endings to the game can occur depending on the player's final choice:

  • If the Avatar lets Chrom deal the final blow, Grima is put back to sleep. The Avatar has regrets about allowing this to happen, but Chrom, and the Avatar's family (if they have one), will comfort them.[26]
  • If the Avatar does not let Chrom deal the final blow, they will kill Grima themselves. Both Avatars and the fell dragon disappear, with the original Avatar bidding Chrom farewell. Chrom and the Shepherds refuse to believe that the Avatar is dead, and vow to find them and bring them home.[26]

In a post-credits scene, the Avatar wakes up in a field similar to the beginning of the game, where Chrom and Lissa finally find them. If the player achieves the second ending, the Avatar's Mark of Grima will be gone, and Chrom will welcome the Avatar back home.[26]

Sound and music[edit]

The game's soundtrack was composed by Rei Kondoh and Hiroki Morishita. Long-time series composer, Yuka Tsujiyoko, also contributed to the score.[41] The soundtrack has seen two physical releases, the first being a Club Nintendo award in Japan entitled Fire Emblem: Awakening Music Selection, and contained 20 tracks from the game. On March 27, 2013, a five-disc set entitled Fire Emblem: Awakening Original Soundtrack was released in Japan. The first four discs contain the soundtrack, while a fifth data disc includes sound effects, voice tracks, and more.[42] Much of the music in the DLC maps consists of various themes from past games in the series.

The game contains a significant amount of voice-acting and actors. Patrick Seitz and Hitomi Matsuki served as the voice directors for the English and Japanese versions, respectively.[citation needed] The game allows the player to switch between the Japanese and English voice track.

Development[edit]

The game was announced at Nintendo's 3DS press conference ahead of the 2011 Tokyo Game Show. Nintendo held this press conference on September 12, 2011.[43] On June 6, 2012, directly after a Nintendo 3DS software showcase at E3 2012, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime revealed that the game would be coming to North America under the title Fire Emblem Awakening.[44] The game's downloadable content was confirmed for release as well.[17] A free demo version was released on the 3DS eShop in North America on the week of January 17, 2013[45] and on March 28 in Europe.[46]

Due to the declining sales of the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem Awakening was meant to be the last title developed in the series, if the game didn't reach at least 250,000 copies sold.[47] Under such a huge pressure, Intelligent Systems had elaborate concepts that were new to the series, such as setting the game in the modern real world or on Mars; but in the end, they opted for the usual classic medieval fantasy setting.[48]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92.52%[61]
Metacritic 92/100[60]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10[49]
Famitsu 36/40[52]
Game Informer 9/10[54]
GameSpot 8.5/10[50]
GameTrailers 85/100[55]
IGN 9.6/10[51]
Polygon 8.5/10[53]
Destructoid 9/10[56]
Joystiq 4.5/5[57]
Nintendo Insider 95%[58]
Eurogamer 10/10[59]

Fire Emblem Awakening was critically acclaimed and currently has a rating of 92 on Metacritic[60] and 92.52% on GameRankings,[61] making it the highest rated Fire Emblem game released in English and the second-highest-rated title on the 3DS overall according to Game Rankings. Famitsu awarded the game a score of 36/40 (9/9/9/9).[52] IGN reviewer Audrey Drake gave the game a positive review, awarding a score of 9.6/10. She lauded the game's increased accessibility and enormous depth, calling it "the best 3DS game since Super Mario 3D Land".[51] GameSpot praised the "finely-tuned" and new gameplay elements, and all of the extra content beyond the main campaign, but felt disappointed with the minimal local multiplayer content, which merely consisted of a simple cooperative missions consisting of only three characters each.[50] Joystiq praised how the game's character development affected the actual gameplay, leading to extended replay value, stating that it "resembles a soap opera in how thoroughly addictive it can be."[57] Despite overall praise, Kotaku demerited the game for not allowing same-sex marriages.[62]

Awards[edit]

Fire Emblem Awakening was nominated for various awards around the media. It was nominated for Best Overall RPG and Best Overall Strategy Game at IGN's Best of 2013, it was nominated for Best RPG at the Spike Video Game Awards and was nominated for Game of the Year and other awards at GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards of 2013.

Sales[edit]

The game's Japanese release sold well, with it being the fastest selling entry in the series since detailed weekly tallies began.[63] The game sold 242,600 units in its first week of sales in Japan,[63] selling 81.63% of its original shipment, although the sales count does not include the Fire Emblem Awakening 3DS bundle, according to Media Create.[64] Media Create also cited Nintendo's promotion of the title and mechanics as reasons for the higher sales.[64] Additionally, in September 2012, six months after its Japanese release, Nintendo reported that 1.2 million units of downloadable content had been sold, bringing in an additional 380 million yen (about $4.8 million).[65]

The game sold 180,000 units in its first month of sales in North America, with 63,000 units of the total sales being eShop downloads. The game had the best ever first month sales in the franchise in North America.[66] On April 17, 2013, Nintendo of America announced that Fire Emblem Awakening had hit 240,000 units sold in North America; 80,000 units of these were digital sales sold over Nintendo's eShop.[67] On September 12, 2013 Nintendo announced sales in the United States as 390,000 units.[68] In UK, Fire Emblem Awakening debuted at #3, alongside a special edition Fire Emblem Awakening 3DS. The game and the hardware bundle collectively boosted sales of the 3DS by nearly 50% over the previous week.[69]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]