Awakening Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Awakening RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Fire Emblem Fates: A Little Bit of Everything Wed, 02 Mar 2016 04:29:34 -0500 Chiisainekoyume

After playing upwards of 300 hours of Fire Emblem Awakening since the fall of 2014, I was very much looking forward to the next Fire Emblem game. Patiently waiting for almost a year after the Japanese versions were released, I could not help but read every article and watch every clip I could find about the new games, especially once February began. Needless to say, I was slightly obsessed. When both Birthright and Conquest appeared at my doorstep on February 19th, I literally jumped for joy (thanks Amazon!).

I am writing this article now, after completing Birthright and being more than halfway through Conquest, for two main reasons:

  1. In case it is not already clear, I am quite passionate about this series (though I’ve only played Awakening and Fates), and I feel the need to share my experiences/opinions with others
  2. I want to influence others to become as excited about Fire Emblem as the rest of us, because it's a fun, tactical RPG that has a little bit of everything.

Oh, and I’ll try not to give anything away, but there may be a few spoilers that slip out… just so you know.

It’s Hard to Awaken to Your Fate

To begin, I want to talk about the differences between Awakening and Fates. Yes, I know that articles have been written about such things, but I still feel the need to state what I’ve observed.

First, the basics: Fates is three separate games, while Awakening was one complete game. I recommend starting with Birthright, no matter what your level of play is, because it contains the most basic story and does not reveal too much outside of its plot (whereas Conquest builds on what Birthright gives you, and adds a taste of where the Revelation arc goes). Also, even for the more experienced Fire Emblem players, Birthright is a good place to start, because you have more chances to acclimate to the battle system changes.

For the most part, battles are similar to Awakening -- pick and outfit your fighters for each map and use your brain to move your fighters appropriately and win the mission (which is mostly “rout the enemy”). In Birthright, you are given plenty of chances to level up outside of the maps related to the story, with challenges that pop up (like in Awakening) and with the “scout” mode, which allows you to find challenges (if none appear) for some gold (which you’ll have plenty of).

In Conquest, you don’t get that option. You also don’t acquire as much gold, but the maps are more challenging (and more diverse in their objectives), so it’s a lot of fun to play after Birthright. And for those of you who (like me) enjoy unlocking all support conversations, you are 100% more likely to succeed with only two playthroughs in Birthright than in Conquest.

King of the Castle


Source: Siliconera

A new feature that Fates introduces is the “My Castle” area. It’s the place you get sent in between battles where you can buy/forge new weapons, chat with characters, feed your pet squirrelfish, and battle other players online. I can’t speak to the online portion, because I’m anti-social and never like playing online with others. But, I can tell you about the other features of “My Castle”.

Unlike Awakening, where you have to run from town to town while looking for that Beaststone or Masterseal, in Fates you can find it all conveniently located in your castle area. That you build. To your liking. Though there aren’t many customization features, you can at least arrange the buildings how you want to so that your inner zen can flow freely. You can battle for more items in the Arena or farm/mine for the basic two items that they give you, and with these items you can buy accessories (that your characters actually wear in battle), feed your pet squirrelfish, and forge new weapons.

While I don’t dislike the “My Castle” feature, I also think that it is a bit too basic for a new game addition. As I mentioned, there aren’t too many customization options, and all you really can do there is talk to characters, gather items, and buy things. And even then, you can only do most of those things once per visit.  But maybe I'm just not delving deep enough and am ignoring the unknown possibilities "My Castle" holds...maybe.   

Channel Your Inner Owain

Fates has eliminated the weapon frailty that Awakening had (except for rods and staves, of course), and, instead, increased the interest and need to forge weapons. I must admit: I never once forged a weapon in Awakening (I know! How terrible of me!). However, in Fates, I constantly forge weapons to better my fighters. Plus, it’s fun to name them once they are forged (thanks Owain!).

Another weapon change Fates made is, I believe, more in line with traditional RPGs: there are a range of weapons, and each weapon has a pro and con to it. For instance, you may find yourself trying to decide between a more powerful weapon that has less of a chance of hitting the enemy, and a faster, but less powerful one. Many weapons have status effects or even +/- effects on your fighter’s stats. Fates definitely focuses on weapons more so than Awakening. At least the triangle of weapons hasn’t changed much: lance beats sword, sword beats axe, axe beats lance (though they did add a few others into the mix, like tomes/scrolls, and shuriken).

To Pair, or not to Pair?


Source: NintendoWorldReport Forums

Now I shall address the most annoying (in my opinion) change to the battlefield: pairing. To pair or not to pair? That is the question. It's more helpful not to pair, yet my Awakening senses tell me to do so.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me ‘splain: In Awakening, it was advantageous to pair units with each other on the battlefield. Once paired, the C-A/S support system would kick in, and you would find your characters fighting with many boons, like +10 critical, +10 avoid, and +10 hit. What you would also discover is that paired units not only defended each other, but also joint attacked.

This is NOT the case in Fates. I’m sad to say that, in Fates, you can choose to either pair up (in the same space) with someone and every few turns get them to defend you, or you can set your characters next to each other and get them to support attack for you. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There are still bonuses to dodge and hit when fighting with another character of a support rank, but they aren’t as great as Awakening.

This leads me to my next point, which is the whole support aspect of Fates. In Awakening, it was obvious that getting characters to high level support ranks with one another was the thing worth spending hours doing. The support conversations were fun, and the battle bonuses were great. In Fates, they spent the time, energy, effort, and money to make the support aspect more dating sim like with animated 2D models, but the question is: WHY? If you are going to destroy the whole point of unlocking support ranks (well, at least half of the point – the battling part), why make them more special?

I must admit that I’ve played a few dating sim games, so I was kind of looking forward to that whole aspect of Fates. BUT, when I actually played through the game, I found that I was, surprisingly, disinterested in that aspect of it. To me, it makes no sense in the game (besides as a sort of fan-service), especially now that having a high support with someone doesn’t give you much -- except kids. 

From the Deeprealms They Spawn

Speaking of kids, there’s not too much different from Awakening in that aspect. You get an S support rank with another character, they have a kid, and, magically, the kid is suddenly old enough to help you fight. Wee! The big difference in Fates is that the male characters are the ones who determine the child, not the females.

A lot of the kids (and adult characters, actually) have VERY similar looks and/or personalities to those of Awakening. For instance: Saizo’s kid is basically Gaius, and one of Camilla’s retainers is basically Severa. It’s actually kind of fun to see those characters again (especially when they reference those characters' conversations from Awakening in the Fates support conversations). But at the same time I kind of wish they hadn’t made so many replicas…it’s like they cheated.


Source: Kotaku

Lasting Impressions?

Now where was I? Ah, yes, my overall opinion of the game. As excited as I was to get the games, I pre-ordered them both. Not realizing until after I popped Birthright into my 3DS that getting both was a dumb idea, because you are supposed to download the other versions onto your DS AFTER playing through whichever you chose to start with. Le sigh. It’s cheaper and the only way to get all of the content to exist together (and to get the bonus items for downloading the other two versions).  

Overall, I like Fire Emblem Fates. It’s no Awakening, but I’ve come to terms with that fact and have accepted Fates as the not-as-awesome-but-still-fun game that it is. So far, I am liking Conquest better than Birthright (though I thought the opposite would be true), mostly because of the characters. Personally, I only liked a handful of Birthright characters (even after playing through the whole game). Most of them seemed too weird or too whiney for my taste -- and OMG Takumi is so annoying.

I decided to marry Ryoma for my first Birthright play through (no, it’s not incestuous… you’ll find out why when you play), because I thought it would be similar to being with Chrom in Awakening and make the story more awesome. Not true. I regret my decision and should have chosen Kaze instead.

Anyways, my point is that the characters in Conquest are more likeable than the ones in Birthright, even though Nohr is the ‘evil’ kingdom and Hoshido is the ‘good’ one. Each version echos and contrasts the other beautifully though, and I really liked how distinct each kingdom is. I will admit that both versions have their depressing points, but I am looking forward to playing Revelation (the third version) and hoping that it is more uplifting. I mean, it really pulls on the old heartstings when you have to choose between the family that raised you and the family that you’re related to.

Dumbledore Clap

Source: Giphy

All in all, good job Fire Emblem devs. You made a pretty good game to follow that super awesome one that was your last-ditch effort to save the series. Congratulations! For those of you currently playing the game: do it, to it Lars! For those of you still deciding which to buy: it doesn’t matter. Pick one to have a hard copy of and then download the others. But I would start with Birthright first.

And, finally, for those of you who think you have no interest in this game: I’m surprised that you’re reading this article, but the fact that you are means that you have a slight interest in this game, which means you should go buy one NOW and start playing, because it’s a lot of fun and you won’t regret it.

Fire Emblem Fates website outlines the future of DLC Thu, 28 Jan 2016 07:57:27 -0500 David Fisher

While a number of fans are in uproar over the cut content from the international release of Fire Emblem Fates, the ones who are still very much interested in getting their fill of character-driven strategy action will be happy to know that the game is getting DLC support from day 1.

According to the official Fire Emblem Fates website, the game will be releasing alongside the Fire Emblem Fates: Map Pack 1. This DLC pack sold for $17.99 USD will include over 12 maps that range from generic missions, to story-driven ones, and even some reimaginings of missions from older games.

DLC Map Details:
  • (Feb. 19) Before Awakening - Beyond the gate to another world lies the Halidom of Ylisse. Free DLC. Easy difficulty mission that rewards players with a pebble, as well as an Exalt's Brand or Hero's Brand.
  • (Feb. 25) Boo Camp - It is said that there is another world where one can get plenty of experience... $2.49 USD. Easy difficulty mission that rewards player with extra experience.
  • (Feb. 25) Beach Brawl - And the winner of the royal families' battle over a ticket to paradise is... $2.49 USD. Medium difficulty (fan-service) mission that rewards players with special event illustrations.
  • (Mar. 3) Ghostly GoldIt is said that there is another world where one can get plenty of gold... $2.49 USD. Easy difficulty mission that rewards players with a sizable amount of in-game gold.
  • (Mar. 3) Museum MeleeIt is said that there is a world where one can get many new weapons... $2.49 USD. Easy difficulty mission that rewards players with various weapon drops.
  • (Mar. 17) Royal RoyaleA battle to determine the strongest royal. And the last one standing is- $2.49 USD. Intense difficulty mission that will reward players with an item to raise all stats, as well as a Dread Scroll / Ebon Wing.
  • (Mar. 24) Hidden Truths (1 and 2)The secret prologue to the world of Fates. 2 map set. $4.49 USD. Hard difficulty missions that will reward players with Fell Brand / First Blood.
  • (Mar. 31) Vanguard DawnA trial ground using the stage Elincia's Gambit from Radiant Dawn. $1.99 USD. A medium difficulty mission that rewards players with a Vanguard Brand.
  • (Apr. 7) Anna on the Run -  Anna is cornered by thieves! What will her fate be...? $1.99 USD. Easy difficulty mission that rewards players with Anna as a playable character.
  • (Apr. 14) Ballistician BlitzA trial ground using the stage The Wooden Cavalry from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. A unique map including the rare Ballistician class. Rewards players with a Sighting Lens.
  • (Apr. 14) A Gift from AnnaIf you select "A Gift from Anna" from the "Play DLC" section of the Dragon's Gate after downloading, you may select and receive either the Sighting Lens or the Witch's Mark. Only playable once. Free DLC.
  • (Apr. 21) Witches' Trial - A trial ground using the stage Fear Mountain from Fire Emblem Gaiden. $1.99 USD. Medium difficulty mission that rewards players with a Witch's Mark.

For those who don't like math, the total for buying the maps individually amounts to $24.90 USD. That's $6.91 more than buying Fire Emblem Fates: Map Pack 1, so if you are interested in getting them all then it would be best to buy the pack instead. Remember, some of the maps are free and can be played without buying Map Pack 1, so feel free to test those ones out before deciding whether or not you want to download the rest!

The DLC page also states that anyone who has not purchased the Special Edition of Fire Emblem Fates will have to wait until March 10th to download it. Anyone who purchases either Birthright or Conquest will be able to buy the other paths for a reduced DLC price of $19.99, although the site does not make it clear whether or not this will be as a bundle or individually.

It's worth noting that Fire Emblem Awakening did very well in DLC sales. While the chance of successful sales of Fire Emblem Fates are still in the air as a result of the recent controversies, hopefully the game will sell well enough that Nintendo of America still knows that North American players still care about the series.

Fire Emblem Fates will be released in North America on February 19th, 2016, while European players are still waiting for news of their release date.

Fire Emblem Fates special Edition 3DS XL, weekly map updates Wed, 20 Jan 2016 07:25:41 -0500 Damian A. Hinton

Nintendo's upcoming Fire Emblem Fates will get its own special 3DS XL, and it looks absolutely splendid. Take a look below.

The system can be purchased for $199.99, but that's all you get if you buy it. Unfortunately, this handheld doesn't include the game itself, which will have to be purchased separately.

Nintendo  announced DLC for the upcoming title. Weekly map updates for Fire Emblem Fates will be available, starting on the game's release date of February 19th. This follows suit with the previous title in the series, the well-received Fire Emblem Awakening, which also received numerous map updates.

It's an interesting choice not to bundle a game with a special edition handheld - specifically one designed around the game itself. However, it is nice to see Nintendo continue to offer extra content alongside their new titles - especially as they begin their transition to their next big console.

Fire Emblem - Awakening: JRPG Fans Rejoice! Sun, 05 May 2013 18:15:41 -0400 Red Blue Yellow

Can you hear that? Swords, Axes, Spears clashing? Bows and spells shooting across your screen in full 3D? The iconic theme blasting in full forte; the melody chiming at the beauty and misery of the battlefield? This is Fire Emblem – Awakening. The newest edition to this massive JRPG series, Awakening brings a fresh new look and ease of play to the 3DS library. 2013 marks a great year for the 3DS, and Awakening’s release begins that year to the applaud of fans and critics.

Awakening opens up with stunning CGI cutscenes, really showing off the power of the 3DS. These are used sparingly throughout the story, unfortunately. The character design was done by Yusuke Kozaki, the designer for No More Heroes. Naturally her style really shines through here, and if you’re a fan of the series in general you’ll notice right away that the 2D and 3D designs are much different from the typical Fire Emblem titles. The character design was a fitting change for a game that is trying to capture more of an audience than it has in the past.

Casual Mode

The addition of the new Casual Mode will definitely attract players that are, well, more casual. A common trait of the Fire Emblem series, or attraction depending on who you talk to, has been that when your characters die in battle, they die for good. Naturally, this establishes a sense of real fear when in battle, almost akin to how someone might feel on a real battlefield. Casual Mode removes that fear. Characters will return to your roster at the end of the battle even if they fall in combat. While Awakening is my first game in the series, I still found it appropriate to play on Normal Mode to give myself a bit of a challenge. I found while playing that Normal Mode is well suited for this game, as there are other ways that succeed in rewarding the player for their choices. If you are an experienced player of any kind, you should steer away from Casual Mode as it will make the game too easy. Most likely it was added so that your five year old brother can also enjoy it.


Awakening plays similarly to other SRPG titles: you pick your team members, their places on the battlefield, and accomplish mission goals. You trade damage with enemies using swords, axes, and spears in a sort of rock-paper-scissor format. Damage is calculated based on the stats of your units. There is one major feature here that really set Awakening apart from not only other Fire Emblem games, but the entirety of the genre itself: the ~*~Relationships~*~! Relationships in Fire Emblem start like you would expect them to in real life: companions on the battlefield grow closer through supporting each other and learn how to compliment each other better, providing better support over time. In technical terms, each time you attack with a unit, and another unit is within range, the two will do a combination attack with added bonuses that increase each time the two support each other. Units can also ‘Pair Up’ to not only provide permanent support by acting as one unit instead of two, but also to provide a meat shield for damaged units or transport a slower unit across the map via winged unicorn mounts.

The technical side of the ~*~Relationships~*~! in Awakening mesh well with the story and character’s personalities. After a number of support attacks and defenses, a “pair” can level up their relationship. This is done outside of battle during a unique conversation that range between quirky to typical, depending on whom you’ve matched up. I have to say, based on the number of playable characters and possible matchups, I would consider a second playthrough just to see what another character couple would be like. Every character in the game has a distinct, memorable personality, and who you pair them up with directly effects their dialogue as well as the bonuses granted in combat (ex: a thief will grant more speed bonuses while a mage would grant magic bonuses). I felt like some sort of all-powerful overlord, making these characters interact for my amusement to see what their dialogue trees would be like as they progressed in their relationship.

This being said, I thought that I was being forced to use this feature. It’s great that its there, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel like I should have to force characters to wife up just to get a bonus. There is something to be said for an army riding out into battle, playing grab ass with one another and blowing each other kisses from across the battlefield.

What's Lacking?

When relationships are such a huge mechanic in a game, I am a little uncomfortable with the fact that nothing other than heterosexual couples can be found. I understand that unique dialogue trees need to be written for each couple but it’s unfair to focus your gameplay around the support found in deep relationships without giving credit to gay, lesbian, or transgender people or couples.

How about the burley, 2-handed swordsman Gregor growing to love Prince Chrom for his regal splendor and prowess in combat? That sounds pretty realistic, much more realistic than a man falling in love with the immortal child character Nami. Even if the game were to be marketed towards children, as a culture we should be encouraging love in all its forms. Personally, I think the concept of permanent death in this game can be more frightening for a child than the idea of two men or two women deciding to tie the knot.

The Voice Over Problems

Another painful fault of Awakening is the voice over. While every cutscene is fully voiced, the back and forth dialogue of the characters is not. What you’re left with is this sort of one word voice substitute for a sentence or two of speech. This one word blurb happens for every. single. screen. of text. This is especially frustrating if you’re a fast reader. In some cases I turned the volume off just to dull the voices, one instance I’m thinking of is when you encounter a group of bandits attacking a town and the leaders of the brigade keep yelling “DAHHRLING!” at each other. Although the game did succeed in creeping me out whenever they spoke, this was really going above and beyond for enemies that I would slay in one mission and never hear from again.

Over All

These few shortcomings should not hold you back from picking up a copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening. In my eyes the SRPG market has had only a few shining gems in it’s long history, such as FF Tactics, Disgaea and Valkyria Chronicles. Awakening has joined their ranks.

For bonus points, and to find out why no character models have feet, read the developer interview with 8-4 studios here.