10 Reasons Why You Should Play Fire Emblem
Perhaps you missed the recent release of Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS. That’s OK, we here at Arcade Sushi are here to catch you up to speed before the much awaited Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem comes out. What’s that? You don’t know why you should care about Fire Emblem? Ridiculous. We can think of 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Fire Emblem right off the top of our heads!
There are certain things in Fire Emblem that carry over from title to title. If you are a Fire Emblem Veteran, you know that Killer Swords have a high critical rate but low durability. You know that wind magic and bows will shred winged units, like Wyverns and Pegasi. You know that you should probably wait till level 20 to class up, and your stats are only as good as your growth rates. These basic concepts have been around since the days of the NES, and SNES, and is one of 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Fire Emblem.
At this point everyone knows Marth, Roy, and Ike because of their entrance into the Smash Bros. series, but Fire Emblem characters always follow a particular pattern. For example, many times you'll be given a powerful pre-promoted unit in the beginning who has horrible growth rates, thus acting like little more than an XP siphon for better units. You’ll also be given a villager who has crap stats, but phenomenal growth rates that will eventually become the most powerful member in your party.
Fire Emblem does not pull punches, and that’s a good thing. Make a wrong move and you’ll find your characters dying left and right. Basically, the entire game is a fight to see who can one-hit kill the opposing force more. More specifically, you need to one-hit kill the opposing force and avoid all of it’s one-hit kills, because if one of your units dies, you will probably want to reset the game, for reasons we will talk about later.
When the majority of the aming public thinks of Fire Emblem, they think of the current gen titles like Fire Emblem Awakening. However, the series has numerous phenomenal titles dating back to early gaming consoles, and they are no less fun. If you really want to see Marth’s backstory, take him out for a spin on the SNES, and if you are really hardcore, you might want to try your hand at the Japan only Fire Emblem Geneology of the Holy Wars.
The Fire Emblem fandom is one of the most dedicated fandoms out there. It’s because of them that translation patches for most of the old Japan only titles are even available. However, you’ll find far more than that if you dig a little deeper. The FE fandom has put on some of the most awesome panels and skits at conventions, developed some of the most intricate cosplay, and have gone out of their way to reverse engineer the random number generator in every game in order to give you the best chance of stat ups. It’s the best kind of obsession and its one of the 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Fire Emblem.
One of the coolest things about Fire Emblem is the fact that its story is continuous across nearly all Fire Emblem titles. You may have noticed in Fire Emblem Awakening that Marth was mentioned numerous times. That’s because he exists as a real historical figure in the universe. One of the most enjoyable things you can do with the Fire Emblem series is play them from beginning to end chronologically.
There’s something about games with ongoing class systems that is just enjoyable. Everyone knows what a Black Mage does in Final Fantasy, and similarly, everyone knows what Demon Fang and Tiger Blade do in the Tales Series. Series staples like the Aether skill, the Myrmidon class, mounted units, and more, are some of the most recognizable parts of Fire Emblem. Earlier titles simply allowed you to class up as your level increased, but newer titles let you swap around character classes as you like to create your dream army.
While some people don’t like it, Perma-Death is actually one of the greatest things Fire Emblem has going for it. First, it creates attachment to your characters. They aren’t simply units, they are people with lives, and hopes, and wants, that can die out there on the battlefield. Secondly, it has allowed Fire Emblem to produce games with branching stories and multiple endings. Finally, it gives your loss condition some weight. You may be able to continue the game after losing a few units, but if you act that carelessly with your troops, you eventually won’t have any left go up against the final boss.
Though purely aesthetic, Fire Emblem’s take on swordplay is just cathartically satisfying. Seeing you run your enemy through after flourishing your sword and doing a backflip or something is just phenomenal. Critical hits in the Fire Emblem series are some of the most satisfying attacks ever to be seen in strategy RPGs. It’s hard to explain until you see it yourself, but anyone who has raise a high crit-rate myrmidon knows what we are talking about.
While early NES and Genesis days had plenty of strategy RPG offerings, there aren’t many left in today's game library. Shining Force is a shadow of its former self, and Final Fantasy Tactics has never outdone its original PS1 offering. However, Fire Emblem continues strong, innovating on its age old premise, and continuing to show us how good strategy RPGs are made. Frankly, supporting Fire Emblem supports the strategy RPG genre as a whole, and that's the #1 reason in our list of 10 Reasons Why You Should Play Fire Emblem.