Here we are with another guest post from Walters, the creator of the FIRRREEEE EMMMMBLEMMM! blog. His blog is dedicated to all things Fire Emblem, claiming to be the only dedicated Fire Emblem blog on WordPress.com! He covers the entire series, not just the series since it’s United States debut, so be sure to check it out after reading this lovely article he has written.
Awakening Players: How’d You Miss Out On Fire Emblem GBA?
Written by: Walters
Fire Emblem: Awakening has set the gaming world on fire. With positive critic reviews and strong sales (despite the shipping issue keep in mind), it’s mostly been praised as the Fire Emblem game that has gotten people to check out what Fire Emblem is all about. So…how come now of all times is this series getting popular? Why didn’t it get popular back when, you know, Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance came out a decade ago? There are questions that need answers, and I hope you’ll be willing to share it!
Now, let me set the situation a bit: Fire Emblem was once a Japan exclusive franchise, having six games released respectively on the Famicom, Super Famicom, and the Game Boy Advance, and none of them seeing a Western release. Super Smash Bros. Melee came out in 2001 however, and introduced the rest of the world to two characters that were only playable in their respective games in Japan: Marth, the main character in Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryuu to Hikari No Tsurugi and Monshou No Nazo (Famicom, 1990, Super Famicom, 1994) and Roy, the main character in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (Fuuin No Tsurugi; Game Boy Advance, 2002). That was our first exposure to these characters, and that was when interest began in what the franchise was all about. It took two years for it to happen, but the West finally saw a localized release of a Fire Emblem game. And you know what? It was highly praised by critics
as well. It definitely seemed like a title that should have been gobbled up by any player with a Game Boy Advance…
…Unfortunately it didn’t. If it did, then it surely would not have been considered a lesser tier franchise in Nintendo’s list of gaming creations. It would not have taken Awakening to be considered the one title that everyone must play, that had drawn people into learning more about the franchise. And it almost certainly would not be considered “The Best Fire Emblem Ever” by people who’ve only played that one game.
Ok, ok, I should go cool my head and calm down. For starters, Awakening is a game that does deserve all of its praise (I should know, I’ve put in over 100 hours!), as it combines some of the series’s hallmarks (the marriage system in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of The Holy Wars for the Super Famicom and you, the player, being integral to the story in Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou No Nazo for the Nintendo DS, for example), adds a new gameplay feature (Pair Up), and has loads of content that will get you playing for a long while. It’s the game that you will get your money’s worth.
And there’s no getting around the one thing that I know frustrated a lot of people who’ve played any Fire Emblem game, much less Fire Emblem GBA — Permadeath. It’s been a tradition in every game in the series, and considering you build up your characters and get to know them thanks to events in the game, to not be able to play as them again once their HP goes down to 0 can be a major turnoff. That is one of the reasons why Casual mode was introduced in Awakening, to actually get people to want to play the game, as opposed to scoffing because “My character dies and its permanent!”
But I am generally curious for all you gamers, especially those who had a Game Boy Advance: how’d you miss out on Fire Emblem? Did you even know about Fire Emblem coming out in 2003? If you did, what convinced you to not pick up the game? Also, for those who did pick it up, did you like it or did you hate it? Please feel free to share your reasons, good, bad or somehow in-between!