"I came into this game as another one of those guys who only knew Fire Emblem because of Marth and Roy from Super Smash Bros Melee. So basically, I didn't really know much about the game other than the fact that it's kinda similar to Advance Wars. After playing through the first few minutes of it, I was completely sucked into the world of Princess Eirika and her comrades. "
I came into this game as another one of those guys who only knew Fire Emblem because of Marth and Roy from Super Smash Bros Melee. So basically, I didn't really know much about the game other than the fact that it's kinda similar to Advance Wars. After playing through the first few minutes of it, I was completely sucked into the world of Princess Eirika and her comrades.
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones doesn't involve Marth or Roy, but it does feature a great turn-based strategy system that was easy to learn. Knowing that I haven't played a single Fire Emblem game before, I was surprised to find how simple the system and picked it up very quickly. Like in other turn-based strategy games, you have a bunch of characters who move a certain number of spaces and attack enemy units, labeled with the color red. You have three different classes of weapons and magic; axes, lances, and swords; and anima, light, and dark. Some weapons are strong against others, such as axes are good against lances, and this is the key to winning battles. To beat a chapter, you must complete the mission. Usually, this will be capturing the gate or beating the boss.
The simplicity of the battle system is what really hooks you into this game. I know many other games who would be turned off by a high difficulty at the start of the game, but this one allows you to choose between three at the beginning of the game. Easy mode allows beginners to go through the game with a tutorial, and then there's hard mode that skips those tutorials since it's assumed that you've played the game already. There's also the normal mode for you inbetweeners. Along with the three difficulties, there's always those early chapters that walk you through the stage so you know a bit of what you're thrown out into the monster-filled world of main character princess Eirika and her brother, Ephraim.
The battles in the game never got boring for me, even when I restarted several times on the chapter because one of my beloved characters died. When you make an unfortunate mistake and your character pays for it, you can't revive him. There are no Phoenix Downs or Revives in this game to bring back your character. They'll stay dead forever. For all you cheaters who think you can just restart the game on the last move to prevent your silly accident, the game prevents your from doing that. It saves your every move in a "suspended file." Whenever you shut off your game, it saves. I mean, it's great when your battery's about to kick the bucket, but you'll have to restart the entire chapter if your character dies. You can always continue the game without them, but it's always a pleasure(to me, at least) to level up your characters and change their classes into something more kickass.
There's a ton of things that you can do with your character. There are many different classes that they can change to, such as Rogue, Great Knight, Paladin, and many more. Also, if you place two compatible characters next to each other for a certain number of turns, you can view a support conversation between them. If you get enough of them, it can also affect your ending.
Just having different character endings is probably enough to keep you playing after the game. However, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones takes an extra step by adding an extra dungeon where you can train your characters and obtain secret ones that you see during the campaign. You can continue your file where you left off beating the game and play any map that you want. Although there are no extra scenes, it's still fun to play and beat all the stages the game has to offer.
Although the high point of the game was the battle system, I'm not saying that the other parts of the game are bad, although the storyline did suck and was cliche. I mean, who hasn't heard of going around trying to stop evildoers from taking precious things(stones in this case) that will destroy the world? Of course, you have the beautiful, kind, princess and the strong, honorable prince to stop them. Only a handful of characters show any kind of personality that wasn't all kind and mushy. Looking at the game's own character profiles, each bio was pretty much a synonym of the last one. I guess this makes it less painful if you decide to continue the game with a dead character. Or the character designers are just lazy vultures that don't really think they make a difference in the game. Probably the latter.
Some parts of the game are no more than average. The graphics are pretty nice. They have detailed sprites on the battle screen that move when you move your cursor over them. Character portraits are beautifully colored and drawn. Still, I felt that there was something...missing about the graphics. A few parts seem a little cramped on the screen, like the developers tried to put too much for you to see. The audio also isn't exactly the best. Some tracks sound similar and there really isn't that much variety. Although the sound test states proves that there are over 40 songs, it didn't feel that there were that many to me.
Sometimes, the simplicity of a game is what really makes the game excellent. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a great example of this. The opening and simple, but still fun, battle system really hooks you in from the very beginning and will keep you seated until the end of the game. There are few games that I can think of that can do that that aren't masterpieces or classics. Although this game has some flaws, it does a most things really well and is worth your time. If you ever have a chance to pick up this game, be sure to do it. It's easily a game that will give you 20+ hours. The only thing you'll regret are the hours you'll waste playing the game after it snares you in the opening.
Community review by strawhat (September 10, 2006)
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