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Forums > Submission Feedback > overdrive's Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo review

This thread is in response to a review for Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo on the SNES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: randxian
Posted: March 14, 2010 (01:17 PM)
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That's where luck came into play, as when enemies are connecting with attacks far more frequently than their mediocre hit rate would suggest (or conversely, your guys with great accuracy unexpectedly whiff on a few swings), even solid strategy can lead to failure.

Granted, this is one of the downsides to the series. To me, Fire Emblem is a combination of chess and Texas hold em' poker. The latter is a combination of luck and skill, which is what Fire Emblem as a series sometimes amounts to.

I think a 5 is a fair score if it didn't really impress you, although I strongly disagree with knocking it for feeling "outdated" and not being as in-depth as more recent installments. This was the first FE released on the SNES; of course it's not going to be as advanced as later games.

To me, this would be akin to going back and giving the original Legend of Zelda a poor/mediocre score just because newer games have essentially the same story, but with better graphics, a more fleshed out story, and more NPC interaction. Knocking classic games for feeling classic seems kinda silly to me.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: March 17, 2010 (08:05 PM)
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You know, in a way you're right. It's one of those weird things about reviewing retro games. I think Zipp's Myst review is a perfect counterpoint example of the same thing.

If it's a retro game that you have fond memories of, that will be reflected in your review, score, etc. If I picked up Zelda with the intention of writing a completely fair staff review, it would likely end up very similar to the unabashed praise-fest my user review of it is. I have too many great memories with that game.

But what if it's a game you've never experienced before? All you have then are your initial feelings about it. Or in the case of this game, my feelings of IT compared to those of a more modern Fire Emblem.

To counteract that, I alternated playing Monshou and the first American GBA FE. The simple truth was that I found I much preferred the newer game because of the ways the series had evolved. To me, that justified the score I gave it.

But, yet, back when the game was released, I'm sure it was quite critically acclaimed, so is it fair to review it when I'm not familiar with it...but familiar with a more modern game in the series?

Brings up an interesting dilemma. Is there really any purpose to reviewing those 8/16 bit systems other than personal desire/for the hell of it/fancy contest writing/etc.? The general theme of a retro review tends to be "I used to love/hate this game and here's why it's great/sucked!" or "This game was considered awesome, but BOY! Has it aged badly!"

It's something I've been thinking about for a good while. Over the last couple years, I've probably gone from 35-40 reviews to 25-30 reviews and a big part of that is simply that I do more modern games (which tend to be longer...and cost money, oftentimes) and fewer retro games (shorter on average and easily emulated). A lot of times, if it's a retro game, it's one I'm familiar with or one that I know I'll HATE, so I can put forth a good ol' fashioned bash. And the main reason for that is that I really don't know if it's possible for someone who's kept up with every new gen of systems to truly be fair to the average quality retro game that was the shit back then, but has been outdone big-time by more recent versions.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: March 17, 2010 (08:40 PM)
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I've often seen the argument made that if rated in comparison to modern games, Zelda and Super Mario Bros and Ys would score poorly. In other words, those people -- supposed fans of the games in question -- are saying:

"The Legend of Zelda sucks now."
or
"Super Mario Bros sucks now."
or
"Ys Book 1&2 sucks now."

Really? They do?

Feeling classic and feeling old are two different things. If a game has been trumped in all ways by newer games (especially newer episodes in the same series), then what point is there in playing the original? Is it really a classic?

In other words, if reviewing a fun retro game, focus on what it did well, not on what it did first. It's fine to be impressed by ingenuity, but that's not an excuse to award pity points. It's hard to gush praise if newer Fire Emblems do the same stuff and more. But if there's something interesting or naively charming about a particular old instalment, then by all means, focus on that!

If nothing grips the reviewer, then it's fair to say that it just feels outdated, clunky, and old. After all... it is.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: randxian
Posted: March 18, 2010 (05:37 PM)
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what point is there in playing the original? Is it really a classic?

Because although newer versions are similar, there will always be subtle nuances that make each game in a series unique. Sure, LttP and OOT are basically the same thing as the original in terms of plot, but LoZ has a spookier and more lonely feel. Tell me another game that didn't literally scare people a bit with that fantastic dungeon piece. I've talked to people that admitted the music used to scare the shit out of them. Hell, it's still one of the more well known pieces to date. None of the newer Zeldas ever had that effect on people. Have you met anyone who was every the least bit intimdated by anything from OOT?

Having such a psychological effect is pretty gosh darn good for some clunky old fart of a video game. It's the little things that matter.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: March 18, 2010 (05:51 PM)
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Yeah, the original LoZ probably wasn't the best example since that game is brilliant all around. I agree with the general point that you're trying to make, though. Old games should be fun to play now because they offer something that transcends technical limitations. That should be the goal of every game made, ever. It should be the goal of games made right now and in 10 years, the stuff we find amazing now should still hold up to scrutiny.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: March 18, 2010 (06:10 PM)
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In other words, it's fair for people 10 years from now to rip on today's hits if they aren't having fun.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: randxian
Posted: March 18, 2010 (06:51 PM)
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but that's not an excuse to award pity points

Agreed. I certainly never intended to insinuate such. If a game is good, then it should get praise. If it's garbage, then it's garbage. If it's mediocre, then it's mediocre.

I'm just advocating that we give games their due, that's all.


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