What should I know about Fire Emblem before playing this?

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#1 Posted by Phatmac (5723 posts) -

I've never played a Fire Emblem game. I've heard great things about the franchise so I'll be playing the latest game in the franchise. I'm a fan of these types of games(FF tactics) but I'm worried that I may be getting into something that may be too crazy. Can any FE experts out there let me know some key things about the franchise and what I should expect from the 3DS game? Lastly, should I play any of the previous games in the series?

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

#3 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1673 posts) -

Nah, it's not too crazy. If you like Strategy RPGs, you'll quite enjoy Fire Emblem, methinks. The key thing to know has already been mentioned by the king of video games. Don't let people die! It's sad :(

#4 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

#5 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

Sometimes, in fact MOST of the time. If the character is like SUPER important in the story they will just leave battle, but if the character is just a random soldier that you have (which most are) they'll be dead forever. All dialogue with the random soldier will also be skipped over.

#6 Posted by TAFAE (150 posts) -

I don't know much about this particular Fire Emblem, but if it's anything like the GBA ones, you probably want a FAQ handy to know how to recruit all of the possible characters and what you need to do to get to the secret/extra maps and shops. Also, thirding what VGK said. Play the GBA ones maybe? I really loved those games and I don't think the formula has changed a whole lot, just the presentation.

#7 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

@DoctorWelch said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

Sometimes, in fact MOST of the time. If the character is like SUPER important in the story they will just leave battle, but if the character is just a random soldier that you have (which most are) they'll be dead forever. All dialogue with the random soldier will also be skipped over.

So it's basically like cutting out some random parts of the game that you just don't get to see, but everything from there plays out as planned?

#8 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

Actually, Awakening also contains the easier mode that doesn't kill characters permanently and just forces them to sit out until the next battle. But that's hardly the way to play the game, so.

@Phatmac: Some things to note:

  • The vast majority of weapons in the game are limited in their number of uses. With few exceptions, will eventually break, so you should always keep a stock of weapons, but don't get too crazy with the gold spending all at once. Just buy what you think you'll need for the near term. Money doesn't grow on trees in these games.
  • The experience system is structured so that all units level up each time they gain 100 EXP. Units that kill enemies earn the bulk of experience, while just damaging enemies earns less.
  • The series features a rock-paper-scissors relationship between the three primary weapon types (swords > axes > lances > swords). Units that fight opposing units with a superior weapon type will get a slight boost and the opponent will be penalized, but it's not a guaranteed victory, either.
  • Some characters can only be recruited if specific characters take part in the battles in which they appear. For example, in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, it is only possible to recruit Kieran if Oscar talks to him before the battle ends.
  • The requirements for causing a unit to change class varies from game to game; some allow characters to auto-upgrade upon hitting the first tier's level cap, while others require using special items to initiate the change. I'm not sure which system Awakening uses.
  • Characters that build support relationships with each other gain natural bonuses in battle so long as the two characters that share the bond remain in close proximity on the battlefield. Awakening is also the first game in the series that lets units team up to attack enemies simultaneously.
  • Make sure that units are able to level up evenly as you go. Depending too much on your early game powerhouse will hurt you later on.
  • Flying units are SUPER-WEAK to archers and ballistas. I'm not even joking. Handle them with care.
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#9 Edited by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

Yes, you can let any character, or than your main "lord" die permanently. There is a story, but it molds itself around who is alive/dead to an extent, mostly in the way of dialogue.

Recently, FE games have been offering a casual mode where death is not permanent, and you only lose said character for the remainder of the stage.

Characters have different growth rates for stats upon level up, which is added on top of the different growth rates of classes. Awakening continues a system only seen previously in one other game where your initial cast will have children, whom you use for the second half of the game. The growth rates of those children will also depend on whom you paired together as their parents.

This particular FE will have a much more in depth support system to the point where they will provide support attacks as well as offer significant stat bonuses when placed in a twin unit. This is new to the franchise, but if you've played a Super Robot Taisen game, it should look very familiar.

#10 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@DoctorWelch said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

Sometimes, in fact MOST of the time. If the character is like SUPER important in the story they will just leave battle, but if the character is just a random soldier that you have (which most are) they'll be dead forever. All dialogue with the random soldier will also be skipped over.

So it's basically like cutting out some random parts of the game that you just don't get to see, but everything from there plays out as planned?

Pretty much. If you lose a character, in most cases, the game will continue on without them. However, if the game's "lord" character (ex: Chrom in Awakening) or certain other important characters are killed, then it's game over.

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#11 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

@DoctorWelch said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Death is permanent. When somebody on your team dies, you restart the whole damn chapter. (That's not a gameplay feature; it's something you do yourself.)

I've never played one either. So you can just continue on playing the game after key characters die? Does that effect the story? Is there a story? I'm confused.

Sometimes, in fact MOST of the time. If the character is like SUPER important in the story they will just leave battle, but if the character is just a random soldier that you have (which most are) they'll be dead forever. All dialogue with the random soldier will also be skipped over.

So it's basically like cutting out some random parts of the game that you just don't get to see, but everything from there plays out as planned?

You will not miss out on major story events. But in most FE games, the final levels can be brutal so do what said and restart a chapter if a character dies because most likely that character will be slightly needed in the stages to come. Even characters that seem bad can be changed into different kinds of units and become more powerful over the course of the game so no matter what no unit is worthless.

#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Joeyoe31 said:

no matter what no unit is worthless.

Except Jeigan units, but they've been phased out in favor of Oifayes, in recent years. (Yes, that's a thing.)

#13 Edited by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Joeyoe31 said:

no matter what no unit is worthless.

Except Jeigan units, but they've been phased out in favor of Oifayes, in recent years. (Yes, that's a thing.)

Good riddance too.

Though, even aside from Jeigan units, there's gonna be plenty of useless units that are largely useless due to their subpar growth rates (compared to the non-existent growth rates of a Jeigan). Not all units are created equal in the end.

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -
#15 Posted by J12088 (440 posts) -

Does everyone just restart? Really? Nobody sees that as part of the game and continues on? Is it impossible to win otherwise? Seems stupid.

#16 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (680 posts) -

I'm excited to try the demo next Thursday. I haven't played Fire Emblem since the first English release on the GBA, a game I failed to complete but still adored.

#17 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@J12088 said:

Does everyone just restart? Really? Nobody sees that as part of the game and continues on? Is it impossible to win otherwise? Seems stupid.

No, it's perfectly possible to win (so long as you don't let all of your non-critical units die). People are just perfectionists that don't want anyone to die.

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#18 Posted by Phatmac (5723 posts) -

Thanks guys for all the info! I'll be interested in playing this game soon.

#19 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar:

As bad as Jeigan was, there have been worse.

Statistical evidence that Tear Ring Saga is inferior.

#20 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Turambar said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar:

As bad as Jeigan was, there have been worse.

Statistical evidence that Tear Ring Saga is inferior.

Evidence to the contrary.
#21 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@J12088 said:

Does everyone just restart? Really? Nobody sees that as part of the game and continues on? Is it impossible to win otherwise? Seems stupid.

The game keeps a steady supply of new characters coming in, in case you lose too many, so you'll never truly be in an impossible to win spot outside of hard/lunatic modes. But those characters are rarely as good as the characters you would have spent using all this time (lower base stats) and they usually aren't that interesting a character from a plot perspective either.

#22 Posted by rjayb89 (7717 posts) -

Can't wait to try the demo (coming January 17th) as I haven't played any other Fire Emblem game before either. The only full experience I feel it is comparable to it could be XCOM: Enemy Unknown and I've got that game's mechanics down, to an extent. I've played some Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics here and there but never followed up by getting my own copy and I can't remember if I had any strong feelings toward them.

#23 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11498 posts) -

@Turambar said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar:

As bad as Jeigan was, there have been worse.

Statistical evidence that Tear Ring Saga is inferior.

I should really finish that game at some point so this can turn into a three-way argument. Thus, based on my previous record of playing Japanese FE games, you can expect my blog sometime in May... 2015.

On Topic: Swords beat axes, Axes beat lances, Lances beat swords.

#24 Edited by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Evidence to the contrary.

@Turambar said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar:

As bad as Jeigan was, there have been worse.

Statistical evidence that Tear Ring Saga is inferior.

I don't know, what level is he? because 39 hp, 0 def, and 18 spd looks pretty subpar to me. Though at 65 atk, he either has a weapon with crazy mt, or he has stupid amounts of str. (Never played Tear Ring Saga, so I have no idea how that game balances its stats).

#25 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Turambar:

I want to say that he wasn't at full HP, but looking back on my screenshots, he always seemed to be in that range as far as HP goes. Whatever. With enough speed to gang up on his enemies (you only need 5+ speed on your enemy to get a second hit (and weapon weight factors into it, obviously)) and skills like "get 5 extra hits", "suck up some HP" and "get 5 more extra hits", what does it matter if the enemy gets a second chance? I might as well add that the weapon I gave him for that screenshot possibly jacked up his attack on monsters like that dragon. I know it jacked up his critical.

#26 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

There is a guy named Marth and he is great in Smash Bros.

#27 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

There is a guy named Marth and he is great in Smash Bros.

Actually, Marth is a DLC character in Awakening, as are a number of other major characters from across the series, all of whom have new special classes and artwork. They even made Anna (the closest figure that the series has to a mascot) a playable character.

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#28 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

Anna (the closest figure that the series has to a mascot)

What about Marth and Roy? Hell, I'm pretty sure they only included them so people who've never played a Fire Emblem game before would stop asking if this is the one with Marth and Roy :P.

#29 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

Anna (the closest figure that the series has to a mascot)

What about Marth and Roy? Hell, I'm pretty sure they only included them so people who've never played a Fire Emblem game before would stop asking if this is the one with Marth and Roy :P.

I'm not sure you understand what a mascot is.

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#30 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

There is a guy named Marth and he is great in Smash Bros.

Actually, Marth is a DLC character in Awakening, as are a number of other major characters from across the series, all of whom have new special classes and artwork. They even made Anna (the closest figure that the series has to a mascot) a playable character.

Sounds like some Disgaea like DLC.

#31 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Hailinel:

A character most identifiable with a franchise?

#32 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

A character most identifiable with a franchise?

By your definition, Amuro Ray or Char Aznable could be Gundam's mascot instead of Haro.

So no.

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#33 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

By your definition, Amuro Ray or Char Aznable could be Gundam's mascot instead of Haro.

I don't know what any of that means.

Also, at least in Marth's case, there's a case to be made. Japanese Fire Emblem fans love the Akaneia games, so it would make sense to hold up the protagonist of these games as the mascot for the franchise. After all, he was the only Fire Emblem character to appear in playable form in both Melee and Brawl.

(I should have mentioned that the original comment that sparked this discussion was a joke.)

#34 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar:

I want to say that he wasn't at full HP, but looking back on my screenshots, he always seemed to be in that range as far as HP goes. Whatever. With enough speed to gang up on his enemies (you only need 5+ speed on your enemy to get a second hit (and weapon weight factors into it, obviously)) and skills like "get 5 extra hits", "suck up some HP" and "get 5 more extra hits", what does it matter if the enemy gets a second chance? I might as well add that the weapon I gave him for that screenshot possibly jacked up his attack on monsters like that dragon. I know it jacked up his critical.

That just makes him a worse Ike >_>

#35 Posted by EmuLeader (558 posts) -

Also, many characters get recruited during a mission when certain other characters talk (get next to and "talk" instead of "fight") to them. This is the only way to get them. Alot of the time it is just the main characters that need to speak with them, but in later levels some strong or other optional characters are unavailable unless you have specific people deployed and can manage to get to them without dying or killing that character.

#36 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Turambar: @Hailinel: @Joeyoe31: @Video_Game_King: Now I have the urge to play a Fire Emblem game. Any advice as to where I should start? When I jump into a long running franchise, I usually like to start at the beginning. Is there any reason not to do that?

#37 Posted by Hunter5024 (5555 posts) -

I don't know anything about this game specifically but here's some general Fire Emblem tricks I wish I had known the fist time I had played these games. There's probably going to be a character at the beginning of the game who seems really powerful, it's too good to be true, it will be a bad idea to use them too much (until later) because they will take valuable experience. If you come to a desert chapter, pull up a walkthrough. Ideally you will want to wait until your character is the maximum level they can be before you evolve them.

Also I disagree with what VGK said about resetting, you might drive yourself insane if you restart every chapter where you lose a unit in your first game, my advice is to learn to accept reasonable losses.

#38 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Turambar: @Hailinel: @Joeyoe31: @Video_Game_King: Now I have the urge to play a Fire Emblem game. Any advice as to where I should start? When I jump into a long running franchise, I usually like to start at the beginning. Is there any reason not to do that?

Not really. In terms of story, the games in the Fire Emblem series aren't all connected. For example, Radiant Dawn is a direct sequel to the previous game, Path of Radiance, but neither game is connected to any other game in the series in a narrative sense. You would probably do well to start off with Awakening; the casual mode is present in that game if you're daunted by the permanent death aspect, and the story, while loosely connected to the early games starring Marth, is set so far in the future of that world that I doubt that a newcomer would lose too much in the way of context.

Beyond that, you might seek out Path of Radiance on the GameCube, which is my current favorite in the series and is probably among the easiest to slide into. Also, Fire Emblem on the GBA (the first released in North America) features an entire first storyline that's designed specifically to educate newcomers on Fire Emblem's core concepts.

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#39 Posted by Turambar (6677 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

@Turambar: @Hailinel: @Joeyoe31: @Video_Game_King: Now I have the urge to play a Fire Emblem game. Any advice as to where I should start? When I jump into a long running franchise, I usually like to start at the beginning. Is there any reason not to do that?

Considering the real beginning is on the NES and in Japanese only...

The first Fire Emblem (Just titled Fire Emblem) that came state side was actually the 7th one, and is on the GBA. That's probably a better starting point than any of the other ones released in North America for someone new to the franchise as it is the most "simplistic" when it comes to systems. Shadow Dragons on the DS is a remake of the first game, but introduces customizable classes which can be a bit overwhelming if you start trying to figure out how to use it to maximize growth rates and what not.

#40 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Turambar said:

Considering the real beginning is on the NES and in Japanese only...

Plus there's the lack of a battery save, meaning you can't restart when somebody dies. You have to put Marth in danger and hope he dies, allowing you to use the "this only works while the console's still plugged in" save.

Other than that, I'd agree with Turambar: of the available Fire Emblems, start with the one called Fire Emblem. To some extent, it was made to introduce Melee fans to Fire Emblem (because how else did we all hear about the series in the first place?). Plus it has everything that makes Fire Emblem great, like story, characters, strategy, etc.

#41 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (680 posts) -

I would just like to say that Florina was a real bitch to keep alive in the GBA Fire Emblem and was one of the reasons I quit pursuing the ending of the game.

#42 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Hailinel:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Turambar said:

Considering the real beginning is on the NES and in Japanese only...

Plus there's the lack of a battery save, meaning you can't restart when somebody dies. You have to put Marth in danger and hope he dies, allowing you to use the "this only works while the console's still plugged in" save.

Other than that, I'd agree with Turambar: of the available Fire Emblems, start with the one called Fire Emblem. To some extent, it was made to introduce Melee fans to Fire Emblem (because how else did we all hear about the series in the first place?). Plus it has everything that makes Fire Emblem great, like story, characters, strategy, etc.

Or...ya know...I could just learn Japanese...

#43 Edited by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@DoctorWelch:

You say that like it's gonna be easy. Plus there's a full translation available in both patch and script form, so what's the point? Learn Japanese for Berwick Saga if you're going to learn Japanese. Go ahead and do it for Tear Ring Saga, too, since the only available translations suck major ass.

#44 Posted by Vonocourt (2123 posts) -

So the gamestop near me has the wii game for forty bucks used. Never played a Fire Emblem, should I pick it up?

#45 Posted by Video_Game_King (36109 posts) -

@Vonocourt:

Not as your first! The difficulty's gonna make you cry.

#46 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Yeah, I know, I said it like that because I was being sarcastic. I mean, I actually do want to learn to read/write/speak Japanese some day, but playing Fire Emblem isn't my number one reason. I will say that I've always thought watching anime or playing old Japanese JRPGs would be a great way to actually put the language to use when I do eventually try to learn it.

#47 Posted by Hailinel (23972 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Vonocourt:

Not as your first! The difficulty's gonna make you cry.

To elaborate, Radiant Dawn is a game that's designed for Fire Emblem veterans. Not only does the story require familiarity with Path of Radiance on the GameCube to get the most out of the characters, but the game itself is very, very challenging and does a lot of things to even throw veteran players for loops.

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#48 Posted by peachesrcool (75 posts) -

@A_Cute_Squirtle: GO FINISH IT NOW WHILE YOU WAIT

#49 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (680 posts) -

@peachesrcool said:

@A_Cute_Squirtle: GO FINISH IT NOW WHILE YOU WAIT

I actually picked up Shadow Dragon after reading through this thread. So fantastic.

#50 Posted by OmegaChosen (644 posts) -

@A_Cute_Squirtle said:

@peachesrcool said:

@A_Cute_Squirtle: GO FINISH IT NOW WHILE YOU WAIT

I actually picked up Shadow Dragon after reading through this thread. So fantastic.

You enjoying it? I never bothered to finish it myself. I just found it kinda...bland. The art style and lack of support conversations definitely didn't help win me over either. :/

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