Is this a good "first" Fire Emblem game?

#1 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3782 posts) -

After all the talk about upcoming games in the series, and after hearing the announcement of a Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover game, I started getting a bit interested in trying Fire Emblem out.

I'm not much of a hardcore RPG/Strategy guy. I play a few Final Fantasy-type RPGs and Persona, and then the basic ones like Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi, and Costume Quest, so I know this series might not really take with me (I also really want to give X-COM a shot); I know that going in. Since that's the case, I kind of want to ease myself into it by playing either the most newbie-friendly one, or the best one, to help me decide if the whole franchise is worth it to me.

I got The Sacred Stones for free on my 3DS through that GBA Ambassador program and have been contemplating giving it a shot some time down the line. Has anyone played it? Is it a good representation of the series? If I love/hate it, will that be indicative of my feelings for the franchise as a whole? Any advice would be appreciated.

#2 Posted by dungbootle (2458 posts) -

It's a great one. Give it a shot since you've got it already.

#3 Edited by Kuiper (8 posts) -

Among Fire Emblem fans, the criticism I hear most frequently leveled at Sacred Stones is that it is 'too easy' compared to other games in the series. It doesn't share significant story continuity with any other Fire Emblem game (apart from callbacks in the upcoming awakening). Sacred Stones was my introduction to the series and I'd say it's a fine place to get started. The more recent Fire Emblem games on console (Path of Radiance on Gamecube and Radiant Dawn on Wii) have an updated class system, but Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) is actually returning to the class system that was introduced in Sacred Stones, so if your goal is to prepare for Awakening, Sacred Stones is the perfect game to play.

#4 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3782 posts) -

@Kuiper said:

Among Fire Emblem fans, the criticism I hear most frequently leveled at Sacred Stones is that it is 'too easy' compared to other games in the series. It doesn't share significant story continuity with any other Fire Emblem game (apart from callbacks in the upcoming awakening). Sacred Stones was my introduction to the series and I'd say it's a fine place to get started.

Easy sounds good to me, and since it's a standalone story, that might give me a good "taste" too. Sounds perfect.

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Yea, about, if we're talking about an introduction to the series. The GBA ones (at least the ones released outside Japan) are usually good introductions to the series.

#6 Posted by OmegaChosen (645 posts) -

As an introduction the first GBA probably works best with its ten chapter long intro that eases you into the mechanics of the game but if you have Sacred Stones you should be able to get into it without too much trouble. Its relative ease is also a plus.

#7 Posted by BoG (5191 posts) -

Sacred Stones was my first FE game, and I loved it. It does seem to have a bad reputation among longtime fans, though.

#8 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

Sacred Stones is pretty cool. It's not very difficult but it's not a complete cakewalk (at least if you're going for a no-death run), and it's story stands alone. You shouldn't have much trouble getting into it - I hope you like it! If you find that you don't, then I'd recommend taking a shot at another one, maybe Path of Radiance, since Sacred Stones doesn't seem to appeal to every fan of the series.

#9 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

It was the first one I tried and I liked it enough to try the GC one when I found out it existed, but Path of Radiance is the one I really enjoyed and would actually recommend playing first.
But since you have it already just go ahead and give it a shot. It's not a bad place to start. Sacred Stones actually does have somewhat complex method of dealing with class changes which PoR doesn't have and is a bit more limited in terms of item management which could throw you off. But the game itself is easier.

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#10 Posted by sonicrift (299 posts) -

I've just started playing it and I'm enjoying it. I've played lots of Advance Wars, XCOM, and Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, so I sort of came into it knowing what to expect.

#11 Posted by Animasta (14693 posts) -

I have also just started (actually I made it to chapter 8 but that was a year ago so I started over) that one and I am also enjoying it

#12 Posted by Superkenon (1438 posts) -

Other Fire Emblems certainly offer better story and greater challenge... but there's something about Sacred Stones that I find utterly charming, and the characters occupy a special little place in my heart.

I concur that it's a perfectly viable game to start with.

#13 Posted by Ben_H (3362 posts) -

Yeah it is a great game to start with. I played quite a bit of it, though I had played a ton of Advance Wars at that point so it wasn't too much of a challenge.

#14 Posted by MasturbatingestBear (1190 posts) -

From what I have seen of the series pretty much all of them are fine to start with for a newcomer. As long as you don't jump into the Wii one first because that is a direct sequel to the Gamecube one. But since you already have the GBA one that is just as good as any other.

#15 Posted by Abendlaender (2808 posts) -

It's a great game to start with!

#16 Posted by casper_ (903 posts) -

it was my first and its so rad

#17 Posted by Bocam (3756 posts) -

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

#18 Posted by Hailinel (24885 posts) -
@Bocam

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

Two. One for the Super Famicom, one for the DS. The Super Famicom version was truncated to make room for a second story.
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#19 Posted by Bocam (3756 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@Bocam

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

Two. One for the Super Famicom, one for the DS. The Super Famicom version was truncated to make room for a second story.

Is the DS version a good starting point? Or does the original version hold up?

#20 Posted by Hailinel (24885 posts) -
@Bocam

@Hailinel said:

@Bocam

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

Two. One for the Super Famicom, one for the DS. The Super Famicom version was truncated to make room for a second story.

Is the DS version a good starting point? Or does the original version hold up?

The DS version is the better starting point of the two, though either way, the story is one of the weaker entries. The DS version updated a lot of gameplay elements, but it's sorely lacking the relationship system found in later games, but it foes give you the option to convert most characters from one class to any other class of the same tier at no cost. It also eases things by including single-use save points on the battlefield.
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#21 Posted by Superkenon (1438 posts) -

@Bocam: I enjoyed the DS version, but it's my least favorite Fire Emblem since it's missing a lot of the hooks and character stuff that I love about the series (also, not a fan of the way the sprites are rendered, myself). Then again, if it's your first game you won't know what you're missing, so it might not bug you any. I just don't think it's the best representative of what Fire Emblem is today.

But hey, that's me. I think it'd be better to start with one of the newer games, but if you want to take a crack at the original first, the DS version is easily more accessible than the NES/SNES version of it. And despite what I'm saying, it's a fine game. Just know that it still mostly plays like an old, slightly-archaic game... since it kinda is.

#22 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4680 posts) -

I only ever played the first Fire Emblem that came over here. Well, I played a few missions of Path of Radiance but nothing major. I did enjoy the game but tapped out after a while. Not the genre for me I guess, despite the quality of the game. Oh and Lyndis is boss.

#23 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11760 posts) -

@Bocam said:

@Hailinel said:

@Bocam

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

Two. One for the Super Famicom, one for the DS. The Super Famicom version was truncated to make room for a second story.

Is the DS version a good starting point? Or does the original version hold up?

The DS remake (Shadow Dragon) is probably the weakest game in the series to reach Western shores. It's still a totally fine game, but it doesn't have much of a personality and brings over a lot of the antiquated design philosophies that the original game had in the first place. And with that said, the NES version does not hold up.

Sacred Stones is actually quite good. As a crazy person who eats the Japanese-only SNES installments of the series for breakfast, I think it's too easy, but it's a fantastic entry point for normal people.

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#24 Posted by Bocam (3756 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: I really just want to play the games in order (remakes aside). I have hopes of playing them all before Awakening.

#25 Posted by Flappy (2263 posts) -

As an introduction to the series, Sacred Stones is a fine place to start. It's pretty easy, the characters are pretty appealing, and most people (iirc) end up pretty good. Pretty pretty pretty.

Ahem. Go for it, duder. You've got very little to lose and a whole lot to gain.

#26 Posted by OmegaChosen (645 posts) -

@Bocam said:

@ArbitraryWater: I really just want to play the games in order (remakes aside). I have hopes of playing them all before Awakening.

That's a lot of games to finish in the span of 10 days(unless you're in Europe). That'll be about a game a day if you start today. I'd really recommend the remakes over the originals, seeing as they are improvements over the originals, blandness aside.

#27 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11760 posts) -

@Bocam said:

@ArbitraryWater: I really just want to play the games in order (remakes aside). I have hopes of playing them all before Awakening.

I haven't even finished all of the games in the series, though that has more to do with interest than inability. If I were to do something like that, I'd just start with the SNES and skip the NES games entirely. The first game is just really crusty and old, and Gaiden is weird and different. Of course, I'd also tell someone starting out with the series to go with any of the GBA games or maybe Path of Radiance, but if you're serious about this then just start with Monshou no Nazo.

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#28 Edited by Kuiper (8 posts) -

@Bocam said:

@Hailinel said:

@Bocam

How many remakes are there of the first Fire Emblem?

Two. One for the Super Famicom, one for the DS. The Super Famicom version was truncated to make room for a second story.

Is the DS version a good starting point? Or does the original version hold up?

The original Fire Emblem is absolutely atrocious and is plagued by a number of fundamental design flaws. The most egregious issue plaguing the original Fire Emblem is that the only way for units to gain exp is by engaging in combat. This is problematic because healing units are, by intent and design, not supposed to engage enemy units in combat. (If an enemy unit ever comes within striking distance of your healer, it means that you've done something wrong.) This means that the only way for your healers to gain exp is by directly entering harm's way. Later games resolved this issue by simply awarding non-combat classes exp for performing non-combat actions (so healers can level up by healing, dancers level up by refreshing or buffing friendly units, etc.) The original Fire Emblem is just too primitive and broken to be playable, and there's no reason to play it when there's twelve other Fire Emblem games that have all improved upon the design of the original game.

If you're going to follow the adventures of Marth, you should be playing the DS remake, no doubt about it. Shadow Dragon gets a bad rap because it is for the most part faithful to the scope of the original Fire Emblem, meaning that modern FE mechanics like unit carrying and support conversations are absent, but it's still far and away the best version of FE1. That said, if you decide to skip the first episode in the Fire Emblem franchise, you aren't really missing much; the original Fire Emblem has never been particularly renowned for its storytelling.

#29 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

It's gret but I would play the one that came right before it first, or at least play it after you finish this. It's fantastic and shares the same art style. I don't know why they moved away from that style after these two games because they both look gorgeous and everything since has kind of looked ugly. Either way I would play both because they're both awesome.

#30 Posted by IrrelevantJohn (1072 posts) -

The one great thing about FE is that you can pretty much start on any of them. So just pick one and go. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I do.

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