So should I play Path of Raidiance and Radiant Dawn before Awakening? Would miss some story beats or is it pretty standalone?
Previous Titles First?
The Fire Emblems generally have mini-arcs that are connected to each other, but overall there isn't really a greater storyline (except a character named Anna weirdly shows up in multiple games, though often only as a tutorial character - don't worry about it).
So like, Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are one storyline, and that is unrelated to everything else.
Awakening is a distant, distant sequel to the original Fire Emblem (the one with Marth). The only easy way to play that in English would be to get the DS remake/reimagining thing, Shadow Dragon. For story continuity, that is the only game maybe you could play, but honestly Awakening more or less mentions all the relevant details (catches you up on Marth, ancient dragon nonsense, etc.).
I mean, I think Path of Radiance is a perfectly fine game that is actually a much better first Fire Emblem experience because you can't just grind your team so that they're invincible (this becomes an issue later in Awakening where your team is untouchable). So I encourage you to play it in general. Radiant Dawn I am less jazzed about, though there are noticeable plot threads from Path of Radiance that go unresolved until Radiant Dawn.
The DLC of Awakening relates to past titles, but it honestly works better if you already have nostalgia for the characters from those games, and want to see them interact with the characters of Awakening. I wouldn't recommend going back to play them just to enhance the impact of that DLC or anything.
@arbitrarywater, I summon thee! *blows conch*
It's not mandatory to play the previous FE games to enjoy Awakening, but the DLC makes a lot of callbacks to the past games. In fact, now that I think about it, I'd say a significant portion of the DLC is designed to overwhelm long-time fans with nostalgia.
As far as the main story goes, they do a good job of keeping you well-informed about the things that are going on. If you're not familiar with the story, here's a tip for ya: Marth was a pretty influential figure and accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Happy trails!
@hunter5024: Man, Radiant Dawn is just so fucking weird. Kudos to them for trying something structurally different, but all of the minicampaigns are kinda unsatisfying until the actual ending, and it turns out it sorta sucks to not have a consistent team throughout the whole game. And props for making Micaiah quite different from the usual stoic main character/lord in all the previous games, but I never liked her all that much.
@bisonhero: Totally. The annoying part is it seems like they could've very easily fixed all the glaring issues and had a super great game on their hands. If they'd just totally dropped act 2 in favor of fleshing out the dawn brigade a little bit better, and done some difficulty tweaking I think that would've made for a much better experience.
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