Year of Fire Emblem

I've been a laissez-faire fan of the series who had previously played a bunch of Awakening and Fates, but not much else. However with the release of Three Houses and my ensuing absolute addiction, I've gone back on a journey to check out what this whole Fire Emblem thing is about. I'll update it as I beat more of them with a few notes of my general opinion, pros/cons and if I think it's a good place to start for a new player. I'm considering if I'll order them after my favorites or not, but I feel like that's very subject to change at the moment. Anyhow, here they are for anyone curious.

List items

  • Pros: Presentation, overall gameplay and systems

    Cons: Characters (with exceptions), punishing difficulty

    Overall: Fantastic game. Very replayable and really well balanced.

    Beginner Friendly?: Maybe. I think it can be very mean to new players with how savagely it punishes small mistakes, but that is also good for getting better faster. So perhaps a taste thing. Pair-up is an odd system that adds unneeded complexity for a new-comer and also doesn't transfer over to other games. But it has great presentation and is otherwise an excellent game.


    Awakening is really, really fun. I've beaten it 3 times at this point. It's probably the most solidly built combat in the franchise in my book. Very snappy and intuitive, many interesting options for what you want to do on both micro and macros scales and the overall "feel" of how the damage numbers play out is very satisfying. You hit hard and get hit hard back. Love it.

    The characters overall I think are kind a bad. Lots of one-note cliche's and sort of dull designs. There are a few stand outs however. I think Robin/MC has some really fun supports, a very playful characters. Flavia is just awesome. And Lon'qu overcomes his crappy gimmick with some nice development, also cool guy.

  • Pros: MUSIC, systems, quality of life, SYSTEMSx2, characters, replayability

    Cons: Story, monastery pace, underbaked classes, too easy, grimy visuals

    Beginner Friendly?: Yeah for sure. It's too bad it doesn't really have the weapon triangle which is an awkward transition back to games that have it. But the quality of life changes and difficulty curve of the game can't be understated. This is the smoothest ramp into the franchise you can get. And it's still largely true to the old tactics.


    Three houses is fantastic. The music is unbelievably good, the characters are almost universally great and the flow of gameplay is just great. With how flexible the systems for training are, the game already has tons of replayability even if you ignore that they baked in 3 (4) different story routes you can take. Really can't say enough good things about it.

    If I am gonna nitpick however. The obvious flaws is that the visuals on a technical level honestly aren't that great. The game is really easy even on hard and maddening is just kind of a slog, so I don't have a great difficulty to go back to. The class system is cool, but a lot of the options feel underwhelming and makes you gravitate to a smaller selection of "good" classes. Master classes in general aren't super interesting either. For replays it's also kind of a hassle to explore the monastery. It's helped by NG+ features (which are awesome) but if I want to do a challenge on a new save, I wish I could just skip exploring entirely to save time.

  • Pros: Presentation, Characters, Story, Good systems

    Cons: Slooooow, and dumb difficulty curve (hardish then too easy)

    Overall: Enjoyed it a lot, want to play again on harder difficulty

    Beginner Friendly?: I'd say so. The beginning 1-9 chapters can be very hard for a beginner, but once you get into a groove I don't think it's a big deal. It's also a good start to learn (trial and error) universal systems and take your newfound skills to other games in the franchise.


    Path of Radiance was a really good time. It has a great selection of cool characters and I think it's one of the best in the franchise when it comes to breathing life into them. The cast is varied and very likeable, with some of my personal favorite units overall like Titania or Tibarn. PoR really nails it on presentation.

    Gameplay-wise I found it mostly fun on the tactics, but the animations are waaaaaaaaay too slow, even the map ones, and you fight a lot of units. The end of the game turns into sort of a slog and was really testing my patience and stamina. It didn't help that it was also getting easier as we went along with my most trained units acting as demi-gods (though that was fun in it's own right)

  • Pros: Large cast, presentation/music, class system

    Cons: Awful story, Corrin sucks, map design, plays by its own rules

    Overall: Hate/Love relationship. I want to like it in spite of it's myriad issues, but sometimes it's hard.

    Beginner Friendly?: Yeah I guess. It is pretty easy to pick up and just beat the story. But it teaches you very little about how to play other games in the franchise, and can train some really weird/bad habits. It's not a difficult place to start, but I think the benefit is low.


    I played all 3 routes of Fates. While I don't necessarily regret it, but I do think part of it was legitimate Stockholm Syndrome.

    I can not stress how bad I think the story is. In birthright it's sort of passable, but Conquest fails on it's very premise and is consistently awful. Revelations is about equally bad but in some different ways. Revelations also has somehow managed to reuse all the bad maps from the other routes (which there were several) and made a few new bad ones, so it wasn't even that fun to play.

    If I'm gonna focus on the positives though. I did really like a lot of the characters. The cast is massive and gives you a lot of variety in your team composition. And the class system is really fun to play with. You can change your army in so many ways for repeat playthroughs. And I think messing with my favorite lil units and watching their numbers go up, in the end, was what kept me engaged.

  • Currently Playing.

    Tons of absolute bullshit ambushes, bullshit bosses and annoying map design.

    Enjoyable cast of units and snappy gameplay. The punishing design is actually fun once I've seen all the bullshit once and know what to plan ahead for...

    Overall enjoying it, but I have to take breaks to not shoot myself sometimes.

  • Currently Playing. Extremely light on characterization and story. Units feel weirdly disposable (which is the point I believe). It has been sort of difficult and i've required a lot of resets, but it felt mostly fair and fun. Only remember two bosses I thought were awful.

  • Played a few chapters to take a look (I already know a fair bit of the quirky nature of the game from word of mouth). Most likely next in line for completion. I'm quite excited to get around to it.

    The beginning is actually pretty hard on normal.

    I love the presentation and characters a lot.

    Feels snappier than path of radiance

  • Played the first 8 missions (tutorial basically). Fun and promising!

  • Saving this for after Shadow Dragon. Hear it can be difficult

  • Seems good. Haven't played it. SETH SETH SETH

  • Haven't really looked at this at all yet. Have to order a copy at some point.

  • Dabbled in the first mission. SNES controls feel clunky, it feels very dated. I think this will be rough for me. But I know just enough about the systems around the generations of units to be interested.

  • Haven't touched yet. Seen some on video. Game looks kind of like a nightmare, but old-school fans speak very highly of it. I'm saving this for when I'm prepared to deal with it. Maybe the translation is finished by then.


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Fun list! Given Three Houses, this has definitely been a good year for Fire Emblem. I wish I had more time to go back and play some of them more than once, and also play the older Japanese ones, but alas. It's a good series.

Coincidentally, I made my own list recently as well!