What I’ve Been Playing: 10/08/12

This is a new weekly segment I will be doing every Monday telling what game I’ve been playing for the last week. No, this is neither a review nor something formal but instead a look into what I play for fun when I’m not busy bringing you the news, reviews, and more you come to expect from Gamer Syndrome.

I like my tactics done Fire Emblem style!

For the past week, I was playing Fire Emblem. Which one to be exact? Well, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones to be more specific. This game was originally released in North America and Europe for the Gameboy Advance back in 2005. Being only the second game in the series to be released outside Japan, a lot of people probably didn’t know much about this tactical RPG. Plus, it was released in the wake of the DS that would be launching soon so I’m sure most people didn’t get the chance to play this game, myself included. It’s a good thing that Nintendo decided to include this game in on the 3DS Ambassador’s Program last December. I had the privilege of buying a used 3DS off eBay that had the Ambassador games included so shuffling through the 20 games I have found some new favorites, one of them being Fire Emblem.

Like I just vaguely said, Fire Emblem is a tactical RPG. Now what does this mean exactly? Well think strategy mixed with RPG elements, a great example of this being Final Fantasy Tactics. Fire Emblem does have its own unique style, story, and characteristics that sets itself apart and makes it a worthwhile game. The story itself begins on a continent divided into multiple countries that each host a Sacred Stone. The largest of the countries suddenly decides to invade a neighboring country and break off a centuries-long treaty. The story follows two young twins, the princess and prince of the invaded country, as they attempt to figure out what’s going on and stop a growing evil. That definitely sounds like a classic RPG-style story right? Well, that’s because it is. The reason that I played this game for the past week is not just for its grand-scale story, but also for its seemingly simple yet complex gameplay.

Each battle takes place in a specific area divided into grids with each of your party members (you pick up quite a few along the course of the game) able to move a certain amount of squares in each direction. When a teammate is adjacent to an enemy or a square away, (certain characters and weapons can do long range) a fight can be triggered that you don’t however control. It plays out automatically and this is where it can get complex. There are three types of weapons that have a paper, rock, scissors effect. Also, there are bows, healing, and magic (which also has a paper, rock, scissors element). This causes you to have to think which weapons to use prior to attacking an enemy and to actually have to study the enemy to figure out what’s best to use. With each battle, the characters gain experience like a typical RPG and level up, their stats growing automatically.

Got that Chess-like Stress.

However, the complexity and uniqueness of this game comes in the form of death. In recent years, the term permadeath has started to be used in video games. That simply means permanent death. Fire Emblem used this method long before Zombii U or any other permadeath game was announced. You see, other than the twins (game over if they die), any of the other party members are fair game for permadeath. This means if they die in battle, they’re gone for good and the story goes on without them. For me, I won’t stand for losing a teammate so that required me to have to retry entire chapters several times just so that I could get past a battle with all my players intact. That also means movement of each character itself is a challenge and can be nerve-wracking. In a weird way though, I love that and there’s nothing more satisfying then winning a battle you’ve retried several times with all the people you started with.

But should you play it?

This game is not everyone, I’m going to say that right now. If you love rushing gung-ho into battle, knowing you have 10 lives or 99 Phoenix Downs, you may want to think before you try this game. Fire Emblem takes a certain kind of patience and thought into every single movement for success with minimal loss. But if you can deal with the pressure, this game can be truly rewarding and fun in the end.

If you’re playing Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones right now and need a little help/walkthrough or just have something to say, comment below! Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and readers, have a great week and check back next Monday when I share what new game I’ve been playing then!

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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