FE Awakening logo

It is no secret that I’m a huge Fire Emblem fangirl. I’ve enjoyed each entry I’ve played so far (some more than others of course). So I already knew I would be picking this game up (and in fact I still waiting for my copy to arrive). But curious what sort of demo Nintendo gave the newest game and wanting to have a taste before the real deal arrives, I decided to play the demo anyway. Sufficient to say, I cannot wait to get my hands on the game now.

The demo wasn’t too long, but it was long enough to give new players a taste of what to expect and returning players an idea of the newly added mechanic of pairing. At first, I wasn’t too happy with the new addition of pairing. It seemed a tad overpowered with minimal drawbacks, but as I continued to try it out, I realized Intelligent Systems balanced it out pretty well in the end. Pairing is for good defending frail units and getting a bonus out of it, as well as adding an extra edge against bosses, but it isn’t something one would want to do constantly. Why? because the support unit of a pair only gets experience if s/he attacks (and usually they won’t) and that experience is also reduced more than normal. In short, if you keep a united paired up too long, it will not get much experience and increasingly continue to lag behind the rest of the party (in terms of levels) until becoming pretty useless when unpaired. It’s definitely a well thought out drawback and will definitely keep me from pairing up my units too often.

FE Awakening gameplay

The core gameplay remains the same.

Abilities also make a return after being absent in Shadow Dragon (likely due to its nature as a remake of the first game). While I haven’t been a big fan of them, I think they are an interesting attempt at more customization and I vastly prefer them to the class change feature introduced in Shadow Dragon, which I think reduces the uniqueness of each unit. From news sites, I do know the latter also returns but there are supposed to be limits on it. I personally care nothing for the class change feature, so I highly doubt I will be using it. Finally, the My Unit feature is pretty intriguing. It basically allows you to customize a player avatar that interacts with the other characters. It may feel a little too different from the usual Lord MC trend, but Fire Emblem (Blazing Sword) also had a tactician that functioned pretty much as the player character. Granted, s/he did not actively participate in battles like the My Unit does and the Lords were still obviously the main characters, but I personally don’t mind the introduction of a more personalized player characters because for one, it seems to be woven into the actual story of Awakening rather than feeling tacked on, and two, it’s nice to get the chance to play as a female character. That said, this feature was disabled in the demo, and you could only play as a preset male MC. I was a bit disappointed in this, as the gender choice should have been allowed in the demo, but given that it’s in the game, I’m willing to let this very minor annoyance slide.

FE Awakening character creation

The My Unit customization screen, most of the option were locked out of the demo.

The rest of the demo was pretty much the Fire Emblem I’ve come to know and love with a nice shiny coat of paint. I think the graphics are lovely and the animated parts are probably my favourite because they look the most stunning. One of the nicer touches was that the weapons actually change depending on what you equipped. It’s really minor, but I always love when developers add this extra touch. The voice acting was pretty minimal, but I don’t mind. Nonetheless, even though there wasn’t much voice acting, what I did hear was great. The voices fit the characters perfectly and the voice actors sounded natural. The only minor flaw I could find in Awakening’s presentation was the weird feet. I must confess, I find them unnatural and they make what could be very nice character models look off. That said, it’s only a very minor thing and overall, my expectations are high. Hopefully my game will arrive tomorrow. I really want to play it!

–SW

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