The seventh game in the Fire Emblem franchise, Fire Emblem was the first that American audiences were able to experience without having to jump through the flaming hoops of fan translation.
How good you’ll inevitably judge it to be is wholly dependent on your history with the series. Were you first introduced to Fire Emblem through secret characters in Super Smash Bros: Melee or Brawl? Then you’re probably going to like it. However, for those of us who trekked the long maps of Seisen no Keifu and fought through the difficult stages of Thracia 776, a fair portion of the game is patronizing.
For one, the game has a tutorial in the beginning stages that’s so mind-numbingly dumbed-down that it’s painful to even have to skip through. Additionally, you the player are a character in the game and some of the other characters address you directly. As far as the series goes, this just feels… wrong. If I wanted to be talked to, I’d get friends whose opinions I value rather than ignoring Facebook posts while I play Fire Emblem.
This game is easier than a generous prostitute, something it shares with all of the other FE games released on the Game Boy Advance. It could be argued that this balances out the fact that character deaths are permanent, but making permanent deaths an irrelevant point by cranking down the difficulty takes away from the strategic bliss said deaths once required.
It’s not all bad news, however. The story is told through character interactions between maps of enemies, and it actually manages to be fairly well-developed as you progress through the chapters. As in most installments in the Fire Emblem franchise, several characters are of royal descent and end up having to remove the silver spoon from their mouths in order to beat villains to death with it. Speaking of which, I’d like to see the Queen of England try to stop a crazed necromancer for once. All that waving must have built up some crazy lean muscle.
Gameplay is solid, as usual. Conversations occur between chapters, and then it’s time to kill everything in sight. Of course, some missions are “protect” missions, but that just means “kill everything to protect something or someone.” As in other Fire Emblem games, characters with individual portraits occasionally exist within the enemy ranks and can often be recruited, provided you speak to them with the correct character.
Fire Emblem 7 is a flawed experience in terms of the series and one of the lesser FE games, but ultimately a more worthwhile game than most of the garbage game companies are currently shoveling out.
Here’s what you should do: