Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
The Fire Emblem franchise knows a long history. It all began on the Gameboy Advance. Afterwards we could enjoy it on the GameCube and now finally it makes its debut on the Wii. Fire Emblem: Radian Dawn is a turn-based strategy game and as we know there aren’t many titles left in this genre. With Final Fantasy Tactic it’s extremely difficult for the competition, but with Radiant Dawn the gap is surely narrowed.
The story starts three years after the events of Path of Radiance. Defeated nations, Daein, are ruled by the powerful but also corrupt Begnion Empire Army. Fortunately there still is the Dawn Brigade, under the guidance of Micaiah, that tries to expel them. The game is divided in four chapters and contains 38 missions. The storyline has always been the main focus of the Fire Emblem franchise and also this time they managed to create a great one. Contrary to the new generation games, where we get excellent voice acting, the dialogues are done with text balloons.
The fights take place on a field which is divided in a grid where you have to control every individual of your team. The missions and the surroundings offer enough variation to avoid boredom but it can be difficult to control a group of twelve characters. Every move you make is also one for your opponent. You can execute several actions such as attacking, using items or healing your party. Fire Emblem must be played very tactically, making one mistake could be fatal for one of your characters and if this happens, your character is lost forever and can’t be used in the following battles. Losing one of your main characters is equal to game over so restarting the mission is necessary.
The Fire Emblem franchise contains a lot of RPG elements. You can choose from a large range of weapons and shields, which you can upgrade to better items. During the fights it’s possible to talk with NPCs which will provide you with new gear or even join you in the battle. Your characters gain experience points during combat and after every mission you have some that you can divide over your team. The game contains 72 playable figures(!!!) which can lead to endless combinations of your party.
A nice addition is the new buddy-system where you can ‘connect’ two characters to reinforce each other. When they are close enough to each other during a fight, they‘ll receive a support bonus. In most cases it concerns an increase of offensive or defensive powers.
Radiant Dawn has three difficulty levels. If you’re not familiar with the franchise it’s better to begin with the easy mode, where an extensive tutorial will guide you through the game. In most games the normal mode is fluent to play, but not in this one! The Difficulty level of normal is beyond normal. Restarting a mission is rather a rule than an exception. For the real fanatics there is also the hard mode. Fire emblem is one and all about tactic, you really have to foresee all the possibilities of your enemies to clear the missions.
Visually the game looks identical to its predecessor on the GameCube. The graphics could be a lot better, but the good gameplay compensates that. The music gives just that little extra to the player to wander in the magical world.
Fire Emblem: Radian Dawn is a great successor of the franchise. The story is superb, the gameplay stands like a building and with 38 missions and 72 characters the game offers several hours of amusement. A full-fledged tactical turn-based game which I advise to all Wii gamers.