by now even semi-regular visitors to this blog know that whenever there’s a long break between posts you can count on it being due to me obsessing over another fire emblem game, in this case the latest in the series, fire emblem: radiant dawn for the wii. this was against my better judgement, seeing as how i had almost literally just finished its prequel on the gamecube, path of radiance, but obsession runs in the family and so why bother resisting it? it’s easy to not feel guilty when you can blame the genes. 😉
so how does my 4th fire emblem game in six months stack up? i have to admit there was a fair amount i didn’t personally like about the game but that others would see as strengths. for one, i wasn’t really into the groups of characters i could use changing on me all the time, mostly b/c i’d rather see a small cast get really well developed and well delineated. i was rather disappointed that there were some characters i wanted to use more but just weren’t in enough chapters (e.g. marcia and kieran, tormod and his crew). but others may like having the opportunity to use almost all the characters instead of having to focus on a few to get through the end.
i, and apparently most of the other fans of the series, also really disliked the way that support conversations are almost completely reduced. i didn’t feel that the ability to change supports on the fly and support with anyone counterbalanced the lack of real support dialogue, which is one of my favorite features of the previous FE games. also, despite really enjoying having a sequel to a FE game (the first sequel we’ve gotten for the FE games in english), i thought the first part was too similar to the storyline of FE9 and that overall the game itself was a bit too long (although again, the length may be seen as a plus to many).
the 3rd tier promotions didn’t seem like quite as big a change as i thought they would be. i was hoping that the characters that started at the 1st tier (i.e. the dawn brigade) would become powerhouses to compensate for the difficulty in training them, like the trainee classes in fire emblem: the sacred stones, but no such luck. in my playthrough most of those early characters capped their stats at earlier levels than the others, but they reached those levels at about the same time as the other teams. in other words, most of my dawn brigade were capping their stats around the middle of the 3rd tier while the other teams capped their stats closer to level 19 or 20 of that tier, but since all the characters reach those points at about the same time it didn’t really give the dawn brigade any advantage. part of the problem is that the last part (part 4) is where a large amount of levelling up happens due to the stronger enemies. with more bonus exp usage i could’ve prob. gotten the earlier characters caught up quicker, but there’s not a lot of incentive to with so many other characters to use; plus there are already a fair number of overpowered units you could use instead.
despite these complaints, there were def. some nice touches though. having different heights for terrain was a nice (although mostly maddening) addition, and there were several chapters that stood out in my memory as unique even among all the FE games i’ve played. the laguz are slightly more usable in this game, and i was also pretty impressed w/ how even w/ the expanded the cast and no support conversations all the characters are pretty memorable. the character designs continue to be one of the things that i really enjoy about the FE games in general. i also appreciated the difficulty of the game which i thought was more than a fair trade for the fact you can save the game at any point, a change which will no doubt attract a wider audience but which the hardcore gamer in me doesn’t quite wholly embrace yet.
so all in all i had a good if not great time. def. worth playing through again, esp. with some worthwhile extra content during the 2nd playthrough. for posterity, my final team consisted of: ike/soren, micaiah/sothe, haar/brom, nolan/ilyana, boyd/mia, and laura/aran for the heck of it. (images of some of the characters i particularly enjoyed using in FE10 but hadn’t used much in FE9 are spotlighted above.) haar, nolan, and boyd are good characters everyone seems to agree on, but brom ended up being a surprise powerhouse early on for me. at 3rd tier he literally dodges practically everything, and w/ a poleax he’s pretty much unstoppable. i’m def. going to have to go back and use him in FE9 just b/c he was so good in FE10. i had a lot of pairs i could’ve used instead for the ending, including nephenee/heather, marcia/kieran, edward/leonardo, rhys/rolf, and danved/calill, but i guess they’re going to have to wait for my next time through.
some radiant links:
– serenes forest continues to be an indispensible resource. tons of great stuff here, including a good run-down of the new features, details on the herons’ abilities, a walkthrough, details on all the skills and supports, stat growths and caps, wallpapers, boss conversations, the list goes on. bookmark it now.
– wallpapers, icons, and character portraits at feplanet.net
– info on the bug with transferring data from FE9 and getting a replacement disc from nintendo