Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Fire Emblem: Radiant DawnRadiant Dawn is the latest Fire Emblem title to hit a console and is a direct sequel of Path of Radiance. You can expect an almost, if not identical experience to past Fire Emblem titles in Radiant Dawn but it has a great storyline and the amazing gameplay that Fire Emblem fans will love and with an overall of 40 hours of duration in a single playthrough, this game is sure to give you countless hours of fun.
A Review by HolyBahamut
America - 5th of November, 2007
Europe - 14th of March, 2008
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Trailer
As said in the intro, this is the sequel of Path of Radiance in which we had to play as the mercenary Ike and due to several unexpected twists he had to travel through the whole continent of Tellius while trying to free Crimea from the tynany of Daein with the help of the laguz tribe. Radiant Dawn takes place three years after these events.
The story begins with a cutscene showing a silver-haired girl who is hiding from soldiers. However they discover where she's hiding but a character from Path of Radiance called Sothe comes to her rescue and both manage to escape. Then the story explains that the girl's name is Micaiah, part of the Dawn Brigade. The Dawn Brigade is small group of 'vandits' who fight the occupation forces of Begnion in an attemp to free Daein and give the power once again to the royal family.
However, that is only the beggining of the game. Radiant Dawn has 4 parts and in total 45 chapters, each explaining different events across the continent of Tellius. Also, this game has a grand total of 72 playable characters, 42 being from Path of Radiance. You would expect this incredible quantity of playable characters to detract from the main protagonists and storyline, at the contrary, it adds to the storyline incredibly, but they could have much more development.
Controls & Gameplay
The Fire Emblem series had little to no change in their gameplay formula over the years, so Radiant Dawn is expected to be similar to its predecessors. Consider this as a chess. You have a certain number of playable characters in a squared board and you can order them to attack, use items, etc. to complete a mission which normally consists of eleminating a boss, rout all enemies in the map, etc. If you're a newcomer to the series, you should now that if one of your characters dies in battle, it dies, permanently and if the character was the leader of the group you're forced to repeat the chapter from its very beggining, lossing all progress you made after your latest save.
New things that were added to this game are a third tier promotion for some classes, like the Swordmaster, Bishop, Dragonmaster, etc. and the reincerssion of the black magic from the GBA Fire Emblem titles, which was removed from Path of Radiance. Now archers are able to attack adjacent units with the Crossbow weapons, thing they were unable to do in past Fire Emblem titles. Forging your weapons is also a little different now; with the adittion of coins (which you'll find randomly through the game) they can give extra bonuses to the (hopefully) awesome weapons you forge. Another thing I should mention is that this game is quite hard, but there is a 'Battle Save' option which allows you to save your data in the middle of a chapter, which makes the game a little easier. This game also allows the transfer of a clear game data from Path of Radiance allowing certain useful things to happen in the game, like better stats for characters that capped their stats in the prequel, etc.
Something important to note: there are no Wii functions. With 'functions' I mean: no motion controls, no Mii support (who'd want that in a FE game, anyway?), no online compatibilities... Yeah. Most people go as far to say this could be a GameCube title.
Now, for the controls. This is the part that most people criticised that made the game appear as a copypasta of Path of Radiance. There are no motion controls, making it feel more as a GC title than a Wii title, but as you will see the controls are so simple, and adding motion controls would've been unnecesary and ruined that charm the Fire Emblem series have. The controls are as follows:
Control Pad Up, down, left, right.
1 Cancel, return to previous screen.
2 Accept, select actions.
A Show map menu.
+ Show win and lose conditions and other statistics.
- Eliminate other map visualisations, such as energy bars.
B + Control Pad Change camera angle.
B + 1 Show status screen, show help window.
B + 2 Select a character who hasn't take an action.
B + A Zoom in/out.
Feels familar? It should...
This does in fact feel like a Path of Radiance copypasta. Intelligent Systems seems to not manage well with 3D graphics; they could have some improvement, except for the magic and cutscenes, they're l337. During battle, well, those images above are pretty much self-explanatory for what will be used in the whole the game. During dialogs simple but well-rendered characters will be 'pasted' over a background (which are normally well drawn, in my opinion) and begin speaking and blinking. Not exciting, I know, and this doesn't really help with the big walls of text. I would give the graphics a better score, but due to their similarity with Path of Radiance's graphics and the Wii's superior graphic potential (compared to the GC, at least) they could've much better, but hey, I suppose you will not pay much importance to the graphics when playing the game, right?
There isn't much to say about the sound. The map soundtracks are amazing, but the battle ones are quite poor and aren't exciting. Also, mostly everyone's voice acting during cutscenes sucks, 'nuff said.
Eternal Bond (A.K.A. Ike's Theme in Brawl)
Bearer of Hope
Replay Value: 9.5/10
The Fire Emblem series have been always packed with Replay Value, and so is Radiant Dawn. I mentioned in the intro that this game has a duration of 40 hours in a single playthrough, meaning that this game will keep you busy for a long time. Also, once you finish the game in Normal mode, the Hard mode is unlocked and really deserves the name of 'Hard' because many normal things are removed to screw you over. I should also mention the infamous RNG (Random Number Generator), this evil yet godly thing will never make two playthroughs similar as your characters will never get same stats due to it.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn in a nutcase: amazing gameplay, bad presentation, and the latter made the game have some negative reviews (I'm looking at you, GameSpot). With an incredible storyline and gameplay, and leaving all the Path of Radiance comparisons behind, this is an amazing game worth your time especially if you're a newcomer to the series and is a must-have for anyone who enjoys strategy games. You should definitely buy it, or at least rent it.
+ Amazing storyline.
+ Incredible cutscenes.
+ Allows mid-battle saving.
- Hard game is hard.
- Somewhat of a Path of Radiance copypasta.
For reading this review!