The newest installment in the Fire Emblem-series, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, releases this friday. The new title is remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, a game that was only released in Japan when it came out and is known as the odd man out in the franchise. Is Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia the game for you?
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a unique title, unlike older Fire Emblem games in many ways. Nintendo has clearly decided to spice things up for this one, resulting in a refreshing installment in a mostly static game series. N1ntendo listed the biggest changes in gameplay for us, so that you can decide if this title is one for you.
The first thing that has to be said is that Fire Emblem Echoes has a strong and deep story. The bonds you form with the characters are a lot stronger, thanks to a brand-new prologue. You experience the story of two heroes, both searching for an anwers to the enormous conflict they are caught up in. Alm en Cecilia meet as children, only to be torn apart by their destinies. Cecilia pleads with the godess Mila, a godess with supernatural powers, while Alm takes matters into his own hands and gathers an army to crush the forces of evil himself. The swooping story is emboldened by fantastic voice-acting. The whole game, every piece of dialogue, has been given a voice. This only makes the story more engrossing.
Fire Emblem Echoes' story manages to create some goosebump-inducing moments that alone make the title worth purchasing. Even so, the developers have spent plenty of time and resources on the gameplay, and the end result speaks for itself. The game doesn't just use the old-fashioned Fire Emblem strategies, but takes new ideas and concepts instead. You can use the powers of the goddess Mila to defy the laws of nature and go back in time to undo your mistakes, the classic weapon-triangle has been removed and the weapons improve the more you use them.
Another aspect is the so-called 'dungeon crawling', in which you enter multiple dungeons that are crawling with enemies for you to fight. In these dungeons you can earn clothing, magical amulets and enough experience points to keep anyone happy. The dungeons are shown in a brand-new 3D perspective, and exploring them is incredibly fun. Should you end up in a battle, then the game returns to the familar top-down view.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a very good introduction to the Fire Emblem franchise. The game is a bit easier than its predecessors, but the fantastic story and cool new gameplay make up for that. All in all, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a title that deserves its spot in your Nintendo 3DS-collection.