A Little Perspective From Tom Church

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem is a Japanese video game that is comparable to Final Fantasy in the sense that it’s drawn out over several games (like, a dozen or something) and has different characters in each and every one. And they’re totally amazing.

I discovered them long ago–about four years ago maybe–when a friend let me borrow a game in the series for the Gameboy. It was called Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones and it was so completely and predominantly sexual that I nearly had some sort of strange visual orgasm. I had to drop it for a while.

When I came back, I discovered what I loved about it most: the characters and their subsequent characterization is phenomenal. Each character is so smoking hot in their own way that it’s like, how do you ignore them? Some characters who fight for you are childhood friends. Others are comrades and long-ago squadmates. Others are lords, ladies, and their faithful squires or pages. Others are young boys and girls who are just now learning to understand their fighting power, etc.

But what’s cool is that even though they fight for you, that’s not really the main focus: it’s really more about getting them to bond with each other. For instance, a weathered knight named Seth, if placed in adjacent panels to his young companion Franz for prolonged periods of time, unlocks a “support” conversation, in which they converse and grow closer. This means that next time they fight adjacent to each other, each one is a little bit stronger because of the bond between them both.

And this is where my description of the game as being “The Ultimate OTP [one true pairing] Game” comes into play. At the end of the game, it gives DESCRIPTIONS of the peoples’ lives together. I’ll give you an example: my favorite pairing, Colm and Neimi (childhood friends, thief and archer), have a short note written about them if you have three support conversations between them:

The childhood friends became lovers at first, then husband and wife. Worried for Neimi’s well-being, Colm gave up his adventurer’s ways. Neimi passed on her grandfather’s skill in archery to her own son and daughter.

Dammit if that is not the most gut-wrenchingly wonderful thing I’ve ever read about the two–I WORKED FOR THAT. I WORKED FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. I PUT THOSE TWO CHARACTERS IN A CORNER AND THEY SPENT COUNTLESS TURNS THERE DOING NOTHING UNTIL THEY WERE ABLE TO HAVE ANOTHER SUPPORT CONVERSATION.

Ahem, well anyway, the game is an “RTS” which means it’s a real-time strategy. The whole game is VERY mind-bending and painfully strategic, and the placement and equipment of your characters is of utmost importance. What’s great is that some characters are weak, and others are exceptionally strong. These strong ones must support the weak ones until the weak are able to take care of themselves, etc.

The characters who are weak are eventually able to “transform”–I’m not sure there’s actually a word for this–meaning that they change classes. An example would be Franz, who I mentioned earlier. He’s young, and he’s pretty cool and all. He’s a cavalier, meaning he rides a horse. Horseriding characters are good because they have a lot of mobility. They can move a lot in one turn, and can usually outrun enemies if need-be. But Franz usually doesn’t need to. He can use lances and swords (the ‘weapon triangle’ is as follows: swords beat axes; axes beat lances; lances beat swords) (this isn’t always the case; these weapons just have obvious advantages/disadvantages against other weapons, but they can still win out).

Franz is a cavalier. If he gets to level 10, I can use a knight crest on him and make him either a ‘great knight’ (which can use axes as well as swords and lances) or a paladin (which is strong, and has greater mobility, but uses no new weapons).

Do you SEE the possibilities?

You will sometimes come across red (enemy) characters who are different than all the other characters on the opposing side. They look as if their portrait art is different than what is normal, and they have a designated name. These characters are either enemy bosses… or they’re recruitable. And recruitable ones are AWESOME. That means you’ve got a new guy on your team, permanently. There are lots of opportunities to recruit new characters. It’s common to get at least one new character each level. You accumulate quite a few… but if one of your character’s health depletes all the way, they die and can never be deployed again. So you have to be very careful when it comes to placement, health management, etc.

Wow. I must sound like I’m working for Intelligent Systems or something, I’m really selling this game. But the point is, PLAY it. If you guys want, message me and I’ll tell you how to play without even having a Gameboy (I play it on computer, you can save games and everything. It’s quite literally my baby, and you don’t even need internet to play, either).

I hope to spark your interest, and maybe later we can have a (support) conversation about these games.

-Thom

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Comments on: "Fire Emblem" (2)

  1. Great review, Tom! Just so ya know, Fire Emblem is a turn based strategy game, not an RTS.

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