I’d played one of the earlier Fire Emblem games, but only one. There are ways in which I like the gameplay, but I didn’t like the permadeath, the later levels got long, and the story didn’t grab me. Ultimately, I was more of a fan of Intelligent Systems’ Advance Wars games instead: I liked the levels as puzzles more than as a start of something bigger.
But Fire Emblem Awakening seemed to be trying something different compared to earlier games in the series, and people I follow on Twitter liked it; so, when Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE caught my attention, I figured I’d give Fire Emblem Awakening a spin first to have a bit more context for the Fire Emblem aspects of Tokyo Mirage Sessions.
And it turns out: still not the series for me. Permadeath is optional, and they’ve added in friendship / romance options between characters, which could be fun. Which, initially, it was; but it ended up as yet another thing to balance. I don’t just have to solve the puzzle of each level (and the levels are still a bit long): I have to figure out which characters to use (and which characters to avoid leveling up entirely, or alternatively do extra grinding), I have to deal with expendable weapons, I have to figure out which levels work better with expendable rare weapons, I have to figure out when to level up a character’s new weapon types when they gain extra abilities at level ten, and now I have to do all of this while acting as matchmaker.
Contrast with Persona 4: in that game, there’s a much smaller cast, the social links are separated from the combat. And, of course, the plot is a zillion times better.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Fire Emblem Awakening is a bad game: if that sort of balancing act is something you enjoy, then great. And, in fact I basically enjoyed the game for the first several missions. But, eventually, the missions got a bit much; I stopped soon after the finishing the first plot arc.
This post has not been revised since publication.