Fire Emblem Awakening Check-In: Week 1

I’ve spent a weirdly large amount of time with Fire Emblem games this year, when you consider that it’s not a series that I’ve ever really put any serious time into. There’s Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, a game I didn’t finish, but really enjoyed and need to get back to. And then of course there’s Fire Emblem Heroes, a mobile game that I find myself playing every single day. With this new found interest in Fire Emblem, I really should play through one of the more fan-favorite titles in the series. So, now I’m playing thorugh Fire Emblem Awakening. 

Much like the last Check-In series I did, Dragon Age Origins, I actually have played some of Awakening before. I didn’t get very far though. I believe my file said I was around eight hours in, before I deleted it. So, because of that, there are a few things I already know. But most of it will be brand new! If you’re new to my blog or this kind of series, know that I’m going to spoil everything. So, if you intend to play through this game, maybe don’t read this. And, like all the other Check-Ins I’ve done, we can’t start until we go over some numbers. I didn’t play as much as I wanted to this week, only hitting around two total hours. My main character, who is of course named Ivan Ooze, is level 3, and I’m currently on chapter 4.

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When the game begins, we have to create a character. Once again, I make an old man and name him after the villain from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Movie. There aren’t a whole ton of options in the character creator, so this version of Ivan isn’t as old looking as the one I made in Xenoblade Chronicles X, but he’ll do just fine.

After that, the game starts for real. Ivan and Chrom, one of the main characters in the story, are fighting a very obviously evil guy named Validar. I have no idea what’s going on in this fight, but it’s more or less a tutorial. If you’ve played any Fire Emblem or turn-based strategy game, you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. You’ve got a map that’s been divided into a grid. Characters can only move a certain amount of blocks per turn and when they’re in range, they can attack. You know the drill. We fight, we win, and then Ivan wakes up in a field.

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Was this a dream? I don’t know yet, and Ivan doesn’t seem to know much of anything. He’s been found by Chrom and his group, who call themselves “Shepherds”. One of the Shepherds, Frederick, is very suspicious of us, since we’re just lying here and claim not to remember anything. Chrom and his sister Lissa seem totally cool with us, however. The group tries to figure out what’s up with us, but are interrupted when they notice a nearby village is under attack. The Shepherds tell Ivan to stay put, and head off to save the day.

Ivan doesn’t stay put. He shows up and decides to help. It turns out, Ivan is a Tactician, and as such, he’s very good at figuring out what people should do in battle, and who’s weak to what kind of attacks, and things like that. While I don’t know if there’s any sort of rules on who can be a Tactician or anything like that, I actually really like the idea of taking the fact that the player has access to stats that we wouldn’t have in a real battle, and incorporating it into the game’s lore.

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Before I get to far into this, I should point out that I’m playing the game on “casual” mode. Fire Emblem is famous for permanently killing any characters that die in battle, resulting in a lot of players resetting the game any time someone dies. This sounds really frustrating to me, and would probably result in me taking a much longer time to get through the game, so I’m not doing that. As such, I’m not too worried about my characters’ safety, so I just throw them into battle and win.

The villagers are very happy that we stopped the attack and offer us a place to stay for the night and a feast. Frederick turns them down, which greatly upsets Lissa. He also still doesn’t trust Ivan, even though I just put my life on the line for these people. Frederick seems like kind of a jerk. We end up walking for a while and then camping for the night.

In the middle of the night, a weird portal opens in the sky and a bunch of zombies fall out of it, as well as a masked, uh… man? Yeah, definitely a man calling himself “Marth”, and not Lucina, the character I play as in Smash Bros. As we go to fight the zombies, which are apparently called “Risen”, we’re joined by another Shepherd, a woman on horseback named Sully, as well as an archer named Virion who seems to only be here because he thinks Sully is hot.

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We kill all the Risen pretty easily. Luc-er, Marth, tells us that our world is in grave danger, and then runs off. We continue our journey back to the Shepherds home of Ylisse. When we arrive, we’re greeted by the ruler of Ylisse, Emmeryn. Turns out, she’s Chrom and Lissa’s sister, which makes those two royalty. She commands us to head to another kingdom to the north to try to get more fighters to help combat this new Risen threat.

At this point we’re introduced to even more members of the Shepherds. There’s Vaike, who wields an axe and  introduces himself by burping. Then there’s Sumia, who seems to have a crush on Chrom and falls over every time he shows up. And there’s Kellam, a large, heavily armored knight, who for some reason no one ever seems to notice is around. All of us together head out on our new mission.

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Along the way, we come across a pegasus who’s very upset about something. Chrom decides to just leave it be, but Sumia insists she can help. She tells the others to go on with her and she’ll take care of the creature.

When we arrive, the guards refuse to believe that we are who we say we are. They decide to fight us, and if we win, then they’ll believe that we’re really royalty from a neighboring kingdom. I’m not really sure why that would be the deciding factor, but whatever, we’re fighting. Also, Sumia shows up with the pegasus, so that’s pretty cool.

With more characters comes more options in battle. Sumia can fly great distances and over barriers, but can be killed very quickly by bows and arrows. There’s also a concept in the Fire Emblem series called the “Weapon Triangle”, a sort of Rock Paper Scissors system that determines what weapons have advantages over other weapons. This is the first real fight where I needed to utilize that stuff, and it makes for a more interesting battle.

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So, we win, and now that we have somehow proven that we really are sent from Ylisse to talk, we’re allowed to continue on. And that’s where I got so far. I’m still in the very beginning of the game, but I’m really enjoying it so far. Hopefully, it’ll continue to entertain the whole time.

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