FIRE EMBLEM (DS) REVIEW

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Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for the Nintendo DS is a turn-based game that incorporates a well balanced mixture of both strategy and mystical adventure. Based on the original Fire Emblem designed for the NES, this 11th installment of the popular game has gone through a major overhaul since its initial release. Improved graphics, expanded storyline and an online multiplayer feature are but to name a few. First introduced in Japan in the 90’s, Fire Emblem began acquiring a strong following of gamers and over the years established themselves to be one of the innovators of the strategy genre. Today, Fire Emblem continues to expand on their popular title with Shadow Dragon. This is the first in the series to arrive to the Nintendo DS and makes use of the all that the DS system has to offer.

The Story:

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon tells the story of Marth, a courageous young prince, who is on a quest to find a sacred sword and must reclaim his kingdom from the evil clutches of Gharnef, the shadow dragon and avenge his father’s death. In his journey he forges friendships and alliances with many different types of characters including knights, archers, pirates, mages, sages, thieves, and healers. Each character has a special skill and helps you conquer each chapter. Fire Emblem units suffer permanent death and cannot be revived afterwards so proper tactical positioning of your units is crucial in this game in order to minimize losses. Each map offers a few mid-level game saves but can only be used once. Marth made is first appearance to North American gamers as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee and from the success of that game they began releasing all the Fire Emblem titles worldwide.

At the outset you’ll encounter four prologue chapters which serve as a tutorial to new gamers to the series. It explains the mechanics of the game and the famous rock-paper-scissors battle strategy where sword beats axe, axe beats lance, and lance beats sword. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a story-driven, tactical gameplay where players can move units across a grid-based landscape and engage in fierce battles with enemies. An elaborate options menu is available to skip or turn off animations during the game and even skip entire enemy battles which considerably speed up gameplay.

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The AI is quite smart and responsive which makes the game particularly interesting to play. The musical score is a little disappointing however, and wished they would have included voice actors to make the characters more compelling.

Thanks to the Nintendo DS system Fire Emblem has included a full multiplayer component to the game where players can choose from a localized multicard play or utilize the built-in Nintendo Wi-Fi connection for the broader version of the multiplayer. Each player can have five units in each team and you are restricted to one game type.

HERE’S THE DEAL:

Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon is a very enjoyable game to play for newcomers and experienced veterans alike who are familiar with the series. If you’re a fan of RPG/strategy games, Fire Emblem is a very good choice and will not leave you disappointed. 8/10  AL L.

~ by consolecreatures on March 17, 2009.

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