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MrPopo
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Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by MrPopo Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:40 am

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Together RPG: Fire Emblem

This time we're going to take a look at one of the oldest SRPG franchises out there: Fire Emblem. Originally released in Japan on the Famicom it was relatively unknown in the US. There was a preview of Genealogy of the Holy War in an issue of Nintendo Power, but otherwise it was only known to those who sought out the various untranslated Japanese RPGs for emulation and translation patches. Then when Super Smash Brothers Melee came out there were two characters who were unlockable: Marth and Roy. Marth was the star of the first Fire Emblem game, and Roy was the star of the upcoming GBA Fire Emblem game. While Roy's game never came to the US, interest in the thanks to these cameos meant that the prequel did see a release in the US, and barring one exception we have gotten every release. So this time we'll be playing that very game which got the West involved in Fire Emblem. Additionally, the latest game, Fire Emblem Fates, comes out in the middle of this month, which is what I'll be playing.

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The Fire Emblem gaes are strategy games with very heavy RPG elements. Your units gain levels which affect their combat stats; indeed, without staying on top of your levels your units will quickly become little more than cannon fodder. The story is always centered around the leader of your army, and should that leader fall it is a game over. Each unit in your army is unique; though they might share their class with another their stats and growth rates will serve to differentiate them, not to mention each one having a distinct characterization that shows up more and more as the series got past the 8-bit era. Probably the most notorious feature is the permanent death; just like in real life, should a unit fall that unit is killed and gone forever.

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Fortunately, the player has some tools available to tip the odds in their favor. The biggest is the weapon triangle; a rock-paper-scissors system that determines whether a weapon is effective or disadvantaged against another. In the image above you can see an axe wielder attacking a sword wielder. Swords have the advantage over axes, which increases the sword user's chance to hit and chance to evade, and similarly the axe user has penalties to both. You can see that the axe user has a bare 32% chance to hit, while the sword user is guaranteed to hit. Careful positioning of your army to take advantage of these effects is crucial to making it through the game. Additionally, learning which units are best to attack physically and which are best to use your magic using troops on can make or break your game, not to mention properly using decoys who can survive to draw enemies out of a defensive formation.

The first US release, titled Fire Emblem in the West and Blazing Sword in Japan, was specifically created to be approachable for someone new to the series. The first ten missions serve as an extended tutorial to introduce game mechanics and they even turn off the perma death; any unit that falls retreats from the battlefield and is no longer available during those missions. Once they are finished you move into the main story and will later link up with the units from the prologue, so it's helpful to still treat them as if they were lost forever so as to not miss out on experience on account of having retreated.

Another option is to wait a few weeks and play Fire Emblem Fates, as here at Together RPG we seek to celebrate awesome RPGs and RPG serieses. It'll be fun to see how the two games compare and contrast.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by jmbarnes101 Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:14 am

Great, I've been wanting to dive back into one of these. I've got the Fates LE version coming so maybe I'll try that. Or maybe Fire Emblem on GBA or GameCube or the DS remake. I'm missing Awakening, Sacred Stones, and the Wii version.

Is anyone else getting Fates and if you are which version did you go with. As mentioned above I have the LE coming so I'll have all three games on the same cart.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by MrPopo Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:31 am

I wasn't able to snag the combined cart because I don't patronize Gamestop so I'm getting Conquest, though I'm not sure if I want to do that campaign first or Birthright first; I'm worried that I might not enjoy Birthright as much if I do Conquest first.

I've already beaten every Fire Emblem I own, so I'll be playing Fates when it comes out. If I really get into it I'll be shotgunning all three campaigns (or at least the first two if the third hasn't come out yet by the time I'm done) back to back to back. I did Genealogy earlier this year and I'm itching for some more tactical combat.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Jmustang1968 Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:56 am

I have actually been playing this lately in anticipation of Fates release. It is the only localized FE game I haven't completed. I am close to finishing Eliwood's campaign.

Also to add, there are 2 main campaigns, with 2 protagonists. They are supposed to be very similar but with some slight differences.

I did pre-order the CE of Fates so I am excited about its upcoming release. One of my most anticipated games of the year.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Exhuminator Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:13 am

I own a lot of FE games. I've got all the GBA and DS ones, including translated versions of the Japanese-only ROMs. (On that note I also have access to the NES and SNES translations of course.) I also own the GameCube and Wii Fire Emblems, as well as the 3DS one.

Out of all those, the only FE I've put serious time into was:
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I put something like 15 hours into it. And it was a terrible game. Totally unbalanced RNG, totally unfair surprise enemy layouts, and just a general lack of polish. The experience was so bad it put me off the FE series for a good long while. I read later on that particular entry is known for being a bad FE and considered one of the hardest in the series. So I chose a really poor entry point as my introduction to the series.

I guess my question now is, what's the best FE to get your feet wet with this series? I mean the first USA GBA FE, is that really the one?
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Xeogred Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:32 am

I've played The Sacred Stones and really like it, but I think I hear the first GBA one was better.

The GC one is notoriously hard apparently.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Jmustang1968 Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:52 am

With perma-death, the most frustrating thing can be a crit with a killing edge weapon and even more so with a regular weapon and low crit chance. You can completely plan out your attack and keep your guys seemingly good positions for enemy turn and then lose one to a crit.

Another issue can happen if your character being attacked crits and kills during a counter. This opens them up to being attacked by another melee character by opening the spot next to them, which could possibly be enough damage to now kill them.

Those occasional frustrations aside, the game will punish those who are overly reckless.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Erik_Twice Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:56 am

Exhuminator wrote:I guess my question now is, what's the best FE to get your feet wet with this series? I mean the first USA GBA FE, is that really the one?

I'm not fond of Fire Emblem 7, most people aren't fond of Fire Emblem 8 and you didn't like Fire Emblem 6 so things get a bit difficult.

I'm not an expert but I can positively recommend Genealogy of the Holy War as an astounding title specially if you already have the hang of how the games are supposed to work. It's older and less pretty and has a couple niggles but the actual gameplay is really fun and challenging.

Other than that, people recommend Path of Radiance (GC) and New Mystery of the Emblem (DS, You have to get a fantranslation).


I was actually looking to play more Fire Emblem lately. Has that translation of Thracia 776 come out? I've been dying to play that game for ages and I keep pushing it back because I want to actually understand the dialogue.

I might play the SFC version of Mystery of the Emblem just so I can play it on the go, but the emulator I have installed can't run it without crashing.
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Exhuminator Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:01 pm

Erik_Twice wrote:the emulator I have installed can't run it without crashing.

What emulator?
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Re: Together RPG - Fire Emblem - 2/01-4/01

by Erik_Twice Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:06 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
Erik_Twice wrote:the emulator I have installed can't run it without crashing.

What emulator?

No idea, it's called "Pocket SNES" (I play on a handheld) and it's an old version of it at that. I'll see if there's another emulator that can run it.
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