An Echo to Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia | Teen Ink

An Echo to Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia

November 18, 2018
By 19_poon_a BRONZE, New York, New York
19_poon_a BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Back in 1992, Nintendo released the second game of the Fire Emblem franchise, Fire Emblem Gaiden. It was great given the era it was released, but times have changed, and Nintendo has realized that. Fortunately, Fire Emblem Echoes:Shadows of Valentia, the current interpretation of that masterpiece released recently, lives up to the expectations of the franchise and far exceeds the former.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the 3DS in 2017. It is a tactical role playing game, like the rest if the franchise, but many things are changed to keep its faithfulness to the original Gaiden. Like the other Fire Emblem games, it features a permanent death system. However, it switches things up by also including a “casual” mode where units don’t die. Units can still have support conversations, but a whole battle system is eliminated. In Gaiden, there was a game mechanic that allowed players to dungeon crawl, but it was taken away and hasn’t came back since. Echoes reintroduced it to a newer fanbase, while also adding a completely new device called “Mila’s Turnwheel.” According to the official website, “[The player] can use this special function during battle to revert back to a previous turn.” This game is a perfect step for any newcomer wanting to explore the world of Fire Emblem; it has a story that isn’t related to most of the other games, a small, unique, and likeable cast of characters, and it strips away many unnecessary mechanics and leaves a simple game that shows the core of what makes Fire Emblem.

Gameplay isn’t the only thing that adds to its charm. It also has a great soundtrack. One of the songs that caught my attention is called “Unity,” and the way it is used in the game is perfect. Though in Gaiden it plays whenever a character is recruited into your army, Echoes uses it much less while improving on the sound, making whenever it is used feel much more dramatic. This also is the first time that full voice acting is used in a Fire Emblem game; every single line of dialogue is voiced by someone. All of the voice actors deliver their lines perfectly, enhancing all the dialogue. Graphics, on the other hand, don’t satisfy compared to the music. The animation and choreography are beautiful, but the general look fails to deliver.  However, I can’t say that the 3DS can do much better with similar with most other games on the market.

A special quality of the game is how the plot affects the gameplay. In the game, you get to control two separate armies, recruiting different people on each side until you get to the final battle. Through this, you get two different sides of the same battle, each with different philosophies and different tactics. You can choose who to recruit, who to leave, and possibly even who to let die. The game’s character design is also impacts how you want to play drastically. Although the story is told from the heroes’ sides, you learn about the antagonists’ motives and eventually develop sympathy for them. They all have deeper backstories which fuel their motives and decisions throughout the game, and sometimes it hurts to know what made them who they are and to eventually have to beat them for the final time.

Fire Emblem Echoes:Shadows of Valentia is truly great for anyone wanting to play Fire Emblem. From a distance, it looks like somebody’s special themed chess set, but upon closer inspection it’s much more complex. The game has an interesting plot, and it doesn’t need a manual to do the explaining. Anyone can pick it up, and soon enough they have solid reasons to keep playing. As a director on the team said in an interview with Polygon, “It’s a new experience, not an old game”; and they are absolutely correct. After playing this game, you take away more new experiences than old nostalgia.

The author's comments:

i beat this game

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