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Fire Emblem Returns to DS

March 21, 2009 by  

Fire Emblem is an RPG franchise that has truly spanned the years. Originally released exclusively in Japan for the Famicom way back in 1990, the Fire Emblem series has since grown to global recognition, spanning a series of systems and gaming generations. The latest installment has just been released for the Nintendo DS, and harks back all those years as it is actually an update of the original Fire Emblem, available to us westerners for the first time ever!

The port of Fire Emblem, now named Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is almost completely faithful to the original, although there have been obvious graphical enhancements to enjoy. However, the gameplay and storyline remain pretty much the same. Over the course of the game the main character, Marth, prince of the kingdom of Altea, attempts carry out his mission: to right the wrongs that were done to him and his kingdom. From hereon in we enter a world of political intrigue and power as the Fire Emblem games are famed for their in-depth and involving storytelling.

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The gaming style is an interesting hybrid of traditional RPG and strategy based games, as you control your band from a top-down perspective and send them off as you would in a strategy, whilst retaining a turn based stance and including the usual aspects of an RPG. Troops can only travel so far every turn, so there is definitely some timing involved, though that is not the only consideration that should be made. Different varieties of fighters should work together, depending on the enemy you are going up against.

An interesting and involving aspect of Fire Emblem's gameplay is that your characters are well and truly mortal. There's no resurrecting a fallen comrade in this game- if they die, they stay dead! This forces the player to invest heightened strategy and really think about the choices made in battle, as it is possible to lose a character you have built and leveled up throughout the entire game, including main characters.

Another improvement made possible through the DS is the use of the dual screens to split information. The lower screen deals with the real time action, whilst the upper screen lists and details equipment and weapons, making for a much more streamlined appearance and ease of use. The chance to quickly and efficiently access the inventory is welcomed when considering the heightened stakes of battle within Fire Emblem.

Fire Emblem has always been a popular gaming franchise, and the chance to experience the original is not to be missed. With sumptuous graphical and gameplay enhancements it is possible to enjoy this game perhaps the way it was always intended, and we hope that this paves the way for further remakes of the popular Fire Emblem series.

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