Awakening vs. Fates vs. Shadows of Valentia
The Fire Emblem series has seen a dramatic surge in popularity since the release of Fire Emblem Awakening back in 2013. Widely regarded as a modernization of the series, Awakening and Fates were great entry points for newcomers like myself, and helped to ease them in with elements like character creation, and more importantly, character shipping and baby making after that. Of course, the series’ trademark tactical RPG combat and permadeath system was still in place, and it certainly hasn’t lost any of its punishing difficulty.
Following Awakening, Nintendo released Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, and Conquest, two games which told the same story from two opposing sides. A third chapter, Revelation, was released shortly after that to tie up both perspectives and offer proper closure to the overall story. Fates was very similar to Awakening in that players could create their own characters and pair up their favorite supports, but with the added twist of having to decide where your loyalties lay: with Hoshido, or with Nohr.
And most recently, we saw the release of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. This one’s a different beast altogether as it’s a remake of the 1992 RPG Fire Emblem Gaiden. It doesn’t feature any of those newcomer-friendly additions like character pairing and castle-building, and even the battle system completely does away with the weapon triangle we’ve grown so used to. However, Shadows of Valentia does place a much larger emphasis on its story and plot, and the key characters feel more alive in this game because of that.
Which, then, is the best Fire Emblem game on the 3DS right now? We’re going to try to answer that question by examining the games in three big categories: story, combat, and additional features that players can engage in outside of the campaign.