- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Story: I remember that this game had a pretty smooth story, roughly on par with the last two games. A nice touch was that support conversations only occurred in between missions, so they didn’t interrupt the flow of the game.
Graphics: This was the first Fire Emblem with 3D models, and while the models worked well enough at the time, some of the flashier animations are missing from the previous two games due to the difference in art style. The magic spells were definitely better in terms of presentation, however.
Game play: This was the fist game to have an extensive ability system, allowing you to customize each character based on skill points, and what scrolls you had in your inventory. Interestingly, if a character gets enough experience points to hit level 21, they will instead promote to the next class and hit level 1 for that class. This is the first game that didn’t require an item to promote characters for western audiences, a nice touch. There was also a system of bonus experience that you could award to any character in between missions.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Story: Where to begin with this game? This is the direct sequel to Path of Radiance, but this game’s story featured way too many plot twists. I think at one point there was a plot twist every mission. For some reason, the story demanded that the player switches between three armies, which sometimes fought each other, adding to the game’s overall sense of confusion when combined with the frequent plot twists. Additionally, there were no support conversations, limiting character development in comparison to the previous game. One of the worst stories in the Fire Emblem series in my opinion.
Graphics: The visual presentation was about the same as the previous game, even though the Wii should be a little stronger than the Game Cube (I don’t know the hardware differences between the two, so correct me if I am wrong in the comments!). There isn’t much here to complain about.
Game play: The frequent switching between armies seemed unnecessary, especially due to the player not having a choice here. This was made worse by the fact that one army was noticeably weaker than the other two, and the challenges they faced were not scaled to their lower strength. Admittedly, some character classes did feature new skills upon promotion, and some characters did promote twice. Many other features from Path of Radiance are here too. Other than that, this is one of the more challenging games released to western audiences.
Go to page 3 for Shadow Dragon and Awakening.