hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Ranked: The five best Fire Emblem games

2:30 PM on 02.05.2013 // Chris Carter

Take a look at the franchise's history

Fire Emblem is a pretty mysterious series to many gamers out there. Firstly, it's a strategy RPG (SRPG), which already places it in an established niche. Then you have to consider the fact that Nintendo didn't release the series in American until the seventh game, Fire Emblem: The Sword of Flame, simply titled Fire Emblem in the US.

But with the release of the newest game in the series, Awakening, Fire Emblem has succeeded in captivating many new fans with the addition of a less intense optional mode of play, and thus, people are going to be looking for more games to satiate this newfound love.

Feel free to join me on a journey through the history of Fire Emblem.

The core pillars of the medieval flavored series are pretty simple to explain. Like many SRPGs, action takes place on a grid in a turn-based manner. If a unit dies, he is gone forever (otherwise known as permadeath).

Units can interface with each other in a number of ways, most notably with a relationship system that improves statistics of characters who fight together.

It's not hard on paper right? Well, actually playing it out is much more difficult than it sounds, as this series can prove to be insanely challenging for people who aren't acclimated to the genre. As a side note, the following list is in no particular order.

Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem  (Fire Emblem: Monshō no Nazo - Super Nintendo - 1994)

Provided you're already acclimated to the genre, a fan translation of Mystery of the Emblem is a perfect starting point from a lore perspective, as half of the game is a remake of the first Fire Emblem (that was remade again on DS internationally, as Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon in 2008).

Although it may feel antiquated by today's standards, from a pure gameplay standpoint it's still sound and offers the classic tactical action the series is known for, with a ton of content to boot. Unlike the first game, which had a fairly humble release, Mystery of the Emblem really helped put the franchise on the map.

Like the first two games before it, legendary Nintendo producer Gunpei Yokoi had a hand in creating Mystery of the Emblem.

Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy-War (Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu - Super Nintendo - 1996)

The fourth game in the series, Genealogy of Holy-War, is significant for being the first title to implement the "holy trinity" of weapon countering. Often referred to as the "rock-paper scissors" system, Genealogy features a system where lances beat swords, swords beat axes, and axes beat lances.

This would become a staple that would carry all the way into the 3DS game, 16 years later. It also introduced individual skills for units through the class/job system, which was pretty revolutionary for the time. In fact, Genealogy's success would influence the rest of the series in many other ways, and it's often regarded as one of the best SRPGs of all time by fans.

Sadly, this is the last game in the series produced by Gunpei Yokoi, as he passed away in a tragic auto accident in 1997.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Game Boy Advance - 2004)

As the second game released outside of Japan, Sacred Stones improved upon the release of the first international Fire Emblem (2003) in nearly every way. It features beautiful sprite work, it brings back the ability to wander a world map, and allows more general freedom in terms of how you choose to play the game.

Speaking of freedom, the class-change system was the crux of why Sacred Stones is so significant. For the first time, classes have branching paths that you can choose to follow, rather than pigeonholing units into certain jobs. It also featured the aforementioned skill customization of Genealogy of Holy-War, which was taken out of a few games preceding Sacred Stones. All in all, it's one of the deepest SRPGs to date.

If you were a part of the 3DS Ambassador program, you have this game sitting on your 3DS. Go check it out!

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GameCube - 2005)

After the success of Sacred Stones, Nintendo decided that it was time to move the series back to consoles for the first time in six years. As the ninth game in the series, Path of Radiance offers a few concessions for the first time to more casual fans, including an "Easy Mode."

In terms of a pure aesthetic perspective, many people were angry that the series started to move into a polygonal direction in terms of the character models. A stark departure from the sprites of the previous games before it, the graphics style was polarizing to many.

This tradeoff came with a number of other bonuses however. For instance, Path of Radiance was the first game in the series to feature voice acting, which helped breath new life into the game's world.

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS - 2012)

Yes, we've come full circle -- from consoles, to portables, to consoles, to a portable again. The newest Fire Emblem game, released on the 3DS, is possibly my favorite in the franchise, mostly because it opens up its former hardcore-only borders, and as a result, garners even more fans and gameplay options. Hardcore players can still opt to enjoy the "Classic" experience for more of a challenge too, which is part of the game's brilliance from a design perspective.

The visuals are also a treat, offering a perfect mixture of polygonal models and incredible artwork. And that's not even bringing the 3D effects into the mix, which I mistook for real life insects flying near my screen on more than one occasion.

Simply put, Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of the best SRPGs of this generation, and proves the genre is still alive and well. I can only hope the next game in the franchise keeps the spirit of the series intact, while creating even more fans in the process.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Nathan D avatarNathan D
"Everlasting. True love. I am yours." -Rule of Rose T^T
Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Fire Emblem: Awakening

  May 23

Awakening was almost the last Fire Emblem game

Needed to sell 250K for the series to continue

  Apr 18

New maps are on the way for Fire Emblem: Awakening

Over 240,000 copies sold to date, one third through eShop

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -