Earlier today, I played the demo for Fire Emblem: Awakening and thought it was a fruitful experience. By that, I mean it swayed me toward my decision on whether to get or forget. I will be going with the former. The demo was kind of a mixed bag for me, but I found myself disappointed when the “To Be Continued” appeared and the demo was over. Without further ado, here’s what the Fire Emblem: Awakening demo has to offer and my take on it:
The first thing you’ll find in the demo is a brick wall…sort of. After choosing the difficulty (if you’re a lunatic like me, you’ll choose ‘Lunatic’), you move onto game mode. This is the first thwarting by the restrictions of the demo. It shows the choice between ‘Casual’ and ‘Classic’. If you are a veteran to the Fire Emblem series, then you are aware that your fallen units are lost forever, unless they are needed for the story. In ‘Casual’ your fallen units return. This is the only option in the demo. Of course, it shouldn’t really matter, because the demo isn’t long enough for it to change anything.
Next, you get to create your Avatar…sort of. In the demo, you are forced to choose male and can’t change anything appearance wise. This is obviously done for saving space during cut scenes. What you can pick is your name, birthday, assest (strength) and flaw (weakness). After defining your character, you are ready to start.
The first thing that really caught my eye is how beautiful the CGI is in the opening FMV. The is got to be the best use of the 3D function I’ve seen any game for the 3DS. Instead of being glaring and distorted, it comes out much more subtle and elegant. Unfortunately, this does not follow suit during in-game cut scenes and battles where I had to turn off the 3D completely. The CGI is still pretty strong, though.
The opening scene raises some questions. After being awoken by Chrom, Lissa and Frederick, you discover that your character has amnesia, but somehow knows Chrom’s name. Amnesia is played out, but for some reason, always keeps me compelled. Regardless, the characters take you under their wing (without your consent) and take you back to town. Upon arriving, you find it under attack. Enter the battle grid.
If you went with Normal Mode, you’ll see a little tutorial pop up on the bottom screen dubbed “Slide Guide.” It’s pretty helpful for those unfamiliar in the ways of strategy games. I’d also suggest checking out the options. You can look over a plethora of settings ranging from turning off the battle animations to turning on auto-battle. Another function in Normal Mode is a prediction screen that shows you the most likely outcome of any one-on-one battle you enter. My only complaint would be any real difficulty being taken out by the use of Frederick. Being a Great Knight, he plows through your enemies even on Lunatic. It essentially becomes hurt them gravely with Frederick, finish them off with Character X. Most of the challenge will come from keeping your characters alive.
After the battle, your party moves North, bringing the second, much longer FMV. During the night, Chrom and Lissa are attacked by zombie-esque warriors that seemed to have been defecated out of an orphus in the sky. It struck me as kind of disturbing, the way they slide out of it. The rest of the FMV is thoroughly exciting. As Lissa is about to get axed, a mysterious masked man jumps out of yet another portal and comes to her aid. A second battle ensues before we get to know him.
The second battle teaches you about the effectiveness of terrain and using abandoned forts, which are great for healing. During the battle, two new faces appear, Sully and Virion, and make quite the colorful dialogue. With the help of more comrades, this battle is a cinch.
The demo ends with a small cut scene where the mysterious masked man reveals his name; Marth. MARTH?! He did come out of a portal. Could it have a time portal? Could it be the Marth from Shadow Dragon? I kind of doubt it, but it would be cool. Anyway, Marth keeps things brief and negative before storming off. Your party is left there to dwell on his words of this just being the beginning before the demo ends.
Fire Emblem: Awakening should do well based off its intriguing story, colorful characters, range of customization and well-executed battle system. All of this is enough to get me to buy once it comes out on February 4th.